Categories of Weight Loss Supplements and How They Work
- Appetite Suppressants
A doctor can prescribe an appetite suppressant to help you lose weight. They work by blocking the body’s ability to reabsorb chemical signals used by the brain to regulate hunger. Serotonin and norepinephrine are the neurotransmitters released by the hypothalamus to make you feel full. If an appetite suppressant can block these chemical signals then it will make you feel fuller, which means you will eat less. Studies have shown that prescription appetite suppressants can help reduce weight to some extent when combined with diet and exercise.
However, this can only work for a while since the control center in your brain adjusts to the new levels of neurotransmitters over time. This means that the weight loss benefits of the appetite suppressants disappear once the body adjusts to meet the current demands of serotonin and norepinephrine.
- Fat Blockers
Fat blockers work differently as they inhibit an enzyme in the body known as lipase. The amount of fat in the food you eat needs to be broken down into glycerol and fatty acids before they can pass through the intestinal walls. Lipases are enzymes that break down large fat molecules so that they can move through your cell membranes. The fat molecule needs to bind with the enzyme for them to be broken down into the constituent parts.
Fat-blocking weight loss supplements work by bonding with lipases to prevent them from bonding with fat. Without lipases, the large fat molecules pass through your intestines without being absorbed. Although fat blockers can help you lose weight for a while, they can have serious side effects as they interfere with your bowel movement.
- Fat Burners
This category of weight loss supplements is made up of a combination of essential fatty acids, herb-derived stimulants, pyruvate, and chromium picolinate. The herb-derived stimulants have ephedrine and caffeine. One of the fat burners that stood up to the trials of scientific studies is green tea. It contains caffeine and catechin, which act synergistically when combined. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system by creating a thermogenic effect while catechin inhibits the action of lipases to create a minor effect of blocking fat breakdown.
They also help with hunger control by stimulating the production of norepinephrine. Although fat burners can help you lose weight, lots of caffeine can be dangerous to your health. It is still important to combine fat burners with a healthy diet and regular exercise program to realize significant weight loss.
Understanding Safety Concerns
Dietary supplements that are said to be clinically proven should have clinical evidence that supports this claim. However, the claim does not provide details regarding clinical research. It is quite difficult to judge whether a weight-loss supplement is safe because there is limited research about their efficiency. Some dietary supplements are said to cause serious health problems such as liver damage.
The FDA has banned other weight-loss products due to their possible adverse side effects. This includes but is not limited to seizures, high blood pressure, mood changes, and heart attacks. Supplements that contain immunosuppressants can interfere with your body’s natural inflammatory responses. Without these responses, your immune system becomes weak and minor infections could potentially become critical. It is also important to take extra care on the right dose usage since taking too many supplements in a day is dangerous and will not make you lose weight any faster.
A good weight loss supplement cannot work unless you combine it with proper diet and regular exercise. It is important to do your due diligence before you purchase over-the-counter weight loss supplements. It is also crucial to talk to your doctor or physician if you are considering weight-loss pills. They can offer better alternatives to losing weight and provide support or refer you to a dietitian.