The Top 5 Natural Weight Loss Supplements

September 06, 2011 | By Naomi Bryant | Weight Management, General, Weight Management, Women's Health | Share
The Top 5 Natural Weight Loss Supplements

Successful weight loss can be a challenge. The ongoing search for the magic pill continues. Unfortunately, a miracle cure for obesity does not exist….yet. Some of the weight loss supplements available cause more harm than good. Many remember when the weight loss herb Ephedra was taken off the market because of its damaging effects to the heart. We are very cautious about recommending supplements purely for the benefits of weight loss. In our opinion, the best weight loss supplements are those with many health benefits in addition to promoting weight loss. 

The most promising supplements researched for improving metabolism and fat burning are those that address insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone released by the body in response to the sugar and carbohydrates we eat. Insulin helps sugar, also called glucose, get inside the cells to be used as fuel. Frequently binging on sugary foods will cause too much insulin to circulate in the body. Eventually this increase in insulin causes a change in metabolism where much of the food we eat is being stored as fat rather than being used as fuel. This condition is called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

Those with insulin resistance will often have apple shaped bodies with weight gain mostly in the abdomen. Women with insulin resistance may also notice an increase in acne, abnormal dark hair growth, and changes in their menstrual cycle. Men with insulin resistance will often have drops in testosterone levels, decrease in muscle mass, and changes in sexual function and libido. Many people with this change in metabolism find diets that restrict sugars and carbohydrates helpful for weight loss. In fact, many of the most popular diets take this approach. These diet plans recommend eating lean meat and fish, nutrient rich protein powders, and low carbohydrate vegetables. Limited amounts of fruits, nuts and good fats are also allowed.

Nutritional supplements can play an important role for those trying to lose weight and reverse the metabolic damage caused by high levels of insulin. We find the following supplements helpful to boost weight loss efforts.

1. Vitamin D: Better known for promoting healthy bones, vitamin D may also improve insulin sensitivity. Recent research shows that those with optimal vitamin D levels lost 1 lb more per week than those with suboptimal vitamin D levels. Recommended dosage: 2000-5000 IU daily during winter months. A simple blood test can help determine how much vitamin D you should be taking.

2. NAC: N-actetyl-cysteine is an amino acid known as a potent antioxidant and is commonly used for detoxification support. A recently published study compared NAC to Metformin, a common diabetic medication, and found that it improved blood sugar and insulin levels with fewer side effects. Recommended dosage: 600 mg three times per day.

3. Berberine: Berberine is a chemical found in many medicinal plants. It has many cardiovascular health benefits along with promoting weight loss. Several different studies show that berberine may improve insulin resistance and cholesterol levels. Unlike medications that have similar actions, it also protects the liver and decreases inflammation. Recommended dosage: 1000-2000 mg daily

4. Green Tea Extract: When green tea is consumed daily it has been shown to promote clarity of thought, improve mood, and promote a healthy body weight. One of the chemicals found in green tea, EGCG, stimulates fat burning. Recommended dosage: equivalent of 6 cups per day.

5. Fiber (apple pectin, oat fiber, psyllium husk): High fiber diets are good for supporting colon health, improving cholesterol levels, and decreasing the risk of colon cancer. When consumed with a meal, fiber can decrease spikes in blood sugar and insulin while leading to eating less overall. A healthy fiber intake from food and supplements should be around 30 grams per day.

 

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