Over-the-counter herbal supplements promoted for weight loss are becoming increasingly popular. But one of the largest studies conducted to date on this subject reports "insufficient evidence" of their effectiveness in this area, especially since their composition is not officially regulated.

It's, proven:, dietary, supplements, do, not, help, you, lose, weight

Today, 64% of food supplements sold in France contain at least one plant, according to figures from the Synadiet union. The trivialization of their consumption is due to the availability of these products in supermarkets and pharmacies, but as stated by the Anses, they are not harmless products, although perceived as such. Some of them are particularly aimed at slimming (weight loss), but this is only a marketing argument as revealed by a study published by the European Association for the Study of Obesity in the journal "Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism", and presented at the European Congress of Obesity (ECO).

Results: the use of herbal supplements "cannot be justified on the basis of current evidence. "The researchers even call for more studies on their long-term safety, especially since unlike drugs, clinical evidence of their safety and efficacy is not required before they can be sold. "Our rigorous evaluation shows that there is not enough evidence to recommend these supplements for weight loss. While most appear safe for short-term consumption, they are not going to provide clinically significant weight loss. ", explains the study director, Erica Bessell.

 Dozens of plant extracts reviewed, no conclusive results

The plants analyzed in the study were: green tea, garcinia cambogia and mangosteen (tropical fruits), white bean, ephedra (a stimulant that increases metabolism), African mango, yerba mate (an herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant), wine grape (used in traditional Indian medicine), licorice root and East Indian blessed thistle (used in Ayurvedic medicine). The dietary supplements analyzed could contain a whole plant or combinations of plants as active ingredient, isolated natural compounds of plants and animal products and came in pill, powder and liquid form.

In particular, the researchers lament that "in some countries, the only requirement is that they contain acceptable levels of non-medicinal products. "Their study involved a review of all trials comparing the effect of herbal supplements to a placebo on weight loss. The data came from 54 studies involving 4331 healthy overweight or obese adults. It is from a weight loss of 2.5 kg that the effects were considered clinically significant. The analysis found that only one agent, white beans, resulted in statistically, but not clinically, greater weight loss than placebo (-1.61 kg).

"Herbal supplements may seem like a quick fix for weight problems, but people need to be aware of how little we actually know about them. " adds Erica Bessell. "Very few high-quality studies have been done on some supplements, with little data on long-term effectiveness. In addition, many clinical trials are short and poorly designed, and some do not report on the composition of the supplements studied. The enormous growth of this industry and the popularity of these products underscore the urgency of conducting larger, more rigorous studies to provide reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness for weight loss. ", she concludes.