Weight loss - herbal remedies and supplements; Obesity - herbal remedies; Overweight - herbal remedies
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.
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 proof 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).
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:
Lewis JH. Liver disease caused by anesthetics, chemicals, toxins, and herbal preparations. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016: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 February 1, 2019. Accessed May 23, 2019.
Ríos-Hoyo A, Gutiérrez-Salmeán G. New dietary supplements for obesity: what we currently know. Curr Obes Rep. 2016;5(2):262-270. PMID: 27053066 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27053066.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/8/2019
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. 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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