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Are Weight Loss Supplements Effective?

With so many “miracle” weight loss solutions being advertised on television, on the Internet, or in magazines, you’d think that the obesity epidemic would have been eradicated years ago. Unfortunately, we all know that is not the case. It seems every year there is a new “miracle” weight loss cure, which shortly some time later is found to be ineffective or possibly dangerous. History shows that, for the most part, the only people getting any positive results from these cures are the bank accounts of the companies pushing these so-called solutions.

With televisions Dr. Oz recently being reprimanded by congress over the legitimacy of his weight loss cure claims, there are real concerns about the seemingly endless number of supplements available to the public.

Are there any supplements out there that actually help reduce weight?

Research shows that there are no supplements that will magically melt pounds away. In many studies, scientists have found that many of these weight loss supplements and weight loss drugs are actually dangerous causing sometimes fatal side effects. For example, Ephedrine, found in the herb Ma Huang, was used as an appetite suppressant, but was the cause of heart related deaths in thousands of Americans.

Aren’t there some safe supplements?

Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA like prescription drugs, which means any claims on the bottle of supplements purchased are not verified and can have claims that differ from reality. Just because a bottle says “all natural” does not mean its safe. Always thoroughly research anything you are going to take and speak with your doctor when you start taking any new supplement or drug.

Are all these companies just scamming everyone?

Not exactly, some companies may actually believe some of the claims made due to limited research done on the contents of the supplements. Unfortunately, since little research is done it’s hard to see what long term effects any supplement will have. Some could be aware of possible negative effects, but believe that the positive outweighs the negative and some could be out to make a quick dollar. It is nearly impossible to identify the difference.

I’ve seen some of these supplements on television and reputable celebrities have endorsed them. Why would they lie?

It’s hard to say, but realize massive amounts of money flows through the supplement industry and a lot of it can end up in the pockets of individuals that are promoting such weight loss cures. Of course, there may be a legitimate belief that these supplements work, but remember many of these people are not experts on these supplements, never did long term research on them, and may actually be trying to help the public. Once again, instead of trusting a television show or celebrities opinion, make sure you speak to your doctor before you start any supplement regimen.

Is there any safe and effective way to lose weight?

Yes, there is one way that has been proven since the beginning of time and that weight loss solution is always be an active lifestyle that includes an exercise routine and a healthy diet. The upside is improved health and the pride that you did all that hard work on your own.

Are there any websites or online tools that can be used to help pick the right supplements?

As a family doctor in Glendale CA, Dr. Momjian recommends all families to take a look at Consumer Labs website. Essentially, Consumer Labs can be used as a research tool site. They test mainly popular supplement brands to identify if they are any unnecessary or harmful ingredients in it, for example lead. They also test the effectiveness of each bottle. They look to see if a supplement has to much or too little of the ingredient they are promoting. Using a website like this only helps in helping you make the best decision when buying supplements. Feel free to bring any of your supplements to our clinic and we’ll let you know if we have any other additional information on it and whether if there is a natural way to get the same benefit.

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