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by Marijana Domazet, Thursday, July 11, 2013 | Categories: Diet Pills

A large number of studies, both in humans and in animals, have looked at the mechanisms required for white adipose tissue to work as brown adipose tissue. However, until recently we were not aware of any studies that had considered whether there were any treatments that could affect this process. Now, a team of researchers is suggesting that a drug that is being trialled for thyroid treatment may be useful in this process.

It is commonly known that humans have two types of adipose tissue, brown adipose tissue and white adipose tissue. Whilst the former helps to protect against obesity, the latter contributes to it. Essentially, brown adipose tissue works more efficiently than white adipose tissue at burning energy. The faster energy burning in brown adipose tissue has been attributed to a process called thermogenesis. As such it should come as little surprise that researchers would be keen to find a way to exploit the potential relationship between thermogenesis and treatments.

The current findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting, and are yet to be published. The researchers used an experimental drug that goes under the name of GC-01 in obese mice and found that it increased their metabolism by more than 60%, which also led to significant weight loss. Based on this, the researchers concluded that CG-01 could be useful in inducing thermogenesis in white adipose tissue, which in turn would aid fat being converted into energy.

Although these findings are intriguing, the presentation raises more questions than answers. There are several aspects of the current report that need to be put into perspective. For instance, the finding that it increased metabolism by 60 % may change once it is put into perspective in terms of what it means statistically. Similarly, these 60% are likely to refer to beiging of white adipose tissue, which has a small effect on making white adipose tissue work like brown adipose tissue. It does not imply that white adipose tissue starts to work completely like brown adipose tissue.

by Robert MacKay, Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Categories: Diet Pills

Another young student has died in the UK after taking a potentially toxic chemical that has been unscrupulously marketed as a diet pill. Dinitrophenol (DNP) was originally used as a pesticide but was subsequently used in the US in the 1930s as a weight loss aid after it was discovered to be highly effective at increasing the metabolic rate. The drug had to be withdrawn in 1938 after a series of adverse events, including death.

The mechanism of action of DNP is not understood and it is undoubtedly an interesting compound but there is no way that this substance should be used as a diet pill given what we know about its potential for harm.  Any product that facilitates the thermogenic process will be of interest to scientists in the area of obesity management but this particular product appears to allow heat to be generated at high levels, with all the concomitant dangers that one would expect.

Typical side effects associated with DNP include vomiting, dizziness, sweating, headaches and palpitations. Extreme cases lead to coma and death. This product is available online but should be avoided at all costs. If you want to lose weight, speak to your doctor.

by Robert MacKay, Sunday, April 7, 2013 | Categories: Diet Pills

People who are looking to lose weight quite often (and totally understandably) want to explore the easiest option for shedding excess weight and it is not just the obese and overweight who are attracted to the prospect of popping a pill and watching the pounds melt away; gym bunnies are also desperate to get that perfect physique and want to lose the last few pounds that will give them killer abs.

A quick flick through almost any health and beauty magazine will alert you to the large number of competing products, all offering you the perfect body if you shell out for these so-called “fat burners”. It is hardly surprising then that we get a lot of questions from people about these products. The fact is that most of the products that are advertised as fat burners contain nothing more than high doses of caffeine. Some other products contain green tea extract and there is some evidence to suggest that the polyphenols in green tea have moderate thermogenic (metabolic stimulation) properties.

There are other compounds that undoubtedly assist with lipolysis and some of them are produced naturally by the human body, but if introduced in an unnatural way in large quantities, can produce very serious side effects.

Another favourite ingredient of these fat burners is ephedrine. The metabolic effects of ephedrine are well documented but the side effects of taking this product in high dosages and for a sustained period can be very serious indeed, so its use in clinical practice as a weight management tool is not feasible. It is also illegal to sell ephedrine without a pharmacist being present, so apart from any health consideration, anyone selling this product who is not a pharmacist is actually breaking the law.

You also need to be careful about consuming compounds that have not been subjected to exhaustive clinical trials as we just don’t know what sort of impact they are likely to have at particular dosages. There was a tragic case of Claire Squires in the London marathon last year who died after taking a product that contained DMAA, which is actually quite a powerful amphetamine.

There is one really great fat burner that I am more than happy to recommend. The results that you get are amazing. The name? Oh yes: It is called EXERCISE!

by Robert MacKay, Friday, June 29, 2012 | Categories: Diet Pills

Orexigen Therapeutics has set out to recruit the 10,000 participants that it requires for the cardiovascular risk study of Contrave, its lead weight loss drug candidate. We have written about Contrave before and you may remember that the license application for the combination of bupropion and naltrexone was rejected by the FDA last year along with that of Qnexa and Lorcaserin. Lorcaserin has subsequently been approved and we expect Qnexa to get approval next month. It may seem unfair that Orexigen has had to go to the additional expense of this cardiovascular risk study but you need to remember that both heart rate and blood pressure rose when patients had Contrave administered, so this study is probably justified.

If you are an American resident and you are overweight with a cardiovascular risk factor then you may be eligible for the trial. Further details are here.

by Robert MacKay, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | Categories: Diet Pills

Kim Kardashian, sometime reality TV star, has been in the UK to promote a weight loss product that she has been peddling in the States for some time. The event took place at Westfield Shopping Centre in London. We understand that Kim is a co-defendant in a class action in the US and is being pursued by unhappy users of the QuickTrim weight loss pills. QuickTrim contains high doses of caffeine as far as we can see – so nothing too sophisticated.

The role that caffeine can play in weight loss is disputed. There is some evidence that caffeine assists with thermogenesis but it can also increase stress hormones that can lead to weight gain. High doses of caffeine are really not good for you.

We would be happy to bet good money that Miss Kardashian has never required the assistance of QuickTrim or any other “miraculous” weight loss pill to maintain her figure. The fact that she is getting paid to push this product to her 14 million Twitter followers is pretty disgusting but some people have no shame, as anyone who has ever watched her ridiculous TV show will be able to testify!

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