Antagolin – does it work? Unlikely.

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Posted 29 October 2013

antagolin We are being bombarded on television for an advert that claims, among other, that the product can combat insulin resistance and thereby result in effective weight loss.

On the Antagolin website, a product designed by the “Medical Nutritional Institute”, the following claims are made:

  • AntaGolin™ may help to alleviate insulin resistance and assist you gain better control over your weight.
  • AntaGolin™ consists of a compilation of natural agents that have been recognised for their ability to alleviate insulin resistance. Its mechanism of action comprises the simultaneous targeting of multiple metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in glucose and fat metabolism, as well as the optimal functioning of insulin.

Notice the word, “may help”. Well it either does, or it does not. Is it fair to sell you a product that “may” help if it only works for 10% of people.

What is the truth?

Well actually, on face value, fairly simple:

  1. There is not a single published peer-reviewed study to show that this product, i.e., the mix of ingredients, has any benefit as made in the claims.
  2. There is no evidence for 3 of the ingredients that demonstrate that they are support any of the claims, and for the 4th ingredient, there is some evidence that it may work in some studies, and not in others: but, and a very big BUT – the dose used by Antagolin is small compared to that tested in research! In other words, there is not really good evidence that Chromium reduces insulin resistance, nor obesity, AND Antagolin uses a very small dose compared to what was tested! WTF?

Let us examine the evidence for this product in more detail, and you can come to your own conclusions.

The composition for Antagolin is given as:

Two tablets contain:

  • Insul-X2™ (Contains berberine) 30 mg
  • Banaba leaf extract 840 mg
  • Inositol 60 mg
  • Chromium 140 mcg

Use: 1-2 tablets twice a day with meals.

There are two main sources one can examine for evidence for these ingredients and their effectiveness (although there are others, these are the most significant).

PubMed:PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD) (“Unbiased, Scientific Clinical Information on Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Therapies“)

Evidence for:

Insul-X2™ (Contains berberine) 30 mg

In NMCD: No effectiveness rating, or mention of use for insulin resistance / obesity

In PubMed: For Berberine, there is a fair amount of research with berberine in rats, mice, and a bit in diabetes but very little in insulin resistance and obesity – none confirming the claims and in particularly at the dose being used. 

Banaba leaf extract 840 mg

In NMCD: No effectiveness rating, or mention of use for insulin resistance / obesity

In PubMed: For Banana leaf extract, only two relevant papers found. Neither supported the claims, the most recent concluding that there is no clear evidence that it is beneficial, the correct dose has not been established, and “Finally, additional acute and subchronic animal safety studies are needed.” 

Inositol 60 mg

In NMCD: No effectiveness rating, or mention of use for insulin resistance / obesity

In PubMed: For Inositol, there are only three relevant studies. One found NO benefit in adolescence patients, the two others found some benefit, but using massive dosages compared to Antagolin which uses Inositol 60 mg versus myo-inositol 2,000 mg twice a day. (1) (2) 

Chromium 140 mcg

In NMCD: Some evidence of being “possibly effective” in decreasing fasting blood glucose, insulin levels. Assessed as “possibly ineffective” for impaired glucose tolerance (Prediabetes).

However, the dosages were considerably higher than used in Antagolin (Chromium 140 mcg versus 400 mcg twice daily, i.e., 240 mcg versus 800 mcg – 1,000 mcg per day)

Significantly, NMCD states that chromium supplements don’t seem to improve glucose tolerance in elderly patients with impaired glucose tolerance. NMCD group of experts conclude that there is “insufficient reliable evidence to rate” for Obesity, concluding that “there is conflicting evidence about the effect of chromium on weight loss and obesity. “Some clinical research shows that taking chromium picolinate orally might produce modest weight loss of about 1.1 kg compared to placebo when taken over 72-90 days (11962). But other research has found no benefit (6860,13727,17224). Two clinical studies show that taking chromium picolinate 400 mcg/day for 12 weeks does not significantly affect body composition, resting metabolic rate, plasma glucose, serum insulin, or serum lipids in overweight military personnel or obese women (6860,13727). Another preliminary clinical study shows that overweight adults taking 1000 mcg/day do not have significantly reduced body mass index (BMI) or central adiposity compared to placebo after 24 weeks (17224)“.

But remember, there is a significant difference in the dose being used!

In PubMed: For Chromium, there are a number of studies finding some benefit in insulin resistance and obesity, but many that do not. However, the significant fact is that very large doses were used compared to Antagolin (e.g., Chromium 140 mcg versus 500 μg twice a day,  i.e., 240 mcg versus 800 mcg – 1,000 mcg per day).

So what is your impression and verdict?

Ours: There is NO proof that this product makes any difference to your weight except to lighten the weight of money in your pocket.


Dr Ingrid van Heerden (DietDoc) or Health24 comes to a similar conclusion, but brings in a number of other aspects including whether there is sufficient evidence that this product is safe (is not proven)

MedicalNutriInstManageThe Medical Nutritional Institute (MNI) was founded in 2002 by a doctor (Conrad Smith) and a pharmacist (Mariaan du Plessis)

Oh the irony! Dr Conrad Smith has written an article for the South African Journal of Natural Medicine entitled “Childhood obesity – science and pseudoscience

 Previous ASA complaints (the complaints were not about whether the product works or not)

  1. Antagolin Insulin Resistance Formula / A Dormer / 16260
    (was linked to http://asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5443&Keyword=Antagolin but MNI’s High Court action has resulted in the ASA stripping this ruling from their website)
  2. Antagolin / I Wilkins / 18885 (was linked to http://asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5941&Keyword=Antagolin but MNI’s High Court action has resulted in the ASA stripping this ruling from their website)

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12 Responses to Antagolin – does it work? Unlikely.

  1. may mohamed 10 December, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    i am taking antagolin for two months with a high protein diet.
    what does the antagolan do and how does it help

  2. Harris 10 December, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    @May
    The advertisement claims to help you lose weight. As we argue in the posting, there is no evidence that these claims are true. In other words, if you lose weight, it will be only because of you being on a diet and not because of any help from the product.

  3. Annatjie 28 May, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    I want to know whether you need your sugarlevels BEFORE start using antagolin My son is OVERWEIGHT which mostly around the belly?waiste

    Thank you

    • Harris 28 May, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      @Annatjie
      There is no evidence that Antagolin works

  4. Amelda 17 November, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    My sister-in-law has been using this product for the last 6 months and has lost 8kg’s in total. She is totally satisfied with it. I am going to give it a try as well, guess it depends from person to person!

    • Nessa 22 January, 2021 at 7:30 am #

      Dear Amelda
      How did Antagolin work with you? How is your sister doing after using it…has she keot rhe weight off or does she still use Antagolin?

  5. Travers Harris 20 May, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    I have been diabetic now for more than 20 years. After 10 years tablets no longer work and I inject myself times a day with insulin. 20 years ago I was told by my doctor that it is incurable and I must start with drugs. The truth is diabetes can be reversed and healed with proper nutrition and exercise. Had I known what I know today about diabetes I would not even have visited a doctor. They do not even know what food a diabetic should eat. Antagolin will do absolutely nothing without a proper diet. Even the dietitians do not have the answers, not in SA anyway.

    • Harris 20 May, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      @Readers
      It has been known for decades that Type II diabetes can be reversed with proper nutrition. Type I unfortunately mostly not.

  6. Jason 9 September, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    So it goes on and on… people getting sucked into buying more rubbish that doesn’t work…the medical industry loves the overweight people (diabetes, heart problems etc..) a customer cured is a customer lost.

    You gained the weight by what you eat, you can lose weight by what you eat.

    To all those that are saying it works, my question is..what happens when you stop taking the supplement, does it magically keep the weight off or are you going to gain it back when you stop.
    My opinion..we all want a quick fix, we all want a pill to take our worries away.
    People don’t see whats wrong with the picture here. So go ahead, waste your money.

    Jason..ACE certified trainer and Manager of Health food shop. Specializes in healthy weight gain and weight loss.

  7. Paul 2 November, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    First off, I’m a scientist. Secondly, I have had DM1 for 35 years. Thirdly, I have been on the Banting diet for about a year, although, being DM1, I have of course followed a low carb diet since 1980 which most normal individuals would find difficult to maintain and yet I am overweight, not massively, but overweight.
    The naive view that it’s all down to what you eat is becoming tiresome since, for the last few months, I have modified that diet even further to a small but LCHF breakfast and then nothing again, bar a meagre evening snack. Most people would become anorexic on such a starvation diet. Thanks to the original Banting diet, I lost 6Kg quite quickly however, thereafter I hit a wall. I have therefore not managed to kick start a ketotic metabolism. Even on the starvation diet (well, I wasn’t really starving as the HF component of the breakfast kept me satiated throughout the day – it is amazing how much the world overeats, no doubt largely driven by the high sugar content of food), I failed to lose more weight. It occurred to me that, apart from being DM1, I was also insulin resistant, in other words DM2.
    The problem is that, as Tim Noakes points out, it is the elevated insulin levels from high carb diets that drives insulin resistance. Weight loss is a consequence of the diet he advocates, but it is not why he suggests one should follow it but, instead, with the purpose of avoiding insulin overproduction and thereby reducing the risk of IR and DM2. However, as a DM1, my islets were, of course, not producing insulin, but the exogenous insulin that I have been dosing for 35 years is just as capable of promoting IR. Endocrinologists (I have seen a fair number) ALL do not get this. They look at HBA1c levels, draw little pharmacokinetic curves on their notepads and increase one’s insulin dose and so the vicious cycle continues. They treat the glucose, not the disease.
    I have started taking Antagolin and yes, I AM sceptical – that is the nature of a scientist – but I observed an almost immediate effect on blood sugar levels, with sustained euglycaemia despite avoiding an insulin dose I would have normally taken with my evening snack due to my caution to avoid nocturnal hypoglycaemia. Despite this, my morning blood glucose levels have been normal for the first time in a long time. It is as if my maintenance basal dose of insulin is more effective than ever before and I have started dialling this back. Of course, I haven’t yet seen weight loss – it is too early for that – and I will reserve my judgement until all the data is in. I realise this is anecdotal and not a randomised trial, but if initial results are sustained then, at least for me, I would continue with the Antagolin. Side effects are of course a main concern, but so is IR and uncontrolled blood glucose levels.

    Oh, and please, 140µg x 2 = 280µg, unless chromium avoids the laws of physics!

  8. Susan Ackerman 4 October, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    May I ask if it will help me control the craving for sweet things??

  9. Cristen 2 April, 2021 at 8:24 pm #

    I have lost 10kgs with this and I am not on any diet. I would go into low blood sugar if I didn’t eat every 3 hours or so and now that never happens anymore. I am also don’t feel the extreme hunger I used to feel so this product definitely works for me

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