Look in the mirror. Are you fat? Or, are you at least fatter than you were 5 years ago. If so, you have plenty of company. We are getting fatter and fatter. Obesity takes 8 to 10 years off our life expectancy and subjects to us to higher risk for almost all chronic diseases (high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, heart disease, arthritis). This has led to developments of a variety of obesity treatments including the use of nutritional and weight loss supplements.
Many nutritional supplements claim to promote weight loss, but few of these supplements’ claims are supported by scientific studies. Weight loss supplements for which there is some scientific support, however, include green coffee bean extract, green tea, resveratrol, white kidney bean extract, capsinoids, and soy compounds. There is also evidence to suggest that optimal levels of vitamin C and vitamin D and consumption of olive oil promotes weight loss.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
Many are familiar with green tea extracts and its weight loss potential (see below) but green coffee bean extract has been shown to decrease fat and lower glucose levels. A recent 2012 placebo-controlled study showed that green coffee bean extract lead to an average weight loss of 17.6 pounds, and here’s what’s impressive. The weight loss occurred without changing the composition of their diets (calories, protein, carbohydrates, or fat) and without changing their exercise/activity levels. And, 37% of the participants were able to get their BMIs into a normal range. Actual body fat dropped an average 4.44%.
Green coffee bean extract appears to work by both inhibiting the absorption of fats from the intestine and improving fatty acid metabolism. It also reduces absorption of glucose.
Green tea increases satiety and aids in weight loss by decreasing fat absorption and boosting metabolism. Green tea contains catechins and the most powerful catechin is epigallocatechin, or EGCG. EGCG inhibits the enzyme that breakdown norepinephrine. Norepinephrine stimulates metabolism. See “Green Tea Weight Loss“.
Calorie restriction is associated with increase longevity in many animals. Calorie restriction induces a survival response that triggers many beneficial metabolic effects. These beneficial effects are mediated through activation of sirtuin 1 enzyme. Resveratrol can provide the same beneficial effects of calorie restriction by activating sirtuin 1 enzyme. One of these metabolic effects is reducing inflammation produced by fat cells, and in the process decreasing insulin resistance, which is major factor in obesity. See “Resveratrol Anti Aging“.
White Kidney Bean Extract
White kidney bean extract, or phaeolamin, reduces absorption of dietary carbohydrates by breaking down alpha amylase, which normally aids in the absorption of carbohydrates. Typically, white bean extract can block absorption of 50 to 75 mg of carbohydrates per meal. White bean extract may reduce food cravings as well.
Capsinoids are found in sweet peppers and enhance energy utilization at rest by increasing oxidation or burning of fat. Capsinoids also increase norepinephrine levels, which increases metabolism.
Soy compounds reduce the harmful effects of inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance and weight gain. It also seems to effect hormones that regulate appetite.
Vitamins C and D
Higher intake of vitamins C and D in a recent study led to greater weight loss than lower intake of these two vitamins. In addition, these two vitamins have many other beneficial health effects.
Olive oil improves oxidation or burning of fatty acids. Olive oil also decreases the LDL, or bad cholesterol and is a good source for vitamin E and carotenoids, which are antioxidants.
Carnitine helps the transport of fats in the mitochondria, which are the organelles in the cells that produce ATP or energy. Carnitine is found in red meat and is readily available in supplement form. Doses of 500 m to 1000 mg a day are typical.
Lipoic acid is unique in that it is both a water-soluble and fat soluble antioxidant. It can help lower serum glucose by facilitating the burning of glucose for energy.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another important antioxidant vital to energy production in the mitochondria. It helps to burn fats and carbohydrates more efficiently. The taking of statin drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol can deplete CoQ10.