11 Weight Loss Supplements That Actually Work [With 18 Literary Citations]

[Unlock stubborn fat cells by hacking your cellular biochemistry]

This post highlights some of my recommended weight loss supplements found in my weight loss guide which you can get for free by signing up to get email updates..

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These supplements are intended to be used with diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques for optimal results...

Whether you’ve taken vitamins or supplements in the past there are some things you should know on how they really help you break the barrier of weight loss to get the results you deserve.

The NEED for supplements

Nowadays it’s actually really difficult to get the required amount of nutrients from food. This is from a variety of reasons...

1. The depletion of nutrients in the soil.

2. The time required for storage and transportation of our food from the farm to the grocery store.

3. The changes in genetics in plants over time and the increased stress from the world we live in.

All of these things in combination make it nearly impossible to get the vitamins and minerals we need from diet alone. (1)

The science is very clear on the matter, in fact a quote from this study (2) suggests ”Inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis”.

The truth is that most physicians you see regularly (your family practice doctor or internist) just weren’t trained on how to properly prescribe nutrients for medical problems. But, the fact that they aren’t educated on the matter does not mean that they aren’t useful and can, in many cases, help prevent and reverse disease!

This view on supplements has been changing over the last decade or so. It’s not uncommon to see cardiologists who recommend fish oil and coenzyme Q10. Gastroenterologists are recommending probiotics and fecal microbiota transplant therapy and obstetricians have always recommended prenatal vitamins, which have been shown to reduce neural tube defects in the developing fetus. (3)

The obesity-malnourishment paradox

The Standard American Diet has caused a confusing paradox in that most overweight people are actually severely malnourished.

The diet of highly processed, high sugar, high calorie foods actually contain very little nutrients. Couple this with the inflammation they cause and you can see how it would be difficult for the body to cope with increased levels of inflammation and decreased antioxidants.

This causes a vicious cycle putting obese people at increased risk for chronic disease while simultaneously increasing their demand for nutrients...

Both obesity and diabetes are made worse by malnutrition.

You can think of obesity using this analogy - imagine a scenario where a tank truck hauling gas runs out of fuel on the highway. In this scenario the tank truck has a virtually endless supply of gas that it’s hauling, but it’s unable to access the fuel.

This scenario is exactly what is happening in your body when you are obese. Your fat cells (your huge tank of fuel) isn't available for energy burning due to the changes that happen at the cellular level from increased consumption of carbohydrates and sugars.

By using the right supplements it's like hooking up the huge gas tank to the little gas tank for an endless supply of energy.

How do supplements work for weight loss?

Supplements help to reduce insulin resistance and obesity by working via two primary mechanisms:

  1. They act at the genetic level to make changes that cause your cells to become sensitive to insulin and more effective at burning fat as a fuel source (unlocking that HUGE tank of energy).
  2. Special fibers and thickening agents help to slow down the absorption of sugars, which causes changes in chemicals and hormones that help you to feel more full and satiated when you eat.

By manipulating these mechanics its possible to significantly change your biochemistry and correct metabolic imbalances, improve insulin function, balance blood sugar and reduce overall inflammation.

Purchasing supplements...

Before you buy ANY supplements, whether it be for weight loss or joint pain you need to know a couple of facts that will help you get the best bang for your buck.

The supplement industry is not as well regulated as the pharmaceutical industry.

Range of supplements

When you pick up a medication from your pharmacist you exactly what you are getting, and you should feel very confident about this because the FDA heavily regulates it. The same isn’t true for the supplement industry which can make it difficult for the average consumer.

Cheap supplements that are purchased from local drug stores may have any or all of the following problems:

  1. The form of the nutrient may be cheap resulting in poor absorption or inability for your body to actually use it. Example: magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed but VERY cheap. Conversely magnesium glycinate is very well absorbed but more expensive. Another form of magnesium (citrate) can cause loose stools and is used as a laxative. All of these are various forms of magnesium which change its chemical properties and change its price.
  2. The product may not have the advertised dosage. Instead of 200mg of magnesium oxide it may only have 100mg.
  3. It may contain cheap additives, colors, dyes, fillers or allergens. You don’t want your products to be made with wheat if you are gluten intolerant, or to have lactose in them if you are lactose intolerant.
  4. The materials may not be tested for heavy metals or other toxins.

High quality supplements, especially when purchased from a Physician’s office, can be a critical part of the healing process. I frequently recommend high quality nutritional supplements to my patients and obtain fantastic results. I feel confident recommending certain brands because they have gone through great lengths to ensure a consistent, high quality nutrient in every product.

Whether you decide to use the brands I recommend or not, be sure to check your suppliers source for quality and stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. High quality nutrients have been shown to be effective in treating insulin resistance and obesity. (4)

I’ve compiled a list of nutritional supplements that have been proven by scientific studies to either reduce hemoglobin A1C or promote weight loss. The Hemoglobin A1C (Hgb A1c for short) is a 3 month measure of the average amount of blood sugar in your body. It serves as a good tool for measuring effectiveness of weight loss supplements because elevated blood sugar causes increase in insulin (recall from this post that elevated insulin is what causes you to get fat).

Here is my recommended list of supplements that will help you lose weight and bust belly fat:

  • Berberine - This powerful botanical has been shown to reduce hemoglobin A1c as much as metformin, which is a prescription medication. (5) It also directly helps to burn belly fat (6) while sensitizing the body to insulin AND improving lipid metabolism. (7)
    • Recommended dose: 500mg up to three times per day
  • Glucomannan - This supplement is a thick fiber that comes from the konjac plant. It has been shown to slow down gastric emptying, making you feel more full. It also feeds healthy gut bacteria in your colon. (8)
    • Recommended dose: 5 grams taken 15 minutes before each meal with 8 ounces of filtered water

Glucomannan and weight loss

  • Cinnamon - Taken as a supplement or added to foods as a spice. Lowers hemoglobin A1c. (9)
    • Recommended dose: 125 to 150 mg twice a day with meals
  • Green Tea catechins - Green tea combined with caffeine in either a supplement or as a pleasant drink can help burn fat. (10)
    • Recommended dose: 25 to 50mg of green tea twice a day with meals.
  • Alpha lipoic acid - A powerful antioxidant and mitochondrial booster. It has been shown to help peripheral neuropathy in diabetics and increase the clearance of glucose from the body. (11) (12)
    • Recommended dose: 300 to 600 mg daily with meals.
  • Chromium - Shown to help regulate glucose metabolism and increase insulin sensitivity. (13)
    • Recommended dose: 200 to 1200mg daily.
  • Magnesium - This element is needed for proper insulin signaling and utilization. (14)
    • Recommended dose: 200-600mg daily.
  • Probiotics - More and more clinical studies are showing the relationship between certain gut bugs and their ability to lower inflammation, promote weight loss and stabilize hormones. (15)
    • Recommended dose: High quality soil based organisms in probiotic capsules ranging from 1-5 billion colony forming units. Or heat sensitive probiotics containing at least 30 billion CFU's of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
  • Curcumin - A powerful component of the spice Turmeric. This nutrient has many claims to fame but the important one for our discussion is that curcumin has been shown to prevent the onset of diabetes from prediabetes for up to 9 months when taken daily. (16)
    • Recommended dose: 200-600mg per day.
  • High quality protein shake that consists of protein from hypoallergenic rice, pea, hemp chia or soy protein powder. Studies show that isoflavones from soy products can lower blood sugar. (17)
  • Vitamin D3 - While not directly responsible for improving insulin sensitivity, this powerful pro-hormone is essential for overall health. (18)
    • Recommended dose: 2,000-4,000 IU’s daily (up to 10,000 IU’s may be necessary if you are low on blood testing). Calculate your daily dose with this equation: (Your weight in pounds) x 20 = Your daily dose of vitamin D3 in international units.

You are welcome to find these supplements from any vendor you choose but please know by doing this you may be saving money but sacrificing results. When it comes to supplements you tend to get what you pay for...

I have personally used these brands on my patients and have achieved great results. These brands consistently create high quality supplements:

1. Purelean pack  - This pack contains 7 different supplements in a package. It contains chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon, magnesium, green tea, and vitamin D3. I consider this the basic "multivitamin" for weight loss. I typically recommend this entire package for 1-2 months depending on the individual.

Purelean Pure pack for weight loss

2. Probiotic defense  - This is a very cheap yet effective probiotic filled with soil based organisms. Soil based organisms are heat resistant and sturdier than other probiotics making them more likely to survive the acidic environment of your stomach and make it down to the colon. If you choose a non soil based probiotic aim for > 30 billion CFU's of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Soil based organism probiotic

3. Wellbetx PGX plus mulberry - Take 2-6 capsules prior to a meal with a large glass of filtered water. The glucomannan in this supplement will expand and help you feel full before you eat. It will also provide the beneficial bacteria in your colon some much needed food, acting as a prebiotic in addition to an appetite suppressant.

Wellbetx PGX with mulberry for weight loss

4. Berberine  - This supplement is one of my personal favorites. It helps with cholesterol, blood sugar control and weight loss. It activates an enzyme called AMP kinase which helps burn fat for energy, build mitochondria, and sensitize the body to insulin.

Thorne research berberine supplement for weight loss

5. Vitamin D3/K2 combo  - I always recommend vitamin K2 with D3 because of their synergistic effects.Vitamin K2 helps shuttle calcium from the arteries and blood vessels to your bones where you want it to be.

Thorne research vitamin D3 K2 combo

6. Optimetabolix  - I recommend using one scoop instead of the recommended 2 scoops in a high protein, high fat smoothie for breakfast.

Optimetabolix supplement from xymogen

Remember...

Several other issues can cause you to gain weight but may not be targeted with the supplements I listed above.

Examples include:

If you have a problem with stress then you will need my basic supplements plus daily stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga or stretching to help reduce your cortisol levels.

If you have an issue with your thyroid you may need thyroid support supplements and ultimately you may need bioidentical hormone therapy to kick your metabolism back on.

Adrenal fatigue can also cause you to gain weight and feel like crap.

This personalized approach helps explain why it seems you have friends that try very strange dieting fads or cleanses that really help them lose weight but do nothing for you! You have to dial in to your specific issues to get results.

If you are having trouble finding your specific issue, or you need hormone replacement then you would benefit from seeing a functional medicine practitioner in person.

By repleting the critical nutrients, vitamins and minerals required in multiple cellular pathways in your body you will help burn fat and regulate your metabolism. Even better you will find that many other chronic conditions may simply vanish (abdominal issues, fatigue, decreased energy, brain fog, etc.)

Now it's your turn - What supplements have you been using? Which do you find work the best for you and why? Which supplements DIDN'T work for you?

References and citations:

(1) Kreisberg, Joel. "Learning from organic agriculture." Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 2.5 (2006): 450-452.

(2) Fairfield, Kathleen M, and Robert H Fletcher. "Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific review." Jama 287.23 (2002): 3116-3126.

(3) Wolff, Tracy et al. "Folic acid supplementation for the prevention of neural tube defects: an update of the evidence for the US Preventive Services Task Force." Annals of Internal Medicine 150.9 (2009): 632-639.

(4) Kelly, GS. "Insulin resistance: lifestyle and nutritional interventions." Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic 5.2 (2000): 109-132.

(5) Yin, Jun, Huili Xing, and Jianping Ye. "Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus." Metabolism 57.5 (2008): 712-717.

(6) Yang, Jing et al. "Berberine improves insulin sensitivity by inhibiting fat store and adjusting adipokines profile in human preadipocytes and metabolic syndrome patients." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012 (2012).

(7) Hu, Yueshan et al. "Lipid-lowering effect of berberine in human subjects and rats." Phytomedicine 19.10 (2012): 861-867.

(8) Howarth, Nancy C, Edward Saltzman, and Susan B Roberts. "Dietary fiber and weight regulation." Nutrition reviews 59.5 (2001): 129-139.

(9) Crawford, Paul. "Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial." The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 22.5 (2009): 507-512.

(10) Venables, Michelle C et al. "Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans." The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.3 (2008): 778-784.

(11) Singh, Uma, and Ishwarlal Jialal. "Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and diabetes." Nutrition reviews 66.11 (2008): 646-657.

(12) Mijnhout, Gerritje S et al. "Alpha lipoic acid for symptomatic peripheral neuropathy in patients with diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." International journal of endocrinology 2012 (2012).

(13) "A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance." 2008. 21 Jul. 2015 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15208835>

(14) Takaya, Junji, Hirohiko Higashino, and Yohnosuke Kobayashi. "Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance." Magnesium research 17.2 (2004): 126-136.

(15) Mallappa, Rashmi H et al. "Management of metabolic syndrome through probiotic and prebiotic interventions." Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism 16.1 (2012): 20.

(16) Chuengsamarn, Somlak et al. "Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes." Diabetes Care 35.11 (2012): 2121-2127.

(17) Minich, Deanna M, and Jeffrey S Bland. "Dietary management of the metabolic syndrome beyond macronutrients." Nutrition reviews 66.8 (2008): 429-444.

(18) Zittermann, Armin et al. "Vitamin D supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease risk markers." The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.5 (2009): 1321-1327.

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10 Day Thyroid Reset Diet: How to Heal your Thyroid and Boost your Metabolism

Ready to tackle your thyroid problems but unsure of where to start? 

​Enter the 10 Day Thyroid Reset Diet - How to Heal your Thyroid and Boost Metabolism. 

Let me first start by saying...

This guide is only a starting point! ​This isn't going to completely resolve every one of your problems, and you may ultimately need further restrictions and changes. 

But:

It is the first place I would start if you are overwhelmed and it will definitely help improve your thyroid function and metabolism.

​I created this because it just isn't feasible to see every patient personally and there are so many out there who need help... and I want to do what I can to move forward my mission to help as many Hashi and Hypothyroid patients as possible!

So let's start with some ground rules.

Who is this for?

  • People who have recently been Diagnosed with Hashimoto's or Hypothyroidism
  • People who have not tried any other interventions before
  • People who are ready to take action on their health and make changes

Who isn't this for? 

  • People who have failed more restrictive diets like the Autoimmune Protocol
  • People who are already working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner
  • People who are looking for a "quick fix"
Continue reading
6

Understand how to lose weight [the interplay of hormones and obesity]

When treating any medical condition it is absolutely essential to understand the basic physiology or reasons why it occurs. That means you have to be asking the right questions in order to get the right answers.

When it comes to obesity conventional medicine hasn’t been asking any questions in over 40 years. If you are overweight and go to your doctor you will get the same advice: eat less and exercise more, the so-called ‘calories in, calories out’ model. The problem is this: patients have been following their advice and as a result they are more sick than they have ever been:

Continue reading

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