Health

The Scoop on Some Popular Weight Loss Supplements

A consistently increasing number of people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year on weight loss supplements hoping to boost their metabolism in the pursuit of achieving an higher level of attractiveness. The fitness industry is booming, but the majority of people are unable to shed those unwanted pounds in spite of all the efforts they put into exercise and dieting.

In the United States, more than sixty percent of adults are overweight and thirty percent are considered obese. Here in the U.S. we have become sedentary and have grown accustomed to an overabundance of food. We have grown dependent on convenience, which has led us to consume excess amounts of unhealthy fast foods and quick, easy to prepare meals that that aren’t as healthy as they should be. We have sacrificed the healthy, home-cooked meals of the past to cater to our around-the-clock lifestyles. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for a super duper weight loss miracle pill that will allow us to eat whatever we want, never exercise, and still maintain the figure of a supermodel.

Many products in the weight loss market try to sell us this so-called miracle pill using promises of unrealistic results and miracle transformations. The weight loss companies rely on the overweight person’s failure to achieve the desired results and turn to the supplements as a last ditch effort to get there.

A major problem with these is that much of the information available in the market is written by the companies trying to sell the supplements. The claims are hyped-up to unrealistic levels just to make the sale. This mis-information can lead to serious health problems for people who take these supplements.

One of the major ones that has been known to cause serious problems in some dieters is ephedra. Ephedra, also known as ma huang has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years as a treatment for asthma, hay fever, and the common cold. Ephedra is both a stimulant (drug that temporarily increase alertness and awareness) and a thermogenic (dietary supplement used to stimulate the body’s burning of fat). Ephedra stimulates the brain, increase heart rate, constricts blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expands bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Ephedra’s thermogenic properties cause an increase in metabolism, which is shown by an increase in body heat.

Ephedra has also been used for weight loss, sometimes in combination with aspirin and caffeine. Some studies have shown that ephedra, when taken in a regulated and supervised environment, is effective for marginal short-term weight loss, although it is unclear whether such weight loss is maintained. Side effects of ephedra may include severe skin reactions, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, headache, insomnia, profuse perspiration, dehydration, itchy scalp and skin, vomiting, hyperthermia, irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart attack, stroke, or death.

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