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A Medicine Cabinet for Weight Loss

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 25 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Weight Loss Medicine Cabinet Obesity

With obesity rates significantly rising and weight loss remaining an enormous industry in Britain and around the world, it is no wonder that people are preparing their medicine cabinets. If weight loss is on your agenda for the year, then it's important to be educated on what options you have. You can also find out how to get the best medicine cabinet to support your weight loss goals and health.

Choosing the Right Medications

While there are many over-the-counter preparations that are available through health food stores and chemists to supposedly 'boost' the metabolism and 'burn' fat, there is little or no evidence to support the claims. Use of these kinds of stimulants is controversial and one notion is that if they truly worked, everyone would be slim!


Some preparations are also high in caffeine, which can have a minimal effect on metabolism but can also reduce the absorption of certain minerals. For this reason, healthcare professionals generally do not recommend taking it as a supplement.


Hoodia is a herbal preparation that is used for weight loss. While it has yet to be validated in a human trial, those who support its use cite it being an effective appetite suppressant.


Other supplements such as chromium, a mineral, are thought to help balance insulin levels and improve the metabolism of nutrients. There is some evidence to suggest it can negatively impact mental health, which means it may not be a wise choice for people with depression or anxiety disorders.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Conjugated linoleic acid is another health supplement touted as a weight loss aid. This fatty acid has actually shown some benefit in studies although it can cause side-effects. These include diarrhoea and upset stomach.

Prescription and Other Weight Loss Aids

There are, however, a small number of drugs approved in Britain for weight loss. These are usually not meant as a first option and they tend to work best in people who are struggling with the traditional approach of diet and exercise. As with most drugs, there are side-effects but for those who are overweight and in particular, obese, the pros of these medications can outweigh the cons.

The newest over-the-counter medication Alli has been widely marketed for weight loss in Britain. It is a lower dose of the prescription strength drug orlistat, which is used to treat obesity. Another drug that may find its way into your medicine cabinet is sibutramine – also available through a prescription from your doctor. These medications either work to reduce appetite or to prevent absorption of fat from foods.

Losing Weight Safely

As with any medicine cabinet, be sure to keep it locked and out of reach from children. Many weight loss medications contain stimulants that are not only harmful to you if you take too many, but are especially dangerous to children.

Above all, nothing in your medicine cabinet will replace lifestyle measures such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Some of these medications can still be the extra support you need to help your lose weight. Even for over-the-counter medications, it's wise to see a dietitian or a doctor for advice and to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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