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Are your weight loss supplements really healthy? Here’s a reality check

Taking the easy way out is okay as long as it does not compromise your safety and health. And, also if you are okay with spending a lot of money on this, because, almost all weight loss supplements are really over-priced. But do these supplements work? Or, are their said benefits just marketing gimmicks aimed at us? Many doctors are now coming forward to say that the use of such supplements can adversely affect your health. And, the worst thing is that, it might also not be that effective in helping us lose weight.

Here are a few weight loss supplements that can harm you.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is made from linoleic acid, which is a kind of fatty acid and one of the most common weight loss supplements available. Although, there are claims that CLA can help you curb body fat and give you a sense of satiety, its results are not proven and its use may actually not help in losing weight.

On the other hand, it can cause abdominal discomfort, constipation, nausea and loose stools. Other side effects include an adverse reaction on blood lipids and glucose after long term use. A feeling of nausea and fatigue can also be noticed. Obese people should steer clear of CLA because it can increase their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a fibre-rich substances that comes from the root of the konjac plant. It is said to help in weight loss by suppressing appetite and increasing the feeling of fullness. But National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) stated that there was not enough evidence to prove this.

On the contrary, its tablet form is said to increase a person’s risk of choking. It can also cause a blockage in the digestive tract and make it hard for your body to absorb other medicines. Glucomannan is not advised for people suffering from diabetes because it can adversely affect blood sugar levels.

Chitosan

It is made from chitin, a type of sugar taken from the shells of crustaceans. This is said to block fats and cholesterol absorption thereby aiding weight loss. But National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has suggested that there is not enough proof to support this.

Consumption of Chitosan might lead to an upset stomach, bloating, gas or constipation. It can also cause adverse effects such as heartburn and nausea. People with shellfish allergy should be especially careful of this supplement as it is made from shellfish.

Chromium Picolinate

Chromium Picolinate is made from the mineral Chromium. It claims to burn more calories and reduce body fat by producing more insulin that helps turn the food in your body into energy. But reams of research have suggested that there are no significant benefits.

Even though lower doses are relatively harmless, overuse can cause insomnia, irritability and headache. People with weak kidneys should stay away from this as it can cause kidney damage.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea contains a substance called theanine. This is said to suppress appetite and improve metabolism. By doing so, it helps in losing weight. But NCBI has declared that there is not enough proof to support such claims.

Excessive consumption of green tea can have adverse effects like bloating, gas, diarrhea and dizziness. It can also make you feel nauseated or agitated. It can also cause vomiting and insomnia.

Guar Gum

Weight loss supplements that contain extracts from the seed of the guar plant is said to curb hunger and keep fats from being absorbed by the body. Hence, it helps in losing weight. But NCBI has stated that the supplement is possibly ineffective.

Side effects of consuming guar gum include gas and diarrhea.

Bitter orange

Bitter orange or Citrus aurantium contains a component called synephrine, which is a stimulant related to ephedrine. This substance supposedly helps in burning more calories. NCBI says that this supplement is possibly unsafe and ineffective.

Use of bitter orange can elevate blood pressure levels and increase heart rate. It can prove to be even more dangerous if it is taken with other stimulants like caffeine. It can even cause stroke, irregular heartbeats, heart attack and, in some cases, death. People who are on any medications or supplements that increase the heart rate should stay away from bitter orange.

Ephedra

Ephedra or ma hung is a herb that contains ephedrine. This is said to help in reducing weight. The FDA has banned all supplements containing this substance. The NCBI has also deemed Ephedra to be possibly unsafe and ineffective in weight loss.

The adverse effects of this stimulant include heart attacks, arrhythmia, strokes, psychosis, seizures and at times even death.

Green coffee extract

This is one of the more popular weight loss supplements. This extract is taken from unroasted green coffee beans. Earlier claims had suggested that green coffee extract can help in losing weight by increasing energy levels and burning more fat but NCBI stated that there is insufficient information to support that.

Adverse effects of having green coffee extract can include headaches, insomnia and unexplained nervousness. It can also cause an upset stomach and abnormal heart rhythms.

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