Supplements for Weight Loss
Chromium is a mineral that enhances the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism. It's also critical to the storage of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
There are claims that chromium supplements can:
- decrease appetite
- increase number of calories burned
- reduce body fat
- increase muscle mass
But a recent review of 24 studies examining the effects of 200 to 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of chromium a day found no significant benefits.
Rarely, chromium supplements can cause side effects such as:
Also, small studies have indicated the potential for kidney failure and liver failure.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says that chromium is "probably ineffective."
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a popular supplement containing chemicals found in the fatty acid linoleic acid. There are claims that it may help reduce body fat. It also seems to be associated with feelings of fullness that reduce hunger.
Research suggests that in some people 0.7-4.5 grams of CLA per day may:
- decrease body fat mass (BFM)
- increase lean body mass (LBM)
But results of studies are mixed, and some research suggests no benefit.
CLA is associated with side effects such as:
- upset stomach
- loose stools
Some researchers have raised safety issues about the long-term use of CLA, especially in obese people. Research also shows that CLA may increase insulin resistance in these groups, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says that CLA is "possibly safe" and "possibly effective."
Glucomannan is derived from the konjac plant. Like other dietary fibers, it is supposed to help people lose weight by blocking the absorption of dietary fat.
Very preliminary evidence suggests is might be helpful for weight loss. But other evidence shows no effect.
Glucomannan must be taken with at least 8 ounces of water. Taking it without water could lead to choking and/or blockage of the:
Glucomannan also may decrease absorption of other medications. So people should take medications either one hour before or four hours after taking glucomannan or other fibrous products.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says there is "insufficient evidence" to rate the safety and effectiveness of glucomannan.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract supposedly works by:
- decreasing appetite
- increasing calorie and fat metabolism
Side effects of green tea extract may include:
- nausea and vomiting
So far there isn't enough evidence to determine if green tea extract can aid in weight loss.