By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, LDN
The Super Citrimax® product by NOW supplement brand aims to improve blood sugars while also promoting a healthy body weight. A low dose of calcium (100mg), iodine from kelp (300mcg) and naturally occurring sodium (15mg) accompany the ingredients that will likely be more active in accomplishing said benefits: ChromeMate® provides 200mcg chromium and the Super CitriMax is a Garcinia cambogia extract containing active ingredient Hydroxycitric Acid or HCA at 1.5grams. Garcinia cambogia is often used as a tool for weight loss. This product also contains 200mg of Panax Ginseng Root Extract which is commonly used for many medical reasons including helping the body adapt to stressors, but it can also be used for its possible stimulating effects. Could this product work for you? Read on for more information on the ingredients and their potential efficacy:
Chromium has been studied for general blood sugar control and in diabetics and even received clearance from the FDA for use in doses of 200mcg daily for up to 6 months. Taking chromium may work by decreasing fasting blood sugar levels and possibly increasing sensitivity to insulin in cells. There is also some evidence that chromium works to decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Use caution that there can be toxicity associated with high doses of chromium and it can interact with other medications or supplements including diabetic or thyroid medications. Because of blood sugar lowering effects, be sure to monitor your levels when taking a product like this to minimize a dangerous hypoglycemic event. Also, check with a doctor or pharmacist about any medication adjustments that may need to be considered before starting chromium.
Garcinia or more specifically the active compound, HCA, is often associated with weight loss because the active component is thought to interfere with the generation or storage of fat tissue. Research remains inconclusive on the efficacy for weight loss in human studies and there is a need for longer-term studies but there is some interesting research being done on athletic performance with this botanical. Keep in mind that this product could interact with certain medications such as antidepressants, so it is very important to discuss starting it with your doctor or pharmacist.
Panax ginseng is sometimes called Asian or Chinese ginseng. It is often used to help the body adapt to stressors, to stimulate the immune system or in the case of this product, to reduce blood sugars. There is some evidence that some compounds in panax ginseng create a hypoglycemic effect, or decreased blood sugars. These effects can be compounded when combined with other supplements that lower blood sugar so use caution that your levels do not start to dip too low if using panax ginseng in conjunction with HCA or garcinia. Panax ginseng interacts with a wide variety of medications and medical conditions so you should consult with your doctor or pharmacist before starting it. It also can interfere with the metabolism of alcohol so use caution before taking this product and drinking.
Super Citrimax® is a blend of products combined at the lower end of recommended doses for efficacy which is appropriate as, when compounded, could have a greater effect, especially on blood sugar lowering. Keep in mind that for weight loss, a product such as this one will need to be used along with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. The combination of products does show up in current research so it may work for some people, but because of all the potential interactions with medications or medical conditions, really should be cleared by a doctor and pharmacist before added to a regimen.
Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based nutrition writer and dietitian at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care specializing in integrative health and whole food-based nutrition. Ginger earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington and her Master of Science in Nutrition from naturopathic Bastyr University. She serves as President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ginger is a plant-based dietitian who has a passion for physical activity and cooking. She believes that an interest in unprocessed foods and natural health will help heal the chronic health problems our country has been facing. Follow Ginger on her blog: ChampagneNutrition (www.champagnenutrition.com), Twitter (@GingerHultinRD), Instagram (http://instagram.com/champagnenutrition), and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/champagneRDN/).