Losing fat can be tough, but there are “effective” fat loss supplements out there that can make significant differences.
From tapping into various pathways to suppressing appetite, a lot of (overpriced) fat loss supplements are marketed to desperate audiences searching for an easy way out.
Sadly there is no easy way out — the only way to lose fat is to be in a prolonged caloric deficit.
In other words, eat less and do more for as long as it takes to reach your goals.
Fat loss supplements simply exist to make your journey a little more pain free and quicker.
Getting into a deep caloric deficit can be unpleasant; you feel tired, weak, have a lower sex drive, moodiness, irritability, reduced sleep quality, longer recovery times, and so on — fat loss supplements can help curtail some of these negative side effects.
While most of us have been marketed — or even bought — some of these fat burners we commonly see advertised on social media, their effectiveness is definitely overstated.
Having said that, they can marginally raise your basal metabolic rate — but not to a significant degree to justify their lofty price tag.
Mainstream fat loss supplements often contain a variety of herbal extracts and mild stimulants such as caffeine, to form pills that can be made at home. Herculean Strength has actually devised a homemade fat burner that you can view here.
Other fat loss supplements such as Clenbuterol and DNP have received a bad reputation for their potentially fatal side-effects despite enjoying notable popularity in underground bodybuilding circles.
The fat loss supplements we will address are in the grey area found blurred between the mainstream and the underground.
Fat Loss Supplements You Might Not Know
Although most of these fat loss supplements have alternative uses, they are commonly deployed to enhance lipolysis.
Despite the following fat loss supplements’ hype, the only way to lose fat is to eat less and do more, and keep a caloric deficit. Click here if you need help with keeping your diet in check.
Fat Loss Supplement #1. Cardarine (GW-501516)
In our article on Cardarine, we noted “Cardarine, which is also known by a variety of names including GW501516, GW1516, GSK-516 and Endurobol, is a PPARδ receptor agonist and not technically a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM); nonetheless, because of its similar characteristics and effects and because it is regularly stacked with SARMS, Cardarine is generally treated as a SARM.”
Cardarine has been used as both a fat loss supplement and to boost endurance. It is commonly jokingly referred to as “a workout in a bottle.”
A 2015 study showed that Cardarine increased the endurance of untrained mice by nearly 69% compared to a control group [R].
In the image below its awesome endurance-enhancing effects are shown, N = Untrained and without supplementation NG = Untrained and supplemented with Cardarine TN = Trained but without supplementation TG = Trained and supplemented with Cardarine.
In the early 2000s, Cardarine became one of the hottest performance-enhancing substances on the planet, with events coming to a head before and just after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympics, was concerned that the substance would be used by athletes to enhance their performance at the Games. At the time, no methods were available to test for the substance, because its use was not regulated. A test was then developed and presented to the IOC. In 2009, the World Anti-Doping Agency added Cardarine to its prohibited list of substances.
So what exactly does Cardarine do and how does it do it?
Cardarine has a number of benefits, which have been confirmed in scientific studies:
- Increased endurance
- Fat burning
- Increased blood flow
Research has shown that the PPARδ receptor which Cardarine targets is responsible for metabolic maintenance, in particular with regard to skeletal programming, would healing and mitochondrial respiration. Genes associated with contractile proteins, mitochondrial creation and lipid oxidation are upregulated, with benefits for endurance and fat loss.
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Fat Loss Supplement #2. Rauwolscine
This fat burning supplement has become quite popular in recent months, with its inclusion to infamous fitness personality V Shred’s fat burner ingredients.
Rauwolscine, also known as α-yohimbine, is an alkaloid found in various species within the genera Rauvolfia and Pausinystalia and it is a stereoisomer of yohimbine [R].
Rauwolscine acts as a α2-adrenergic (Alpha-2) receptor antagonist, and, only a cellular level, has been shown to block these receptors with more potency than its better known cousin Yohimbe.
This confers Rauwolscine potentially greater fat burning properties to Yohimbe.
Rauwolscine, although effective in assisting with fat loss in conjunction with a caloric deficit, doesn’t directly induce greater fat loss; but instead blocks functions that could inhibit fat loss.
One of these anti-fat loss functions can be, for example, the catabolic process by which the body breaks down metabolically-expensive muscle tissue to lower its basal metabolic rate instead of utilizing fat stores as fuel.
And, as a result, it has become one of the fastest growing new fat loss supplements on the market, but it goes by many names as it is also included among other Yohimbe diastereoisomers like isoyohimbine, α-yohimbine, and corynanthidine.
Rauwolscine is a CNS stimulant, a local anesthetic and several reports suggest that it may contain aphrodisiac properties. Furthermore, as it binds to the serotonin receptors, Rauwolscine may also have some mood calming anti-depressant effects, despite it being a stimulant.
In contrast to its cousin Yohimbe — reported to cause a host of undesirable side effects — Rauwolscine’s side effect profile is significantly lower than Yohimbe, making it a far more desirable alternative.
Fat Loss Supplement #3. L-Carnitine
This particular entry is something of a dark horse to this list.
Because this amino acid has enjoyed ample mainstream success while simultaneously being debunked as a viable pathway to fat loss due to its lacking bioavailability in its commonest oral form.
Furthermore, some fitness gurus have expressed concerns with its need for oral megadosing in order to enjoy the full benefits of L-Carnitine (between 3,000-4,000mg) and its potentially inflammatory side effects through the release of TMAO.
It offers <10% bioavailability when consumed orally, hence the need for megadosing or alternative methods.
Promiment YouTuber MorePlatesMoreDates often talks about injecting L-Carnitine before fasted cardio in order to reap the fullest benefits of this commonly used “fat loss supplement”.
It can upregulate the Androgen Receptor factor, increase testosterone production, and reduce the chances of muscle and tissue injury [R]
Aside from the mixed reviews and hype, L-Carnitine plays a crucial role transporting fatty acids to cells’ mitochondria — which is behind the logic of how L-Carnitine supposedly facilitates weight loss [R].
Despite the theory, studies have not shown positive, incontrovertible results when deployed in a fat loss capacity.
Fat Loss Supplement #4. Ibutamoren (MK-677)
Although Ibutamoren is a growth hormone secretagogue and ghrelin receptor agonist, it has been shown to possess some promising fat loss properties — if you can stomach the ghrelin receptor activation that will leave you hungry according to some reports.
Even though I didn’t experience much elevation of my appetite (LGD-4033 made me extremely hungry, in particular), Ibutamoren enabled me to shift a couple of pounds after a lapse of dietary judgement during a holiday.
Ibutamoren works by promoting the secretion of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), both of which, broadly considered, stimulate processes of growth within the body, including muscle mass and strength increases, as well as reductions in body fat [R] [R]. Ibutamoren does this by mimicking the effects of ghrelin and binding to the ghrelin receptors in the brain, which are found in regions of the brain that control appetite, mood, the ‘biological clock’, memory and cognition.
Ghrelin, produced in the gut, is often referred to as the ‘hunger hormone’ because it regulates appetite, signalling your brain to eat. Its levels increase when you are dieting, increasing your feelings of appetite. Although ghrelin’s main effect is to make you consume more calories and store fat, it has a variety of other effects including regulating sleep patterns, reward-seeking behaviour, taste and metabolism of carbohydrates.
As you would expect, like ghrelin Ibutamoren stimulates appetite. It also increases growth hormone levels with little to no increase in other hormones such as cortisol, the body’s ‘stress hormone’ [R] [R]. Elevated cortisol levels, especially chronically elevated levels, are usually a bad thing and are linked, among other things, to fat gain, cognitive impairment and reduced immune function.
Why It’s Used
Ibutamoren is used by atheletes and physique competitors to stimulate muscle growth, as a result of increased growth hormone and IGF-1 levels, which we have already seen are responsible for growth processes in the body, including muscle growth.
At least one study has already confirmed that Ibutamoren is a powerful way of increasing lean muscle mass and stimulating metabolic processes. In a study of 24 obese young men, the 12 who were administered Ibutamoren for two months experienced significant increases in fat-free mass and an increase in basal metabolic rate. [R]
Other studies have shown that Ibutamoren could help reduce muscle wastage as a result of food deprivation, and, in a study of over 100 elderly subjects who had experienced hip fractures, Ibutamoren increased muscular power and strength, as well as helping to reduce the number of falls the subjects experienced [R] [R].
If you can stomach the spike in appetite WHILE in a caloric deficit, then Ibutamoren can facilitate enhanced lipolysis — at your own peril.
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Fat Loss Supplement #5. Fucoxanthin
This brown seaweed based fat loss supplement has shown a significant amount of promise — with one study claiming this property can potentially raise users’ basal metabolic rates by up to 500 calories per day — there is little clinical evidence to back up this claim.
Fucoxanthin is a marine carotenoid and presents in the macroalgae and microalgae, such as Undaria pinnatifida (Wakame), Laminaria japonica (Ma-Kombu), Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and Cylindrotheca closterium [R].
Although fucoxanthin is an unstable substance, the factors contributing to its instability have been thoroughly studied; and due to its unstable structure and the allenic bond, fucoxanthin showed highly antioxidant activity.
Moreover, fucoxanthin also showed antiobesity, antidiabetes, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and hepatoprotective activities as well as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular protective effects
Fucoxanthin still remains to be relatively unknown in various circles in spite of that positive study, which is yet to be replicated.
In my personal experience, I can’t determine whether Fucoxanthin significantly impacted my fat loss during a recent cut.
The promise of a spike in BMR close to 500 calories per day would elicit a extra loss of almost a pound of fat per week — assuming that a caloric deficit was already in place.
And if this were the case, then celebrities and all sorts of personalities around the world would be flocking to get their hands on this fat loss supplement — indicating that its fat loss properties might be slightly overhyped.
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