Fat burners, you'll have seen the claims on their labels. But what can they actually do for you? Can a supplement alone help you drop 10lbs in a couple of weeks? Sadly, no. The majority of safe and legal fat burners you will find will not do that!
A fat burner might work in a number of different ways. It may help to heat up the body, increasing thermogenesis. With an increased temperature you may burn more calories. Some contain a lot of fibre which helps to fill you up so you aren’t as hungry. Others claim to reduce cortisol, the 'stress hormone', for less water retention and fat storage around the stomach in particular. The way that most fat burners work is to simply give you more energy – and by doing this you may be able to do more exercise or move more in general day-to-day activities (NEAT) which can burn more calories. Move more = more calories burned.
That probably covers the actions of 70% of purported fat burners on the market. So let’s take a look at the ingredients out there which have clinical evidence to them working:
Also known as 7-Keto DHEA which has anti-cortisol mechanisms which helps to decrease body fat. The main reason this metabolite is used in fat burners is because it has been shown to increase metabolic rate during a period of calorie restriction. During a heavy diet, our BMR (basal metabolic rate) decreases, but some studies have shown that 7-OXO can counteract this, keeping our metabolic rate high so more calories are burned. Even though DHEA is in the name, it doesn’t metabolise back into this parent form so there are no androgenic effects or hormonal modulation.
This is an extract made from the bark of the Kigelia Africana tree. The main compound within this is an alkaloid with a strong stimulatory effect, about 80% the strength of DMAA (a compound which is banned in many countries). Because of these stimulatory effects it helps to increase energy throughout the day and therefore increases the amount of calories burned during exercise.
Eria jarensis is a herb that is fairly new to the supplement industry. Eria jarensis has a very similar structure to chemicals like DMAA and even amphetamines which means eria jarensis (although in a much less potent manner) can increase energy, boost mood and enhance focus; all aspects which are essential for compliance if someone is following a strict diet.
Bitter orange (citrus aurantium) is also called synephrine. Now, I hate to burst your bubble, but synephrine is banned in many countries, however for those countries where it is obtainable it is an extremely potent compound. It is a molecule similar in structure and effect to ephedrine, but in a less potent form. Synephrine is allowed by WADA, but its metabolite octopamine is not. In studies, synephrine has been shown to increase the metabolic rate of individuals who take it.
Green tea Extract
It may seem like only a herbal drink, one that, like marmite, you may love or hate; however green tea has many benefits when it comes to being used in fat burners. Not only is it a potent antioxidant (it can scavenge free radicals and protect the body against oxidative damage) but it has also been shown to boost metabolism.
OEA is a molecule that is naturally produced in the body in the intestines. Following a meal, OEA is released and gives us the feeling of fullness after our meal. There are limited supplements that contain OEA, but those that do help to activate the PPARa. This is important as when this receptor is activated in fat tissue, it increases energy expenditure (by expending fat reserves).
Yohimbe, or yohimbine is an ingredient that is on the banned list of ingredients in some countries. This is due to the fact it can interact heavily with medications, specifically neurological ones which treat ADHD and mood disorders. Yohimbe works by blocking alpha-2-adrenergic receptors that are in fat cells – these receptors normally suppress fat burning. It also increases adrenaline making it highly stimulatory. Now, yohimbe is partially negated by food, so it is best taken during periods of fasting. Alpha-2 receptors are found hormonally across the body – that is for men, they are found mainly in the stomach and for women they are found mainly on the glutes and hips.
Chromium is probably one of our favourite minerals. A 200mcg dose of this will help your body to regulate blood sugar levels by affecting carbohydrate metabolism. A smaller peak in insulin when eating food will mean less of a “crash” after and can minimise cravings following a meal.
Recommended Fat Burners
Most of these ingredients are found within Hydrapharm’s Hydralean. This is a unique fat burner that is breaking the mould of fat burners, and although this is a propriety blend, the ingredients within simulate the body’s fat burning process from multiple aspects of thermogenesis, stimulants and appetite suppressors.
The entire Hydrapharm range is available exclusively here at Predator Nutrition and contains no banned ingredients so anyone from any country can take this to assist them in meeting their goals.
Lucy Ellis (MSc, BSC, Accredited Nutritionist and Advanced personal trainer)