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Altern Med Rev. 2008 Mar;13(1):34-42.

Potential applications for alternative medicine to treat obesity in an aging population.

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Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami and the Miami VA Health Care System, Room 1D200, Miami VA Medical Center, 1201 NW 16 Street, Miami, FL 33125, USA.


Obesity is a growing problem causing significant morbidity and mortality. The efficacy of conventional therapies is limited. Numerous alternative therapies are advocated for weight loss, including dietary modifications, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture. Many herbal medications and dietary supplements such as conjugated linoleic acids, chitosan, Garcinia cambogia, and Citrus aurantium, are also being used. Most have been tested in very limited trials. None have been evaluated to the extent they can be definitively recommended, nor have they been studied to ascertain the extent of potential hazards. Given the scope of the problem, and the potential risk to a vulnerable population, further research should be conducted to define the efficacy of these treatments, particularly for the elderly.

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