Weight Control Using Integrative Approaches

Products for weight loss are marketed on television, radio and available in you local drug store as well as online stores.

The questions are,

  • How safe are these products?
  • Do they even work?

According to the NIH,

  • “Although patients may be tempted by the “quick fix” claims of these products, most of these products haven’t been proven safe or effective.
  • “Safety concerns about natural products include the possibility of drug interactions, direct toxicities, and contamination of supplements with active pharmaceutical agents.”
  • There are possible concerns for drug interactions.
  • There have been reports of weight loss products being contaminated with products that have been pulled off the market in the United States because they are unsafe. Some of the ingredients can cause weight loss but at a risk of injuring your heart.

Acai Berry

  • There is no scientific evidence based on clinical studies to support the use of acai supplements for any health-related purpose.
  • Most people can consume acai berry without side effects unless there is an allergy to acai berry or palm.

Bitter orange

  • According to the NIH  “A 2004 systematic review of only one eligible randomized controlled trial of 20 people found no statistically significant benefit for weight loss. Similarly, another 2004 review found little evidence that weight loss products containing bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) are an effective aid to weight loss.”
  • Caution should be used when applying bitter orange to the skin as the skin will be more sensitive to the sun.

According to the NIH,

  • “There have been some reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine.
  • People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
  • MAO inhibitors are used to treat depression.
  • Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.”

Fruits can be used to help maintain a healthy weight but there is no evidence that the fruits mentioned offered any weight loss benefit over other healthy fruits.

green teaGreen Tea

  • According to the NIH, Randomized controlled trials of at least 12 weeks’ duration in overweight or obese adults found that the loss in weight in adults who had taken a green tea preparation was very small, not statistically significant, and not likely to be clinically important.”
  • There have been some case reports of liver problems in people taking concentrated green tea extracts.
  • Green tea extract contains small amounts of vitamin K, which can inhibit the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs.


What is hoodia?

  • Hoodia is a succulent plant from South Africa.
  • There is insufficient evidence to support the role of Hoodia in weight loss.
  • Hoodia’s safety profile is unknown.
  • Its potential risks, side effects, and interactions with medicines and other supplements have not been studied and are unknown.


  • Ephedra was pulled from the market after reports if cardiovascular disease e and death.
  • There are sporadic reports that ephedra has been found in weight loss supplements.

What are alternatives to supplements?

According to the NIH,

“There is some emerging evidence suggesting that some mind and body approaches, such as meditation and yoga, may be useful complements to other weight-loss interventions.”

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