The truth about weight loss supplements

Numerous supplements are advertised for weight loss, some based on science are effective and safe, while others can cause damage to health.

Supplement mechanisms of action may include one or more, including:

-Decrease appetite

They help reduce appetite by making you feel fuller so you require less food which reduces your caloric intake.

-Reduce absorption

They help reduce the absorption of nutrients, especially fat, resulting in lower calorie intake.

-Promote the metabolism to accelerate

By increasing the body fat stored in the body to be used as a source of energy, causing more calories to be “burned”.

Some supplements to lose weight


The weight loss supplement Hydroxycut is linked to serious liver damage and cardiovascular risks, so ephedra products from this supplement have been withdrawn from sale in the US, however there may be other ingredients that are linked to health damage in supplements with hydroxycut available.

Contains caffeine and plant extracts such as green coffee extract or C. canephora robusta can lead to weight loss of about 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).

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However, its side effects include anxiety, nausea, irritability, and tremors. More research is needed to determine its effectiveness and safety.

-Green coffee extract

It contains caffeine that can increase the use of fat stored in the body as a source of energy and chlorogenic acid that can slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the intestine.

Studies have shown that it can help you lose weight moderately and reduce your body mass index (BMI). However, it can cause side effects in some people from too much caffeine.

-Caffeinated supplements

It is not necessary to take caffeine supplements. It is best consumed through coffee or green tea, which also have antioxidants and other health benefits.

Some supplements have caffeine that can increase metabolism and make it easier to use body fat for energy, just for a short time.

Studies have found that caffeine can cause moderate weight loss in humans, however for some people it can cause anxiety, insomnia, tremors, irritability, diarrhea, nausea, headache, among others.

-Supplement with raspberry ketones

Raspberry ketones are found in fruits like raspberries. Some weight loss supplements contain a synthetic version that promotes fat catabolism and increases levels of a hormone called adiponectin that may be related to weight loss.

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However, there is no scientific evidence that raspberry ketones promote significant weight loss in humans.

More research is needed to know its effectiveness and health risks.


It is a type of soluble fiber that absorbs water and has a gelatinous consistency. In the intestine it gives the feeling of satiety, which encourages you to eat less.

In a study published in the journal Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2015 it was found that after taking glucomannan for 60 days it helped overweight participants lose weight who took it consistently.

Among the side effects can cause flatulence and inflammation.

This fiber supplement with glucomannan could be taken if combined with a balanced diet for weight reduction and under medical prescription.

-Green tea extract

It is used as an ingredient in many weight loss supplements.

Many studies show that an antioxidant containing epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG,) is effective in increasing metabolism and “burning fat”.

Likewise, green tea extract combined with regular exercise can help lose fat, especially in the abdominal area, according to studies published in 2008 by the journal Physiology & Behaviour.

Green tea and green tea extract can increase “fat burning” and help you lose belly fat effectively and safely.

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– Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

It is a supplement used to lose weight, used for years. It stands out for its effects of reducing appetite, stimulating the metabolism that promotes the loss of body fat.

CLA has been found in some studies to promote weight loss of 1.1 to 2.3 pounds (.5 to 1kg) according to one publication The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007.

CLA side effects can cause digestive problems and could contribute in the long term to fatty liver, insulin resistance, among other conditions.


It is an extract of a plant that could reduce body fat and increase muscle mass without having an effect on weight gain, according to a publication in the magazine obesity in 2005.

However, there are other studies with results showing no weight-reducing effects. More research is needed to prove the safety and side effects of this extract.

Always before taking any supplement to lose weight, consult your nutritionist or doctor. Only take those that are safe for your health and do not cause side effects.

Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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