10 Popular Weight Loss Supplements Analyzed

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on December 5, 2018
Last updated on May 23, 2021

If we are being honest here, everyone is in search of a weight loss supplement that actually works.

weight loss supplements

With the number of supposedly effective pills and powders being sold in the market, it is hard to know what actually has a chance of helping you in your weight loss journey.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on you. Not just about preferences, but more so about your body type. What showed tremendous positive effects for your friends may not elicit the same reaction on your body, since we are all different.

That being said, here are a couple of ideas to get the ball rolling on your weight loss journey. The search for weight loss supplements that actually work may finally be a success for you.

1. Garcinia Cambogia

This is a tiny fruit that resembles a pumpkin. The primary ingredient, HCA or hydroxycitric acid), is found in the fruit’s skin, and can hinder the body’s fat from producing enzymes while increasing the serotonin levels (1). The results include less probability of gaining fat, along with a reduction in cravings for food. The fact that it is not known to cause unwanted side effects is a big bonus.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is widely consumed as it can be found in coffee, green tea, dark chocolates, and many others, but it has psychoactive properties. Caffeine speeds up the metabolism of an individual and is an added ingredient in most weight loss supplements (1). However, it is not without its negative effects because overconsumption can cause insomnia, anxiety, nausea, mood swings, and diarrhea (1).

3. Raspberry ketones

Obviously, the extract comes from raspberries. The ketones are what make the raspberries smell the way do. A modified synthetic version is the one considered as a weight loss supplement. In one rat study, high doses have shown reduced weight (1). However, not everyone seems to like the aftertaste of raspberry supplements.

4. Horsetail

Horsetail supplements can help you lose weight by getting rid of toxins and excess body fluids. This ingredient facilitates smooth digestion and discourages gases from building up in the digestive tract (2). This is ideal for those who want to reduce their belly size because it may help reduce gas and inflammation in the digestive tract.

5. Chromium picolinate

Sweets lovers out there will benefit from this supplement because it balances the blood sugar levels and keeps them stable. At the same time, it helps in the metabolism of fats (2). If you want to put an end to your chocolate binge-eating fest, this supplement can help reduce carb and sweets cravings and feelings of hunger.

6. Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Also known as CLA, this weight loss supplement has been around for a long time. It contains healthy fats that are found in animal foods that are rich in fat such as butter or cheese. CLA works in three ways: boosting of metabolism, reduction of appetite, and stimulation of body fats (1). However, it can cause a series of digestive problems and may have unwanted effects on the body in the long run.

7. Hemp seeds

Considered as a superfood, this plant seed related to marijuana does not have any effect in the psychoactive level. As it is rich in fiber and protein, it can help increase your muscle mass while getting rid of the different toxins inhabiting your body (3). At the same time, taking it will help you feel full and energetic. Consuming it is safe and with the nutritional value it contains and its ability to cut down weight, hemp seeds are sure to stay in the fitness market.

8. Capsaicin Supplements

Have you ever noticed how a number of spicy food lovers are thin? Capsaicin is what causes the distinct flavor of both chilies and capsicum. It is present on certain food in small amounts. The active ingredient has the ability to improve metabolic rate and jumpstart or increase the level of thermogenesis (3). Thermogenesis is the term used to indicate the body’s ability to burn fat.

9. Orlistat

Veering away from the natural weight loss supplements, this pharmaceutical product is sold over the counter or through prescription. The fat breaks down in the gut, ensuring that you do not consume as many calories from the fats. Studies show that you can lose as much as 6 pounds by taking this medication (1). Additionally, it can reduce the risks of developing certain conditions like increased blood pressure and diabetes (4, 5). However, that undigested fat passes through your body, making for potentially unwanted oily experiences.

10. Seville Orange

Popularly known as Seville Orange, this newbie in the weight loss market is making a name for itself. Because of the alkaloid component of the fruit, synephrine, the body will experience an increase in fat burning abilities (6).

You may now have realized that there are certain features that make a weight loss supplement effective. Here are some ways your choice of supplement should be able to do your body good by reducing fat and weight excess:

Establishing a decrease in appetite. If this happens, you feel a lot fuller and therefore do not have the need to eat too much.
Helping decrease the absorption of unwanted nutrients like fat, so you consume lesser calories.
Improving fat burning abilities of the body. If you burn more calories, you lose weight.

At least one of the three features should be ticked off when looking for an effective weight loss supplements. Lucky for you, there are some supplements listed above that covers all three.

While there are tons of good and effective choices for weight loss supplements are available, you have to be familiar with the bad options. The supplements listed below may either pose great risks to your health or is simply just not effective.

B12 Shots

Vitamin B12 is not unhealthy. However, when it comes to weight loss, it may not be suitable. A lot of fitness enthusiasts claim that taking B12 shots can boost metabolism, shed unwanted fat, and keep them energized and raring to go (7). This is generally a good thing, but it just cannot help you lose the unwanted weight.

Some people are easy to get hooked. And as we all know, too much of a good thing is bad. The vitamin gets stored in the liver and going overboard for a long period of time can lead to liver toxicity. This OTC drug is on most occasions safe, but if it will not help you lose weight, what is the point?


This group of drugs promotes excretion of excess water by having you pee it out. It removes water and sodium off of your body (8). As simple as it may sound, the imbalances it can trigger can send your body into haywire. Without your physicians’ approval, it is highly advised to not experiment on this medication just so you will lose weight. Severe dehydration can occur (8). People who want to rush their weight loss process tend to overdo something they deem effective. If you do that with diuretics, chances are you will have to bid adieu to your kidneys.

HCG Products

HCG is commonly sold as drops, sprays, and encourages users to do a 500 calorie daily diet. The raves of its wonderful effects are sure to warrant everyone getting ready to do the diet and take products with HCG, thinking that they can help them lose weight and reduce hunger (9). Obviously, the credit should be on the consumption of just 500 calories instead of the substance being taken with it. This substance is in fact dangerous. As per FDA, those who are on restrictive diets are more likely to suffer from side effects like gallstone formation, electrolyte imbalance, and an irregular heartbeat (9).

It should go without saying that none of the weight loss supplement that actually works will be effective if you do not make conscious choices every day to eat right, exercise, and enjoy. You should never, at all cost, think that a magic pill is available because none of the weight loss supplement on the list can save you if you still live an unhealthy lifestyle.

Stress can also cause weight gain. Avoid being worked out over something totally relevant. There is something for everyone, you just have to make sure that you take the one that is suitable for your body and metabolism.


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