Written on November 19, 2023 by Amy Harris, MPH, RN. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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The shortages and big price tags on many of the newest prescription weight loss drugs might have you wondering whether there is a more affordable option that you can buy over the counter. There are many herbal weight loss supplements on the market, but not all of them are safe or effective. Keep reading to learn more about Zotrim™, a supplement that has been available for more than 15 years.
Zotrim™ is a dietary supplement made with herbal ingredients that its manufacturer claims to suppress appetite and reduce cravings. It is marketed as a more affordable over-the-counter (no prescription required) herbal weight loss supplement.
Zotrim™’s packaging instructions suggest taking 2-3 tablets with a full glass of water or a cold drink a few minutes before meals. The manufacturers advise against taking more than nine tablets daily. People who take Zotrim™ at the recommended dosage may notice reduced feelings of hunger within 2-3 days. To maintain its effects, you must take Zotrim™ regularly each day.
According to its manufacturers, Zotrim™ contains a proprietary mix of :
Yerba-mate is a plant found in parts of South America. Its leaves can be dried and made into tea-like beverages or used to extract liquids. Limited research shows that yerba-mate leaves may have beneficial compounds with anti-oxidant activity, protection against DNA damage, vasodilatory effects, anti-inflammatory effects, and a positive impact on glucose tolerance, just to name a few.
Guarana is a seed from a South American plant that is processed as an extract in foods, energy drinks, and energy supplements. Damiana Leaf comes from a shrub growing in Texas, Mexico, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Zotrim’s manufacturers don’t provide any scientific references for their claims that the damiana in Zotrim can limit “emotional eating.”
Your body needs Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) to keep your nervous system and immune system healthy. Most adults in the United States consume the recommended amounts of vitamin B6, so additional supplements are not usually needed.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) keeps your nervous system, digestive system, and skin healthy. Severe cases of niacin deficiencies are very rare in US populations. Routine supplementation of Vitamin B3 is not recommended.
It is true that the B vitamins (like B6 and B3) help your body obtain energy from the food you eat. While Zotrim™’s website claims that Vitamin B6 and B3 can “support a normal, energy-yielding metabolism” and “reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue,” there is no scientific research or evidence to support weight loss claims, according to the Cleveland Clinic and the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.[1-6]
Each Zotrim™ capsule contains 75 mg of caffeine. Consuming 60-1,000 mg of caffeine per day has been shown in studies to suppress appetite, improve exercise and energy levels, and increase fat oxidation.[3,7]
A typical 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains 96 milligrams of caffeine. Up to 400 mg of caffeine a day (the equivalent of four cups of brewed coffee) is considered safe for most people.[3,8]
There have been some limited studies looking at the effectiveness and safety of each of these ingredients for weight loss separately.[1,7] Other studies of combination products with yerba-mate, guarana, and damiana report that participants have appetite suppression and delayed gastric (stomach) emptying.[9-11] Other weight loss medications, such as semaglutide and other GLP-1 agonists, also delay stomach emptying, helping people feel fuller faster and for longer so that they eat less over time.
One clinical study of Zotrim™ reported that participants ate 112 fewer calories on average per day, consumed less high-fat foods, and stopped eating three minutes earlier than those who didn’t take Zotrim™. Researchers only collected data from 73 overweight health professionals – too small a group to be able to say whether such results are generalizable across larger and more diverse groups.
No. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Zotrim™ as a dietary supplement, so it does not require the strict testing for safety and quality control.
Zotrim’s manufacturers claim that people sometimes experience nausea while taking Zotrim™, especially when first starting it. Because it contains caffeine, other symptoms people sensitive to caffeine or those already consuming daily caffeinated beverages might notice are :
Because yerba-mate has been shown to delay gastric emptying, people taking Zotrim™ might experience some gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, bloating, belching, farting, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain.[2,7,10]
Remember that dietary supplements are not medicines. You should pay attention to several red flags as you weigh (pun intended) your weight loss supplement options, such as:
Even if supplements are third-party tested, it doesn't mean they are safe for all or effective in general. For example, damaina (one of the herbal ingredients in Zotrim) can cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions if taken by people with tree nut allergies. We know that high amounts of caffeine can be harmful in pregnancy, but the safety of damiana, yerba-mate, and guarana taken in pregnancy is not known. Therefore, talking to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and checking in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications is important.
Deciding whether a weight loss prescription or supplement is right (and safe) for you requires understanding how they work, their side effects, and their effectiveness. That is why Everlywell offers its comprehensive Weight Care+ program to provide virtual weight loss management support for those on the weight loss journey.