Supplements & weight loss
Jenny Lass, MA
Although a nutritious diet and regular exercise are key to losing weight, natural supplements and herbs can help in achieving weight loss goals.
Although a nutritious diet and regular exercise are key to losing weight, research shows that there is more you can do to shed pounds. Dietary supplements can play an important complementary role in regulating metabolism, suppressing appetite, and curbing sweet cravings.
Before delving into the issue of weight loss, it’s essential to understand what causes weight gain. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, weight gain is a complex process influenced by a potentially large combination of factors:
It’s no wonder that the conventional weight-loss strategies centred around diet and exercise aren’t curbing the high rates of Canadians who are obese (23 percent) and overweight (59 percent).
New Approaches to Losing Weight
Dietary supplements can safely help with weight loss, when formulated correctly, by targeting a range of root causes of weight gain at the same time.
Several weight-loss herbals affect how insulin works. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that lowers blood sugar and affects fat storage by the body. Although it is unclear exactly how they work, extracts such as Gymnema sylvestre and chromium picolinate, which affect insulin activity, may help trigger fat loss.
Other extracts that target fat include Coleus forskohlii, which breaks down the fat stored in fat cells; Garcinia cambogia, which inhibits fat and cholesterol synthesis; and green tea, which not only increases metabolism but may also reduce the risk of colorectal and breast cancer in women.
Thermogenics such as Capsicum annuum increase metabolism to burn more calories; lipotropes, such as choline and betaine, break down fat that can accumulate in the livers of obese people.
However, herbal remedies can do more than just control fat levels. Diuretics such as Arctostaphylos uva-ursi can reduce weight by eliminating excess water buildup in the body. Gymnema sylvestre curbs sweet cravings and Hoodia may sppress appetite.
First talk to your health care practitioner. If he or she feels that it’s safe for you to take diet supplements to assist your weight loss, be sure to discuss formulations that target the multiple factors involved in weight control and that are appropriate for your particular needs.
What’s important to know is that dieting and exercise are a great start to losing weight, but adding herbals can give you that extra edge in dropping pounds.
Sample Herbal Wight-Loss Mix