A Look Into the Latest, Most Popular Weight Loss Supplements in the Market

Published:April 24th, 2011

Obesity rates are rising continuously over the last several years, not only in the United States, but also in almost every country in the four corners of the world. In the United States alone, more than thirty percent of the population belongs to the obese group. Furthermore, approximately seventy percent of both men and women are known to be overweight. In fact, as mentioned in a study published in the 2011 issue of the Journal of Obesity, There is a steady increase of six to seven percent in the obese population every ten years.

The use of dietary supplements for weight loss became so popular among patients who have problems with their excess weight. And why? Because weight loss supplements prove to have faster, easier-to-get results compared to conventional calorie reduction and increased physical activity. And even with the questionable efficacy and safety of these weight-reducing over-the-counter medications, it was found that approximately thirty-three to thirty-four percents of obese adults have attempted to use one dietary supplement or another in order to achieve faster weight reduction. Furthermore, for most patients, the use of ‘natural’ herb weight loss supplements has no harm compared prescription medications. However, despite the rampant use of weight-reducing products, the studies that prove the safety and effectiveness of these products remain limited.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid naturally found in beef and dairy-containing products, appears to reduce body fat content while increasing the body’s overall insulin sensitivity and decreasing the blood glucose levels. Furthermore, some studies even reveal that conjugated linoleic acid may have an anticancer effect as well as an anti-atherosclerosis formation properties. Thus, some scientists even go as far as to suggest its use for patients with hypertension, cancer, diabetes and increased cholesterol levels.

The overall safety of conjugated linoleic acid has been proven again and again in so many clinical trials. However, some adverse effects have been documented. So far, the most common side effect of this weight loss supplement is the gastrointestinal upset.

Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid)

Hydroxycitric acid, an active chemical substance found in the fruit of the plant Garcinia cambogia, is believed to be fat-synthesis-inhibiting weight loss supplement. Furthermore, some people even believe that this weight loss supplement may improve endurance in prolonged exercise and physical trainings by increasing the metabolism of lipid compounds stored within fat cells, decreasing the metabolism of carbohydrates absorbed by the intestines and increase the stimulation of the satiety center, thereby reducing the appetite. All in all, hydroxycitric acid appears to be a safe over-the-counter medication. However, there is still insufficient data to support its effectiveness against weight gain and obesity.


Chitosan comes from the crustaceans’ shell. According to some laboratory studies, chitosan tends to bind with dietary fats and even bile acids. As a result, many people think that chitosan, when ingested, may also inhibit the absorption of fat within the gastrointestinal tract. As mentioned in the said study published by the Journal of Obesity, chitosan appears to be an effective alternative weight loss medication. However, the most common adverse effects with its use may be in the form of gastrointestinal problems. Furthermore, patients with a documented history of allergy to shellfishes should avoid using this weight loss supplement to prevent possible allergic reactions.


Pyruvate serves as the byproduct derived from the metabolism of glucose. Up to this time, the exact mechanism how pyruvate induces weight loss is still unknown.  However, in the rat population, pyruvate use resulted in increased burning of stored fats and increase in the resting metabolic rate. Most studies support the effectiveness of pyruvate in improving the rate of weight loss. Furthermore, this weight loss supplement appears to be relatively safe, although some gastrointestinal side effects were observed in a few patients.

Irvingia gabonensis

Irvingia gabonensis, mango-like fruit that grows from West African forest tree, was theorized to inhibit the production of fats and multiplication of fat cells. Furthermore, it was also observed to improve cholesterol levels, making it a possible new treatment mode for patients with increased blood cholesterol levels.

Though the current studies are quite encouraging, there is still insufficient data that can prove the effectiveness of Irvingia gabonensis in inducing weight loss. The use of this weight loss supplement appears to be relatively safe. However, some side effects may still occur, such as insomnia or difficulty sleeping, occasional headaches and increased flatulence. Because of inconclusive studies of Irvingia gabonensis, this weight loss supplement is not yet generally recommended by most health experts.

Chia Seed (Salvia hispanica)

Chia seed, also known as  Salvia hispanica, is an omega-3-fatty acids, alpha-linoleic acid, and fiber-containing sprout. Because of its rich content, it has been hypothesized that chia seeds may help in improving the blood cholesterol levels, blood sugar level and even cause effective weight loss in patients who use this supplement. However, up to this time, limited data is still available to prove the effectiveness of chia seeds for losing weight.

Many overweight and obese patients are turning to herbal and supplemental products to improve their weight. However, special precaution must still be observed with the use of these products since most of them have insufficient data that can prove their real effectiveness and safety. Earnest weight loss efforts through proper well-balanced dieting and regular physical activity are still the best available options for losing weight. Yes, it’s really true; Conjugated linoleic acid, Irvingia gabonensis and pyruvate were suggested by numerous studies to be effective weight loss supplements. However, these studies are still inconclusive. Further clinical trials and researchers must still be carried out to further establish the usefulness of these products in weight reduction.


Journal of Obesity; An Evidence-Based Review of Fat Modifying Supplemental Weight Loss Products; Egras, A.M. et al.; 2011


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