Supplements that assist with fat loss by increasing your metabolism or assisting your body to more efficiently metabolise fat for energy can be very beneficial to reduce fat stores at a rate above what is naturally achievable through diet and exercise alone. Most fat burners, natural or other, work through the process of thermogenisis, which coverts fat stores into heat energy by increasing our basal metabolic rates. They also work by ensuring that excess dietary calories not utilised by the body are converted into heat and not stored as body fat. Other types of fat reduction supplements include carb and fat blockers. The substances used in fat burners are as varied as the number of products on the market, so what should you look for?
Caffeine is classified as a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant, but can be considered a fat burner as it raises the heart rate causing the body to burn more calories. It is normally used in conjunction with other fat burning substances. Other relevant attributes in caffeine’s ability to boost fat loss is its glycogen-sparing effect, which forces the body to use fat as an energy source, and its ability to increase physical work capacity and muscle fibre recruitment, which helps burn more calories during each session.
Green tea extract
While there is no scientific evidence that green tea on its own can have an effect on weight loss, green tea extract, rich in polyphenols and caffeine, has been shown to induce a thermogenic effect, thereby stimulating fat oxidation.
Citrus aurantium (bitter orange)
Citrus aurantium comes from the Bitter Orange Tree and has taken over from ephedrine in many fat loss supplements as it contains an active compound called synephrine. It is therefore a very effective thermogenic substance.
7-Keto is a naturally occurring metabolite derived from DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone). It is produced naturally by the adrenal glands, but its production declines with age. 7-Keto stimulates the thyroid, which controls thermogenesis and the metabolism, so supplementation with this substance can therefore assist with fat loss, as well as build muscle and slow ageing.
Yerba mate is derived from the leaves of the holly tree, which grows in the rain forests of South America. It works similarly to caffeine, but without all of the jittery side effects. There are 196 chemicals in yerba mate that become active in the body once consumed, including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and selenium. It also contains mateine, a xanthine alkaloid that mildly arouses the CNS. The combination of these chemicals, vitamins and minerals are responsible for its ability to substantially increase energy and burn fat. Studies have shown that it can also prolong the effects of thermogenesis.
Guarana is a berry that grows in certain South American countries. It contains guaranine, the active ingredient that elicits an effect similar to caffeine. Guarana works by stimulating the adrenal glands to release the hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, which in turn enhance thermogenesis, with limited side effects.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid derived from certain dairy and meat sources. It has been proven to be an effective supplement to help gain muscle instead of fat by regulating the metabolism of fat through a fairly complex enzymatic process that basically blocks fat uptake and increases fat metabolism.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid made from two other amino acids, namely methionine and lysine. Carnitine plays a major role in the metabolism of fat and the reduction of triglycerides by allowing the transfer of fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane, where they are metabolised for energy. It also increases the rate at which the liver utilises fat.
Carb and fat blockers
Carb blockers reduce the ability of the body to store unused carbs as body fat by inhibiting the function of a digestive enzyme called alpha amylase. The active ingredient that does this is phaseolus vulgaris (phaseolamin), which comes from the white kidney bean. Fat blockers restrict the breakdown and/or absorption of fatty acids into the bloodstream by using soluble fibre compounds to bind with free-form fat in the digestive tract or inhibit their breakdown and absorption. Certain products can also block the absorption of vitamins and minerals so be sure to take a suitable supplement if you use these products.
Warning: Before taking an fat-loss supplement it is important to see your physician to ensure you