Weight Loss Supplements 101
If you’re like most people, you take one or more supplements every day. In fact, nearly 77% of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. Perhaps it’s a daily multivitamin to make up for a deficiency that’s recommended by a doctor or nutritionist. Other supplements include probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, enzymes, fiber, and various herbs. And, one of the most often-used categories includes weight-loss supplements. People are specifically searching for weight loss supplements that work 2020.
Specific Facts About Weight Loss Supplements
In short, dietary supplements are used to add nutrients to your diet to help shore up a deficiency. Others address specific needs. They can come in the form of capsules, pills, and gel tabs; powders, liquids, and extracts.
If you eat a variety of healthy foods, including a rainbow of vegetables and fruits, you likely get nearly all of the nutrients you need. Yet many of us have busy lifestyles. Consequently, we may not be giving our nutrition the attention it deserves. Or, we may be following a strict dietary plan, reducing the variety of foods we’re eating. In that case, a supplement can be a handy addition to your nutrition plan. In other words, supplements can be a way to get the missing nutrients to assist with a current goal.
Supplements assist in reaching nutritional goals. They are not meant to replace a quality diet and active lifestyle but rather to support them. No matter what your goal or what a manufacturer claims, if you just take a supplement and do nothing else, you won’t get the results you desire.
Regulation of Drugs
You may have heard that supplements are “not regulated.” This is far from true. Dietary supplements in the U.S. are, however, regulated as foods rather than as drugs. As such, they aren’t put through the same safety and effectiveness requirements as drugs.
You see, drugs are considered unsafe until they’re “proven” safe. Even then, many drugs, even when used as prescribed, can lead to injury, hospitalization, or even death. One recent estimate suggests prescription deaths could lead to 100,000 to 128,000 or more deaths per year. And that’s only including when used as prescribed. Additional deaths can be caused from prescribing errors, self-medication, and overdosing. 1
For comparison, the much-maligned weight-loss herb ephedra was blamed for around 155 deaths before all products with the ingredient were removed from the market. 2 (Rightfully so, as ephedra did have serious negative effects.)
The common over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen, on the other hand, is responsible for around 56,000 ER visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 458 deaths each year. Yet this drug remains FDA approved. 3 Meanwhile, foodborne illnesses result in an estimated 1,492 to 4,983 deaths. And they cause an estimated 62,529 to 215,562 hospitalizations each year. 4
Of course, prescription drugs also help save lives. Many treat infections, prevent strokes, help manage chronic conditions, and more. In addition, most side effects from the FDA-approved drugs are minor, especially when compared to the diseases they are designed to treat. It is still worth noting there are risks involved with medications, especially those new to the market.1
Regulation of Supplements
Unlike drugs, “dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe.” The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defines supplements as a category of food. Supplements, therefore, can’t contain anything that may have “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury” when used as directed. However, unlike pharmaceuticals, manufacturers are not required to test new ingredients in clinical trials. 5
The FDA does regulate dietary supplements for quality, safety, and labeling. So, it has the power to immediately force producers to recall products if they contain harmful or illegal ingredients. In addition, the FDA requires manufacturers to report any serious side effects. They’re also required to follow good manufacturing practices (GMP). And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors advertisements and marketing to ensure manufacturers are not using false or misleading claims.
To clarify, this does not mean supplements do not come with any risks. As in any industry, there are bad players, which sell products that may not contain what the labels claim. For example, the products could be contaminated with unlisted herbs, germs, pesticides, and even heavy metals.
Quality Supplements for Weight Loss
It’s important to buy supplements only from quality, reputable companies. It’s also critical to understand the role of your supplement as a, well, supplement. Like any consumables, supplements can come with risks as well as benefits. Some are safer and more effective than others. Some can interfere with prescription drugs you may be taking. Finally, some may be contraindicated for specific health conditions.
Before using supplements, including weight-loss supplements that work 2020, it’s recommended you work with a health practitioner. Find one who has experience with nutrition and supplementation to help you choose your products, especially if you have any underlying health problems.
It’s also vital to manage expectations. Unlike pharmaceuticals that can often offer nearly instant, dramatic effects, supplements tend to build up within the body to address any underlying deficiencies or start influencing systems. Thus, caution should be used for any supplement that promises miracle-like results. 6
Why Do People Use Dietary Supplements?
While nutritionists generally agree that it’s best to get nutrients from foods when possible, sometimes we do need a little help. Supplements may also be helpful for specific conditions. This can include helping the body fight inflammation or free radicals. Others may help with exercise recovery, sleep, stress, and other concerns.
Dietary supplements are used for a wide variety of reasons, such as:
- Overall health and wellness (e.g., vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and fish oil)
- Filling nutritional gaps (e.g., vitamins and minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids)
- Increasing energy and focus (e.g., caffeine, green tea, and l-theanine, as well as adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, and various vitamins like B12)
- Supporting immune function (e.g., vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C and D and zinc, probiotics, and mushroom complexes)
- Boosting bone health (e.g., calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2)
- Supporting heart health (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and red rice yeast)
Other categories of supplements focus on specific benefits. These can include:
- Improved sports performance
- Muscle growth
- Sleep suppor
- Hormone support
- Healthy aging
- And of course, weight-loss supplements that work 2020.
Depending on your goals, there are various brands as well as locations to purchase your supplements.
What to Look for in Quality Science-Backed Supplements
Have you ever considered buying a supplement, whether in store or online (from GNC to Vitamin World to Vitacost to direct sellers or others)? If so, you may have felt overwhelmed. How do you tell the good from the bad with so many options to choose from?
First off, you’ll need to determine if the supplement addresses your needs. Second, you’ll want to ensure there is unbiased research indicating the ingredients do, in fact, show results. In addition, here’s what to look for to determine a quality supplement: 7
Buy from a trustworthy, science-backed source
Only choose brands with good reputations that have done the work to research the science and test and certify their products. Look for research references or contact the manufacturer directly to request published studies to back their claims.
Check consumer ratings
Have other people found their products to be effective? Do they have a track record of safe and effective use?
Third Party Testing
Has the Weight Loss Supplement Been Fully Tested and Vetted?
Does the company send out their product to have the ingredients tested to ensure the label is accurate to the ingredients and amounts are actually in the product? Is the product free of contaminants? Is there a Certificate of Analysis that specifies the ingredients, dosage, expiration date, and research about the product?
Good Manufacturing Practices
Is the product made with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)? The FDA established GMPs to help ensure the identity, purity, strength, and composition of a company’s supplements.
Does the formula provide the effective dosage of each ingredient or just “fairy dusting”? Have the ingredients been shown by human research to be effective. (While cell and animal research can be valuable and informative, results can be very different in free-living human beings.) Is the form of the ingredient best? For example, is it the most readily available or absorbable form?
Are there side effects?
Because supplements are more like food than drugs, there are fewer side effects to watch for, but they do exist. For example, some weight-loss supplements contain stimulants that can make some folks feel jittery and nervous. Some ingredients may lead to digestive complaints or headaches. If a supplement does cause any side effects, discontinue use immediately. In addition, supplements can interact with various medications. So, if you are taking any medications, discuss your supplements with your health-care provider to ensure the product doesn’t adversely affect your medication.
Watch for miracle claims on any weight loss supplements
Supplements cannot cure or treat a condition. And no supplement can provide results overnight. It the claims sound too good to be true—or completely unbelievable—they probably are. In other words, be on guard.
Where is the weight loss supplement made
Many countries do not regulate supplements at all. Therefore, the ingredients are more likely to be contaminated with toxic ingredients. If the supplement is made outside of the U.S., Canada, or Europa, steer clear.
Pros of Weight-Loss Supplements
If you’ve been trying to lose weight for any length of time, you are probably considering a weight-loss supplement to help aid your efforts. Some of the most popular weight-loss supplements of 2020 include stimulants as well as appetite suppressants. Others, however, may affect the way your body absorbs and uses foods. Still others may increase thermogenesis or the burning of calories through heat.
No matter which weight-loss supplement you decide to try, remember there is no magic bullet. To get results, you still need to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Furthermore, no supplement will provide immediate, dramatic results like gastric bypass surgery or powerful drugs. (However, a combination of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and supplement support is also less likely to result in adverse side effects or dangerous complications.)
The pros of adding a weight-loss supplement backed by science to your exercise and nutrition plan include:
- Jumpstarting your diet
- Faster results than with just diet and exercise alone
- Natural and potentially safer ingredients than found in drugs
- Improved overall health and wellness.
Cons of Weight Loss Supplements
Just because a supplement is natural doesn’t mean it is risk free. Some of the drawbacks of weight-loss supplements include:
- Side effects like stomach discomfort or headaches
- Jittery or nervous energy, especially if the product contains stimulants like caffeine
- Increased hunger when discontinued
- Lack of science-backed evidence of effectiveness.
If a supplement is causing side effects or a bad reaction for you, discontinue use immediately.
Weight Loss Supplements that Work in 2020
There are plenty of supplements on the market that have reams of reputable evidence. For instance, creatine is one of the most notable with well over 500 studies to support it. 8 Quality protein powders, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are also well researched for general health and performance.
When it comes to weight-loss supplements that work 2020, however, which ingredients have clinical research rather than just anecdotal support? Let’s look at three new weight-loss supplements backed by science that show true promise:
Weight-Loss Supplement #1: Cissus quadrangularis (aka Vitaceae, CISSUS CQR-300)
This unique, patented extract of Cissus quadrangularis is from an indigenous medicinal plant of West Africa and India. In 2005, researchers at Oxford University conducted a study of CQR-300 and found a wide range of benefits, including:
- Inhibiting the enzyme amylase activity to slow starch metabolism
- Improving the body’s ability to burn stored fat and build lean muscle mass
- Boosting serotonin levels to help support mood and reduce emotional eating.
Consumed throughout Asia and Africa as a vegetable, Cissus quadrangularis provides flavonoids and stilbenes. Research has found it may help manage obesity, metabolic syndrome, and support weight management. 9,10
Cissus quadrangularis appears to help reduce weight and body fat by limiting the number of calories that enter the bloodstream from the digestive tract. Researchers believe this is because it may inhibiting enzymes that aid in digestion. That is, it may block the activity of the fat-digesting enzyme lipase as well as enzymes that break down starch and starch-derived sugars.
Research on Weight Loss Supplement Cissus Quadrangularis
Other research found 300 mg to be effective in helping reduce weight as well as improve blood parameters associated with metabolic syndrome and serotonin levels. As a reminder, serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with improved satiety and mood. 11
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled 8-week study, researchers found statistically significant reductions in weight and belly fat as well as fasting blood sugar, blood fats, and C-reactive protein. 12
In another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers combined Cissus quadrangularis with Irvingia gabonensis. The 10-week study found while there were noticeable decreases in body weight, body fat, and waist size in both the Cissus quadrangularis-only group and the combination group, the combination resulted in even larger reductions.
Research Conclusions on Weight Loss Supplement CQR-300
The researchers concluded, “The apparently synergistic formulation should prove helpful in the management of obesity and its related complications.” 13
Research has found that the patented CQR-300™ may help individuals lose up to 4 times more weight compared to placebo (up to 10.6 pounds). At the same time, it may increase lean mass in just six weeks. In addition, subjects reduced LDL cholesterol by 29%, triglycerides by 22%, fasting blood sugar by 15%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 21%. Another 10-week study found weight loss of 19 pounds. Just as important, when specifically studied for safety, amounts of 2,500 mg/kg bw/day observed no adverse effects in laboratory animals. 14
The recommended intake is 150 mg twice daily (morning and evening).
Weight Loss Supplement #2: Dichrostachys glomerata (aka Dyglomera, Dyg-400)
This weight-loss supplement originates from a traditional spice from the jungles of Cameroon. Research has shown it may help use sugar more efficiently for energy, so it doesn’t get stored as fat. In clinical studies, researchers found DYG-400 improved metabolic function and reduce fat deposits along with other health benefits, including:
- Improving leptin (the “hunger hormone”) function to reduce cravings
- As a powerful antioxidant 15
- Improving blood-sugar hormone sensitivity which triggers fat metabolism 16
- Helping support cardiovascular health 17
Weight Loss Supplement Impact on Metabolic Hormones
Insulin resistance combined with inflammation are common causes of metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of not only obesity but heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and dementia.
In one 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, obese subjects who received 200 mg of Dyglomera lost an average of 25.5 pounds. In addition, they reduced bodyfat by 10.68% as well as waist and hip circumference. What’s more, they found that the inflammatory markers CRP and PAI-1 were reduced by 17.5% and 39.61%. Finally, they experienced lower blood glucose and insulin levels. 18
Due to its long history of use as a spice for culinary use as well as for medicinal purposes, Dichrostachys glomerate is natural and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and has a comprehensive safety profile. 19
The recommended dose is 200 mg taken twice daily. 20
Weight Loss Supplement #3: Irvingia gabonensis or IGOB-131
In a 10-week clinical study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease IGOB-131 (a patented extract from the African Mango), demonstrated a number of benefits to achieve and maintain target weight, including helping:
- Prevent fatty acid formation 21
- Block the breakdown of foods into blood sugar
- Suppress an enzyme that prevents the formation of fat from blood sugar
In one 10-week double-blind study, overweight subjects received either 150 mg capsules of IGOB131™ extract or a placebo, twice daily before meals. At the end of 10 weeks, the IGOB131 group lost an average of 28 pounds. Plus, they lost 6.7 inches from their waistline and reduced body fat by 18.4%. In addition, serum chemistry changes demonstrated IGOB131 patients reduced total cholesterol by 26%, LDL cholesterol by 27%, fasting blood glucose levels by 32%, and serum CRP levels by 52%. 22
The recommended use is 150 mg taken twice daily 30 – 90 minutes before meals.
Weight Loss Supplements that Work in 2020
All three of these weight-loss supplements that work can be found in the Tetrogen ® formula in the research-recommended amounts. To learn more about the full formula, read testimonials, and find the research on other key ingredients, visit TetrogenUSA.com.
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In the wide world of nutritional supplements and the sometimes wild west of trying to find weight-loss supplements that work 2020, it’s worth taking the time to review the evidence and do your due diligence to find products that are supported by clinical research and have been shown to be both safe and effective.
1 Schroeder M. [Internet]. 2016 [cited 20 April 2020].
Available from: Death By Prescription
2 Why the FDA banned ephedra – Harvard Health [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2004 [cited 20 April 2020].
Available from: The dangers of the herb ephedra
3 Food and Drug Administration. Prescription drug products containing acetaminophen; actions to reduce liver injury from unintentional overdose. Federal Register. 2011 Jan 14;76(10):2691-7.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burden of foodborne illness: findings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016.
5 FDA regulation of drugs versus dietary supplements
[Internet]. Cancer.org. 2020 [cited 20 April 2020].
6 2019 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements | Council for Responsible Nutrition [Internet]. Crnusa.org. 2019 [cited 20 April 2020].
References for Weight Loss Supplements
7 Ods.od.nih.gov. 2020 [cited 21 April 2020].
Available from: What You Need to Know
8 Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 1;244(1-2):89-94.
9 Sharp H, Hollinshead J, Bartholomew BB, Oben J, Watson A, Nash RJ. Inhibitory effects of Cissus quadrangularis L. Derived Components on Lipase, Amylase and α-Glucosidase Activity in vitro. Natural Product Communications. 2007 Aug;2(8):1934578X0700200806.
10 Oben JE, Enyegue DM, Fomekong GI, Soukontoua YB, Agbor GA. The effect of Cissus quadrangularis (CQR-300) and a Cissus formulation (CORE) on obesity and obesity-induced oxidative stress. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2007 Dec 1;6(1):4.
11 Kuate D, Nash RJ, Bartholomew B, Penkova Y. The Use of Cissus quadrangularis (CQR-300) in the Management of Components of Metabolic Syndrome in Overweight and Obese Participants.Natural Product Communications. 2015 Jul;10(7):1934578X1501000737.
12 Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2006 Dec 1;5(1):24.
13 Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Momo CN, Agbor GA, Sobgui CS. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: A double-blind placebo-controlled study. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2008 Dec;7(1):12.
14 Kothari SC, Shivarudraiah P, Venkataramaiah SB, Koppolu KP, Gavara S, Jairam R, Krishna S, Chandrappa RK, Soni MG. Safety assessment of Cissus quadrangularis extract (CQR-300): Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity studies. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2011 Dec 1;49(12):3343-57.
15 Kuate D, Kengne AP, Dakam W, Etoundi BC, Paka GD, Ngondi JL, Oben JE. Effectiveness of Dichrostachys glomerata Spice Phenolics in Reduction of Oxidative Stress Associated with Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: a Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Food Research. 2013 Apr 1;2(2):1.
16 Etoundi CB, Kuaté D, Ngondi JL, Oben J. Anti-amylase, anti-lipase and antioxidant effects of aqueous extracts of some Cameroonian spices. J Nat Prod. 2010 Jan 1;3(165):17.
17 Kuate D, Etoundi BC, Ngondi JL, Oben JE. Effects of Dichrostachys glomerata spice on cardiovascular diseases risk factors in normoglycemic and type 2 diabetic obese volunteers. Food Research International. 2011 Jun 1;44(5):1197-202.
18 Kuate D, Etoundi BC, Ngondi JL, Muda W, Oben JE. Anti-inflammatory, anthropometric and lipomodulatory effects Dyglomera® (aqueous extract of Dichrostachys glomerata) in obese patients with metabolic syndrome. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2013 Nov 18;3(11):416-27.
19 Kothari SC, Shivarudraiah P, Venkataramaiah SB, Gavara S, Soni MG. Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity/genotoxicity studies of Irvingia gabonensis extract (IGOB131). Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2012 May 1;50(5):1468-79.
20 Kothari SC, Shivarudraiah P, Venkataramaiah SB, Gavara S, Arumugam SN, Soni MG. Toxicologic evaluation of Dichrostachys glomerata extract: Subchronic study in rats and genotoxicity tests. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014 Jul 1;69:120-31.
21 Azantsa B, Kuate D, Chakokam R, Paka G, Bartholomew B, Nash R. The effect of extracts of Irvingia gabonensis (IGOB131) and Dichrostachys glomerata (Dyglomera™) on body weight and lipid parameters of healthy overweight participants. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2015 Jun 9;5(6):200-8.
22 Ngondi JL, Etoundi BC, Nyangono CB, Mbofung CM, Oben JE. IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2009 Dec 1;8(1):7.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!
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