– Sometimes diet and exercise isn't enough to bring about meaningful weight loss. When the weight simply doesn't seem to come off, some people turn to fat burners and thermogenic supplements. Keep in mind that fat-burning supplements aren't a substitute for a healthy diet and regular physical activity. In addition, fat-burning supplements may not be a good choice for people with certain medical conditions.
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Thermogenics and fat burners are supplements that may increase your metabolism or the rate at which your body breaks down fat. Not all of these supplements are supported by research and some may carry side effects. That's why it's best to talk to your doctor before taking a fat burner or thermogenic supplement for weight loss.
Types of Fat Burning Supplements
Green tea extract is an ingredient in some thermogenic supplements. Green tea contains a compound called EGCG. Some research suggests EGCG has thermogenic or metabolism-boosting benefits. EGCG is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help to protect cells against damage. In some thermogenic supplements, green tea extract and EGCG is combined with other antioxidants from natural sources like fruit extracts.
Some green tea fat burners are formulated with vitamins, including B-vitamins. B vitamins are important for carbohydrate metabolism. Some also contain vitamin D. A few studies show an association between low vitamin D levels and weight gain. Other ingredients you may find in thermogenic supplements are cinnamon and caffeine. Research shows cinnamon may be helpful for blood sugar control although more research is needed. Caffeine has thermogenic effects but it can also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as nervousness and anxiety. If you're sensitive to caffeine, it's best to avoid caffeine-containing supplements.
Another ingredient in some fat-burning supplements is green coffee bean extract. Some studies show an extract from green coffee beans may help with weight loss, although more research is needed to confirm this. Green coffee bean extract may have other possible health benefits as well due to its antioxidant activity. Some small studies show it may help to lower blood pressure but more evidence is needed to demonstrate its effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
Talk to your doctor before taking a thermogenic or fat-burning supplement. Some are formulated with ingredients like caffeine that may not be safe if you have certain medical conditions. Fat-burners and thermogenics may contain ingredients that interact with prescription medications, supplements and other herbs you might be taking. Always let your doctor know what herbs, supplements and medications you're already taking. Some fat-burning supplements may not be safe if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Always consult your doctor before starting a supplement if you're pregnant or have a medical condition. Your doctor can offer guidance as to which supplements are best for you.