If you own a television, you've probably seen the commercial in which a very slim Anna Nicole Smith smiles seductively into the camera and reveals the secret to her weight loss success is "TrimSpa, baby."
Or perhaps you've heard how Cortisol, the hormone that controls your body's stress levels, causes you to gain weight; and that Cortislim can fight off the fat-accumulating effects of this hormone.
If you've seen these ads and have been tempted to try these products, you should know that on Jan. 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was levying a total of $25 million in fines against the companies that make these two products, and two others, the makers of Xenadrine EFX and One-A-Day WeightSmart, for false advertising claims.
The FTC charged that the weight-loss and weight-control claims these companies made on behalf of their products "were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence."
All of this brings to mind the familiar old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. The best way to shed those extra pounds is through a sensible weight reduction program of diet and exercise.
Vitamins and supplements can play an important role in that program, especially Omega Oils, B-Complex and folic acid.
There are three important categories of fatty acids: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. The classifications have to do with the number of hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure of a single molecule of a particular fatty acid. Polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are missing four or more hydrogen atoms.
Your body needs Omega 3 and Omega 6 so that it can produce eicosanoids. These are hormones that are responsible for regulating the major body functions, such as digestion and fat storage. Taking Omega Oil supplements helps activate the enzymes responsible for burning fat.
Along with proper exercise, these oils will increase the metabolic rate, which will burn more fat and increase your weight loss.
The B Complex is a group of vitamins that includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, pyridoxine, folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. Even though these vitamins are chemically different from one another, they are grouped together because they are found with one another in the same foods. Some good sources for B Complex vitamins are yeast, liver, eggs, and green vegetables. These vitamins are water-soluble, which means they are transported through the body by fluids and any excess amounts are excreted along with those fluids. The body doesn't store these vitamins, so they must be replenished daily.
B Complex vitamins help the body maintain both its physical and mental health. In terms of weight reduction, using a B Complex supplement will help the body maintain sufficient levels of these vitamins so that it can efficiently burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It will also ensure that the body produces enough hydrochloric acid, which is important for proper digestion and normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
And finally, a B Complex supplement will help the body maintain energy, stamina, and control appetite.
Folic acid is one of the B Complex vitamins. The natural form of this vitamin, known as folate, is found in foods like oranges, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is made into nutritional supplements.
Folic acid is important in human growth and development because cells must have folic acid in order for them to duplicate themselves. That's because the DNA contained in each cell cannot be reproduced unless there is enough folic acid present. The folic acid makes up the base pairs found in every DNA molecule.
Folic acid is involved in every bodily function that requires cell division. Folic acid works in conjunction with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C to help the body digest and use proteins. Taking a folic acid supplement will ensure that protein is metabolized properly, which will help your body maintain a stable insulin level. Keeping a consistent insulin level means that your body will immediately burn the fat it gets from the foods you eat instead of storing it. Burning fat increases weight loss.
If you've made a resolution to lose that unwanted weight, remember to use your head before you start any weight reduction program. Along with good nutrition and enough exercise, supplements and vitamins like Omega Oils, B Complex, and folic acid will help your body maximize your weight loss efforts.
Fox Health contributor Maria Esposito contributed to this report.
Click here to check out Dr. Manny's book The Check List (Harper Collins, 2007).
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.