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Can Moringa Powder Help You Lose Weight?

Moringa powder. redonion1515 / iStock / Getty Images

By Gavin Van De Walle MS, RD

Moringa is an Indian herb derived from the Moringa oleifera tree.

It has been used in Ayurveda medicine — an ancient Indian medical system — to treat skin diseases, diabetes and infections for thousands of years.


Additionally, it's thought to offer weight loss benefits.

This article reveals whether moringa powder can help you lose weight and provides information on other potential benefits, various forms and safety.

Rich in Powerful Compounds

Native to India, Asia, and Africa, the leaves of the moringa tree are highly nutritious.

They're rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds.

Per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), moringa leaves contain approximately (1):

  • Protein: 27 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 34 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 1,361 mg
  • Calcium: 173% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Iron: 133% of the DV
  • Zinc: 27% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 126% of the DV
  • Copper: 111% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 176% of the DV

However, they're also high in phytates — antinutrients that bind to minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, making them less absorbable by your body (2).

On the other hand, polyphenols in moringa leaves have cancer-fighting properties and may reduce your risk of conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes (3, 4, 5).

Other rich sources of polyphenols include fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee — which is one of the reasons why diets rich in these foods have been associated with better health (6, 7, 8).

Summary

Moringa leaves are high in vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds like polyphenols.

Supposed Weight Loss Benefits

Moringa powder has been suggested to promote weight loss.

Animal and test-tube studies show that moringa can reduce fat formation and enhance fat breakdown (9).

Still, it's unknown whether these effects translate to humans.

To date, no human studies have investigated the effects of moringa alone on weight loss.

However, studies have looked at the effects of supplements containing moringa combined with other ingredients.

In one 8-week study in 41 obese people on an identical diet and exercise regime, those taking 900 mg of a supplement containing moringa, turmeric, and curry lost 10.6 pounds (4.8 kg) — compared to only 4 pounds (1.8 kg) in the placebo group (10).

In a similar but larger study, researchers randomized 130 people who were overweight to receive the same supplement as the above study or a placebo.

Those given the supplement lost 11.9 pounds (5.4 kg) over 16 weeks, compared to only 2 pounds (0.9 kg) in the placebo group. They also significantly decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased their HDL (good) cholesterol (11).

Still, it's unclear whether these benefits are attributed to moringa, one of the other two herbs, or a combination.

More comprehensive studies in this area are needed.

Summary

Studies show impressive weight loss benefits in people taking a multi-ingredient supplement containing moringa. However, the benefits cannot be attributed to moringa itself.

Other Potential Health Benefits

Although moringa powder alone hasn't been shown to promote weight loss, animal and test-tube studies suggest that it may offer other health benefits.

Studies indicate that moringa may help (12, 13, 14, 15):

  • regulate blood sugar
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol
  • reduce inflammation
  • protect against heart disease

What's more, human studies have found that moringa supplements may benefit certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma (16, 17).

These benefits are linked to the various powerful compounds found in moringa powder, namely polyphenols and other antioxidants (18).

While research has yet to consistently validate these benefits in humans, moringa remains a popular supplement.

Summary

Moringa powder has shown promise in animal and test-tube studies for a variety of health benefits, but research in humans is lacking.

Supplemental Forms

You can buy moringa in several forms, including powder, capsules, and tea.

Powder

Due to its versatility, moringa leaf powder is a popular option.

It's said to have a bitter and slightly sweet taste. You can easily add the powder to shakes, smoothies, and yogurt to boost your nutritional intake.

Recommended serving sizes of moringa powder range from 2–6 grams.

Capsules

The capsule form of moringa leaves contains the crushed leaf powder or its extract.

It's best to choose supplements that contain the extract of the leaf because the extraction process improves the bioavailability or absorption of the leaf's beneficial components.

You can differentiate between the two by reading the supplement facts label, which will state whether the product contains the powdered leaf or extract form.

Tea

Moringa can also be consumed as a tea.

If desired, spices and herbs — such as cinnamon and lemon basil — can help offset the slightly earthy taste of pure moringa leaf tea.

It's naturally caffeine-free, so you can consume it as a relaxing beverage before bed.

It's also a good option if you're sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Summary

Moringa powder can be added to many drinks, taken as a capsule, or consumed as a tea.

Safety and Side Effects

Moringa powder is generally well tolerated with a low risk of side effects (19).

Studies report no adverse effects in humans who consumed 50 grams of moringa powder as a single dose or 8 grams per day for 28 days (20, 21).

Regardless, it's still a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before trying moringa powder — especially if you're taking medications for blood pressure or blood sugar control.

Summary

Studies suggest that moringa powder has a strong safety profile, but you should consult with your healthcare practitioner before trying moringa powder or other new supplements.

The Bottom Line

Moringa oleifera is a tree that grows in several countries.

Leaves of the tree contain healthy compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.

Though moringa powder is often marketed for weight loss, more research is needed before this and other benefits can be confirmed.

In any case, moringa powder is nutritious and likely safe for most people when consumed in recommended doses.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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