What are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements are manmade sources of nutrients such as herbs, minerals and vitamins. Dietary supplements come in many different forms including capsules, energy bars, drinks, powder and pills. There are over 50,000 types of dietary supplements approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many that are not regulated by the FDA. Approximately half of the adults in the United States consume some sort of dietary supplement, the most popular one being the multivitamin. In the United States, the FDA is responsible for regulating all food and medical substances that we put into our body. According to them a dietary supplement is not a typical pharmaceutical drug, preservative, food additive, spice or any other sort of food. Instead, they define dietary supplements as products that have the following characteristics:
- They are not used as meal replacements. Instead they are taken to support a person’s existing diet.
- The product is or contains some sort of herb, vitamin, amino acid or dietary element that contributes to the food a person eats.
- The product is labeled as a dietary supplement. If you walk into a super store looking for a dietary supplement, it must be labeled. Without the label you could be picking up pharmaceutical pills.
What are the uses of dietary supplements?
Medicinal Dietary Supplements – Many people take dietary supplements for medicinal reasons. Some people may have deficiencies that have to make up. Others might want to improve their health by making sure they are getting enough nutrients even when they aren’t eating perfectly balanced. However, when most people hear ‘dietary supplements’, the other use of the supplements comes to mind, not the medicinal use.
Weight Loss Dietary Supplements – A lot of people use dietary supplements to lose weight. When you take dietary supplements your body will start melting away your fat at a faster rate. How this happens varies depending on the dietary supplement you are taking. Some speed up your metabolism, which is the fastest way to lose weight without the exercise and healthy eating. However, dietary supplements aren’t the as easy to use as they sound. You still have to watch your portion size. Furthermore, there are many side effects of dietary supplements that you might want to consider before you take the plunge.
What are some popular Dietary Supplements?
Protein Shakes – There are numerous companies that produce protein shakes in the liquid and powder form. It has been scientifically proven that you lose more weight when you eat several small meals throughout the day instead of eating two or three large ones. However, it isn’t easy to plan out several meals every day or ear the same thing several times a day. This is where protein shakes come in. They are great if you’re feeling hungry and want to prevent overeating. You can add in various fruits and nuts to make the shake taste better. Protein shakes contain whey protein which has slower digestive proteins. These stay in your stomach longer which makes you feel full for a longer time. However, there are some downsides.
- Weight Gain: If you increase your protein intake without increasing the amount you exercise, weight gain is inevitable. The protein will be perceived as extra calories and stored in the body as fat.
- Bone Loss- Eating large amounts of protein also increases the amount of acid in your body that is brought due to the sulfates and phosphates in the protein. To combat the excess acid, your kidneys will try to flush out acid in your urine. This acid will end up taking calcium with it, causing a loss in bone mass overall. This increases your chances of getting osteoporosis.
- Dehydration- Having excess protein in the body will send it into the state of ketosis. When the body is in ketosis it will release water in large amounts. This will in time dehydrate your body. Because of this it is necessary to drink a lot of water to make up for the water lost.
W700 Thermogenic Hyper-Metabolizer by Ubervita – This best selling diet pill describes itself as a “No-Diet pill” and “No Side Effect Pill”. This thermogenic pill is a powerful dietary supplement used for extreme weight loss. The pills are reasonably priced and have an ample amount of positive customer reviews. They contain many ingredients that have been scientifically linked to weight loss, including green coffee bean and Garcinia Combogia. However, there are many things that we still don’t know about W700 Thermogenic Hyper-Metabolizer pills. There isn’t a full list of the ingredients on the packaging and there is a serious lack of clinical trial information. Furthermore, green coffee bean and Garcinia Combogia have their own set of side effects that must be considered.
Garcinia Combogia– Also known as the tamarind fruit in Indonesia, Garcinia Combogia, contains a high amount of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and iron. It also contains hydroxycitric acid, which causes a decrease in appetite and stops your body from storing any food as fat. This sounds like a miracle for someone who wants to shed pounds fast. However, in clinical trials of Garcinia Combogia it was proven that the substance caused toxicity and testicular atrophy in mice.
Green Coffee Bean – Sounds harmless enough right? Derived directly from unroasted coffee, green coffee beans are known to be very effective for weight loss. However, there is still a lot that we simply do not know about green coffee beans. There have been many side effects related to green coffee beans including anxiety, insomnia, nausea, diarehha, increased heart rate, vomiting, muscle tension, depression, fatigue, magnesium depletion and calcium deficiencies.
Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract– Another dietary supplement that is produced by various companies is the pure Garcinia Combogia extract. It is a dietary supplement that prides itself on being completely natural and extremely efficient. This appetite suppressing supplement can be taken on its own, or you can look for it in the ingredients of other dietary supplements. Because of the W700 Thermogenic Hypermetabolizer pills we already know a lot about the side effects of Garcinia Cambogia Extract.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid Capsules – Another popular dietary supplement to lose weight is the Conjugated Linoleic Acid pill or capsule. It is commonly known as a miracle diet pill because it has been clinically proven to raise your metabolic rate and decrease the amount of fat stored in the first place. Conjuated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, is found in dairy and meat products as a fatty acid. It is used not only to combat obesity but to control diabetes associated with weight gain. However, due to extensive clinical trials, CLA has also been linked to nausea, diarrhea and even heart disease.
Glucomannan Fiber – Made from the konjac plant root, glucommanan is used in the form of tablets, powder and capsules for a variety of reasons, including weight, constipation, diabetes and high cholesterol. This fibrous substance absorbs water in the intestines and stomach. This then helps lower sugar and cholesterol in the blood. Studies show that it helps the breakdown of fat and decreases appetite. Glucomannan is a relatively safer dietary supplement. It is very safe in the form of powder or capsules. However, when it is in tablet form there is a risk of a blockage in the throat and intestines. Also, there isn’t a lot of information about the effect of glucomannan on pregnant and breast feeding women. In that case you should always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
MCT Oil – MCT Oil is a new product that is very popular. It is derived from Coconut Oil and the Medium Chain Triglycerides are supposed to help you you lose weight as is used as an energy source and not as a fat. The thermogenic effect increases energy and fat burning.
How can you start taking dietary or supplements?
When taking any new medication or dietary supplements, there are certain measures that have to be taken to ensure your health and safety.
- First, go to your doctor. Let him know what your plans and concerns are. It is very likely that your doctor will advise against dietary supplements, pushing you to lose weight the traditional way- diet and exercise.
- If you’re still adamant about taking dietary supplements, start slow. Don’t take a lot all of a sudden or mix different types of pills. Many people love to start taking dietary supplements with protein shakes. There is no concrete knowledge of how this will affect your body so it is best to stay away from such combinations.
- Be prepared that without regular exercise, it is likely that you will not lose a lot of weight. Some people complain about gaining all the weight back immediately after ending their dietary supplement.
- There are countless side effects that can arise by taking dietary supplements. The side effects of dietary supplements are much more common than the side effects of prescription medications. Although the FDA does approve the dietary supplements available to us, they do make mistakes. More than once they have recalled dietary supplements after further testing and expensive law suits. Always read the labels.
- Natural is not synonymous to safe. Many dietary supplement companies pride themselves on being 100% natural. This does not mean their supplements are safe. There are many natural substances that are very harmful.