Weight Loss

Alli™ — Weight Loss Boon or Health Fraud?

I want to comment on the hype around Alli™, the newest, over-the-counter weight loss product. I couldn’t believe it when it sold out all over the country on the first day of its release. I would like to inject some sanity into the conversation.

Alli™ is a weaker version of Xenical™, a prescription medication that was introduced about 10 years ago. I clearly remember the advertisements at that time: A voice telling you “you won’t look like a supermodel,” while a picture of a model is clearly displayed on the screen. Then, a picture of a pizza while the voice states, “of course, you can’t eat anything you want.” And finally, in a very fast, tiny voice, the side effects, including fecal incontinence! This was a masterful use of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is the study of how people’s brains process information. The two important rules to apply to the foregoing ad are these: i) Your brain doesn’t hear negatives; it literally edits them out. And ii) your visual cortex overrides your hearing. So, the message being communicated is exactly the opposite of the words!! Talk about misleading!

Now that the product has been around for a while, people are beginning to catch on the side effects, which include: increased gas and flatulence, oily stools and greasy excretions from the anus. The package instructions include: you may want to wear dark pants until you know how this medication will affect you, and you may want to take an extra set of clothes to work!! Excuse me? Why would anyone subject herself to this indignity? I suspect because Alli™ is being presented as an “easy solve” to what is really a complex problem.

More seriously, as far as I am concerned, Alli™ blocks the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, E and D. Given the recent research on vitamin D and the increased risk of cancer because of a deficiency state (see my article on this topic. Click on “Cancer” under “Categories” on the right.), the drug companies are creating a market for their expensive chemotherapy drugs! Sorry for the cynicism, but it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

The data on vitamin D is inescapable. There is a direct relationship between serum vitamin D and the incidence of cancer of the breast, colon and prostate. In fact, an animal study in 2006, linked the active ingredient in Alli™ to colon lesions believed to be the precursors to colon cancer. (Garcia S, da Costa Barros L, Turatti A, Martinello F, Modiano P, Ribeiro-Silva A, de Oliveira Vespúcio M, Uyemura S (2006). “The anti-obesity agent Orlistat is associated to increase in colonic preneoplastic markers in rats treated with a chemical carcinogen.”. Cancer Lett 240 (2): 221–4. Takayama T, Katsuki S, Takahashi Y, Ohi M, Nojiri S, Sakamaki S, Kato J, Kogawa K, Miyake H, Niitsu Y (1998). “Aberrant crypt foci of the colon as precursors of adenoma and cancer”. N Engl J Med 339 (18): 1277–84) And, they want you to take this for life?!?

Last, but not least, the weight loss is nominal – only 5% of body weight. So, if you weigh 250 lbs, you’ll lose 12½ lbs. Great isn’t it?

A far better option is Coleus forskoli, which is in our herbal product Coleus Forte™. The dose is two to three per day, based upon your response to the product. A few people experience diarrhea, which can be handled by reducing the dose. The side of effects of Coleus include: lowering your blood pressure, improving your blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion, replacing body fat with muscle mass, inhibiting platelet activation (less clots), increasing the strength of contraction of your heart, while relaxing smooth muscle, and improving thyroid function. The reason for these wide ranging effects is that Coleus acts directly to increase cyclic AMP, a major regulator of cellular metabolism.

Of course, you will have to watch your portion size and eliminate sugar and white flour (i.e., decrease refined carbohydrates in general). But, that’s just a healthy approach to eating. The only people who can’t take Coleus Forte™ are those whose blood pressure is too low to start with (people with severe adrenal problems) and those few people who find their gut becomes too irritable. In my office, that’s less than 1% of the people who have tried it so far.

So, if you’re interested in a healthy approach to improving your body mass, call and ask for Coleus Forte™. If you feel you need a more personalized program, you can schedule a consultation and I will be happy to create a personalized plan for you.

Does this apply to you? If so, see our information on Consultations.