The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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Humans have pursued diets for many decades. Many early humans used a variety of plants and herbs to curb their appetite and reduce their weight. In the past 200 years, some of these naturals’ appetite suppressants have been incorporated into modern medicine, along with a variety of new pharmaceuticals. The following guide explores how diet pills are made and distributed.

Types of Pills

There are a variety of diet pills available for consumers. The vast majority of diet pills work by increasing the body's metabolism and reducing appetite. These diet pills are usually known as stimulants. The most common types of diet pills contain ephedra. Ephedra is a plant alkaloid found in Ma Huang, a plant commonly found in Asia. For hundreds of years, peasants and manual laborers in China and Japan have used Ma Huang to increase their energy levels. They accomplished this by chewing the raw leaves of the plant, which gave them a small boost in energy.

The Research Grows

In the 1800s, researchers began to study many different plant and animal compounds that were used in medicine. Researchers understood that there was usually a specific chemical or compound in these medicines that made them effective. Over time, researchers isolated ephedrine from Ma Huang, and created the first diet pill. As ephedra grew in popularity, scientists continue to tweak the molecule behind this drug. Eventually, amphetamines were discovered. Amphetamines include drugs like Adderall. Amphetamines are actually manufactured from raw ephedra.

The Science Behind Them

Eventually, researchers created dozens of different compounds that worked as stimulants of the central nervous system. All these compounds worked in slightly different ways, but they all had a common core. Each of these drugs stimulated the release of dopamine in the brain. This release of dopamine helped increase energy, reduce appetite and improve focus. Modern diet pills usually contain a specialized mix of amphetamines. It's important to talk with your physician before taking any diet drugs. Unfortunately, many stimulant-based diet drugs can cause stress to the cardiovascular system. For those who are overweight, adding additional stress to the cardiovascular system can be a serious health risk.

Most amphetamines are manufactured in China and shipped to the United States for final processing, normally using machines like those found at Arrow Mixing Products. It's a good idea to only buy drugs directly from the United States, however. The Food & Drug Administration regulates many OTC drugs to ensure they don't contain harmful compounds or chemicals that could endanger an individual's health or well-being.

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