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What are possible side effects of weight-loss supplements?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy
answer
Weight-loss supplements often contain stimulants like caffeine, and side effects of caffeine in high doses may include insomnia and rapid heartbeat. Because weight-loss pills also often are made up of a mixture of herbs and other ingredients, side effects vary greatly depending on the product. Before using a weight-loss supplement, read the label carefully and talk to your doctor if you have any health conditions.
National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
answer
Many of these products are different types of herbal or other plant derived stimulants. These products can cause rapid heart beat, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, among other potentially serious health problems. In fact, many of these products are chemical cousins of the herbal supplement ephedra (ma-huang) which was banned several yeas ago by the Food and Drug Administration because of the health problems it caused. Supplements, including weight loss aids, are not regulated by the government with the same rigorousness as prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Remember, just because an herbal supplement may be natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. Always check with your health care provider before taking any weight loss supplements.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.