Grains of Paradise, scientifically known as Aframomum meleguata, is an herb whose seeds have commonly been used to give dishes a bit of a kick, but in recent years, Grains of Paradise has become a common addition to weight loss supplements, with several studies to back up those claims. Let’s take a closer look at this herb and how it can potentially help you slim down.
What is Grains of Paradise?
Grains of Paradise is a herb native to West Africa and actually belongs to the same botanical family as ginger. The Grains of Paradise plant has traditionally been used in African medicine as a powerful antioxidant and to treat digestive and intestinal issues and certain symptoms of diabetes.
The seeds of the Grains of Paradise are reddish-brown in color. These seeds have a spicy, peppery taste, making it great for adding a little heat to your meals, but to those with weight loss in mind, that warmth means some big potential for shedding pounds.
How Grains of Paradise Works
To understand how Grains of Paradise can help you burn fat, you first have to understand fat, or adipose tissue, in the human body. You have two forms of adipose tissue in your body: white and brown. White adipose tissue comprises large, round cells comprising a drop of lipids (fat) surrounded by cytoplasm and nucleus. White fat cells are designed to store energy for later, like if you haven’t eaten enough or used your existing energy stores. White adipose tissue is mainly located around the waist and thighs.
Brown adipose tissue are smaller in diameter and consist of several small lipid droplets. Brown adipose tissue is essentially designed to keep the body warm by burning calories, a process known as thermogenesis. In cold weather, brown fat reserves get depleted, leading you to start shivering. That’s why babies don’t often shiver. They have more brown adipose tissue than adults. Brown fat tissue is mainly found around the neck.
What does this have to do with Grains of Paradise? Studies with human clinical trials have found that a Grains of Paradise extract can effectively help white adipose tissue turn into brown adipose tissue. When activated, brown adipose tissue increases your overall energy expenditure, leading to greater weight loss. Brown adipose tissue can also improve metabolism of glucose and lipids.
One of the main ingredients in Grains of Paradise is 6-paradol. In studies, 6-paradol was the major ingredient that triggered thermogenic activity in brown adipose tissue.
The Studied Effects of Grains of Paradise on Weight Loss
In a four-week trial, researchers enlisted the help of 19 men, each of whom was given a 40 mg dose of Grains of Paradise extract a day. They were then cooled substantially—placed in an air-conditioned room with little clothing, feet placed atop ice blocks wrapped in cloth—for two hours, after which the researchers examined them for brown adipose tissue activation. The men were found to have increased brown adipose tissue activity, leading to a significant increase in energy expenditure.
In another four-week study, women were given either placebos or a capsule of Grains of Paradise extract to be taken before each meal. At the end of the four-week trial, those who took the Grains of Paradise extract experienced a decrease in fat in the lower abdomen. The group that took the placebo actually saw a slight increase in fat. This was all done without any extra exercise or dieting.
Paradoxine™ is the go-to Grains of Paradise extract, partly because the company producing it conduct actual human research using a placebo control. Paradoxine™ can be found in numerous weight loss and fat burner supplements, including Pyroxamine™ and Thyrovate™.