What Are Thermogenic Supplements and How Do They Work?

The term "thermogenic" refers to a substance that produces heat. Because your body produces more heat when it burns calories, substances that boost metabolism or fat burning are referred to as thermogenic. These supplements come in a variety of forms and can be purchased over the counter. Some include only one component, while others have a combination of metabolism-boosting ingredients.

The manufacturers of these supplements say that they will help you lose weight or burn more body fat, however the validity of this claim is widely challenged.

Do They Assist in Fat Burning?

Here's a look at some of the studies on the most popular thermogenic chemicals to see if they really do help you lose weight.

Caffeine is number one.

Caffeine is a stimulant found naturally in more than 60 plants, including coffee, chocolate, tea, kola nut, guarana, and yerba mate . It raises adrenaline levels, a hormone that causes fat cells to release fatty acids into the circulation, where they can be used for energy by your cells. This stimulant also suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories while eating less calories. According to studies, every milligram of caffeine taken helps burn an extra 0.1 calories over the next 24 hours. This suggests that taking a 150-mg caffeine pill for a day would burn an additional 15 calories.

Caffeine levels of 1.4–2.3 mg per pound (3–5 mg per kg) of body weight are most efficient in raising metabolism and enhancing fat burning, according to human and animal research. Caffeine's effects on metabolism are minor, therefore supplementation is unlikely to have a significant impact on body weight. However, when paired with other dietary and exercise adjustments, it may aid.

2. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate)

Caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) are two thermogenic chemicals found in green tea). Caffeine, as previously said, stimulates the release of adrenaline, which boosts metabolism and fat burning. EGCG boosts these effects by reducing the breakdown of adrenaline, allowing it to have a greater impact .

Caffeinated green tea pills have been shown to enhance metabolism by 4% and fat burning by 16% for up to 24 hours after administration, according to research . However, whether or not this effect leads to significant weight loss or body fat decrease is unknown. According to one study, overweight or obese persons who took green tea supplements daily for at least 12 weeks shed only 0.1 pound (0.04 kg) and had a 0.1 inch (2 cm) reduction in waist circumference . A different study found that people who took green tea supplements for the same amount of time lost an average of 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg), independent of the dose they consumed .

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers.

Capsaicin is the chemical that gives chili peppers their spiciness; the more capsaicin a pepper has, the hotter it is. Capsaicin, like caffeine, causes your body to create adrenaline, which speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories and fat .

It also suppresses your appetite, causing you to consume fewer calories. These properties combine to make capsaicin a potent thermogenic agent . Capsaicin pills can enhance metabolism by roughly 50 calories per day, according to a study of 20 research, which might contribute to significant weight loss over time. Another study found that dieters who consumed 2.5 mg of capsaicin with each meal burnt 10% more fat in the following 24 hours than those who did not.

Over a three-month period, taking 6 mg of capsaicin daily has been associated to a reduction in abdominal fat There is some evidence, however, that your body can adapt to capsaicin and reduce its effects over time .

Garcinia Cambogia is number four.

Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit whose extracts are frequently utilized in weight-loss products. It contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), a chemical that inhibits the activity of the ATP citrate lyase enzyme, which is implicated in the development of body fat . According to a study of 12 trials, using garcinia cambogia supplements for 2–12 weeks results in a 1% higher reduction in body weight than taking a placebo. This is around a 2 pound (0.9 kilogram) difference.

However, because other research results have been varied, there is no consensus on the fat-burning effects of garcinia cambogia. More research is needed to determine if garcinia cambogia pills are useful for weight loss or body fat reduction.

Yohimbine is number five on the list.

Yohimbine is a thermogenic supplement extracted from the bark of the African yohimbe tree.It boosts fat metabolism by raising the action of many hormones, including adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine . Yohimbine's fat-burning potential hasn't been thoroughly investigated, but first findings are promising.

Professional athletes who took 20 mg of yohimbine daily for three weeks had 2% less body fat than athletes who took a placebo, according to a small research . Yohimbine has been demonstrated to increase fat burning during and after aerobic activity, making it a highly effective weight-loss supplement when paired with exercise . There is currently insufficient study to tell whether yohimbine genuinely aids in the burning of body fat.

6. Synephrine / Bitter Orange

Synephrine, a natural stimulant with a structure comparable to ephedrine, is found in bitter orange, a type of citrus fruit. While ephedrine has been outlawed in the US because to allegations of sudden heart attacks, synephrine has not been shown to have the same negative effects and is regarded safe to use in supplements .

It has been demonstrated that taking 50 mg of synephrine increases metabolism and burns an additional 65 calories per day, which could help people lose weight over time . When taken daily for 6–12 weeks, a review of 20 research indicated that bitter orange, alone or in combination with other herbs, greatly boosted metabolism and weight reduction. There have been no human studies to see if it helps to reduce body fat.

7. Thermogenic Mixtures

Because numerous chemicals have thermogenic properties, businesses frequently combine many of them in a single product in the hopes of achieving higher weight reduction results. These mixed vitamins have been shown in studies to increase metabolism, especially when paired with exercise. However, there haven't been many studies to see if they can help you lose weight .

Overweight and obese dieters who took a daily supplement combining green tea extract, capsaicin, and caffeine lost an additional pound (0.454 kg) of body fat compared to those who received a placebo lost an additional pound (0.454 kg). However, more research is required).

Side Effects and Safety

While thermogenic supplements sound like a great method to speed up your metabolism and lose weight, they do come with some risks and side effects. Although many people absorb thermogenic supplements well, they can have negative side effects in certain people.

Nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, and headache are the most prevalent complaints. Furthermore, these supplements may cause a minor rise in blood pressure.

Caffeine supplements with 400 mg or more might cause heart palpitations, anxiety, headaches, restlessness, and dizziness.

Serious Complications That Could Occur

The use of thermogenic supplements has also been connected to far more serious side effects.

Several studies have found a link between these supplements and severe intestinal inflammation, which can be dangerous enough to necessitate surgery.

Others have described hepatitis (liver inflammation), liver damage, and even liver failure in otherwise healthy adolescents and adults.