A 3 cm-square patch which is claimed by its US manufacturers to make weight loss easy. The patch is worn on hairless skin all day, but removed at night. According to the manufacturers, it contains extracts of a brown seaweed containing iodine which is absorbed into the bloodstream. Iodine is used by the body in the thyroid gland to make thyroxine, a hormone which increases metabolism. The manufacturers of the patch suggest that the absorption of additional iodine from the patch enables the production of extra thyroxine to burn off excess fat. Users are told that the patch will enable them to lose weight without any change in their lifestyle, but they are advised to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and follow a reasonably balanced diet. Loss of weight may be due to following this advice rather than to changes in metabolic rate. Some manufacturers have claimed that wearing the patches results in significant weight loss, particularly in those who are significantly overweight. These claims could not be substantiated to the satisfaction of the Food and Drug Administration and the patches were withdrawn from the US market in 1988, but they are still available in other countries. Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition at King's College, London, UK, is quoted in The Times newspaper (14 June 1994) as saying: ‘The only way to lose weight with one is to stick it over your mouth.’
Subjects: Medicine and Health.