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Herbal remedies and supplements for weight loss

Weight loss - herbal remedies and supplements; Obesity - herbal remedies; Overweight - herbal remedies

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Description

You may see ads for supplements that claim to 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 herbal remedies. Many of these products do not work. Some can even be dangerous. Before using an over-the-counter or herbal diet remedy, talk with your health care provider.

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

There is no evidence, or only very weak evidence, that these ingredients help with weight loss.

In addition, some products contain ingredients that are found in prescription drugs, such as blood pressure medicines, seizure drugs, antidepressants, and diuretics (water pills).

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:

References

Barrea L, Altieri B, Polese B, et al. Nutritionist and obesity: brief overview on efficacy, safety, and drug interactions of the main weight-loss dietary supplements. Int J Obes Suppl. 2019;9(1):32-49. PMID: 31391923 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31391923/.

Lewis JH. Liver disease caused by anesthetics, chemicals, toxins, and herbal and dietary supplements. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 89.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website. Dietary supplements for weight loss: fact sheet for health professionals. ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/. Updated March 29, 2021. Accessed June 15, 2021.

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Review Date: 4/17/2021  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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