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Mulberry Leaf and Weight Management: What Does the Research Say?

Managing our body weight is something that many of us struggle with. Over 73% of the population in the United States is overweight or obese. Trying to keep our weight in a healthy range is definitely something many of us struggle with.

While a healthy diet and regular exercise will always be the best way to manage your weight, there are other vitamins, minerals, and supplements that can help. Mulberry leaf, an extract of the leaves of the mulberry tree, may be one of those helpful additions to your weight management plan. Let’s take a look at what the research says about mulberry leaf and weight management.

Mulberry Leaf and Weight Management

The mulberry tree is native to Asia, but is now found in many different areas of the world. It’s sweet berries are loaded with multiple nutrients and antioxidants, but the leaves have their own power as well. (You can read more about the general health benefits here.)

One of these potential benefits is helping with weight loss. Although research is still preliminary in our understanding of mulberry for weight management, there are a few different ways that mulberry might be a good addition to any well-balanced weight loss plan.

A 2014 study gave 46 overweight participants 2400 mg of white Japanese mulberry extract or a placebo for 90 days. Subjects were all provided an identical 1300 calorie diet, which would result in weight loss for most individuals.

After 90 days, subjects in the mulberry group lost about 13 pounds more than those who received the placebo. Additionally, their plasma insulin and glucose levels were significantly lower. This decline in blood sugar levels and insulin was not seen in the subjects who received the placebo.

Although this study was small, there are many reasons to further investigate mulberry as a potential weight loss aid. Here are a few of the compounds found in mulberry leaf that may help increase weight loss:

Rutin

A 2016 study evaluated the effect of a compound called rutin, found in mulberry, on weight loss. Researchers added rutin to the water of two groups of mice. One group of mice was genetically obese, the other was obese due to diet.

The rutin activated brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat in both groups of mice. Activated brown fat helps increase calorie burn and regulate glucose balance, which leads to weight loss.

Normally, brown fat is activated by exposure to cold. But most people don’t want to sit outside in the cold to burn a few extra calories. Rutin may be a better, and less chilly, solution.

1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ)

DNJ is a moranoline, or a compound that helps suppress the rise of blood sugar that occurs after meals. It may help you absorb fewer carbohydrates after your meals, which means that you also absorb fewer calories and you experience less of a rise in blood sugar.

A 2017 study found that DNJ supplementation was able to reduce appetite in mice by helping them control their feeding behavior and stress levels.

Another study found that DNJ helped decrease visceral fat and the size of fat cells in obese mice. It also decreased fat accumulation in the liver. Researchers believe that DNJ is able to improve fat metabolism in these ways by increasing levels of adiponectin, a hormone involved in fat breakdown.

There have not been any studies directly evaluating the impact of DNJ for weight loss in humans. A 2010 study found that supplementation with DNJ-rich mulberry extract helped reduce insulin, blood sugar, and leptin. This could, in turn, lead to weight loss over time. Subjects in this study did lose 2 kg during the 12 week study period, but this was not considered statistically significant.

The studies on rutin and DNJ where in mice therefore more research is needed to determine their weight loss effects in humans.

Weight Management, Blood Sugar, and Mulberry

One of the primary benefits of mulberry is the impact it has on blood glucose. Normalizing blood sugar can help reduce body weight.

When our blood sugar is constantly high, this also means insulin is high. Insulin is a hormone that signals to the body’s cells that food (sugar) is available. It encourages our body to store calories.

If insulin is always around, this means the body is always in “storage” mode. It will just continue to store more and more calories, first in the form of carbohydrates, then as fat. The only way to bring insulin down is to bring blood sugar down. Mulberry leaf can help.

A 2017 study gave healthy participants a large dose of starch, which would normally increase blood sugar significantly. Subjects were then given either 125 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg mulberry leaf extract or a placebo.

Blood sugar decreased in all of the mulberry groups compared to a placebo. Those who received a double dose experienced a 22% reduction, followed by 16% for the normal dose, and 6% for the half dose.

Insulin also decreased by 24.7%, 23.8%, and 9.7% for the double, normal, and half dose groups, respectively.

Although this particular study did not evaluate weight loss, helping normalize blood sugar and insulin levels may help the body reach a healthier weight by allowing it to burn excess calories and not remain in storage mode.

How to Take Mulberry Leaf for Weight Management

The research on mulberry for weight loss remains preliminary with only a few small studies or animal studies pointing to potential benefits. Optimal dosage has not been determined.

But it might be a safe addition to a healthy weight loss plan, particularly for those who struggle with blood sugar. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor before adding mulberry to your program. It can lower blood sugar and may require adjustments to medication.

Don’t look for a weight loss miracle, the tried and true principles still stand. A diet full of organic fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats is the best way to improve your health and your weight. Regular exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, is essential as well.

If you want to try mulberry leaf for weight loss/management, our GreenSilk Formula #1 contains a proprietary formula with 3% mulberry extract to help you on your journey towards better health.

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