The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Popular weight loss supplements reviewed

    A couple of PharmDs from Ohio have published a review of 16 weight loss supplements (and 1 drug) used to help shed excess girth.

    I’ll give just the bottom line on each supplement here.

    Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium)

    • Little evidence supporting its use.
    • Can elevate heart rate and blood pressure.
    • Those with a history of cardiovascular disease should avoid it.


    • Scientific evidence does not support using this fat blocker.

    Chromium (Chromium picolinate)

    • Yes, this trace element aids in insulin secretion.
    • Few studies support its use as a weight loss aid.
    • A recent, comprehensive review concluded that it does not alter body composition.

    Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

    • Not supported for weight loss.
    • It might help attenuate weight gain in patients with a dietary deficiency of CLA


    • Although claimed to increase satiety, there is little evidence to support this claim.

    Green tea (Camellia sinensis)

    • Green tea products contain varying amounts of caffeine, which has a mild diuretic effect.
    • Some may perceive this as weight loss, but it’s only a transient loss of sodium and water.

    Guar gum (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus)

    • It’s a source of soluble dietary fiber.
    • Insufficient evidence to recommend is for weight loss.

    Guarana (Paullinia cupana)

    • Not much support for using it alone.
    • Most studies combined it with ephedra.
    • Probably should be avoided due to adverse effects on the central nervous system.


    • Popular, but little scientific support.
    • See an earlier post for more information.

    Hydroxycitric acid (Garcinia cambogia)

    • Appears to be safe.
    • Proof of weight loss in humans is lacking.


    • One study, which did not report positive results.
    • Watch for nausea or diarrhea.

    Natural licorice

    • No evidence of weight loss.

    Usnic acid

    • No evidence of effectivness
    • A report of fulminate liver failure, make this a bad choice for weight control

    White kidney bean extract (Phaseolus vulgaris)

    • Advertised as a “carb blocker” that reduces the rate that starch is converted to sugar in the digestive process, thus reducing caloric intake.
    • One study showed a positive modest response in a decrease in body mass index.

    Willow bark

    • No studies on weight loss.
    • One report of a severe reaction in a young person who was allergic to aspirin.

    Yohimbine (Pausinystalia yohimbe)

    • The 2 studies available published opposite results.
    • High blood pressure, anxiety, and agitation are side effects.

    The bottom line?
    The article provides useful background information. Read it all for greater detail

    5/19/08 19:42 JR

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