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The Best OTC Weight-Loss Supplements

By Craig Smith ; Updated July 18, 2017

As modern lives become increasingly fast-paced, people are turning to remedies other than calorie restriction and exercise to lose weight. Wide varieties of over-the-counter weight-loss aids can be found at local grocers, pharmacies and health-food stores. Folks who are seeking weight-loss assistance through supplementation should find products that are confirmed not to cause adverse side effects.


Conjugated linoleic acid is a mixture found naturally in meats and cheeses. According to the Mayo Clinic, “CLA appears to reduce a person's body fat while increasing muscle mass.” Additional research is needed to determine the safety of CLA and recommended amounts, especially in people with existing medical conditions. It is advisable to speak with a doctor before beginning CLA use.

Chromium Picolinate

Chromium picolinate plays a vital role in a number of the body’s metabolic activities. The Mayo Clinic reports, “Chromium supplementation is found to be likely safe, which is the clinic’s top classification for safety of over-the-counter supplement use.” Chromium is claimed to decrease appetite and elevate metabolic rate while aiding in lean tissue growth; however, insufficient evidence is available to back these claims.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract possesses a rich history of widespread use with benefits including heart health and diuretic effects. The University of Maryland Medical Center says, “Over-the-counter green tea supplements may assist weight loss in moderately overweight or obese individuals.” According to the UMMC, “Powerful antioxidants known as catechins are responsible for weight-loss effects.” Research also finds that the caffeine in green tea could possibly play a role in weight loss.


5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, derives from the amino acid tryptophan, which converts into a chemical called serotonin. The University of Maryland Medical Center says, “Increased serotonin levels in the brain can reduce sugar and food cravings.” Since 5-HTP is not found in foods, supplementation is necessary to control hunger and assist in weight-loss struggles.


It is imperative to speak with a medical professional before taking any weight-loss supplement. Factors including existing medical conditions and medical history will be taken into account to ensure safety. Notify a doctor immediately if you experience any side effects.

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