Are Diet Pills Safe?
Are diet pills safe? They are everywhere on television, in magazines, on the store shelves. But what are the side effects? Do they do the job they say they do and are the risks worth taking? Before you consider taking a diet pill, particularly ones you can buy over the counter, be sure to get the answer to the question are diet pills safe?
When I made the decision to drop the extra pounds I have been carrying around for years, I looked into the potential of using some over the counter diet supplements. Because I did not have a huge amount of weight to lose, a prescription weight-loss drug was not an option for me. But I did want to know what my risks could be if I chose to use a non-prescription weight loss supplement or diet pill. What I found made me think twice about considering diet pills for my weight loss solution.
Because most diet pills are distributed without the prescription, they are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). These supplements are not held to the same standards as other medications and prescriptions, so they can make claims without the endorsement of the FDA. This leaves the manufacturers of these pills and supplements free to make claims about their safety and effectiveness without having to provide proof.
Here are some of the major issues that can arise because these diet pills are not regulated.
First, many diet pills have an active ingredient that is a stimulant, such as caffeine or bitter orange. The purpose of these ingredients is to stimulate the body to burn off the fat and calories the body needs to burn to lose weight. The dangers of this type of supplement come to people who already have heart or blood pressure problems. Many people who are overweight already have heart problems, which is part of the reason for trying to lose weight. Combining an existing heart problem with a stimulant supplement for weight loss can result in heart irregularities and strokes.
Second, these supplements have not been studied for long-term complications or interactions with many other medications. Several years ago, the weight loss supplement Phen-Fen was taken off the market because of complications that resulted in death for some users. It was discovered that some who took the supplement, based on the stimulant ephedra, was having heart palpitations directly related to long-term use of the supplement. So many new products enter the market regularly that have not had the opportunity to be tested for long-term effects, or the potential effects of mixing them with other medications, whether prescription or over the counter.
The third area of concern that may cause health and safety issues is that some of the ingredients in these diet pills can prevent the body from absorbing important vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to illnesses and conditions that are irreversible.
Further, sales of these supplements are not overseen by anyone other than the manufacturer. Sales made over the internet have no safeguards in place to protect the consumer from a faulty or fraudulent product. Prescription weight loss products should be purchased only from a doctor-recommended pharmacy. If you choose to take an over the counter weight loss supplement, be sure to purchase your product from a reputable drugstore or nutritional store. These people will deal directly with manufacturers, so at least you know you are getting the product the manufacturer promises.
Obesity is an epidemic in our country, and we have become a nation of instant gratification without putting effort into anything. Our desire to look like the Hollywood types drives us to make snap decisions about our body image, which creates problems for our long-term health and well being.
The National Institute of Health only recommends that medications be prescribed for weight loss when the patient is severely overweight and there are other significant health issues. Other than that, they recommend a healthy diet and exercise for those looking to improve their body image and lose weight. The reason for the recommendations from the National Institute of Health is that the diet pills and supplements tend to give us a false sense of security that because we look thin, we are healthy. That coupled with the potential for heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, migraines, elevated blood sugar, irritability, and sleep issues is enough to pause and wonder if diet pills are really safe.
You should ask yourself about the safety of diet pills before you opt to take them. Are diet pills safe or am I just hearing what I want to hear? Talk to your doctor about the best solutions to losing the weight and restoring a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss supplements and diet pills are not just an easy solution to our nation’s weight problems. Are diet pills safe? There is just not enough data to know for sure. Are you willing to take the risk with your health and your future?
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The content on this site is presented only for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician.