With increasing concerns over weight and body image, people are turning to all sorts of remedies to control appetite and shed weight.
Some turn to fad diets and food supplements, some take to gym and exercise and some take to pills, drugs and stimulants to control their hunger and force their body into burning more energy.
What are stimulants?
When feeling tired, down and out, a lot of people turn to stimulants to improve their mood and stamina. Stimulants as the name suggests, stimulate the nervous system to raise the physiological and psychological condition of the body to be more alert and energetic.
Stimulants can be natural or chemical, but their functions are the same, to give your body a boost. They alter your blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. They put your body into overdrive and help you to overcome fatigue.
People take stimulants for a lot of reasons – for energy, appetite suppression, weight loss etc. Some people like the rush that they get from the stimulants and can get addicted to them.
Use of Stimulants for Weight Loss
Since stimulants have a way of shifting your body and mind into overdrive, they are considered to be an effective way to keep weight under control.
Studies have shown that stimulants like, caffeine, nicotine, etc. can act as appetite suppressant, metabolism enhancer and energy booster. This is why stimulants are being added to weight loss pills and supplements.
Natural Stimulants found in Weight Loss Pills and Supplements
It has been found that a lot of pills that are used for weight loss contain stimulants. These could include chemical stimulants or natural ones. Some of the natural stimulants that are found in diet pills are:
1. Caffeine – This is the most popular stimulant used in weight loss supplements. It help to curb appetite and reduce food cravings. Studies show that caffeine also helps to boost metabolism, aiding fat burn and weight loss.
[Also Read: Is Caffeine an Appetite Suppressant?]
2. Yerba Mate – It is also known as Mate or Paraguay tea. It is a brain stimulant. Some studies have claimed that it can be used to aid weight loss and to control obesity but there is no conclusive evidence.
There aren’t any significant side effects of Yerba Mate and if taken in small quantities can help to dissipate feeling of fatigue and tiredness.
3. Guarana – Like all other stimulants, this helps to stimulate the brain and improves blood circulation. It is a diuretic, it helps to flush out toxins, reduce fluid retention and aid in weight loss.
4. Cayenne Pepper – Another powerful stimulant that boosts blood circulation, increases metabolism, burns calories and aids in weight loss. It is also helps to reduce blood sugar levels and relieves achy joints and muscles.
It also acts as an appetite suppressant. It is contra indicated in people with renal problems, high blood-pressure and other heart related conditions. You should avoid Guarana if you are on blood thinners.
5. Maca – This is obtained from a plant that grows in Peru. It is used for anemia and fatigue, it boosts stamina and memory amongst other things. It is treated like an aphrodisiac by the Peruvian people. It is safe for use and has no significant side effects at all.
6. Yohimbe Bark – It is obtained from an African tree. It is high in the stimulant yohimbine which stimulates the central nervous system. When taken orally, it acts as an aphrodisiac, causes euphoria, improves alertness and in some cases insomnia.
7. Garcinia Combogia – This is a popular stimulant found in many weight loss supplements. The rind of the fruit contains HCA which acts as a appetite suppressant and helps to burn fat. Its side effects include dizziness, headache, stomach disorders, diarrhea etc.
It is not prescribed to people who are on heart medication, blood thinners of have condition like asthma and diabetes as it may interfere with certain medications.
8. Green Tea Extract – It helps in weight loss and stimulates the brain and enhances mental clarity. Green tea contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It can cause side effects such as heart palpitations, insomnia etc. If you have been advised against taking caffeine, then avoid caffeinated teas of any sort.
9. Raspberry Ketones – This is obtained from red raspberries and is a common ingredient in most diet pills and weight loss supplements. It is used to burn fat and improve muscle growth. It may cause increased blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.
10. Bitter Orange – The peel of the plant of bitter orange is used to treat fungal infections and increase appetite. It is also used as a weight loss supplement. It is also effective for indigestion, diabetes.
There are several other stimulants that can also be found in diet pills and supplements such as fenugreek, ginseng panax extract, chocolate, etc.
Though these may be natural stimulants, they are not completely free of side effects. Caution should be taken while using any of these stimulants. Excess of anything is bad and this is also true for these natural stimulants.