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Supplements That Decrease Appetite

By Lydia Stephens

Successfully losing weight requires creating a caloric deficit through diet and exercise. When your body burns more calories than you eat, it turns to stored fat for energy. In order to lose a pound of fat per week, you need to eliminate 500 calories through diet and exercise, says the American Council on Exercise, or ACE. Several appetite control supplements are on the market, but their effects have not been conclusively verified. ACE suggests eating smaller meals throughout the day rich in whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables to control your appetite.

Hoodia

Hoodia, or Hoodia gordonii, comes from the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa. The succulent plant was reportedly used by native Africans as a natural appetite suppressant during prolonged periods of hunting. Many modern diet supplements market hoodia as a way to decrease appetite for weight loss, but such claims are unsubstantiated. Studies on the dangers and benefits of hoodia have not produced solid evidence, says MayoClinic.com.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, also comes from an African plant--Griffonia simplicifolia. Your body naturally derives 5-HTP from foods containing the amino acid tryptophan before being converted into serotonin. When serotonin is released in the brain as an effect of 5-HTP supplementation, it may lead to an increased sense of satiety after a meal, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. While preliminary studies linking 5-HTP to weight loss have been promising, the supplement can also cause liver and brain toxicity or eosinophilic myalgia syndrome. Pregnant or nursing women, or those who have diabetes, liver disease or high blood pressure or take antidepressants should not take 5-HTP.

Phentermine

Phentermine, available by prescription only, is sometimes used to treat severe obesity. The amphetamine-like drug, approved by the FDA for short-term use, may help reduce appetite and keep you feeling full longer. MayoClinic.com recommends phentermine only be used as a part of a long-term plan for weight control, including a healthy diet and regular exercise. Side effects of phentermine supplementation include increased blood pressure, insomnia, nervousness and constipation.

Psyllium

Psyllium, found in the Indian herb Plantago ovata, contains soluble fiber and is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea and colon cancer. The fiber in psyllium may help suppress appetite, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. The supplement, available in capsules, tablets or laxative wafers, should be taken with plenty of water to counteract the diuretic effect. Psyllium may affect the way other prescription medications are absorbed by the body, so consult with your health care provider before taking psyllium.

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