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The myth behind fat "burning" supplements

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The myth behind fat "burning" supplements

I don't want to slam a specific store or product,  but I think I might have to.  I really strongly dislike GNC-type stores that pretend to be stores for healthy people and promote healthiness, but really they are selling products that are not FDA approved, and have little to no support in medical literature.  I want to break down the ingredients in the largest fat burner on the market, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut and discuss each ingredient.  Also, I would like to make a note that in 2009-2010, thus far, that there has been 1 reported death specific to hydroxycut use, 23 "serious" medical complications (not specified what), and 17 reports of liver failure.  Considering how much of this is sold in a year, they aren't ridiculous stats BUT every time there is a serious medical complication, death, or bad report, Hydroxycut will take their product off the market, change one or two ingredients, then pop it right back on the market as a new product.  Plus it annoys me that they have a podiatry resident in a white coat on the commercial saying that MD's think hydroxycut is good for you!!

Ingredients as listed off of the (Pro Clinical) Hydroxycut web site:
Caffeine anhydrous- so we all know what caffeine is (based on my earlier blog) and all this means with the "anhydrous" is that it is a caffeine extract without water; just giving it a fancy name! And because it is part of their "hydroxyboost" they don't tell you how much is in the product.  It will boost your metabolism, especially in high doses.

Acerola concentrate- bascially a cherry/rosehip extract that is high in levels of vitamin C which doesn't aid in weight loss, and you just pee out all the excess vitamin C that is more than what your body needs.  In high doses, it can make you poop a lot because it is irritating to the GI lining.

Lady's mantle extract- an herb that was thought to have 'healing' powers back when it was first found eons ago. It was said to treat GI disturbances, have antiseptic properties, heal wounds, treat PMS symptoms, and vascular disorders as well as many other medical woes; none of these have been founded in research although it has been shown, in high doses to cause liver failure.

Wild Olive extract- has been shown to be an antioxidant that reportedly, makes people feel more energized.  The only research done on this product is by a company that make it and they claim that it is an antioxidant that also kills the HIV, we all know that is bunk and "research" not to be trusted!!  But they do admit that side effects are headache, extreme fatigue, diarrhea, and muscle/joint aches.

Komijn extract- (Cumin) has been shown to decrease (slightly) decrease cholesterol levels, and it has been shown in moderate doses to decrease plasma glucose levels.  SO, it actually can aid in weight loss by altering glucose levels, but really not a good idea to lose weight by changing your glucose levels to make your pancreas and liver work differently.

Wild mint extract (peppermint oil)- basically has been shown in a few small studies in the EU to decrease Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.  It has not been shown in any way to aid in weight loss.

Goji extract- has antioxidant properties that anticoagulation effects, so you need to be careful if you take blood thinners, and they have no known weight loss properties.

Pomegranate extract- has been used in Indian traditional medicine for years as an anti-diarrheal medication and to treat dysentery and parasites (intestinal). It is high in Vitamin B and C. There are numerous clinical trials going on to study its usefulness with various medical treatments, but it is not high in antioxidants (as once claimed) and has no current use in weight loss.

Bilberry extract (huckleberry)- is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and has been shown (although the mechanism is unknown) to help with various eye problems. It has also been shown to decrease blood glucose levels, again, it can help you lose weight, just not in a healthy way.

...And then a bunch of fillers are listed. So, all of this high vitamin C and caffeine can cause GI irritation and pooping, which is why they have added other products (such as the peppermint) to soothe the stomach and prevent the irritation, or at least attempt to.

Besides a couple of ingredients that alter your blood glucose levels and caffeine, none of these ingredients really help you lose weight.  You are spending a bunch of money on a super vitamin C supplement with caffeine and other stuff, basically, and it won't help you lose weight.  As well, you don't know how much of each ingredient is in the product, or if they are even IN the product.

It goes back to the old saying that if it seems to good to be true, it is.  The only weight to lose weight and keep it off is to make lifestyle and dietary changes; you need to work out to burn off calories and decrease your caloric intake to the amount that you actually need. Make sure you are eating a well rounded diet proteins, carbs, fiber...and get your fruits and veggies in!!

This is one fat burner of thousands that are on the market, and as you can see the ingredients are things that you really don't need in your life, that all have side effects, can interact with other medications that you might take (prescribed or OTC), and none of which have been FDA studied or approved.

As an HCP, my best advice is to ditch the pills and get out for some exercise!!!

Yours in Good Health


At December 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

how are people getting results if it is just a caffeine poop maker?

At January 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have agreed with your post but it seems to me that you are biased towards the use of herbal remedies. However, you should realize that ALL MEDICINES are synthetic forms of some natural herbal remedy.

Leave it to some so-called "experts" no herbal remedies work, and I know they do. I've been using herbal remedies for more than 20 years (although I don't get sick), I do suffer a cold, stomach ache or something like that sometimes and the herbal remedies work.

At January 16, 2012 at 5:33 PM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

Anon #1: people lose weight because caffeine boosts your metabolism at first, but then eventually slows down unless you increase your caffeine intake. So you will initially see results, then you will eventually go back to your original body mass.

Anon #2: If you read my blog, I am not at all anti herbal supplements, but I do believe that you have no idea what you are ingesting if they are not regulated by the FDA; there have been numerous studies of herbal supplementations that have been found to have 1% of what why are claimed and the rest are all fillers (and in some cases, just sawdust). You are more than welcome to do whatever you want to do with your health, my blog is meant to inform people about what they are ingesting, and I will always err on the side of science and research. If you want to constantly take fat burning supplements, you are more than welcome to, and I am not sure what you mean by you "don't get sick" but you get colds and stomach ailments....herbal supplementations are used to treat an ailment, so you probably don't need them. I appreciate your input and that you are reading my blog, and I would like to you know I am actually very open minded about herbal and alternative treatments- I encourage them with many of my other topics, but not fat burners!!

Thanks for reading!

At March 5, 2012 at 6:35 AM , Blogger 100 said...

I have taken hydroxycut before and the only side effects I noticed was I pooped a little more often. I can't stand by the product and say it works miracles but it did work for what I needed. I don't have a problem With diet and exercise. I wake up at 430 everyday and hydroxycut gave me the energy and motivation to get through my workouts. In the end result I did lose weight due to the hydroxycut. That was a couple of years ago And today I'm going to try it again. Will keep you posted On results.


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