GNC Dietary Supplements?

I just bought a GNC dietary supplement called “Women’s Ultra Mega.” I’m a 17-yr old average sized female, and I got them for the purpose of a weight loss aid (this was the main reason) and a healthier body in general. I was wondering if anyone has any information on the product, because I have a funny feeling that the dude in GNC was holding info from me regarding side effects, dangers, etc. I took two today (the dosage is two a day - so I followed the bottle directions and everything.) Each one was followed by a minor headache, but I’m not sure if that is related, as I have headaches very frequently in general. Also <TMI coming up!> a vast change in urine color. That’s what got me freaked out a little. I’ve tried researching a little but come up empty handed. Has anyone ever tried this product that can give me some info on how it affected them? Can anyone tell me where I can find good information on the product?

See? Take your eyes off an adoptee for a couple of days, and look what happens.

I’ve heard of this product, and it’s just a multi-vitamin. Did you mention to the sales person that you wanted something for weight loss? (I’ve been to a few GNCs, and besides being a little pricey, I’ve found that the employees aren’t exactly knowledgeable, but are more concerned with making a sale. Just my opinion.)

I’ve taken some types of vitamins where an hour or so after taking them, you’ll definitely detect a fragrance when you pee - a lot of that is B vitamins that you may be smelling. It will also cause a bright yellow or even orangeish color to appear. However, if you think your headaches are a result of this, you should stop taking it and see if the headaches stop.
I don’t see any ingreadients that woul normally cause any type of reaction. I also don’t see anything that would supress your appetite.

Not knowing any specifics of your situation, you’d likely be far better served with possible dietary changes or some type of aerobic activity, or both. Taking supplements for weight loss, especially at your age, isn’t really the best thing to do. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I’ve had quite a few female friends who have dealt with this type of thing.

So nice to feel looked out for when you’re an adopted newbie :smiley:

Yeah, the first thing I mentioned to the guy is that I wanted some sort of weight-loss pill. His first reaction was “you don’t need that!” (apparently he didn’t see the need for me to lose weight as much as I do.) I’m suspicious that because of his opinion, he screwed me over in that department. At any rate…

I really have no time for exercise, and I do watch my diet, so GNC seemed to be the quickest fix. If these aren’t the way to go, then is there any sort of product that can help me drop a few pounds?

I’m glad to have the explanation for the whole urine thing, and the headaches…I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Any other dopers have some advice?

Here’s some advice:

Don’t Trust Advice from Health-Food Retailers!

Dietary Supplements: Appropriate Use

This second link says “Individuals using prolonged weight-reduction diets, particularly diets that are below 1200 calories per day or are nutritionally unbalanced, may benefit from a multivitamin-mineral supplement.” Maybe this is what the clerk was thinking. But for most of us, vitamin supplements just give us expensive urine.

Why don’t you read the label & tell us what is in it?

I’ve taken GNC’s Mega Men before, and the yellow urine is pretty typical. Each pill has an absurd amount of B vitamins in it, and the daily dose is two pills! In fact, I remember that urinating while on the vitamin could even be painful if I wasn’t drinking enough water. That said, whether you’re using the Ultra Mega or not, drink more water! It’s good for you.

Now, about the weight loss thing, repeat after me:

There is no magic pill which will make me lose weight without changing my habits.

Losing weight will really require more than ‘watching your diet’. Let’s say you want to lose one pound of fat. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. So spread over one week, you would have to consume 500 fewer calories a day in order to achieve that number. What’s that, half a Big Mac? Of course, you could spread it over two weeks and only have to reduce your intake by 250 calories a day, but the pound per week approach is about the most you could lose in a controlled fashion without having to worry about ‘rebound’ or ‘yo-yo’ effects.

Now you say, ‘Oh, 500 calories a day? No problem!’ But do you really know how much food you eat every day? Try recording everything you eat for a week. And weighing each portion before you eat it. Turns out not everything is as well quantized as we would like. Today your salad dressing might have 200 calories. But tomorrow you might use more and make is 300. You get the idea.

Okay, now you’re saying, ‘Dammit, I know how much I eat and I’m consistent. If I eat any less than that, I’ll starve!’ True. Your body needs to consume a certain amount of calories each day to maintain weight. Drop significantly below that and you’ll shift into conservation mode, slowing your metabolism. This is why exercise is important. It’s easier to exercise for 250 calories and only have to cut out 250 calories from your diet than it is to cut the full 500 calories a day, and it prevents your metabolism from slowing down. If you lift weights, it may even speed your metabolism up!

Enough of the lecture (stick with me here, I’m getting to the interesting part). ‘Screw that, I don’t have time to exercise and I’m eating as little as I can.’ Fine. I lied before, there is a magic pill. In fact there are a bunch! So many that I don’t know why the guy at GNC gave you the Women’s Ultra Mega. The so-called fat-burners (thermogenic or heat producing formulas) are different combinations of herbs that do in fact increase your metabolism, at a price. Most popular is the ECA stack, or Ephedrine, Caffeine and Asprin. Ephedrine, or ma huang, is a stimulant that will increase the number of calories you burn. Caffeine you know about, and is the major component of a number of diet pills. It often comes in the form of Guarana, a tropical fruit. Asprin works synergistically with the caffeine and increases is potency. Many companies will use willow bark, which contains a natural form of asprin, to fit in with their all-natural supplement image. There are tons of other herbs and minerals in pills like these that are used to either suppress your appetite, enable more of your own fat to be burned, or increase your metabolism.

So it all makes sense, right? Using stimulants to get that junkie-skinny look. Forgive me if I’m not that enthusiastic. The negatives may outweigh the positives. I’ve heard that you get get pretty jittery on them, and can even be dangerous for people with heart problems or high-blood pressure like myself. That’s up to you.

There have been studies that show that users of these products have better results than those using nothing, but they also were on exercise programs. The best thing to do would be to do some research yourself on these pills, and read some of people’s responses on how it’s worked for them. A quick search brought me here:

Check it out, try them out yourself, and tell us how it goes. Just be careful.

There are no quick fixes. Exercise and moderation in your food consumption are the only healthy ways (weighs :slight_smile: ) to lose pounds.

You say you have no time for exercise and since I don’t know your schedule, have you considered the following?

  1. Get a stationary bike or treadmill and use it while you’re watching TV.
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Take a 15 minute fast walk around the block or run up and down your stairs at home for 15 minutes.
  4. Do 10 situps and 10 pushups when you get up in the morning.

You might be amazed at how much these can help even though they aren’t the “30 minutes of aerobic activity” that the experts recommend.

Any of the things that claim to be “quick fixes” usually have bad or downright dangerous side effects (i.e. ephedra) and do not result in long-term weight loss.

Please do not buy into the American press’ view of what the average woman should look like! If you are where you need to be weight-wise according to the AMA charts, concentrate more on building some muscle. Sometimes it’s not how much we weigh that can make the difference in how we look but how our weight sits on our body. You’re obviously a smart gal (or you wouldn’t be here! :smiley: ); good luck!

I noticed in one of the links some one kindly provided that one of the ingredients contained in this elixier is dong quai. That’s a menopausal herb, which, incidentally, is not effective. It seems like they throw in everything but the kitchen sink in some of these so-called supplements.

GNC is not a health store. They have a lot of junk. Sure they have some stuff that’s healthful, but you’d be better off to go to a real health food store. That said, as the other posters noted, the excuse that “I don’t have time for exercise,” is just that an excuse. No a good oone either. Just 30 minutes a day can make a difference.

Thank You for the links guys. I realize lack of time is just an excuse, but I truly remain constantly under school and work pressures. I’ve struggled with my self-image for years, and I desperately want to do something about it. Is there anything you know of that will help regular exercises and diets work faster or better? If one of the already posted links contains that, I apologize, because I haven’t had the time to look at all of them yet. Thanks.

You don’t have the time to read the posts to your OP and you don’t have the time to exercise. There is no quick cure. Anything worth having is worth working for. You work and go to school, so you should know. I realize that takes a lot of your time, but I did the same, as well as many others. You have to get your priorities right.

Just FYI, I applied at a GNC once (didn’t get the job, those bastards) and they make minimum wage, plus commission. The lady who interviewed me even mentioned that I should try to “steer them toward the more expensive product.”

Just a reinforcer here that 1) stimulant usage can be dangerous - ephedrine (ma huang) for instance has been implicated in a number of deaths. These substances are no long-term fix.

  1. Exercise is to my thinking an essential component of any weight loss program. If you are under work/school stress exercise is also great for improving mental outlook. I recommend treadmilling for weight loss if you can’t run outdoors or on an indoor track.

3)There are a lot of “sure-fire” weight loss supplements out there, and the only thing you can rely on them lightening is your wallet.

Just A Girl,

You may as well pick up this month’s ‘Muscular Development’ magazine. It’s a fat burning extravaganza. And a plus is that there are as many (if not more) pages of ads on fat burners as there are pages of articles. :wink:

You might want to sign up for a class on some sport like tennis or aerobics. It may be worth a credit so your time won’t be completely wasted. And it will keep you active (if you choose to be) twice a week or so.

That’s a good idea, but exercise is not a complete waste of time. In fact, IMHO, it is a great use of time.

Thank you very much. Again, it is hard for me to find the time for a decent amount of exercise, as I am desperate to go to bed at night (school starts eeearly and I tend to study until late at night). However, I suppose that’s what new Year’s Resolutions are for. I guess nothing good comes without some work. :frowning: Thanks again.

Just A Girl -

I realize it’s hard to fit in exercise into a busy schedule, but!

I’ve seen two recent studies showing that 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day actually burn more than 30 minutes of exercise done once a day. It may be hard to get a 30 minute block of time set aside, so add small amounts of exercise in different parts of your schedule:

Take a break every half hour or hour of studying and spend 5 or 10 minutes on the treadmill/stairmaster with a book. Or better yet, put on your favorite song and dance!

BunnyGirl’s suggestion to put the treadmill in front of the TV is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve even had a couple of times where I stayed on the treadmill for a whole hour and a half movie.

Or get some free hand weights to work on your upper body strength

(and BunnyGirl’s other suggestions, she beat me to it!)

I don’t know what facilities you have - if you’re in college you have probably have access to a lot of facilities you aren’t aware of: swimming pool, free weights, aerobic classes, etc.

And then there’s my favorite exercise - belly dance (ok, guys, I know what y’all were thinking :wink: )
If I knew in high school what I know now… I wasn’t overweight in high school, just out of shape. Problem is, out of shape can look awfully fat, especially in our supermodel culture, especially if you have low self-esteem (like I did). But you can’t diet off “out of shape” - just won’t happen. The nice thing is that toning exercises do work nicely unless you have a whole lot of extra weight (which I bet you don’t if the GNC guy was flirting with you). If I had gotten into shape in HS, instead of dieting and getting depressed about my weight, I would be a lot thinner now.

And measure your aerobic exercise in terms of endurance. You will see that improve fairly quickly.

Please note: I’ve seen it too many times IRL and in studies - dieting alone causes weight gain! Usually you gain as much from dieting as you originally lose. And it’s weight that is more persistant than the original weight.

Finally, all of the dieting and exercise in the world isn’t going to help if you have a bad body image. Work on feeling good about yourself, while you are working on your body.

[sub]p.s. I had headaches nearly every day from when I hit puberty till I got all my problems sorted out. Email if you’d like some advice from someone who’s been there. [/sub]

You want to loose weight reasonably quickly? Safely?

I learned how to do it from some friends. The process is real simple.

Before each major meal, eat a big, green salad with tasty, low cal dressing. There’s like 60 calories in a whole head of lettuce and celery requires you to burn more calories in eating it than it provides! Toss in some fresh fruit if you like.

This works in two ways.

It starts to fill you up, so when you eat, you’ll eat less and it provides bulk vegetable fiber which will sweep the food through your system a bit faster.

It’s even better if you can eat a salad for lunch instead of a burger, even a salad containing meat, like chicken or ham. Make sure you drink about 6 to 8 normal glasses of water per day and within a week, you’ll notice you’ve dropped weight.

One side effect though, all of that fiber will, well, make you prone to go to the can more. This will last several days until your body gets used to it.

You can take your vitamin supplements right along with it.

The only major fattening things in salads, aside from the obvious, are beans. Beans are high in fiber but also higher in calories and some oils than you might think, and this includes things like peas.

Hey. Don’t believe me. Try it.