Speed up your weight loss with real science
The world of fitness is plagued by myths and misconceptions. Not everything has been written, and there’s much research to do. We surely need to rely on personal experience sometimes, but the best way to avoid fad diets and useless waste of money is through examining the real science. Are supplements and natural extracts really effective for weight loss? What does the evidence say about it? In this article, we will address these questions and show you evidence every step of the way.
Natural extracts and supplements for weight loss
There are two main pillars of weight loss, and they are diet and exercise. It is not possible to speed up your results to the maximum without a careful combination of those. However, certain foods and natural extracts are better than others to potentiate your physical performance and aid in your weight-loss journey. For example, we can name and recommend the following:
- Mulberry Leaf Extract: You may not have heard about mulberry extract because the science behind it is very recent and was published in 2016. Similar to blackberry and blueberry, mulberry contains many phytonutrients, but one of the most promising ingredients in this fruit is called rutin. It is a flavonoid with antidiabetic properties that improves glucose and blood lipid levels and has been recently shown to speed up fat loss. Rutin acts in a type of adipose cells calls brown fat. Unlike regular fat cells, brown fat is found in strategic places in the human body, and it is full of mitochondria. They work as energy powerhouse organelles and create energy and heat. In other words, mitochondria are behind the so-called thermogenesis, and mulberry activates thermogenic genes that promote this body function and help brown adipose tissue burn more fat in less time (1).
- Banaba leaf extract: This ingredient comes from a species named Lagerstroemia speciosa, a beautiful plant native from Philippines. This extract has been gaining crescent popularity due to its antidiabetic and weight-loss properties. It contains a substance called corosolic acid, which reduces carbohydrate absorption, blocks glucose production (gluconeogenesis), and forces your body to take up and use more glucose (2, 3). As a result, the amount of free glucose in the blood is significantly reduced, and excess won’t enter adipose cells and become transformed and stored as fat. That is why clinical trials using banaba extract along with other ingredients found a significant reduction of fat mass and improvements in body composition after using banaba leaf extract as opposed to placebo (4).
- Berberine: This is a substance found in many different plants, including Berberis vulgaris and Berberis aristata. It was initially used as a pigment until it was discovered its potential application for weight loss. What berberine does for weight loss is merely modulating the way our cells create energy. Without berberine, they do this process quite fast, and excess is stored as fatty tissue. Using berberine, cells will need a more lengthy and structured process that requires more energy and contributes to a negative energy balance promoted by exercise and a careful diet (5, 6).
- Bitter Melon Extract: Unlike more popular extracts that do not have significant clinical implications, bitter melon extract is a hidden jewel in our weight-loss quest. It reduces body fat through multiple mechanisms. One of them is through facilitating the transportation of fatty acids into the mitochondria. It has been found to increase substances inside the mitochondria that transport fat to be oxidized and eliminated from the body (7). Bitter melon extract also promotes a process called mitochondrial uncoupling, which utilizes fatty acids to create heat instead of energy in the form of ATP. Thus, it contributes to thermogenesis. Additionally, it has been shown to block hypertrophy (growth in size) of fat cells by downregulating a series of lipogenic genes in the adipose tissue (7).
- Gymnema Sylvestre Extract: Another extract with anti-obesity potential is Gymnema Sylvestre, which has been tested in animals and humans and does not only prevent the accumulation of fat in the blood and the fatty tissue but has another interesting effect as well. Gymnema Sylvestre binds to your taste buds and changes the way your nervous system perceives sweetness. You will still keep a good sense of taste, but sweet food will not trigger so many emotional responses, and you will be less likely to suffer from sweet cravings and indulge in your favourite sweets (8, 9).
- Cinnamon Bark Powder: Cinnamon holds many different health properties, and one of them is speeding up weight loss. This is because cinnamon contains a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which has been found to favor the expression of genes associated with lipid metabolism. In other words, the organism will become ready to oxidize fat faster and more efficiently after using cinnamon bark powder, and this might be the reason why studies have shown less weight gain and improved sugar control after using cinnamon (10).
Besides natural extracts, we can also recommend a few supplements that will definitely contribute to your weight loss:
- Shilajit: The first supplement we should talk about is Shilajit, an adaptogenic and ayurvedic resin containing many different minerals in their purest form. What is interesting about Shilajit and weight loss is that it promotes gene expression to speed up lipid metabolism, similar to what cinnamon does, but to a greater extent. Coupled with exercise, Shilajit supports natural weight loss, and it can be very helpful to prevent deficiencies of many different trace minerals (11).
- Chromium Picolinate: Cravings and other forms of eating disorder are common causes of overweight and obesity. They are very difficult to treat, but chromium picolinate may come in handy to reduce hunger and cravings and suppress appetite in some cases (12). According to studies, its effect on weight loss is more pronounced when combined with exercise (13).
- Alpha-lipoic acid: It is becoming a popular supplement for weight loss, and there are several trials and meta-analyses showing that it does have an effect in adding up to your efforts to lose weight. Besides recycling your natural antioxidants, alpha-lipoic acid boosts your metabolism and speeds up fat and carbohydrate degradation, which improves body composition when combined with exercise.
Besides these supplements, many people have found amylase supplements very useful, especially if they want to avoid bloating, gas formation, and diarrhea due to an incomplete break down of starch. Whatever you do, if you want to get the complete list of benefits and speed up your weight-loss to the maximum, do not forget the two main pillars are exercise and a carefully crafted diet. In combination with supplements backed up by real science, you will have the perfect recipe to your ideal body.