Orlistat, also known as tetrahydrolipstatin, is a diet pill ingredient that was first available exclusively on the prescription market – under the brand name, Xenical – but that more recently became available at a notably lower dose in a pill that can be purchased over the counter, under the name Alli.
This ingredient has been shown in medical studies to be able to assist obese patients in losing more weight than they would if they were only dieting. That said, its use is meant to be combined with healthy eating habits and a fitness appropriate exercise program. It is typically advised that users of products containing this ingredient follow a reduced fat diet, as the consumption of excessive amounts of fat can lead to certain unpleasant side effects. It is intended only for adults who are over the age of 18. The prescription strength version of this ingredient may be recommended following weight loss surgery, to assist patients in being able to stop the lost pounds from returning.
Orlistat is a drug that falls into a drug class that is known as lipase inhibitors. What this means is that it functions in the intestine to stop them from absorbing about a quarter of the fat consumed in food. The fats that are not absorbed by the body are simply pushed through with the rest of the waste and are expelled through bowel movements.
It is for that reason that eating excessive amounts of fat can lead to side effects, as passing a lot of fat through bowel movements can bring about symptoms of diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, and leaky or oily stool. When taking a pill based on Orlistat, most doctors will recommend that a dieter follow an eating plan in which no more than 30 percent of calories come from fat. At the same time, it is important that a little bit of fat be present in every meal. If a fat-free meal is to be consumed, a doctor may recommend skipping the dose of the medication.
It is also likely that a doctor will recommend taking a daily multivitamin or specific vitamins throughout the time that this drug is being taken. The reason is that certain vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, as well as beta carotene are all absorbed into the body through fat. When that fat is blocked, the absorption of those nutrients are blocked as well. Equally, Orlistat and the supplements should not all be taken at the same time.
It is highly recommended that a doctor be consulted before beginning the use of any diet pill that contains Orlistat as an ingredient.