Choosing from the bevy of weight loss products online and in stores can be an overwhelming experience for even the veteran dieter. Adding to the confusion are the different actions these supplements take within the body to help you lose weight. So how do you know which is right for you?
With obesity on the rise, with its well-documented side effects, the market for weight loss supplements continues to grow. Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent research company, puts the sales of diet supplements and meal replacements at $2.69 billion in 2010 in the United States. The two main categories of supplements are stimulants and non-stimulants. Within these categories are fat burners, fat binders, carbohydrate blockers, metabolism boosters, thermogenic calorie burners, thyroid supplements and appetite suppressants.
With so many types available, most people shopping for a weight loss aid consider combining them to meet their specific needs.
Mixing Weight Loss Supplements
With the continued testing of individual weight loss products and their effects, little to no definitive data regarding the mixing of these products is available. However, because of the potential side effects of stimulants, it is best not to mix two stimulant products. Stimulants act on the central and peripheral nervous systems and may increase heart rate and blood pressure and side effects can include heart palpitations and insomnia.
That being the case, it is imperative to do your research and consult a physician if you are still unsure. It is important to find out the active ingredient(s) in each product and what its intended effect is. Then compare them to make sure they do not cancel each other out, or provide too high a dose of a particular ingredient. To help you organize your research, download our table.
Here are some examples of non-stimulant products that work well when taken together:
1. White Kidney Bean Extract and Satiereal Saffron
The partial protein phaseolamin found in white kidney bean extract is an alpha-amylase inhibitor. Alpha-amylase is an enzyme that helps turn starch into sugar. By blocking the enzyme’s production, the carbohydrates aren't absorbed into the system and converted into sugar or stored as fats. Instead, they are expended as energy, helping the user lose weight. But carbohydrates also have important functions in the body. For one, they help increase the production of serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Adequate serotonin levels prevent or lessen depression and anxiety by regulating the levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Keeping the serotonin-cortisol link in check fosters that feel-good disposition and a happier person consumes less calories on average, as surveys have shown. So, if the white kidney bean extract has the side effect of suppressing serotonin by blocking carb absorption, saffron makes up for it. The crocetin in saffron acts to increase serotonin production, supporting mood enhancement and ultimately making people eat less and lose the pounds.
2. Raspberry Ketone and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
The ketone enzyme found in raspberries boosts the production of adiponectin, a protein hormone that keeps regulates metabolism and stalls the growth of fat tissues. A 2007 study in the International Journal of Obesity showed conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is effective in reducing body fat mass and keeping weight gain at bay with a dosage of 3.2 grams daily. Further research and development is still underway regarding the medicinal properties of these compounds but from the information at hand, it would indicate the actions of the raspberry ketone and CLA complement each other and taking them together enhances their performance as weight loss aids.
3. Relora and L-Carnitine
James B. LaValle, R.Ph., MS., CCN, a renowned pharmacist, nutritionist and advocate of homeopathic medicine, mentioned chronic stress conditions will produce constantly elevated cortisol levels in the body in his book "Relora: The Natural Breakthrough to Losing Stress-Related Fat and Wrinkles." This condition triggers stress-related eating, leading to weight gain. In this scenario, diet and exercise may not be enough to achieve the desired weight reduction. LaValle recommended relora for its safety and efficacy in controlling cortisol production and the consequent stress-induced obesity. He also advocates the intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients as complementary supplements to intensify relora’s stress-relieving effects. Among them is L-Carnitine, which is involved in energy and muscle metabolism, generating a loss in fats and an increase in muscle mass. Its energizing action may also serve to counteract any drowsiness that is a result of relaxant compounds, one of which is relora.