What are weight-loss dietary supplements and what do they do?  

The proven ways to lose weight are cutting calories, eating healthful foods and being physically active.  But making these lifestyle changes isn’t easy. In this regard, eating weight loss supplements is a common way to combat excess weight. This article will consider the most common ingredients included in the composition of dietary supplements, as well as their benefits and harms.

Weight-loss dietary supplements contain a large number of different components such as: herbs, fiber and minerals. Typically, weight-loss supplements contain a whole complex of biologically active substances. Among them are:

  1. Guarana extract containing caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can give you a boost of energy, burn calories, and increase fat breakdown.  It might help you lose a little weight or gain less weight over time. Caffeine is safe for most adults at doses up to 400‒500 milligrams (mg) a day.
  2. Garcinia extract. This plant component contains hydroxycitric acid. Hydroxycitric acid in the fruit is claimed to decrease the number of new fat cells your body makes, suppress your appetite and thus reduce the amount of food you eat Garcinia cambogia extract is quite safe, but its effectiveness is questioned.
  3. A substance synthesized in the human body as well as found in meat, fish, milk and dairy products. In body cells, it helps break down fats.
  4. Chromium (chromium picolinate). Chromium in the human body is involved in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Taking chromium is thought to increase muscle mass and reduce appetite, however its effectiveness at losing weight is questionable. The recommended dose of chromium per day for an adult is 20 to 45 μg.
  5. Chitosan comes from the shells of crabs, shrimp, and lobsters. T’s claimed to bind fat in the digestive tract so that human body can’t absorb it. However, chitosan is unable to bind enough fats to significantly contribute to weight loss.

The study of the most popular ingredients in the composition of weight-loss supplements unfortunately leads to disappointing conclusions — they either do not have the desirable effect or this effect is negligible. In addition, for many components and weight-loss supplements in general, effectiveness and safety have not been studied at all in any clinical studies.  And if the research is carried out, a small number of people are involved.

It is also important to note that weight-loss supplements are rarely limited to a single active component — some products have dozens of ingredients. And this greatly complicates the evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of weight-loss supplements, because many substances can react chemically with each other in the supplement itself and in the human body, which can lead to different consequences.

Frequently, weight-loss supplements may be adulterated with medicines not indicated in the composition on the drug’s labeling. These include, for example, tadalafil, paynantheine and mitragynine found in the drug Detox Plus in the US. These substances can be dangerous for people suffering from diabetes, hypertension and having high cholesterol levels. Additionally, paynantheine and mitragynine expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.

Thus, if you want to help yourself on a difficult way of losing weight, before buying weight-loss supplements it will be useful to carefully examine its composition and make sure that each component of the composition is studied and its inclusion in the composition is justified. You can check compliance of weight-loss supplements with the requirements of technical regulations by clicking on the link in one of our past articles (https://beawire.com/2020/05/06/should-we-expect-the-introduction-of-mandatory-labeling-for-biologically-active-supplements-in-the-russian-federation/).


  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-Consumer/
  2. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/tainted-weight-loss-products
  3. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/public-notification-detox-plus-contains-hidden-drug-ingredients
  4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx