When you hear about an extract that promotes weight loss, it’s usually a bunch of baloney. However, this one is different. It’s not some chemicals thrown together in a lab so someone can make a quick buck. It’s actually a natural extract from food – we just don’t eat this part of the food very often, if ever.
This extract is full of quercetin, a flavonoid and antioxidant that’s great at neutralizing free radicals and can even keep them from forming in the first place. Quercetin also lowers blood pressure. It even improves nitric oxide states and endothelial function, which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. But more than that, it can help you lose weight.
You can get quercetin in foods like plums, capers, and onions. Onions are probably the best source. There’s just one problem: the more layers of the onion you peel off, the less quercetin you find. Most of the quercetin is actually concentrated in the peel.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat onion peel. However, I do want these benefits. And I’m not the only one. Researchers have recognized the potential of the quercetin trapped in onion peel and extracted it. They’ve then conducted studies with the onion peel extract.
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They started doing studies with rats and found that onion peel extract had anti-obesity effects. So researchers in Korea decided to try to replicate these results in humans. They conducted a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with overweight or obese participants. The subjects took either a placebo or onion peel extract capsules with 100 mg of quercetin. The researchers measured the participants’ body composition, resting energy expenditure, respiratory quotient, and fasting blood levels of glucose, insulin, lipids, and leptin.
The participants didn’t make any other changes to their diets or lifestyles. But those who received the onion peel extract lost weight! In fact, they showed significant decreases in their weight, percentage of body fat, and levels of blood glucose and leptin. Those are very impressive results for a simple extract!
I’m intrigued by these results, and I think onion peel extract is worth a try if you can find it. Just don’t use it as an excuse to avoid making the dietary and lifestyle changes that contribute to your overall health. Since there aren’t many onion peel extracts on the market right now, keep eating onions. Just peel them as little as possible. You’ll get the most quercetin if you make sure to only remove the outermost, papery layer.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Apr;10(2):175-81. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2016.10.2.175. Epub 2016 Mar 2.