Fat Loss SupplementsDec 14, 2021
We live in a fast-paced, ever-moving world. Additionally, the obesity epidemic remains a rapidly progressing issue. This combination leads many to seek easy solutions like supplements to lose fat.
However, with the numerous pills, powders, and potions, it is essential to know what works and what is just taking your precious dollars. I will tell you that most supplements are just wallet-extractors and may even impede weight loss.
Pre-Workouts and High-Dose Caffeine
The first main category is pre-workout products. Many of these products stimulate blood flow, neurologic focus, and motivation. The common ingredients in such products include:
- Nitric Oxide
- High Dose B Vitamins
Sweeteners aside, caffeine actually can improve your metabolism by 3-11% and spur some fat loss up to 29%. Studies in people showed modest weight loss; however, too much of a good thing is harmful to your health.
Noticeable side effects of excess caffeine include jitters, anxiety, etc., but interference with sleep can be detrimental to your recovery and hormone regulation. Namely, you can upregulate cortisol (your stress hormone that also decreases testosterone), and caffeine can affect sex hormone-binding globulin essential for bringing your testosterone to your tissues.
As testosterone is essential for muscle growth in men and women, and lean muscle mass is the best way to burn fat, you will lose the beneficial effects of the big T. As if that wasn’t enough; excess cortisol will cause people to retain fat and water around their trunk and may cause muscle wasting the arms and legs. So, it is best to moderate caffeine, lending benefits and not detriments.
Instead of these pre-workouts, use green tea extract, which contains a small dose of caffeine, the anti-oxidant ECGC, and can burn fat using the hormone noradrenaline naturally. Green coffee bean extract may be another good alternative lending weight loss, assisting with lowering blood sugars, reducing blood pressure, and having anti-oxidant properties.
Ephedrine and Bitter Orange/Synephrine
In the early 2000s, many flocked to weight loss pills containing the molecule ephedrine. These supplements can cause some degree of fat loss by reducing appetites and direct thermogenic effects of fat cells. The risks may outweigh these benefits to your cardiovascular system.
Such products are pharmacologically amphetamines and, therefore, can be addictive. They also can cause terrible cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes when used in excess, prompting the FDA to remove these products from the shelves.
However, some products survived this pull from the shelves, including Hydroxycut and Bitter orange extract, which makes synephrine an ephedrine-like compound. At present, there is minimal data to support the benefit of bitter orange extract for fat loss.
Instead of craving is an issue, you can try Garcinia cambogia, a pumpkin extract that may increase serotonin, reduce appetite, and lead to weight loss. Meratrim is another alternative to take under a healthcare provider’s supervision.
Meratrim can make it more difficult for fat cells to multiply and has been shown in randomized trials to reduce weight.
Direct Fat Cell Actors Forskolin and Raspberry Ketones
Forskolin is an extract found within the mint family. The mechanism of action upregulates an enzyme called cAMP to stimulate fat burning. It does appear that when paired with rolipram, there was a higher level of cAMP and fat breakdown. This mechanism does not seem to have translated into randomized trials of obese women or men.
With the ketogenic diet popularization of recent, many people jump to taking artificial ketone products to advance them into a ketogenic state. One such product is raspberry ketones that cause an increase in the fat-leasing hormone adiponectin. There are no human studies to date that can demonstrate the benefits of raspberry ketones for fat loss.
Instead, consider another compound called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is found in dairy products and can burn fat and reduce inflammation by generating omega-3 fatty acids. Though weight loss benefits are modest, they are long-lasting. Also, the anti-inflammatory effects and other additional effects via the omega-3 fatty acid pathway are numerous.
As a Gastroenterologist, it is conclusive that your gut has a vital role in obesity, metabolic disease, and insulin resistance. Additionally, you can impact these conditions by giving probiotics, pre-biotic, and a proper diet containing natural foods.
The benefits within the gut negate poor dietary practice, namely the standard American diet. So, instead of giving probiotics alone, which will have little to no effect, add good nutritional practices and compounds like glucomannan.
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber that makes you feel full and can assist with remodeling the microbiome to the “good guys.” In addition to causing weight loss, glucomannan can also improve constipation, blood glucose, and cholesterol.
No supplement can supplant good dietary practices, sleep, and movement. Stimulant supplements like ephedrine compounds and caffeine, despite some benefits, are potentially dangerous when taken without the surveillance of a healthcare provider.
Finally, the microbiome can be a powerful tool to lose weight. However, in the absence of a proper diet and pre-biotics, taking a probiotic pill cannot overcome the effects of the standard American diet. Some supplements act directly on fat cells, like forskolin and raspberry ketones, showing little to no benefit.
Consider Glucomannan, CLA, and Garcinia cambogia for weight loss
Consider low dose caffeine via green tea, green coffee bean extracts, and Meratrim (under supervision) for fat burning