Background: More than one billion human adults worldwide are overweight and, therefore, are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a variety of other chronic perturbations. Many believe that use of natural dietary supplements could aid in the struggle against obesity. So-called "starch blockers" are listed among natural weight loss supplements. Theoretically, they may promote weight loss by interfering with the breakdown of complex carbohydrates thereby reducing, or at least slowing, the digestive availability of carbohydrate-derived calories and/or by providing resistant starches to the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Aims: The present research study examines a dietary supplement containing 445 mg of Phaseolus vulgaris extract derived from the white kidney bean, previously shown to inhibit the activity of the digestive enzyme alpha amylase, on body composition of overweight human subjects.
Methods: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 60 pre-selected, slightly overweight volunteers, whose weight had been essentially stable for at least six months. The volunteers were divided into two groups, homogeneous for age, gender, and body weight. The test product containing Phaseolus vulgaris extract and the placebo were taken one tablet per day for 30 consecutive days before a main meal rich in carbohydrates. Each subject's body weight, fat and non-fat mass, skin fold thickness, and waist/hip/thigh circumferences were measured.
Results: After 30 days, subjects receiving Phaseolus vulgaris extract with a carbohydrate-rich, 2000- to 2200-calorie diet had significantly (p<0.001) greater reduction of body weight, BMI, fat mass, adipose tissue thickness, and waist,/hip/ thigh circumferences while maintaining lean body mass compared to subjects receiving placebo.
Conclusion: The results indicate that Phaseolus vulgaris extract produces significant decrements in body weight and suggest decrements in fat mass in the face of maintained lean body mass.