Belly fat busting supplements are very popular due to the promise that they provide an edge in fighting fat. Unfortunately, the side effects of some supplements are rarely discussed. The following is a short list of the 4 belly fat busting supplements 7-Keto, Forskolin, Relora and Caraway seeds that describes not only what advantages they offer toward fighting belly fat, but a description of potential side effects that might help you recognize if you are experiencing a complication from your supplement.
Belly Fat Busting Supplement #1: 7-Keto DHEA
The supplement 7-Keto DHEA, known more informally as “7-Keto”, is a by-product of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a natural chemical that is converted into the body building steroid hormone androgen as well as the sex steroid hormone estrogen.
Unlike dehydroepiandrosterone, 7-Keto does not lead to an increase in steroid hormones. Rather, 7-Keto stimulates the thyroid gland, which in turn results in speeding up the body’s metabolism—an important component of 7-Keto related weight loss that has been suggested to be beneficial to overweight women. Another weight loss factor associated with 7-Keto is its ability to actively induce liver enzymes that cause thermogenesis—the generation of cellular heat. Other roles 7-Keto plays in health are:
• Improving lean body mass
• Building muscle
• Boosting the immune system
• Enhancing memory
• Reducing signs of aging
Weight loss due to 7-Keto is generally attributed to findings from a small double-blind study where 30 obese participants were placed on an 1800 kcal/day diet with one hour of exercise three times per week. Fifty percent of the participants took 200 mg of 7-keto DHEA/day while the other 50 percent were control subjects who received a placebo. In two months, the 7-Keto DHEA group lost an average of 6.34 pounds compared to a loss of 2.2 pounds for the control group.
The potential side effects of 7-Keto are not well-studied. One study showed that a dose of 200 milligrams of 7-Keto DHEA for 4 weeks had no adverse effects. However, other sources warn that because 7-Keto does cause an increase in thyroid hormone levels that it may affect bone loss and cause cardiac problems. For women who are pregnant or nursing, it is recommended by health authorities to not take 7-Keto until more definitive safety studies have been done.
Belly Fat Busting Supplement #2: Forskolin
Forskolin comes from the root of the plant Coleus forskohlii and has a long history as a traditional medicinal plant used to treat high blood pressure, angina and asthma. Its mechanism of action is basically vasodilation of blood vessels and inducing the heart muscles to contract with increased force. Currently, it is prescribed intravenously by some doctors for treating heart failure; as an inhalant for asthma and as eye drops for glaucoma.
Taken orally, forskolin is used for the treatment of a wide range of conditions including:
• Allergies and skin conditions
• Urinary tract and bladder infections
• Menstrual cramps
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Sexual dysfunction
However, the consensus is that there is not enough medical evidence that taking forskolin for the aforementioned examples (with the exception of cardiac and asthma related treatments) is effective.
For weight loss, forskolin is believed to create a natural “furnace in your cells so that fat cells are burned away.” The result of one small study indicates that forskolin may be used in weight management, but is still under investigation.
Side effects of forskolin include headaches, decreased blood pressure and a rapid heart rate due to its vasodilator properties. It does carry a warning by cancer researchers that it may have a role in causing cyst enlargement in women with polycystic kidney disease. And, that it may cause an increase in the likelihood of internal bleeding. Medical authorities warn that forskolin should not be taken by patients currently using cardiac medications or blood thinners.
Belly Fat Busting Supplement #3: Relora
Relora is a combination of extracts from the plants Magnolia Officinalis and Phellodendron Amurense, which together are believed to reduce stress and anxiety by regulating the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown that obesity in the abdominal region (belly fat) is especially closely linked to stress and increased cortisol levels. Other benefits attributed to Relora are aiding restful sleep and as an appetite suppressant. The most promising research results that supports the aforementioned benefits of Relora is reported in an April 2008 edition of Nutrition Journal.
Common side effects associated with Relora include drowsiness and a slight decrease in blood pressure.
Other side effects include:
* Allergic reactions
* Dry mouth
* Nausea and/or gastrointestinal discomfort
Because of its link to treating anxiety it is contraindicated with the use of medications for treating depression and other mental conditions without the prior approval of a physician.
Belly Fat Busting Supplement #4: Caraway seeds
Seeds from the Caraway plant are one of the more common “cure-all’s” known to man over many centuries of fact and fiction. Evidence of consumption of caraway seeds dates back to the Stone Age, and is recorded as being used to treat possibly anemic young ladies during the Roman era. German folklore has it that parents placed caraway seeds beneath their children's beds to protect them from witches.
Today, Caraway seeds are recommended by herbalists as a natural health supplement that can take care of everything from fighting mouth bacteria to inducing breasts to increase lactation.
Its touted benefits include treating:
• Poor appetite
• Menstrual cramps
• Poor blood flow
Its use in fighting belly fat, however, is somewhat inglorious. Worldwide incidental reactions to caraway seeds have shown that one of its primary properties is the relief of digestive problems such as heartburn, gas, loss of appetite and mild abdominal spasms. It’s recommended use as a belly fat busting supplement is more about relaxing the intestinal tract to aid flatulence in releasing built-up gas from “bad bacteria” that causes the feeling of bloating, than it is about actual weight loss.
However, one noted side effect is that it can result in gas release in the wrong direction, which manifests as excessive belching and acid reflux.
More importantly, health authorities strongly recommend that pregnant and breast feeding women should not take caraway seeds in medicinal doses because it has a history of inducing menstruation and could cause a miscarriage. There is also the possibility that caraway seeds might lower blood sugar levels and could adversely affect patients with diabetes.
The take home message to all of this is that before taking any kind of natural health supplements such as 7-Keto, Forskolin, Relora and Caraway seeds is that there are almost always contraindications and risks for any supplement that claims to be an easy way to fight belly fat. Do your research, talk to your physician and find out what doses are reasonable and recommended.
Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
“Double-Blind Study Evaluating the Effects of Exercise Plus 3-Acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone on Body Composition and the Endocrine System in Overweight Adults” Journal of Exercise Physiology. Oct1999;2 (4); Colker CM, Torina GC, Swain MA, Kalman DS.
“Safety and pharmacokinetic study with escalating doses of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy male volunteers” Clin. Invest Med. 2000 Oct;23(5):300-1;. Davidson M.
“Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men” Obes Res, 2005. 13(8):1335-43; Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR.
”Effect of a Proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron Extract on Weight Management: A Pilot, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial” Alternative Therapies January 2006; R. Garrison and W.G. Chambliss.
“Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on stress levels in healthy women: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial” Nutrition Journal 2008, 7:11, 21 April 2008; Douglas S Kalman, Samantha Feldman, Robert Feldman, Howard I Schwartz, Diane R Krieger, Robert Garrison