There comes the point in everyone’s life when the favorite pair of jeans does not fit anymore. Be it because there is a lack of concern in regards to one’s diet and general lifestyle or due to various medical conditions, weight gain has become a rather common phenomenon. Women complain more about it, but men are just as prone to its negative effects. Extra pounds do not affect the body only. The person’s self-esteem and the way he connects to those around him are influenced as well. In a society that emphasizes so much the individual’s physical aspect, problems are bound to appear as soon as the first signs of weight gain occur. While superficial in some cases, weight gain can lead to morbid obesity. At the present moment, statistics show that about 2 billion people are overweight of which 600 million are obese. What is even sadder is that nearly 40 million children are either overweight or suffer from obesity. Given the fact that the Earth’s population is continuously increasing, these data as stated by a 2014 study are relatively old. Chances are, by 2016 the numbers are even higher.
Weight gain is related to the risk of type II diabetes or cancer. Most people who display an excess of fat suffer from cardiovascular diseases, get tired easier and have a more negative life approach. Of course, there is no need to generalize as the cases vary from one another and the individual’s mindset is essential for how he or she choose to look at themselves. Even so, there is small chance one would ever state that being overweight feels better than having a body weight by the body mass index. Be it because of stress, water retention, aging or poor diets, gaining pounds is something everyone would want a solution to. Fortunately, we live in an age when everything is possible.
While there might be weight loss formulas that require a lot of time and money, the normal individual who struggles to lose the extra pounds is offered cheaper and equally reliable solutions. Whether they are called weight loss supplements or nutritional blends created to boost metabolism, they all have one main purpose: burn fat. The majority of manufacturers often state times that there is no need to exercise or diet as their products will take care of the entire process by themselves. Needless to say, most claims are only marketing strategies meant to increase sales. What the companies do is count on the fact that people rarely search for scientifically proven information so they can easily promote a product as the most amazing fat burning supplement when it is just another scam.
Experts in health and wellbeing advise people to consult with a doctor before using weight loss aids, be they thoroughly tested or newly appeared on the market. This way, the specialist will design a diet plan that includes such products by the patient’s personal needs. Also, people can always browse the internet and carefully inspect a supplement’s formula if they are interested in it as to see its compounds and if clinic evidence backs them. There are plenty of reviews for most of them. Information is vital if one wants to escape the nightmare of obesity, regain confidence and enjoy life to the fullest.
What is a fat burning supplement?
Supplements are products meant to help people improve a certain body area. Today’s pharmaceutical market claims to have the solution for almost everything. From brain boosters to digestive system enhancers and weight loss aids, they are all available either in drug stores or a click away. Unlike drugs that are made of chemically-based substances, most supplement manufacturers integrate plant-based compounds in their products’ structure. While people might show signs of reluctance at first, the supplements’ manufacturers assure there are plenty of benefits in choosing to use them.
In general, fat burning supplements have similar mechanisms of action in spite of containing different ingredients. What they do is target the problematic areas where fat deposits are most likely to appear and help shed the extra weight without much effort.
In the main, they all have the following benefits:
- An increased metabolic rate as to support the body in the fat burning process
- Continued weight loss process even after the individual stopped using the supplement
- Maintenance of a body weight in accordance with the BMI (body mass index)
- Prevention of new fat from forming
- Leaner muscles
- Higher energy levels
- Improved blood circulation
- Better mood and lower stress levels
These are all potential effects of using weight loss aids. Still, what the majority of customers overlook is that they can experience them only when paired with a healthy diet and regular workouts. Of course, it would be much easier if we just used the supplements and the extra pounds miraculously disappeared as many manufacturing companies claim. Unfortunately, these are all unrealistic expectations. Studies show that fat burning supplements cannot do much by themselves unless supported by a drastic change in one’s lifestyle. At their best, they can only enhance the process and influence the individual to take better decisions in regards to his health. After all, who is to say supplements cannot act the same way chemical drugs do, that is by manifesting a placebo effect and making the user believe in their powerful properties when there is not much of them in the first place?
In spite of these real-life facts, some supplements have been approved by specialists in medicine and nutrition and deemed as effective. It would be unwise to assume all products are ineffective only because some of them showed no signs of improvement in patients using them.
Best Weight Loss Supplements
Here are some of the most popular fat burning supplements that are likely to help one shed extra weight if combined with healthy life choices. People who suffer from obesity might show other medical conditions’ symptoms. They should seek a doctor’s advice before resorting to such products as they might make things worse.
Garcinia Cambogia Extract
Garcinia Cambogia, also known as the Malabar tamarind, is a small, green fruit that looks like a mini pumpkin. Some studies conducted in the 1960s discovered that one of its constituents, namely the hydroxy citric acid, has certain weight loss properties. The compound which bears similarity to the orange and lemon’s acids was later integrated into diet pills. People, be they users or possible customers, regard it as a miraculous supplement. This is not necessarily because they acknowledge its properties or mechanism of action but because Garcinia Cambogia was featured on one of the 2012 editions of Dr. Oz show. Like most products presented by the famous doctor Mehmet Oz, Garcinia Cambogia was sure to rise to fame soon afterward. Research projects conducted on animals showed that the hydroxy citric acid blocks an enzyme that turns carbohydrates into fats soon after being digested. The acid is presumably able to reduce cravings in animals fed with it by raising the serotonin levels, thus making them feel more satisfied.
Even so, its effect on the human body remains uncertain. One 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that supplements enriched with Garcinia Cambogia extract did not impact the body in any way, being almost inefficient in the case of human subjects as opposed to animal subjects. Also, in another study, the 130 participants were split into two groups and given either Garcinia Cambogia extract or placebo pills. The results showed little difference in regards to the participants’ final weight, as both groups had a similar body fat percentage in spite of using different products.
It is true that the extract might be effective in inhibiting fat-producing enzymes or increasing serotonin levels. Still, present-day studies on Garcinia Cambogia’s effectiveness are either too little or do not provide people with enough information. Even so, most of them seem willing to try it, as the product is plant based which makes people feel more confident about it.
Forskolin, the active compound found in the Indian Coleus plant, also known as Coleus forskohlii, is yet another fat burning supplement which gained popularity after being introduced to the general public in the Dr. Oz show. Much like Garcinia Cambogia, forskolin is a product that enjoys an increasing number of customers while not being exactly backed by scientific evidence. The few studies conducted on its composition showed possible fat burning properties. Even so, most of them were in vitro studies and not in vivo so its mechanism of action is still uncertain when inside the human body. What made scientists interested in this ayurvedic herb were the research projects conducted when the compound was first discovered. They suggested forskolin was able to increase the cyclic AMP levels associated with an increased fat burning rate. It also enhanced the fat burning capacities of similar compounds when used together.
An experiment with human subjects aimed to show forskolin’s possible weight loss effects. The participants were asked to use forskolin-enriched supplements for a 12-week period and see how the compound reacted in humans. The final results showed a decrease in body fat content but the number of pounds was the same as in the beginning of the study. Forskolin’s property to increase cyclin AMP levels that in turn led to an enhanced protein synthesis process might have influenced the muscle mass which was visibly improved. Researchers suggested this was the case with the described study also. One of the most popular products containing forskolin is Forskolin Ultra Trim 350 which is no less than 20% pure forskolin extract. Many supplements are inefficient because the amounts an active ingredient is used in are small, compared to what health experts affirm. As opposed, Forskolin Ultra Trim 350 might actually be a reliable one given its manufacturer’s big claims and the product’s general reviews. The supplement is 100% natural and presents little to no side effects so people who consider buying such weight loss aids might want to try this one.
Whey protein is the main constituent of whey, the watery portion that remains after milk has been curdled when making cheese. Usually, whey protein is used more in bodybuilding supplements and less in the fat burning ones but it has a significant impact on both groups.
Integrated for years in products meant to enhance athletic performance and increase muscular mass, whey protein appears to be efficient in the weight loss process as well. One research published in Nutrition& Metabolism showed a decrease in body fat content and stronger muscles in participants who used whey protein supplements. Whey protein also represents an excellent source of animal based protein, thus adding nutritional value to the daily calorie intake. Some studies suggest that the compound is effective in the weight loss process of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. Others indicate that whey protein might interfere with the mechanism of action of ghrelin, a hormone responsible for increasing appetite, therefore suppressing it. Even if it is used less in weight loss aids, whey protein remains the main constituent in many body building supplements which may be equally efficient in the weight loss process. Muscles burn more calories than most organs while fat requires far little energy to be metabolized. Solely from this point of view, supplements that contain whey protein might be more beneficial and reliable than most plant-based supplements meant to burn fat.
5-Hydroxytryptophan is a by-product of the essential amino-acid tryptophan, but it can as well be manufactured in laboratories from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP is a central nervous system stimulant that increases the serotonin levels. Aside from alleviating symptoms of depression or insomnia, serotonin can also reduce appetite. This might be one of the reasons why 5-HTP is regarded as a weight loss aid. Nonetheless, the compound is not exactly a fat burning supplement as it does not boost metabolism nor does it cause the body to burn extra calories. What 5-HTP does is make one feel full for longer so he is less likely to eat more often than needed. Italian researchers have conducted a study on two groups of patients for 12 weeks; one of them was given 5-HTP while the other was offered a placebo drug. Participants from the first group showed a considerable decrease in weight, 11 pounds. People from the second group lost 2 pounds only. No physical exercise was integrated into the study. The participants followed their everyday diets but what made the difference was a decreased need to eat for the first group which managed to considerably reduce the calorie intake without struggling to do so.
Another study showed, on the other hand, similar results but side effects to the 5-HTP use also. The majority of participants confessed to having experienced nausea and headaches. However, this might be the consequence of amounts higher than what most over-the-counter supplements contain.
In a nutshell, 5HTP might prove to be efficient for people who are emotional eaters as the supplement can inhibit the need to overeat. Nevertheless, there is little chance it can lead to weight loss by itself as most research projects suggest the participants did make some changes in their daily lifestyles.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble sugar derived from the Amorphophallus konjac plant. Pharmaceutical companies integrate it in capsules, tablets or turn it into powder. Numerous nutritional supplements that contain glucomannan are currently used in treatments for constipation, type II diabetes or obesity. Specialists state the compound might be efficient in suppressing appetite and making one feel full for longer. This is due to glucomannan’s property to absorb much of the water from the stomach and intestines after being digested. To make an idea on how it reacts, imagine that a single capsule can absorb the entire content of a glass full of water and turn it into a slightly viscous matter.
The same happens when the capsule is ingested and reaches the stomach, thus making the user feel full for longer.
However, current studies show mixed results, with some showing alleged benefits and other indicating towards little to no effectiveness.
Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide obtained from the hard shells of crustaceans or insects. Aside from its main uses in agriculture, winemaking or industry, chitosan has recently been linked to potential fat absorbing properties. Many manufacturers include it in the structure of their supplements and, judging by its fibrous aspect, chitosan might deliver on its promise. What it does more precisely is bind to the fat molecules while in the stomach and direct them towards the digestive tract. This way, it avoids the fat from being deposited, thus canceling the possibility of weight gain. The compound is believed to act on the LDL cholesterol levels also. In a study conducted by Bangladesh researchers, the rats that were given chitosan registered a decrease in both body weight and LDL cholesterol levels.There are conflicting results on chitosan’s manner of action and potential weight loss properties. Some of them suggest the supplement is as efficient as any other and can help overweight people shed the extra pounds. Others point towards chitosan’s reliability as many of the already published studies’ participants registered either an insignificant weight loss or none at all.
There are conflicting results on chitosan’s manner of action and potential weight loss properties. Some of them suggest the supplement is as efficient as any other and can help overweight people shed the extra pounds. Others point towards chitosan’s reliability as many of the already published studies’ participants registered either an insignificant weight loss or none at all.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a mixture of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid that naturally occur in meat and dairy products. Unlike the already listed products, CLA is regarded as one of the most potent supplements on today’s pharmaceutical market. Also, it is backed by numerous scientific studies that show its powerful properties. In a 1987 study conducted on a group of rats, researchers from the University of Wisconsin have discovered that CLA is rather potent in the fight against cancer. The aim of later projects was to show its precise mechanism of action. This way, specialists found out that this Omega-6 fatty acid could also reduce body weight. Aside from being a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen, CLA can increase metabolic rate and lower LDL cholesterol levels also.
While most research projects were conducted on animal subjects, the supplement might be just as efficient in the case of human participants. What it does is increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This way, the fatty acids and glucose that were usually converted into fat if not used in time, can pass through muscle cell membranes without attaching to the fat tissues. However, the majority of studies concluded until the present moment agrees on a single aspect: while CLA might reduce body fat content, it could prove to be rather inefficient in the weight loss process as most of the participants showed little to no decrease in body weight. This happened because as soon as fat was shed, muscles were fast to replace it, thus making little difference in regards to the final body mass. Conjugated linoleic acid is likely safe for all groups, children and pregnant women included. Even so, it is safe to request for a doctor’s opinion before trying any supplement, especially if the patient is a child, a pregnant woman or a nursing one.
Other fat burning supplements that are currently studied and have potential weight loss properties include:
- African mango seed: recent research shows the supplement’s capacity to suppress appetite as to reduce carbohydrate absorption; it supposedly offers the metabolism a boost as to burn fat more efficiently. People interested in weight loss products and who want to try the African mango seed supplements might want to look for a product that has a high concentration and does not contain additives or fillers.
- Beta-glucan: comprised of a group of polysaccharides naturally occurring in cereals or yeast, beta glucan has some studies that suggest its efficacy as a weight loss supplement. What it does is reduce the saturated fat levels in blood and increase satiety as to inhibit the desire to overeat. While more evidence is needed on its fat burning properties, beta-glucan is rather appreciated by cancer specialists. Some studies show potential benefits in patients suffering from gastric or neck cancer.
More natural supplements that have been used for millennia and are safe when compared to manufactured products are green tea and caffeine. People consume them rather frequently, and fortunately, most of them are aware of their properties. Also, the diet is equally important if one wants to efficiently lose weight and avoid gaining it back. While modern day supplements can increase the rate of success for people who try to shed excess pounds, they are definitely not the weight loss process’ main factors. Regardless of how much people might want to believe that supplements can help them get rid of body fat content without needing to exercise or eat healthier, numerous studies show otherwise. It is good to combine all three elements for maximum health benefits. People should always consult with a doctor before trying to resort to such products especially if they have a history of severe medical conditions or do not know what supplement fits their needs.