It’s tempting to search for weight loss help wherever you can. You might think of herbal remedies or supplements, but research has mixed results on many of these. Some claims are not supported by science, while others pose health risks. Before you start any of these, talk to your doctor.
You should also know that some weight-loss products that contained prescription drugs were being regulated by the FDA. It’s impossible to know what you’re actually getting.
The FDA does not regulate supplements in the same manner as food and drugs. These supplements are not subject to FDA review for safety and efficacy before being released on the market.
This sugar is made from the hard outer layer of shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. It is believed to prevent fats and cholesterol from being absorbed by the body, according to some enthusiasts.
Is it effective in helping you lose weight? Natural Medicines, an independent review group that reviews research on supplements, states there isn’t enough evidence to rate it. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, chitosan is not effective in weight loss.
Although there are no side effects to chitosan, some people experience constipation or upset stomachs. Because chitosan is made from shellfish, it should be avoided if you have an allergy to shellfish
Chromium can be used to enhance insulin. This hormone is important for turning food into fuel. It is also necessary for the storage of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Some claim that chromium supplements may:
- Reduce your appetite
- This will help you to burn more calories
- Reduce your body fat
- Increase your muscle mass
A review of 24 studies found no significant benefits from 200 to 1000 micrograms of chrome per day. Natural Medicines suggest that chromium may be ineffective for weight loss.
Adults are generally safe with chromium supplements at a dose of fewer than 35 mg per day. Higher doses may cause:
- Problems thinking
Some people also have suffered kidney damages from taking chromium. If you have renal issues, you shouldn’t take it.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
It is a popular supplement that contains chemicals that are found in a fatty acid called linoleic acid. It is claimed to help reduce body fat and keep you full.
There is mixed research regarding CLA and weight loss. Some research suggests that CLA may be beneficial for weight loss in some individuals.
- Reduce body fat
- Increase muscle mass
However, other research has shown that it won’t help you lose weight.
Natural Medicines claims that CLA may be effective in weight loss.
Researchers warn that long-term insulin resistance may increase, particularly if you are obese. This makes it more likely that you will develop type 2 diabetes. You may also experience a decrease in “good” cholesterol, which can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
CLA can have side effects in some people such as:
- Set stomach
- Loose stool
It is made from konjac plants. It is similar to other dietary fibers and can help you lose weight by preventing fat from your food is absorbed into the body.
Although early research suggests it may be beneficial, other evidence does not support this conclusion.
Natural Medicines claims that there is not enough evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of glucomannan for weight loss.
You could get choked or blocked if you take glucomannan tablets.
- Esophagus (tube connecting the throat and the stomach).
- This supplement appears to be safer if it is taken as a capsule or powder.
Glucomannan can also make it more difficult for your body to absorb the medication. Take your medication either one hour before or four hours after using glucomannan.
Green Tea Extract
It works by:
- Raising calories and fat metabolism
- Natural Medicines claims that there isn’t enough evidence to evaluate its effectiveness.
High amounts of green Tea extract can cause side effects such as:
- Green Coffee Extract
Although preliminary research suggests that it might lead to modest weight loss (suppress appetite using these), early studies have not confirmed this. Natural Medicines claims that there isn’t enough evidence to prove it effective.
Although side effects are rare, there may be some.
- Stomach upset
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Guar Gum
This is the guar seed. It works in the same way as other dietary fibers to prevent fats from getting absorbed into your body, and it helps you feel full.
Guar gum is a fiber that has been extensively studied for its effectiveness in weight loss.
Natural Medicines agrees with Natural Medicines, and rates Guar Gum as “possibly ineffective.”
Side effects can include:
This plant is found in Africa’s the Kalahari Desert. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Bushmen used the stem of this root to reduce hunger and thirst during long hunts. It is now being marketed as an appetite suppressant.
Hoodia has P57. This ingredient is said to reduce appetite and help you feel full. However, there is no evidence to support its safety or effectiveness.
Natural Medicines claims there is no evidence that hoodia can be used.
It is naturally found in your body. This may help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, which means you can burn more calories every day.
A few small studies showed that 7-keto DHEA users lost more weight when they combined moderate exercise with 7-keto DHEA. This was in comparison to those who received a placebo (a dummy pill). Natural Medicines claims that there is not enough evidence to support its effectiveness.
This herb is also known as mahuang. This plant is different from the one that grows in North America. Ephedra is stimulant ephedrine.
It is closely related to the manmade compounds in certain drugs:
After serious side effects were reported, the FDA banned ephedra supplements.
- Heart attack
The FDA ban does not apply to traditional Chinese herbal remedies or products such as herbal teas.
FDA states that there is no evidence that the herb can help with weight loss other than for short term. According to the FDA, any health benefits outweigh any risks.
Natural Medicines states that ephedra can be “likely dangerous.”
The bitter orange tree is a native of Africa and tropical Asia. It can also be found in Florida, California, and the Mediterranean.
The bitter orange fruit rind is rich in synephrine which is a stimulant similar to ephedrine. It is believed to increase the number of calories burned.
Many manufacturers switched to bitter orange after the FDA banned weight loss products that contained ephedra. However, it isn’t clear if this is safer.
Natural Medicines states that bitter orange can be dangerous when taken as a supplement and it is not recommended for weight loss.
Studies have shown that bitter orange supplements can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Some people have reported side effects from bitter orange supplements, whether taken alone or in combination with other stimulants like caffeine. There are several risks:
- Unregular heartbeat
- Heart attack
According to the FDA, bitter orange is not recommended for use as a diet supplement. Avoid it if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or any other medical condition.
Bitter orange supplements should be avoided if you are taking caffeine, certain medications (such MAO inhibitors), herbs, or any supplements that increase the heart rate.