Weight Loss Solutions and Other Dietary Supplements

Ingredients included in weight-loss aids or other dietary supplements can be unsafe, even though the packaging may say that the product is "all-natural." Just because a product claims to be made only of natural materials does not mean that it is automatically safe to use. Some substances found in nature are toxic to humans and should not be ingested. For a famous example, simply consider marijuana: a naturally growing plant, but an illegal drug that can cause health problems nonetheless. One of the "natural" ingredients that can be found in weight-loss aids is bitter orange, which contains a stimulant that is chemically similar to ephedrine and may also have the same side effects. Other ingredients, such as usnic acid that may cause liver damage or aristolochic acid that may

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Over-the-counter diet pills can damage the kidneys, a serious health consequence that can make dialysis or kidney transplant necessary to avoid death.

Electrolytes are important minerals that are required for normal functioning of the body. They are found in the bloodstream, as well as in other bodily fluids such as sweat. It is necessary to maintain normal levels of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate in order to sustain muscle functioning, nerve impulses, and normal fluid levels in the body. When laxatives and diuretics are used, water and electrolytes are removed from the body, causing an electrolyte imbalance and accompanying health problems.

cause kidney damage, can harm internal organs. Taking fen-phen, or fenfluramine, may result in diarrhea, chest pain, and high blood pressure, not the sought-after weight loss.

People who abuse ipecac syrup in order to lose weight are at risk for cardiac problems, including chest pain, irregular or rapid heartbeat, and heart attacks. Respiratory problems also occur, along with seizures and hemorrhag-ing. Laxatives, another medicine subject to abuse in hope of losing weight, are also harmful if taken in excess. Short-term effects include dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, while long-term effects can consist of permanent bowel damage and death. The lack of water and other nutrients in the body can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney stones or kidney failure, which can require kidney dialysis and possibly the need for a kidney transplant. Diuretics, or water pills, also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if abused and have similar long-term effects on the kidneys.

Because OTC drugs are legal, abusers may consider them safer—but clearly, this not necessarily so. As more research is done on their potential for abuse, new and stricter legal restrictions may come into play as well.


Coming off of any dependency or addiction is not easy and should not be done on one's own. The guidance of a health-care professional can prevent or lessen withdrawal symptoms; the physical toll on the body is not as extreme as it could be. DXM withdrawal symptoms can include:

• restlessness

• depression (which may be severe)

• muscle and bone pain


• diarrhea

• vomiting

• cold flashes with goose bumps

Though most experts consider these withdrawal symptoms to be mild (and they are, compared to the withdrawal symptoms of some drugs), to the person undergoing them, the discomfort can be intense. Some experts believe the best way to come off of DXM and other OTC

drugs is to do so "cold turkey," that is, to stop taking them completely at once. Others suggest that increasingly lower doses of DXM be given until the individual is weaned off the medication.

Regardless of how one ends his relationship with DXM, a new way of living must be learned. The first step in this new life plan, and in overcoming addiction to DXM and other OTC medications, is the same as with every other form of addiction: admit there is a problem, that one is an addict. In some ways, this may be one of the hardest of a series of incredibly hard steps. But it is impossible to finish the journey to sobriety without taking that first step of admitting to being an addict.

The most effective method of addiction treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach—and it doesn't happen over night.

Continue reading here: Detoxification

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