Gencor, a source of botanical ingredients that strive to meet our changing health needs, provides the story, the science and the success behind its long-standing natural weight loss and weight management solution, Slimaluma—and explores how Covid-19 brings heightened interest to its stress and anxiety-reducing properties.
Healthcare focuses on lifestyle management
Launched in 1999, Gencor started life as a pharmaceutical company, supplying active pharmaceutical ingredients and regulatory services. After seeing the popularity of nutraceuticals among consumers in Asia-Pacific (APAC), Organic Chemist and Co-Founder, Ramasamy (Venkat) Varadarajan Venkatesh, saw a strong opportunity to bring the company’s experience of providing strictly monitored and controlled claims, approvals and validations to nutrition.
Understanding the importance of regulatory compliance in nutraceuticals and the consumer appetite for nutritional benefits, Gencor saw how consumers found solutions centring on helping them make lifestyle changes highly sought after, particularly those relating to weight loss and weight management.
Influences shaping weight loss and weight management interest
“APAC is the most influential market in the world regarding weight loss and weight management because they are sensitive to increases in fat and weight, are conscious of what they eat and are eager to control portion sizes as they typically eat multiple, small meals a day,” says Ramasamy (Venkat) Varadarajan Venkatesh, Organic Chemistand Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gencor Group, who began his career in research and development (R&D), quality control and manufacturing.
As a result, APAC consumers seek nutritional solutions that can help to reduce abdominal adiposity and control hunger.
“We realised we need a gentler approach to nutrition, with the right diet and exercise but also with the right supplementation, because our modern-day diets do not give us all the nutrients we require to maintain essential bodily functioning in the most optimal way,” explains Venkatesh.
APAC consumers seek health benefits from their nutritional extracts
Today, consumers want to achieve a healthy weight across their lifespans. Nutrition is paramount. Synonymous with taking care of their health, APAC consumers, in particular, turn to products and ingredients to provide essential nutrients and benefits for their bodies and overall functioning.
Entering the market in 2004 and experiencing tremendous success throughout APAC and the wider globe, Gencor’s Caralluma Fimbriata-based extract is now receiving increased attention. As we continue to live with Covid-19, experiencing lockdowns and working from home, consumers' weight concerns are growing, particularly as snacking is at an all-time high.
Limited opportunities to exercise with reduced access to gyms and group sports compared to the freedom we enjoyed pre-pandemic has led to weight gain for many. Even when we can visit indoor sports venues, many consumers are concerned about their safety and hygiene, worrying about the impact of cross-contamination on our health. Also, in APAC, in particular, house sizes are small, and not everybody can afford a home gym.
Weight gain is, therefore, a prominent concern. Many consumers are looking for support to maintain and manage their weight with the aid of nutritional supplements and extracts. Increasingly, we are seeking solutions to help control our eating, body fat levels, and overall weight.
The Slimaluma extract: From conceptualisation to commercialisation
Gencor began exploring the world's ingredients to find those that would meet APAC consumers' calls for a natural nutritional extract that could support their weight loss goals and weight management aims, along with offering added benefits—all backed up by science through extensive research, safety tests and clinical studies.
- Finding the ingredient
The team's search led them to discover Caralluma Fimbriata, a cactus-like plant, which is a time-honoured staple in Indian food. The plant was often eaten by local tribes-people to thwart hunger during long foraging trips in the forests. Caralluma Fimbriata became known for its appetite suppressing qualities and endurance-enhancing properties then, and today makes an ideal addition to modern diets.
Gencor has conducted nutritional analysis on the Caralluma Fimbriata extract (CFE), identifying not only how its consumption reduces overall eating but also how it provides the body with essential nutrients. Today, the plant itself is often used in meal replacement powders to support weight management. After examining the ingredient, Gencor saw its significant potential and undertook further research to transform it into a sought-after nutritional solution, known today as Slimaluma.
We found that if you dry out 100 grammes of the raw herb, it will give you 12 grammes of the dried herb, because the rest, 88%, is water. We then made an extract from the dry leaf. The dosage is one gramme a day of the Caralluma Fimbriata herb, which is equal to consuming 100 grammes of the raw herb a day.
From paper to production to people
From start to finish, the entire process involved:
- Developing an extraction process
- Validating the extraction process
- Securing good manufacturing practices (GMPs)
- Filing for regulatory approval
- Conducting clinical studies
- Carrying out the toxicity studies and publishing the results
- Completing all safety tests
- Obtaining graphs
- Getting the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval from the Australian Government's Department of Health
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
In developing Slimaluma, a proprietary extract, Gencor has established a patented process for extracting the key constituents of the Caralluma Fimbriata plant without chemically altering those constituents. By creating and utilising this process, Gencor can develop an effective, safe, and easy-to-use ingredient that helps adults of all ages maintain a healthy weight with diet and exercise. The safety of Slimaluma has been tested in six separate toxicity trials, all of which affirmed the extract as safe.
Following additional clinical studies, Slimaluma has also now been shown to support a reduction in stress and anxiety levels.
When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Slimaluma helps consumers weight loss and weight management goals by promoting appetite suppression, increasing feelings of satiety, supporting a reduction in waist circumference, reducing and relieving everyday stress and anxiety, supporting relaxation, and supporting/promoting a healthy adrenal response in men.
Available as a 90% water-soluble free-flowing powder, Slimaluma, a certified Kosher and Halal extract, provides heat, acidic and alkaline stability, and is widely used in beverages, smoothies, capsules, tablets, meal replacements and chocolates.
Slimaluma is an award-winning extract, most recently taking home the accolade of winning the Nutraingredients USA Award in Weight Management Category in 2021, after being a finalist in the category in both 2019 and 2020. In 2018, Gencor's Slimaluma also won the Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation of the Year in the Global Appetite Suppressants and Satiety Ingredients category.
Clinically proven for weight management
A number of human clinical studies detail the relationship between the Slimaluma extract and its ability to help people with weight loss and weight management, indicating how it can help to suppress appetite and support adults maintain a consistent caloric intake. Here, Organic Chemist, Co-Founder and MD of Gencor, Venkatesh, explores several of these leading clinical studies:
- Measuring the CFE’s effect on overweight adult subjects
An eight-week double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted using Slimaluma on 50 overweight adult subjects. The clinical trial was held at the Division of Nutrition, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, India. Participants were placed into a placebo or experimental group, with those in the latter group receiving a 1g of CFE per day for 60 days.
Key insight: When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, the study showed statistically significant results for the impact the CFE had on reducing waist circumference, which was reflective of intra abdominal fat, and for appetite suppression, which led to healthier food choices and on reducing caloric consumption per day.
- Analysing the extract's effect on overweight and obese adult participants
A 12-week randomised, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 33 obese and overweight patients aged 29-59 years of age. The clinical trial took place at Victoria University, Nutritional Therapy Clinic, Melbourne, Australia. After being randomly placed into two groups, one group was orally administered CFE, and the other was given a placebo as 500 mg capsules twice daily, totalling 1g per day. Dietary intake and exercise were also monitored weekly throughout the study.
The study measured the effect of Slimaluma on participant's waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, among other factors.
Key insight: When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, the study showed statistically significant results for waist circumference, which was positively correlated with a reduction in abdominal fat; waist-to-hip ratio decline; and a substantial decline in palatability of test meals and reduced sodium intake.
- Understanding the extract's effect on biomarkers of satiety and body composition markers in overweight adults
The double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled interventional study explored the effect of orally-dosed herbal extract, Slimaluma capsules, on appetite and body composition in overweight men and women aged between 20 and 50 years. The study's objective was to examine the effect of the CFE on biomarkers of satiety and body composition markers in overweight adults.
Following the analysis, the results showed:
- Slimaluma significantly reduced calorie consumption compared to the placebo.
- Slimaluma significantly reduced waist circumference compared to the placebo.
- Slimaluma prevented weight gain.
- The BMI of the Slimaluma group remained stable, and the placebo group went up.
- The fat mass of the Slimaluma group remained stable, whereas it increased for the placebo group.
- The android fat mass of the Slimaluma group remained stable, whereas it rose for the placebo group.
Key insight: The Slimaluma solution lowered calorie intake while maintaining satiety, reducing waist and hip circumference compared to a placebo over 16 weeks. The extract also helped prevent increases in body weight during the study.
The scientific connection between mood and appetite
Stress and anxiety have led to a long-term synonymity with comfort eating and binge eating. The prevalence of cravings, perceived hunger and eating to soothe emotions have been the source of heightened awareness and conversation amid the pandemic.
Understanding the relationship between mood and appetite has been a long-standing aim of Gencor, who never forgot that their initial research and discussions with communities in India detailed the calming effects they reported the CFE produced after consumption.
Through existing research, we know that serotonin is the main hormone that modulates our moods and reward system along with our memory and learning—and it also plays a vitally valuable role in controlling our appetite. Together, the serotonin absorption system, leptin production and fat storage systems play a crucial part in weight loss and management.
We explore some of the clinical research studies examining the connection between mood and appetite via serotonin receptors and how the CFE can support a healthy body and mind by lowering stress and anxiety.
- Reducing anxiety and stress in healthy adults
An eight-week double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted using Slimaluma on 97 patients, whereby 49 were placed in the active group and 48 were in the placebo group. The clinical trial, held at the University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, investigated the efficacious effect of the CFE on reducing anxiety and stress levels.
The study demonstrated statistically significant results in the active group when compared to the placebo for:
- Reduction of stress, frustration and anxiety
- Increase in the positive experience of emotions (it helps with relaxation)
- Supporting healthy cortisol levels for men
- Promoting a healthy adrenal response in men
- Appetite and mood connection in Prader-Willi Syndrome
In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomised crossover study, researchers sought to determine if the natural supplementation of CFE into the study’s participants could lessen hyperphagia (excessive or extreme hunger) or the associated appetite behaviours in children and adolescents with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), during a 4-week trial period.
The researchers found that the utilisation of CFE significantly eased hyperphagia, with these decreases shown in a third of the study's participants. The CFE supplementation also led to a considerable reduction in the category of behaviour and in hyperphagia overall.
- Increase in leptin levels
An in-vivo food intake study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, showed a statistically significant decrease in food intake and associated increases in leptin levels in test animals when treated with the CFE.
After conducting this study, the results showed that the CFE led to a significant reduction in fat, body weight, and leptin levels, the hormone that controls hunger. Leptin, which is secreted from fat cells and helps regulate weight, must be optimal to function correctly. Research also reveals that obese people can experience resistance to leptin. Therefore, the correct signals are not being sent to the brain and so our ability to gauge our actual hunger accurately is not possible.
As leptin is mainly produced in the white fat cells in the stomach, reducing the abdominal adiposity (severe or morbid overweight or obesity) can also control the leptin production and help to correct the hunger signals sent to the brain.
Future opportunities for Slimaluma extract application
Gencor will further its research into the scientific properties of Slimaluma and the impact the CFE-based supplement has on supporting weight loss and weight management as well as reducing anxiety and stress by seeking to deepen its understanding of the relationship between mood and appetite.
“What is important in today's world is to maintain what is optimal for our bodies, and Slimaluma does this by optimising your own body's utilisation of fat, leptin, hunger and mood resources,” emphasises Venkatesh.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach for each person, Slimaluma acts to optimise its impact based on the consumer’s individual needs.
“It is not a magic pill,” confirms Venkatesh. “Instead, it helps you to modify your eating and to maintain an ideal weight circumference, abdominal adiposity and fat, as well as helping you to control your anxiety and feel calmer,” relays Venkatesh.
Gencor hopes Slimaluma will soon be seen as the multivitamin of weight and mood management. An everyday supplement that consumers take to maintain ideal mental and physical health.
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