July 2018

Multi-ingredient “fat burner” supplements still pose risk

New reports linking multi-ingredient weight loss supplements with liver injury suggest that some people are overlooking previous warnings about these products. Five cases of liver damage in four patients taking different fat burner supplements have recently been reported. One patient developed liver failure and required a liver transplant. In all cases the adverse liver events were linked to one or more specific ingredients contained in the supplement. These ingredients include green tea extract, garcinia, green coffee, and spirulina.

So which ingredient is most often the culprit for causing adverse events? Since most weight loss products contain several different ingredients, it’s hard to say definitively. The most likely agents seem to be those referred to as “fat burners.” These agents often contain caffeine or undeclared ingredients such as synephrine or sibutramine. All of these ingredients have been linked with serious health risks. 

Ultimately, there’s a lot of hype but no credible evidence of efficacy for most of these products. If your patients are looking to take a fat burner supplement, tell them that they are likely doing more harm than good – and to save their money. 

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