What are Fat Burners?
Fat-burning supplements, known as thermogenics, aid in loss of body fat. Fat burners are essentially pills which contain certain herbal ingredients such as Ephedra, HCA, Chitosan and Pyruvate. This supplements claim to either increase energy, stimulate metabolism, suppress appetite.
The two main categories of fat burners: lipotropic products and thermogenic products.
No product actually burns fat. Fat-burning supplements contain ingredients that raise metabolic temperature in a way that utilizes a greater percentage of your fat stores as an energy source during workouts. Therefore, you have to work out while taking this stuff.
Types of fat burners
There are different types of fat burners:
Bitter orange (Zhi shi or citrus aurantium) is being used as fat burner with fairly good results. Its active ingredient is a synephrine, a distant cousin to ephedrine. Synephrine acts as a mild stimulant that boosts the metabolic rate, expends calories and increases energy. In Canadian studies, Zhi Shi doses recommended for fat burning range from 20 to 30 mg three times a day.
Forskolin is the active ingredient from the herb Coleus forskohlii. Forskolin burns body fat by increasing levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which activates an enzyme in fat cells that releases fat for burning. This ultimately leads to smaller fat cells. Testosterone production is also increased by cAMP. Research has shown, forskolin supplementation can enhance fat loss and testosterone levels, which lead to increased muscle mass.
In a small study, six overweight women were given 250 mg Coleus forskohlii twice daily for eight weeks. Average weight loss at the end of the study was 10 pounds, with 8% reduction in body fat.
Carnitine is a well-known fat burner with anabolic properties. Carnitine carries fat into the mitochondria of cells (the machinery that burns fat for fuel). Also, carnitine supplementation can increase the content of androgen receptors in muscle cells. Since testosterone binds to androgen receptors in muscle cells to initiate muscle growth, having more of these receptors in the cells means that more testosterone can bind and influence more muscle growth.
Guggulsterone is extracted from the resin, gum guggul, of Indian Commiphora mukul trees (gugulipid). Guggulsterone increases the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland, leading to greater production of thyroid hormones, which increase metabolic rate without the buzz many thermogenics cause.
Ephedra (ma huang) stimulates the nervous system and heart. Its active ingredient, ephedrine, was isolated in 1885. Ephedrine is an amphetamine-like substance. When combined with caffeine, ephedra is supposed to suppress your appetite and stimulate your metabolism. So ephedrine supplements are thermogenics. Ephedra may increase risk of heart attack, seizure, stroke.
Yohimbe is a herb, derived from the bark of Rubaceae tree that grows wild in Africa. Yohimbe is perhaps more effective stimulant than ephedra. Its active ingredient is yohimbine. Yohimbine helps burn fat where fat is stored.
By itself, yohimbine has very little thermogenic effect, but it supply benefits when combined with ephedrine (or synephrine) and caffeine. However, yohimbine works completely differently than ephedrine and synephrine. While the latter work by stimulating certain receptors on the cells, yohimbine works by blocking other cell receptors, allowing ephedrine to work longer. Some experts warn against combining yohimbine and ephedrine because of the risk of activating side effects.
HCA (hydroxycitric acid) is natural food substance extracted from the fruit of the Garcina cambogia tree. Animal studies show it effectively suppresses appetite, but no studies show its effectiveness for humans. HCA shows the most promise of all the herbal weight-loss drugs, but more research is needed.
Chitosan is a dietary-fiber-like substance derived from the external skeletons of marine animals, such as crabs or lobsters. It aids weight loss by inhibiting fat absorption in the intestines so the undigested fat can be excreted from the body. 30-40% absorption of fat from the foods you eat has been reported. The less fat you intake, the more fat the body can burn naturally.
Chitosan may be taken before meals that are higher in saturated fat, such as from fatty meats, dairy, or deep-fryed foods. Avoid using chitosan around meals rich in healthy fats.
Pyruvate is a fat-modulating agent and nutrient that has been shown to increase the loss of fat without a corresponding loss of muscle. Supplementation of Pyrurate increases cellular respiration, or the amount of energy the mitochondria use. Pyruvate works best when accompanied by exercise.