Review of Diet and Weight Loss Pills
For those who have wrestled with various diets over the years but never quite been able to loose the weight the idea of popping a pill to make your excess weight go away seems highly appealing. But is it really that easy? This comprehensive review of weight loss drugs and supplements attempts to look at the evidence, benefits and risks of diet pills.
How do diet pills work?
Diet pills and supplements are designed to work in different ways. Their operation can be broken into three distinct categories: appetite suppressants, fat blockers and metabolism boosters.
Appetite suppressants affect the hypothalamus region of your brain responsible for numerous emotional, sexual and physical functions, including appetite. These drugs either contain chemicals that directly stimulate the hypothalamus or block the absorption of the naturally occurring chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine. The presence of these chemicals cause a feeling of fullness so there is a reduced desire to over eat.
Drugs in this category include sibutramine, diethylpropion and phentermine. Hoodia gordonii extract is an appetite suppressant that is currently under development.
Fat blockers reduce the body’s absorption of fat, thereby cutting the calories that the body can obtain from this source. The body processes fat into smaller parts that your body can absorb. This action is performed in the intestinal tract by an enzyme called lipase. By attaching to this enzyme, fat blocking drugs can prevent fat being absorbed by the body, instead the fat is passed away during bowel movements.
The main fat blocking drug is orlistat.
Metabolism boosters aim to increase your bodies metabolism and rate of fat burn. One of the key metabolism boosting drugs under development, Advanced Obesity Drug 9604 (AOD9604), mimics the effect of human growth hormone on fat metabolism. Levels of growth hormone fall with increasing age, but by the use of a substitute it is hoped to stimulate weight loss.