Weight Loss Supplements and Heart Health

Weight loss is one of the most common recommendations for reducing risk of heart disease because it helps lower blood pressure and often is correlated with a more active lifestyle. Unfortunately losing weight is not always an easy task. Supplements that promise increased weight loss by simply taking a pill can be tempting and may seem rather harmless. Patients who want to trim down and are considering adding a weight loss supplement should proceed with caution, as some weight loss supplements can actually increase your risk of stroke and heart-related problems. 

Risks associated with weight loss supplements

The problem with weight loss supplements for those with heart conditions is the ingredients they contain and the method of action they use. Many weight loss supplements contain stimulants to reduce appetite and potentially burn more calories, yet most of these supplements are untested or unproven. 

Heart patients are taking a risk if they go down this unproven path. Stimulants for a heart patient may increase blood pressure or contribute to a higher frequency of AFib and other arrhythmias, which raise the risk of stroke and continued heart problems. 

Additionally, supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Little oversight is given to the claims made on the packaging and marketing of weight loss supplements. The promised results, and sometimes even the listed ingredients, are not always accurate, and most studies have not backed the use of weight loss supplements.

If you are considering a supplement, be sure to read all of the packaging. Pay attention to warnings and potential side effects, particularly if you are a heart patient. Talk to your doctor for advice on the safety and effectiveness of any supplement you are considering adding to your regime. Your doctor knows the specifics of your health history and can offer advice unique to your situation. 

Weight loss for patients with heart conditions

The best approach to weight loss for anyone, but especially those with heart conditions, includes regular exercise and a balanced diet. Try to work out consistently five days a week for about 30 minutes per day. Begin where you can and push toward a longer, more consistent routine. Build your eating habits around getting enough fruits and vegetables. The typical American diet contains less than a cup of fruit and a cup and a half of vegetables daily, while the recommended amount is nearly double that. Consistent habits around eating and exercise can not only help you lose weight, but also can reduce your risk for many other heart conditions. 

While weight loss supplements might promise quick results with less work, there are hidden dangers for patients with heart conditions that could lead to increased risk of complications. If you are considering adding supplements to your diet, talk to your doctor first.