Good Data on Sustained-Release Herbal Weight Loss Blend Should Boost Sales
Called Weighlevel One, the product has been in development for several years. In its original form, called Weighlevel, the product was a blend of extracts from the leaves of Common Lady’s mantle (Lady’s coat), Olea europea (olive), Mentha longifolia (wild mint) and seeds of Cuminum cyminum (spicy cumin).
Promising first results
The product has shown good results in some early clinical trials published around 2011, allowing subjects in the experimental groups to lose statistically significantly more weight than the placebo groups.
The mixture has multiple forms of action, including stimulation of the metabolism (lady’s mantle and olive leaf); appetite suppression (lady’s mantle, cumin and wild mint); and facilitate digestion (cumin and wild mint). But in its original form, the herbal components were quickly cleared from the system, forcing users to take a dose three times a day.
It seemed like a mistake for Atlanta-based ingredient developer John Alkire, who was intrigued by the results of the original formula. Alkire, who is the founder and CEO of Zanda LLC, which sells a variety of patented ingredients, suggested to Sprunk-Jansen, the Danish company that developed the original formulation, to find a way to extend the release profile in order to if the formula could be taken once a day would create a more commercially viable product.
Randi Kindem, marketing manager at Sprunk-Jansen, said Alkire contacted his company after the product had been on the market for several years.
Modification of the delivery profile
Kindem said that Eric Sprunk-Jansen, the founder of the company, came from a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, just like her. So they knew the challenge posed by consumer compliance in the overall performance of any product. And they also knew that the 3 times a day format was not ideal.
So she said the company was intrigued when Alkire suggested combining Weighlevel’s four-herb blend with another ingredient from their stable under the brand name Propol, which is a patented konjack glucomannan isolated and purified fiber. The fiber is manufactured by Shimizu Chemical Corp. from Japan. The combo could extend the effect of the herbs so that a once-daily dosage form is possible, he said.
This activity was validated in a second trial published recently in the International Journal of Herbal Medicine. The researchers recruited a cohort of healthy middle-aged subjects in Copenhagen who were happy with their weight but were also looking to lose weight.
Over eight weeks, the group using Weighlevel One lost about 0.5 kg / week for a total loss of 4.2 kg on average. This represented an average weight loss of 4.9%, compared to a weight loss of 0.9% in the placebo group.
The groups recruited for the study were not exceptionally overweight by North American standards. They averaged around 26 BMIs, while in the United States, BMIs of 28 to 30 or more are common.
Kindem said Danish protocols restrict the use of technically severely overweight individuals because obesity is considered a disease there, so such a study would de facto become a drug study. But she said there was no reason to believe the formula would work any differently in a more overweight group. And she said it’s crucial for a weight loss product to have ample data on safety and effectiveness, given the number of potential comorbidities in this group of consumers.
“When you consider the other factors in this group such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and other conditions, it is extremely important that you test a weight loss product for its safety and potential drug interactions.”she says.
Pharmaceutical experience a plus
Alkire said his first conversations with the Sprunk-Jansen team convinced him that this was a viable partner for his business.
“They have a very serious technical background and they have a knowledge and a passion for the herbal medicine industry. And their relationship with the University of Copenhagen, and all the botanical identification tests they do there, were really impressive ”,he said.
Kindem said that with the support of the new study results, the company expects sales to improve. And this from an already flourishing grassroots level, where Alkire has placed the ingredient with a multi-level marketing company as well as a major retail partner. And there are reports of all the weight consumers took during the pandemic lockdown to be in this mix.
“Since we started, we’ve been selling about 20 metric tonnes of this ingredient every year in the United States, and we’re assuming that will increase by over 50%,” he added. she says.
Source: International Journal of Herbal Medicine
2021; 9 (3): 71-75
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a mixture of once-daily herbal extracts for weight loss
Authors: Kassis E, Hansen PA