Thermogenics are dietary supplements that temporarily increase metabolism including the rate at which fat is used to produce energy for the body. As this occurs, much of the energy of metabolism is converted into and subsequently lost as heat (thermogenesis literally means 'creating heat'). When used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise program, thermogenics aid in the loss of body fat. There are different types of thermogenic ingredients.
- Synephrine (or Citrus aurantium, bitter orange): Physiological effect is similar to ephedra. Synephrine increases metabolic rate and caloric expenditure by targeting tissues such as fat stores as sources of energy. It is important to note that unlike ephedra, synephrine has no effect on heart rate or blood pressure and will not cause "jitteriness". Synephrine is thought to have effects similar to other stimulants, such as increased energy levels and suppressed appetite.
- Caffeine, guarana, kola nut, green tea extract: Caffeine is the most popular stimulant used for weight loss. Caffeine moderately elevates metabolic rate, encouraging thermogenesis, but not so much that you’d lose 20 lbs. sitting on the couch. It is more effective as an energy booster prior to exercise, enabling you to work out harder for longer periods of time. Caffeine can be listed under the following ingredient names: guaranine, guarana, green tea extract, kola nut, or yerba mate.
- 7 Keto (or 7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone): 7 keto, a metabolite of DHEA with fewer side effects, increases metabolism and encourages fat loss. Unlike stimulants, however, 7 keto increases metabolic rate by affecting the thyroid gland. By increasing the release of T3, the thyroid hormone that has the greatest effect on metabolic rate, 7 keto is shown to be very beneficial as a weight loss supplement.
- Guggul: Made from the resin of the Commiphora mukul tree, guggul supplements contain compounds called guggulsterones which reportedly reduce blood cholesterol and fat levels. Guggul resin is also said to help normalize thyroid function, which may have a positive effect on metabolism.
Others: There are other thermogenic supplements that do not fall into the above categories.
- Pyruvate: A form of pyruvic acid, pyruvate is synthesized in the body and consumed in food. Pyruvate assists in the production of ATP, an important biological energy source, and has been shown in studies to significantly increase fat loss when paired with exercise and a healthy diet. Animal studies show that pyruvate may increase metabolism and reduce insulin resistance. Additional research finds indicate that pyruvate may also increase exercise endurance, further helping to promote fat loss.
Health Benefits of Thermogenics
It is important to note that significant changes in body composition will not be obtained by using a thermogenic alone; a healthy diet and exercise program is the foundation of any weight loss plan.
Carrying a large amount of excess fat may lead to dangerous health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and others. A weight loss program combining diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation may improve health and reduce the risks of developing these health problems.
The emotional burdens of being overweight can be just as debilitating as the physical, and should be treated as such. An improved appearance resulting from weight loss can significantly enhance the quality of life for a formerly overweight individual.
Consult your physician before beginning any weight loss plan or taking any thermogenic supplements. Some stimulants can be dangerous if taken in excess; use all thermogenics as directed. Some supplements may interact with drugs or medications, so please use caution and consult your doctor or pharmacist about any possible interactions.
Side-effects and Cautions:
May vary. Read all manufacturer literature and consult your physician about side effects. Do not use more than the recommended dose. Always combine the use of thermogenic supplements with a healthy diet and exercise program.