Getting in shape or shed off a few pounds is always in most people, if not all, new year resolution’s list. The use of supplements to assist in weight loss has become common than before. With endless options out there claimed to be effective for weight loss, consumers should be aware of the ingredients used in the supplements or pills they are intended to take for desired purposes. Before buying your supplement, learn about the ingredients used and how it helps to maximize the effects by incorporating into your weight loss regime.
African mango is also known as Irvingia gabonensis, a mango-like fruit commonly consumed in traditional Nigerian and Cameroonian cuisine. The seed extract has been widely used in dietary supplement due to the weight loss effects. Studies proved that intake of African mango seed extract as low as 150mg twice daily reduced body weight, body fat and waist size in 10 weeks. The seed achieved these effects by decreasing the hormone (leptin) level that is responsible for regulating appetite and fat storage in fatty tissue.1 African mango extract was shown to have a positive impact on the overweight and obese individual by reducing total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).2
Garcinia cambogia, a fruit commonly found in South Indian daily food, gained its fame as a weight management supplement in 2012 after featuring in a TV show. The active constituent extracted from the peels of the fruit known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA) plays a vital role in weight loss effect. HCA helps suppress appetite with consequent reduction of food intake, caloric restriction and weight loss. Besides, HCA was found to slow down the formation of fat by inhibiting an enzyme (citrate lyase) which plays a part in converting carbohydrate to fat.3-8
Unlike the commonly consumed black coffee, the green coffee bean is the unroasted raw coffee beans that are rich in caffeine and chlorogenic acid. The roasting process turns the naturally green coffee beans to brown/black colour and diminished the chlorogenic acid in it.9 As the main constituent found in the green coffee bean, chlorogenic acid works synergistically with caffeine and other polyphenolic compounds in lowering body weight and visceral fat accumulation.10 Several studies had been conducted and showed that the chlorogenic acid in green coffee bean extract helps in regulating the hormones (adiponectin and leptin) levels that are responsible for the formation of fat.11-14 Another good news about green coffee bean is its benefit is not merely on reducing body weight and body fat, it possesses blood-pressure-lowering effects which may be beneficial for overweight individuals with a higher risk of heart health issues.15,16
Green tea is one of the most widely found ingredients used in weight loss supplements. Numerous studies had linked green tea with fat-burning effect and improvement of obesity-related health issues.17-22 The key compound that contributed to these magical effects is a type of natural antioxidant found abundantly in green tea - epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Two human studies conducted on 14 healthy women and men respectively showed that the combination of green tea extract and regular exercise increased body fat burning under both sedentary and exercising conditions.22,23 This suggests that by taking green tea extract and going on with your regular exercises might achieve a faster result as compared to those who don’t.
As for those who wish to get rid of abdominal fat/belly fat, green tea may be the one for you. A study involved 100 over participants demonstrated that intake of beverage containing catechin managed to achieve greater weight loss and reduction in abdominal fat by increasing fat burning which eventually leads to the reduced levels of triglyceride and free fatty acids.20
Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid naturally produced by our body and works closely with mitochondria (also known as powerhouses of cells) for energy production. Acetyl L-carnitine turns into L-carnitine in your body to perform its duty by transporting fatty acid to mitochondria for burning as a source of energy during exercise.24 The fat-burning effect of L-carnitine is also discussed in a study whereby muscle carnitine content can be increased in humans by dietary means and contributed to increasing muscle fat burning.25 Apart from fat-burning, L-carnitine is also an ideal supplement for increasing strength and exercise performance.24-26 One of the studies found that the work output of participants with carnitine supplementation was 35% greater than the control group after 24 weeks.25 Furthermore, L-carnitine can reduce tissue damage and muscle soreness by improving blood flow and delivering oxygen to muscle tissue during and after exercise.27 All-in-all, these functions explained why L-carnitine supplementation is popular among athletes, sports or gym enthusiasts in assisting them to achieve an optimum result.
Which and when is the best for me?
Last but not least, when we talk about a successful weight loss plan, none of the supplements fit into the category of one-size-fits-all. Hence, incorporating supplements with a balanced, healthy diet as well as consistent workout routine is the key to achieve healthy weight loss.
- Ngondi JL, Etoundi BC, Nyangona CB, Mbofung CMF, Oben JE. IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduce body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2009;8:7.
- Ngondi JL, Oben JE, Minka SR. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2005;4:12.
- Majeed M, Badmaev V, Khan N, Prakash L, Kalyanam N. A new class of phytonutrients for body weight management. Nutra Food. 2009;8(1):17-26.
- Sethi A. A review on garcinia cambogia – a weight controlling agent. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Development. 2011;3(10):13-24.
- Chuah LO, Ho WY, Beh BK, Yeap SK. Updates on antiobesity effect of Garcinia origin – HCA. 2013;1-17.
- Verma RK, Paraidathathu T. Herbal medicines used in the traditional indian medicinal system as a therapeutic treatment option for overweight and obesity management: a review. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014;6(2):40-47.
- Fassina P, Adami FS, Zani VT, Machado ICK, Garavaglia J, Grave MTQ, et al. The effect of Garcinia cambogia as coadjuvant in the weight loss process. Nutr Hosp. 2015;32(6):2400-2408.
- Sripradha R, Magadi SG. Efficacy of Garcinia cambogia on body weight, inflammation and glucose tolerance in high fat fed male wistar rats. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2015;9(2):1-4.
- da Silveira Duarte SM, de Abreu CMP, de Menezes HC, dos Santos MH, Gouvea CMCP. Effect of processing and roasting on the antioxidant activity of coffee brews. Ciênc. Tecnol. Aliment., Campinas. 2005;25(2):387-393.
- Shimoda H, Seki E, Aitani M. Inhibitory effect of green coffee bean extract on fat accumulation and body weight gain in mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006;6(9):1-9.
- Choi BK, Park SB, Lee DR, Lee HJ, Jin YY, Yang SH, et al. Green coffee bean extract improves obesity by decreasing body fat in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. 2016;9(7):635-643.
- Song SJ, Choi S, Park T. Decaffeinated green coffee bean extract attenuates diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/718379
- Thom E. The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when long-term in overweight and obese people. The Journal of International Medical Research. 2007;35:900-908.
- Vinson JA, Burnham BR, Nagendran MV. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:21-27.
- Revuelta-Iniesta R, Al-Dujaili EAS. Consumption of green coffee reduces blood pressure and body composition by influencing 11β-HSD1 enzyme activity in healthy individuals: a pilot crossover study using green and black coffee. BioMed Research International. 2014. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/482704
- Kozuma K, Tsuchiya S, Kohori J, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. Antihypertensive effect of green coffee bean extract on mildly hypertensive subjects. Hypertens. Res. 2005;28(9):711-718.
- Nagao T, Komine Y, Soga S, Meguro S, Hase T, Tanaka Y, et al. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. American Society for Clinical Nutrition. 2005;81:122-129.
- Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in human. Obesity. 2007;15(6):1473-1483.
- Shimotoyodome A, Haramizu S, Inaba M, Murase T, Tokimitsu I. Exercise and green tea extract stimulate fat oxidation and prevent obesity in mice. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2005;1884-1892.
- Maki KC, Reeves MS, Farmer M, Yasunaga K, Matsuo N, Katsuragi Y, et al. Green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss in overweight and obese adults. The Journal of Nutrition and Disease. 2009;139:264-270.
- Lu C, Zhu W, Shen CL, Gao W. Green tea polyphenols reduce body weight in rats by modulating obesity-related genes. PLoS ONE. June 2012;7(6):1-11.
- Gahreman D, Wang R, Boutcher Y, Boutcher S. Green tea, intermittent sprinting exercise, and fat oxidation. Nutrients. 2015;7:5646-5663.
- Ota N, Soga S, Shimotoyodome A, Haramizu S, Inaba M, Murase T, et al. Effects of combination of regular exercise and tea catechins intake on energy expenditure in humans. Journal of Health Science. 2005;51(2):233-236.
- Malaguarnera M, Cammalleri L, Gargante MP, Vacante M, Colonna V, Motta M. L-carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:1738-1744.
- Wall BT, Stephens FB, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Marimuthu K, Macdonald IA, Greenhaff PL. Chronic oral ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans. J Physiol. 2011;589(4):963-973.
- Jacobs PL, Goldstein ER, Blackburn W, Orem I, Hughes JJ. Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine produces enhanced anaerobic work capacity with reduced lactate accumulation in resistance trained males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2009;6:9.
- Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Rubin MR, Gomez AL, Ratamess NA, Gaynor P. L-carnitne L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002;282:E474-E482.