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Controversy About Over the Counter Supplements and Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

Scientists are closer than ever to making that dream come true. New research into obesity has unraveled many mysteries about why we eat and how we store and burn off calories. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are spending extraordinary sums to develop new generations of anti-obesity drugs, and many are now in test phases. In the meantime, we’re fighting fat, often unsuccessfully, and spending about $ 30 billion a year to do so. How long do we have to wait for that “magic pill”?

Actually, we don’t have to wait. On the shelves of pharmacies and health food stores are nutritional supplements that can help end your weight loss struggles for good. These natural weight loss agents are effective, easily obtainable, and safe for most people. They don’t even require a prescription.

While not magical per se, many natural weight loss products can bring miraculous results when it comes to fat loss and weight control, such as tweaking your body’s metabolism for faster fat-burning, suppressing your appetite naturally, energizing your body, and more lipodrene with ephedra extract comes in to place. Lipodrene can be purchased from www.shoppharmacycounter.com for a very low price. Lipodrene main ingredient is synephrine which is designed to target fat cells around abdomen area. Lipodrene also includes hoodia cactus extract which is a very strong appetite suppressant. Lipodrene with ephedra is the strongest fat burner today!

To understand why the natural weight loss supplements offer so much promise, it’s helpful to review a little history regarding diet pills.

The quest to find a slimming pill has been ongoing and never-ending. Every generation has had its version. In the 1930s, bath salts and orange pekoe tea were pitched as cures for obesity. The 1950s brought laxatives and mineral preparations promising to erase flabby bulges. In the 1960s and 1970s, doctors prescribed amphetamines (also known as “speed”), which incinerated calories by jump-starting the body’s metabolism. But they were also addictive, and diet pills got a bad name as a result.

In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new anti-obesity drug, dexfenfluramine, sold under the brand name Redux. It worked by triggering the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that when elevated makes you feel full. Dexfenfluramine joined two other appetite-suppressing drugs already on the market, phentermine and fenfluramine. Like dexfenfluramine, fenfluramine caused the brain to release more serotonin, suppressing the appetite. Phentermine, on the other hand, jacked up the nervous system and quashed the appetite much as amphetamines did but without being addictive. Known popularly as “phen-fen,” phentermine and fenfluramine were used in tandem to produce a powerful appetite curbing effect.

All three drugs were meant primarily for people who were considered obese, defined as being 20 percent or more above ideal weight. But abuses were rampant. Some physicians prescribed them for women who wanted to drop just a dress size, or who wanted to shed only a few pounds.

The drugs have disturbing side effects. Fenfluramine can cause dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, and, less frequently, heart palpitations. Phentermine can produce dry mouth, too, as well as nervousness, constipation, and insomnia. Dexfenfluramine has a rare but potentially fatal side effect primary pulmonary hypertension, in which the blood vessels supplying the lungs become scarred and thickened. The disease is progressive, ending in death within a few years.

Furthermore, evidence surfaced that the drugs didn’t work as well as promised. A Cornell University nutrition professor reviewed all the available studies on fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine and found that dieters taking the drugs lost only an average of 5 pounds, often the same amount shed with a placebo. Not a very impressive track record.

Nonetheless, physicians wrote an average of 85,000 prescriptions a week for dexfenfluramine alone. And many commercial weight loss centers jumped on the bandwagon, handing out prescriptions for the drugs without the written consent or knowledge of the dieter’s own doctor.

Then, in September 1997, newspapers around the country had shocking news for dieters: Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were yanked from the market after a Mayo Clinic study found that 30 percent of 290 patients who took them showed signs of heart-valve abnormalities. Later, the FDA estimated that one-third of people taking these pills could have suffered heart-valve damage. Dieters who had taken these drugs were urged to see their physicians for a complete heart-valve checkup. By the end of 1997, the FDA had begun investigating whether phen-fen and dexfenfluramine could he implicated in birth defects.

A large study conducted at Georgetown University, released in April 1998, found no evidence that dexfenfluramine caused heart-valve problems during the two or three months dieters usually took it. However, the study did suggest that long-term use of the drug could pose dangers.

In 1998, a new weight loss drug, sibutramine (Meridia), received a thumbs-up from the FDA, even over the objections of its own scientific advisers. It is designed to treat serious obesity, especially cases accompanied by other health problems, such as diabetes.

Sibutramine works differently from other prescription weight loss drugs. It doesn’t boost levels of serotonin, but prevents it from being reabsorbed. This helps keep levels high, creating a sensation of fullness. The drug also raises levels of another brain chemical, noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine), to help stimulate the metabolism. Research shows that sibutramine promotes weight loss of 5 to 10 percent not as much as people lost while taking phen-fen. Like most weight loss agents, sibutramine is most beneficial when used with proper diet and exercise.

But doubts about the safety of sibutramine linger. Side effects include dry mouth, headache, constipation, and insomnia. More serious side effects include increases in blood pressure and pulse rate both of which could be life-threatening to people with hypertension or certain heart conditions. Time will tell whether the drug will work effectively or go the way of its predecessors.

Another drug on the horizon is orlistat (Xenical), which blocks intestinal enzymes from absorbing 30 percent of fat that is eaten. The fat is excreted without being stored. Interestingly, there are a couple of natural weight loss substances that do the very same thing bind with fat and help carry it out of the body. Other prescription drugs are either in the pipeline or close to approval.

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The Promise of Natural Weight Loss Supplements

In the wake of the ongoing concern over the safety of prescription diet pills, the weight-conscious public is asking: Now what?

When taken properly, these nutritional agents carry none of the risks of prescription diet pills. Most of these products are simply nutrients, extracted from food or plants. While producing weight loss, they have a much gentler effect on your body than prescription medications have. You should consider using natural weight-loss supplements if:

You need to lose ten pounds or more.

You want to suppress your appetite and curb cravings naturally.

You don’t want to expose your body to the potentially health damaging effects of prescription weight-loss drugs.

You’ve given up on prescription weight-loss drugs and are seeking a safer solution.

You need temporary and safe weight-loss assistance while trying to change your eating habits permanently.

You really have nothing to lose, except unsightly fat, by taking a more natural approach to weight loss. In fact, you have everything to gain in terms of better health, more energy, and an improved self-image!

You may be wondering, Are these products safe? Good question! Unlike prescription medicines, nutritional supplements aren’t approved by the FDA. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, supplement manufacturers can make nutrition support statements about their products statements that describe how the product functions in the body. But they aren’t allowed to claim that the product can treat or cure any disease.

Also, supplement labels must carry the following disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
But just because natural weight-loss supplements and other nutritional supplements aren’t approved by the FDA, that doesn’t mean they’re unsafe. Over the years, there have been many pharmaceutical agents that won FDA approval but due to serious, sometimes fatal, effects were pulled from the market.

Keep in mind that natural weight-loss supplements are derived from food or herbs and thus work with your body rather than against it (as many prescription medicines do). It’s always preferable to try the gentlest agent first. Some of these supplements do have some minor side effects, but they are far less serious than those of prescription diet pills.

Also, there is a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of natural weight-loss products evidence you’ll read about here. Plus, many of these supplements have other health-promotion benefits. Natural supplements do many things! That’s one of their most redeeming values.

Natural weight-loss supplements are one more weapon against obesity a disease that’s killing us and draining our pocketbooks. Health experts report that a majority of the world’s population is now overweight, and that obesity costs consumers billions of dollars a year for health care. In the United States alone, the financial toll of obesity is more than $ 100 billion annually.

In fact, the United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. According to a recent survey, nearly 74 percent of Americans age 25 or older are overweight. After smoking, which causes an estimated 500,000 deaths a year, weight-related conditions are the second leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 300,000 lives each year. But other developed countries are not far behind. In 1997, the British Medical Journal reported that the prevalence of obesity in many countries is now so high that it should be considered a pandemic which means an exceptionally large portion of the world is on the pudgy side.

Although overweight and obesity are considered to be appearance problems, they are in fact serious conditions, directly linked to a number of disabling and life-threatening diseases. Among them are heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, and mental health problems.

Why is obesity so deadly? Take the number-one killer, heart disease, for example. Obesity places a strain on the heart. It enlarges the heart’s ventricles, alters its function, and leads to other structural abnormalities.

Studies indicate that obese adults aged 20 to 45 are at nearly four times the risk of developing diabetes and more than five times the risk of getting high blood pressure than normal-weight adults.

Obese men have a significantly greater chance of dying from cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate, and obese women have a greater risk of developing endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancers.

Plump women whose body fat is distributed around and above the waist run a particularly high risk of developing endometrial cancer, one of the most common cancers that afflict women. It usually occurs after menopause, and if detected early, it’s almost always curable. Scientists speculate that one reason for the risk is that upper-body-obese women have higher levels of the female hormone estrogen, which can set the stage for endometrial cancer.

Like endometrial cancer, most breast cancers have a hormonal link. As noted above, women with excess upper body fat have higher levels of estrogen, and some investigators think that these women run a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer. Obesity doesn’t cause breast cancer, but it encourages the spread of existing cancer.

If you’re obese, your bile may be oversaturated with cholesterol, a blood fat, and this can lead to the formation of gallstones.

Until only recently, it was assumed that a little weight gain at any age was okay. But studies have found that even a tiny gain can increase your odds of having a heart attack. In 1995, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published new guidelines that said middle-age spread was un-healthy and that for good health, people in their sixties should weigh the same as trim people in their thirties.

Backing up the USDA’s recommendations was one of the largest studies ever to examine the effects of weight on longevity. Published in 1998 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study concluded that slimmer is definitely better at any age, including middle age and beyond.

This conclusion was based on American Cancer Society data on 324,135 men and women enrolled in the study in 1960 and then followed up in 1972. The data revealed that being overweight tended to shorten life expectancy up to about age 75. After that age, being heavy didn’t make much of a difference unless someone was seriously obese. People who maintained a healthy, ideal weight generally lived the longest.

Overweight and obesity are caused by multiple factors, and natural weight-loss supplements can tackle many of them. Let’s take a closer look.

Overeating. If you habitually eat more calories than you burn off, the surplus is stored as body fat. So why do we overeat? There’s no simple explanation, really, but a lot of it has to do with hunger, appetite, and satiety mechanisms that tell us when to eat and how much. They are centered in the hypothalamus, a small area of the brain located in the middle of the skull. The hypothalamus is the body’s center for controlling food intake. It also regulates thirst, metabolism, and body temperature.

Hunger is largely a physiological drive. About every four hours, your body signals that it’s time to eat by creating sensations such as hunger pangs or a feeling of low energy. After you start eating a meal, it takes about twenty minutes for your body to send satiety signals to the hypothalamus that you’re full. Continuing to eat beyond that points leaves you feeling stuffed. By eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, you’ll have little trouble maintaining a healthy weight.

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