Many people are fighting excess weight, obesity, and over-eating disorders. For that reason, there are appetite depressants all over the healthy food market. Herein find out how appetite suppressants work, their health benefits, how to choose the best over the counter, natural and prescription diet pills, and the side effects and safety measures associated with them.
How do Appetite Suppressants work?
Appetite suppressants work to reduce appetite. This in most cases leads to weight loss. There are three main ways through which appetite suppressants reduce appetite;
- They block the part of your brain which makes you to yearn for more food even when your body does not really require the extra food.
- Appetite suppressants prevent you from feeling satiated by stimulating the part of your brain responsible for that feeling.
- Appetite suppressants give you a fuller feeling with less food for long periods by slowing down the rate at which your gastric emptying takes place.
Majorly, appetite suppressants aim at establishing a mechanism of regulating hunger. Involved in the process are brain chemicals, some brain parts, and several hormones. Below is a discussion of the different ways through which appetite suppressants work;
Working on pancreatic hormones
The protein secreted in the pancreas and that which interacts with the hypothalamus to regulate appetite is referred to as pancreatic polypeptide.
This protein decreases gastric emptying as well. There are two hormones secreted by the pancreas and they both aid in appetite regulation. They are; pancreatic polypeptide and amylin as discussed below.
This hormone aids in appetite regulation by interacting with the hypothalamus. It increases the rate of metabolism as well as gastric emptying. When pancreatic polypeptide is administered, there is 25% reduction in energy intake within 24 hours.
Along with insulin, the pancreas also secretes amylin. The main roles of this hormone in regulating your appetite is that; the hormone promotes satiety, prevents harmful increases in blood sugar, and slows down the process of gastric emptying.
Apart from that, amylin interacts with dopaminergic system of your brain and serotonin to regulate your appetite.
Working of gastric hormones
The gut plays a very major role in controlling your appetite. Below are some of the ways through which the gut helps in regulating your appetite;
Peptide Tryosine Tryosine (PYY)
Secreted in the gastrointestinal tract, Peptide Tryosine Tryosine, also referred to as Peptide YY, inhibits gastric motility. This is the process of preventing passage of food down the tract by the gastrointestinal muscles.
Gastric motility inhibition leads to an increased rate and level of absorption of nutrients as well as enhancing the process of digestion. Generally, Peptide YY slows down gastric emptying consequently reducing your appetite.
When your doctor treats you with PYY injections, your appetite is greatly reduced since your food intake is estimated to decrease by 33% within 24 hours.
Glucagon like peptide
Designed to prevent possible elevation of blood sugar levels, Glucagon like peptide inhibits both gastric motility and secretion. This as a result prevents ‘sugar crash’ by delaying carbohydrate absorption. Additionally, satiety is promoted. Sugar crash refers to sudden increased in blood sugar levels following consumption of foods high in sugars.
Secreted along with Peptide YY and Glucagon like peptide, oxyntomodulin is also a gut hormone. Like most gut hormones, oxyntomodulin reduces appetite by slowing down the process of gastric emptying.
Classified among the very first hormones found to have the appetite reducing effects, cholecystokinin is a gut hormone which decreases gastric motility and gastric secretions.
Working on Adipose Tissue Hormone
Apart from storing fats, fat tissue has been found to play an important role in regulating fat metabolism. The main hormones in this classification which aid in appetite regulation are leptin, insulin and adiponectin. Leptin, for instance, is secreted by fat cells and it acts as a satiety hormone.
Health Benefits of Diet Pills
Compared to exercise and dietary changes, diet pills offer additional health benefits. The reason is that, diet pills not only contain stimulants but also other ingredients which enhance your metabolic rate among other benefits as discussed below.
Diet pills suppress your appetite without involving calorie intake. This is unlike eating fiber and protein containing foods to keep you fuller. Such foods will aid in appetite suppression but they will increase the calorie levels in your body.
Diuretics are compounds which aid in flushing fluids out of your body. Diet pills reduce the level of water holding by your body. When you take diet pills, you are likely to urinate more often and that results to reduction in your body weight.
The most crucial characteristic of diet pills is its ability to increase the rate of metabolism. This as a result leads to a faster rate of fat lose and hence weight loss.
Breaks down fat
FDA approved pills enhance the process of getting rid of unwanted fats in a quicker and easier way. Diet pills facilitate the process of fat breakdown. These pills hence save you the need to go to the gym.
They are an energy level boost
When you take diet pills, your energy levels are enhanced. This enables you to have sufficient energy for carrying out your everyday activities. High energy levels are one way of increasing physical activity which has health benefits such as reduced depression levels and weight loss.
Improved cardiovascular health
In most cases, your cardiovascular health is determined by your weight. Most people who are either over-weight or obese, they are at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack.
Taking diet pills is a great way of reducing your weight as discussed above. Therefore, intake of diet pills indirectly improves your cardiovascular health by ensuring you maintain a reasonable weight.
What factors should you consider when choosing the best?
Even if a diet pill looks enticing especially when you need to lose weight, you must remember to consider a number of factors as discussed below;
Possible side effects
Before buying a diet pill, you must first of all consider the possible negative side effects that come with using the diet pill.
To gather sufficient information on any given pill, you can search online. Reviews from customers may also be a great way of getting sincere guidance on the possible negative side effects.
If you are a stimulant sensitive person, some of the reactions you may definitely get from high quality over the counter diet pills are;
- Dry mouth
- Increased rate
At any given time, the negative side effects should not be greater than the benefits you acquire from the diet pill. If they do, you should opt for an alternative diet pill.
Study the interaction of the pill with other medications
When making a decision on which diet pill you should buy, always avoid any diet pill which results to dangerous side effects when used together with other supplements or medications.
For instance, some diet pills like Topamax and phentermine have known and unknown side effects. The most common side effects associated with these diet pills are heart complications and severe headaches. To be safe, always purchase the diet pill through a legal channel involving approval by our doctor.
Determine pre-existing conditions
You are advised to visit your doctor so that you can determine any medical conditions that may be underlying in your body prior to using diet pills. This ensures your safety following intake of diet pills despite the side effects that come with them.
People with diabetes and hypertension have a low tolerance to several diet pills; whether prescription or over the counter pills. If you have liver or kidney complications, you will need to purchase diet pills only following your doctor’s advice. This is because; diet pills can be very harsh to your general body system.
Avoid habit forming diet pills
Some supplements have been found to be addictive. This means that, if you purchase such diet pills, you will have to take them constantly even when you do not really need them. Your doctor will help you determine which diet pills may turn out to be addictive.
Best Over the Counter(OTC) diet pills
FDA approved OTC appetite suppressant
There is only one over the counter appetite suppressant approved by FDA; orlistat (alli). It contains the same medication as that making up Xenical but in lower amounts.
If you decide to take alli as your appetite suppressant, you must be ready to lower your fat intake and slightly change your lifestyle.
Other OTC diet pills medically proven to work
There are diet pills which although not approved by FDA, they serve well as appetite suppressants. They include the following;
Derived from fruits growing in warmer climates, Garcinia cambogia is a hunger suppressant found in health food stores. You can also buy this supplement online.
Although this supplement is still undergoing research, it has so far been found to reduce appetite and hence encourage weight loss.
This supplement is very useful in ensuring weight loss. It boosts metabolism and reduces your appetite.
Best natural appetite suppressant
Herbs are an example of natural ways of cutting down on your appetite. The most common herb which has been found to be very effective in suppressing your appetite is the hoodia plant. This plant looks like a cactus plant. Glycoside P57 is the active compound in the hoodia plant.
Another herb which is used in suppressing your appetite is the carralluma extract (carralluma fimbriata). This herb however is still undergoing research to determine its level of effectiveness in suppressing hunger. Green tea and some fiber foods are also classified under herbs and will be discussed below.
2. Tea(Green tea, Yogi tea & Chinese tea)
There are different types of tea that when taken suppress your appetite. Three of them are discussed below;
Green tea extracts contain a high level of catechins. These are antioxidants which occur naturally and which increase the rate of burning fat and gives general metabolism a boost.
This tea is often described as fasting tea. It is made up of herbs which work together to suppress your appetite and hence promote weight loss.
Chinese tea reduces your appetite by causing an irritation on the gastrointestinal lower side lining. The result is contractions that push materials out of the lower intestines.
There are two types of chinese tea; Camellia Sinensis Tea (the most preferred) and tea made of laxative herbs.
3. Other natural suppressants foods
Grapefruit essential oil
This oil consists of antioxidants, enzymes, beneficial acids, and volatile oils all of which work together to suppress your appetite. Grapefruit oil lowers your cravings. Inhaling the smell of the fruit alters your nerve signaling and fat metabolism and as a result, your appetite is regulated.
Foods with high fiber content
Fiber foods are hard to digest once taken. They therefore lower your body’s digestion process. As a result, you feel full for long periods. This is usually a great way to defeat your cravings and stay for long periods without the urge to eat.
When you use natural spices to cook your food, they help in burning of the fat and they also regulate your hunger levels. Examples of such spices are; black pepper, ginger, curry, dandelion, cinnamon, and cayenne.
Drink a lot of water
As obvious as it looks, drinking too much water may be a perfect way to control your appetite levels. Water keeps your stomach full. When you drink water before eating, you will realize that you will only consume a smaller fraction of your food and feel full.
Best Prescription appetite suppressant pills
Prescription pills, unlike over the counter pills must be prescribed by a medical professional. Some of the best over the counter appetite suppressants are discussed below;
Also known as orlistat, xenical; is a prescription medication approved by US Food and Drug Administration. It blocks the absorption of fats keeping you full for long periods. When using these pills as appetite suppressants, you are advised to take diets that are low in fats.
There are two drugs that make up Qsymia; topiramate and phentermine. When taken, the two drugs work hand in hand to suppress your appetite. This appetite suppressant is mostly prescribed if you have BMI greater than 30n, as well as body mass index of about 27.
Additionally, if you have a weight related condition such as high blood pressure and type 2-diabetes, your doctor may also prescribe you with Qsymia. These drug requires lifestyle modification if you are to maintain a reduced food intake. Your doctor will guide you on the same during the prescription.
Also known as lorcaserin, Belviq controls hunger by activating serotonin. These are receptors which help in hunger regulation. When you take these diet pills, you will feel full following intake of small amounts of food.
Unlike most appetite suppressants, Saxenda is given in form of an injection. It makes you to get full after taking a small amount of food. It aid greatly in weight loss.
It is a common prescription for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type-2 diabetes; all of which are weight related conditions. This prescription is also a great option if you are obese or if your BMI is 27 or more.
This appetite suppressant consists of bupropion hydrochloride and naltrexone hydrochloride. This drug alters the wear your central nervous system works increasing the number of calories your body burns. Your appetite is as well reduced.
When prescribing this diet pill, your doctor advocates for a low calorie diet as well as frequent exercise. This is especially important where your goal is to lose weight.
Where the main reason for suppressing your appetite is to control binge-eating disorder, Vyvanse is the medication that your doctor prescribes. Binge eating disorder is described as the condition where you experience the urge to overeat and hence you end up consuming extreme amounts of food. Where the goal is to lose weight, Vyvanse is not advisable.
There are various names under which phentermine is marketed; kraftobese, suprenza, teramine, Adipex-P. In the United States, it is the most common diet pill prescribed for suppressing appetite. Its prescription is usually for short periods.
This diet pill is however habit forming and has side effects such as dry mouth, insomnia, and constipation.
Side Effects &Safety
Known side effects
Below are the known side effects of various appetite suppressants;
Adipex-P (Phentermine) and Phendimetrazine
These two appetite suppressants have similar side effects as listed below;
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure levels
- Withdrawal and abuse in cases of long term use of the suppressants
When taken to suppress appetite, Belviq may have the following side effects;
- Euphoria (In case of high doses)
- Dry mouth
The side effects of this appetite suppressant are the same as those of Adipex-P (Phentermine) and Phendimetrazine. An additional side effect is high abuse potential. For this reason, this suppressant should only be used when there are no alternative effective treatments.
The side effects are as listed below;
- Altered taste
- Dry mouth
Saxenda also has similar side effects as Adipex-P (Phentermine) and Phendimetrazine. Additional side effects include;
- Increased lipase
- Low blood sugar in case of type 2-diabetes
- Stomach pains
- Fecal urgency
- Oily spotting
- Soft stool
Safety precautions when using appetite Suppressants
There are safety measures you must consider when using appetite suppressants. Highlighted below are some of them;
- Always let your doctor know your complete medical history. This is very necessary mostly if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, Kidney disease, and a thyroid which is over-active.
- You must also let your doctor know if you have emotional problems.
- You must limit alcohol use when taking appetite suppressants. This is because alcohol worsens the side effects of feeling dizzy after taking suppressants.
- It is not recommended that you give children appetite suppressants.
- Avoid using appetite suppressants during pregnancy. You will need to discuss with your doctor on how safe it is for you to use diet pills when pregnant.
- When breastfeeding, you should also avoid the suppressants as they may be excreted into the breast milk.