Sherry Torkos, BScPharm
As our nation grapples with an obesity epidemic, a new supplement hasentered the market, offering significant benefits .
As our nation grapples with an obesity epidemic, a new supplement has entered the market, offering significant benefits for those battling the bulge.
This new product, called Phase 2, represents a novel approach for weight loss. It is a starch neutralizer obtained from a concentrated extract of the white kidney bean that gets to the heart of why we gain weight-our increased consumption and craving of starchy carbohydrates.
The problem with the typical North American diet is that it contains too many starchy, refined carbohydrates such as breads, pasta and potatoes. When eaten to excess, they can lead to weight gain. When carbohydrates are consumed, enzymes in the digestive tract break these large molecules down into smaller sugar molecules, which are absorbed through the intestine. These sugars become a source of energy (fuel) and the excess is stored as fat.
While several books promote the benefits of low-carb and no-carb diets, these fad diets are hard to follow and often lead to rebound weight gain. Another way of tackling this dietary dilemma is to minimize intake of starches with a supplement capable of neutralizing these calories.
Phase 2 works to neutralize dietary starches by inhibiting an enzyme called alpha amylase-the enzyme that converts starch into sugar. Scientists discovered amylase inhibitors decades ago when they observed that bugs using alpha amylase to break down plants for food were unsuccessful with certain plants such as the white kidney bean. Interest in amylase inhibitors
developed because controlled reduction of starch digestion could theoretically improve carbohydrate tolerance in type II diabetics and aid in weight control.
In the early '70s, research was conducted to determine the specific starch-neutralizing ability of beans and wheat. In-vitro (test tube) studies yielded positive results, and a number of crude bean amylase inhibitor preparations were commercially marketed in 1980 as weight control remedies. Unfortunately, these early products failed to deliver results when taken by humans (in vivo). Further testing revealed they lacked sufficient anti-amylase activity, and they were removed from the market.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that a partially purified inhibitor, prepared by simple extraction of crude bean powder, had much more specific anti-amylase activity than commercial preparations. Further clinical studies conducted in humans verified the starch-neutralizing abilities of Phase 2. Three small double-blind human studies conducted at the University of Scranton demonstrated that Phase 2 significantly reduced the absorption of starch calories from a meal. Participants in these studies were given Phase 2 or placebo before the ingestion of a starchy meal. Plasma glucose levels were measured at several intervals after the meal. Those given Phase 2 experienced at 57 to 85 percent reduction in starch absorption.
A more extensive double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at the effects of Phase 2 in 60 overweight individuals age 25 to 45. Those given Phase 2 lost an average of 6.45 pounds in 30 days compared to those on placebo, who lost less than one lb. The Phase 2 group also lost, on average, more than 10 per cent of body fat mass, more than three percent in waist circumference, and measurable percentages off their hips and thighs. There was no loss of lean body mass.
The most recent study on Phase 2 was conducted at the Northridge Medical Center, UCLA by Dr. Jay Udani, MD. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, 50-patient study found that patients who took Phase 2 lost an average of 3.8 pounds over eight weeks, compared to the placebo group, which lost only 1.6 lbs. The study also evaluated the effects of Phase 2 on triglycerides, a form of blood cholesterol. There was a dramatic 26-point drop, on average, in triglycerides for patients taking the starch neutralizer, while those on placebo averaged only an eight-point drop. This was a very important finding, since many overweight individuals also have high triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease.
No significant adverse effects were reported by any patients participating in this study or the previous trials. This is consistent with both the acute and chronic toxicity studies, which found Phase 2 to be safe and non-toxic.
There is no magic bullet for weight loss. Healthy eating and regular exercise are critical components to a weight management program. Safe and proven supplements, such as Phase 2, can be effective in helping you to realize your weight loss goals. They are available in a variety of weight loss supplements in health food stores across North America.