When paired with a nutritious diet and consistent exercise regimen, weight loss supplements can be a fruitful tool for reaching your health goals. However, when it comes to weight loss supplements, the options are seemingly endless.
With so many choices, you may be wondering: What are the best weight loss supplements for women? How can women ensure they're spending their money and efforts wisely in a market so challenging to navigate?
A few ingredients, in particular, have been found in studies to help with weight loss by burning fat, boosting metabolism, regulating appetite, or enhancing gut health. Some top contenders include glucomannan, green tea extract, vitamin D, MCT oil, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar.
Choosing the right weight loss supplement also involves carefully scanning ingredient labels to understand what you're getting and choosing a trustworthy brand with high-quality manufacturing standards.
The weight loss industry in the United States is booming, with Americans spending upwards of two billion dollars every year on dietary supplements for weight loss alone. As options for weight loss supplements and programs multiply while obesity rates continue to skyrocket, it can be hard to know what to look for.
Research has found that approximately 21% of U.S. women have used at least one weight loss supplement at some point in their lives. These supplements, which may contain various combinations of herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other ingredients, are readily available in stores and online.
It's important to understand that there is no "magic pill" when it comes to weight loss. A strategic diet and exercise plan remain a mainstay of any healthy weight loss effort.
However, including carefully curated supplements can enhance the effects of other healthy lifestyle changes by boosting metabolism, helping to manage appetite or cravings, increasing fat burning, reducing fat absorption, or improving gut health.
The following are some of the best science-backed ingredients to look for when shopping for a weight loss supplement. It can also help to look for supplements that combine two or more of these ingredients in the same product to give you more bang for your buck.
The ingredients listed below are generally regarded as safe for most individuals. Still, you should always discuss the risk of side effects or interactions with other supplements or medications with a practitioner before use.
Glucomannan is a type of fiber extracted from the roots of the elephant yam. It's a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements as it promotes the feeling of fullness, which can help you consume fewer calories.
Research has shown that, when combined with a healthy diet, glucomannan can help with weight loss in overweight individuals.
Glucomannan may help shape the right environment for weight loss in part through its beneficial effect on gut health. It's a natural prebiotic, meaning it acts as food for healthy gut bacteria.
Glucomannan has also been found to help reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as body weight, according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Many of the best weight loss supplements for women contain green tea extract. Green tea and the catechins (natural compounds) found within it can positively influence weight loss by increasing natural energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), the primary antioxidant found in green tea extract, is thought to increase fat burning by catalyzing the metabolism-influencing hormone norepinephrine.
Human studies show that consuming green tea extract leads to more calorie burning and fat loss, especially in the belly and abdominal area. This is significant because abdominal fat is challenging to lose, and it's one of the most dangerous types of fat in terms of health consequences.
For those who are active or include intense exercise in their healthy weight loss plans, green tea extract may be especially beneficial, as the antioxidants contained within can help enhance performance and improve recovery by reducing oxidative stress.
Make sure to look for a product with a high EGCG content and quality standards to ensure optimal absorption and bioavailability.
Vitamin D receives praise for many different health benefits, but not always for its connection between vitamin D and weight.
Many Americans have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D, which we obtain primarily through exposure to sunlight.
Research has further demonstrated that overweight individuals have lower levels of vitamin D. This insufficiency is linked to higher risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, generally extracted from coconut oil, is a popular supplement for enhancing energy levels, boosting cognitive function, and improving digestive and immune health.
MCT oil helps with weight loss by reducing cholesterol levels, lowering triglyceride levels, and stimulating the release of appetite-controlling hormones, including leptin.
MCT oil also helps optimize gut health and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which plays a significant role in digestion and weight management.
For women following a ketogenic diet or practicing intermittent fasting as part of their weight loss plans, supplementing with MCT oil can help keep you in ketosis (a state in which the body burns fat for energy).
You can easily add MCT oil to smoothies, shakes, or coffee for everyday use.
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria that live within the gut, is linked to weight loss. Those who have an imbalance between beneficial and pathogenic (harmful) bacteria in their microbiomes may struggle with weight loss resistance and other potential health problems as a result.
Some probiotics (beneficial bacteria supplements) may assist in healthy weight loss and help treat or prevent obesity. It's important to note that many probiotic strains are available, and not all of them have been researched for weight loss.
Some of the strains that may be beneficial for weight loss include:
Another vital thing to look for when choosing a probiotic is manufacturing quality. Live bacteria are vulnerable to degradation from environmental factors like light, heat, and stomach acid if not adequately protected.
Many of the best probiotic supplements also include prebiotics, which feed probiotics in the gut and may therefore enhance their effectiveness.
You can take apple cider vinegar in its liquid form mixed with water or as a supplement in capsules for those who prefer to avoid the strong taste and smell.
Generally, a daily dosage of one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water is recommended. If taking capsules, make sure to follow the dosage directions on the label.
One benefit of choosing an apple cider vinegar supplement in capsule form is that it may contain supporting ingredients to boost metabolism and burn fat, offering more benefits than vinegar alone.
When choosing a weight loss supplement, remember to take a close look at the ingredient label. Some products may capture your attention with flashy packaging or clever advertising strategies, but the actual products may not hold up under scrutiny.
It's also essential to choose a brand with high-quality manufacturing and ingredient standards. The lax regulation within the supplement industry means that product effectiveness is likely to be inconsistent between companies.
The weight loss industry in the United States is enormous and can be overwhelming for women looking for supplements to help them reach their weight loss goals.
Although not all weight loss supplements on the market are likely to be effective, several helpful products and ingredients can assist with weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
When shopping for a weight loss supplement, it's important to pay close attention to the ingredient label and the manufacturer's quality standards. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to making the most of your weight loss journey.
Ellie Ellias - Contributing Writer, Physician's Choice
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