Can Moringa Powder Help You Lose Weight?
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
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.
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.
- regulate blood sugar
- lower blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- reduce inflammation
- protect against heart disease
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.
Moringa powder has shown promise in animal and test-tube studies for a variety of health benefits, but research in humans is lacking.
You can buy moringa in several forms, including powder, capsules, and tea.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
By Melissa Gaskill
Two decades ago scientists and volunteers along the Virginia coast started tossing seagrass seeds into barren seaside lagoons. Disease and an intense hurricane had wiped out the plants in the 1930s, and no nearby meadows could serve as a naturally dispersing source of seeds to bring them back.
Restored seagrass beds in Virginia now provide habitat for hundreds of thousands of scallops. Bob Orth, Virginia Institute of Marine Science / CC BY 2.0<p>The paper is part of a growing trend of evidence suggesting seagrass meadows can be easier to restore than other coastal habitats.</p><p>Successful seagrass-restoration methods include <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304377099000078?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">transplanting shoots</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1061-2971.2004.00314.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mechanized planting</a> and, more recently, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17438-4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">biodegradable mats</a>. Removing threats, proximity to donor seagrass beds, planting techniques, project size and site selection all play roles in a restoration effort's success.</p><p>Human assistance isn't always necessary, though. In areas where some beds remain, seagrass can even recover on its own when stressors are reduced or removed. For example, seagrass began to recover when Tampa Bay improved its water quality by reducing nitrogen loads from runoff by roughly 90%.</p><p>But more and more, seagrass meadows struggle to hang on.</p><p>The marine flowering plants have declined globally since the 1930s and currently disappear at a rate equivalent to a football field every 30 minutes, according to the <a href="https://www.unep.org/resources/report/out-blue-value-seagrasses-environment-and-people" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Environment Programme</a>. And research published in 2018 found the rate of decline is <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018GB005941" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">accelerating</a> in many regions.</p><p>The causes of decline vary and overlap, depending on the region. They include thermal stress from climate change; human activities such as dredging, anchoring and coastal infrastructure; and intentional removal in tourist areas. In addition, increased runoff from land carries sediment that clouds the water, blocking sunlight the plants need for photosynthesis. Runoff can also carry contaminants and nutrients from fertilizer that disrupt habitats and cause algal blooms.</p><p>All that damage comes with a cost.</p>
The Value of Seagrass<p>As with ecosystems like rainforests and <a href="https://therevelator.org/mangroves-climate-change/" target="_blank">mangroves</a>, loss of seagrass increases carbon dioxide emissions. And that spells trouble not just for certain habitats but for the whole planet.</p><p>Although seagrass covers at most 0.2% of the seabed, it <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/seagrass-secret-weapon-fight-against-global-heating" target="_blank">accounts for 10%</a> of the ocean's capacity to store carbon and soils, and these meadows store carbon dioxide an estimated 30 times faster than most terrestrial forests. Slow decomposition rates in seagrass sediments contribute to their <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238506081_Assessing_the_capacity_of_seagrass_meadows_for_carbon_burial_Current_limitations_and_future_strategies" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high carbon burial rates</a>. In Australia, according to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.15204" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> by scientists at Edith Cowan University, loss of seagrass meadows since the 1950s has increased carbon dioxide emissions by an amount equivalent to 5 million cars a year. The United Nations Environment Programme reports that a 29% decline in seagrass in Chesapeake Bay between 1991 and 2006 resulted in an estimated loss of up to 1.8 million tons of carbon.</p>
Eelgrass in the river delta at Prince William Sound, Alaska. Alaska ShoreZone Program NOAA / NMFS / AKFSC; Courtesy of Mandy Lindeberg / NOAA / NMFS / AKFSC<p>Seagrasses also protect costal habitats. A healthy meadow slows wave energy, reduces erosion and lowers the risk of flooding. In Morro Bay, California, a 90% decline in the seagrass species known as eelgrass caused extensive erosion, according to a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272771420303528?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">paper</a> from researchers at California Polytechnic State University.</p><p>"Right away, we noticed big patterns in sediment loss or erosion," said lead author Ryan Walter. "Many studies have shown this on individual eelgrass beds, but very few studies looked at it on a systemwide scale."</p><p>In the tropics, seagrass's natural protection can reduce the need for expensive and often-environmentally unfriendly <a href="https://www.nioz.nl/en/news/zeegras-spaart-stranden-en-geld" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">beach nourishments</a> regularly conducted in tourism areas.</p><p>Seagrass ecosystems improve water quality and clarity, filtering particles out of the water column and preventing resuspension of sediment. This role could be even more important in the future. By producing oxygen through photosynthesis, meadows could help offset decreased oxygen levels caused by warmer water temperatures (oxygen is less soluble in warm than in cold water).</p><p>The meadows also provide vital habitat for a wide variety of marine life, including fish, sea turtles, birds, marine mammals such as manatees, invertebrates and algae. They provide nursery habitat for <a href="https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/32636/seagrass.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">roughly 20%</a> of the world's largest fisheries — an <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/seagrass-meadows-harbor-wildlife-for-centuries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">estimated 70%</a> of fish habitats in Florida alone.</p><p>Conversely, their disappearance can contribute to die-offs of marine life. The loss of more than 20 square miles of seagrass in Florida's Biscayne Bay may have helped set the stage for a widespread <a href="https://www.wlrn.org/2020-08-14/the-seagrass-died-that-may-have-triggered-a-widespread-fish-kill-in-biscayne-bay" target="_blank">fish kill</a> in summer 2020. Lack of grasses to produce oxygen left the basin more vulnerable when temperatures rose and oxygen levels dropped as a result, says Florida International University professor Piero Gardinali.</p>
Damaged Systems, a Changing Climate<p>Governments and conservationists around the world have already put a lot of effort into coastal restoration efforts. And that's helped some seagrass populations.</p><p>Where stressors remain, though, restoration grows more complicated. <a href="https://www.rug.nl/research/portal/en/publications/the-future-of-seagrass-ecosystem-services-in-a-changing-world(3a8c56db-7bed-4c9e-ac7f-c72453e2a102).html" target="_blank">Research</a> published this September found that only 37% of seagrass restorations have survived. Newly restored meadows remain vulnerable to the original stressors that depleted them, as well as to storms — and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/climate-crisis">climate change</a>.</p>
Seagrass in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida. Alicia Wellman / Florida Fish and Wildlife / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0<p>In Chesapeake Bay a cold-water species of seagrass is currently hitting its heat limit, especially in summer, according to Alexander Challen Hyman of University of Florida's School of Natural Resources and Environment. As waters continue to warm due to climate change, the species likely will disappear there.</p><p>Climate-driven sea-level rise complicates the problem as well. Seagrasses thrive at specific depths — too shallow and they dry out or are eaten, too deep and there isn't enough light for photosynthesis.</p>
But There’s Good News, Too<p>Luckily, left to its own devices, a seagrass meadow can flourish for hundreds of years, according to a <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.1861" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">paper</a> published last year by Hyman and other researchers from the University of Florida. The researchers arrived at their conclusion by looking at shells of living mollusks and fossil shells to estimate the ages of meadows in Florida's Big Bend region on the Gulf Coast.</p><p>That area has extensive, relatively pristine seagrass meadows. "Our motivation was to understand the past history of these systems, and shells store a lot of history," said co-author Michal Kowalewski.</p><p>A high degree of similarity between living and dead shells indicates a stable area, while a mismatch suggests an area shifted from seagrass to barren sand. The researchers found that long-term accumulations of shells resembled living ones, suggesting that the seagrass habitats have been stable over time.</p><p>That stability allows biodiversity to thrive, creating conditions where specialist species can survive and flourish, according to Hyman.</p><p>Discovering the long-term stability of seagrass meadows has implications for choosing restoration sites, Kowalewski notes.</p><p>"There must be reasons they thrive in one place, while a mile away they don't and fossil data says they probably never did," he said. "If we remove a seagrass patch, we cannot hope to plant it somewhere else. It's not just the seagrass that is special. The location at which it's found is special, too."</p><p>A better approach is conserving these habitats in the first place, but we're not doing enough of that right now. The UN reports that marine protected areas safeguard just 26% of recorded seagrass meadows, compared with 40% of coral reefs and 43% of mangroves.</p>
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