​Supplements for weight loss

It is common for those who are heavier set to suffer from health complications when using supplements. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN – Losing weight is a difficult journey that can end up in frustration and leave a person demotivated. Diet and exercise will often greatly help lose the bulk of weight, but there comes a point where the last few pounds seem impossible to lose. As a result, many find the addition of supplements to their workout and diet routine greatly beneficial. اضافة اعلان

Supplements have a specific role and should not be abused. There is no easy way to lose weight and supplements cannot replace exercise and diet. Additionally, many common supplements can come with side effects and due to the loose regulations concerning supplements, which most people may not be aware of. It is important to read the labels on products to better understand how they work.


One of the most important processes in our bodies is metabolism; it is often misunderstood. Metabolism is the process by which the body converts food and other forms of sustenance into energy. This energy comes in the form of calories, and the amount needed every day depends on a host of factors.

Our body is in constant need of energy, even while at rest, for basic living functions such as breathing, repairing cells, and circulating blood. Metabolism that happens at rest is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). One’s individual BMR determines the exact amount of calories needed to simply function, but does not account for the calories used while moving or exercising.

The amount of additional calories needed to perform everyday activities and exercise forms the active metabolic rate (AMR). Many begin their weight loss journey by working out and increasing their AMR. For some, this may not be enough and in these cases supplements may be helpful.

Caution with supplements

It is common for those who are heavier set to suffer from other health complications. This is especially true for those who are considered obese.

Conditions relating to the heart are of the greatest concern. Those who are obese tend to have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension (HTN). Many weight loss supplements have a direct link with increasing blood pressure. Even those with normal blood pressure should use these supplements with caution, but those with HTN should avoid them altogether.

Supplements have a specific role and should not be abused. There is no easy way to lose weight and supplements cannot replace exercise and diet. (Photo: Envato Elements)

Diabetes is also commonly associated with obesity. Caffeine is often found in many of these supplements and can have a negative effect on blood sugar control. Similarly, certain ingredients may interact with medication that one may take for other conditions. It is important to discuss these concerns with physician before starting taking them.


Caffeine is a commonly used ingredient in many weight loss supplements. Most are familiar with the benefits of caffeine as a way to start their mornings. In weight loss, caffeine works to boost the metabolism by increasing the demand on the BMR.

In weight loss, caffeine works to boost the metabolism by increasing the demand on the BMR. (Photo: Envato Elements)

The effect of caffeine on weight loss is modest, but one short-term study found that it may burn fat by up to 29 percent. Caffeine may have a role in weight loss but should be used with caution because it is addictive and may cause anxiety, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal issues.

Furthermore, caffeine intake should be limited by those with diabetes, and altogether avoided by those with HTN. Caffeine supplements may be unnecessary in the first place, as many already receive it from coffee or tea and too much can increase the risk of side effects.

Garcinia Cambogia extract

Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit that has become popular in many weight loss supplements. The rind of this fruit contains a compound known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It is believed that HCA inhibits an enzyme in the body known as citrate lyase, which is responsible for preventing the formation of fat. HCA may also increase a natural “feel-good” chemical in the brain, known as serotonin, which can help reduce appetite.

(Photo: Envato Elements)

Due to the fact that this compound primarily works on preventing fat from being made, it is not entirely impressive as a weight loss agent. Nevertheless, some may find success in using it, especially when combined with other ingredients. Despite it being a natural ingredient, there are still side effects that may occur.

Garcinia Cambogia has been shown to help in diabetes, but due to additive effects when combined with diabetic medications, caution and consultation should be had before taking it. It has also been shown to result in dizziness, dry mouth, headache, and upset stomach. In severe cases, manic symptoms are also possible, especially if there is a preexisting history of psychiatric conditions.

Green coffee bean extract

Another popular, natural supplement is green coffee bean extract. A green coffee bean is an unroasted, normal coffee bean that contains two active substances: caffeine and cholorgenic acid. Cholorgenic acid primarily works by inhibiting the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which is responsible for carbohydrate breakdown in the small intestines. By inhibiting this enzyme, the amount of carbs that can be absorbed in reduced. In addition to that, cholorgenic acid can help reduce body fat content by reducing triglyceride and LDL levels.

The majority of side effects can be attributed to the caffeine content in the coffee bean. The effects of cholorgenic acid seem to be relatively safe in the short term; more research needs to be conducted to determine its long-term safety.


Glucomannan is a dietary fiber found in the roots of the konjac plant. As is the case with most dietary fibers, when glucomannan is combined with water, it absorbs it and becomes gel-like in consistency. The common use of this fiber is to treat constipation, but it may also have a role in weight loss.

The effect of this compound is not fully understood but it is believed to operate by two mechanisms. Firstly, it is believed that the fibers act as a net that collects fats in foods and prevents them from being absorbed in the body. Secondly, dietary fibers cannot be properly digested in humans and may promote the feeling of fullness.

(Photo: Envato Elements)

The effectiveness of this supplement in weight loss is still debated and many studies contradict each another. Side effects of glucomannan include bloating, flatulence, and soft stool although there are a couple points of concern. Due to the bulky nature of fibers when introduced to water, there is a risk of choking or blocking in the throat, esophagus, and intestines.

Dietary fibers also affect the absorption of medication, and should not be taken together. If you are on other medications, you should consult your doctor first. Generally, it is recommended that you take your medication one hour before or four hours after taking glucomannan.

Conjugated linoleic acid

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid that can be naturally found in fatty animal foods such as cheese and butter. The research on this supplement is extremely mixed, but some believe that CLA can help reduce appetite and stimulate the breakdown of body fat. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of this supplement are not well understood, although some warn that there is an increased risk of developing diabetes. Some side effects of CLA include upset stomach, nausea, soft stool, and fatigue.

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