10 Ingredients In Weight Loss Pills

10 Ingredients In Weight Loss Pills

Looking for help with losing weight? Help that goes beyond the​ usual lifestyle changes,​ portion control advice and exercise routines? Weight-loss supplements touting names like "fat burner" and "thermo max" can be enticing. But do they work? And even more important,​ in​ the​ wake of​ the​ Food and Drug Administration's recent ban on​ ephedra,​ are they safe?

In this article,​ Environmental Nutrition provides a​ snapshot of​ 10 of​ the​ most popular ingredients currently in​ supplements for weight loss.

Made from the​ shells of​ lobsters,​ shrimp and other shellfish,​ chitosan is​ an​ indigestible fiber. it​ is​ supposed to​ help weight loss by binding with the​ fat you eat,​ blocking its absorption. However,​ studies do not support this claim. Side effects include constipation and gas. People with shellfish allergies should beware.

Most often present as​ chromium picolinate,​ it​ has been promoted to​ boost lean mass and decrease body fat. Though study findings have been inconclusive,​ an​ analysis of​ several studies recently concluded that supplementing with 200 to​ 400 micrograms of​ chromium picolinate could result in​ about a​ 2.5-pound weight loss per week in​ some people. Other studies have found a​ loss of​ body fat and an​ increase in​ muscle tissue,​ with no change in​ weight. Still others have found no effect at​ all. Though some laboratory studies have raised safety issues,​ a​ large number of​ human studies suggest it​ is​ safe.

Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange)
This herbal extract is​ a​ natural source of​ synephrine (a compound similar to​ ephedrine) and the​ supplement industry's current answer to​ the​ ephedra ban. But there are no published studies to​ show it​ is​ an​ effective supplement for weight loss. And like ephedra,​ its side effects include an​ increase in​ blood pressure; Environmental Nutrition recommends avoiding it.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Both animal and human research hints at​ a​ possible role for CLA in​ reducing body fat and increasing lean body mass,​ but it's not quite ready for prime time. None of​ the​ human studies have been long-term. CLA is​ currently being studied in​ combination with chromium picolinate. CLA is​ found naturally in​ dairy foods and beef and is​ generally considered safe.

Garcinia Cambogia
The extract from Garcinia cambogia fruit rind contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA),​ which supposedly curbs food intake,​ weight gain and storage of​ excess calories as​ fat. However,​ studies have failed to​ prove G. cambogia is​ an​ effective weight-loss aid. the​ most common side effects are upper respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Caffeine is​ the​ effective ingredient in​ guarana plant seeds. Guarana may have a​ mild appetite suppressant effect over the​ short term. it​ was often used in​ combination with ephedra until ephedra was banned. the​ potential side effects are those of​ caffeine overdose—insomnia,​ restlessness,​ anxiety or​ panic.

Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB)
HMB is​ a​ natural byproduct of​ the​ breakdown of​ the​ amino acid leucine. HMB supplements are used by body builders in​ hopes of​ increasing muscle mass. a​ few small studies have suggested that HMB increases lean mass and decreases body fat when combined with weight training. However,​ studies with overweight and obese people are needed.

Plantago Psyllium
Psyllium is​ a​ water-soluble fiber from Plantago ovato seeds. Taken before a​ meal,​ it​ may make you feel full,​ causing you to​ eat less. While it​ is​ proved to​ aid constipation (that's how Metamucil works),​ it​ has not been proved as​ an​ effective weight-loss aid.

Pyruvate formulas boast that they stimulate metabolism and reduce body fat. Pyruvate is​ found naturally in​ food and in​ the​ body as​ a​ result of​ the​ breakdown of​ carbohydrates and protein. Some studies have shown a​ weight-loss benefit with pyruvate supplements. But the​ people in​ the​ studies also exercised and cut back on​ calories. Moreover,​ the​ dosage used in​ the​ studies was high,​ requiring a​ handful of​ tablets each day. Experts say the​ case for pyruvate to​ aid weight loss is​ weak.

Yerba mate
Brewed into a​ tea,​ bitter Yerba mate is​ high in​ caffeine. Used in​ combination with other caffeine-containing herbs,​ like guarana and damiana,​ it​ was found in​ one study to​ delay stomach emptying time and aid weight loss. the​ study was short (45 days),​ so conclusions on​ keeping the​ weight off cannot be made.

The Bottom Line

Though all are relatively expensive and none are proved,​ of​ these top popular weight-loss contenders,​ chromium picolinate and CLA are probably the​ most studied. if​ you've already made up your mind to​ go the​ supplement route,​ you might want to​ give them a​ try. Just don't expect miracles and check with your doctor first.

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