Exploring Weight Loss Supplements: Comprehensive Guide to the Cardiovascular Risks and Benefits for Long-Term Health

Weight loss supplements are a common way of losing weight. They can be used in conjunction with diet and exercise or by themselves.

Losing Weight

Losing Weight

There are many different types of weight loss supplements. Some popular supplements like X-Loss Control may help you feel fuller, while others like Hydroxycut may boost your metabolism or suppress your appetite.

Weight loss supplements can be risky for some people, especially if they have heart disease or high blood pressure. They can also cause side effects such as muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

Read Also: Obesity: Taking Prednisone Once a Week Could Help with Weight Loss

The consumption of some supplements has been shown to cause the death of young marathoners without underlying heart conditions because some of them contain dimethylamylamine (DMAA) which is banned in the US.

Here are some cardiovascular risks of weight loss supplements:

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Weight loss supplements can cause cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that can be dangerous if not treated promptly. Cardiac arrhythmia can cause:

  • Palpitations (feeling your heart beating)
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain

The increased heart rate caused by weight loss pills may lead to cardiac arrhythmias in some people. This risk is higher for those who are at risk of having an existing heart problem or those who take medications that affect the heart, such as beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force that blood exerts against the walls of your arteries as it moves through them. High blood pressure can cause damage to your arteries over time and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Suppose you have high blood pressure and take weight loss supplements containing stimulants such as caffeine or ephedrine. In that case, you may experience increased blood pressure because these stimulants also increase your heart rate.

High Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. The body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids to help digest fats. But if you get too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, it can accumulate on your arteries’ walls. This buildup is called plaque. Plaque shrinks your arteries and stiffens them. This makes it more difficult for your heart to pump blood through your body. If a blood clot forms on the plaque, it can block blood flow through an artery—a condition known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).

Weight loss supplements containing chitosan may also cause high cholesterol levels because they contain stearic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid found in some foods and added to others, like chocolate. Stearic acid increases cholesterol levels by inhibiting an enzyme called hepatic lipase (HL), which normally breaks down triglycerides into smaller particles easily digested by bile acids secreted by the liver into the intestines where they will be excreted from the body via bowel movements.

Read Also: HGH Dosages: The Doses Currently Used for Anti-Aging, Weight Loss, and Bodybuilding

Heart Failure

Heart failure is the incapacity of the heart to pump sufficient amounts of blood to satisfy the body’s needs. As a result, fluid accumulates in the lungs and other areas of the body. Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease or high blood pressure, but it also can be caused by other diseases such as cardiomyopathy or valvular heart disease.

Weight loss supplements may contribute to the development of heart failure by reducing cardiac output. In other words, the supplements may make your heart work harder than normal without improving its ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. This adds stress to your cardiovascular system and may increase your risk for heart failure.

Blood Clots

Blood clots are a rare side effect of weight loss supplements. The most common cause is venous thromboembolism (VTE), which affects the blood vessels in the legs or pelvis. VTE can lead to blood clots that travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Some weight loss supplements may increase your risk for blood clots by reducing your levels of vitamin K. This can cause dangerous blood clots to form in your veins and arteries.

Other Possible Causes Of Blood Clots Include:

  • Age: Blood clotting disorders are more common among older people.
  • Obesity: Being overweight increases your risk of developing a blood clot because extra fat cells release hormones that increase platelet production. Platelets help form blood clots when you’re injured or bleeding. If too many platelets are in circulation, they can form clots where they aren’t supposed to — like deep inside your leg veins or arteries instead of at the surface of your skin after an injury or cut.
  • Other conditions: Certain medical conditions also increase your risk of developing a blood clot, including cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.

Some Benefits of Weight Loss Supplements

Weight loss supplements are a great way to boost your weight loss goals, but they may also have some added health benefits. Here are some of the main cardiovascular benefits of weight loss supplements:

Improving Oxygenation to the Heart

When you lose weight, your body burns fat for energy. This means that it needs more oxygen to burn this fat. If you don’t get enough oxygen, your body will start burning other energy sources, such as muscle. This is one reason a person who loses weight may experience muscle loss while losing weight and fat loss.

Weight loss supplements can help you get enough oxygen, which makes it easier for your body to burn fat and less likely that you’ll lose muscle mass while losing weight.

Aiding Healthy Blood Flow

One of the main functions of your heart is to pump blood through your body. This blood carries oxygen and nutrients like glucose to every cell in your body. When you lose weight, you reduce the fat surrounding your organs and veins. As a result, the heart has less work to do when it pumps blood through these areas. In addition, because fat cells are no longer clogging up your veins, they can flow more freely throughout your body.

Read Also: Weight Loss Breakthrough: Researchers Develop an Anti-Obesity Drug That Targets Mitochondria

Decreasing Inflammation in the Arteries

The inflammation of the arteries is caused by a buildup of cholesterol on their walls. This can lead to atherosclerosis when plaque builds up in the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart and brain. The body tries to repair this damage by laying down more cholesterol, which worsens the problem.

When you lose weight by taking weight loss supplements, your body will start burning off fat instead of storing it which reduces inflammation in the arteries.

Improves Your Heart Health

Losing weight is essential to staying healthy because it reduces stress on your heart and improves blood flow. Excess weight puts pressure on your veins and arteries, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Additionally, being overweight increases your risk for diabetes by altering how your body processes glucose. It also leads to higher insulin levels in the bloodstream and increased insulin resistance, which means more fat gets stored in the liver instead of being burned for energy. Reducing your body mass index can lower these risks without resorting to medication or invasive procedures.

In conclusion, weight loss supplements do have cardiovascular risks and benefits. Some of the risks are rather serious, so you should consult your doctor before taking a supplement like this to weigh the pros and cons of this category of supplements for you.

References

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2023, February 22). DMAA in Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements. Retrieved January 4, 2024, from https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplement-products-ingredients/dmaa-products-marketed-dietary-supplements

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, April). Highly Concentrated Caffeine in Dietary Supplements: Guidance for Industry. Retrieved January 4, 2024, from https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/Guidance-for-Industry–Highly-Concentrated-Caffeine-in-Dietary-Supplements-DOWNLOAD.pdf

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