Grains of Paradise: Fat Fighting Spice of the Goddesses

Grains of Paradise

They’re not just for cooking anymore! In this article, we discuss how the proper extract from these seeds can be used for weight loss and body recomposition!

Grains of Paradise is a spice routinely used in many styles of cooking to deliver a bit of “pop” to a dish. So why are we seeing it in fat burning supplements lately? Put simply: because it works – and there’s now legitimate weight loss studies performed on actual humans to verify those claims.

Also known as Aframomum Melegueta, Grains of Paradise has also been used in traditional medicines for a variety of reasons, which is what helped make its way into modern dietary supplements – especially those suited towards weight loss. However, there are several varying standardizations of the extract, so how do you know which one will actually provide any benefit?

Below, we have a full-blown analysis of this incredibly effective fat loss ingredient, starting with the summary:

TL;DR (Article Summary)

Grains of Paradise (GP) is a spice similar to ginger, and is an effective stimulant-free fat burning ingredient.

  • The data: Extracts high in 6-gingerol and 6-paradol have been shown to decrease visceral fat in the lower abdomen while increasing whole body energy expenditure versus placebo. (Skip to the How it Works section)
  • How it works: GP promotes the transformation of white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue. Activation of this “brown fat” yields the greater energy expenditure amongst other benefits. (Skip to Grains of Paradise Benefits section)
  • Dosage: The successful human studies used 30mg/day and 40mg/day. Beginners are recommended to try between 30mg/day and 80mg/day total grains of paradise extract. Advanced users may use 120mg/day. (Skip to the Dosage section
  • Best ingredient to look for: CaloriBurn from NNB Nutrition is the most trusted raw ingredient to look for, since it contains the clinically-studied 12.5% 6-paradol, but a full spectrum as well. Unlike some others, CaloriBurn comes from pure GP extract. NNB Nutrition provides lab tests to verify their purity. (Skip to the best ingredient section

What is Grains of Paradise?

NNB Nutrition CaloriBurn

See the lab work below: NNB Nutrition’s CaloriBurn is our preferred grains of paradise extract!

Grains of Paradise is a spice native to West Africa with a similar makeup as ginger. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of plants and goes by a variety of names including Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, and others. In Africa, it’s traditionally been used for digestive health, body recomposition, as an antioxidant, and even potentially for anti-diabetic purposes!

Grains of Paradise contain reddish-brown seeds that have a spicy, peppery taste. When eating it, one can definitely feel a ‘heating’ sensation – which often spells serious potential for those of us in the diet world.

Within the seeds of Grains of Paradise, researchers have isolated a few compounds that are known not only for their potent odor and flavor, but fat-fighting properties as well:

  • 6-paradol
  • 6-gingerol
  • 6-shogaol
  • 6-gingerdione

There may be others, but these constituents have been connected to promising research on weight loss – especially 6-paradol and 6-gingerol (which is also found in ginger). They are pungent and they are powerful – and this is where the real magic locked inside of Grains of Paradise.

To understand their mechanisms, however, we must get into some technical details.

How does it work?

The human body has two types of adipose tissue:

  • White adipose tissue (WAT), and
  • Brown adipose tissue (BAT)

The white fat: made for energy storage

White adipocytes are large diameter cells with a roundish shape, primarily consisting of one massive lipid (fat) droplet and a thin rim which contains the cytoplasm and the nucleus. White adipocytes are your storage cells for energy, they store excess calories for when food intake is low.[2]

The brown fat: made for thermogenesis

Brown adipocytes, on the other hand, are typically smaller diameter cells than white adipocytes and are made up of several small lipid droplets. Brown adipocytes are responsible for “non-shivering thermogenesis,” meaning BAT maintains body temperature homeostasis during cold exposure.[2]

Turning our WAT fat into BAT

Brown, Beige, and White Fat

The regulation of brown and beige adipocyte development.

A Grains of Paradise extract including 12.5% 6-paradol was found to promote WAT transformation into BAT.[3] If it seems too good to be true, Paradise extract has human clinical trials showing its effectiveness (more on that below!)

Why turn WAT into BAT?

So, we know that Grains of Paradise has the ability to “brown” WAT, but why would we want to do this?

Well, activation of BAT results in greater energy expenditure as well as a negative energy balance, which ultimately leads to better weight loss. Furthermore, BAT can utilize blood glucose and lipids. This results in better glucose metabolism and lipid levels independent of weight loss.[4]

Yet, we’re not just dealing with hypotheticals here. This is one of those ingredients to actually back its theory up with actual weight loss effects:

What are the Grains of Paradise Benefits?

Non-stimulant fat loss ingredients that actually work are a true rarity in the supplement industry. But it seems that this is exactly what we have with a quality grains of paradise extract:

  • Increased Energy Expenditure

    A recent four week trial on Grains of Paradise extract aimed to investigate the extract’s effects on whole body energy expenditure when exposed to cold therapy. Researchers enlisted 19 healthy men, ages 20–32, and had the group consume a total of 40mg / day GoP extract.

    Energy Expenditure Chart

    Researchers found that the group consuming the GoP extract had a significantly greater increase in energy expenditure, due to increased BAT activity, than the group not receiving the GoP extract.[5]

    Following an overnight fast, the subjects were placed in an air-conditioned room at 19°C (66.2°F) with light clothing (typically a T-shirt with underwear). In addition, they proceeded to have their feet placed on an ice block wrapped in cloth intermittently (usually for 4 minutes after every 5 minutes off – definitely not the most enjoyable experiment!).

    At the conclusion of the 2 hours, subjects underwent an FDG-PET/CT examination, which entails high-resolution imaging of the body to evaluate BAT activation. Additionally, subjects had their whole body energy expenditure tested via indirect calorimetry following a 6-12 hour fasting period.

    Researchers found that the group consuming the GoP extract had a significantly greater increase in energy expenditure, due to increased BAT activity, than the group not receiving the GoP extract.[5]

    Dosage used: 40mg / day of grains of paradise / Aframomum Melegueta was used.

  • Stimulant-Free Fat Loss in females

    The second human trial investigated daily ingestion of Paradise extract on whole body energy expenditure (EE), as well as body fat. EE and body fat were measured before and after daily for a period of four weeks. This time around, 19 non-obese females, aged 20-22, were recruited for the blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design.

    Body Composition Graph

    Researchers found that the GoP group experienced decreased visceral fat in the lower abdomen while the placebo group saw slightly increased visceral fat in the same area.[6]

    Each subject was given either one 10mg capsule of GoP extract or placebo 30 minutes prior to the three main daily meals. At the conclusion of the four week study, body fat and energy expenditure were again recorded. Researchers found that the GoP group experienced decreased visceral fat in the lower abdomen while the placebo group saw slightly increased visceral fat in the same area.[6]

    Bear in mind, this was all without any additional exercise or diet modifications made, simply supplementing with 30mg GoP extract per day reduced visceral fat!

    Dosage used: 30mg / day split into three 10mg doses.

  • Animal Studies

    While not as enthralling as the human studies, animal studies on Paradise extract have brought to light several other fringe benefits that may translate over to humans; however they have yet to be confirmed. Paradise extract in animal models have seen marked improvements in a number of critical cardiovascular markers including:

    • better lipid profile,
    • lowered blood pressure, and
    • attenuate hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage).[7,8]
    Animal Study Cholesterol Results

    Animal studies on Paradise extracts have shown significant improvements in blood lipid levels.[7]

    What the above chart shows is that if you have a high-cholesterol rat, and give it “alligator pepper” extract (ie. grains of paradise!), it will attenuate the high cholesterol levels – and if a strong enough dose is taken, it can even outcompete statin drugs in said rats!

    This isn’t to say it’s going to work in humans, and those are very high doses, but it is to show that there is extremely promising health data coming out from preliminary Aframomum Melegueta extract studies.

Additional studies are underway and are expected in late 2016 / early 2017. We’ll keep this section up to date when they are published.

Who is Aframomum Melegueta / GP for?

Grains of Paradise Benefits

The Grains of Paradise Benefits, as taken from NNBNutrition.com

Grains of Paradise is great for anyone looking for fat loss or “body recomposition” effects!

Practically any healthy man or woman looking to enhance their fat loss journey without the use of additional stimulants could see benefit from adding a high quality Grains of Paradise — we trust CaloriBurn, discussed below — to their daily supplement intake.

Ideally, this ingredient is best suited for:

  • General dieters who appreciate extra heat (due to thermogenesis)
  • Physique athletes in the lead-up to stepping on stage
  • Individuals attempting to lose fat without losing muscle
  • Injured athletes who are taking some time off from training but don’t want unsightly weight gain
  • Situationally — ie. during times of cold weather (anyone who gets cold easily should consider trying this as a remedy!)

What’s the best Grains of Paradise ingredient?

This definitely isn’t the easiest ingredient to extract. You can’t just throw some grains of paradise seeds into a capsule and call it a day — you need specialized equipment to standardize for the right components that led to the weight loss and brown fat activating effects mentioned above.

So for those of you interested in getting a product including Grains of Paradise, or even potential brands looking to manufacture a new fat burning supplement, we highly recommend looking into CaloriBurn by NNB Nutrition.

CaloriBurn: 12.5% 6-paradol and other spectrums from true Aframomum Melegueta

CaloriBurn

NNB Nutrition’s CaloriBurn has 12.5% 6-Paradol, but uses pure grains of paradise to keep all of the active constituents

NNB Nutrition’s CaloriBurn is standardized to the industry-standard 12.5% 6-paradol, which is exactly what the successful human-based studies used.

Since originally publishing this article, we’ve learned that other grains of paradise ingredients are merely taking 6-paradol and adding it to ginger extract and calling it “grains of paradise”. Not only is this illegal for supplement brands to label, but it’s less effective too, since there are other useful constituents in true grains of paradise.

NNB Nutrition CaloriBurn

CaloriBurn preserves all of the metabolism-enhancing bioactive compounds from aframomum melegueta

To combat the above issue, NNB Nutrition is extracting the standard 12.5% 6-paradol, but using pure and unadulterated grains of paradise to get it. This keeps the other bioactive compounds (6-Gingerdione, 6-Shogaol, and 6-Gingerol) found in the human studies we’re trying to replicate.

CaloriBurn is ethanol and water extracted through a 100% natural proprietary extraction technology to make this happen. This preserves all of the metabolism-enhancing bioactive compounds above.

Finally, NNB Nutrition provides not only HPLC tests, but HPLTC tests, and are willing to share them, as shown below. On top of that, they have several 3rd-party certifications and are produced in an NSF-certified, GMP-approved factory.

You can read more about CaloriBurn at nnbnutrition.com and if you’re a brand, contact NNB and get in touch with PricePlow as well!

Avoid Knock-Off / Low-Quality Paradise extracts: HPLC / HPLTC Test Results:

NNB Nutrition was gracious enough to provide these charts. First, see the CaloriBurn HPLC chart, which shows four peaks for the four main constituents:

NNB Nutrition CaloriBurn HPLC Lab Test

CaloriBurn is standardized to 12.5% 6-Paradol but also has high amounts of the other important active ingredients!

In addition, NNB provided a third-party lab test HPLTC test, proving that it is a true grains of paradise extract, full spectrum and all:

NNB Nutrition CaloriBurn HPLCT Lab Test

This third-party lab result confirms that we have true grains of paradise, with at least the four peaks we also want.

Long story short: use the best extract, get the best constituents

NNB Nutrition

NNB Nutrition is an innovative ingredient development company with an elite team of over 100 scientists from over 10 countries.

With the research they’ve provided, as well as the standardizations they’re using that strongly model the successful studies that used real GP, we see no reason why anyone should use anything else. You can’t just take some seeds and put it into a capsule, and you certainly shouldn’t just take 6-paradol and blend it with some raw ginger. NNB is a company that finally does it right.

NNB Nutrition CaloriBurn

When looking for quality grains of paradise, CaloriBurn from NNB Nutrition is where to get it. Learn more here and on NNBNutrition.com

Dosage: What’s the recommended dosage / timing / cycling?

Before we get into the best fat burners and weight loss supplements with CaloriBurn, it’s best to know what kind of dosage to look for.

In the two human trials, the study that showed increased energy expenditure used a dose of 40mg / day, while the study that showed increased fat loss consumed 30mg daily. Based on this, we suggest using a supplement that contains at minimum 30mg of CaloriBurn. This ensures you get the highest quality extract at the clinically efficacious dose.

As for cycling, CaloriBurn should be perfectly safe to continue supplementation for longer periods of time. You may want to monitor progress on longer cycles in case your body begins to build up a tolerance to the ingredient, however we aren’t sure whether that is likely to occur or not.

CaloriBurn-based Supplements

What are the potential side effects?

A 28-day toxicology study in rats showed that extremely high doses of Grains of Paradise extract (rich in gingerols) found evidence of liver enlargement and elevation in alkaline phosphatase.[9] But don’t fret yet – it’s important to note that the doses found were using a whopping 450mg/kg of body weight and 1500mg/kg of body weight in the mice!! That translates to 72.58mg/kg body weight for humans,[10] which means that an average 175lb male (about 80kg) would need to take 5.7 grams of the extract in order to replicate those studies.

Relative liver weights for male and female rats treated for 28 days with 0, 120, 450, or 1500 mg/kg Grains of Paradise extract (n = 5 per group, bars are mean ± SE);*, p≤ 0.05 compared to control (ANOVA).

Relative liver weights for male and female rats treated for 28 days with 0, 120, 450, or 1500 mg/kg Grains of Paradise extract (n = 5 per group, bars are mean ± SE);*, p≤ 0.05 compared to control (ANOVA).[9] It was the monstrous doses that caused liver increases — basically the same as a man eating 5.7g. per day – 50-100x higher than doses we’re discussing.

The supplements we’re dealing with are nowhere near these doses — not even by a factor of 50 – so we are relatively unconcerned with this data. In fact, capsaicin (red pepper extract, often used as a fat burner) has been shown to be deadly at far lower doses than these[11] — so it can be argued that grains of paradise is a safer alternative!

Further, as shown at the benefits section of this post, lower doses are beneficial in rats. This means it may be one of those ingredients that’s great in low doses, but too much of a good thing isn’t always wonderful.

However, if you already have liver toxicity concerns, this could be a consideration when consuming high doses of GoP extract. Furthermore, two other animal studies, showed that Paradise extract actually attenuates hepatoxicity.[7,8] So, we’ve got conflicting results here from separate trials, which kind of muddies the waters on any true side effects of Grains of Paradise. That being said…

As always, get your doctor’s written consent before starting any new diet or supplementation program. The statements on this page are not approved by the FDA.

More realistically, grains of paradise will almost definitely cause a thermogenic heating sensation, and some may consider this to be a “side effect”. However, that’s the whole point of using the supplement!

Do make sure that you swallow the capsule completely and with plenty of water. Grains of paradise can cause minor heartburn issues if the capsule begins to break down in the upper digestive system.

The side effects of fat burners are actually more often induced by the stimulants inside, and users who do not properly assess their stimulant tolerances. As such, if you’re taking a stimulant-based fat burner, start with low doses.

Further research needs to be conducted to see if other plants whose extracts are high in gingerols pose the same liver toxicity implications when dosed in high amounts.[9]

Stacking Grains of Paradise

Grains of Paradise is not typically used on its own, but is most often inside of fat burners, both with and without stimulants. Those are the best places to begin.

But but for your entire supplement stack, here’s what we’d suggest as the top stacking options:

  • Glucose Disposal: Your Secret Weapon with GlucoVantage Dihydroberberine

    Keeping blood sugar levels under control is king – glucose disposal agents (GDA) are great to use in any diet regimen, as they help optimize blood glucose levels with meals. They also assist with shuttling nutrients to muscles instead of fat!

    GlucoVantage

    There’s no better GDA ingredient than berberine, and there’s no better form of berberine than dihydroberberine in GlucoVantage!

    When it comes to this category, nothing beats a quality berberine. NNB Nutrition offers the most powerful berberine we’ve tried in GlucoVantage. It is actually dihydroberberine, and it’s taking the metabolic-enhancing market by storm!

  • The enhanced fat-loss stack

    Other fat burners will often have these ingredients, but this is a good list of successful comopunds to look for.

    Grains of paradise is often formulated alongside caffeine, L-carnitine, yohimbine, ashwagandha, and synephrine. In addition, we’re big fans of MCT Oil in the diet, both as a metabolic enhancer and as an appetite suppressor. Used properly, any combination of these may ramp up thermogenesis and energy expenditure even more!

    BAIBA: add to the “exercise effect”

    If that’s not enough, consider MitoBurn️, another innovative NNB Nutrition ingredient. It uses L-BAIBA to increase metabolic efficiency – it is an exercise-induced “muscle factor” sent when you work out, but when supplementing more, you may amplify the effects of exercise!

Conclusion: These grains may stop those weight gains

It’s extremely rare that we encounter a non-stimulant herbal-based ingredient that actually lives up to the hype surrounding it – with real human-based research! Yet, that’s what we appear to have in Grains of Paradise — enhanced fat loss, increased energy expenditure, and better health.

Grains of Paradise

Thanks for reading this article! We look forward to writing about other new and unique ingredients and updating this when there’s new research.

As always, we’re looking forward to more research, and we’ll update this post as it is published. But now that we’ve done the research, we’re not not surprised that some of our favorite fat burners – one of them that’s been on top of our list for several years – is powered in part by this potent extract. Some companies are simply years ahead of the curve, and those are the companies we love to follow.

To ensure that you’re getting the highest quality Paradise extract you can find, it only makes sense to use the one with 12.5% 6-paradol from a true, full-spectrum grains of paradise: CaloriBurnCaloriBurn. You’ll look leaner, feel more energetic, and live an all around healthier life!

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When looking for quality grains of paradise, CaloriBurn from NNB Nutrition is where to get it. Learn more here and on NNBNutrition.com

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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References

  1. Wikipedia contributors; “List of Good Eats episodes.”; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; July 21 2016; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Good_Eats_episodes#cite_note-33
  2. Rosenwald M, Wolfrum C; “The origin and definition of brite versus white and classical brown adipocytes”; Adipocyte; 2014;3(1):4-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917931/
  3. Momoe Iwami, Fatma A. Mahmoud, et al; “Extract of grains of paradise and its active principle 6-paradol trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue in rats”; Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical; 161 (2011); 63–67; https://www.docdroid.net/Iog80CU/momoe-iwami-paradise-study.pdf.html
  4. Kim SH, Plutzky J; “Brown Fat and Browning for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders”; Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. 2016;40(1):12-21; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768046/
  5. Sugita, J., Yoneshiro, T., et al; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men”; British Journal of Nutrition; (2013) 110(4), pp. 733–738; https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/grains-of-paradise-aframomum-melegueta-extract-activates-brown-adipose-tissue-and-increases-whole-body-energy-expenditure-in-men/517F8F0D73864C919E42D502537BA01D/core-reader
  6. Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, et al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans”; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014, 60(1): 22-27; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/60/1/60_22/_pdf
  7. Adefegha, Stephen A. et al; “Alligator pepper/Grain of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) modulates Angiotensin-I converting enzyme activity, lipid profile and oxidative imbalances in a rat model of hypercholesterolemia”; Pathophysiology; Volume 23, Issue 3, 191 – 202; https://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(16)30026-8/fulltext
  8. Semwal R, Semwal D, Combrinck S, Viljoen A; “Gingerols and shogaols: Important nutraceutical principles from ginger”; Phytochemistry; https://www.docdroid.net/TZ53eaP/gingerols-and-shogaols-important-nutraceutical-principles-from-ginger.pdf.html
  9. Ilic N, Schmidt BM, Poulev A, Raskin I; “Toxicological evaluation of Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) [Roscoe] K. Schum”; Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2010;127(2); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3815460/
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Food and Drug Administration; “Guidance for Industry: Estimating the Maximum Safe Starting Dose in Initial Clinical Trials for Therapeutics in Adult Healthy Volunteers”; July 2005; https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm078932.pdf
  11. Saito, A; “Acute oral toxicity of capsaicin in mice and rats.”; The Journal of Toxicological Sciences; 1996 Aug; 21(3):195-200; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8887888

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