Health Library

Weight Loss Aids

Uses

  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Weight Control

Obesity is when a person has a weight that is above an ideal range. This can raise the risk of problems, such as heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

It is treated with lifestyle changes, therapy, and medicine. Some people may have weight loss surgery. Others turn to natural therapies. They work best with diet and exercise.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These therapies are likely effective:

  • Alpha-lipoic Acid is a compound made by the body A1-A4
  • Carnitine is a natural substance that the body uses to process fats and make energy KK1
  • Cereal beta-glucanis found in bacteria, plants, and certain foods U1
  • Chitosan—a fiber supplement is made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans F1, F2
  • Diacylgycerol (DAG) is a glyceride that may help with cell function B1-B3
  • Flaxseed is the small seed of flax HH1
  • Litramineis a fiber supplement C1-C3
  • Probiotics are healthy microorganisms AA1-AA4
  • Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant in the body X1

May Be Effective

These therapies may be effective:

  • Acupuncture inserts thin needles into points of the body to promote health S1
  • Auricular acupressure inserts thin needles at specific points on the outer ear to promote health T1
  • Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient, holistic-based medicine from India D1, D2Note: some ingredients may contain toxic substances or heavy metals.
  • Capsaicinoids are compounds found in peppers M1
  • Catechins are compounds found in green tea E1-E6Note: green tea should be avoided in certain groups of people.
  • Chromium picolinate is a mineral found in certain foods G1-G3
  • Cissus quadrangularis is a vine from the grape family H1
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found in meat and dairy I1-I6Note: CLA should be avoided in certain groups of people.
  • Curcumin (turmeric) is the bright yellow compound in turmeric FF1
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone made by the adrenal glands J1
  • Dietary branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients found in foods Z1
  • Dietary flavonoids are plant pigments DD1-DD4, RR1
  • Ecklonia cava is a type of algae K1
  • Hydroxycitric acid is a chemical that is similar to citric acid M1-M3
  • Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where a person cycles between eating and fasting EE1
  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of dietary fat N1
  • Mindfulness interventions is a state of paying attentiont to the present PP1-PP3
  • Nigella sativa is a flowering plant BB1, BB2
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are a major component of fish oil and also found in egg yolksII1, II2
  • Phytosterols and phytostanols are compounds from plants W1
  • Pyruvate is a salt or ester of pyruvic acid O1
  • Phaseolus vulgaris is a bean plant P1-P5
  • Saffron is a spice from the Crocus sativus flower Y1
  • Soluble fiber is fiber that dissolves in water and is broken down into a gel-like substance QQ1
  • Soy isoflavones are compounds found in soybean and soybean products GG1, GG2
  • Whole grains OO1
  • Yoga uses breath control, meditation, and body poses to promte health LL1

Unlikely To Be Effective

These therapies are unlikely to be effective:

  • Calcium is a mineral that helps with bone strength Q1-Q9
  • Guar gum comes from the plant of the pea family R1
  • Pomegranate V1
  • Vitamin D is a nutrient food in some foods that helps with bone strength SS1-SS3

Not Enough Data to Assesss

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk with your doctor about all herbs or supplements that you are taking. Some may cause problems with your treatment plan or other health problems, such as:

  • Ayurveda—ingredients may contain toxic substances or heavy metals
  • Green tea: Should not be given to infants and young children Interacts with MAO inhibitors and blood thinners, and interferes with folic acid absorption
  • Conjugated linoleic acid—should be avoided in mothers who are breastfeeding and those with diabetes

References

A
Alpha-lipoic Acid

A1
Namazi N, Larijani B, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid supplement in obesity treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Clin Nutr. 2018 Apr;37(2):419-428.

A2
Kucukgoncu S, Zhou E, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss: results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017 May;18(5):594-601.

A3
Huerta AE1, Navas-Carretero S, et al. Effects of α-lipoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in overweight and obese women during weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015;23(2):313-321.

A4
Koh EH, Lee WJ, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic Acid on body weight in obese subjects. Am J Med. 2011;124(1):85.

B
Diacylglycerol

B1
Maki KC, Davidson MH, et al. Consumption of diacylglycerol oil as part of a reduced-energy diet enhances loss of body weight and fat in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(6):1230-1236.

B2
Xu T, Li X, et al. Effect of diacylglycerol on body weight: a meta-analysis. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17(3):415-421.

B3
Li D, Xu T, et al. Diacylglycerol-induced improvement of whole-body insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a long-term randomized, double-blind controlled study. Clin Nutr. 2008;27(2):203-211.

C
Litramine

C1
Grube B, Chong PW, et al. A natural fiber complex reduces body weight in the overweight and obese: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(1):58-64.

C2
Chong PW, Lau KZ, et al. A review of the efficacy and safety of litramine IQP-G-002AS, an Opuntia ficus-indica derived fiber for weight management. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:943713.

C3
Grube B, Chong PW, et al. Weight maintenance with litramine IQP-G-002AS: a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Obes. 2015;2015:953138.

D
Ayurveda

D1
Paranjpe P, Patki P, et al. Ayurvedic treatment of obesity: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990;29(1):1-11.

D2
Sharma S, Puri S, et al. Diets based on Ayurvedic constitution--potential for weight management. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(1):44-47.

E
Catechins

E1
Kovacs EM1, Lejeune MP, et al. Effects of green tea on weight maintenance after body-weight loss. Br J Nutr. 2004;91(3):431-437.

E2
Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, et al. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009;33(9):956-961.

E3
Nagao T, Hase T, et al. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(6):1473-1483.

E4
Phung OJ, Baker WL, et al. Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(1):73-81.

E5
Jurgens TM, Whelan AM, et al. Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;12:CD008650.

E6
Huang J, Wang Y, et al. The anti-obesity effects of green tea in human intervention and basic molecular studies. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;68(10):1075-1087.

F
Chitosan

F1
Jull AB, Ni Mhurchu C, et al. Chitosan for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(3):CD003892.

F2
Moraru C, Mincea MM, et al. A Meta-Analysis on Randomised Controlled Clinical Trials Evaluating the Effect of the Dietary Supplement Chitosan on Weight Loss, Lipid Parameters and Blood Pressure. Medicina (Kaunas). 2018 Dec 12;54(6). pii: E109.

G
Chromium Picolinate

G1
Pittler MH, Stevinson C, Ernst E. Chromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(4):522-529.

G2
Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, Ernst E. Chromium supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Obes Rev. 2013;14(6):496-507.

G3
Tian H, Guo X, et al. Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(11):CD010063.

H
Cissus Quadranglaris

H1
Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Lipids Health Dis. 2006;5:24.

I
Conjugated Linoleic Acid

I1
Malpuech-Brugère C, Verboeket-van de Venne WP, et al. Effects of two conjugated linoleic Acid isomers on body fat mass in overweight humans. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):591-598.

I2
Gaullier JM, Halse J, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(6):1118-1125.

I3
Watras AC, Buchholz AC, et al. The role of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing body fat and preventing holiday weight gain. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007;31(3):481-487.

I4
Whigham LD1, Watras AC, et al. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(5):1203-1211.

I5
Chen SC, Lin YH, et al. Effect of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation on weight loss and body fat composition in a Chinese population. Nutrition. 2012;28(5):559-565.

I6
Oinakpoya IJ, Posadzki PP, et al. The efficacy of long-term conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on body composition in overweight and obese individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Mar;51(2):127-134.

J
Dehydroepiandrosterone

J1
Corona G, Rastrelli G, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation in elderly men: a meta-analysis study of placebo-controlled trials. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98(9):3615-3626.

K
Ecklonia Cava

K1
Shin HC, Kim SH, Park Y, Lee BH, Hwang HJ. Effects of 12-week oral supplementation of Ecklonia cava polyphenols on anthropometric and blood lipid parameters in overweight Korean individuals: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2012;26(3):363-368.

L
Glucomannan

L1
Sood N, Baker WL, et al. Effect of glucomannan on plasma lipid and glucose concentrations, body weight, and blood pressure: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(4):1167-1175.

L2
Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, et al. The efficacy of glucomannan supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(1):70-78.

M
Hydroxycitric Acid

M1
Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric Macid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998;280(18):1596-1600.

M2
Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav. 2000;71(1-2):87-94.

M3
Onakpoya I, Hung SK, Perry R, Wider B, Ernst E. The use of Garcinia extract (hydroxycitric acid) as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. J Obes. 2011;2011:509038.

N
Medium-chain Triglycerides

N1
Mumme K, Stonehouse W. Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(2):249-263.

O
Pyruvate

O1
Onakpoya I, Hunt K, et al. Pyruvate supplementation for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(1):17-23.

P
Phaseolus Vulgaris

P1
Udani J, Hardy M, et al. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9(1):63-69.

P2
Celleno L, Tolaini MV, et al. A dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract influences body composition of overweight men and women. Int J Med Sci. 2007;4(1):45-52.

P3
Onakpoya I, Aldaas S, et al. The efficacy of Phaseolus vulgaris as a weight-loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. Br J Nutr. 2011;106(2):196-202.

P4
Udani J, Singh BB. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using a proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(4):32-37.

P5
Grube B, Chong WF, et al. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014;22(3):645-651.

Q
Calcium Supplementation

Q1
Shapses SA1, Heshka S, et al. Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(2):632-637.

Q2
Zemel MB, Thompson W, et al. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):582-590. Obes Res. 2004;12(4):582-890.

Q3
Gunther CW, Legowski PA, et al. Dairy products do not lead to alterations in body weight or fat mass in young women in a 1-y intervention. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(4):751-756.

Q4
Reid IR, Horne A, et al. Effects of calcium supplementation on body weight and blood pressure in normal older women: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(7):3824-3829.

Q5
Lorenzen JK, Mølgaard C, et al. Calcium supplementation for 1 y does not reduce body weight or fat mass in young girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(1):18-23.

Q6
Booth AO, Huggins CE, et al. Effect of increasing dietary calcium through supplements and dairy food on body weight and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 14;114(7):1013-1025.

Q7
de Oliveira Freitas DM, Stampini Duarte Martino H, et al. Calcium ingestion and obesity control. Nutr Hosp. 2012 Nov-Dec;27(6):1758-1771.

Q8
Onakpoya IJ, Perry R, et al. Efficacy of calcium supplementation for management of overweight and obesity: systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Nutr Rev. 2011 Jun;69(6):335-343.

Q9
Li P, Fan C, et al. Effects of calcium supplementation on body weight: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov;104(5):1263-1273. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

R
Guar Gum

R1
Pittler MH, Ernst E. Guar gum for body weight reduction: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2001;110(9):724-730.

S
Acupuncture

S1
Yao J, He Z, et al. Acupuncture and weight loss in Asians: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Aug;98(33):e16815.

S2
Kim SY, Shin IS, et al. Effect of acupuncture and intervention types on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Nov;19(11):1585-1596.

S3
Zhang RQ, Tan J, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Postgrad Med J. 2017 Dec;93(1106):743-751.

S4
Fang S, Wang M, et al. Acupuncture and Lifestyle Modification Treatment for Obesity: A Meta-Analysis. Am J Chin Med. 2017;45(2):239-254.

T
Auricular Acupressure

T1
Huang CF, Guo SE, et al. Auricular acupressure for overweight and obese individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jun;98(26):e16144.

U
Cereal Beta-Glucan

U1
Rahmani J, Miri A, et al. Effects of cereal beta-glucan consumption on body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and total energy intake: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Apr;43:131-139.

V
Pomegranate

V1
Gheflati A, Mohammadi M, et al. Does pomegranate consumption affect weight and body composition? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1277-1288.

W
Phytosterols and Phytostanols

W1
Ghaedi E, Varkaneh HK, et al. Possible anti-obesity effects of phytosterols and phytostanols supplementation in humans: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1246-1257.

X
Resveratrol

X1
Mousavi SM, Milajerdi A, et al. Resveratrol supplementation significantly influences obesity measures: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2019 Mar;20(3):487-498.

Y
Saffron

Y1
Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, et al. Clinical evidence on the effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review meta-analysis. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Jan;139:348-359.

Z
Dietary Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Z1
Okekunle AP, Zhang M, et al. Dietary branched-chain amino acids intake exhibited a different relationship with type 2 diabetes and obesity risk: a meta-analysis. Acta Diabetol. 2019 Feb;56(2):187-195.

AA
Probiotics

AA1
Liao D, Zhong C, et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of probiotic supplementation on glycemia, lipidic profiles, weight loss and C-reactive protein in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Minerva Med. 2018 Dec;109(6):479-487.

AA2
Borgeraas H, Johnson LK, et al. Effects of probiotics on body weight, body mass index, fat mass and fat percentage in subjects with overweight or obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2018 Feb;19(2):219-232.

AA3
Zhang Q, Wu Y, et al. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Aug;67(5):571-580.

AA4
Park S, Bae JH. Probiotics for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Res. 2015 Jul;35(7):566-575.

BB
Nigella Sativa

BB1
Mousavi SM, Sheikhi A, et al. Effect of Nigella sativa supplementation on obesity indices: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Jun;38:48-57.

BB1
Namazi N, Larijani B, et al. The effects of Nigella sativa L. on obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jun 12;219:173-181.

CC
Tai Chi

CC1
Larkey LK, James D, et al. Body Composition Outcomes of Tai Chi and Qigong Practice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Int J Behav Med. 2018 Oct;25(5):487-501.

DD
Dietary Flavonoid

DD1
Bertoia ML, Rimm EB, et al. Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124,086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. BMJ. 2016 Jan 28;352:i17.

EE
Intermittent Fasting

EE1
Harris L, Hamilton S, et al. Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2018 Feb;16(2):507-547.

FF
Curcumin

FF1
Hariri M, Haghighatdoost F. Effect of Curcumin on Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review on Randomized Clinical Trials. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Mar-Apr;37(3):215-222.

GG
Soy Isoflavones

GG1
Akhlaghi M, Zare M, et al. Effect of Soy and Soy Isoflavones on Obesity-Related Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2017 Sep 15;8(5):705-717.

GG2
Zhang YB, Chen WH, et al. Soy isoflavone supplementation could reduce body weight and improve glucose metabolism in non-Asian postmenopausal women--a meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2013 Jan;29(1):8-14.

HH
Flaxseed

HH1
Mohammadi-Sartang M, Mazloom Z, et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017 Sep;18(9):1096-1107.

II
Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

II1
Zhang YY, Liu W, et al. Efficacy of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation in Managing Overweight and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(2):187-192.

II2
Du S, Jin J, et al. Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015 Nov 16;10(11):e0142652.

JJ
Grapefruit

JJ2
Onakpoya I, O'Sullivan J, et al. The effect of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi) on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Feb 11;57(3):602-612.

KK
Carnitine

KK1
Pooyandjoo M, Nouhi M, et al. The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2016 Oct;17(10):970-976.

LL
Yoga

LL1
Lauche R, Langhorst J, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of yoga on weight-related outcomes. Prev Med. 2016 Jun;87:213-232.

MM
Capsaicinoids

MM1
Whiting S, Derbyshire EJ, et al. Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite. 2014 Feb;73:183-188.

NN
Whole Grain

OO1
Pol K, Christensen R, et al. Whole grain and body weight changes in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Oct;98(4):872-84.

PP
Mindfulness Interventions

PP1
Carrière K, Khoury B, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Feb;19(2):164-177.

PP2
Rogers JM, Ferrari M, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for adults who are overweight or obese: a meta-analysis of physical and psychological health outcomes. Obes Rev. 2017 Jan;18(1):51-67.

PP3
Ruffault A, Czernichow S, et al. The effects of mindfulness training on weight-loss and health-related behaviours in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Sep - Oct;11(5 Suppl 1):90-111.

QQ
Soluble Fiber

QQ1
Thompson SV, Hannon BA, et al. Effects of isolated soluble fiber supplementation on body weight, glycemia, and insulinemia in adults with overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Dec;106(6):1514-1528.

RR
Flavanols

RR1
Akhlaghi M, Ghobadi S, et al. Flavanols are potential anti-obesity agents, a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Jul;28(7):675-690.

SS
Vitamin D

SS1
Golzarand M, Hollis BW, et al. Vitamin D supplementation and body fat mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Oct;72(10):1345-1357.

SS2
Chandler PD, Wang L, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation alone or with calcium on adiposity measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2015 Sep;73(9):577-593.

SS3
Pathak K, Soares MJ, et al. Vitamin D supplementation and body weight status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2014 Jun;15(6):528-537.