Herbal remedies and supplements
Chemists and health food stores have shelves dedicated to weight loss supplements, but just because something is labelled as ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean that it’s safe. Many supplements are of limited effectiveness and some contain ingredients that may be harmful.
Fruit based supplements such as papaya are generally considered to be safe to use, although whether they work is ‘debatable’ according to experts. Garcinia cambogia extract is considered safe but not particularly effective. A 2011 review that looked at 12 studies on garcinia cambogia found that taking it led to a loss of about two pounds over a period of four weeks .
Raspberry Ketones are another popular natural weight loss supplement. Researchers have found no evidence so far that they have any effect on weight in humans, although large doses do seem to lead to weight loss in rats.
Green coffee bean extract does seem to have a modest effect. A review of three separate studies found that people taking it lost 5.4 more pounds than people who took a placebo pill. It’s likely that the effects are due to the caffeine in the supplements.
Although most diet pills you can buy over the counter or online are relatively safe, some supplements can be dangerous.
This goes for any medication containing Ephedra (or Ma Huang) or Ephedrine. These pills are sometimes offered by illegal pharmacies, but they can cause serious side effects.
Common side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Possible serious side effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart beat
However, if you are following a diet and exercise plan, you could benefit from a medication like Xenical, which reduces the amount of calories your body can take in from fat. Xenical is prescription only medication.
You can obtain a prescription from your GP or request a prescription via our online doctor service. One of our online doctors will assess whether Xenical is suitable for you.