There are many products that claim to play a role in weight loss, the pharmacist is expected to give advice for the customers on this issue. Products range from dietary supplements to prescription medications. It is estimated that 72% of Palestinians are overweight, compared to 35% worldwide. Many people are trying to lose weight due to their desire to have ideal body weight, or to avoid overweight-related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and others. Consumers are inundated with TV, print, internet, and other methods advertising for products of weight loss. Pharmacists are the main source of information on such products. Common products used claim to suppress appetite, increase fat burn, or reduce absorption. Examples of such products include those that increase energy expenditure such as bitter orange, caffeine, cola nut, Guarana, and Yerba mate. There are products that increase satiety or decrease appetite such as Glucomannan, Guar gum, psyllium, and Hoodia. Some increase fat oxidation or reduce fat synthesis such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), green tea, and hydroxycitric acid. Products that modulate carbohydrate metabolism include chromium, blockers of fat absorption include Chitosan, increase water elimination products such as dandelion and Cascara. Other products with different mechanisms of action include hydroxycut, orlistat, raspberry ketones, green coffee beans, meratrim, forskolin, 7-keto-DHEA, lorcaserin, bupropion, naltrexone, phentermine, topiramate, and Yohimbine. The mechanism of action, effect on weight, and side effects for each product will be discussed. Among all the above mentioned items, it was found that Glucomannan, CLA and Orlistat did cause weight loss, while Caffeine and green tea extract did increase fat burning. It is important to mention that there is no magicall supplement or pill for weight loss. Items in the market may boost the metabolism a bit and may help a person lose a few kilograms, but that’s where it ends, unfortunately. The only effective way to lose weight is to cut calorie intake, and increase expenditure by working out. This is better than all the diet pills combined.
Another very important scientific finding in this regard is the role of obesogens in determining the body weight of humans. It is now believed that if humans are exposed to particular chemicals as children, specific genes will be turned on which dictates their body weight as adults. Bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) [material used in Tefal cookware], and others are known to cause obesity and it is important to know how to decrease exposure to such obesogenic compounds.