Green Coffee Bean Extract and Weight Loss

9 Jan 2013

Obesity is becoming the epidemic disease of the 21st century in the United States. Nearly two thirds of the adult population is now overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Likewise, the CDC reports that there has been a tripling of overweight youth in America from 5.5% to over 16% in the last several decades.

As the population gets larger, attempts are being made to find a fix. Numerous diets, fads, medications and surgeries have tried to address the burgeoning adipose problem over the same time period with varying degrees of success. An example of a weight loss drug gone badly was the fen-phen medication combination that was marketed in the 1990’s. These medications (a combination of fenfluramine/phentermine) were found to produce significant weight loss but they were also linked to heart valve disease and pulmonary hypertension that led to a number of deaths. The medication that was the culprit for these toxicities was fenfluramine and it was withdrawn from the market place in 1997.

I give you this background as it is always important to know that much research and time is needed before the safety, efficacy and long-term side effects are learned about a new therapy. Such is the case of an exciting new treatment for obesity published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy.2012; 5:21-27. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of green coffee bean extract. The authors of this paper (Vinson, Burnham and Nagendran) demonstrated that an extract from green coffee beans effectively led to a 4.4% reduction in body fat and an average loss of over 17 pounds over a 6 week treatment.

While this was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled and crossover designed study (the best kind to prove that the treatment is truly effective) only 16 adult subjects were evaluated. The long-term efficacy, toxicity, side effects and safety are not known at this time. As more data emerge about green coffee bean extract I will bring it to you. In the meantime, this exciting new therapy is not yet ready for prime time in weight loss management.