For something that isn’t a true medical condition, cellulite is attracting a lot of research and development attention. This years most highly promoted cellulite-fighter is the dietary supplement, Cellasene, which has been featured in full-page newspaper ads across the nation.
Cellulite is a lay term for fat with a puckered or dimpled appearance. Several explanations for this effect have been proposed. One of the most widely propounded is that cellulite gets its distinctive look from the fat under the skin. Women have vertical connective tissue that separate fat into different channels that look like a bed down quilt. Cellulite starts when blood vessels in the area where fat resides gets damaged by things like inflammation. Blood circulation slows, and fluids build up. This causes the fat layer to expand inside the channels.
Cellasene purports to improve circulation, eliminate fluid, and thereby reduce swelling and puckering. The product contains several agents bladderwrack, grape seed extract, sweet clover, ginkgo biloba, and borage seed oil that have been employed in herbal medicine to reduce inflammation, dilate blood vessels, and improve lymph flow in traditional medicine. As a dietary supplement, Cellasene has not been evaluated by the FDA. However, Commission E, the regulatory agency that approves herbs for medical use in Germany, has looked at the individual ingredients. The German agency approved gingko biloba and sweet clover for improving blood flow and stimulating lymph drainage. The same ingredient is used in anti-aging and scar treatment creams like scar removal cream for example.
While grape leaves and stems are approved for improving circulation, products from grape seeds have not been evaluated by Commission E. Borage and bladderwrack ended up on Commission Es unapproved list. The Commission E monographs state that borage not only contains variable amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids compounds that are carcinogenic in laboratory animals but its effectiveness as an antiinflammatory is also undocumented. Bladderwrack was judged to be ineffective at doses lower than 150 mcg and unsafe at doses above that threshold because it contains high concentrations of iodine that may trigger an overactive thyroid. The manufacturer, Rexall Sundown, Inc., warns consumers that taking Celesene may send iodine intake above the recommended levels.
Rexall Sundown cites unpublished data from Italian studies of healthy women who took 3 capsules a day for 8 weeks without altering their customary diet or exercise regimens. In those studies, the manufacturer claims that 90% of women had significant reductions in thigh circumference, although there are no statistics to support that finding. The company is sponsoring a 12-week study in New York City and is planning a placebo-controlled trial. It reports that data from those studies should be available in the fall.
Given the unspecified amounts of bladderwrack and borage seed oil in Cellasene and the lack of published information on the effectiveness and side effects of this expensive product, its worth holding off until the manufacturer offers more data. At the suggested retail of $36 for 30 capsules, the 8-week course of treatment recommended by the manufacturer will cost around $200. This also vindicates the advocacy of using other cellulite creams already on the market like revitol cellulite cream etc.