weight loss

10 Must-Know Facts About Weight Loss Supplements Before You Buy 

Weight loss supplements can help you lose weight faster without having to resort to a restrictive diet or exhausting fitness plan. While some supplements suppress appetite or boost metabolism, others enhance fat oxidation which makes it easier for your body to burn stored fat.

Some supplements also assist in regulating blood sugar levels and improving exercise performance, which are crucial for effective and sustainable weight loss. The market is saturated with a dizzying array of options, each claiming to be more effective than the last.

Yet, the truth about their effectiveness and safety is often shrouded in ambiguity. Understanding a few basics about weight loss supplements will go a long way in helping you make an informed decision.   

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Take a Weight Loss Supplement Vetted by a Medical Doctor 

Unlike prescription medications, weight loss supplements are not strictly regulated by the FDA, meaning their safety and effectiveness are not guaranteed.

There have been instances where weight loss supplements were found to be contaminated with substances not listed on the label, including prescription drugs, banned substances, and harmful chemicals.

Many supplements make exaggerated claims about their effectiveness, which can lead to disappointment and a cycle of trying more potentially harmful products. This is why it is important to choose a weight loss supplement that has undergone a comprehensive review process.

An easy way to make a decision is to compare the best weight loss supplements that have been vetted by a medical doctor and registered dietitians to help you choose one that suits you. 

Weight Loss Supplements

Choose a Weight Loss Supplement Based on your Individual Needs 

There are several reasons why people have difficulty losing weight so it’s important to pick a supplement that is based on your specific needs.

For instance, if you are postpartum and trying to shed the weight you gained during your pregnancy, you will need to be very careful when choosing a weight loss supplement because some ingredients may make their way into your breastmilk which can affect your little one. 

On the other hand, if you are menopausal, you will benefit from a supplement that contains iron as iron deficiency can make you fatigue faster which means that you will not be able to work out for as long as usual.

If you have digestive issues, you might prefer a probiotic supplement that can help to ease your digestive problems as well as prevent body weight gain and fat accumulation.   

Weight Loss Supplements are not a Substitution for a Weight Loss Diet 

Weight loss supplements are often marketed as a quick and easy solution for losing weight but they cannot take the place of a healthy weight loss diet. If you rely solely on supplements, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health issues.

This is why it is important to use a weight loss supplement along with a weight loss diet so that the supplement will increase the weight loss effect of your diet.

A weight loss diet needs to be low in calories but still contain all the nutrients you need on a daily basis. An easy way to reduce your calorie intake is to add more vegetables to your diet and cut back on processed carbs and fried foods. 

Weight Loss Supplements can Interact with Medications 

Weight loss supplements can interact with prescription medications, potentially causing harmful effects or reducing the effectiveness of the medication.

Many people believe that these interactions can only take place with supplements that contain manufactured ingredients but even herbal supplements can have dangerous and even life-threatening effects.

The FDA warning on mixing medications and dietary supplements points out that drugs for heart disease, depression and even birth control pills are less effective if you also take St. John’s wort, a herbal supplement.

Some weight loss supplements can speed up or slow down the metabolism of certain drugs, potentially making them less effective or increasing the risk of side effects.

Weight loss supplements that contain stimulants such as caffeine can increase blood pressure and heart rate which is dangerous if you’re taking medications for heart conditions or high blood pressure.

Natural Doesn’t Mean Safe

The term “natural” is often used in marketing weight loss supplements to imply that a product is safe and free from harmful side effects. However, “natural” doesn't guarantee safety or even effectiveness.

This is largely because the term “natural” is not strictly regulated so manufacturers can use it freely without adhering to a standardized definition. Consequently, products labeled as natural can vary widely in quality.

Also, not all natural substances are safe – for example, weight loss supplements containing ephedra, a natural herb, have been banned in the US. These dietary supplements did show modest short-term weight loss effects; however, the risks far outweighed the benefits.

Ephedra supplements were linked to heart attack, stroke, seizure, and sudden death. People who had a history of cardiovascular issues were at a higher risk of suffering serious side effects but even people with no pre-existing medical issues who took low doses of this herb suffered serious health issues.

This is why you should approach “natural’ weight loss supplements with the same level of scrutiny as any other supplement.

In your enthusiasm to lose weight quickly, you might be tempted to increase your intake of weight loss supplements. Increasing your dosage will not lead to better weight loss results; instead, it is more likely to increase your risk of side effects, cause an adverse reaction or even result in severe organ damage.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage to avoid overdosing. You should also make sure that the dosage is based on a single pill or multiple pills per day – if you make a mistake with this, you might end up taking a lot more or less than the recommended dosage. 

Understand the Possible Side Effects 

Some weight loss supplements have mild side effects such as nausea, constipation or diarrhea. However, supplements that contain stimulants such as caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and lead to serious health issues like heart attacks or strokes.

Check the ingredients of your weight loss supplements and research their potential side effects to make sure that you are not jeopardizing your health. Research every ingredient, even the ones that seem harmless – for example, green tea extract may seem harmless but research shows that it can cause liver damage.   

Supplements for Weight Loss

Avoid Long-term Use 

Weight Loss Supplements can help to boost your weight loss efforts so that it’s easier for you to get used to a weight loss diet and exercise plan. They are not meant to be used on a long-term basis as this could cause nutrient deficiencies.

Some weight loss supplements work by suppressing your appetite which could lead to reduced food intake and a nutritional deficiency. Other weight loss supplements work by blocking fat absorption which helps to prevent weight gain.

However, over a prolonged period, they can cause a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, E, and K. Even weight loss supplements that contain stimulants to increase your metabolism can reduce nutrient absorption. 

Be Wary of Exaggerated Claims

When it comes to weight loss supplements, if the claims seem to be too good to be true, it probably is! Weight loss supplements are meant to act as a weight loss aid to increase the effectiveness of your diet and exercise plan so if a supplement promises weight loss without any effort, think twice before you buy it. 

When manufacturers make bold claims about rapid weight loss without diet or exercise, it generally means that their claims are unsubstantiated by scientific research. You are better off with a weight loss supplement that does not claim to provide “miraculous” results. 

Keep an eye out for Psychological Effects

Weight loss supplements that contain ingredients like phentermine suppress appetite but they can also alter mood and behavior. While phentermine is a prescription drug, there are similar ingredients that are available over the counter.

Similarly, weight loss supplements that contain stimulants such as caffeine to increase the amount of energy your body expends, can lead to restlessness, insomnia, and nervousness. Researchers found that even herbal weight loss supplements can cause or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms including anxiety, mood disturbances, psychosis and delirium.

If you notice any changes in your mental or emotional state after you start taking a weight loss supplement, stop taking them immediately and talk to your healthcare provider.  

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