Herbal Diet Pills
string of recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings and recalls
on herbal diet pills has left researchers, physicians and health advocates
concerned that consumers are wasting money and taking unknown health risks
with every herbal diet pill taken.
Herbal Diet Pills & Ephedra
Few ingredients in herbal diet pills have caused the stir of ephedra, or ma huang, an herb taken by millions of Americans annually for weight-loss and body building. A 2001 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded the herb could cause high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, seizures and death. And the FDA has reports of 100 deaths among ephedra users.
Herbal Diet pills Regulation
Yet manufacturers of herbal diet pills adamantly claim the reports do not prove their products are risky and ephedra-containing products remain on the market. Because of the 1994 law, the burden of proof falls on the FDA to show a herbal diet pill is dangerous and regulatory action has proved difficult.
Recently, the federal government initiated a new safety review and the Justice Department have announced they are conducting a criminal investigation into whether a leading ephedra seller lied about the safety of one of their herbal diet pills.
Aristolochia fangchi in Herbal Diet Pills
Another example is a herb called Aristolochia fangchi. Doctors from Belgium and Germany discovered that this herb may cause not only kidney failure but urinary tract cancer, according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers followed 105 people who were given AF herbal diet pills at a Belgium weight loss clinic. End-stage renal (or kidney) failure developed in 43. And nearly half of the 39 who agreed to preventive removal of the kidneys were found to have urinary tract cancer.
Metabolife 356 - Herbal Diet Pills
Metabolife 356, one of Metabolife's herbal diet pills is a best-seller for weight loss, but health experts say the main ingredients closely resemble drugs that may be harmful.
According to one expert, Metabolife is just like amphetamine like speed, an herbal version of speed. It is also a natural diuretic and a laxative and that's what causes weight loss. You get an increase in metabolism, you go to the bathroom a little more. Those things combined usually result in weight loss.
According to the Metabolife Web site, the company says the dietary supplement is a natural herbal formula of 18 different ingredients. The two main components are guarana, a caffeine alkaloid, and mahuan, an ephedrine alkaloid. The other ingredients include bee pollen, ginger, goldenseal, sasparilla and Siberian ginseng.
But experts say Metabolife is more popular compared to other diet pills because people feel more comfortable taking something that's all natural. However, they warn: don't always trust products because of their "all natural" label.
Herbal diet pills may be thought of as safe but it's not necessarily true. Herbal diet pills containing stimulants will speed up pulse rate, increase blood pressure, and increase heart rate. That's a big health risk. Health experts say the best advice is to eat right and exercise.
HCA in Herbal Diet Pills
HCA, short for hydroxycitric acid, is an herbal extract found in at least 14 commercial weight-loss drugs. The chemical, which is distilled from a family of plants native to India, supposedly suppresses the appetite and slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into fat.
While the compound really can help fat rodents slim down, it may not have the same effect of people. In a study published in the 1998, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Columbia University gave HCA supplements (1,500 milligrams each day) to 66 overweight patients. Another 69 patients took a daily placebo or dummy pill.
All of the subjects were on a high-fiber, low-calorie diet throughout the study. Twelve weeks later, patients in both groups had lost weight, but researchers concluded that HCA failed to produce significant weight loss.
Diet & Weight Loss Pills
NOTE: Before using any form of diet pills or weight loss supplements, please consult your doctor.
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