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Jun 25, 2021
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Anti-obesity dietary supplements are actually ineffective – meta-analysis

Manufacturers of bioactive additives (BAA) offer their use for many diseases. Anti-obesity supplements generate billions of dollars in revenue every year; in the United States, a third of the population has tried them at least once.

Supplements are not subject to the same quality and efficacy testing as conventional drugs. They often contain hidden hazardous ingredients, which, among other things, can interact with other medications. Many studies have previously shown that cardiovascular supplements don’t work as well as manufacturers claim.

In a new study, scientists analyzed 315 studies on the use of bioactive supplements and acupuncture for obesity. It turned out that the vast majority of these studies are of poor quality: for example, small in size and with a high risk of error. Scientists were able to find only 52 studies that allowed judging the effectiveness of certain dietary supplements.

Results from only 16 studies indicated at least a small effect of these funds. These included green tea, linolenic acid, and caffeine supplements. Their effect was modest: people taking these dietary supplements lost from 0.3 to 4.9 kilograms.

Thus, despite a large number of studies, their review did not find effective alternative methods for losing weight. Apparently, they are among the least effective means. Evidence-based medicine today has a number of more effective techniques. Pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery help to lose 5-35% of body weight. However, the arsenal of tools for tackling obesity remains modest.

Scientists from the Obesity Research Society Clinical Committee in an editorial at Obesity write that doctors should remember that dietary supplements against obesity can be dangerous to health and do little to help you lose excess weight. They also urge regulatory agencies to monitor the dietary supplement market stricter.


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