Some clinics offer lipotropic injections for weight loss. However, researchers have not comprehensively studied the efficacy and safety of these.
Lipotropes in lipotropic injections include a mix of different vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that people report help them lose weight and fat.
Keep reading to learn more about lipotropic injections, including the ingredients, cost, dosage, and possible risks.
Some people use lipotropic injections because weight loss clinics market them as treatments that promote fat burning. In combination with a healthful diet and regular exercise, people who use lipotropic injections should lose fat more easily.
Each clinic has its own specific type of injection, so the components may differ from clinic to clinic.
Lipotropes are substances that promote the removal of fat from the liver and reduce the production of fat. Some of the more common lipotropes that clinics use include:
Vitamin B-12 and methionine are important nutrients required for reactions in the body that regulate fat and protein metabolism. That said, researchers have not confirmed that taking doses of vitamin B-12 or methionine above the recommended amount will actually help a person lose weight.
Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana found that restricting dietary methionine in people with metabolic syndrome caused an increase in fat digestion. In this study, people in the control group and those restricting methionine lost the same amount of weight.
Another study showed that a combination of diet, myoinositol, and D-chiroinositol may have accelerated weight and fat loss in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. However, researchers need to conduct further studies to confirm the effects of inositol.
The substances in lipotropic injections may not be effective in reducing a person’s weight or fat. Although, theoretically, these substances may have important roles in fat metabolism, researchers are still unsure if higher doses are beneficial for weight and fat loss.
Other clinics may introduce additional vitamins and amino acids that some practitioners believe provide additional weight loss support.
Although research into lipotropic injections is limited, researchers have studied the effects of plant-based foods as a source of lipotropes in rats. The researchers state that the major plant lipotropes include:
Other substances in plant foods — such as fatty acids, fiber, and flavonoids — may also have lipotropic effects. This study only explored the effect of lipotropic substances in the diet. The researchers did not investigate the effect of lipotropic injections in the test rats.
Clinical trials that have studied lipotropic injections are scarce. For this reason, some doctors may not recommend using them for weight or fat loss.
Weight loss clinics will establish the price of lipotropic injections, so the cost will vary from one weight loss clinic to the next.
One of the factors that may influence the cost they settle on is the components included in the lipotropic injection.
Vitamin B-12 injections alone may be less costly, but there is no scientific evidence around the cost of these injections.
Some clinics offer packages of injections, or they may include the cost of the injection in the price of a weight loss program.
The dosage depends on the ingredients in the injection. Also, each clinic may follow a different protocol and scheduling of the injections.
In some clinics, people receive lipotropic injections once weekly, whereas other clinics suggest more frequent injections.
As with cost, there is no scientific data to back any dosage claims that weight loss clinics make.
In one study, researchers administered 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B-12 intramuscularly to explore the effects on weight loss. Other clinics may choose different strengths of vitamin B-12 and other ingredients in their injection formulations.
People who want to use lipotropic injections should choose a clinic with a registered physician. Some clinics may not have doctors on staff, whereas others may have weight loss specialists who are also medical doctors.
Some lipotropic injections may not be appropriate for everyone. Before receiving their first injection, a person should check if any of the ingredients can be harmful in combination with their medications or a medical condition they have.
Apart from pain at the injection site, one of the risks of using lipotropic injections is that they may not work. People cannot rely on these injections to promote fat loss, so they should also try to adopt more healthful habits, such as exercising regularly.
Researchers have not studied the side effects of lipotropic injections. Information on side effects comes from anecdotal evidence from people who have used the injections for weight loss. Side effects may also vary from person to person.
People who want to lose weight can speak with a doctor or other healthcare provider to create a safe, effective, and individualized weight loss plan.
Doctors can help people find healthful ways to meet their weight, body mass index (BMI), and hip-to-waist ratio goals, which can promote overall health.
Before planning a weight loss regimen, people may wish to consider their current eating and exercise habits. Some questions they should ask themselves include:
- What dietary changes can I make to promote healthy living and reach a moderate weight?
- What exercises can I do safely to promote healthy living and reach a moderate weight?
- Which interventions helped or did not in the past?
- What are my dietary and exercise limitations?
Doctors, dietitians, and weight loss specialists can help answer some of these questions.
To lose weight and maintain the loss, a person may need to change lifestyle habits other than eating and exercise.
For example, weight loss programs that are safe and effective should also include:
- behavioral treatment or lifestyle counseling
- sleep management
- stress management
- continuous feedback, monitoring, and support
- slow, steady, and achievable fitness goals
People should try to avoid weight loss programs that are scams. They should report these to the Federal Trade Commission.
Some simple changes a person can make to their diet to promote more healthful habits include:
- drinking more water
- eating more fiber
- avoiding processed foods
- increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet
- reducing the intake of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide nutrition and exercise recommendations. People who want to lose weight can follow these recommended guidelines, along with suggestions from their doctor.
Some people use lipotropic injections to aid fat loss and lose weight.
The purpose of these injections is to speed up the metabolism of fat. However, in order to maintain a moderate weight, people should also try to eat more healthfully and adopt regular exercise habits. Lipotropic injections are not a substitute for these healthful habits.
Researchers have not confirmed that lipotropic injections are effective.
Individual ingredients include some vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that may be involved in fat metabolism. However, most data on the success of lipotropic injections come from anecdotal evidence. Therefore, researchers should continue to study their effectiveness.
To lose weight and fat, a person should try to focus on lifestyle and diet.