Medical Fact or Science Fiction?
Everywhere we look today we see the term “thermogenesis.” Aside from newspaper and magazine articles, the term is now prominently displayed on literally hundreds of weight loss related nutritional supplements. However, Buyer Beware! Most often, the term “thermogenesis” has been misapplied to products and is simply an inaccurate “come-on” to increase a product’s sales.
Technically, “thermogenesis” refers to increased fat loss through raising the body’s core temperature or through an increased caloric use as a result of an heightened energy/metabolic state. Unfortunately, there are definitely NOT hundreds of products out there that can cause these changes to occur. More specifically, when this term is applied to B vitamin derivatives and common, popular herbal products, it is most likely a sham.
There is, however, some interesting science behind “thermogenic” type products. First, The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and the medical journal Metabolism recently carried two separate articles detailing different but very much closely related studies on “thermogenesis.” Both studies reported independent, positive results using a combination of the common over the counter products, Ephedrine (20 mg.) and Caffeine (200 mg.). The studies found that these two widely used products when taken in combination with each other produced beta 2-agonistic properties. More specifically, they reported a pronounced increase in glucose metabolism, an increase in insulin production and an increase in fat oxidation. The over-all effect was a large increase in energy expenditure and a dramatic decrease in body fat.
Interestingly, one study monitored the effect of this compound on diastolic blood pressure and found no increase. Logically, however, one would expect to see temporary increased feelings of agitation after beginning this regime and perhaps a decrease in appetite.
A second product shown scientifically to increase “thermogenesis” is an extract of the Wild Yam, more specifically the Dioscorea Villosa tuber. This natural plant extract has been shown to raise body core temperature through it’s ability to naturally increase production of the hormone Progesterone. This, in turn, increases core temperature and aids fat metabolism. Interestingly, medical research is also underway looking at the effects of this plant on lowering the negative side effects seen during menopause and on it’s ability to help supress the growth of tumor cells.
There are no negative side effects seen from use of Wild Yam extract and none of the increased feelings of energy and agitation commonly found with the use of Ephedrine and Caffeine. There might, however, be a slight increase in sweating.