Appetite suppressants are widely available in over-the-counter supplement forms, or in prescription drug varieties. Most over-the-counter products work by “tricking” the brain into believing that the body’s not hungry. Many studies show that consumers see short-term weight loss results; however, long-term effectiveness is not often as consistent.

Natural Appetite Suppressant Supplements

Many newly available appetite suppressants have actually been used historically for hundreds of years. For example, both Hoodia Gordonii and Caralluma are natural plants that have been consumed by people for thousands of years to fend off feelings of hunger during famine, or to aid people during long journeys with little food.

While natural appetite suppressants claim to aid in weight loss without any serious side effects, the following potential negatives should also be taken into consideration:

  • Many natural supplements may not be approved by the FDA
  • Some natural supplements may have a negative effect on the liver
  • Natural supplements may lead to blood sugar variations
  • Consumers may feel a suppression of thirst, which can lead to dehydration
  • As many of the natural supplements are new on the market, there is a general lack of clinic trials and studies, so the potential long term effects are uncertain

Hoodia Gordonii

Hoodia is a supplement that is naturally found in cactus-like plants from semi-desert areas around the world. This plant derivative is widely available in forms such as liquid, powder, tea, or capsule. Hoodia is said to suppress the appetite by interrupting energy molecules that impact hunger signals in the brain. Hoodia is available in pure form varieties, and is also available under marketed names such as Phenhermine or 850Hoodia.


Caralluma is similar to Hoodia, as it is also derived from a natural cactus-like plant.
Caralluma is said to successfully suppress the appetite by influencing appetite controlling mechanisms in the brain, while also suppressing human enzymes that would normally lead to fat storage and formation.

Prescription Appetite Suppressants

Physicians have been prescribing appetite suppressants for years, and many consumers feel more confidence in the prescription options, as these drugs commonly undergo more clinical trials and studies, and are most often approved by the FDA.


Meridia is a drug that increases specific brain chemistry levels to inhibit feelings of hunger, while also decreasing food cravings. Meridia has been approved by the FDA since 1997. Studies show that Meridia may result in the following side effects:

  • Headache
  • Dry Mouth
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia


Ephedra’s active ingredient, Ephedrine, is commonly found in many herbal dietary supplements used to promote weight loss, and studies show that this substance can suppress the appetite. While Ephedra is found in both prescription and over-the counter varieties, it is a potentially harmful stimulant, so consumers with a history of health issues should consult a physician before taking this drug. With this stimulant, potential side effects include:

  • Irregular Hearbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
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