12 evidence-based ingredients to supercharge weight-loss supplements the right way

The secret to long-term weight management may be hidden in an area often overlooked: Body composition.

David J. Foreman, RPh, ND, Founder

June 24, 2024

3 Min Read

At a Glance

  • Ozempic weight loss also triggers significant muscle loss.
  • Body composition means body fat and muscle mass.
  • 12 evidence-based ingredients can supercharge supplements formulations.

[Editor's note: This evidence-based summary of a dozen innovative branded ingredients is part of the new Natural Products Insider digital magazine. It also includes 35 other ingredients that target various aspects of the weight management sector, as well as market intel and category insights. Download the free NPI weight management digital magazine here.]

In April 2023, Natural Products Insider published the digital magazine, “Weight game: Rethinking supplements,” covering many aspects of the weight management market. A lot has changed in just one year, with the hottest area in medicine being the use of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists to lose weight. 

Regretfully, the use of this category of medication triggers a significant loss in muscle mass (39-40% of weight loss was in lean mass). Even in calorie-restrictive diets, people will shed a significant portion of their lean mass (up to 35% in normal weight people and 30% in overweight or obese people). A loss of skeletal muscle mass reduces strength and lowers resting metabolic rate (sometimes called basal metabolic rate). BMR is the minimum number of calories the body needs to sustain life, and breaks down like this

• Basic life processes: ~70% of total energy (example: breathing, heart pump, body temperature and transmission of hormones in the body). 

Related:Weight management IRL – digital magazine

• Activity-induced energy: ~20% of energy expenditure. 

• Diet-related and food digestion: ~10% energy expenditure. 

While many people celebrate their weight management program by seeing the number on the scale decreasing, what is happening beneath the surface may not be as beneficial as they think. In short, loss of lean body mass will also lower BMR and lead to subsequent weight gain. The secret, then, to long-term weight management may be hidden in an area often overlooked: Body composition. 

Body composition measures two areas: body fat and fat-free mass (lean mass). Body fat can be broken down into essential and excess. Essential body fat is found in a person’s organs, muscles and brain, and helps protect and regulate important functions. Excess fat — often referred to as visceral fat — can collect around one’s digestive organs and heart, as well as increase the risk of serious health issues. Fat-free mass is everything else — muscles, organs, fluids, bones, etc. 

The elephant in the room 

To make measurable and sustainable progress with weight management goals, people need a frank discussion about what truly matters: Decreasing body fat while maintaining or increasing lean mass. For decades, the dietary supplement and functional food and beverages market has taken advantage of consumers with quick-fix ingredients that did little to improve their body composition. Now is the time to lean on new science and some fantastic scientifically substantiated ingredients for weight management that have a positive impact on body composition. Here's 12 to get you started:

Related:15 branded ingredients that drive effective weight loss supplements’ popularity

  • Chromium picolinate

  • Cissus quadrangularis

  • Citrus sinensis

  • Citrus polyphenols

  • Dichrostachys glomerate

  • Eriocitrin

  • Gynostemma pentaphyllum

  • Irvingia gabonensis

  • L. curvatus HY7601

  • Limosilactobacillus fermentus strains K7-Lb1, K8-Lb1, and K11-Lb3

  • Modified cellulose + Celadrin

  • Phenylcapsaisin

To learn all the juicy details about these dozen innovative ingredients — supplier names, branded ingredients, study citations — download the free Natural Products Insider digital magazine here.

Final thoughts

With a new awareness of the potential harm from weight management programs (e.g., excessive muscle loss), this is the perfect time for the dietary supplement and functional food and beverage industries to step up and offer safer solutions for the battle of the bulge. New studies should focus more on the impact on body composition and not just on overall body weight.  

This article did not have the space to include all the underlying mechanisms of action of the ingredients mentioned. Yet, it is important to stress that ingredients can be combined in many cases for a multipronged approach to healthier weight management products. Taking the extra time to dig further into these mechanisms of action will help you create a novel product with multiple benefits to the body. 

About the Author(s)

David J. Foreman, RPh, ND

Founder, The Herbal Pharmacist

David is a pharmacist, naturopath, author, speaker and media personality known internationally as, “The Herbal Pharmacist®”.  His background in pharmacy and natural medicine put Foreman in an elite class of health experts. Foreman is a graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy (87).  He currently consults for ingredient suppliers and sits on the editorial advisory board for Nutritional Outlook. 

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like