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Weight loss vitamins and supplements on counters

Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Really Work

We see advertisements every day for weight loss vitamins and supplements that will help you “magically” melt away the pounds. In a country struggling with an obesity epidemic, many Americans are willing to do or try anything to lose weight.

From fad diets to taking pills of various shapes, colors, and sizes, we’re a nation that’s always looking for the easy way out when it comes to weight loss. While it’s easy enough to write off weight loss vitamins and supplements as a marketing gimmick to prey on the weak and vulnerable, the question begs to be asked:

Do they really work?

Bottle of weight loss vitamins

What are Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements?

Weight loss vitamins and supplements are any tablet, pill, or capsule that includes herbal or chemical ingredients formulated for the specific purpose of increasing your metabolism – allowing you to burn through more calories – or decreasing your appetite.

There are hundreds if not thousands of weight loss vitamins and supplements in the market today, all claiming to be highly effective at helping you, the consumer, to quickly lose weight.

Realistic Expectations Surrounding Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements

Can weight loss vitamins and supplements really help you lose weight? Perhaps, but it’s essential to understand that there’s no such thing as a magic pill. No amount of supplementation will help you to lose significant weight.

Vitamins and supplements should be used as tools in your weight loss journey, nothing more. Weight loss occurs from a complete change in lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. If you’re not willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes, your chances of losing weight will be slim to none (no pun intended).

When used in tandem with regular exercise and a healthy diet, certain types of weight loss supplements may contribute to weight loss. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, common dietary supplement ingredients such as carnitine, conjugated linoleic acid, and green tea extract may have minimal effects on body weight. That said, don’t expect them to work “magically.” 

As with any medication, weight loss vitamins and supplements may affect everyone a little differently. For some people, weight loss products may have no effect whatsoever, where the reverse may be true for others.

More research is needed concerning weight loss vitamins and supplements and their ability to help you lose weight.

Should You Trust the Claims Made by Store-Bought Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements?

You’ll find that many store-bought vitamin and supplement brands will have the term “clinically proven” printed somewhere on the label. Typically, this claim brings peace of mind to consumers because it verifies that the product is backed by scientific research.

Yet, that’s where the problem lies. The term clinically proven fails to provide details on the actual scientific process that went on behind the scenes. Any number of factors can affect the efficacy of the end product.

For instance, how many people were used to test the product? Were the participants required to go on a restricted diet prior to the test? How long was the test? Did weight play a role in the results?

The term “clinically proven” fails to provide these vital facts, and is far too vague for the average consumer to understand what they’re really consuming without in-depth research. Until these products provide more clarity, you will always be taking a risk when you take weight loss vitamins and supplements.

Man taking workout supplements at the gym

Are Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements Dangerous?

Due to the sheer amount of weight loss products currently on the market, this can be a difficult question to answer. Some supplements, like green tea extract, are relatively safe to use.

However, there are many weight loss vitamins and supplements that are deemed unsafe or outright banned by the FDA due to their effect on the metabolism. Unaffected by outside influences, our metabolisms already operate at safe levels.

This natural process is interrupted when weight loss products are introduced into the human body, thus speeding up the metabolism. Common side effects of thermogenic supplements include nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, and headaches.  

Before you throw out your box of supplements, understand that this doesn’t apply to every weight loss product out there. Green tea extract, for instance, is an incredibly safe weight loss supplement

Instead, be on the lookout for weight loss vitamins and supplements that contain the following ingredients, as these are known for causing the most problems:

  • High doses of caffeine
  • Ephedra
  • Orlistat
  • Country mallow

If you’re interested in taking weight loss vitamins and supplements, the safest course of action is to speak with a bariatric surgeon or a professional dietician.

Salmon dinner with asparagus and veggies

The Role of Nutritional Vitamins and Supplements for Weight Loss Patients

Weight loss vitamins and supplements can be risky, as more research is needed to determine whether or not they’re truly effective at helping users to lose weight safely and effectively.

That said, nutritional vitamins and supplements play a significant role in bariatric weight loss surgery. Specific types of bariatric surgery may cause weight loss patients to experience nutritional deficiencies. As such, they will need to take dietary vitamins and supplements to avoid complications, which could lead to a host of health-related problems.

The following vitamins and supplements are generally recommended to patients who have undergone the following surgeries as a complement to a healthy diet:

Vitamins for Gastric Sleeve Surgery Patients

  • Vitamin D
  • A complete multivitamin
  • Calcium with vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron and vitamin C

Vitamins for Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients

  • Vitamin D
  • A complete multivitamin
  • Calcium with vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron and vitamin C

Vitamins for Gastric Band Surgery

  • A complete multivitamin
  • Calcium with vitamin D

Should You Take Weight Loss Vitamins and Supplements?

Simply put, vitamins and supplements that aid in weight loss should be used as a tool, but not as a replacement for regular exercise and proper dieting. If you decide weight loss products are the right step for you, seek advice from your bariatric surgeon or a professional dietician to ascertain the potential risks to your health.

From questions about which weight loss vitamins and supplements you should be taking to choosing the best bariatric surgery exercise, we’re here to help guide you through every step of your weight loss journey. If you’re ready to take the next step toward weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle, contact us today!

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