Losing weight is a big priority for lots of people, but not everybody likes the idea of diet pills that are made from chemicals. That's why herbal weight loss pills have been introduced into the market. Nowadays, whether you're in your local health store, drug store or just surfing the internet, you're sure to come across herbal weight loss pills.
Although each type of herbal weight loss pill contains different ingredients, there are some ingredients that are common to many brands. There is some debate, however, about how effective and safe some of these components are.
Ephedra is an extremely popular component of herbal weight loss pills, but in fact it's considered potentially hazardous by the Food & Drug Administration. It's used as an ingredient in herbal weight loss pills that are designed to replace "fen-phen". However, this anti-obesity drug has now been banned. Although this ban doesn't necessarily reflect on ephedra in any way, ephedra based products certainly fall into the category of unapproved diet pills.
Of more concern, however, is the fact that ephedra is the natural source of the amphetamine-like stimulant called ephedrine. This is a powerful decongestant, as well as suppressing the appetite and helping to burn fat quickly. Despite these benefits, the risks are such that it's best avoided. In herbal weight loss pills, ephedra has been known to cause insomnia, raised blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, seizures, strokes and heart attacks.
There are other herbal weight loss pill ingredients that are considered less dangerous. HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, does an excellent job of slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. This herbal extract is very effective at assisting weight loss, and is present in many commercial diet pills as well.
A third very common ingredient is pyruvate, which is a natural compound sourced from plants and animals. This is quite an effective weight loss aid, but care should be taken to stick to the recommended dose. Taking too many of these pills can result in bloating and diarrhea.
Finally there's phenylpropanolamine, also called PPA. This enjoyed a very good reputation as a weight loss agent for many years. Recently, however, concerns about it safety have been raised, and it's no longer used in many prescription medicines. This does raise the question of how safe it is in herbal weight loss pills. It has similar side effects to ephedra, including headaches, stroke, raised blood pressure and even death.
If you plan to take herbal weight loss pills, then it's important that you understand what ingredients are used, what effects they might have, and then decide whether you really want to go ahead.