Obesity is a sickness that can strike anyone at any age. It is a sickness that has affected millions of Americans - both young and old - resulting in serious health complications. Obesity, if left untreated, can lead to health risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Because of this threat, Americans are taking pains to find the best and effective weight loss program and product in the market. One of these products are weight loss herbs, which vary in effects. How safe are weight loss herbs?
Two types of herbs
Weight loss herbs fall into two types. One type of herb serves to "trick" your brain believing that it is full, so you will not be tempted to eat. Another type of herb functions to boost your metabolism, thereby resulting in faster weight loss. This latter type of herb is also called thermogenic herb.
How thermogenic herbs work
Thermogenic herbs are increasing in popularity today. These herbs function as stimulants, containing substances like caffeine, in order to speed up body functions like heart rate, digestion, and respiration. The effects of these herbs make you more energetic.
Meanwhile, thermogenic herbs also act as diuretics or water reducers, thereby resulting in weight loss through body water decrease.
At present, weight loss herbs have invaded the market. Many of these have not been tested by the US FDA; hence the effects are still unknown. Weight loss herbs do not undergo the same strict testing as other drugs do, which is why several "unsafe" and "untested" herbs are being sold in the market.
However, the US FDA is taking pains to study herbs sold in the market. As of now, their list of dangerous weight loss herbs include:
o Herbal Laxatives - this usually takes the form of diet tea, cascara, senna, buckthorn, aloe and rhubarb root. These herbs can result in cramping, diarrhea, and if overused, could cause your bowels to no longer function without laxative stimulation.
o Ephedra - this popular weight loss herb is also known as ma huang. In high doses, Ephedra can raise blood pressure, increase heart rate, and over stimulate the central nervous system. As of now, the FDA has reported over 800 incidences - and two deaths - of unhealthy side effects brought by ingesting Ephedra. Other side effects include heart palpitations, seizures, stroke, chest pain, and heart attack.
o Herbal fen-phen - Ephedra serves as the main ingredient in the version of the dangerous diet drug known as fen-phen. Herbal fen-phen has not been shown to even work in clinical trials, but it has been attributed with serious side effects from heartbeat irregularities to death from heart attack and stroke.
That is not to say, however, that all weight loss herbs are dangerous. A couple of herbs that have passed US-FDA standards include:
o Cayenne - this organic spice is not for making your food taste spicy. Research has shown that cayenne contains an ingredient called capsaicin that stimulates saliva, stimulates digestion and accelerates your metabolism at a safer level.
o Green Tea - green tea and weight loss have been shown to have correlation. Green tea serves as a natural stimulant that behaves much like coffee but with the added benefit of vitamin C and flavoniods (or antioxidants). Green tea is said to boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation.
o Seaweed - seaweed is a good source of trace minerals such as chromium and iodine, acting as a natural thyroid stimulant.
o Ginseng - also said to boost metabolism
Fiber for weight loss
Another option for weight loss is taking fiber. Fiber makes one feel full without worrying about the excess calories. Aside from that, fiber also helps promote regular bowel movement, releasing harmful toxins in the body.
You can ingest fiber supplements or take fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
What is the answer?
In the end, weight loss herbs can be an option for weight loss. But these herbs should be taken with a grain of salt. When buying herbs, make sure to check if they are FDA approved. If there is no way to check, research about the product: know its ingredients and its side effects. Once you have researched about it, be sure to buy only from reputable brands and markets so you are assured of high-quality herbs.
Taking herbs and supplements are not the best way to lose weight. In the end, proper diet and exercise are the only solutions to achieving a healthy body image.