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Malabar Tamarind to Fight Fat

Due to the rampant excess of obesity in the United States and beyond, and the ailments which accompany this dis-ease, it is no wonder that both pharmaceutical and natural product companies determinedly seek a magic pill that will help alleviate this epidemic. Malabar tamarind (see the FasTrak HerbClip 010181.346) is an Asian fruit currently under investigation for its ability to fight fat. Malabar tamarind, which belongs to the citrus family, is yellowish in color and about the size of an orange. Like all citrus fruits, it contains a large amount of Vitamin C. It is a valued food ingredient in many Asian and Latin American recipes. The sour and fruity taste of Malabar tamarind merges well with the heat of chilies and gives South Indian dishes their hot and sour character and their dark color. The dried fruit looks black and contains about 30% -(-) hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the supposed active ingredient. Malabar tamarind has been said to aid in weight loss in two ways: 1) by suppressing the appetite and 2) by blocking the conversion of sugars and starches into fats and so diminishes fat production. It may also cause the body to use existing fat stores for energy during prolonged exercise. Ordinarily, carbohydrates are used before fats during exercise. Animal studies have shown a reduction in appetite through increased amounts of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter thought to affect appetite control. Malabar tamarind has also been used as a food preservative, a heart tonic, and to treat diarrhea, fever, dysentery, and parasites. It has been used to help lower cholesterol and may also reduce the production of stomach acid, thereby decreasing the risk of stomach ulcers. Unlike many other dietary supplements often used for weight loss, Malabar tamarind does not have a thermogenic effect, and therefore, would not cause adverse effects on the central nervous system.

Lori Glenn, Managing Editor