Weight loss supplements, as they are commonly known are also referred to as anorectics, appetite suppressants, anorexiants or anorexigenics. These are sold as types of dietary supplements or drugs which are useful in helping to reduce the consumption of food or suppress appetite, thus causing weight loss to take place.
Appetite suppressants first came into public notice during the Second World War, when the German and Finnish militaries distributed amphetamines to servicemen in order to enhance the experience of warfare. After the war got over, the amphetamines found its way in the civil trade where it was first sold in the commercial market as an appetite suppressant until it was illegalized in almost every part of the world, sometime during the late 1950s, because of a wide range of safety concerns. Some side effects produced by amphetamines included high blood pressure, addiction and heart disease. Continuous unattended use of amphetamines resulted in a number of fatal incidents.
Over the years there have been numerous studies and research conducted on various kinds of plant and chemical extracts to bring about safe supplements or drugs to induce weight loss. Today, a large number of weight loss supplements or appetite suppressants are available over the counter and can be purchased through a doctor’s prescription. Certain pharmaceutical anorectic agents are not considered safe for personal consumption, due to the epidemics of heart valve damage and hypertension resulting from their use, hence these must be consumed only with the supervision of a medical expert.
Most weight loss supplements available over the counter are based on natural ingredients, derived from plants or fruit extracts. Some common natural appetite suppressants include green tea extract, seaweed extracts, hoodia etc. amongst others.