The Newest “Magic Bullet”?

I’m sure many of us have heard the radio ads by now: they repeat the product name Banital® and “Ultimate Weight Loss Solution” about a thousand times with no indication to what Banital® actually is. But is it “clinically proven effective” to aid weight loss. Hmmmm…

So what exactly is Banital®? Basically, it’s a cocktail of anything and everything that has ever been implicating in increasing metabolism or facilitating weight loss in four distinct “quad action” components. All yours for about $5 per day (60 tablets per bottle at 4 tablets per day).

No Baloney’s advice? Save your money. Though some of the compounds show some *promising* research, they are by no means proven effective. As for the other ingredients, there is little to no research to substantiate claims.

Let’s run through the list of ingredients, purported action and the actual research behind the “clinically proven” effectiveness:

Banital Carb Blend

1. Banaba leaf extract

  • Purported action: “normalize carb induced blood glucose spikes”
  • Research: used in traditional medicine in the Philippines, the little research that has been done is limited to in vitro and in vivo studies (and generally diabetic-induced mice).

2. Phaseolamin (phaseolus vulgaris)

  • Purported action: “block the conversion of dietary starch into glucose and thus prevents complex carbs from being digested” (what?!?)
  • Research: based on research of a proprietary blend, inhibits alpha-amylase activity and may slow carbohydrate digestion. Most certainly does not prevent carbs from being digested.

3. Wheat amylase inhibitor

  • Purported action: “same manner as Phaseolamin”
  • Research: very little relevant or recent research has been conducted – in vitro work shows that alpha-amylase secretion is inhibited, but no studies looking at in vivo effects on glycemic control or weight loss.

Banital Energy Blend

4. Green tea leaf extract (45 mg EGCG-Contains Caffeine)

  • Purported action: “helps the body use stored fatty acids for conversion to energy, the caffeine helps to boost the body’s metabolism
  • Research: some promising findings in a recent meta-analysis, but only small positive effect observed and nothing definitive.

5. Peppermint leaf

  • Purported action: “shown in some studies to boost energy levels and reduce sleepiness”
  • Research: absolutely zero studies looking at peppermint leaf and weight loss, fatigue, drowsiness or energy levels.

6. Cinnamon bark

  • Purported action: “mild stimulant, helps normalize blood sugar spikes and prevent “crashes” in energy due to these spikes”.
  • Research: equivocal, but promising, research looking at improved glycemic control among those with type 2 diabetes. Research limited to pre-diabetes and those with diabetes diagnosis.

7. Lemon verbena herb

  • Purported action: “digestive aid”
  • Research: rich in antioxidants but zero studies looking at lemon verbena and improved digestion.

8. Chamomile flower

  • Purported action: “digestive aid”
  • Research: several studies of chamomile and sleep, but zero studies looking at chamomile and improved digestion.

9. Ginger root

  • Purported action: “metabolism booster/thermogenic, helps normalize blood sugar spikes:
  • Research: proven anti-nausea benefit, though no definitive evidence of improved glycemic control. Limited to in vitro and in vivo work. No studies have looked at increased metabolism, but rather Metabolic Syndrome.

10. Licorice root

11. Tangerine peel

  • Purported action: “promotes circulation, thought to boost metabolism in [TCM]”
  • Research: rich in the antioxidant cryptoxanthin, zero studies have investigated tangerine peel or its components on circulation or metabolism.

12. Chicory root

  • Purported action: “promotes overall energy and metabolism boost”
  • Research: a great source of prebiotic fibre, there are zero studies looking at chicory root, fatigue/energy or metabolism.

Banital Appetite Blend

13. Gymnema sylvestre leaf

  • Purported action: “helps block taste for sweets, and helps normalize blood glucose”
  • Research: a known antimalarial, there have been a few in vivo studies and only a small number of (woefully outdated) nonrandomized, open-label trials in humans to suggest to gymnema may help stimulate β-cell growth (insulin producing cells in the pancreas) and insulin secretion; however, a systematic review concluded that more research is needed before claims can be made.

14. Fenugreek seed

  • Purported action: “helps normalize blood sugar to control cravings and hunger, reduces body fat production”
  • Research: dietary fibre has been implicated as the component of fenugreek responsible for promising research regarding reduced cholesterol levels and improved glycemic control, although human trials have been limited to nonrandomized, open-label with small sample sizes.

15. Aloe vera leaf

  • Purported action: “helps normalize blood sugar”
  • Research: though limited to mouse and rat models, the impact of aloe vera on wound healing in those with diabetes is promising. There is a paucity of literature regarding the effect of aloe vera on actual glycemic control in humans.

16. Bitter melon fruit

  • Purported action: “helps normalize blood sugar”
  • Research: less effective than metformin in a recent glycemic control study, bitter melon has showed some interesting insulin signaling and anti-adipogenic results in animal models. Palatability is apparently a problem, particularly at the high doses required.

17. Citrus aurantium extract (6% synephrine)

  • Purported action: “boosts metabolism, thermogenic”
  • Research: structurally similar to ephedrine (remember Ephedra?!?), synephrine is thought to be safe, though efficacy as a weight loss agent is equivocal at best.

18. Lycium berry (Goji berry)

  • Purported action: “overall tonic and digestive aid”
  • Research: potent antioxidant-rich proteoglycans in Goji have been linked to everything from cancer to diabetes to sexual function. The jury is still out… and there are serious potential side effects if you take warfarin.

Banital Blocker Blend

19. Chitosan (marine fiber)

  • Purported action: “non-digestible fiber from sea animals, helps to block fats from being absorbed by trapping them and blocking access to the intestinal walls”
  • Research: shown to reduce cholesterol and obesity in rats fed high-fat diets in several studies, chitosan supplementation has shown a clinically insignificant fat absorption-blocking effect in humans.

20. Psyllium husk

  • Purported action: “bulking agent, promotes bowel regularity, blocks access to intestinal walls and traps nutrients, helps normalize blood glucose”
  • Research: of unquestionable effectiveness in promoting bowel health and reducing constipation, the dose provided in Banital is not divulged so unable to comment whether dose would actually be effective.

21. Glucomannan (insoluble vegetable fibres)

  • Purported action: “helps trap fats and blocking absorption via the intestinal walls, slows carbohydrate digestion and helps normalize blood sugar”
  • Research: glucomannan does show promise as a weight loss aid in humans, though supplementation is particularly effective in the presence of increased physical activity. As for the purported mechanisms above, research suggests improved satiety in addition to marginally increased fecal fat excretion may explain weight loss effects.

For more information about herbs and botanicals, visit the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre database.


2 thoughts on “The Newest “Magic Bullet”?

  1. Pingback: TGIF | No Baloney

  2. Pingback: Raspberry Ketone Supplements – Dr. Oz Strikes Again! | No Baloney

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