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.