In your search for a natural weight loss remedy, you may have heard many good things about Moringa (or Moringa oleifera). This herbal plant isn’t just famous for its drumstick-like fruits (which is why it’s known as the drumstick tree). More significantly, Moringa is renowned for its medicinal and health properties, especially with regards to losing weight.
Ample anecdotal evidence stands by Moringa for helping countless individuals reach their ideal weight. Within the scientific literature, several studies examine the herb's potential as a weight-loss supplement.
Below, we share what science has to say about this impressive plant to help you decide whether you should add Moringa to your weight loss program or not.
Moringa: Diving Into Its Nutritional Profile
Moringa is a popular remedy for weight loss, thanks to its rich profile of micronutrients and bioactive constituents. In fact, this time-honored herb consists of:
- Vitamin A (25x more than carrots)
- Iron (3x more than spinach)
- Potassium (3x more than bananas)
- Vitamin C (7x more than oranges)
- Protein (2x more than yogurt)
- Calcium (4x more than milk)
On top of that, four bioactive compounds present in Moringa play vital roles in regulating your body weight:
- Quercetin, which is a flavonoid
- Chlorogenic acid, which is a phenolic acid
- Isothiocyanates, which are touted as the main anti-obesity bioactives of Moringa
- Benzylamine, which can be broken down into insulin-mimicking end-products
We’ll look at the weight-loss mechanisms of these compounds in greater detail later. What you need to know now is that every part of the Moringa plant contains all of these nutrients. That being said, Moringa leaves have the highest antioxidant activity compared to other plant parts, hence the popularity of Moringa leaf powder and pills.
How Does Moringa Powder Help You Lose Weight?
To understand how Moringa powder helps you lose weight to reach your fitness goals, let’s examine a few key terms:
- Lipogenesis: The process in which fats form in the body.
- Lipolysis: The process in which fats break down in the body.
- Adipogenesis: The process in which fat-laden cells (adipocytes) accumulate to create fat tissues.
- AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK): A compound that promotes insulin sensitivity and the breakdown of fats to regulate the body’s glucose and fatty acid levels.
Keeping these terms in mind, we will look at a 2018 study that details how Moringa leaf extract stops fat production in your body to promote weight loss. The herb is said to:
- Downplay the production of proteins needed for adipogenesis, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins α and β (C/EBPα and C/EBPβ), and fatty acid synthase.
- Boost the expression of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), which is an enzyme that breaks down fats.
- Enhance the protein levels of AMPK in fat-laden cells to stop adipogenesis.
The same study credits three bioactive compounds of Moringa (which we’ve previously mentioned) for its fat-diminishing properties:
- Quercetin significantly reduces the triglycerides concentration in fat-laden cells. It is primarily responsible for stopping adipogenesis.
- Chlorogenic acid lowers the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in obese and diabetic rats.
- Benzylamine dials down weight gain, fasting glucose levels, and cholesterol concentration. It also amplifies glucose tolerance.
As you can see, various mechanisms of action work together to position Moringa powder as a natural weight-loss remedy.
On top of that, a 2015 study explained that isothiocyanates stopped glucose creation in the liver, which lowers blood glucose levels and may indirectly help with weight loss. The study stated that Moringa “may be an effective dietary food for the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
Can Moringa Help You Lose Weight? Here’s What Science Has To Say
So far, Moringa seems to help you lose weight, at least in theory. And what about in daily life?
The most significant clinical study on the subject involves 50 overweight individuals who were divided into two groups:
- Placebo group: No supplementation.
- Supplementation group: A daily dose of 900 milligrams of an herbal supplement consisting of Moringa, curry leaves, and turmeric.
Both groups were also assigned a 2000-calorie diet and 30 minutes of physical activity for five days a week over a span of eight weeks.
The results were in favor of the herbal supplement:
Changes in health parameters
(or 10.6 pounds)
Blood glucose levels
Triglycerides (fats) levels
As you can see, the blend of Moringa, curry leaves, and turmeric favorably influenced participants' body weight compared to those in the placebo group. While the above study shows promising results for Moringa as a weight loss supplement, more research needs to focus on the sole efficacy of the herb.
Meanwhile, a recent study performed on rat models confirmed the anti-obesity effect of Moringa seed oil. Rats fed a high-fat diet for 20 weeks rapidly gained weight and fat mass. They were then given 800 milligrams of Moringa seed oil per one kilogram of body weight for eight weeks.
The study discovered that Moringa supplementation promoted antioxidant enzymes within the rats’ bodies, reducing insulin-inhibiting oxidative stress. This mechanism of action is primarily due to the herb’s naturally rich antioxidant complex.
In fact, the study notes that the antioxidant combo in Moringa has “more efficacy than a single antioxidant” due to “their synergistic mechanisms.” Besides that, the phytochemicals present in Moringa (i.e., flavonoids and saponins) “significantly reduce and delay cholesterol absorption” to regulate the body’s lipid levels.
In essence, there are limited human studies on the effectiveness of Moringa powder for weight loss. Research on the actual topic is currently based on animal models, indicating a need for future research involving human clinical trials.
Where Can You Find Moringa Powder for Weight Loss?
You may be thinking of giving Moringa powder for weight loss a try. If so, where can you purchase it and what should you look for when buying Moringa?
You can try nearby farmers’ markets and grocery stores for fresh Moringa leaves. Chop them into smaller pieces before using a food blender or processor to grind them into a fine powder.
But if that is too time-consuming for you, choose ready-to-eat Moringa powder, such as Zen Principle Organic Moringa Leaf Powder. Because we sun and shade-dried sustainably-grown Moringa leaves, rest assured that it retains the key nutrients present in fresh herbs.
How To Consume Moringa Powder for Weight Loss
Before using Moringa powder for weight loss, always consult your primary doctor whether you are suitable for it. Do note that this herbal supplement has mild laxative effects. Start with half a teaspoon and see how your body reacts before gradually increasing the dosage.
Regarding the maximum dosage of Moringa powder for weight loss, a 2015 medical review in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research highlights that up to 50 grams of Moringa can be consumed in a single dose. Research also shows that supplementing with eight milligrams of Moringa per day for 40 days had no adverse effects.
In powder form, Moringa goes well with almost everything. You can add it to your favorite beverages, soups, dishes, and even baked goods. To give you some food for thought, hop over to our guide on “How to use Moringa powder” for some delicious recipes to incorporate into your weight loss diet.