Wiley Logo Most obese individuals prefer ‘natural’ remedies to lose excess fats, than performing exercise and following a strict diet. But such therapies seem to be extremely harmful. A recent study suggests that the so-called natural slimming therapies available in the market have a significantly adverse effect on its users and can prove fatal.

Throughout the study, experts analyzed medical records in Hong Kong. It contained 66 cases of people suspected to have been poisoned by a ‘natural’ slimming therapy. While eight were severely ill, one died. Ingredients put to use in the 81 slimming products adopted by these people were scrutinized. 12 different agents were segregated into five categories, which were undeclared weight-loss drugs, drug analogues (unlicensed chemical derivatives of licensed drugs), banned drugs, drugs used for an inappropriate indication and thyroid hormones.

“People like the idea of using a natural remedy because they think that if it is natural, it will be safe. There are two problems here. Firstly not all natural agents are harmless, and secondly the remedies also contain potentially harmful manufactured drugs,” said Dr. Magdalene Tang, who works at the Toxicology Reference Laboratory at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.

It seems that these products are not only available all over Hong Kong, but also in countries wherein drug regulation is comparatively non-comprehensive. In fact, due to the wide reach of internet, individuals residing in regions with tighter regulatory control are also accessible to them. The appropriate means to get rid of such therapies may be no purchase of these products at all as well as prompt law-making and surveillance actions undertaken by the governments.

The study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.