The media abounds with miracle supplements that may help you lose weight. However, much of it is hype and doesn’t help. The Senate’s consumer protection panel scolded Dr. Oz due to outrageous and unfounded claims of miracle pills to lose weight. Any time he mentioned a product, unscrupulous, fly by night manufacturers would scramble to make a product using minuscule amounts of the ingredient mentioned and marketed the product as approved by Dr. Oz. The FDA would eventually recall the products due to false claims, not having the amount of ingredient stated on the label, contamination or side effects. Many were laced with prescription drugs so buyer beware. Consumers continue to be duped. So how do you separate healthy weight loss supplements that work versus those that don’t? Look to sound studies and someone with knowledge and experience using them as well as knowledge of the manufacturer. It’s best to use a supplement tailored to your unique metabolism that also provide other benefits.
Healthy weight loss supplements that work
- 7 keto DHEA (7-keto dehydroepiandrosterone) can increase metabolism by raising the resting metabolic rate and free T3, the active thyroid hormone. It helps you burn more calories and change your body composition from fat to lean muscle mass and is in the class of healthy weight loss supplements.
- Green tea extract (Camellia sinensis) providing 270-432 mg of EGCG per day has been shown to reduce weight in people who are moderately obese. It may be stimulating due to its caffeine content, which may also boost brain function. Green tea is an anti oxidant, decreases the risk of cancer, improves blood flow and cholesterol and may prevent cardiovascular disease making it one of the most healthy weight loss supplements around.
- Forskolin (ForsLean™ 250 mg of 10% CF extract) has been shown to reduce hunger, decrease body fat and increase lean muscle and bone mass and raise free testosterone levels. These are positive benefits worth mentioning, however it did not increase weight loss. Body composition is a more important measure of health. Since muscle is increased and weighs more than fat, it may not be showing up on the scale. The studies were short term and no information is available for long term use.
Not so healthy weight loss supplements
- Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium L or Sour Orange) contains a stimulant called synephrine. This may cause or worsen high blood pressure and increase heart rate. Be careful in the sun as it may cause a photosensitivity reaction. These side effects make it among the not so healthy weight loss supplements.
- Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) has not shown any weight loss benefit and may cause increases in blood pressure, heart rate, nausea and vomiting.
- Stimulant laxatives may cause a temporary weight loss due to loss of water, minerals and electrolytes. However continuous use may result in dehydration and loss of important minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. Abuse has led to kidney failure and even death in some. Therefore these are not healthy weight loss supplements.
There is no magic bullet for weight loss. Getting to understand and address your metabolism and the underlying reason for weight gain is the key for successful weight loss and maintaining that loss. These issues can be lack of sleep, food sensitivities, metabolic disorders such as inflammation, hormone imbalances and metabolic syndrome markers (high blood sugar, high triglycerides, increased waist to hip ratio, high blood pressure and low HDL). Healthy weight loss supplements may help for short term use and aid weight loss but are not a substitute for a healthy diet, exercise and correcting any underlying medical issues. Be sure to get a functional medicine assessment so you can look and feel your best and lose weight safely and effectively.