Health Benefits of White Kidney Bean Extract

White kidney bean extract may help with weight management

Woman holding white beans
Jessica Peterson/Getty Images
Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

If you have been searching for that magical combination of nutrients and bioactive compounds that can finally help you reach your weight goals, you are not alone. Americans spend more than $2 billion a year on weight-loss supplements.

White kidney bean extract, also known as Phaseolus vulgaris extract or common bean extract, comes from the white kidney bean, a legume native to Central America and South America. White kidney bean extract is sold as a weight-loss supplement that blocks the absorption of starch in food—carbohydrates.

The extract stops the actions of alpha-amylase, which is the enzyme the body uses to break down carbohydrates. Stopping the enzyme prevents the breakdown and absorption of starch in food.

Health Benefits

White kidney bean extract is said to offer a slew of health benefits, including weight loss, appetite control, and decreasing abdominal fat. Although, there is some promising research that white kidney bean extract may provide some help with weight management, more research is needed. Here is what you need to know about the potential health benefits of white kidney bean extract.

Weight Management

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, there is some evidence that white kidney bean extract may help with weight loss and reduction of body fat. However, the research methods evaluating these supplements as an aid for weight loss are inconsistent.

A 2020 review article published in Nutrients looked at the evidence supporting the claims that white kidney bean extract can help with weight loss. The authors of this review concluded that the dietary supplement may promote small amounts of weight loss—about 5 pounds—over a 30- to 90-day period. They also noted that the supplement worked best when combined with a high-carbohydrate diet.

A clinical trial published in 2020 in Food Science and Nutrition also found that supplementation with white kidney bean extract improved weight loss in a group of weight-challenged individuals better than a placebo.

In this study, participants were given 2,400 milligrams of white kidney bean extract before each meal or a placebo for 35 days. At the end of the 35 days, the supplement group lost about 5 pounds, while the placebo group lost about 1 pound.

Glycemic Control

Carbohydrates are a major nutrient found in foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. During digestion, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which serves as the main source of energy for all the cells in your body.

Some forms of carbohydrates get broken down faster than others, causing a spike in blood sugar. These are known as high-glycemic foods. Rapid spikes in blood sugar cause the body to release more insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas that helps get the sugar from the blood into the cell.

When a person eats more carbohydrates than they can use for fuel or store for later energy, they are stored as fat. White kidney bean extract works by blocking the enzyme that breaks carbohydrates down into glucose during digestion. A review study from 2011 found that supplementing with white kidney bean extract reduced blood sugar spikes by decreasing carbohydrate absorption, thereby reducing the glycemic effect.

The authors suggest that by lowering the glycemic effect of high-glycemic foods, white kidney bean extract may prevent increases in blood insulin levels, reducing risk of insulin resistance, which is a precursor to the development of type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus.

Reduction in Abdominal Fat

Abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, is the fat that surrounds all the vital organs in the abdominal cavity. Accumulation of abdominal fat is linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and high blood pressure.

It’s not clear whether supplementing with white kidney bean extract helps reduce abdominal fat or not. In the 2020 clinical study, the researchers noted a significant decrease in subcutaneous fat and waist circumference following the 35-day intervention.

However, the studies included in the 2020 review found mixed results. Meanwhile, both review studies from 2011 and 2020 noted that supplementation with white kidney bean extract had no effect on appetite, hunger, or energy levels. 

Reduce Risk of Cancer

There’s no evidence that white kidney bean extract reduces risk of cancer. However, this health claim may be related to the health benefits associated with common beans. So, not the extract, but the whole bean itself.

A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical and randomized controlled trials published in Nutrients looked at the health benefits of common beans. As far as reducing risk of cancer, the authors of this review say there’s not enough evidence to support these claims. 

Possible Side Effects

There have been no serious adverse effects of white kidney bean extract supplementation in the clinical trials. However, long-term effects are unknown. Possible side effects from white kidney bean extract include headaches, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

Most of the gastrointestinal side effects are due to the supplements ability to inhibit digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates in the small intestine. Despite these side effects, most participants in the clinical trials tolerated the white extract supplements well, even at high doses.

Dosage and Preparation

There’s no set dosage for white kidney bean extract. However, clinical studies used doses ranging from 445 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams per day. You can find white kidney bean extract supplements in capsule and powdered form. Read the Supplement Facts label for dosage and preparation recommendations. 

For example, labels may advise that you take two capsules (1,000 milligrams) twice a day before meals or 3/4 teaspoon (1,500 milligrams) once a day before meals with water. Before adding any dietary supplement to your daily routine, consult with healthcare provider for guidance.

What to Look For

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness like it does for medications. It’s up to the supplement maker to prove their product is safe before it’s made available to the public.

For your safety, look for dietary supplements with trusted third party labels—such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab—to make sure you are getting a supplement that’s been properly tested. 

You also want to closely examine the ingredients in your supplement, including the active ingredients. The active ingredients in supplements have physiological effects on your body that may cause adverse reactions or interact with other supplements or medications. 

Avoid any dietary supplement that makes claims about easing symptoms or curing a disease. It’s illegal for supplement makers to market their products as a treatment or cure for any disease, according to the FDA.

It's also important to note that white kidney bean extract isolates the amylase inhibitors from the bean. Consequently, you may wonder if eating the bean can block the breakdown of carbohydrates as well as the supplement does.

Soaking and cooking common beans significantly decreases the amount of amylase inhibitor, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology. This study found that soaking white kidney beans decreases the amylase inhibitor by 5% to 10%. Meanwhile, cooking reduces it by 80% to 93%.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I take white kidney bean extract?

    Read the supplement facts label to determine when you should take white kidney bean extract. In the studies, participants took the white kidney bean extract supplement once or twice a day before high-carbohydrate meals.

  • How does white kidney bean extract block carbs?

    White kidney bean extract contains an amylase inhibitor. Amylase is an enzyme your digestive system uses to break down carbohydrates. Taking white kidney bean extract blocks the actions of this enzyme, preventing the digestive system from breaking down the carbs for absorption.

  • How does white kidney bean extract affect the liver?

    There’s no evidence that white kidney bean extract affects the liver in a negative or positive manner. A 2020 study published in Food Science and Nutrition investigated the effects of daily intake of white kidney bean extract on various health parameters in a group of people with weight challenges.

    The researchers tested liver function before and after supplementation and found no significant differences in liver function or health.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplements for weight loss.

  2. Nolan R, Shannon OM, Robinson N, Joel A, Houghton D, Malcomson FC. It's no has bean: A review of the effects of white kidney bean extract on body composition and metabolic health. Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1398. doi:10.3390/nu12051398

  3. Wang S, Chen L, Yang H, Gu J, Wang J, Ren F. Regular intake of white kidney beans extract (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) induces weight loss compared to placebo in obese human subjects. [published correction appears in Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Sep 30;8(10):5763]. Food Sci Nutr. 2020;8(3):1315-1324. doi:10.1002/fsn3.1299

  4. Barrett ML, Udani JK. A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control. Nutr J. 2011;10:24. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-24

  5. Hairston KG, Vitolins MZ, Norris JM, Anderson AM, Hanley AJ, Wagenknecht LE. Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: The IRAS Family StudyObesity (Silver Spring). 2012;20(2):421-427. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.171

  6. Nchanji EB, Ageyo OC. Do common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) promote good health in humans? A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical and randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2021;13(11):3701. doi:10.3390/nu13113701

  7. Food and Drug Administration. FDA 101: Dietary supplements.

  8. Shi L, Mu K, Arntfield SD, Nickerson MT. Changes in levels of enzyme inhibitors during soaking and cooking for pulses available in Canada. J Food Sci Technol. 2017;54(4):1014-1022. doi:10.1007/s13197-017-2519-6

  9. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. Amylase - blood.

By Jill Corleone, RD
Jill is a registered dietitian who's been learning and writing about nutrition for more than 20 years.