You may have seen the story. It’s all over the news. New reports show that orlistat, known as Xenical and Alli, caused liver damage in more than two dozen people worldwide. And now the FDA is checking this out for us. I’m pleased that the agency is taking a closer look at the dangers of these two weight loss drugs. But liver toxicity is not the real issue. The FDA never should have approved these drugs in the first place. I told you so more than two years ago (you can find these articles and health alerts on my website).
The weight loss drugs work by blocking some of the fats you eat. Not only in foods, but in supplements as well. If you’re eating fish or taking fish oil capsules for your health, you’re getting less of them. If you’re taking extra vitamin D3 because of a deficiency, which is common, you’re not getting as much as you think. In addition, consuming fats in foods and supplements while taking these weight loss drugs results in nasty side effects.
Just think about it for a minute. Unabsorbed fats need to go somewhere. Orlistat takes care of this. It sends unused fats out of the body via your colon. The result is oily stools — sometimes uncontrollable diarrhea — and increased bowel movements, gas, and pain. The unseen side effects include a reduction in vitamins A, D, E, and essential fatty acids. In my book, this is a reduction in your health.
What do you get in exchange for these side effects? You can lose one more pound a month.
So what does the FDA recommend you do about taking either Xenical or Alli? Keep using it. They’re saying this even though they know that out of 32 cases of side effects, 27 people were hospitalized and six had organ failure. Why? Because they haven’t yet found a definite link between orlistat and liver damage.
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The FDA banned ephedra and more recently Hydroxycut — the latter over far fewer anecdotal reports of liver damage. Why is the supplement recalled, yet the FDA says keep taking the drug? Follow the money.
Don’t listen to the FDA here. Instead of taking any fat-blocking drugs, why don’t you simply reduce the amount of fats in your diet? It costs nothing and will save you from embarrassing and unpleasant side effects. Oh yes, and you might even avoid liver damage.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand