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Prickly Pear extract and Weight Loss – Proactol Studies By Matt Denos, PhD


Proactol and Prickly Pear Extract


Proactol is a completely natural medicinal product extracted from a type of prickly pear cactus, Opuntia ficus indica. 


This species seems to have originated in Mexico. It is cultivated there and in other arid climates for its nopales – the green pad segments of the plant; for its clodades – the flattened stems; and for its tunas – the plump, sweet fruit that varies in color from soft green to orange-yellow. 


All over the world, from Northern Africa to Australia, from Egypt to South America, the watermelon-flavored fruit of the prickly pear is used to produce delicacies such as marmalades, candies and liqueurs. The cactus pads are sometimes used as cattle feed, providing both nutrition and hydration.


However, it is the health imparting qualities of Opuntia ficus indica that have caught the attention of the neutraceutical industry. Cactus fruits have high levels of amino acids, especially proline and taurine, and

are also rich in vitamin C, magnesium and calcium.


In addition, animal studies have shown that consumption of the nopales and clodades lowered levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol by as much as 34% without affecting good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Furthermore, it has been discovered that Opuntia’s insoluble and soluble fibers naturally block fat absorption and slow down the absorption of sugar. 


A proprietary process was used to extract a fiber complex from dehydrated prickly pears, resulting in a patented medicinal herb known as NeOpuntia.  It is the active ingredient in Proactol, a commercially marketed diet pill.  NeOpuntia binds lipids in the intestine and prevents their absorption, thus minimizing the calories contributed from fat.  The overall energy value of food is not adversely affected. 


Proactol has been put through numerous clinical studies conducted by InQpharm and other independent laboratories, and its safety and efficacy have been proven time and again. 



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Proactol clinical studies


Study #1: Proactol’s Fat-Binding Properties Tested In A Gastrointestinal Model


An early hypothesis about the key to NeOpuntia’s effectiveness was that it prevented the ingested lipids from

being absorbed as the gastrointestinal tract processed the food bolus.

Nutrients consist of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids (fats), and can only be absorbed in water-soluble form.  But unlike protein and carbohydrates, lipids are not water-soluble.  So how do humans absorb lipids after eating a meal?  The gallbladder contracts and bile salts are discharged.  The bile salts are able to bind the molecules of fat and transform them into micelles, which are water-soluble spheres that act as a passport into the bloodstream.  This is accomplished through emulsifying the lipids by enclosing them in a sphere coated with bile salts.  The intestinal wall can easily absorb the micelles.  NeOpuntia disrupts the emulsification process by binding the lipids and preventing their being coated with bile salts. 


A TNO-gastrointestinal model was employed to test the theory about NeOpuntia’s ability to bind lipids in the digestive tract.  This is a device that accurately simulates the digestive processes that occur inside the

stomach and small intestine.  For this study, two TNO models simulated the digestion of a standard American breakfast.  Food was placed in the models and allowed to “digest” for four hours.  In the control model, the

lipids in the meal were coated with bile salts and micelles were formed, mimicking a healthy digestive process.  In the test model, 2 grams of NeOpuntia were added, which prevented absorption of 23% of the lipids

contained in the meal. 


Study #2: Proactol’s Effect On Human Fat Excretion


In the second study, ten healthy volunteers were selected to further test NeOptuntia’s lipid binding properties during the meal digestion process.  The previous study with TNO models had already proven that when

the patented NeOpuntia formula was consumed with a meal, it would bind the lipids.  The second study sought to show that the fat-binding properties of the formula would block those lipids from being absorbed by the small intestine. A positive result would be proven in this way: a measurable excess of fat in the feces, a condition known as steatorrhea. 


The study group consisted of 5 women and 5 men with a body mass index (BMI) of 23.3 kg/m2.  They were divided at random into two groups. In order to ensure that the dietary fat for each group was identical, all participants followed a standardized diet.  Both groups consumed a meal rich in fat, along with a 1.6-gram

capsule of the test material. 


The NeOpuntia group’s capsule contained the patented fiber formula and the Control group was given a placebo.


The feces of both groups were examined and it was determined that the NeOpuntia group had a mean increase of excreted fat of 27.4%.  Furthermore, no adverse side effects were experienced by any of the participants. 


These results showed that NeOpuntia binds and prevents the absorption of lipids in the human gastrointestinal tract. 


Study #3:  Use Of Proactol Does Not Result In Vitamin Deficiency


Each gram of fat has the energy equivalent of 9 calories, while the same quantity of protein or carbohydrate has an energy load of only 4 calories.  Fat blockers are powerful tools in the fight against obesity.  This is due to their ability to inhibit the absorption of lipids, which are the type of nutrient with the most calories. 


Lipids have their place in the digestive system, however.  They are necessary for the successful absorption of Vitamins A and E, which are fat-soluble, and are usually taken up by the small intestine along

with the fat. 


Therefore, fat blockers risk causing vitamin deficiency.  In fact, Alli, a popular fat blocker available over the counter, causes a 60% reduction in vitamin E absorption.


In order to discover whether NeOpuntia had a similarly negative effect on fat-soluble vitamins, a simple test was conducted:  the patented fiber complex was added to sunflower oil containing the average daily intake of vitamins A and E.  The mixture was put into a TNO gastrointestinal model to recreate the human digestive tract’s physiological conditions.  The results showed that vitamins A and E did not bind to NeOpuntia. 


The patented fiber complex had no impact on the fat-soluble vitamins’ physiological levels and did not interfere with their absorption.


Study #4:  Proactol’s Satiety Effect On Appetite


A study was conducted in Berlin, Germany, with the goal of assessing the effect of NeOpuntia on appetite in human test subjects.  Two groups of Caucasian subjects were randomly separated into a NeOpuntia group and a Control Group. 


For the purpose of this study, the participants adhered to a specified diet, consisting of a daily intake of 2500 calories.  This was to eliminate variations in diet, which would affect results.


After following the diet plan for 3 days, which included consumption of NeOpuntia – Proactol’s patented ingredient – average body weight of the NeOpuntia group decreased by 1.7 lbs, a significant amount.  The

decrease in weight corresponded to an observed increase in fat excreted in the feces. 


In addition, 80% of the NeOpuntia group subjects reported increased feelings of satiety.  By contrast, the Control group subjects who

had received only placebos did not report feelings of satiety.


Study #5:  Proactol’s Effect on Metabolic Syndrome


Metabolic Syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, affects one out of every four people.  The International Diabetes Federation describes the syndrome as a cluster of medical disorders that put a person at risk for

heart attack.  These disorders include:  abdominal obesity, elevated fasting glucose levels, elevated triglycerides, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and high blood pressure. 


To determine whether NeOpuntia can mitigate Metabolic Syndrome, a placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted in the summer of 2006 in France. The results of this study were confirmed one year later by another similar study published in the peer reviewed journal Advances in Therapy.


Sixty-eight women, forty-two of whom were over age 45, were recruited to participate in the study.  All of the recruits had Metabolic Syndrome.  Half of the test subjects consumed one capsule of NeOpuntia within an hour of each meal, three times each day.  Each capsule contained 1.6 grams of the Opuntia patented fiber complex. 


The control group, which consisted of the other half of the test subjects, followed the same regimen, but they were administered placebo capsules.  Both groups consumed a daily balanced diet amounting to 2000 calories and engaged in 30 minutes of exercise each day. 


After 42 days on the protocol, blood lipid parameters were

measured.  These included Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


The daily exercise and balanced diet had the following effect on the control group:  decrease in overall cholesterol levels both LDL (bad) and HDL (good.)  In spite of the cholesterol level decrease, Metabolic

Syndrome still affected 92% of the control group by the end of the study.

By contrast, the NeOpuntia group exhibited a sizeable increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. 


This was a significant finding due to the lower cardiovascular risk associated with the presence of High Density Lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol.  Triglyceride levels, blood pressure and waist circumference were all reduced in the NeOpuntia group.  At the end of the study, a full 39% of the NeOpuntia group no longer had Metabolic



The biological mechanisms by which the patented fiber complex NeOpuntia mitigates Metabolic Syndrome remain unknown.  The answer may lie in the high fiber content of the various parts of the prickly pear cactus – the nopales, clodades and tunas.  Powerful antioxidants present in the cactus, such as lutein and carotenoids, may

also be a significant contributing factor.




Popular weight loss programs in the US, such as Medifast and Nutrisystem—also known for their sought after Medifast online coupons $50 and Nutrisystem savings coupons —cannot cite scientific proof of efficacy like the one shown for Proactol. 


Based on the lipid-binding properties of the patented fiber complex derived from Opuntia ficus indica, the world of naturally-induced weight loss has been revolutionized by the advent of Proactol.  Backed by scientific research and controlled laboratory studies, Proactol has emerged as a safe, non-addictive and effective diet pill for achieving weight loss and restoring optimum health. 



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