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Introduction

Spinach extract is a weight loss supplement made from spinach leaves.

It is a recent addition to the supplement market and “fat-burner” category, claiming to reduce appetite and cravings, as opposed to directly burning fat.

The supplement comes in powdered form and is composed of concentrated spinach leaf thylakoids. These are tiny structures found inside the chloroplasts of plant cells.

Thylakoids are composed of about 70% proteins, antioxidants, and chlorophyll, while the other 30% mostly consists of fat [1].

The supplement powder can either be mixed into water to drink, or it can be purchased in a capsulated form.

Spinach Extract Health Benefits

May Suppress Hunger

Thylakoids are known to delay the digestion of fat. As an indirect consequence of this, the levels of appetite-reducing hormones like glucagon-like peptide-1 will increase, and the levels of hunger hormones like ghrelin will decrease [2].

At the same time, spinach extract may independently signal for the release of glucagon-like peptide-1, leading to a type of “double-effect” [3].

Human trials using ~4 grams of spinach extract see an average reduction in appetite for several hours post-ingestion [4]. This could be effective if taken pre-meal, as it may reduce food intake at that meal and subsequently lower calorie intake.

Specifically, weight loss trials with spinach extract conclude a ~40% greater weight loss after 3 months of supplementation compared to placebo. The main reason for this was said to be a reduction in cravings for sweets and chocolate, decreasing by 80-95% [5]. This satiety and weight loss benefit is also demonstrated in other animal studies [6].

These types of studies would have to be replicated for the findings to be deemed reliable, as such a huge increase in weight loss is uncommon when compared to similar weight-loss supplements.

As a side note, it is good to know that unlike some prescription drugs, thylakoids do not completely prevent fat digestion. This will partially avoid the negative side effects such as fatty stools and stomach cramps that are seen with similar, yet stronger medications. Depending on the individual they may still be experienced to a mild extent.

How To Take Spinach Extract?

The recommended dose of spinach extract is about ~5 grams per day, ideally taken with a meal.

If you would like to be very specific with your diet and supplementation, it may provide some additional benefit to use spinach extract at high-fat meals due to its main effect on slowing down the digestion of fat.

Keep in mind, results from this supplement will only be seen provided your overall nutrition and exercise is in place to achieve a caloric deficit and initiate weight loss. As the name implies, this weight loss “supplement” should be used to “supplement” the diet once calorie and nutrient intakes are already being properly managed.

Spinach Extract Safety And Side Effects

There are currently no serious side effects associated with the consumption of spinach extract, and healthy individuals can take this supplement at the recommended dosage without concern.

In some people it may have a mild effect on lowering insulin levels and increasing blood sugar levels, however this would only be to a small degree [7]. Diabetics may still wish to closely monitor their blood sugar levels when they begin taking this supplement to ensure no issues occur. Future research can clarify the exact safety risk of spinach extract for those with diabetes.

Conclusion

Spinach extract is a weight loss supplement made from spinach leaves, with claims it can reduce hunger levels and food intake.

Research on the supplement shows slight increase in satiety hormones such as leptin, partially induced by the thylakoids inhibition of fat digestion.

To our current knowledge, spinach extract appears very safe, however there is currently a lack of research on the supplement so safety cannot be guaranteed.

If you are wanting to try this supplement, it is recommended to take it in the immediate period before a high-fat meal at a dose of 5 grams.

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.