The Skinny on Supplemets

By Muhilan Kandhasamy

As a Doctor of Western medicine I must admit that I view supplements with a great degree of suspicion. Please don't interpret that as some underlying personal benefit of "big pharma." Because let me assure you, it is not. It's due to a combination of upbringing and that seal of approval The FDA and its overseeing of medications allows me to fall back on when deciding which medicine is safest for my patient. My peace of mind when I know that approved medications have been studied widely and there are mechanisms in place to detect safety issues that frequently arise as a medication launches successfully and sometimes too successfully, when it starts being used by millions of people. (Anti-depressants, Viagra, Cholesterol medicines, etc)

In the United States, supplements get a pass without any such mechanisms and that is always a cause for concern.

Having said that, there are herbs, enzymes, proteins that have proven benefits, frequently in small studies but if you're willing to look hard and go outside the constraints of American Medicine, you'll find many sources from Germany, China, Japan touting the benefits of substances like bitter orange to stimulate fat oxidation, chamomile for stomach upset, cannabis for insulin resistance and thousands more.
The thought that I can add a few herbs in specific ways to help my patients lose weight faster and safely is very seductive. So I usually start my day reading my journals on the latest evidence on this or that supplement or medication. Today's article is from England about Bitter Orange. After reviewing it, I thought I'd share with you my take on it and a few useful suggestions :

  • Bitter orange acts in a similar way to ephedrine (proven effective in weight loss but banned in the States due to its side effects.) “The advantage of p-synephrine (bitter orange) is its reduced activation of β1 y β2 receptors and consequent weaker influence in raising arterial tension and heart rate. Translation: Bitter orange has fewer side effects than other adrenaline stimulators, (ephedrine) but can still raise blood pressure and heart rate.

  • Find the most reputable company possible. I'm partial to German companies and Medical grade suppliers as they have more overseers and regulations. The New York State Attorney's office accused four national retailers of selling dietary supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contaminated with unlisted ingredients. The companies: Walmart, Wallgreens, Target and GNC. (Email me if you'd like the full article)

  • Bitter orange is probably safe in young, metabolically healthy people.

  • It's Ill advised in people with heart problems, hypertension, thyroid disease or people who have a tendency to get jittery and hyper with a strong cup of expresso.

  • Best used a few minutes prior to exercise as it helps in preferential oxidation of fat during exercise. Making exercise actually effective in weight loss. ( We all know how that normally goes) Therefore, it's MOST useful for weight loss when combined with exercise.

  • Be very careful if it's combined with caffeine.

  • Monitor and discontinue immediately if you get any side effects or no visible effects.

  • Your body has a tendency to adapt to these type of substances, so try not to use daily, or give yourself an intermittent "bitter orange vacation."

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Awazul Wellness & Weight Loss

34 Wailea Gateway PL,

Suite A-104,

Wailea, HI 96753

Phone. 808-891-2485

Fax. 808-891-2495