As the eventful year of 2016 comes to a close, 2017 new year resolutions are nearly here.
At the top of everyone's freshly-focused to-do list is losing weight and getting fit. And with the idea of getting in shape and utilizing a variety of weight loss methods aside from better whole food eating and productive movement and stretching, supplements are always in the conversation as a means to enhance, accelerate and boost results in a shorter amount of time.
As the industry continues to grow at rapid rates due to innovation, technology and discoveries, more supplements and herbal extracts are becoming available at unprecedented rates. Knowing healthy New Years Resolutions for 2017 are right around the corner, we wanted to take the time and highlight the potential dangers and safety risks of using subpar weight loss diet pills. Hopefully this guide will help you perk up your purchasing power when it comes to buying weight loss supplements online.
Complete Weight Loss Pills’ Side Effects Guide
Quick question: how many of you have popped a pill or a supplement in the hopes that it will help you lose weight? Chances are that 3 out of 5 individuals seeking to lose weight have popped or are still popping pills to help them lose weight.
This is not surprising seeing as these weight loss supplements are often touted as some form of “miracle” pills that will help you lose weight without any extra effort on your part.
The appeal of these weight loss pills are quite understandable actually. We were raised and conditioned to think that slimmer is healthier; after all, some of our role models who are actors and actresses all look slim, fit, and active.
They run, jump, walk, skydive, and partake in extreme sporting activities that routinely make us all wish we could be as fit and as strong.
So, when we are presented with the possibility of looking, feeling and being as active in the form of a pill, we all jump at it, because – and let’s be honest here- it provides the easy, less stressful way to get and stay in shape.
The good news is that there are some excellent supplements that have been proven to help you lose weight. The bad news is there are thousands of other ineffective supplements that not only underdeliver on their promises, but often have severe side effects.
Then, there are those good pills that will help you lose weight, but also have side effects. The real challenge for many, is finding out which ones truly work and are effective with minimal side effects.
There are generally three categories of supplements that help you lose weight:
- All Natural Weight Loss Supplements
- Prescription Weight Loss Supplements
- Appetite Suppressants
Before we jump into the side effects proper, it is important to highlight the difference between the three. Most people tend to favor the natural weight loss pills because they feel that they contain less preservatives, are less likely to add poison in their bodies and will have less side effects.
This is partly responsible for the growing emphasis on weight loss supplements with purely organic ingredients. Yet, studies have shown that in spite of the natural contents, these can have severe side effects.
Prescription weight loss pills on the other hand, are made from chemicals and drugs that either help speed up your metabolism –hence the reason these are often likened to speed- and help you move a lot more.
Let’s be honest, if you don’t feel tired while working out, chances are that you would exercise for far longer than you ordinarily would. As with all medications, these also have their side effects.
Appetite suppressants on the other hand, typically don’t have fat burning qualities. What they do however, is trick your body into feeling full, so that you have less need to eat, while your body starts converted stored fat into energy in the bid to keep up your energy levels, essentially resulting in weight loss for you.
The good thing about appetite suppressing supplements is that they tend to less addictive – this depends their ingredients though – have fewer side effects and still get you results. But, you often have to be patient and combine it with a more active lifestyle as well as dieting to get long lasting results.
Whether it’s appetite suppressants, natural supplements or weight loss prescription pills, the side effects of some of these can be anything from mild/moderate to borderline homicidal. Let’s examine some of them.
What Are the Commonly Associated Side Effects of Diet Pills?
Profuse Sweating, Dehydration and Above Normal Temperatures
One or more of these symptoms can be found in supplements that are designed to revv up your system and increase your metabolism. So, while they may be effective at cutting the flab and melting the fat, they can trigger these symptoms courtesy of their mechanism.
This was the case with the ingestion of supplements such as Dinitrophenol (now discontinued). Users experienced all the above mentioned symptoms plus they developed allergies as well as severe food cravings.
Heart Palpitations and Tightness in the Chest Area
These side effects are also common among weight loss supplements designed to boost your metabolism and increase the rate at which your body melts the stored fat. This is usually because of a significantly high amounts of concentrated caffeine.
As you probably know, caffeine when ingested in huge quantities, produce similar side effects. MuscleTech’s Hydroxycut product line for instance, seems to have these side effects. So, even when they can help reduce your weight, these negatives can do significant damage to people who are already predisposed to heart issues.
They Can Be Addictive
Addiction is a real problem for some users because of the ingredients contained in some fat loss supplements. This is not surprising seeing as some of them contain caffeine and/or amphetamines, both of which are particularly effective at getting you hooked and dependent on them,
In fact, many people can’t stop taking these pills because of the withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe. It is not unusual for users to experience severe migraines, fever, increased weight gain, fatigue, irritability and muscle soreness when they stop using them.
Bloating and Gas
Bloating and gas are sometimes common among appetite suppressant supplements. It’s part of their mechanism as they work by expanding after ingestion, making you feel full for longer periods.
This way, you won’t feel the need to eat frequently. And when you do, you’ll end up eating less than you should because you feel full. The good news is that the bloating and gas aren’t as much of an issue as they (particularly the gas) don’t last too long and you won’t end up farting every 5 minutes.
As far as we’re concerned, this, combined with a reasonable workout regimen can get help you lose weight and stay fit.
Restlessness, Anxiety and Insomnia
A good example of a weight loss pill that causes these side effects is Rimonabant aka Acomplia. This drug, even though an effective appetite suppressant and fat burner, not only made its users feel this way, it also made them suicidal.
There are still a few weight loss pills out there in the market that can cause these symptoms. If you’re experiencing any of these after you started taking some pills, you might want to stop and look for one with less side effects. Your weight loss supplement is meant to help you get in better shape health wise, not worsen it.
Some individuals have suffered from abdominal cramps and pains while using certain fat loss supplements. A good example is a supplement called Herbal Xenicol –also sold as Herbal Flos Lonicerae- that was in circulation years ago –there are still a few websites selling this.
As a herbal appetite suppressant, you would think that it would have very little or no side effects. Well, users experienced severe abdominal pains courtesy of the fillers and unnamed pharmaceutical agents used as ingredients. So, even if it was effective to some extent, the side effects far outweighed the benefits.
Migraines, Headaches and Dizziness
These are usually common among supplements with high caffeine content. If you take caffeine regularly, then you know that once you consume a certain number of cups, you’ll start experiencing one or more of the abovementioned side effects.
Some of these pills contain unusually high amounts of caffeine that are suddenly released into your bloodstream –essentially causing an effect that’s similar to caffeine overload.
These, while effective at boosting your metabolism and increasing the rate at which you burn fat, are quite dangerous. For instance, if you suffer a sudden onset of dizziness while going at 100mph, you could get in an accident. Bottom line, that can get very dangerous, very fast.
Fluctuating Sex Drive and Erratic Reproductive Cycle in Women
While there are many causes of low sex drive and erratic menstrual cycles, dieting supplements can also interfere with your hormonal balance.
So, if you suddenly start experiencing these symptoms shortly after you started taking a diet supplement, you need to stop to make sure that the supplement isn’t the cause. There are studies that have shown that people who take supplements can indirectly suffer low sex drives because of that.
Here’s how: Many weight loss pills contain caffeine. When ingested in huge amounts, caffeine can trigger anxiety and irritability –two conditions that typically increase your stress levels- which in turn, interfere with your sex drive, seeing as you’ll have more cortisol in your system instead of testosterone and endorphins.
It is possible for your diet pills to cause respiratory failure and/or primary pulmonary hypertension. Doubt it? This was the case with Fen-Phen, a drug that is now banned in the US.
The drug was made from a combination of Fenfluramine and Phentermine. It was discovered that the Fen part of the drug was largely responsible for the associated lung conditions while the phentermine had no significant side effects. This is why phentermine is still in circulation today, even if mostly prescribed by doctors.
Congestive Heart Failure
The drug Ephedra was pulled from the market because the FDA found that it could exacerbate heart related conditions, leading to cardiac arrest or congestive heart failure. Meridia, another pill that was also in circulation was linked to heart palpitations, shortness of breath, arrhythmia, and increased blood pressure.
As a result, it was discontinued and banned even though it was touted as being effective for getting rid of belly fat and suppressing appetites. While many weight loss pills have excluded these ingredients, the reality is that some of them may still be able to cause any of these conditions.
These pills are also capable of causing hormonal imbalance, which in turn causes mood swings, depression, as well as stomach, liver, and kidney problems –in fact hydroxycut was notorious for this. Unlike the conditions named above, these have not been concretely proven. But, there’s enough indirect link to suggest that they can cause some of these conditions.
What Should You Do to Avoid These Side effects?
Only Buy Proven Supplements
These days, it’s not difficult to distinguish between dud products and real deal. Thanks to popular websites like Amazon, you can research the weight loss pill and get instant feedback on its effects.
When a product is approved by thousands of people, you probably won’t go wrong with that product. Look for products whose reviewers have the “verified purchase” designation on Amazon or any other popular ecommerce site.
This means that they actually bought the product and have found it very satisfactory. Also, look for products with more 3-5 star ratings than those with a bunch of 1s and 2s. These products usually have great results. Sometimes, crowd intelligence and knowledge can be very useful. Use that to your advantage here.
Start With Smaller Doses
When lots of people started complaining that Hydroxycut caused heart palpitations, others found that taking far less than the recommended quantity –usually starting with one-third of the recommended pills and then moving up from there- got great results for them.
So, if you’ve noticed this in your weight loss supplement, but like it and feel it’s working for you, we would recommend reducing the dosage. So, if for instance, you were supposed to pop two pills a day, start with just one, see how your body reacts to it and then adjust your dosage as you see fit.
Learn Everything About these Supplements
This is an extremely important thing to do if you have the time. This is important because the FDA and other health bodies have found that some undetermined or previously banned ingredients like penophthalein (possible cancer causing drug), phenytoin, rimonabant, and sibutramine are being repurposed and used in some of today’s weight loss and diet pills.
Even worse is the fact that they aren’t listing these ingredients on the supplement packaging. This 2009 FDA press release talks about this in-depth. Being able to clearly identify the ingredients in these supplements will help you make an informed decision about them. Always look for ingredients particularly those identified by the FDA.
Stick With the Tried and True Pills
There’s a reason some weight loss supplements have been around for a long time: it’s because they work. If you have any doubts, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and use only those proven pills.
Avoid Supplement Abuse
Finally, most of these symptoms are further worsened with the abuse of the supplements. In fact, 4 out of 6 times, people experience these side effects because they took more than the recommended dosage.
Supplement abuse is a real problem that’s common among people looking to get faster results. Unfortunately, your body can only tolerate and process a certain amount of chemical or herbal substances at any given time. It’s a bit like excessive training.
It’s going to be very difficult to start benching 250lb on your first day at the gym if you have never benched before. In fact, that would be a superhuman feat. Instead, you build up to it. So, while you want to those results quickly, understand that your body will only cooperate if you work with it, and not against it.