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Supplements for Weight Loss

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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 curb body fat and help you stay full.

The research on CLA for weight loss is mixed. Some suggests that for some people, 0.7-4.5 grams of CLA per day may:

  • curb body fat
  • boost muscle

But other research shows no benefit.

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says that CLA is "possibly effective" for weight loss.

Some researchers have warned that long-term use of CLA, especially in people who are obese, may raise insulin resistance, which makes type 2 diabetes more likely.

In some people, CLA may cause side effects such as:

  • upset stomach
  • nausea
  • loose stools


This is made from the konjac plant. Like other dietary fibers, it is supposed to help people lose weight by blocking the absorption of dietary fat.

Very early evidence suggests it might be helpful for weight loss. But other evidence shows no effect.

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says there is "insufficient evidence" to rate the effectiveness of glucomannan for weight loss.

Glucomannan must be taken with at least 8 ounces of water. Taking it without water, especially in tablet form, could lead to choking or blockage of the:

  • throat
  • esophagus
  • intestine

Taking it in powder form appears to be safer.

Glucomannan also may make it harder for your body to absorb medications. So people should take medications either 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking glucomannan or other fibrous products.

Green Tea Extract

It supposedly works by:

  • curbing appetite
  • raising calorie and fat metabolism

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says there is not enough evidence to rate the effectiveness of green tea for weight loss.

Side effects of green tea extract, especially when consumed in high amounts, include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • bloating
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • agitation

Green Coffee Extract

Green coffee is thought to lower body fat and help weight loss.

Early research suggests it may lead to modest weight loss. More research is needed to better determine the effects, but the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates it as “possibly effective” for weight loss.

Few people have side effects, but because of the caffeine in green coffee it may cause:

  • headaches
  • stomach upset
  • nervousness
  • insomnia
  • abnormal heart rhythms
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