Planta Med 2008; 74 - SL85
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1083965

A Review: Nutraceuticals as adjunctive therapy for the management of obesity

WH Bhatti 1
  • 1College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, 46208, USA

World Health Organization reports indicate that more than 1 billion adults are overweight and at least 300 million of them are obese. Obesity is estimated to account for at least 7% of health care costs in developed countries. Associated health consequences range from increased risk of premature death to serious chronic illnesses that reduce the overall quality of life. Obesity and overweight increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer. Of special concern is the increasing incidence of childhood obesity.

Nutraceuticals are widely promoted for weight management. Understanding the role of nutraceuticals empowers the health profession to provide optimal management of obesity. This review will:

Define nutraceuticals

Describe the classes of nutraceuticals for treatment of obesity

Explain the clinical relevance of nutraceuticals

Nutraceutical products are widely available and used appropriately provide effective support to achieve and maintain weight loss. Chromium and carnitine supplements facilitate metabolism. Soluble fiber in psyllium and glucomannan assist weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness that reduces the tendency to overeat. Supplements of 5-hydroxytryptophan elevate levels of serotonin in the brain that control appetite. Gugulipid has been shown to increase fat metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of cholesterol and lipoproteins by the liver. Products containing the stimulant, ephedra, have been used to stimulate weight loss. The tannins and flavonoids of green tea are reported to promote weight loss. Preclinical studies in rats have shown that licorice flavonoids reduce diet induced obesity by regulation of lipid metabolism related gene expression in the liver.