What you need to know about weight-loss pill CaloCurb01/01/2023
Your New Year’s weight-loss resolution in a PILL: Researchers invent ‘side-effect-free’ drug that causes people to lose up to 90LBS
- The weight loss supplement CaloCurb has helped users shed up to 93 pounds
- It costs just 66 cents per capsule and is available on websites like Amazon
- Some doctors doubt its effectiveness as it is not an FDA-approved drug
It’s that time of year again when millions of Americans promise themselves they will lose weight as a New Year’s Resolution — though most never see it through.
But scientists in New Zealand claim they have created a pill that can shed up to a quarter of a person’s body weight and costs just 66c a pop.
DailyMail.com has spoken to two patients who used the drug — known as CaloCurb — and lost up to 100lbs, with one going on to become a triathlon competitor.
It contains just one active ingredient: amarasate — a bitter plant extract that tells the stomach and brain to stop eating, causing people to consume fewer calories.
The New Zealand government has backed the drug, and scientists from tax-payer-funded health agencies are singing its praises as a critical weight loss tool.
Heino Jansen, 40, a finance worker from New Plymouth, New Zealand, was pre-diabetic and weighed 376 pounds.
He said that he couldn’t stop eating, and doctors warned him he would develop life-threatening health conditions if he did not change his behavior.
Mr Jansen told DailyMail.com he lost 93 pounds over the three years he has used the supplement. He now even competes in triathlons and long-distance bike races.
Heino Jansen, 40, weighed 357 pounds when he started using CaloCurb three years ago. The man has dropped 93 pounds using the supplement, and now competes in long distance bike races and triathlons
Liz Wotherspoon, 61, a New Jersey native living in Auckland, New Zealand, said she picked up CaloCurb two years ago after hearing about it from a friend.
She has also seen significant weight loss, dropping from 187 pounds to 134 while using the pill. Ms Wotherspoon said she has finally reached her target weight goal.
Fat-melting drugs Wegovy and Ozempic have become popular among celebs and regular people alike, but popularity has led to nationwide shortages.
They also come with side-effects like nausea, diarrhea and headaches – turning some off from the drugs only a few weeks in.
Then developers of CaloCurb say their pill works in a similar way — and they claim it doesn’t have the same similar side effects.
It is available at online retailers Amazon, priced at $60 for 90 125mg pills.
A standard dose is two tablets per day and a bottle should last around a month-and-a-half.
It claims to be an all-natural supplement that has appetite suppressing properties which can lead to long-term weight loss.
But not all doctors are convinced.
Weight-loss experts that spoke to DailyMail.com said the initial trial for the supplement was small and did not gauge long-term weight loss.
Because the drug is a supplement, it also did not go through the rigorous regulatory approval process that competitors like Wegovy and Ozempic go through.
A 60-pill bottle of CaloCurb costs $60. It is recommended for a person to use two supplements each day, but some choose to use more (file photo)
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Wegovy has taken the world by storm since it first arrived on the market last year.
Amarasate was discovered by Dr Edward Walker, chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, who used it as the central piece for the supplement.
Dr Walker told DailyMail.com his team came across the compound when searching for novel weight-loss cures in 2010.
They found in trials of mice that the bitter taste of the extract could signal the brain to stop eating and help suppress appetite.
He explained that the body’s evolutionary response to bitter foods helps suppress its appetite.
‘If you have something very bitter, and you put it on your tongue. You want to split that out, right?’ he told this website.
‘If you get something very bitter, and you put that down past your stomach into your top of your small intestine [you won’t want to eat anymore].’
This amarasate extract has been packed into a plain-flavored pill that dissolves as it is ingested in the body.
It is released when it reaches the top of the small intestine. Taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract release gut hormones that tell the body to stop eating.
This is a natural response built into the body after millennia of evolution to prevent the body from eating harmful bacteria.
Dr Walker said that using bitterness as an appetite suppressant has been used worldwide for centuries. When famine would strike during medieval times, many would consume bitter plants to reduce how much they ate, for example.
Dr Edward Walker (pictured), chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, discovered amarasate while working to find a new effective weight loss supplement
A Korean study, published in 2014, found that bitter compounds similar to amarasate activated taste receptors that increased GLP-1 secretion – making someone more full.
An Italian study published in 2015 of 20 participants found that those who consumed a bitter compound before eating needed 514 fewer calories to feel full than those who took a placebo – around the same amount as a McDonald’s Big Mac.
A 2019 Australian study of 27 men found that those who consumed bitters before eating a buffet ate less, and displayed higher levels of GLP-1 secretion.
This effect translates into eating less, according to a Belgian study published in 2017.
The researchers found that people who secreted higher levels of these hormones felt fuller after eating a 500-calorie meal, and remained full for longer.
The developers of CaloCurb trialed the supplement on 20 men of healthy weight in 2018, aiming for the same results.
In a blinded trial, which means the researchers did not know which members had received the supplement and which just a placebo.
Researchers gave men who had fasted all night either an amarasate capsule or a placebo 3.5 hours before a meal.
Liz Wotherspoon, 61, lost 44 pounds using the supplement in recent years. She says CaloCurb had changed her life and boosted her confidence
They found that participants who took the amarasate supplement consumed 18 percent fewer calories than the others.
Combined with a proper exercise plan and a person could see drastic results, Dr Walker hopes.
Mr Jansen told DailyMail.com that the supplement helped him achieve life-changing results.
He weighed up 375lbs at his peak, and after two years on CaloCurb has gotten his weight down to 282lbs – a loss of 93lbs.
The native-South African said that he lost control of his weight in his 20s, when he started to value his career over his health.
While he used to regularly cycle, it became harder to exercise each day as he gained weight – snowballing his issues.
‘When you become overweight and obese, you become less and less active and can’t enjoy life with your kids,’ he said.
‘You can’t enjoy life. You can’t be active. And everything takes effort.’
He eventually developed high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. Doctors warned him he needed a change.
Mr Jansen said he considered getting bariatric surgery – which involves shrinking a person’s stomach or intestines to slow their eating and make them feel full longer.
The procedure can cost the equivalent of $20,000 USD in New Zealand. It is not always funded by government-run healthcare either.
He said he tried ‘hundreds’ of options, including competing supplements, fad diets and exercise regimens.
The supplement is to be taken twice a day, though some users choose to take more depending on their personal goals and needs
‘I tell you, I’ve literally tried everything. And during the time, obviously, as I picked up weight, I became less and less active,’ he explained.
Then he stumbled upon CaloCurb. ‘I have literally never looked back,’ Mr Jansen said.
He takes at least four pills each day, sometimes six, when he works out especially hard and has a bigger appetite. The father-of-two credits his entire weight loss journey to the supplement.
While Mr Jansen continues to work to stay in shape and lose even more weight, he is now doing things he never thought possible.
Earlier this month, he completed a 100km Ironman 70.3 triathlon. He also completed a 200km charity bicycle race over the summer.
He hopes to compete in even more athletic competitions in the future, a feat that did not seem possible only years ago.
‘It feels a bit surreal,’ Mr Jansen said.
‘When I look at [old] pictures of myself, I see that I’m this massive guy and people must be thinking how is he doing it? Im humbled.’
He went on to say: ‘There’s absolutely, there’s no doubt [CaloCurb changed my life]… I definitely changed it for the better.’
Ms Wotherspoon also says the supplement has changed her life.
She has used the pills for three years and dropped from 187lbs to 134lbs in the process.
While she was never obese, she has dropped from overweight to healthy.
‘Its been absolutely incredible,’ Wotherspoon told DailyMail.com.
Weight loss has long been a goal of hers. She tried the paleo diet – where a person removes processed foods and some dairy products from their eating – but did not lose any weight.
She did not want to try other supplements, not trusting the ‘unnatural’ ingredients.
‘I certainly would never put, as I say, some of the stuff in that’s out there that’s not healthy into my system in order to be thinner,’ she said.
CaloCurb, an all-natural, vegan-friendly supplement, caught her attention, though.
She now takes three pills daily – two in the morning and another around lunch time.
Ms Wotherspoon has achieved her weight loss goals, but plans to continue using the supplement indefinitely as she feels significant cravings return when she gets off the pills.
Reactions from her friends and family to her new figure have also boosted her self-confidence.
‘When you lose [the weight], and people say, “oh, my gosh! You look amazing! How much weight have you lost?” It’s really reinforcing,’ she explained.
‘And you know I saw somebody the other day who hadn’t seen since Lockdown, and that’s you know. They’re like, Whoa. That’s kind of nice.’
Dr Christopher McGowan (left), a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, warned that there is little science to back-up CaloCurb’s weight loss claims. Dr Shauna Levy (right), an assistant professor of bariatric surgery at Tulane, said she would not recommend the supplement, but understands why some would use it
Despite these anecdotal successes of the supplement, weight-loss experts are not convinced.
While it has shown it can reduce a person’s in small studies appetite, there are no long-term studies looking specifically at weightloss.
There also has not been any long-term studies proving the supplement’s effectiveness as a weight loss tool.
Because CaloCurb is a supplement rather than a medication, it does not need FDA approval to be sold on the US market.
This means the drug does contain any controlled substances, and does not require a prescription to access either.
It also means the pills did not go through the rigorous clinical trial process that regulators in the US and worldwide require for drugs.
Multiple trials that prove safety and effectiveness are required for leading weight loss supplements that a doctor would prescribe.
Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of leading weight loss drugs Wegovy and Saxenda, had to prove its drugs could help a person shed pounds over multiple years to receive approval, for example.
Dr Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, expressed doubts about CaloCurb’s effectiveness to DailyMail.com.
‘Just looking at the claims related to this product. This is being promoted as a weight loss product, it’s being promoted as an appetite suppressant. And then you need to look at what the actual scientific evidence is. I think there’s a mismatch.’
He warned that the 2018 study was small, with only 20 participants, all of the subjects were of average weight and it only applied to one meal.
Also, while participants ate less, they did not report having a lower appetite.
Because the study was so small and limited, he says it is hard to extrapolate it across an extended period.
Dr Shauna Levy, an assistant professor of bariatric surgery from New Orleans’ Tulane University, agreed.
While she says she has no problem with a person using these supplements, Dr Levy says there is not enough proof they work for her to recommend them to a patient.
She does understand why a person would turn to CaloCurb when drugs like Wegovy are facing a shortage, and the injections can cost over $1,000 each month.
‘People are desperate for treatment for this disease, and many people’s insurance doesn’t provide access to obesity coverage and care. So people do end up turning to lesser effective treatments,’ he said.
‘I think, if everyone had access to proven weight loss medication, they might not turn to those other options. But sometimes there’s nowhere else to go.’
Dr Walker said that the proof experts like Dr McGowan and Dr Levy need to recommend CaloCurb could come, though.
He says the New Zealand-backed agency is hoping to launch a long-term trial that will prove the supplement’s weight loss credentials in the near future.
It may be years until the final results come in, though.
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