Friday, 29 June 2007

Beware the use of these slimming pills

Last year, Health Canada issued warnings for 10 slimming pills, none authorized for sale in Canada:

# Emagrece Slim, also known as the Brazilian Diet Pill, and Herbathin, were found to contain the prescription-only pharmaceutical compound fluoxetine HCI (the active ingredient in Prozac), the controlled substance chlordiazepoxide HCI (an active ingredient in Librax) and the controlled substance Fenproporex. Abrupt withdrawal can cause physical and psychological symptoms, including agitation, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

# WestPharm Hydro-Lean Capsules and a combination of 4EverFit ephedrine and caffeine pills, were found to contain ephedrine, which causes problems that include dizziness, headaches and psychosis.

# Six products: Super Fat Burning, LiDa Daidaihua Slimming Capsules, Reduce Weight, Conting Qianweisu Slimming Herb Capsules, Slim, and Fat Rapid Loss Capsules (Xin Yan Zi Pai Mei Zi Jiao Nang), were found to contain sibutramine, (the prescription diet drug Meridia) which can cause cardiovascular and vision problems and should only be taken under medical supervision.

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Experts warn of natural weight loss products

It's a billion-dollar industry that uses photos of svelte bodies and flashy fat-busting claims to peddle its products:

"Lose 30 pounds in 8 weeks!"

"Pound-for-Pound, The Most Powerful Weight-Loss Formula on Earth!"

"Lose 10.65 pounds fast!"

And it works: Thousands of overweight and obese Canadians are lured to store shelves and strip malls by these promises of perfection.

Weight-loss companies have, at the height of the obesity epidemic, gotten good at cashing in on people's desperate desires to lose weight. But there are few regulations to govern this booming industry in Canada and not enough people to enforce the ones that exist.

A growing number of obesity experts are calling for more stringent regulations to protect Canadians. They say the vast majority of weight-loss programs and products on the market are not effective, and warn that many are unsafe.

Right now, anybody can set up a weight-loss centre and sell almost anything they want, says Arya Sharma, a professor of medicine at McMaster University who holds a Canada Research Chair in cardiovascular obesity research and management.

"Treating the disease has to be up to (health) professionals, not up to people who could be selling a scam or selling products that are dubious in terms of safety," he said.

Many of the active ingredients in over-the-counter weight-loss supplements are derived from plants, minerals and other natural sources, and range from aloe to licorice, crustacean shells to the mineral chromium picolinate. Although many people assume natural means safe, the products can have drug-like properties and cause serious health problems. But unlike pharmaceuticals, natural weight-loss remedies don't have to go through rigorous clinical trials to prove they are safe and effective before hitting stores.

One of the most popular – and dangerous – weight-loss supplements in the early 2000s relied on chemicals in a shrub native to China and Mongolia. Ephedra sinica, or Ma huang in Chinese, contains ephedra alkaloids that, when combined with caffeine, caused weight loss.

Consumers clamoured for the heavily advertised supplement, but scientists only found out about its associated health problems after it was on the market. Ephedra has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure, seizures, heart attack and stroke. In the U.S., in one two-year period, the Federal Drug Administration received 87 reports of ephedra causing adverse health events. Ten of those led to death and 13 to permanent disability.

Health Canada, which banned ephedra weight-loss products in 2001, is charged with overseeing elements of the weight-loss industry. The agency regulates prescription weight-loss drugs and natural weight-loss supplements, and works with the Competition Bureau to watch out for weight-loss fraud. Diet shakes and meal replacement bars sold at grocery and drug stores and weight-loss outlets come under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

But there are no over-arching regulations for the industry, and none at all for the hundreds of weight-loss centres found in strip malls across the country.

Sharma, who is also director of the Canadian Obesity Network, a non-profit education organization made up of obesity clinicians and researchers, says this is unacceptable, especially since the industry has the potential to affect the health of millions of obese Canadians.

"People who are selling things to patients as a cure or a treatment for obesity have an obligation to make sure the treatments they are offering work," he says. "They need to make sure the claims about their treatments are validated in the same manner and at the same level of scientific validity that we do for pharmacological or surgical treatments."

Natural weight-loss supplements and over-the-counter diet remedies make up the largest portion of the weight-loss industry. Health Canada launched the Natural Health Products Directorate on Jan. 1, 2004 to make sure all natural health products sold in Canada are reviewed for quality, safety and efficacy. But critics say the review process isn't stringent enough. York University health policy expert Joel Lexchin says over-the-counter medications should receive the same scrutiny as prescription drugs, whose manufacturers have to submit reams of scientific data, including rigorous human trials, to prove a potential drug is safe.

In a 2004 study, Robert Saper, director of integrative medicine at Boston University Medical Center, found none of the 26 most common ingredients in over-the-counter weight-loss supplements, including green tea, chromium, and guar gum, met acceptable criteria for safety and efficacy. He also said companies skirted the ephedra ban by using related chemicals, such as those found in bitter orange plants, which can also cause cardiovascular problems.

Saper has since turned his attention to analyzing active ingredients in weight-loss supplements. Right now, he says, many of the products imported into North America contain impurities, such as pesticides and heavy metals, or are adulterated with prescription drugs.

Unlike Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate, the Federal Drug Administration in the U.S. has no system in place that requires weight-loss companies to prove their products are safe or effective.

David Schardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, based in Washington D.C., applauds Health Canada for trying to regulate natural products. But he also says many of the approved product claims are "goofy" and agency officials don't conduct accurate or thorough scientific reviews.

"They approved European pennyroyal to treat giddiness," he says, based on herbal folklore references and Health Canada also approved the plant, a species of mint native to Europe and Asia, to treat flatulence, headaches and nervousness.

"Not only is it goofy, but the evidence (for its efficacy) wasn't very good," says Schardt.

Any obesity drug – either prescription or over-the-counter – that doesn't prevent or reduce a person's risk of developing the health problems associated with the disease, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, shouldn't be sold, says York University's Lexchin.

"They are garbage. They are not effective," he said. "If something is not effective, and it is not 100 per cent safe – and nothing is 100 per cent safe – there are no grounds for keeping it on the market."


Click here to visit Proactol official site - medically tested and clinically proven to work as fat binder - officially approved weight loss product

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Do best slimming pills exist?

Which slimming pills are the best? If you are overweight and want to become slimmer, you have definitely asked that question already. As people all around the world want to reach better shape, best slimming pills are always sought after.

We all know that a sure way to become slim is eating healthy meals and do a lot of physical activity. Slimming pills may do well in a short cut, but we have to understand how they act and what effect they are going to show.

The great variety of slimming pills is basically into two groups – prescription drugs and over the counter diet pills. Which are the best pills?

Prescription pills – moderate efficacy with strong side effects

Prescription slimming pills are clinically tested and proven to work as they claim. Let’s take Xenical – it claims to block up to 25% of fats from being absorbed by our intestines. Its action has been proved clinically so we know what we can expect.

But prescription drugs are not the best choice due to strong side effects and unnatural chemicals we have to intake into our body while taking drugs. Xenical is also clinically proven to cause oily spotting, nausea and much more…

Natural slimming pills – do they work as claimed?

The problem with natural slimming pills is that they often don’t back their claims by medical studies. You can see promises of fantastic weight loss results like “eat what you want and still lose weight” or “the weight remains permanent” and the like…

Actually you cannot be sure if you get original mix of components or some king of useless placebo in a beautiful package. Fortunately, there are natural slimming pills that passed clinical tests proving their weight loss efficacy, based on using scientifically researched components. Perfect example is Proactol that is clinically proved to lower excess weight by binding up to 27 of dietary fats before digestion.

Anohter point of concern is so called herbal components. As you know, natural is not always safe, and there are slimming pills based exactly on potentially dangerous ingredients. Ephedra or ma huang are still remain popular fat burners, despite FDA banned them in 2003 after several death cases resulted from using ephedra.

Still, in the late years we can see the appearing of new natural slimming pills, made of safe components mixed for maximum weight loss impact. You do not need prescription to use them and if you do eat healthily and make some physical activity, you will benefit from adding slimming pills to your weight loss program.


If saying of best slimming pills – there is no ultimate answer. Both prescription and natural slimming pills can be your best choice depending on different factors.

If you suffer from obesity that potentially puts your health at risk and you have serious medical conditions, your best choice is prescription drugs under doctor’s control.

If you are overweight and wish to shed excess pounds than probably the best slimming pills are respectful natural slimming pills that are clinically proven and medically tested.

Undoubted leader among natural slimming pills in 2007 is Proactol - acknowledged by health professionals and customers as good and safe slimming pill. Since February 2007 thousands of people use it successfully along with good nutrition and exercising and achieve great weight loss. Daily Express UK even featured weight loss success with using Proactol where young woman want from 95 to 62 kg for several months.

Slimming pills are very popular – whatever being said of them, slimming pills do really help people lose weight and now more and more effective solutions hit on the market. Well, there may never be ideal slimming pill, but if you really want to achieve your dreams of better and healthier body – you will achieve it!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Alli clinical studies showed moderate weight loss efficacy

Orlistat, known by the brand name Alli, works by decreasing the amount of fat absorbed by the body. It is the OTC version of Xenical, a prescription weight loss pill. The good news: Orlistat has been tested and the prescription version has been used since 1999.

Last fall Dr. James Anderson, head of the UK College of Medicine Metabolic Research Group, and his colleagues examined the effects of OTC strength (60 mg) orlistat on mildly to moderately overweight individuals. The study was the first of its kind. Previously, the slimming pill's effects had only been studied in obese individuals. Study participants took either orlistat or a placebo three times daily with meals for 16 weeks. Results of that study showed those taking OTC-strength orlistat did lose more weight than those taking the placebo.

"Our research showed that people taking orlistat and following low-fat diets lost almost five percent of their initial body weight, about seven to15 pounds, over four months," Anderson said. "While two to four pounds a month isn't dramatic, steady weight loss of this amount can have major health benefits. For example, the reduction in LDL-cholesterol, the bad-guy cholesterol, of 10 percent can reduce risk of heart attack by 20 percent."

Any successful dieter knows that long-term weight loss is about lifestyle changes not quick fixes. While taking Alli slimming pill may help you lose weight, it won't do all of the work for you. Anderson stresses a healthy diet and exercise plan are absolutely necessary to lose the weight and keep it off.

"This is the first over-the-counter slimming pill that has proven effectiveness. It is my hope that people will take one capsule before each regular meal, breakfast, lunch, and supper, and alter their fat and calorie intake," Anderson said. "If they commit to exercise six days a week, most people can lose weight steadily. All of us are in this for the long haul and need to keep up healthy behaviors, not for days or weeks, but for months and years. Doing regular physical activity and making good food choices will help us be trimmer and give us more energy."

Read also Best weight loss pills

Monday, 25 June 2007

Many doctors are not loyal to Alli

The recent debut of Alli, the first over-the-counter slimming pill approved by federal regulators, no doubt has some dieters dashing to drugstores and supermarkets. But shortly thereafter, critics warn, they'll be dashing to the bathroom.

Alli is a lower-dose version of the prescription drug Xenical, which blocks about 25 percent of fat from being absorbed into the body by attaching itself to fat-dissolving enzymes. Problem is, the unabsorbed fat then may exit forcefully and frequently.

"We have the makings of some very embarrassing moments," says Jeffrey Novick, nutrition director for the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Aventura. "This is not new news. Just old news repackaged."

Dr. Andrew Larson, bariatric surgeon at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, isn't an Alli fan, either.

"I think it's going to be a total flop," he says. "Some people might expect a little buzz, like you'd get with Dexatrim or other diet pills. But with this, you're not going to feel anything — except the side effects."

Alli literature states: "While no one likes experiencing treatment effects, they might help you think twice about eating questionable fat content. If you think of it like that, Alli can act like a security guard for your late-night cravings."

An article in last week's Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, gives potential buyers some math to chew on:

A half-cup serving of Häagen-Dazs ice cream has about 320 calories and 19 grams of fat. Alli, which is taken with meals, would stop the body from absorbing about 4.75 fat grams or about 43 calories.

If you consume 2,000 calories a day and eat 30 percent fat, the fat-blocking benefits of Alli would translate to approximately 150 calories a day. A pound of weight loss equals 3,500 calories.

Critics insist that if you're committed to healthier eating and exercise, like Alli recommends, you don't need the drug.

"Why bother?" says Dr. Kenneth Woliner, a family practitioner in Boca Raton. "The only advantage of this pill is if you can't stop yourself from eating regular cheese or the skin off a chicken. You'll quickly regret it. But if you cut out the fat, you're doing what you need to do anyway."

Xenical (generically known as orlistat) has been available in 120-milligram pills since 1999, with prescriptions falling from 1.5 million in 2002 to 623,000 four years later. GlaxoSmith Kline acquired the over-the-counter rights from Roche in February and spent $150 million aggressively marketing Alli, which hit stores June 14.

There's an Alli book, Are You Losing It?, with diet tips and low-calorie recipes. And offers a message board and personalized action plan.

GlaxoSmithKline says dieters can lose 50 percent more weight with Alli (pronounced AL-eye) than with dieting alone. The 60-milligram pill, taken three times a day, doesn't suppress appetite or affect the brain.

But doctors are concerned that Alli, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults 18 and older, also may block absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K.

"Low vitamin D can push you toward dry skin, psoriasis, depression and cancer," Woliner says, adding that the drug doesn't distinguish between "bad" fats and "good" ones, such as the essential fatty acids found in fish oil.

Insufficient vitamin D also may raise the risk of brittle bones, gum disease and diabetes.

Woliner predicts that consumers will buy Alli only once or twice, which still means a hefty payday for GlaxoSmithKline.

Walgreens and CVS, for example, charge $49.99 for a 60-pill starter pack and $59.99 for 90 pills. Publix charges $46.99 for the starter pack and $69.95 for 120 pills.

"I don't think it's going to be a success," Larson says, advising people to eat more fiber and choose healthier foods instead. "I personally don't like it at all. It's a weak pill."


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter

The USDA grossly underfunds the healthiest foods while pouring billions into a farm bill that supports many of the foods its dietary recommendations warn against.

read more | digg story

Saturday, 23 June 2007

FDA sets new rules on dietary supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that manufacturers of vitamins, herbal pills and other dietary supplements would have to test the ingredients of all their products for safety and purity.

The new standards follow concerns that existing regulations are too weak in that they allow supplements on the market that were contaminated or whose ingredients didn't match claims made on the label.

But while the rules may strengthen enforcement in these areas, some experts say that the real question is the effectiveness of these products.

"This final rule establishes industrywide standards," said Robert Brackett, director of the center for food safety and applied nutrition at the FDA, in a press conference this morning. "Consumers should have increased confidence that the dietary products that they purchase are safe."

Published in an 800-plus page report, the regulations set so-called good manufacturing processes for the 29,000 dietary supplement products currently on the market -- including vitamins, minerals, botanicals, sports nutrition supplements, weight loss supplements and specialty supplements.

The supplement makers will have to test the ingredients of all their products for purity, and accurately report ingredients on their labels.

Before his, supplements fell under the same regulatory guidelines used for food. But according to the FDA, regulating supplements in this way missed some critical problems.

"[The final rule] tries to be more specific about regulating the processes used to make diet supplements, which are quite different from the way you process food," said Vasilios Frankos, division director of the office of dietary supplements at the FDA.

The requirements also apply to imported supplements manufactured outside the U.S. Enforcement of the new guidelines begins Aug. 24.

"The aim is to prevent the wrong ingredients getting into supplements," said Frankos. The regulations also try to prevent contamination of supplements as well as the accidental inclusion of pesticides, glass or heavy metals like lead.

Fable-Free Labels

"These new regulations will at least take the quality issue off the table," says Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the complementary and integrative medicine program at the Mayo Clinic. "If a patient wants to try ginseng, they can be assured that when they purchase a ginseng brand that claims to have 5 percent ginsenosides, they will know that is what they are getting."


Herbal phentermine, Hoodia and Ephedra slimming pills exposed

If you like to help your weight loss with some kind of slimming pills, you can find them almost in every medical store. The question is – are the slimming pills you are going to buy the genuine and suitable for you? Not every slimming pill is created equal in terms of effectiveness. Let’s make a quick survey into very widespread types of slimming pills - Brazilian slimming pills, Phentermine 37.5 mg slimming pills, and those containing Ephedra and Hoodia, and its effectiveness and other aspects, both positive and negative.

No prescription Phentermine-as the term suggests-can be used without any prescription. Such drugs contain green tea or caffeine (the former type is more these days), which suppresses the appetite and increases the basal metabolism thereby burning away those extra fat. Earlier, no prescription drugs used Ephedra, but it was banned by FDA in 2003 citing health consequence. Even though the ban stands annulled as in 2006, its accepted levels are very much limited according to the new guidelines laid down by the FDA.

Brazilian slimming pills, when hit the markets few years back, created a quite lot of stir amongst the public and the media alike. It produced quick results and the Brazilian slimming pills were cheaper as well. But, of late, researches have showed that some chemicals used in Brazilian slimming pills are injurious to human body. Most of the samples tested by authorities found to include higher concentrations of amphetamines and certain natural extracts that mimics the negative effects of Ephedra or Ephedra based slimming pills. Therefore, from a customer point of view, it would be wise to abstain from using Brazilian slimming pills.

Hoodia based drugs, on the other hand, works in the same way to that of no prescription slimming pills, by suppressing the natural appetite for food. Even though some websites say Hoodia based slimming pills are free from any side effects, recent studies have exposed that the chemical-steroidal glycosides in Hoodia-badly affects nerve cells in the hypothalamus, which controls blood glucose levels.

As you see, there’s no and probably will never be a perfect slimming solution. If you believe that prescription slimming pills is the best choice – make sure you don’t have medical restrictions to take them as most of prescription pills tend to have side effects.

If your decision is natural slimming pills – take care to see the pills you are buying is a genuine and safe product. Weight loss is beneficial to your health so it makes no sense to risk it.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Alli slimming pill hits stores - experts warn of side effects, misuse

For two years, George Hegedus has avoided expensive diet plans and made it to the gym barely three times a week. At 270 pounds, the Coconut Creek, Fla., resident said he needs something to help combat the fat calories.

So when alli, the first federally approved over-the-counter slimming pill, hit South Florida drugstore shelves Thursday, he drove to a Walgreens store on his lunch hour and bought a starter pack: 90 pills at $59.99.

"I hope it helps take calories off, but it's not a magic pill," said Hegedus, 42, a structural engineer.

South Florida drugstores reported growing consumer interest in the new slimming pill, which is being rolled out nationwide this week with an unprecedented $150 million marketing campaign. Although the drug has been available at greater strength by prescription since 1999, this is the first time it is available over the counter to overweight adults.

The pill works by blocking about 25 percent of the body's absorption of fat in the digestive system by attaching to natural enzymes that would otherwise break down fat.

Alli's London-based manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, recommends taking it along with a low-fat diet and exercise. Consumers who don't stick to a low-fat diet can experience some unpleasant side effects, such as oily discharge, diarrhea and gas.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in February, at half the strength of its prescription version, sold under the name Xenical. GlaxoSmithKline is promoting the pill with books, a TV commercial and educational CDs.

Drugstore representatives said many consumers were putting in pre-orders for the drug before it hit the shelves Thursday.

"We've been getting a lot of calls and we've taken a number of pre-orders through the Web site," said Carol Hively, a spokeswoman for Walgreens. "We expect this to be a big product."
But dieticians and pharmacists say that, despite the buzz, it does not change the classic formula for weight loss: eating less and moving more.

Jan Schuman, a pharmacist at Boca Pharmacy, said the key to losing weight is behavior modification.

"I'm on a diet now. I'm exercising and can do without alli," Schuman said. "I don't eat that much fat."

Schuman said taking alli and having a high calorie intake is like diabetics eating sugary foods and injecting more insulin into their bodies. He urges people not to "play a game" with themselves by thinking the pill will solve their problem, and instead focus on a good diet and exercise.

GlaxoSmithKline mailed fliers and educational material to drugstores, but Schuman said he has not heard from the company on counseling those who buy alli.


Actually alli is half strengh of Xenical slimming pill which is well known and proved efficacy although many people noticed side effects. Alli does have the same side effects like Xenical.

Here they are:

  • loose stools
  • too-frequent stools
  • uncontrollable bowel movements
  • gas with an oily discharge

Natural fat binder Proactol showed approximately the same efficacy in blocking fats like alli, except for no side effects noticed from testers who took it.

People using Proactol since February 2007 (the month it's become available for public) also noticed no side effects and increased weight loss rate as compared to routines without taking Proactol.

It seems natural because Proactol active ingredient is based on Opuntia Ficus Indica fiber, known for thousands of years for it's strong binding capacities. Scientific researches by Bio Serae Laboratories discovered great fat binding power of Neopuntia (made from the fiber) and several clinical studies proved that it can be used for safe weight loss.

So make your choice towards natural and safe weight loss aid and please remember that if other people reach weight loss success it's available for you too!

Click here to discover more on Proactol official site

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Fad diets are useless for weight loss

Fad diets are weight-loss plans that promise quick, dramatic weight loss.

Fad diets rarely help with long-term weight loss, and can even be dangerous to your health, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.

Here are the AAFP's suggestions for how to recognize a diet that promises more than it delivers:

- Diets that promise to help you lose more than one to two pounds a week.
- Diets that promise weight loss without a healthy diet low in fatty foods.
- Diets that base claims on "before and after" photos that show dramatic weight loss.
- Diets that pitch testimonials from users or so-called experts.
- Diets that focus on only one type of food, and don't encourage a healthy, balanced diet.
- Diets that require you to spend a lot of money on different slimming pills, seminars or prepared foods.


It's really goos conclusion from authority organisation to help you understand that fad diets are more like a "product" people "buy" in their strive for some quick weight loss results. Most of fad diets, like most of other weight loss products, do promise exactly what you want - quick results.

Fortunately, weight loss success is not unachievable miracle and you can lose weight and become slimmer - just be patient and persistive and follow proven techniques!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Ten Astonishing Nutrition Facts

"The American diet circa 2007 is a disaster - but positive change has begun. Those were the twin themes of the "Fourth Annual Nutrition and Health Conference" held in San Diego, Calif., May 14-16, 2007."

read more | digg story

Diabetics can lose weight with combination approach

People with type 2 diabetes who are trying to lose weight seem to do well with a calorie-controlled diet and the slimming pill Meridia, according to a new study.

Dr. J. Bruce Redmon and colleagues from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, examined the effects of combining several weight loss strategies in a study involving 59 overweight or obese subjects with type 2 diabetes.

The participants were randomized to the combination approach for 2 years, or to a standard weight loss program for 1 year followed by the combination therapy weight loss program for 1 year (control group)

The people in the standard weight loss programs were prescribed individualized diets and an exercise program. The combination approach featured daily Meridia (generic name, sibutramine) and use of meal replacement products (Slim Fast) to lower calorie intake, including a low-calorie-diet week every two months when only meal replacement products were allowed.

A total of 48 patients completed the study, including 23 in the combination group and 25 in the control group. The results are published in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

After 2 years, subjects in the combination group had lost an average of 4.6 kilograms, or 10 pounds. They also showed significant decreases in long-term blood glucose levels, fat mass, lean body mass, and blood pressure.

Little weight loss occurred the control group in the first year of standard therapy. But by the end of the second year, after switching to the combination strategy, reductions in blood glucose and weight were similar to those seen in the other group.

The combination strategy was "simple and easy for subjects to understand and implement," the investigators note, at a cost of about $6 per day.

"Our data suggest that weight loss at 2 years of 4-5 kg (about 4 percent of initial body weight) for people with type 2 diabetes can produce improvement in diabetes that are likely to be clinically significant," Redmon's team concludes.


Thursday, 14 June 2007

Being too skinny was not that good - weight gain product 1934 ad

This problem of people being too skinny and wanting to add “flesh” seems to be one we’ve thoroughly licked. Though Coca Cola and McDonalds have been far more effective than Kelp-A-Malt or Fleischmann’s Yeast ever could have dreamed.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Rimonabant Slimming Pill Causes Physical and Psychological Harm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should not approve the new slimming pill rimonabant (marketed as Acomplia in Europe and known as Zimulti in the U.S.) because it produces only modest weight loss and has been shown to produce serious physical and psychological adverse effects, according to Public Citizen testimony before an FDA advisory committee meeting today. The group argued that more extensive studies of the drug’s effectiveness and safety are needed to fully evaluate its benefit-to-risk ratio.

The testimony about rimonabant was prepared by Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Ben Wolpaw and Elizabeth Barbehenn, Ph.D., all of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen. Wolfe delivered the testimony to the FDA’s endocrine metabolic drugs advisory committee.

Rimonabant inhibits brain receptors involved in eating. But the drug also inhibits other areas of the brain and other organs, raising serious concerns about the drug’s toxicity.

Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of rimonabant, has claimed that in pre-clinical animal studies, the drug “was shown to have very limited potential to induce toxicity,” and that there was no specific organ pathology identified. Yet a report from the European drug regulatory authority acknowledges such adverse effects in animals as increased birth defects, impaired fetal survival, convulsions, liver toxicity, chromosomal aberrations and carcinomas.

“The elusive idea of a magic bullet drug that has a benefit mediated through its action on one receptor site, yet is devoid of risks at a myriad of other sites in the body, is once again exemplified by rimonabant,” said Wolfe. “Other such drugs – including Vioxx, Rezulin and Redux – were eventually removed from the market because of their toxicity.”

Because the receptors are widespread in the brain, rimonabant has been shown to cause extraordinarily broad kinds of psychiatric dysfunction, in addition to increased suicidal tendencies and other depressive symptoms. In clinical studies, patients given 20 milligrams of rimonabant showed significant increases in anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks, as well as increases in aggression and agitation compared to patients given a placebo. In addition, significantly more patients receiving rimonabant required a sedative, tranquilizer or an anti-depressant for adverse events caused by the drug.

“The evidence for increased suicidal tendencies and depression is of particular concern for a drug targeted toward the obese, a population that has been shown to have a significantly higher incidence of depression and eating disorders compared to non-obese individuals,” Wolfe testified.

Wolfe told the committee that another major issue with the drug is the lack of reliable information regarding the long-term effects of its use. Because patients regain weight lost while using rimonabant after they discontinue its use, the drug will have to be prescribed on a long-term basis to be effective. But of the studies performed to date, two lasted two years, while the other three were one year in length.

“Because rimonabant is the first drug of its class, there is no data on its use in humans over an extended period of time,” said Wolfe. “The complete lack of information about the long-term effects of this drug is a serious cause of concern.”


Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Can slimming pills be harmful for your health?

Slimming pills marketers will promise you anything and everything if you just buy one bottle. You can lose 3 pounds a day or maybe 20 or even 30 pounds a week. But can they deliver what they promise? And is it safe?

Most prescription slimming pills suppress the appetite, which causes you to consume fewer calories. On the surface, this seems like the ultimate solution for losing weight. However, as you reduce your caloric intake, your metabolism also slows down. As your metabolism slows down, you lose less and less weight. This is why it is common for people to lose only a certain amount of weight while taking slimming pills alone.

As fat blockers like Orlistat (Xenical) remove excess fats via the intestines, they may cause a wide range of unwanted symptoms. One of the dangers of slimming pills that inhibit the absorption of fats is the problem of gastrointestinal side effects, such as oily spotting, flatus with discharge, fecal urgency, fatty/oily stool, oily evacuation, increased defecation, and fecal incontinence. Other gastrointestinal diet pill side effects may include: abdominal pain, nausea, infectious diarrhea, and rectal pain.

Slimming pills that inhibit the absorption of fats can also cause a deficiency in vitamins A, D, E, K, and Beta-carotenes. Also, rare side effects have been hypersensitivity with symptoms of pruritus, rash, urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. Sounds bad? You bet it does.

Sibutramine (Meridia) and other similar appetite suppressants stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which can raise blood pressure and heart rate. This increases the risk of heart attack and cardiac arrest, especially among people who already suffered from high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat or heart disease. In fact, between February 1998 and March 2003, the FDA received reports of 49 deaths related to Sibutramine. Additional minor side effects include constipation, headache, dry mouth and insomnia (because the chemicals in these drugs also influence sleep patterns).

Another popular slimming pill ingredient in the '90s was a powerful amphetamine-like stimulant called ephedra (or the Chinese herb ma huang), which, in combination with caffeine, triggered measurable weight loss. The problem was that ephedra also increased the heart rate, and, consequently, the risk of heart attack and stroke. Ephedra is related to epinephrine (adrenaline), which, during times of stress, constricts blood vessels, elevates heart rate and gets the body ready to fight or flee. At least 155 people died from taking medications containing ephedra.

Some slimming pills, especially the stimulant-based ones, are habit-forming and as such can be abused. Abuse of these drugs may lead to addiction. None of this would ever help you achieve a healthy life and that's the sad truth about miracle pills. So are there any quick fixes, anything that can do to lose weight without too much trouble?

There are a couple of quick fixes you can try and which may change your life for the better:

- Get a habit of eating breakfast every morning! Breakfast eaters are champions of good health. Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count, and less chance of overeating.

- Plan your sessions of exercise. Incidental exercise is good, but in all honesty - it's not enough. People who maintain their weight have learned to schedule dedicated times of exercise. Those times are not torture sessions, but times when they look forward to release stress and positive feelings of well-being after the session.

- Take up a hobby. Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV. Relaxed happy people are a lot less likely to eat emotionally than the rest of dieters.


Monday, 11 June 2007

Are you fidget? You are less likely to be obese

Scientists working in Germany and the US say they have found a "fidget" molecule and if you have it in your genes you are less likely to be fat. Fidgeters of the world say, "well, duh, all that moving around is good exercise".

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