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Orlistat has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help people lose weight. Although the weight loss is not very great, it has far greater potential to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks.

Orlistat blocks enzymes that help you absorb fat, so that only 2/3rds of fat in the intestines is absorbed, while 1/3d will pass from your body and can cause bloating, cramping and fatty leakage (1,2). It also can rob you of fat-soluble vitamins, ADE and K. You can prevent these side effects by severely restricting your intake of fat and taking extra vitamins A,D and E by eating huge amounts of yellow, orange and green vegetables, and whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts instead of bakery products, and by exposing your skin to sunlight on a regular basis.

In one study, people who took Orlistat plus a low fat diet lost 19.3 pounds, while those who only dieted lost 12.8 pounds. I do not believe that this minimal weight loss is worth the $3.30 per day that the manufacturer will charge. The manufacturer, Roche, has already done studies showing that the combination of cholesterol lowering drugs plus Orlistat is safe and highly effective in lowering cholesterol (3).

1) CY Oo, B Akbari, S Lee, G Nichols, CP Hellmann.Effect of orlistat, a novel anti-obesity agent, on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of pravastatin in patients with mild hypercholesterolaemia. Clinical Drug Investigation, 1999, Vol 17, Iss 3, pp 217-223. Roche .

2)JB Harp. Orlistat for the long-term treatment of obesity. Drugs of Today, 1999, Vol 35, Iss 2, pp 139-145.

3)JB Harp. Orlistat for the long-term treatment of obesity. Drugs of Today, 1999, Vol 35, Iss 2, pp 139-145.

4)JO Hill, J Hauptman, JW Anderson, K Fujioka, PM ONeil, DK Smith, JH Zavoral, LJ Aronne. rlistat, a lipase inhibitor, for weight maintenance after conventional dieting: a 1-y study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 69, Iss 6, pp 1108-1116.

Reported 6/20/99; Checked 7/31/07

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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