Weight loss supplements exposed
With many companies promising magical weight loss miracles, Nature’s Best have decided to give you the low down on the supplements that we don’t sell and the reasons why.
Today there are many unscrupulous companies out there, a lot of which operate online, making exaggerated claims about the efficacy of their products. Recently, there have been concerning reports of medications being added to supplements to help facilitate the desired effect of an otherwise untested and potentially dangerous supplement. Many of these heavily marketed ingredients have absolutely no therapeutic benefit at all.
At Nature’s Best, we recognise that trust is everything to the consumer. Not only are our supplements UK made, they are produced to GMP pharmaceutical standards, in factories approved by the MHRA (Medicines Health & Regulatory Agency). As the customer, you can feel reassured that all of our products are based on sound science, and are very safe at the levels provided. Your health and trust is important to us, that’s why we are one of the UK’s largest online supplement companies. Do you find the world of supplements confusing? Fancy trying something that may actually work? What about hearing the honest truth about a certain supplement? Then why not contact the Nutrition Advice team; our Nutrition Advisors are on hand to offer great, honest and confidential advice.
Below is a list of supplements we simply won’t sell and we hope you respect us for this. Happy reading everyone.
Hugely popular a few years ago, acai berries contain similar plant compounds to other fruits such as bilberries and strawberries, albeit at low levels. There is, however, no evidence or even theory to demonstrate that acai berries can help facilitate any meaningful weight loss. If you are looking for skin and blood vessel support, why not see our Colladeen® range. Rich in plant compounds called anthocyanidins, these antioxidants have been extracted from bilberry and grapeseed. Our Colladeen® Visage is even clinically proven to support skin health, providing an SPF of 10 after just 12 weeks!
African Mango supplements work in a similar way to glucomannan supplements; a soluble fibre with bulking properties, helping to reduce appetite. Some companies claim African Mango can melt away belly fat and trim waistlines, reduce cholesterol and even lower triglycerides! In the few published studies available, African Mango is often combined with further ingredients to exaggerate claims, furthermore, these studies are not independently produced. At Nature’s Best we produce supplements based on contemporary, independent research, taken from respectable journals. If you are still interested in African Mango, why not try Amigo. Derived from Konjac root, Amigo contains 1000mg of glucomannan per daily dose compared with only 100-300mg for many African Mango products. By comparison, Amigo is a premium product offering far superior value.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The notion that apple cider vinegar is an effective weight loss supplement, is completely unfounded. In one of the only studies to test the theory of apple cider vinegar supporting weight loss, 175 obese people in Japan were split into adding either apple cider vinegar or water to their daily diet over a 3 month period. The results were very disappointing indeed. On average, the group consuming apple cider vinegar lost only 1-2 pounds more than the group taking water, over the 3 month period. Wouldn’t you expect more from a supplement which claims to support weight loss? We think so. Apple cider vinegar does however, provide a great source of the flavonoid quercetin. Known for its antioxidant activity, quercetin has been recognised for its important properties. That’s why this useful flavonoid has been added to our Glucosamine Plus and Prostex® products.
Bitter Orange is an ingredient often found in place of Ephedra Sinica, a plant extract with very toxic properties. Thought to increase metabolism, Bitter Orange has not been proven to be effective for weight loss in humans unless combined with other ingredients. One preliminary study did show promising results, but required the addition of caffeine and St. John’s Wort to create any meaningful reductions in body weight. Hardly convincing! Not only is there a lack of efficacy for this supplement, Bitter Orange contains the potentially dangerous stimulant synephrine, which may cause hypertension, increased heart rate and cardiovascular toxicity. The potentially harmful effects of synephrine has lead authorities in Canada to approve a maximum of only 50 mg daily, a level which has absolutely no data to support weight loss!
Chitosan is a type of fibre taken from the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp and lobster. Marketed as a ‘Fat blocker’ or a ‘Fat magnet’, most claims of weight loss are based on Chitosan potentially reducing the amount of fat absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., warn against these weight loss claims, citing no reliable scientific evidence. Research suggests that the greatest weight loss is achieved when subjects acquire adequate intakes of healthy fats like the Omega 3 (fish oil) & Omega 6 (nuts and seeds), in addition to monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil). If this is the case, why then would we want to block healthy fat absorption? If you are looking for a soluble fibre alternative to Chitosan, why not try Nature’s Best Flourishe®. This naturally sweet tasting powder is well researched to support gut health. Super versatile, Flourishe® can make a great addition to many foods; a great way to naturally increase daily fibre intake.
Ephedra Sinica (Ma Huang)
Ephedra is a medicinal, herbal product with a disastrous safety record. Used traditionally in China to treat asthma, Ephedra is a powerful stimulant affecting the central nervous system and heart rhythm. A limited number of studies do show weight loss, but only when taken with caffeine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale of Ephedra because of concerns about its safety. The herb has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and some deaths! Which is why it is not legal to sell Ephedra in the UK.
Garcinia Cambogia (Hydroxicitric Acid)
Native to Indonesia, this fruit is rich in the active ingredient hydroxicitric acid. Known to enhance the culinary experience of food and potentially enhancing appetite suppression in rats, the usage of hydroxicitric acid as a fat burner does not appear to extend to human studies. Based on current evidence, hydroxicitric acid appears to have greater absorption and/or influence on rat DNA than in humans, and although there is limited potential for hydroxicitric acid as a supplement, the magnitude of effect is quite low (up to 2kg in 3 months). Unreliable results and the very low levels of weight loss recorded make Garcinia Cambogia a poor choice of weight loss supplement.
Containing one of the highest levels of caffeine per gram, Guarana has little evidence to backup any weight loss claims. The limited evidence available suggests Guarana may increase fat burning and suppress weight gain in rat studies only! In human studies, Guarana has been found to support modest weight loss, but only when combined with other supplements that have been clinically proven to support weight loss, like green tea for example (Green Tea 5000mg). All in all, there are better weight loss options out there.
This leafless spiny succulent plant is claimed to suppress appetite, resulting in weight loss. The truth is concerning however. The active ingredient known as P57, a steroidal glycoside native to the plant, has been found to be poorly absorbed, unable to reach the brain to exert appetite suppression. P57 has also been found to be toxic in studies completed on mice. With questionable absorption and serious safety concerns, Hoodia is a risky choice of weight loss supplement.
Promising, but there is nowhere near enough efficacy data to support its inclusion into the Nature’s Best range. 7-Keto DHEA is a steroid produced by metabolism of the prohormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a metabolic precursor to estrogen and testosterone. 7-Keto DHEA is reported to exert thermogenic activity, increasing metabolism, thereby aiding weight loss. In the only credible human study, 200mg of 7-Keto DHEA daily caused further weight loss over the placebo group at the 8 week mark, however, the results were not overly notable given that subjects exercised regularly, and followed a calorie restricted diet. Generally speaking, the quantity of data on 7-Keto DHEA is pretty minimal if we exclude non-independent studies or those that use 7-Keto DHEA alongside a multitude of supplements for support. Don’t waste your money here, try a supplement with more evidence.
Kola nut is used widely in Nigeria and many West African countries as part of traditional hospitality, cultural and social ceremonies. However, the research linking Kola nuts to weight loss is very poor indeed. Similar to Guarana, Kola nuts are high in caffeine, the well known stimulant in coffee. The few limited studies available investigating Kola nut, have mostly been non independent and suggest that Kola nut in combination with ephedra and willow bark may cause modest weight loss in overweight people. However, this combination is unlikely to be appropriate for weight loss given the serious safety concerns related to ephedra. Ephedra is banned in the U.S. due to severe adverse effects. Not only is the efficacy poor for Kola nut, its long term safety is unknown and many are hypersensitive to caffeine. Ultimately, Kola nut is another waste of your time and money.
Massively popular and overrated, raspberry ketones are promoted to support fat breakdown. Far from convincing, the only research to support any notion of weight loss has been made in mice fed high fat diets. Put simply, there is no credible evidence supporting their merit in humans. Of particular concern, is the limited safety data in humans at doses of 100 mg or more. Due to a lack of information about possible metabolic and other effects, people with pre-existing conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.) should be monitored by a health professional. With unsubstantiated claims and an unknown safety profile, Nature’s Best are not interested in bringing this to market. Beware of this very popular product and don’t believe the hype, and certainly don’t believe that raspberry ketones come from raspberries; they are industrially made and were originally produced as an artificial raspberry flavour.
White Kidney Bean Extract
White Kidney Bean Extract Is a dietary carbohydrate blocker similar to the chlorogenic acids found in Nature’s Best Verdesse® and Verdesse® Inferno and is often used alongside high carbohydrate containing meals to reduce their absorption. Evidence suggests that White Kidney Bean Extract inhibits the digestion of starches in humans, however, overall weight loss has been found to be low and hugely variable between subjects and studies. Considered to be quite safe, White Kidney Bean Extract is far from the worst culprit on this list, but if you are looking for something similar with better evidence and efficacy, look no further than our products containing decaffeinated green coffee extract, Verdesse® & Verdesse® Inferno.