What is usnea? Is this weight loss supplement safe?

Summer has arrived and with it the list of supplements that promise to burn fat and lose weight fast three or four kilos. And if you want to give an even more natural touch to your diet, you always have the option of going to an herbalist and bloating to make and drink infusions that promise you will lose weight. But no plant or supplement works miracles and even some of them can cause a health problem. That seems to be the case with usnea when used to lose weight.

What is usnea and what is it for?

The usnea is a lichen whose most studied active ingredient is usic acid, which has been investigated, above all, for its antibiotic properties. In fact, for centuries it has been used against the cold in countries like Germany, France and the United States. But that has not been the only use that has been given to usnic acid. It is so ubiquitous that we can find it in all kinds of products: from Kombucha tea in China, India, Japan to toothpaste. And for a few years now it has begun to be used for more than just preventing colds: to lose weight.

Usnic acid has become a popular ingredient in some weight loss supplements, especially in products that are advertised as "fat burners". The secret to its success (unproven by scientific evidence, let it be said) is that usnic acid is capable of increasing metabolic rate (it causes cells to burn more calories than usual to perform some of their functions) which helps us lose weight quickly.

Can usic acid cause liver damage?

The problem with these products presented to us as natural supplements is that they are sold as dietary products, which means that they do not pass the same security controls to which the drugs are submitted before their commercializationTherefore, the prevention of its toxic effects can be complicated.

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In the United States, for example, usnic acid was marketed in two formats and one of them had to be withdrawn from the market, specifically the one that in the same pill he associated usnea with five other substances that also promised to help in weight loss. Well, from the moment it began to advertise as an aid to losing weight, the medical literature described 16 cases of toxicity associated with the consumption of usic acid, of which eight had fulminant hepatitis, one died and four had to practice a transplant. While is true that all patients had taken higher doses of usnic acid From those recommended by the manufacturer, the advice of the experts is to be suspicious of those who promise magic solutions against excess weight.

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