Lately it seems Dr. Oz recommends a new magic weight-loss pill every day. We are sure glad to welcome new customers to the world of natural foods, and surely supplements as a step away from pharmaceuticals is generally good for everyone. Eventually, the supplement makes way for dietary change, and over a few years a new shopper can become a seasoned natural foodie. So please, bring your questions and your desires- we are here to help point you in the right direction.
Navigating the world of weight-loss supplements nearly takes a degree. We stock several supplements known to aid weight loss in relative safety. Below is a brief guide to those you will find on our shelf.
Raspberry Ketones (available by special order only):
-How it works: ‘Fakes’ ketosis in the body. Ketones are the byproduct of a metabolic state that occurs when the body is starved of carbohydrate and forced to burn stored fat for energy.
-Pros: In mammalian controlled studies, ketone supplementation nominally increased the rate of weight loss despite consistent caloric intake.
-Cons: In reality, ‘raspberry’ ketones are not extracted from raspberry fruit at all, but rather synthesized in a lab. May increase the workload of the adrenal glands and damage metabolism in the long run.
-How it works: Simulates T3 hormone, stimulating one’s metabolism by increasing thyroid activity.
-Pros: Will theoretically improve thyroid function, increasing fat burning metabolism as a byproduct.
-Cons: Caution should be taken if individuals have a history of hyperthyroidism.
-How it works: Researchers suggest that CLA blocks specific enzymes responsible for retention of fat cells, forcing them to be burnt for energy instead.
-Pros: In a 12-week Placebo study, the CLA group appreciated an average 15-20% weight loss with maintained or improved muscle mass.
-Cons: In some animal studies, there were potential correlations between CLA intake, fatty liver disease and diabetes.
-How it works: A natural source of CLA, along with other polyunsaturated fatty acids purported to assist in weight loss.
-Pros: One study suggested a 9% improvement in weight and body composition over the course of several months, but this study combined safflower supplementation with additional CLA. This approach is almost certainly safer than taking stimulants.
-Cons: Commercial safflower oil is refined, stripped of vital nutrients and the antioxidants that preserve unrefined fats. Processed polyunsaturated oils could contribute to free radical production in the body.
Green Tea Extract/ Green Coffee Extract:
-How it works: Fat burning is a result of the natural blend of caffeine, polyphenols, theophylline and theobromine. These constituents work synergistically to increase one’s metabolism without significantly altering hormonal function.
-Pros: The caffeine in green tea acts as a mild stimulant, speeding up metabolic processes, burning excess fat. This process, because it yields oxidative byproducts, is further enhanced by the substantial antioxidant content found in green tea. It is suspected that polyphenols ‘mop up’ any free radicals created during the accelerated thermogenic state.
-Cons: Some individuals are sensitive to caffeine, and may not tolerate it even when it is found in its relatively balanced, naturally-occurring form.
-How it works: Hoodia contains a molecule known as P57 that simulates the role of glucose in the brain, tricking the brain into reacting as though a person has just consumed a full meal. As a supplement, it functions specifically as an appetite suppressant.
-Pros: Has no direct effect on metabolic processes. Hoodia can help curb the excessive appetite of individuals suffering from sugar or carbohydrate addiction. No studies have revealed significant negative side effects.
-Cons: Tricking yourself into eating less might not produce healthy results (and could even lead to malnutrition) if the quality of food eaten is not address or improved.
African Mango (Irvingia Gabonensis):
-How it works: When you eat, fat cells in your body secrete leptin, a hormone that produces feelings of fullness. Individuals who overeat often develop reduced sensitivity to this hormone. Naturally occurring compounds restore and heighten leptin sensitivity, reducing appetite.
-Pros: See Hoodia
-Cons: See Hoodia
-How it works: Developed by a Russian biochemist and plan physiologist. Allegedly targets ‘visceral fat’ surrounding the stomach, liver and other abdominal organs. Through a not-entirely understood process, Fucoxanthin (the active ingredient/carotenoid in FucoThin) increases thermogenesis without stimulating the Central Nervous System.
-Pros: Non-stimulating, non-addictive. Effectiveness back by 2 separate double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials conducted over 16 weeks.
-Cons: Published information does not fully explain exactly how thermogenic effects are achieved.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
-How it works: Supposedly the acetic acid can help turn on genes that accelerate the function of fatty acid oxidation enzymes, speeding the rate your body can process fats.
-Pros: Apple Cider Vinegar has been attributed to numerous other health benefits, such as relief from indigestion and reduced arthritic inflammation. It is also an excellent source of potassium, a mineral largely absent from processed foods. It is probably safer than many other weight loss supplements.
-Cons: It is possibly less fast-acting than many other weight loss supplements.
-How it works: Saffron contains Crocin and Saffranal, two compounds studied for their ability to modulate serotonin pathways in the brain. In addition to improving mood, this can reduce the need for comfort or ‘emotional’ eating.
-Pros: In addition to its mood boosting potential, saffron is rich with antioxidants and inflammation reducing phytochemicals. Instead of relying on supplements, one could easily add saffron to their favorite exotic rice dish.
-Cons: A bit expensive.