Today’s world offers numerous solutions for weight loss in the form of natural remedies, gym schedule, exercises, diet plans, etc. There are also various weight loss pills and supplements available in the market which can help in achieving your target weight.

Weight loss supplements and pills help in reduction of your appetite, making you eat less, resulting in lower calorie intake. Lower calorie means fewer calories to burn.

They also help in reduction of absorption of nutrients like fat. Also, they improvise the fat burning process. In short, more calories start getting burnt.

Today we are reviewing best weight loss pills and supplements which are available in the market.

1. Protein Powder

Protein powders are available in various forms. The most common ones are whey, soy and casein protein.

Peter Horvath, PhD, associate professor at the State University of New York mentions that Whey is the most commonly used protein powder as it is a water-soluble milk protein.

It is also a complete protein since it contains all nine amino acids necessary for human dietary needs.

Vegetarians may opt for soy protein, however as it doesn’t dissolve thoroughly with water and is not very pleasant in taste, may not be preferred by many.

How does it work?

Protein is quintessential in weight loss as it helps build and maintain muscle tissue, which is the key to weight loss. Muscle tissue burns fat, even if you sit around.

Protein enables the body to burn more calories, metabolising proteins that it does processing carbs or fat. When the daily consumption of protein is insufficient for getting the benefits of real weight loss, the boost is provided by protein powder as it gives the highly concentrated amount of protein.

According to a study, taking whey protein may lead to loss of weight and body fat, and help to increase lean muscle mass.

Side effects

However, one must remember that protein powder is processed food.

2. Garcinia Cambogia & its extract

Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit widely found in Kerala, India, thus named the Malabar Tamarind. Studies (1) have revealed that it obstructs the body’s ability to of producing fat and reduces the appetite too.

It is known to keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check. It is a known supplement for weight loss. Nowadays, it is also available as a diet pill. It may also be found along with other ingredients in diet products.

How does it work?

The rind of the fruit has an active ingredient, Hydroxycitric acid, which boosts the burning of fat and cuts appetite too. It helps in reducing the accumulation of fat in the body by blocking the enzyme called Citrate lyase, which produces fat in the body.

It is useful in raising the brain chemical Serotonin, making you less hungry.

The journal of obesity published a review of a study conducted on people using Garcinia Cambogia. The study (2) showed that people who took the supplement lost only 2 pounds more than the ones who didn’t.

Side effects

Mild dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhoea or an upset stomach may be experienced while using it.

3. Glutamine

Proteins are made up of Amino acids. Your body uses protein for almost everything that keeps you up and running each day. Glutamine is one such Amino acid. It has been used extensively for weight loss as it burns fat and builds muscle.

How does it work?

By reducing food craving and giving the body more energy glutamine helps to reduce weight.

An overweight body needs more glutamine than a body with good BMI level. Insufficient quantity of glutamine in the body will result in muscle tissue break down, to get that extra bit of glutamine, this breakdown in the muscle tissue will result in a loss of the muscle mass. An adequate amount of glutamine helps lose weight and maintain muscle mass.

Side effects

Glutamine can be harmful to people having cirrhosis, hepatic encephalopathy, and intolerance for Monosodium glutamate, Mania or seizures.

4. Green Tea extract

The caffeine and flavonoids in green tea can help in elevating the metabolic rate, increase the fat oxidation and improves insulin activity. Today, Green tea extract is part of several weight loss supplements.

How does it work?

Green tea extract has property to boosts the activity of a hormone, norepinephrine, which helps in burning body fat.

A study (3) on 60 obese subjects showed that those who consumed green tea and caffeine lost significant weight during a 12-week period while sticking to their regular diet.

Side effects

Although Green tea extract does not have any harmful effect on healthy human being, it can adversely effects person affected with anaemia, anxiety disorders, bleeding disorders, heart complications, diabetes, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, glaucoma, bone weakness and Irritable bowel syndrome.

5. Hydroxycut

Hydroxycut is a family of dietary supplements and is sold without a prescription as an aid for weight loss. The active ingredients include papaya, maqui, blackberry, amla extract and saffron extract. In some Hydroxycut, green coffee and caffeine are also added.

How does it work?

A study reports an average 10.9-pound weight loss in 50 overweight volunteers, who took a green tea extract for 60 days, used in Hydroxycut products.

Side effects

Hydroxycut caused some headaches, upset stomach, nausea and increase heart rate.

6.  Orlistat (Alli)

It is an over the counter drug which helps in losing weight. Patients who have had weight loss surgery are recommended to take this weight loss pill. According to a study (4), orlistat can speed up weight loss process up to 6 pounds compared to an ordinary pill.

How Does Alli Work?

Alli belongs to the class of drugs called lipase inhibitors. It works in blocking the intestines from absorbing about 25% of fats that are eaten. Uneaten fats are excreted.

Side effects

People using Alli may have trouble controlling bowel movements, loose, frequent stools, oily or fatty stools, oily spots on undergarments, pain in the stomach or rectum, the passing of gas, anxiety, urgent need to have a bowel movement, changes in menstrual cycle and headaches.

Severe side effects such as breathing difficulty, difficulty in swallowing, hives or itching and stomach pain that persists, may be experienced.

Recommended for obese people with high fat intake but should be taken prior doctor’s advice.

7. Fish oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are well known for stimulating enzymes that initiate the fat-burning process in the cells. It is commonly available in pills.

How does it work?

Omega-3s, present in fish oil, is known to reduce hunger and appetite (5). Fish oil can cause weight loss, enhance exercise performance and muscle strength and relax sore muscles after exercise.

A Japanese study showed that the mice who were fed fatty food but had fish oil had shown less weight and less fat than the ones who were fed the same diet without fish oil.

Side effects

High doses of fish oil could reduce immune system’s activity, reducing the ability of the body to fight disease.

People using fish oil may experience belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash and nosebleeds.

8. Raspberry ketones

Raspberry ketone is natural chemicals that give raspberry their aroma. Ketones are extracted from red raspberries. You can find the synthetic version of raspberry ketones as weight loss supplement.

It was made famous by the Dr Oz television show, in a segment called the “Raspberry ketone: miracle fat-burner in a bottle.

How does it work?

Ketones in studies showed that it might increase some measures of metabolism. The hormone adiponectin in the body may get affected, which can improve the burning of fat in the body and reduce appetite.

A study showed that people who took 200mgs of the raspberry ketones along with 1,200 mg of Vitamin C daily for four weeks lost weight and body fat. However, the study doesn’t show whether this is because of ketones or vitamin C intake or the combination of the two.

Side effects

Diabetic people, already on medications, should use ketones with caution, as it could reduce the blood sugar level dangerous. A few cases of jitteriness, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat has been reported.

9. Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a dietary fibre which is made from the root of konjac plant and available in the form of powder, capsules and tablets. It is also used for weight loss.

How does it work?

Glucomannan forms a bulky fibre, by absorbing water in the stomach and intestines, which fights constipation. It causes the slow absorption of sugar and fat from the gut causing weight loss.

Glucomannan might be less useful in controlling of weight. However, if you want significant benefits, then you can combine Glucomannan with a healthy diet plan and exercise regime.

Side effects

Not recommended for children as it may cause blockage in throat and intestines. People with lower sugar level and diabetes must use it with caution. If surgery is scheduled, it should be discontinued two weeks before the surgery.

10. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid comprises a group of chemicals found in the fatty acid linoleic acid. It is a popular fat loss supplement. Its significant sources are dairy products like butter & cheese.

How does it work?

Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is known to break down body fats and reduces appetite (6).

For obesity, dosages may range from 1 gram to 3.4 grams daily, much higher than the amount of CLA in a typical diet. Doctor’s advice must be sought on this.

Side effects

As it is known to cause slow blood clotting, it might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding, especially with bleeding disorders. For the same reason, people scheduled for surgery must discontinue the drug at least two weeks before surgery.

Worsens diabetes and people with metabolic syndrome could risk getting diabetes.

11. Forskolin

Forskolin is prepared from the root of a plant from the mint family which are grown mostly in India, Nepal and Thailand. It is being used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for ages.

How does it work?

May stimulate fat burning by raising the levels of a compound inside cells called cAMP. A study (7) conducted on several obese people suggested that Forskolin did reduce body fat, but on the hand, it increased the muscle mass. Overall, leaving no effect on body weight.

Side effects

If Forskolin is inhaled, then it may cause upper respiratory tract irritation, cough, tremor and restlessness.

The blood vessels of eyes may get enlarged, and eyes might sting. In rare cases, it may cause a headache.

12. Meratrim

Sphaeranthus indicus (a flower) and Garcinia Mangostana, (a fruit) are extracted and combined in the ratio of 3:1 to produce Meratrim. There is a history of using the two for medical purposes in the past. Meratrim is nowadays available as a diet pill in the market.

Recently, it was featured in The Dr Oz show and called as “groundbreaking weight loss supplement”.

How does it work?

Different researchers have claimed that Meratrim makes harder for fat cells to multiply. Also, it decreases the amount fat which is picked by fat cells from the bloodstream. Lastly, it aids fat cells to burn stored fat.

It would be better to start on a low-carb diet first. If you are losing weight then it would not be necessary to buy the product, however, if it doesn’t then try using Meratrim.

Side effects

Pregnant women and nursing mothers are advised against this product as it tends to lower sugar levels.

13. Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most common substances which is added to several commercially available weight loss supplements. Apart from this, we usually consume this psychoactive substance in the form of coffee, dark chocolate and green tea.

How does it work?

Caffeine is a metabolism booster, and it can even increase fat burning up by 29% (8). As a result, you will experience weight loss.

Side effects

A high amount of caffeine can lead to insomnia, nausea, sleep disorder, anxiety, etc. It is not prescribed to take weight loss pills and supplements which have caffeine. However, intake of green tea and good coffee is preferred as they have health benefits like anti-oxidising properties.

Over to you

Shedding of weight must be done cautiously.  Drop the kilos but do it gradually, or else instead of fat, one will lose muscle, bone and water.

Many perception drugs, weight loss pills and weight loss supplements are available in the nearby market, which comes with a promise to help you to combat obesity. However, we must know that all such drugs have side effects and as such using them could affect one’s health adversely.

The right thing to do is to go low on carbs and included more protein in the diet. Also, the right kind of exercise, done in the right way could be a better alternative.