Does The Green Coffee Bean Extract Work?

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in current health articles, Healthy Living, Supplements and Health

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

 does green coffee bean extract work

Does the green coffee bean extract work? The claims sounded so appealing. You could just take this green coffee bean extract and the pounds would melt away. You didn’t need to exercise or change your diet.

Your first reaction when you heard those claims was probably “Right, when pigs fly. I’ve heard this kind of stuff before. It’s just too good to be true.”

But then you were given a pseudo-scientific explanation about how it was the chlorogenic acid in the green coffee bean extract that was responsible for its amazing properties (What they didn’t tell you was that chlorogenic acid is present in all roasted coffees). You were told that it was backed by a clinical study showing that people lost 17.7 pounds, 10.5% of their body weight and 16% of their body fat in 22 weeks without diet and exercise.

To top it all off you were told that it was endorsed by Dr. Oz on his TV show and provided with a video clip to prove it. After all of that you were probably tempted to say “Maybe…just maybe… these amazing claims might be true.” You may have even been tempted to try it.

Were the claims true? Is green coffee bean extract the miracle weight loss product that everyone has been looking for? Or was it just another bogus weight loss product?

 

Is Green Coffee Bean Extract Bogus?

Evidently the Federal Trade Commission did not consider the claims about green coffee bean extract to be true. The FTC sued one of the companies that manufactured and sold green coffee bean extract for promoting a “hopelessly flawed study” to support the weight loss claims for their product.

The FTC alleged that:

  • The study was too small, at 16 subjects, to provide convincing data.
  • The study contained a number of critical flaws in the design and results of the study. For example, the greatest weight loss actually occurred in the placebo group.
  • The lead investigator in India actually falsified the results.
  • The company knew or should have known that this botched study didn’t prove anything.”

The manufacturer eventually agreed to pay $3.5 million to the FTC to settle their complaint. Basically, the company agreed with the FTC that there was no evidence to back their weight loss claims.

 

How Did Dr. Oz Get It So Wrong?

What about Dr. Oz’s endorsement? In Dr. Oz’s 2012 show segment he called green coffee bean extract “the magic weight loss cure for any body type.” The most puzzling aspect of this whole saga is how Dr. Oz got it so wrong.

After all, he is a trained neurosurgeon. He is Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He understands the principles of evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine simply means that it is a physician’s responsibility to check the scientific evidence before recommending a treatment to a patient. Yet he never even looked into the supposed “clinical study” backing green coffee bean extract’s weight loss claims.

In a Senate hearing this past June Dr. Oz apologized. He said: “For my colleagues at the FTC, I realize I have made their jobs more difficult.”

 

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Weight Loss Scams?

green coffee bean extractThere are dozens, if not hundreds, of new weight loss products appearing on the market every year. The FTC is doing its best to police the claims that are being made, but they are clearly overwhelmed. And even when they have an airtight case, it can take years for them to force a company to stop making false claims.

So, how can you protect yourself against weight loss scams? How can you avoid wasting your money on products that don’t work, or may even harm your health? I advise a little healthy skepticism.

  • Be skeptical about the claims. The old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]” is always good advice.       In a previous “Health Tips From the Professor” I discussed the the FTC’s recommendation for “7 Easy Ways To Spot Fad Diets”. That one is probably worth printing out and keeping handy so that you can review it the next time a new diet program comes out.
  • Be skeptical about the studies. The bottom line is that not all clinical studies are reliable. I realize that it is extremely difficult for a non-scientist to evaluate the validity of clinical studies. My best advice is to go online and see what other experts are saying about the study and the claims. There are a number of “fact checker” blogs online that focus on careful scientific analysis of product claims and the “studies” that support them.
  • Be skeptical about the endorsements. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of well known doctors who have endorsed bogus product claims on their TV shows or in their blogs. That makes it even more difficult for the layman to separate fact from fiction. My advice is to simply ask the question: “Does their blog or TV show feature something novel, something spectacular, and/or something sensational…every single week?”

My belief is that these experts all start out with good intentions. However, to develop a really big audience and keep them engaged they feel pressured to deliver novel and sensational health news every single week. The reality is that there are not advances every single week that are novel, sensational… and scientifically accurate. Eventually, they feel pressured to sacrifice accuracy for novelty.

That is why my blog is different. I don’t promise you spectacular and sensational news every week, but I do promise you accuracy. I will share the latest headlines, but I will tell you both their strengths and their weaknesses. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect yourself against weight loss scams and I tell you how below. Fortunately, what you can always count on from me is I will be honest with you.

So, does the green coffee been extract work?

 

The Bottom Line

    1. According to the FTC the green coffee bean extracts that were so widely promoted a couple of years ago were yet another example of bogus weight loss products. The FTC sued one of the companies that markets and sells green coffee bean extract for promoting a “hopelessly flawed” clinical study to advertise their product, and the company has recently settled with the FTC for $3.4 million.
    2. The only way that you can protect yourself from bogus weight loss products is to be skeptical. I discuss the questions you should ask in more detail above, but in short:
      • Be skeptical of claims that sound too good to be true.
      • Be skeptical of the clinical studies the companies quote to support their claims.
      • Be skeptical of expert endorsements. This product was even endorsed by Dr. Oz on his TV show.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Comments (5)

  • Mike Lucas

    |

    Great info Dr. Chaney! Thanks!

    MJ & Jenn

    Reply

  • Caroline

    |

    When learning to do Research, I learned to look into studies, whether they were RCTs, the premise, the actual testing, and the P value. I have found Dr. Oz pushes a lot of non-back-upped stuff without any scientific background. Your articles help me to explain the real facts and validates my research and sharing information with them. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Margaaret W. Chaney

      |

      I am cautious but had such faith in Dr. Oz I fell for the offer, big time. So disappointed I don’t even watch him anymore. Sincerely, Margaret

      Reply

  • Amit Dabas

    |

    Lets not blame the Coffee here. A message should not go that all Coffee Bean Extracts are bad. People should be educated to identify between a good and a bad product.

    How to judge a good green coffee – look for the CGA content (chlorogenic acid content). The CGA should be minimum at 45% or more. For an extract and CGA = 50% …. a good dosage to make it potent will be 800mg – 1gm / day. 2 tabs – 1 Am and 1 Pm

    Second, Green Coffee works even better when paired with a good Green Tea. So, 500 mg coffee + 500 mg Green Tea will work even better. Please study – How to evaluate a good green tea 🙂

    Reply

    • Dr. Steve Chaney

      |

      I’m sorry, but if we are talking about weight loss, there is no good evidence that the chlorogenic acid content of green coffee bean extract makes any difference.

      Reply

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Latest Article

Does Magnesium Optimize Vitamin D Levels?

Posted February 12, 2019 by Dr. Steve Chaney

The Case For Holistic Supplementation

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

 

Does magnesium optimize vitamin D levels?

magnesium optimize vitamin dOne of the great mysteries about vitamin D is the lack of correlation between vitamin D intake and blood levels of its active metabolite, 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Many people who consume RDA levels of vitamin D from foods and/or supplements end up with low blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The reason(s) for this discrepancy between intake of vitamin D and blood levels of its active metabolite are not currently understood.

Another great mystery is why it has been so difficult to demonstrate benefits of vitamin D supplementation. Association studies show a strong correlation between optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. However, placebo-controlled clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation have often come up empty. Until recently, many of those studies did not measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Could it be that optimal levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were not achieved?

The authors of the current study hypothesized that optimal magnesium status might be required for vitamin D conversion to its active form. You are probably wondering why magnesium would influence vitamin D metabolism. I had the same question.

The authors pointed out that:

  • Magnesium status affects the activities of enzymes involved in both the synthesis and degradation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
  • Some clinical studies have suggested that magnesium intake interacts with vitamin D intake in affecting health outcomes.
  • If the author’s hypothesis is correct, it is a concern because magnesium deficiency is prevalent in this country. In their “Fact Sheet For Health Professionals,” the NIH states that “…a majority of Americans of all ages ingest less magnesium from food than their respective EARs [Estimated Average Requirement]; adult men aged 71 years and older and adolescent females are most likely to have low intakes.” Other sources have indicated that magnesium deficiency may approach 70-80% for adults over 70.

If the author’s hypothesis that magnesium is required for vitamin D activation is correct and most Americans are deficient in magnesium, this raises some troubling questions.

  • Most vitamin D supplements do not contain magnesium. If people aren’t getting supplemental magnesium from another source, they may not be optimally utilizing the vitamin D in the supplements.
  • Most clinical studies involving vitamin D do not also include magnesium. If most of the study participants are deficient in magnesium, it might explain why it has been so difficult to show benefits from vitamin D supplementation.

Thus the authors devised a study (Q Dai et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108: 1249-1258, 2018 ) to directly test their hypothesis.

 

How Was The Study Designed?

magnesium optimize vitamin d studyThe authors recruited 180 volunteers, aged 40-85, from an ongoing study on the prevention of colon cancer being conducted at Vanderbilt University. The duration of the study was 12 weeks. Blood was drawn at the beginning of the study to measure baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Three additional blood draws to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were performed at weeks 1, 6, and 12.

Because high blood calcium levels increase excretion of magnesium, the authors individualized magnesium intake based on “optimizing” the calcium to magnesium ratio in the diet rather than giving everyone the same amount of magnesium. The dietary calcium to magnesium ratio for most Americans is 2.6 to 1 or higher. Based on their previous work, they considered an “ideal” calcium to magnesium ratio to be 2.3 to 1. The mean daily dose of magnesium supplementation in this study was 205 mg, with a range from 77 to 390 mg to achieve the “ideal” calcium to magnesium ratio. The placebo was an identical gel capsule containing microcrystalline cellulose.

Two 24-hour dietary recalls were conducted at baseline to determine baseline dietary intake of calcium and magnesium. Four additional 24-hour dietary recalls were performed during the 12-week study to assure that calcium intake was unchanged and the calcium to magnesium ratio of 2.3 to 1 was achieved.

In short this was a small study, but it was very well designed to test the author’s hypothesis.

 

Does Magnesium Optimize Vitamin D Levels?

 

does magnesium optimize vitamin d levelsThis was a very complex study, so I am simplifying it for this discussion. For full details, I refer you to the journal article (Q Dai et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108: 1249-1258, 2018).

The most significant finding was that magnesium supplementation did affect blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. However, the effect of magnesium supplementation varied depending on the baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D level at the beginning of the study.

  • When the baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 20 ng/ml or less (which the NIH considers inadequate), magnesium supplementation had no effect on 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.
  • When the baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 20-30 ng/ml (which the NIH considers the lower end of the adequate range), magnesium supplementation increased 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.
  • When the baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D level approached 50 ng/ml (which the NIH says may be “associated with adverse effects”), magnesium supplementation lowered 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

The simplest interpretation of these results is:

  • When vitamin D intake is inadequate, magnesium cannot magically create 25-hydroxyvitamin D from thin air.
  • When vitamin D intake is adequate, magnesium can enhance the conversion of vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
  • When vitamin D intake is too high, magnesium can help protect you by lowering 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

The authors concluded: “Our findings suggest that optimal magnesium status may be important for optimizing 25-hydroxyvitamin D status. Further dosing studies are warranted…”

 

What Does This Study Mean For You?

magnesium optimize vitamin d for youThis was a groundbreaking study that has provided novel and interesting results.

  • It provides the first evidence that optimal magnesium status may be required for optimizing the conversion of vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
  • It suggests that optimal magnesium status can help normalize 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels by increasing low levels and decreasing high levels.

However, this was a small study and, like any groundbreaking study, has significant limitations. For a complete discussion of the limitations and strengths of this study I refer you to the editorial (S Lin and Q Liu, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108: 1159-1161, 2018) that accompanied the study.

In summary, this study needs to be replicated by larger clinical studies with a more diverse study population. In order to provide meaningful results, those studies would need to carefully control and monitor calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake. There is also a need for mechanistic studies to better understand how magnesium can both increase low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and decrease high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

However, assuming the conclusions of this study to be true, it has some interesting implications:

  • If you are taking a vitamin D supplement, you should probably make sure that you are also getting the DV (400 mg) of magnesium from diet plus supplementation.
  • If you are taking a calcium supplement, you should check that it also provides a significant amount of magnesium. If not, change supplements or make sure that you get the DV for magnesium elsewhere.
  • I am suggesting that you shoot for the DV (400 mg) of magnesium rather than reading every label and calculating the calcium to magnesium ratio. The “ideal” ratio of 2.3 to 1 is hypothetical at this point. A supplement providing the DV of both calcium and magnesium would have a calcium to magnesium ratio of 2.5, and I would not fault any manufacturer for providing you with the DV of both nutrients.
  • If you are taking high amounts of calcium, I would recommend a supplement that has a calcium to magnesium ratio of 2.5 or less.
  • If you are considering a magnesium supplement to optimize your magnesium status, you should be aware that magnesium can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. I would recommend a sustained release magnesium supplement.
  • Finally, whole grains and legumes are among your best dietary sources of magnesium. Forget those diets that tell you to eliminate whole food groups. They are likely to leave you magnesium-deficient.

Even if the conclusions of this study are not confirmed by subsequent studies, we need to remember that magnesium is an essential nutrient with many health benefits and that most Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diet. The recommendations I have made for optimizing magnesium status are common-sense recommendations that apply to all of us.

 

The Case For Holistic Supplementation

 

magnesium optimize vitamin d case for holistic supplementationThis study is one of many examples showing that a holistic approach to supplementation is superior to a “magic bullet” approach where you take individual nutrients to solve individual problems. For example, in the case of magnesium and vitamin D:

  • If you asked most nutrition experts and supplement manufacturers whether it is important to provide magnesium along with vitamin D, their answer would likely be “No”. Even if they are focused on bone health, they would be more likely to recommend calcium along with vitamin D than magnesium along with vitamin D.
  • If your doctor has tested your 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and recommended a vitamin D supplement, chances are they didn’t also recommend that you optimize your magnesium status.
  • Clinical studies investigating the benefits of vitamin D supplementation never ask whether magnesium intake is optimal.

That’s because most doctors and nutrition experts still think of nutrients as “magic bullets.” I cover holistic supplementation in detail in my book “Slaying The Supplement Myths.”  Other examples that make a case for holistic supplementation that I cover in my book include:

  • A study showing that omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins may work together to prevent cognitive decline. Unfortunately, most studies looking at the effect of B vitamins on cognitive decline have not considered omega-3 status and vice versa. No wonder those studies have produced inconsistent results.
  • Studies looking at the effect of calcium supplementation on loss of bone density in the elderly have often failed to include vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutrients that are needed for building healthy bone. They have also failed to include exercise, which is essential for building healthy bone. No wonder some of those studies have failed to find an effect of calcium supplementation on bone density.
  • A study reported that selenium and vitamin E by themselves might increase prostate cancer risk. Those were the headlines you might have seen. The same study showed Vitamin E and selenium together did not increase prostate cancer risk. Somehow that part of the study was never mentioned.
  • A study reported that high levels of individual B vitamins increased mortality slightly. Those were the headlines you might have seen. The same study showed that when the same B vitamins were combined in a B complex supplement, mortality decreased. Somehow that observation never made the headlines.
  • A 20-year study reported that a holistic approach to supplementation produced significantly better health outcomes.

In summary, vitamins and minerals interact with each other to produce health benefits in our bodies. Some of those interactions we know about. Others we are still learning about. When we take high doses of individual vitamins and minerals, we create potential problems.

  • We may not get the full benefit of the vitamin or mineral we are taking because some other important nutrient(s) may be missing from our diet.
  • Even worse, high doses of one vitamin or mineral may interfere with the absorption or enhance the excretion of another vitamin or mineral. That can create deficiencies.

The same principles apply to our diet. I mentioned earlier that whole grains and legumes are among the best dietary sources of magnesium. Eliminating those two foods from the diet increases our risk of becoming magnesium deficient. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any time you eliminate foods or food groups from the diet, you run the risk of creating deficiencies of nutrients, phytonutrients, specific types of fiber, and the healthy gut bacteria that use that fiber as their preferred food source.

The Bottom Line

 

A recent study suggests that optimal magnesium status may be important for optimizing 25-hydroxyvitamin D status. This is one of many examples showing that a holistic approach to supplementation is superior to a “magic bullet” approach where you take individual nutrients to solve individual problems. For example, in the case of magnesium and vitamin D:

  • If you asked most nutrition experts and supplement manufacturers whether it is important to provide magnesium along with vitamin D, their answer would likely be “No.”  Even if they are focused on bone health, they would be more likely to recommend calcium along with vitamin D than magnesium along with vitamin D.
  • If your doctor has tested your 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and recommended a vitamin D supplement, chances are he or she did not also recommend that you optimize your magnesium status.
  • Clinical studies investigating the benefits of vitamin D supplementation never ask whether magnesium intake is optimal. That may be why so many of those studies have failed to find any benefit of vitamin D supplementation.

I cover holistic supplementation in detail in my book “Slaying The Supplement Myths” and provide several other examples where a holistic approach to supplementation is superior to taking individual supplements.

In summary, vitamins and minerals interact with each other to produce health benefits in our bodies. Some of those interactions we know about. Others we are still learning about. Whenever we take high doses of individual vitamins and minerals, we create potential problems.

  • We may not get the full benefit of the vitamin or mineral we are taking because some other important nutrient(s) may be missing from our diet.
  • Even worse, high doses of one vitamin or mineral may interfere with the absorption or enhance the excretion of another vitamin or mineral. That can create deficiencies.

The same principles apply to what we eat. For example, whole grains and legumes are among the best dietary sources of magnesium. Eliminating those two foods from the diet increases our risk of becoming magnesium deficient. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any time you eliminate foods or food groups from the diet, you run the risk of creating deficiencies.

For more details about the current study and what it means to you read the article above.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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