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Health Products for Weight Loss Safety

There is an issue recently telling that more and more Canadians are practicing the use of health products, including Natural Health Products (NHP’s) and prescription drugs, in order to lose weight. Although many affirmed that these products provide benefits when properly used as part of weight loss method. It can also lead to negative effects. Improper usage of these products can cause risks to the user’s health.

For the last 25 years, the number of overweight or obese Canadians dramatically increased. This is a serious issue since being an overweight or obese can increase the risks of having wide range of illnesses such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, and certain types of cancer such as breast, endometrial and colon cancer.

The obesity rate increases and as a result, the demand for weight-loss products also increases. Many kinds of prescription drugs are available in Canada for weight-loss. These are the drugs needed by the persons who are medically at risk due to weight.  Moreover, prescription drugs included in a weight management program are purposely for use under the supervision of health experts or health care practitioner. In using these products, it is also recommended that the intake of calories must be reduced and include some regular physical activity in the daily routine.

Several different types of natural health products (NHP’s) are also being promoted today as weight-loss method. These weight-loss products are available everywhere, in retail outlets such as pharmacies, grocery stores and health food stores.

It is even available online. As part of the weight management program, some of the natural health products may be safe and effective when used at the right circumstances. Unfortunately, this is not like a magic pill that makes you lose weight after taken. Effort is still needed to achieve the desired results. Taking natural health products will not be effective without appropriate physical activities and reduction in your calorie intake.

Always remember that you should be aware of the potential risks when you are considering the use of health products. There are numerous possible risks associated with every weight-loss products. It is not even possible to have the complete list of the risks. Moreover, these risks depend on the following factors:

  1. Ingredients of the health products.
  2. The system of using the health product, whether used alone or with other health products, and even with certain foods.
  3. Age and health of the product users.


Moreover, misuse of weight-loss products would definitely lead to serious health effects. Some situations are the following:

  1. Online subscription of health products. When you order prescription drugs online, you are ordering products that are not prescribed by a health care practitioner for you. Before taking any health products, it is important that what you take is prescribed by the health care practitioner who examines you and knows what is good for you. This will assure you that the products that you use are able to outweigh the possible risk that may arrive to you.
  2. Ordering weight-loss products from unreliable sources online. You should be aware of the background of the company where you order the products. Remember that anyone has the ability o build his own website and sell different health products. Health products from unreliable sources would give no guarantee that their products are safe, effective and of high quality. Also be keen with the information that is provided by the websites. Some websites promotes that certain NHP’s could lead to serious health effects because they are contaminated with heavy metals or combined with other prescription drugs. In addition, some products from unreliable sources online do not give the correct specifications or ingredients. Some products even contain patented blends of ingredients. Because of this identifying the specific content of each ingredient to know whether it is harmful or not would be difficult.
  3. Using many different weight-loss products. There are possible risks that could happen when you use many different weight-loss products together, especially without discussing it with your health care practitioner. This is very dangerous because certain kinds of product may interact with the other. Even with foods and other medication intakes, weight loss products may also have some reactions
  4. Taking off-label products to lose weight. Unless recommended by the health care practitioner, off-label health products are very much dangerous. Off-label products are those products that are used for the purpose other than the real purpose(s). Some examples of off-label for weight loss are the herb Ephedra or its active ingredient Ephedrine and the herb orange peel or synephrine or its active ingredients Synephrine. But Ephedrine and Ephedra are actually used as decongestants. They are authorized by Health Canada but only for the purpose of decongestants and in homeopathic medicines. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses bitter orange (Citrus Aurantium) peel as medicine for several illnesses like constipation and abdominal pain. Bitter orange peel is also used as ingredients in making marmalades. However, using bitter orange peel as weight loss medicine is not authorized. Synephrine has never been approved to be used in any health products. On the other hand, warnings have been issued by the Health Canada discouraging the use of Ephedra or Ephedrine and bitter oranges or Synephrine for weight loss. Serious cardiovascular adverse reaction is one negative effect when these products are misused.
  5. Stimulant laxative (Senna, Aloe, Cascara) is another product prone to off-label use. This is used as laxatives and taken orally. Unfortunately, increased number of individuals used this in detoxifying or cleansing regimens. Sadly, chronic use of this product or combining different laxatives together can result to serious risks that can bring negative effect to the heart or lead to problems associated to bowel problems.
  6. Weight loss products are natural but not perfectly safe. Therefore be aware of the possible effects that these may bring to your body. Natural health products are mostly manufactures from an active component extracted and concentrated from a food substance. Natural health products contain highly concentrated substance that is possibly dangerous when taken in mush higher dose. Original food is safe when taken moderately but the extracted substance from the original food will possibly cause serious risk when taken beyond moderate. An example of this is the green tea extract. This product may be highly concentrated and could be associated with some serious liver problems when taken in higher dose, unlike the beverage green tea that is not highly concentrated and is very safe.


Advertisements about weight-loss products must also be considered. People should be informed that not all claims in the product advertisements are true and supported by sound scientific proof. Many products promote that their products are effective in weight loss; they increase metabolism, suppress the appetite or block the absorption of carbohydrates or fat. Their products may be proven by the Health Canada as safe, effective and of high quality but there are also some unauthorized products that are possibly harmful and just a waste of money to buy.

The best way to minimize health risk when managing your weight is getting yourself a health care practitioner and discuss about the best and most safe way to achieve the desired body weight. Health products are not that bad thing to use. Just make sure to discuss with your health care practitioner, all the details about the products and the potential risks it may bring you. Especially to those users under 18 years of age, pregnant or lactating persons and those people who have any medical conditions or serious diseases such as high blood pressure, heart conditions or diabetes. Be careful in using natural health products and be sure to let your health care practitioner know all other health products that you take even the vitamins, mineral, other supplements and over-the-counter drugs.

To sum it all up, health products are possibly harmful but there are ways to make these products safe for your health. Just remember to take only the health products, which were prescribed by your health care practitioner who examined you. Also be careful in buying natural health products online, especially those from unreliable sources that do not give their street address and walking telephone number. Be aware that using health products off-label is possibly dangerous unless recommended by your health care practitioner. Examine the advertisements of the natural weight-loss products that you are buying, they might be telling lies. Safe health products are those authorized by Health Canada and contains a Drug Identification Number (DIN), Natural Product Number (NPN) and Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) in the package. These are 8-digit numbers. Look for those numbers to make sure that the products are safe, effective and of high quality. And lastly, be keen with the adverse reaction when you are already using any health products for weight loss, and immediately contact your health care practitioner if there is any problem.

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