Herbal Supplements: Are they Safe? (cont.)
This is one of the things that I am working hard to do, traveling, giving lectures to pharmacy associations, continuing education classes, and working through a distance learning university called The American Academy of Nutrition to prepare educational materials for retailers, pharmacists, nurses, MDs, etc. It's almost mandatory to either have your doctor seek advice and research (which is unlikely; he or she will probably say don't take the herb), or research it on your own, or go to an herbalist to research the safety.
Many times taking an herb with prescription medicine enhances activity. I encourage people who take antibiotics to take eluthero, because the eluthero enhances the bacteria-killing ability of the drug. I encourage people who are undergoing cancer therapies to use host-building herbs.
What herbs are safe to take for weight loss?
If one is young their bodies can sustain things that people over 40 might need to be careful for. There are weight loss supplements on the market that contain stimulants. A young healthy person would not think twice about consuming five or six cups of coffee per day and probably would not have to think twice about consuming weight loss products that contain stimulants. These stimulants are often thermogenic agents. Thermogenic agents are ingredients or chemicals that contain natural chemicals that stimulate certain fat cells in the body to turn up their thermostat and generate more heat at the expense of fatty acid fuel.
Now, this is not the final answer. This mechanism makes a small contribution to overall weight loss. Weight loss is still governed by what goes in your mouth and how much you move your body. But every little bit helps.
On the other hand, what about those of us that are in our 40s and 50s and 60s who have put on the middle-age spread who are now at an age when our doctors have informed us that we are borderline hypertensive or perhaps hypertensive enough to be on medication, our blood sugar may be riding high in a prediabetic state, and we're advised to stay away from stimulants. Up until very recently there were not many supplements available to this age group. Things that were available and still are available are things such as calorie blockers and supplements that contain fiber, which tend to fill the stomach when consumed with large quantities of water.
There has been a product on the horizon for several years that I have been following the ingredients of, not for weight loss, but in antiaging research. One such ingredient is a proprietary extract from a plant called cat's claw. Indigenous people use cat's claw for inflammation, tumors, and rheumatism, and laboratory tests show that ingredients in this plant increase immunity reduce inflammation and are potent antioxidants. A manufacturer wanted to combine this novel extract with medicinal mushrooms, which also have activity on immune response and overall health. Being a pharmaceutical lab, they realized when combining ingredients you can't say the whole is equal to the parts unless you retest. When they retested the new combination they discovered that all the indices of aging they tested for improved:
Because as a dietary supplement you cannot make claims for inflammation, cancer, and the like, this company decided to market this product as a 40-plus dietary supplement that has the ability to improve metabolism. I have been taking these ingredients separately for the last five years; today they're available in one pill, with new other novel ingredients for weight loss, and marketed under the name Xenadrine 40 Plus. So now those of us over 40 who may have health challenges can use a product with no known side effects or drug interactions, that can help with metabolism, aches and pains, fatigue, and enhance DNA repair. Xenadrene 40 Plus is very readily available in the mass market across the country.MEMBER QUESTION:
What herbs would you recommend for anyone over 40?