3 Natural Supplements for Losing Weight

By on October 21, 2011
Supplement bowl

Weight loss, gain or maintenance (weight management) is the result of the complex interaction of foods consumed, energy expended, multiple hormones and enzymes, and neurotransmitters. For many of us, permanent weight reduction is a difficult task.

To assist in this process, people often turn to pharmaceuticals and supplements. To date, pharmaceuticals have shown to have a minimal effect on significant weight loss.

The only two drugs approved by the FDA for long-term weight loss are Sibutramine and Orlistat. Unfortunately, they typically result in a mere 5-6% loss of body weight

Are weight loss supplements effective?

Many individuals consume vitamins and supplements to aid in weight loss. Are they effective and ethical? Whether taking diet pills is cheating or not, the answer to this question is that some are more effective than others, but most of these supplements have not been adequately studied. The more popular ones generally do assist in weight loss, but are marginally effective; most of the benefits are seen from calorie reduction and exercise.

Research behind weight loss supplements is lacking

The reason that there are not enough studies on supplements is strictly financial. Large, well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled studies cost millions of dollars. For companies to invest this amount of money in a study, the “payoff” would have to make it worthwhile. Therefore, with few exceptions, you will only see pharmaceutical companies investing their money in pharmaceutical drugs, hoping for the big payday. It does leave many of us in the dark, experimenting with supplements.

However, here are 3 natural supplements with the most potential to help you lose weight:

Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium)

Not enough human studies, but animal studies have shown weight-loss properties. Contains a stimulant called synephrine, which may increase heart rate and blood pressure. To date, no serious adverse effects have been seen in either testing group.


One study found modest weight loss, but most studies have failed to show benefit. However, there is evidence that it may help with insulin receptor sensitivity, thereby controlling blood glucose levels.

Hydroxycitric acid (Garcinia cambogia)

Studies have shown mixed results. There are several studies using 2800 mg per day of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which actually revealed weight loss. It is worth noting that weight loss was more significant once HCA was combined with the aforementioned niacin-bound chromium (400 mg) and Gymnema sylvestre extract (400 mg). The latter is an herb native to southern and central India, where it has long been used to treat diabetes.