There are so many different types of supplements out there that sometimes it can be hard to work out what ones work, and well, what ones are a complete and utter waste of money.
And fat burners can be some of the worst culprits.
Fat burning supplements (also known as “thermogenics”) are a branch of supplements that are purported to help you lose weight. As their name suggests, they are ultimately designed to burn more fat, making fat loss easier.
However, when it comes to this branch of compounds, some are much better than others.
The problem with some fat burners
While there are certainly some fat burning supplements that work, there are a large number on the market that promise the world, but actually contain very few (and sometimes, zero) ingredients that have scientific evidence to support their use.
These supplements rely on good marketing to sell their products, rather than results -- and they are completely useless.
Which is why we wanted to spend today talking about some of those fat burning compounds that actually work.
The best fat burning compounds
When it comes to effective fat burning compounds, they generally act on the body in one of two (or sometimes both) very distinct ways:
- They increase your fat metabolism, and;
- Enhance your daily energy expenditure
Taking this into consideration, fat metabolism really just describes the process where your body breaks down fat and uses it for energy.
Fat burning compounds that do a good job of increasing fat metabolism essentially make your fat more available for energy production. They also speed up the rate at which your body breaks down fat for energy -- both of which cause a large increase in fat metabolism.
Next up we have energy expenditure.
Compounds that enhance energy expenditure ultimately increase your metabolic rate (AKA the amount of energy your body burns to survive). By increasing your metabolic rate, these compounds essentially increase the amount of energy you burn every single day -- irrespective of how much you exercise.
Obviously this increase in daily energy expenditure makes creating a sustained energy deficit easier, increasing fat loss.
OK, so this is all well and good -- but what are those compounds that actually have these effects on the body?
Well, here are a few of them…
Gamma-Butyrobetaine (or GBB for short) is a naturally occurring compound that your body uses to synthesise L-Carnitine -- which is a unique amino acid that plays a role helping your body break down and use fats for energy.
To be more specific, L-carnitine is a primary player in a process known as beta oxidation. This distinct process essentially describes the way your body breaks down fat for energy in the presence of oxygen (think at rest, or during moderate intensity aerobic exercise).
This means that by supplementing with GBB you can increase fat metabolism, making your body burn more fat for energy. There is also some evidence to suggest that taking it before you start exercise can increase the amount of fat you burn during that bout of exercise .
This makes it a great choice to take before doing some low intensity cardio.
Rauwolscine is a naturally occurring dirritvie of “yohimbe” -- which is a compound that comes from the yohimbe plant (duh).
Yohimbe has been used for centuries in traditional eastern cultures to increase energy levels and improve feelings of happiness and emotional wellbeing. Moreover, it has also been shown to help increase weight loss by blocking “alpha-2 adrenergic receptors”.
This is important, because rauwolscine actually blocks “alpha-2 adrenergic receptors” in a much more effective way than Yohimbe, making it a more potent fat loss supplement .
What does this actually mean?
Well, alpha-2 receptors are found throughout your brain and your body. When they are activated, they calm the body, lowering heart rate, increasing insulin secretion, and promoting energy storage.
But by blocking these receptors, rauwolscine reduces fat storage and increases fat metabolism. Moreover, it also increases the release of norepinephrine and epinephrine, which elevates heart rate and energy expenditure.
This makes it a fat burning option that hits both mechanisms mentioned above.
Theobromine is a natural compound found in cacao plants and tea leaves, that has been shown to increase blood flow throughout the body, while also promoting the secretion of key hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.
These two hormones are known to increase both heart rate and metabolic rate .
As a result, the supplementation of theobromine can lead to a notable increase in daily energy expenditure, making achieving an energy deficit -- and sustaining long term weight loss -- easier.
I have already outlined above (read GBB) that L-Carnitine is an amino acid that plays a role in the process of beta oxidation -- being the process by which your body breaks down fat for energy.
This means that supplementing with L-Carnitine can contribute to a larger portion of the energy you burn every single day coming from fat .
I also want to note here that your body has the ability to store up GBB and L-Carnitine -- meaning that supplementing them together increases the amount you have available to facilitate fat metabolism.
Tyrosine is a unique amino acid found in your body.
This amino acid is important because it helps your body make dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline, and your thyroid hormones -- all of which impact upon your metabolism.
By increasing dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine secretion, this compound causes a marked increase in energy expenditure.
But more important is its impact on your thyroid hormones.
Research has shown that L-Tyrosine can increase “T3” (the most active thyroid hormone) while simultaneously lowering another hormone called “TSH”, which can often be linked to hypothyroidism .
This suggests that L-tyrosine can help regulate your metabolism, which may make it easier to lose fat.
Synephrine is a compound found in the peels of citrus plants.
Synephrine extract appears to impact upon the function of your liver, where it enhances the production and secretion of numerous enzymes that help with energy production.
Within this, it has also been shown to increase heart rate and energy output.
Collectively, this has been shown to increase daily energy expenditure while simultaneously boosting your metabolism -- making it one of the most effective fat loss compounds on the planet .
Lastly we have caffeine -- AKA the big one.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that attaches itself to the “adenosine receptors” within your brain.
Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain, making you feel tired. Under normal circumstances, adenosine levels accumulate throughout the day, facilitating your transition into sleep.
But by blocking these receptors, caffeine increases sensations of alertness, while also boosting the levels of adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine in your brain. This increases your energy output, while also helping mobilise your fat stores for energy.
Which again speeds up fat loss by making it easier to maintain an energy deficit .
I want to finish this article by outlining that fat burners won't do it all for you. To lose fat you need to exercise hard and eat in an energy deficit over a prolonged period of time -- however, fat loss supplements can make getting into a daily energy deficit easier.
In this manner, they are a great option to speed up the fat loss process.
Before supplementing with a fat loss supplement you should always seek advice from a medical professional before commencing supplementation (you know, just to be safe), as many exhibit stimulant-like effects on the body.
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