Modern society today is facing an epidemic of overweightness and obesity, as one-third of the world population is affected; and this ratio is on the rise. During the past two decades, the number of children who are overweight has doubled. Characterized by an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation, obesity is considered a serious threat to health. Both general obesity and abdominal obesity increase mortality risk. Usually, body mass index (BMI), which is a simple index to classify overweightness and obesity in adults, is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2). As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), BMI≥25 is considered overweight and a BMI≥30 is considered obese. In 2005, approximately 1.6 billion people older than 15 years in the world were overweight and at least 400 million people suffered from obesity and at least 20 million children younger than 5 years were overweight. Nowadays, overweightness and obesity is increasing in low and middle-income countries.
The main cause of obesity and overweightness is an imbalance of caloric intake and caloric output. Obesity can lead to serious consequences, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and cancers such as endometrial cancer, breast and colon cancer.
For weight loss and treatment of obesity there are several pharmacological and non- pharmacological treatments. However, none of these treatments have definite outcomes. In traditional schools of medicine such as in India, cumin has been used in weight-loss compounds, apparently due to its thermogenic effect, which helps increase the metabolic rate of the body resulting in breaking down fat molecules (lipolysis). According to the findings of recent research, cumin can neutralize free radicals and prevent the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, in vitro, cumin aldehydes present in cumin essential oil inhibit aldose reductase and alpha-glucosidase.
In a study, the effect of cumin (400μg/kg-1/day-1) on decreasing food intake and weight loss were compared with the anti-obesity effects of sibutramine (3mg/kg-1/day-1) in rats. Based on the results of this 25-day study, compared with the control group, in both groups of cumin and sibutramine, food intake, plasma leptin, glucose, insulin resistance and fat were decreased (P<0.005). Researchers concluded that cumin has anti-obesity effects similar to sibutramine, and it does not seem that its effects are due to inhibiting ARCNPY neurons.
To evaluate the effects of daily use of zireh and limutorsh soft capsules on weight loss and metabolic profile of overweight individuals, in a controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical trial on 74 overweight individuals between 15-65 years of age, after a two-week run-in period, the patients were randomly divided into two groups to either take 75 mg zireh and limutorsh soft capsule (24 individuals), or 25 mg zireh and limutorsh soft capsule (24 individuals) or placebo (24 individuals). The patients were asked to take for 8 weeks either the drug or the placebo 2 times per day, with their lunch or dinner (zireh soft capsule half an hour before and lime soft capsule after their meal). Weight change and BMI were recorded in the three groups after the intervention. Biochemical measures were carried out before and after the intervention, including metabolic profiles, plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) and total glutathione (GSH).
Based on the results of this study, at the end of the survey, in patients receiving the 75 mg dose, the 25 mg dose of zireh and limutorsh soft capsules and the placebo weight change was 2.1±1.7, 1.2±1.5 and 0.3±1.3 kg, and change in BMI was 0.8±0.6, 0.5±0.5 and 0.1±0.5 kg/m2, respectively. Changes in the both test groups were significant compared to the placebo group; however, the difference between the two test groups was almost significant. Furthermore, the use of 75 mg zireh and limutorsh pearls resulted in significant decrease in fasting blood sugar (-20.9±25.5 as opposed to -7.8±16.8 and 4.6±14.3 mg/dL, p<0.001), significant increase in insulin sensitivity (0.02±0.02 as opposed to 0.01±0.02 and 0.01±0.01, p=0.008), significant reduction in triglyceride levels (-14.1±56.2 as opposed to 13.9±36.8 and 10.6±25.1 mg/dL, p=0.03), total cholesterol (-18.4±28.6 as opposed to 8.6±28.5 and 1.0±24.8 mg/dL, p=0.004) and LDL cholesterol (11.8±20.7 as opposed to 6.5±23.2 and 2.9±20.4 mg/dL, p=0.01), in comparison with the 25 mg dose of zireh and limutorsh soft capsule and placebo. The researchers concluded that, on the whole, the use of 25 mg zireh and limutorsh pearl for 8 weeks has beneficial effects in weight reduction and the use of the 75 mg dose, apart from weight reduction, has a role in improving metabolic profiles in overweight individuals, compared to the control group.