ALERTS & COVID-19 UPDATES Learn more: COVID-19 Resources; COVID-19 Testing; Vaccine Info; Visitor Policy; Support Us

Uses

  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Weight Control

Obesity is when a person has a weight that is above an ideal range. This can raise the risk of problems, such as heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

It is treated with lifestyle changes, therapy, and medicine. Some people may have weight loss surgery. Others turn to natural therapies. They work best with diet and exercise.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These therapies are likely effective:

  • Alpha-lipoic Acid is a compound made by the body A1-A4
  • Carnitine is a natural substance that the body uses to process fats and make energy KK1
  • Cereal beta-glucanis found in bacteria, plants, and certain foods U1
  • Chitosan—a fiber supplement is made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans F1, F2
  • Diacylgycerol (DAG) is a glyceride that may help with cell function B1-B3
  • Flaxseed is the small seed of flax HH1
  • Litramineis a fiber supplement C1-C3
  • Probiotics are healthy microorganisms AA1-AA4
  • Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant in the body X1

May Be Effective

These therapies may be effective:

Unlikely To Be Effective

These therapies are unlikely to be effective:

  • Calcium is a mineral that helps with bone strength Q1-Q9
  • Guar gum comes from the plant of the pea family R1
  • Pomegranate V1
  • Vitamin D is a nutrient food in some foods that helps with bone strength SS1-SS3

Not Enough Data to Assesss

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk with your doctor about all herbs or supplements that you are taking. Some may cause problems with your treatment plan or other health problems, such as:

  • Ayurveda—ingredients may contain toxic substances or heavy metals
  • Green tea: Should not be given to infants and young children Interacts with MAO inhibitors and blood thinners, and interferes with folic acid absorption
  • Conjugated linoleic acid—should be avoided in mothers who are breastfeeding and those with diabetes

References

Alpha-lipoic Acid

REFA1 Namazi N, Larijani B, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid supplement in obesity treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Clin Nutr. 2018 Apr;37(2):419-428.

REFA2 Kucukgoncu S, Zhou E, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss: results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017 May;18(5):594-601.

REFA3 Huerta AE1, Navas-Carretero S, et al. Effects of α-lipoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in overweight and obese women during weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015;23(2):313-321.

REFA4 Koh EH, Lee WJ, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic Acid on body weight in obese subjects. Am J Med. 2011;124(1):85.

Diacylglycerol

REFB1 Maki KC, Davidson MH, et al. Consumption of diacylglycerol oil as part of a reduced-energy diet enhances loss of body weight and fat in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(6):1230-1236.

REFB2 Xu T, Li X, et al. Effect of diacylglycerol on body weight: a meta-analysis. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17(3):415-421.

REFB3 Li D, Xu T, et al. Diacylglycerol-induced improvement of whole-body insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a long-term randomized, double-blind controlled study. Clin Nutr. 2008;27(2):203-211.

Litramine

REFC1 Grube B, Chong PW, et al. A natural fiber complex reduces body weight in the overweight and obese: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(1):58-64.

REFC2 Chong PW, Lau KZ, et al. A review of the efficacy and safety of litramine IQP-G-002AS, an Opuntia ficus-indica derived fiber for weight management. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:943713.

REFC3 Grube B, Chong PW, et al. Weight maintenance with litramine IQP-G-002AS: a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Obes. 2015;2015:953138.

Ayurveda

REFD1 Paranjpe P, Patki P, et al. Ayurvedic treatment of obesity: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990;29(1):1-11.

REFD2 Sharma S, Puri S, et al. Diets based on Ayurvedic constitution--potential for weight management. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(1):44-47.

Catechins

REFE1 Kovacs EM1, Lejeune MP, et al. Effects of green tea on weight maintenance after body-weight loss. Br J Nutr. 2004;91(3):431-437.

REFE2 Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, et al. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009;33(9):956-961.

REFE3 Nagao T, Hase T, et al. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(6):1473-1483.

REFE4 Phung OJ, Baker WL, et al. Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(1):73-81.

REFE5 Jurgens TM, Whelan AM, et al. Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;12:CD008650.

REFE6 Huang J, Wang Y, et al. The anti-obesity effects of green tea in human intervention and basic molecular studies. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;68(10):1075-1087.

Chitosan

REFF1 Jull AB, Ni Mhurchu C, et al. Chitosan for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(3):CD003892.

REFF2 Moraru C, Mincea MM, et al. A Meta-Analysis on Randomised Controlled Clinical Trials Evaluating the Effect of the Dietary Supplement Chitosan on Weight Loss, Lipid Parameters and Blood Pressure. Medicina (Kaunas). 2018 Dec 12;54(6). pii: E109.

Chromium Picolinate

REFG1 Pittler MH, Stevinson C, Ernst E. Chromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(4):522-529.

REFG2 Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, Ernst E. Chromium supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Obes Rev. 2013;14(6):496-507.

REFG3 Tian H, Guo X, et al. Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(11):CD010063.

Cissus Quadranglaris

REFH1 Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Lipids Health Dis. 2006;5:24.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

REFI1 Malpuech-Brugère C, Verboeket-van de Venne WP, et al. Effects of two conjugated linoleic Acid isomers on body fat mass in overweight humans. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):591-598.

REFI2 Gaullier JM, Halse J, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(6):1118-1125.

REFI3 Watras AC, Buchholz AC, et al. The role of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing body fat and preventing holiday weight gain. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007;31(3):481-487.

REFI4 Whigham LD1, Watras AC, et al. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(5):1203-1211.

REFI5 Chen SC, Lin YH, et al. Effect of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation on weight loss and body fat composition in a Chinese population. Nutrition. 2012;28(5):559-565.

REFI6 Oinakpoya IJ, Posadzki PP, et al. The efficacy of long-term conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on body composition in overweight and obese individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Mar;51(2):127-134.

Dehydroepiandrosterone

REFJ1 Corona G, Rastrelli G, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation in elderly men: a meta-analysis study of placebo-controlled trials. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98(9):3615-3626.

Ecklonia Cava

REFK1 Shin HC, Kim SH, Park Y, Lee BH, Hwang HJ. Effects of 12-week oral supplementation of Ecklonia cava polyphenols on anthropometric and blood lipid parameters in overweight Korean individuals: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2012;26(3):363-368.

Glucomannan

REFL1 Sood N, Baker WL, et al. Effect of glucomannan on plasma lipid and glucose concentrations, body weight, and blood pressure: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(4):1167-1175.

REFL2 Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, et al. The efficacy of glucomannan supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(1):70-78.

Hydroxycitric Acid

REFM1 Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric Macid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998;280(18):1596-1600.

REFM2 Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav. 2000;71(1-2):87-94.

REFM3 Onakpoya I, Hung SK, Perry R, Wider B, Ernst E. The use of Garcinia extract (hydroxycitric acid) as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. J Obes. 2011;2011:509038.

Medium-chain Triglycerides

REFN1 Mumme K, Stonehouse W. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(2):249-263.

Pyruvate

REFO1 Onakpoya I, Hunt K, et al. Pyruvate supplementation for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(1):17-23.

Phaseolus Vulgaris

REFP1 Udani J, Hardy M, et al. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9(1):63-69.

REFP2 Celleno L, Tolaini MV, et al. A dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract influences body composition of overweight men and women. Int J Med Sci. 2007;4(1):45-52.

REFP3 Onakpoya I, Aldaas S, et al. The efficacy of Phaseolus vulgaris as a weight-loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. Br J Nutr. 2011;106(2):196-202.

REFP4 Udani J, Singh BB. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using a proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(4):32-37.

REFP5 Grube B, Chong WF, et al. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014;22(3):645-651.

Calcium Supplementation

REFQ1 Shapses SA1, Heshka S, et al. Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(2):632-637.

REFQ2 Zemel MB, Thompson W, et al. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):582-590. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):582-890.

REFQ3 Gunther CW, Legowski PA, et al. Dairy products do not lead to alterations in body weight or fat mass in young women in a 1-y intervention. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(4):751-756.

REFQ4 Reid IR, Horne A, et al. Effects of calcium supplementation on body weight and blood pressure in normal older women: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(7):3824-3829.

REFQ5 Lorenzen JK, Mølgaard C, et al. Calcium supplementation for 1 y does not reduce body weight or fat mass in young girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(1):18-23.

REFQ6 Booth AO, Huggins CE, et al. Effect of increasing dietary calcium through supplements and dairy food on body weight and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 14;114(7):1013-1025.

REFQ7 de Oliveira Freitas DM, Stampini Duarte Martino H, et al. Calcium ingestion and obesity control. Nutr Hosp. 2012 Nov-Dec;27(6):1758-1771.

REFQ8 Onakpoya IJ, Perry R, et al. Efficacy of calcium supplementation for management of overweight and obesity: systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Nutr Rev. 2011 Jun;69(6):335-343.

REFQ9 Li P, Fan C, et al. Effects of calcium supplementation on body weight: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov;104(5):1263-1273. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

Guar Gum

REFR1 Pittler MH, Ernst E. Guar gum for body weight reduction: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2001;110(9):724-730.

Acupuncture

REFS1 Yao J, He Z, et al. Acupuncture and weight loss in Asians: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Aug;98(33):e16815.

REFS2 Kim SY, Shin IS, et al. Effect of acupuncture and intervention types on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Nov;19(11):1585-1596.

REFS3 Zhang RQ, Tan J, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Postgrad Med J. 2017 Dec;93(1106):743-751.

REFS4 Fang S, Wang M, et al. Acupuncture and Lifestyle Modification Treatment for Obesity: A Meta-Analysis. Am J Chin Med. 2017;45(2):239-254.

Auricular Acupressure

REFT1 Huang CF, Guo SE, et al. Auricular acupressure for overweight and obese individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jun;98(26):e16144.

Cereal Beta-Glucan

REFU1 Rahmani J, Miri A, et al. Effects of cereal beta-glucan consumption on body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and total energy intake: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Apr;43:131-139.

Pomegranate

REFV1 Gheflati A, Mohammadi M, et al. Does pomegranate consumption affect weight and body composition? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1277-1288.

Phytosterols and Phytostanols

REFW1 Ghaedi E, Varkaneh HK, et al. Possible anti-obesity effects of phytosterols and phytostanols supplementation in humans: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1246-1257.

Resveratrol

REFX1 Mousavi SM, Milajerdi A, et al. Resveratrol supplementation significantly influences obesity measures: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2019 Mar;20(3):487-498.

Saffron

REFY1 Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, et al. Clinical evidence on the effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review meta-analysis. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Jan;139:348-359.

Dietary Branched-Chain Amino Acids

REFZ1 Okekunle AP, Zhang M, et al. Dietary branched-chain amino acids intake exhibited a different relationship with type 2 diabetes and obesity risk: a meta-analysis. Acta Diabetol. 2019 Feb;56(2):187-195.

Probiotics

REFAA1 Liao D, Zhong C, et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of probiotic supplementation on glycemia, lipidic profiles, weight loss and C-reactive protein in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Minerva Med. 2018 Dec;109(6):479-487.

REFAA2 Borgeraas H, Johnson LK, et al. Effects of probiotics on body weight, body mass index, fat mass and fat percentage in subjects with overweight or obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2018 Feb;19(2):219-232.

REFAA3 Zhang Q, Wu Y, et al. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Aug;67(5):571-580.

REFAA4 Park S, Bae JH. Probiotics for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Res. 2015 Jul;35(7):566-575.

Nigella Sativa

REFBB1 Mousavi SM, Sheikhi A, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa supplementation on obesity indices: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Jun;38:48-57.

Namazi N, Larijani B, et al. The effects of Nigella sativa L. on obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jun 12;219:173-181.

Tai Chi

REFCC1 Larkey LK, James D, et al. Body Composition Outcomes of Tai Chi and Qigong Practice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Int J Behav Med. 2018 Oct;25(5):487-501.

Dietary Flavonoid

REFDD1 Bertoia ML, Rimm EB, et al. Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124,086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. BMJ. 2016 Jan 28;352:i17.

Intermittent Fasting

REFEE1 Harris L, Hamilton S, et al. Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2018 Feb;16(2):507-547.

Curcumin

REFFF1 Hariri M, Haghighatdoost F. Effect of Curcumin on Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review on Randomized Clinical Trials. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Mar-Apr;37(3):215-222.

Soy Isoflavones

REFGG1 Akhlaghi M, Zare M, et al. Effect of Soy and Soy Isoflavones on Obesity-Related Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2017 Sep 15;8(5):705-717.

REFGG2 Zhang YB, Chen WH, et al. Soy isoflavone supplementation could reduce body weight and improve glucose metabolism in non-Asian postmenopausal women--a meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2013 Jan;29(1):8-14.

Flaxseed

REFHH1 Mohammadi-Sartang M, Mazloom Z, et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017 Sep;18(9):1096-1107.

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

REFII1 Zhang YY, Liu W, et al. Efficacy of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation in Managing Overweight and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(2):187-192.

REFII2 Du S, Jin J, et al. Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015 Nov 16;10(11):e0142652.

Grapefruit

REFJJ2 Onakpoya I, O'Sullivan J, et al. The effect of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi) on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Feb 11;57(3):602-612.

Carnitine

REFKK1 Pooyandjoo M, Nouhi M, et al. The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2016 Oct;17(10):970-976.

Yoga

REFLL1 Lauche R, Langhorst J, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of yoga on weight-related outcomes. Prev Med. 2016 Jun;87:213-232.

Capsaicinoids

REFMM1 Whiting S, Derbyshire EJ, et al. Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite. 2014 Feb;73:183-188.

Whole Grain

REFOO1 Pol K, Christensen R, et al. Whole grain and body weight changes in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Oct;98(4):872-84.

Mindfulness Interventions

REFPP1 Carrière K, Khoury B, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Feb;19(2):164-177.

REFPP2 Rogers JM, Ferrari M, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for adults who are overweight or obese: a meta-analysis of physical and psychological health outcomes. Obes Rev. 2017 Jan;18(1):51-67.

REFPP3 Ruffault A, Czernichow S, et al. The effects of mindfulness training on weight-loss and health-related behaviours in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Sep - Oct;11(5 Suppl 1):90-111.

Soluble Fiber

REFQQ1 Thompson SV, Hannon BA, et al. Effects of isolated soluble fiber supplementation on body weight, glycemia, and insulinemia in adults with overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Dec;106(6):1514-1528.

Flavanols

REFRR1 Akhlaghi M, Ghobadi S, et al. Flavanols are potential anti-obesity agents, a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Jul;28(7):675-690.

Vitamin D

REFSS1 Golzarand M, Hollis BW, et al. Vitamin D supplementation and body fat mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Oct;72(10):1345-1357.

REFSS2 Chandler PD, Wang L, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation alone or with calcium on adiposity measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2015 Sep;73(9):577-593.

REFSS3 Pathak K, Soares MJ, et al. Vitamin D supplementation and body weight status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2014 Jun;15(6):528-537.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 11/12/2020