In conjunction with The Body Store, Syston, this month we are featuring herbal supplements that may help in maintaining healthy weight as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan.
There are many products that claim to aid weight loss, but be careful to make sure the products you buy comply with recent EU health claim directives which made it law for manufacturers to remove dubious claims from their products. Unfortunately, some companies choose to ignore it, particularly those who trade exclusively on the Internet.
However, the European food safety authority has issued a list of approved weight management claims which can be made for certain nutrients which may help maintain healthy weight as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Featured here are Raspberry Ketones, L-Carnitine, Green Tea, Chromium, L-Tyrosine, Lecithin, Kelp, Garcinia Cambogia and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
Raspberry Ketone is a chemical from red raspberries that is thought to help for weight loss. Some research shows that it might increase some measures of metabolism.
L-Carnitine is a non-essential amino acid made in the body from Lysine and Methionine. Demand for Carnitine often exceeds rate of synthesis making supplements important. Carnitine is stored primarily in the skeletal muscles where it is needed to transform fatty acids into the cells. It also increases the rate at which the liver uses fat. L-Carnitine is the active form and can be taken as a safe supplement with positive benefits. With Carnitine’s effect on fatty acids and energy production, especially in the muscles, it is ideal for weight loss and perhaps cellulite, due to its action in converting fats to energy.
Green Tea is a herbal remedy from the leaf bud and young leaves of the Camelia sinensls plant. It is the same as black tea but undergoes less oxidation during processing. It is rich in polyphenols which stimulate the production of important antioxidants and detoxifying enzymes. You can find it in slimming products as it aids fat metabolism, but to get the full benefits you would have to drink 5-10 cups per day, so a supplement can be beneficial due to the volume of caffeine you would consume.
Chromium is a micro-mineral found in abundance in liver, yeast, grains and chicken. One of the best nutritional source is Brewer’s yeast. Chromium can help your blood sugar levels by preventing cravings for sweet foods but also maintaining the level so preventing energy peaks and troughs. It can also reduce cholesterol by reducing the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increasing the good HDL cholesterol.
L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid synthesised from phenylalanine in the body. Rich dietary sources include meat, fish and dairy, as well as grains such as wheat and oats. It can help reduce body fat by suppressing the appetite and can help with fatigue and irritability. However, if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, often prescribed for depression, do not take Tyrosine as it may lead to a sudden and dangerous rise in blood pressure.
Lecithin is a fatty substance found in plant and animal tissue. Originally identified in egg yolks, modern supplements are almost always derived from soya beans. This extract which emulsifies fats in the body and is needed for the maximum effect of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It lowers cholesterol as it helps transport fats through the digestive system. Do not take this supplement if you are allergic to soya.
Kelp is a nutrition supplement derived from seaweed. It contains more vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins, than any other food. Because of its natural iodine content it has a normalising effect on the thyroid gland which controls metabolism. It can speed up a slow metabolism or slow down a fast one. You shouldn’t take kelp supplements if you have thyroid problems or are taking thyroid medication.
The active ingredient of the Garcinia cambogia extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Studies have shown that HCA has potential activity on weight control and fat oxidation but the results were mixed. There are several nutritional supplements containing Garcinia cambogia extract available, mainly as HCA. It is not recommended for individuals with diabetes or dementia, pregnant or lactating women. Garcinia cambogia extract has been linked to liver toxicity but it is not clear whether this is a direct effect. Some studies have reported cases of rhabdomyolysis (break down of muscle tissue) and nephropathy (kidney damage).
Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are a family of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid found mostly in the meat and dairy products derived from ruminants.
CLA’s potential benefit for overweight or obese people is questionable. While studies have shown no reduction in BMI for individuals taking the drug, small decreases in body fat have been noted. While the results are statistically significant, they were also small.
Call in to see Raj at the Body store for a more expansive description of these products. As with any supplements, you should check with your GP before taking it to check its suitablity for you, particularly if you are on medication.