Do over-the-counter weight loss supplements work?
There are tablets, fruit-flavored gummies, liquid drops, and even powders that you can blend into your morning smoothie. The range of purported health benefits is even broader, running the gamut from improved memory to better heart health to an increased libido. The most important thing to remember is to be smart when choosing a supplement. You should discuss your options with your healthcare provider, since a supplement’s effectiveness and safety may depend on your individual situation and health.
Whether they’re spilling out of your medicine cabinet or filling your bathroom countertop, you’re not alone if you’re one of the millions of Americans who take a vitamin or supplement each day. You may be trying to combat a vitamin deficiency or lower your risk of certain diseases —- or you may just feel proactive about your health after popping a supplement that promises to improve your health.
What are supplements?
Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and medicines, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter medicines.Medicines must be approved by the FDA before they can be sold or marketed. Supplements do not require this approval. Supplement companies are responsible for having evidence that their products are safe, and the label claims are truthful and not misleading.
Supplements include a variety of components such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes and other ingredients taken in various forms such as a pill, gel, capsule, gummy, powder, drink or food. Most common examples are multivitamins, herbal supplements, probiotics, protein powders and weight loss supplements. It’s safe to say certain supplements can “enhance immunity, protect heart health, and improve digestion. Supplements are required when there is an imbalance in nutrients or absence of a particular nutrient.
What are the top four types of supplements?
- Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. Examples of these supplements are Vitamin A, B vitamins and folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iodine and Iron. While some of these nutrients act as antioxidants, others act as alternatives for some food sources.
- Specialty supplements
The largest category of these specialty supplements was omega-3/fatty acids (19 percent), which include popular fish oil supplements. These supplements are generally used to lower blood pressure and treat rheumatoid arthritis, among other benefits.
- Herbals and botanicals
Out of the people who reported using herbals and botanicals (26 percent of respondents), the largest percent say they drink green tea on a regular basis (10 percent). A popular green tea supplement to try out is Tea burn for weight loss. Other natural ingredients that were common for people who use herbal and botanical products were garlic (7 percent), cranberry (6 percent), Echinacea (5 percent) and ginseng (5 percent).
- Sports Nutrition and Weight Management
Within this category, the most common type of supplement was a protein supplement (10 percent), followed by energy drinks and gels (7 percent), garcinia cambogia (4 percent), green coffee (3 percent) and hydration drinks and gels (3 percent).
Do weight loss supplements actually work?
Like many other supplements, these products are typically packaged and marketed.There is no quick fix to being healthy, and no single pill to make up for years of unhealthy habits, or to cure a complex or life-threatening medical condition. Generally, medications are used to treat or cure a disease or illness, and supplements are used to get additional nutrients into your diet. But, all medications and supplements bring risk as well as benefit, whether they are prescribed or purchased over-the-counter. Always speak to your primary care provider before taking any supplements, especially when you already take prescription medications.