Do Metabolic Stimulants Really Work?By Brad King, M.S., M.F.S.
Author of Fat Wars
Obesity kills! Myriad research shows that the larger our fat cells become the quicker we suffer from diseases of modern day civilization, especially heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. The fact remains, your billions of fat cells have unlimited expansion ability, but they also have the ability to divide and form even more fat cells. Any way you look at it, excess body fat means that you look, feel and perform in an inefficient manner, which is probably why people are willing to do almost anything to get rid of the stuff--even if it means having the fat surgically removed
According to an article appearing in the New York Times (May 6th, 2004) weight-loss operations in the United States have increased from 20,000 in 1995 to 144,000 in 2004. Even though people suffering from obesity believe that surgery is their silver bullet, surgeons warn patients to adopt effective lifestyle principles or they will gain back all their weight.
The cold hard fact remains that there are no magic bullets when it comes to healthy, yet effective weight loss. Instead people must adopt the right strategies consisting of proper eating, water intake, exercise, stress-reduction and sufficient sleep, in order to experience the kind of results they are looking for. Even though there are no quick fixes, a specialized class of nutritional supplements may be able to give you a little boost to get you where you want to go quicker.
Metabolic stimulants are a class of nutritional supplements that contain specific nutrients believed to help boost metabolic function -- in other words they are suppose to help you burn more fat. The question is, do they work?
Fat cells expand by storing fat in bundles of three fatty acids called triglycerides. In order to break down body fat for energy, these triglycerides are broken apart into simple fatty acids and then sent to specialized areas of the muscle cell--called mitochondria--where they are used for energy.
Chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) such as epinephrine and norepinephrine must first be stimulated to tell your body to begin breaking down the fat. The trick is, if enough of these messengers can stay stimulated long enough, theoretically more fat should be broken down -- which is what you want!
Ever wonder why you seem to lose weight at the beginning of a diet only to experience that dreaded 'weight loss plateau' by the end? Research presented in the June 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sheds some light on this frustrating area. It turns out that chemical messengers like norepinephrine can easily drop by close to 50 percent once you lose just 10% of your overall bodyweight. A reduction in norepinephrine is one of the primary reasons fat loss seems to stop the longer you stay on most diets.
In order for metabolic stimulants to help you lose excess body fat, they must cause an effective increase in norepinephrine levels. Research indicates that high quality extracts--in effective dosages, of ingredients such as Yerba Mate, Guarana and Green tea (with high levels of EGCG) may be able to help in this area.
The good news is, research from the Department of Human Nutrition in Copenhagen, Denmark indicates, when norepinephrine levels are increased there is an increase in the number of fat calories used each day by up to 20%.
The best time to take a metabolic enhancer is approximately 20-30 minutes before exercise, first thing in the morning and preferably on an empty stomach. Since substances that stimulate metabolism also cause a rise in stress hormones, try combining the 100% natural metabolic enhancer--Ultimate Lean Energy? in the morning with Ultimate Anti-Stress? right before bed.
Related: Risk of Ephedra Supplements, Brad King Interview