Vitamins and supplements for weight loss

4. Probiotics/sybiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and help break down and digest food. You can get them from supplements or fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar.

Early evidence suggests that probiotics might be helpful when it comes to losing weight, says Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, public health scientist and director of the Institute of Food Medicine at Tufts University.

A 2018 review of 15 well-designed trials found that probiotics, either in food or in supplements, helped overweight and obese people reduce their body weight and body fat. Other trials have linked probiotics to improvements in blood sugar levels.

Some manufacturers are combining probiotics with prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds gut bacteria. Mozaffarian says he believes these combinations, called symbiotics, hold promise.

It won’t magically keep the pounds from melting off, but if you have a healthy microbiome, you’re more likely to be able to lose weight or at least not gain it, he says.

Although few studies have examined the safety of probiotics, they have a long history of safety, especially in healthy people, according to the NIH. If you have a weakened immune system, there is a greater risk of negative side effects from probiotics, so you should talk to your doctor before taking them.

5. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in tea, guarana, yerba mate and other herbs that is often added to weight loss supplements. Willis says it can give you great energy, boost your metabolism, and increase fat breakdown.

It’s an excellent lipolytic agent, says Willis. By this I mean that it helps release fatty acids from our fat tissues, especially for cardiovascular exercise. Helps increase fat burning.

However, studies have shown only a moderate weight loss effect. The National Institutes of Health says it may help you lose some weight or gain less weight over time.

Willis says caffeine and other fat-burning supplements should be accompanied by diet and lifestyle changes. If your diet and lifestyle won’t help you lose fat, fix that first, he says. It won’t help if you just ate three double cheeseburgers with an order of fries and a milkshake.

Many people experience side effects from caffeine, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, sleep problems, anxiety or nervousness, or gastrointestinal problems. In high doses, caffeine can cause vomiting, palpitations and seizures. The National Institutes of Health recommends no more than 500 mg per day.

People with high blood pressure or heart problems should check with their doctor before taking a caffeine supplement.

6. Green tea extract

Green tea contains a class of phytochemicals known as antioxidants, says Wiley. Some people believe that green tea extracts, sometimes called EGCG, contribute to weight loss by increasing energy expenditure and blocking fat absorption.

Some studies seem to indicate that green tea extracts can make you burn more calories, even when you’re at rest. But there’s conflicting research on whether supplements with green tea extracts can help you lose weight, Wiley says. In any case, they only have a moderate effect.

Green tea may have other benefits, potentially protecting against heart disease and cancer. Experts warn that large doses can cause liver damage.

7. Berberine

Berberine is a substance found in plants that has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.

The most studied benefit of berberine is its ability to improve insulin resistance in people with diabetes, according to The Cleveland Clinic.

Early research also indicates that berberine may help with weight loss. A 2022 review of 41 research essays published in Frontiers of nutrition found that people who took berberine for at least eight weeks experienced significant drops in their weight and their cholesterol levels also improved.

However, more evidence is needed, because many studies in the review were at high risk of bias, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Side effects of berberine include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. It may also interact with prescription medications. As with all supplements, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking it.

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