The rate at which your body metabolizes fat cells determines how slowly or how quickly you can gain or lose weight. Over the years people have tried many things to accelerate this process. Here are some of the products I have tried and why...

By: Kristi Lees


Introduction

The rate at which your body metabolizes fat cells determines how slowly or how quickly you can gain or lose weight. Over the years people have tried many things to accelerate this process with some producing better results than others.

    What is a thermogenic?
    A thermogenic product is used to increase the heat in the body and in turn affect the body's metabolism and ability to burn fat.

Many people experience negative side effects using the highly stimulating commercial products on the market today but are desperate for results. These along with the high price tag on most of these products makes them less then attractive but seem to be our only option in the never ending war against fat.

Is there another way? What other products is there that can help to enhance this thermogenic process?


Supplements

Here are some of the supplements I have tried and what I think about them...


Chromium Picolinate - Learn More

What is it?

    Chromium picolinate is a form of the trace mineral chromium chelated with picolinate (a naturally occurring amino acid metabolite) to make it more absorbable in the body.

Why take it?

    It is an essential part of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which helps regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and proper function of insulin in the body. Chromium picolinate is thought to promote fat burning, increase lean muscle mass and suppress appetite.

Extra Benefits:

    Because of the way it affects insulin in the body it can be helpful to those people who suffer with diabetes and hypoglycemia by keeping the blood sugar levels stable. It is also thought to help with acne and other skin problems as it aids in reducing skin infections.

Where is it found?

    Brewers yeast is the richest source of chromium but it can also be found in eggs, brown rice, cheese, meat, whole grains, mushrooms, dulse, potatoes and dairy products. However due to lack of minerals in the soil and refining processes it is hard to obtain chromium from food (brewers yeast being the exception) and is best taken in the stated form as a supplement.


Guarana - Learn More
(Paullinia Cupana)

What is it?

    Guarana is an herb obtained from the Amazon jungle also called Brazilian cocoa. The part of the herb used is the seed and its active ingredient is guaranine, which is chemically identical to caffeine.

Why take it?

    Guarana is known to increase stamina, reduce fatigue and improve physical endurance. It is also known to suppress the appetite which can lead to weight loss.

Extra Benefits:

    Because it gives you a mental lift it can be helpful when fatigued from heat or menstrual distress. It is also good for nervous headaches as well as being a cure for diarrhoea.

Where is it found?

    You can get guarana in many forms from energy drinks (although they are high in sugar) to pills to powder and even in gum.

Warning: Guarana should not be used by caffeine sensitive individuals!


Green Tea - Learn More
(Camellia Sinensis)

What is it?

    Dried leaves of the Camellia thea shrub, green tea is from the same plant as black tea but undergoes less processing and therefore retains more of the medicinal benefits. Of particular interest is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) an extract of green tea.

Why take it?

    Research indicates that green tea and its extract can safely enhance thermogenics and promote fat burning in the body without increasing the heart rate as many commercial products do.

Extra Benefits:

    Contains powerful phytochemicals that have antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties and is thought to decrease the risk of cancer as well as lowering cholesterol levels. Green tea extract is rich in bioflavonoid which helps to fight free radicals in the body.

Where is it found?

    Green tea in its original tea form can be steeped in hot water. To get the benefits from consuming it this way it is important to drink it without milk, as milk is thought to bind the beneficial compounds making them unavailable to the body. EGCG is added to many weight loss supplements.


Hydroxycitric Acid

What is it?

    Extracts of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit from the jungles of India, also know as the Indian berry. Closely related to the citric acid found in grapefruits and oranges.

Why take it?

    HCA seems to work by blocking the conversion of sugary foods and starches into fats which effectively inhibits fat production. It also works on the serotonin levels in the brain which is a key regulator in appetite control.

Extra Benefits:

    Has been used for decades in Asia and has no known side effects.

Where is it found?

    Can be found in tablet or capsule form and is a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. Can occasionally be found as dried leaves of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit used to make tea.


Choline - Learn More

What is it?

Why take it?

    Helps in the proper utilization of fat in the body and is therefore known to contribute to weight loss. It works as an emulsifier mixing water and fat together, helping the blood to carry fat through the body so it doesn't deposit on arterial walls.

Extra Benefits:

    Helps prevent liver damage due to excessive alcohol consumption, prevents gallstones and is a well known memory aid.

Where is it found?

    Lecithin is the richest food source of choline and can be found in soybeans and egg yolks (free range eggs have a much higher amount).


C.L.A. - Learn More

What is it?

Why take it?

    Can assist in weight loss efforts as it decreases the size and number of fat cells present in the body and is also thought to assist the production of lean muscle mass and add muscle tone.

Extra Benefits:

    Mainly works on abdominal fat and decreasing waist circumference.

Where is it found?

    You can get it from some foods such as beef and diary products but as a fat loss supplement you need to consume larger amounts than can be offered from a food source. The best supplements should consist of 74-82% C.L.A.


Calcium - Learn More

What is it?

    The most abundant mineral in the human body, mainly known for its ability to build strong bones.

Why take it?

    It is involved in the activation of lipase which is an enzyme that breaks down fats for utilization in the body.

Extra Benefits:

    Builds strong bones, teeth and maintains healthy gums. Also lowers cholesterol levels and prevents cardiovascular disease.

Where is it found?

    Food sources include dairy products, salmon (tinned with bones), sesame seeds and seaweed. If you choose to use a supplement by sure to take this in small doses throughout the day as calcium seems to work better when taken in small amounts as opposed to one larger dose.


E.F.A. - Learn More

What is it?

    Essential fatty acids found in some oils, also known as omega 3, 6 and 9.

Why take it?

    When this healthy form of fat is added to the body in moderation it turns on a switch in the existing fat stores to get moving and get burning. It activates the body's fat stores to burn excess calories for heat to keep the body at a certain temperature (37c/98.6f) and by doing so also increases the metabolic rate.

Extra Benefits:

    The benefits of adding E.F.As to the diet are numerous and include; healthy skin and hair, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and arthritis prevention to name just a few.

Where is it found?

    Flaxseed's, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds and cold water fish are the best sources.


5-HTP

What is it?

    Is short for 5-hydroxytryptophan which is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan.

Why take it?

    Affects how hunger is perceived in the body and works as an appetite suppressant.

Extra Benefits:

    Increases pain tolerance, and because it increases serotonin levels in the brain it is effective in the treatment of depression.

Where is it found?

    The body can make its own 5HTP when supplied with the amino acid tryptophan found in high protein foods such as chicken, fish and diary products. Supplements are derived from an African plant source Griffonia simplicifolia.


Conclusion

Obviously the best thermogenic over all these supplements is a good diet where you consume 4-6 small meals a day to keep the metabolism fires burning. A consistent exercise routine added to this mix will help boost this process even more.

If you do decided to add some of the above listed products to your supplementation program, please be wise. Check with a health care practitioner first and make sure you are taking correct dosages for maximum benefits.

References:

1. Prescription for Nutritional Healing - Phyllis A. Balch, cnc and James F. Balch, m.d. http://www.wholehealthmd.com

Natural Thermogenics.

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Dax74

Very helpful article. Just an update on Energy Drinks. Now there are alternatives to the ones packed with sugar. Monster now makes a no carb and low carb version, and a down-sized 12 ounces, so zero or 15 calories and zero or 5 grams of sugar. Believe the zero sugar version has aspertame, and while that's probably not an issue, I drink the occasional low-carb verison and it definitely enhances my workouts. I always drink it on top of a handful of mixed nuts, which in effect makes the drink a bit more time released instead of an immediate dump into the blood stream on an empty stomach. I can use all the thermogenics (mostly natural ones) in the world to boost my sluggish 61-year-old metabolism! Reduction in body fat is my sole goal.

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