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Most of the weight loss pills available over the counter are appetite suppressants. They work by controlling hunger. This can be effective; however, long-term use can lead to addiction and may cause health problems. In addition, weight loss only occurs while you are taking the medicine, unless other behavioral changes are made along the way.

You may choose an herbal supplement to get a jump start with the weight loss. Take these types of supplements in conjunction with diet and exercise. Discuss with your doctor before starting any supplements. Do not take it if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breast feeding. Do not take herbal supplements if you are taking any medications. Do not use herbal supplements for more than 3 months at a time. If you notice changes to your health while taking these supplements, discontinue use and contact your physician. Keep in mind that herbal preparations will NOT provide permanent weight loss and there are multiple ingredients in herbal weight loss preparations, some of which have serious side effects and can lead to dangerous toxicities. Some of the common weight loss pills available without prescription and its effect are listed below.

  • Ephedra: Its active ingredient is ephedrine. They are found commonly in fat burning pills. Ephedrine can suppress the appetite, but it is banned in the United States due to safety issues. It can cause high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, insomnia, seizures, heart attacks, strokes and even death. It also interferes with some prescription medications.
  • St John’s wort: This herbal supplement is primarily used as an antidepressant. There are few studies that have shown some effect in weight loss. St John’s wort and ephedra are the two primary ingredients in phen-fen. It has harmful interactions with blood thinners, heart medications and dextromethorphan, found in many cold remedies. There are no clinical studies to show the efficacy of this herb in weight loss.
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): This is an extract from a West African plan seed and has been used to replace tryptophan supplements. It is under strict scrutiny for its safety. It affects the liver negatively if taken in large doses or longer period of time.
  • Chitosan: This supplement is derived from the skeleton of shrimp, crab and other shellfish. It is not digested and passes through the GI tract intact. Due to its chemical structure, it absorbs some fat from the food, although not in significant amounts to make an impact.
  • Chromium: This may improve the effect of insulin, thus influencing the breakdown of carbohydrates. Much of the evidence is inconclusive when it comes to weight loss.
  • Pyruvate: It is formed in the body during digestion of carbohydrates and protein from food. It may have a slight effect in helping you shed pounds, according to some studies. Found in the form of pyruvic acid, pyruvate can be found in various foods including red apples, cheese, and red wine. Pyruvate appears to be safe, but claims of boosting metabolism, decreasing appetite, and aiding in weight loss need further study.
  • Aloe: Aloe when taken orally causes a laxative effect. Most of the colon cleanser products have aloe in them. It is not indicated for people with GI system diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Frequent use of this product interferes with mineral absorption. There are no studies that have shown long term efficiency.
  • Cascara: It is a common ingredient in weight loss products. It is a strong laxative and should be taken frequently as it can interfere with mineral absorption. It should not be taken if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • Dandelion: It is a natural diuretic. There is a significant weight loss right after taking this medication as it removes body water. However, the effects wear off and the weight comes on. It is not recommended for long term use.
  • Glucomannan: The claim of glucomanna is that it contributes to weight loss by delaying the absorption of glucose from the intestines. Small limited studies have shown glucomannan to be effective in decreasing body weight. This effect is believed to be due to a “feeling of fullness” which may be due to the swelling of the glucomannan in the gut once it has been exposed to liquids. It is not recommended for long term usage as it can cause esophageal obstruction.
Category : Diet Reviews

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