TIME 4 FAT LOSS SERIES
This is the fourteenth and final in a series of original articles looking at the science behind fat loss. Join our mailing list to be informed of the latest news, articles and Time 4 Nutrition products.
Are there any supplements that can help us to reduce our body fat?
The short answer is yes. There are a number of supplements which research has shown can aid fat loss.
Whey protein is the protein fraction of whey, the liquid portion of milk that separates from the curds during the cheese making process. Research has shown that it can provide many health and performance benefits including helping to reduce our levels of body fat. For example, a study which examined the effects of a whey protein based drink on the body fat and lean muscle of subjects on a 500 calorie reduced diet, found that the subjects consuming the whey protein based drink lost a significantly greater amount of body fat and preserved more muscle mass compared to subjects consuming the control beverage (1).
Glucose disposal agents
Glucose disposal agents (GDAs) are substances that increase muscle cells’ sensitivity to insulin which aids the uptake of glucose from the blood stream and so increases the likelihood that the carbohydrate we consume is used as fuel for activity rather than stored as body fat.
The key ingredients of Time 4’s glucose disposal agent have been shown scientifically to provide a number of benefits for health and performance, including a reduction in body fat levels. For example, a study by Hu et al., (2) found that berberine helped obese people to lose weight with no adverse side effects.
Testosterone support supplement
A testosterone support supplement is a specially formulated combination of substances that helps to promote the maintenance of the body’s natural levels of the hormone testosterone, which plays an important role in health and well-being, including the maintenance of healthy body composition.
The key ingredients of Time 4 Test have been shown scientifically to potentially provide a number of benefits for health and performance including a reduction in body fat and an increase in muscle mass, which is important for the maintenance of our metabolic rate.
For example, a study investigating the effects of 8 weeks of supplementation with the herb withania somnifera (ashwagandha) in healthy young men engaged in resistance training, found that it provided a significantly greater increase in muscle mass and strength and a reduction in body fat in comparison to a placebo (3).
Poole et al., (4) found similar results when examining the effects of fenugreek, which provided significant improvements in strength and a reduction in body fat in comparison to a placebo in subjects participating in a resistance training programme.
Neither of these studies found any adverse side effects.
Conjugated linoleic acid
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a group of chemicals found in the fatty acid linoleic acid, which occurs naturally in dairy products and red meat. Research has shown that its consumption has been linked with a variety of health benefits including the reduction of body fat. For example, the authors of a review, which analysed the data from 18 studies examining the effects of CLA on body composition, concluded that it can help to reduce body fat (5)
The term ‘thermogenic’ means heat-producing. As we expend energy, we generate heat. Hence supplements that boost our metabolism are referred to as being thermogenic.
A study by Campbell et al., (6) showed that a single-dose of a thermogenic supplement led to significant elevations in resting metabolic rate in comparison to baseline.
Thermogenic supplements typically contain a selection of natural ingredients including caffeine, green tea, capsaicin and other plant extracts, which work together to boost our metabolism and so enhance fat burning.
For example, caffeine increases the release of adrenaline, which stimulates fat cells to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to be used for energy. Caffeine also been shown to help reduce appetite and boost metabolism, allowing us to burn more calories while eating less (7).
So far in this article we have focused on supplements that aid the reduction of body fat, but some people may need to reduce body weight per se, perhaps to make weight for a sporting event, while others, such as bodybuilders, may need to optimise muscle definition in preparation for competition. To help achieve this, some form of diuretic, commonly referred to as ‘water tablets’, is often used. These are substances that help the body to eliminate excess water and so reduce weight and enhance muscle definition.
There is a range of prescription diuretic medications, which are used to treat conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart failure and swollen tissues. However, many natural substances, e.g., green tea, dandelion, juniper and horsetail, can also provide a diuretic effect without the side effects associated with prescription medications. For example, a study by Carneiro et al., (8) found that equisetum arvense, or horsetail, was as effective as the diuretic medication hydrochlorothiazide without causing significant changes in the elimination of electrolytes.
While the most effective method of reducing body fat levels is to restrict energy intake and increase energy expenditure through physical activity, scientific evidence suggests that are a number of supplements that can potentially help us to achieve this.