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December 2023
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A Warning to Weight Loss Supplement Users

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency found that a certain brand of traditional Chinese medicine contains an unspecified and unauthorized pharmaceutical ingredient.

Looking beyond the obvious, having excess weight contributes to a higher risk of developing certain diseases like diabetes and chronic illnesses. Different weight loss products and food supplements promise fast results without the need for exercise and restricted diet. This is alarming since some people are putting their trust on products that has not been duly recognized as 100 percent safe by medical experts.

Most weight loss supplements are commonly bought and used by people without the advice of physicians. It is alarming to find out that these health dangers are sold over-the-counter, with no prescriptions needed, and with no questions asked. The weight loss supplements market has become a multi-billion dollar industry and almost everyone seems to want to jump in and join the bandwagon.  Because of this, despite the strict regulations, some manage to sneak past laid out rules – and this explains the availability. This can be dangerous especially to people with pre-existing health conditions.

The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency ordered for the recall of the product Herbal Xenical, or also known as Herbal Flos Lonicerae, after a doctor reported the hospitalization of a patient after taking the product.

MHRA Warns Public from Taking Non-prescribed Weight Loss Supplements

After taking the product Herbal Xenical, a patient from UK reported gastritis, palpitations, insomnia and abdominal pain, and was hospitalized for severe symptoms. The UK MHRA ordered the immediate recall of the product. Though they refused to name the contaminant responsible for producing the effects, previous reports had sibutramine to blame. The MHRA said that they will be subjecting the product for lab testing to determine the real cause of the patient’s complaints.

The MHRA has also issued a warning to people who are taking the product to stop using the product and to consult a doctor. The MHRA also took the opportunity to promote the THMPD or the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive which aims to more effectively regulate weight loss supplements.  Richard Woodfield from the MHRA said that since 2005, their department has discovered more than 280 weight loss food supplements that contain significant amounts of pharmaceutical substances that produces adverse effects to the body. He added that situations like what happened to the person taking Herbal Xenical is the reason why they are promoting the Traditional Herbal Registration to the EU in order to better regulate herbal weight loss food supplements. He also said that people have the right to know what they are taking in and that they are not treating a certain health condition only to result to a more severe side effect.

In a recent update, the MHRA confirmed that Herbal Xenical highly contains a banned pharmaceutical ingredient called sibutramine. The tests revealed that the product contains twice the amount of sibutramine that is allowed by the EU before the ingredient was totally banned due to alarming findings such as the increased risk of stroke, heart attack, seizures and hypertension. The UK agency strongly encouraged people who had bought the product prior to the recall to stop using it. They also appealed to people who had experienced side-effects to report to the MHRA through its Yellow Card Scheme.

Sibutramine has been found in botanical products sold as herbal weight loss food supplements long with other harmful substances like lignocaine, vardenafil, tadalafil, glibenclamide and sildenafil. These substances had also been promoted to fight erectile dysfunction.

Natural Ways to Lose Weight

Not all natural weight loss products are safe for the body. Numerous clinical studies had found that certain herbal weight loss supplements contain compounds that can be harmful to a person’s health and which can also increase the risk of certain health conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and even stroke. There is too little evidence showing that these products can be effective without resulting to severe side effects. Medical experts and health professionals encourage people who want to lose weight to just rely on the tried and tested natural means and methods.

The best approach to losing weight is by exercising more and by eating healthy foods. Limiting your calorie intake to a healthy level prevents the further storage of fat in your body and encourages stored fats to be used. Certain diet plans may work for others but this will not be the case for everyone. It’s easy to make your own diet plan as long as you know your body’s nutritional needs, the nutritional and calorie content of different foods, and the calorie restriction to help you lose weight without making you feel weak. Make sure to keep every meal low in calorie but rich in nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber can be the best option.

But the burning of fats and shedding of excess weight can’t happen without the help of exercise. Finding time and the right motivation is key to helping yourself stick to the habit. Some people will often lose their enthusiasm to exercise in most days of the week. But with the right approach and reason to keep on moving, you’ll be reaching your weight goal even before you start noticing it.

Make a commitment to yourself. But before anything else, understand that losing weight will take time and a lot of effort. Make permanent changes to your lifestyle and do it for the right reasons. Be focused and stay committed to your weight loss plan. For your plans to work, you will need to have the physical and mental energy to change your habits. You may also need to address certain stressors that are probable contributors to your gaining weight.

Setting a realistic goal can also help in making it happen. Aiming to lose a few pounds per week is better than hoping to lose so much in a month. Initially setting out short-term goals will help you understand your goals and your ability to lose weight. You can always make adjustments but try to set a threshold and set the bar higher each time.

Consistency is the key. Be consistent with your diet plan, exercise habits, and lifestyle change and understand that it is not a temporary commitment that you can abandon once you reached your desired weight.


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