A few days ago I received an e-mail from a visitor asking me if I’d heard of Glabrinex, a product that had just received national exposure in the Canadian media, thanks to a syndicated column by “Dr. Gifford-Jones” (aka “Dr. Ken Walker”). In an article entitled “Remedy for Pot-Bellied Killer Fat,” the doctor outlines the dangers associated with visceral or abdominal fat, and then boldly states…
“Now an exciting new dietary supplement is available to help those who are losing the battle against their pot-bellied fat. Glabrinex is the first natural product of its kind. It helps to mobilize visceral fat and delay or suppress the onset of the metabolic syndrome. It’s derived from the root of the leguminous Glycyrrhiza plant and has been consumed for over 4,000 years since the era of ancient Egypt.”
If you have any doubt that the previous few sentences were written for impact, consider the fact that “leguminous Glycyrrhiza” is more commonly known as licorice; obviously, it sounds much more impressive as the former than the latter.
Nonetheless, it all seems pretty impressive, huh? And from an M.D. at that. Surely then, this is the obesity cure-all we’ve all been on the lookout for?
Well, let’s see.
The majority of studies performed on LFO (licorice flavanoid oil, of which the active ingredient is called “glabridin”) were performed on animals (see Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Jan;71(1):206-14. Epub 2007 Jan 7, Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Nov;27(11):1775-8, Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2003 Dec 15;13(24):4267-72).
And yes, they demonstrated a positive effect. That’s a good start, even though you are not a mouse, and the results of animal based trials do not necessarily translate over into the same results in humans.
And what about the human-based study referenced in Dr. Gifford-Jones’ article?
Well, that study is the single human-based study performed on LFO (see J.Health Sci., 52(6), 672-683, 2006, or to, read the full PDF of the study, click here and look for the link entitled “CiNii Fulltext PDF”).
The first thing I noticed with this study is that none of the participants were put on any sort of diet program. That immediately calls the study results into question.
Well, if you don’t know how many calories each study participant consumes, how can you accurately assess the value of supplementation? For instance, if you knew each individual was consuming 1,000 calories over his/her requirements then the results would be much more impressive. If they were eating less, the results would be less impressive. Right?
The fact is, we don’t know what the study participants were consuming; some may have eaten less—even subconsciously—in order to lose weight. Still others may have seen the fact they were on a diet pill as a licence to eat more. Who knows?
That said, what of the results? For this, I consulted Elissa, our in-house scientific and technical advisor. Here’s what she had to say in her analysis of the study…
“On average, there really was zero weight loss – this is clear from the graphs on page 4. It’s just that the placebo group got a bit heavier over the 12 week period, so the LFO group looks rather better by comparison. The final data point was taken 4 weeks after the completion of the supplement regime, so the difference between the LFO and placebo groups at the end looks bigger than at the actual end of the supplementation period.
As you can see from the histograms on p.5, however, in real world terms, the results were all over the map. I’m no statistician, but it seems to me that the main reason the results are even statistically significant, is that there were 5 people in the LPO group (the y-axis represents the number of subjects) who lost 4 kg, and one who lost 5 (?) kg, vs. only one person in the placebo group with a loss of that magnitude – this is enough to skew the results to the left.
But that’s basically 6 out of 51 people in the LPO group who had very good results – roughly 12%. The majority in the LFO group (31) were between -1 and +1 kg (61%)… along with 35 in the placebo group (67%). So really, it appears like LFO might help a bit, but it doesn’t look like a miracle pill.”
Elissa then went on to echo what I said earlier; it would be nice to see a study performed with individuals assigned a daily caloric intake, to be able to more accurately assess the value of LFO supplementation.
As it stands however, I would respectfully suggest that calling Glabrinex a “remedy for pot bellied killer fat” is a bit of a stretch. Moderately helpful… yes, it appears to be. Miracle? Definitely not.
If anything, this initial human study and the preceding animal studies indicate a need for more in-depth structured studies to further investigate the possibilities of LFO on weight loss.
Should you experiment with Glabrinex? Only you can answer that. To provide some perspective, consider this; a bottle of Glabrinex costs $50. If you’re hoping to mirror the results of this study, you will need three bottles ($150). Should you be lucky enough to experience the most dramatic weight loss experienced by the mere 12% of study participants, you can look forward to losing 10-12 lbs. over that 3 month period.
Is that worth $150 to you? Especially when you consider the majority of study participants vacillated between losing and gaining a couple of pounds of weight?
A gym membership would be a much better investment, methinks.
|Summary of Glabrinex|