St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Herbal remedies and supplements for weight loss

    You may see ads for supplements that claim they will help you lose weight. But many of these claims are not true. Some of these supplements can even have serious side effects.

    NOTE FOR WOMEN: Pregnant or nursing women should never take diet medicines of any kind. This includes prescription, herbal, and other over-the-counter remedies. Over-the-counter refers to medicines, herbs, or supplements you can buy without a prescription.

    Weight-loss product options

    There are many over-the-counter diet products, including many herbal remedies. Most of these products do not work. Some can even be dangerous. Before using an over-the-counter or herbal diet remedy, talk with your doctor.

    Nearly all over-the-counter supplements with claims of weight-loss properties contain some combination of these ingredients:

    • Aloe vera
    • Aspartate
    • Chromium
    • Coenzyme Q10
    • DHEA derivatives
    • EPA-rich fish oil
    • Green tea
    • Hydroxycitrate
    • L-carnitine
    • Pantethine
    • Pyruvate
    • Sesamin

    There is no proof that these products help with weight loss.

    Safety of over-the-counter products

    Some ingredients in over-the-counter diet products may not be safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns people not to use some of them. Do NOT use products that contain these ingredients:

    • Ephedrine is the main active ingredient of herbal ephedra, also known as ma huang. The FDA does not allow the sale of medicines that contain ephedrine or ephedra. Ephedra can cause serious side effects, including strokes and heart attacks.
    • Brazilian diet pills are also known as Emagrece Sim and Herbathin dietary supplements. The FDA has warned consumers not to buy these products. They contain stimulant drugs and drugs used to treat depression. These can cause severe mood swings.
    • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is found in many dietary products (such as Biosculpt Liquid, Body Success, and GNC Optibolic Body Answers Dietary Formula). Possible side effects include risk of diabetes and gallstones.
    • Tiratricol is also known as triiodothyroacetic acid, or TRIAC. These products contain a thyroid hormone, and they may increase the risk for thyroid disorders, heart attacks, and strokes.
    • Fiber supplements that contain guar gum have caused blockages in the intestines and esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach).
    • Chitosan is a dietary fiber from shellfish. Some products that contain chitosan are Natrol, Chroma Slim, and Enforma. People who are allergic to shellfish should not take these supplements.

    References

    Nicolai JP, Lupiani JH, Wolf AJ. An integrative approach to obesity. In: Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 38.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

          Talking to your MD

            Self Care

            Tests for Herbal remedies and supplements for weight loss

              Review Date: 5/14/2013

              Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
              adam.com

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              History
              Mission
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs
              Assessment

              Newsroom
              Services
              Brain & Spine
              Cancer
              Heart
              Maternity
              Orthopedics
              Pulmonary
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              mystlukes
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Health Risk Assessments
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Volunteer
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              Careers
              Careers
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile