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Here's what you should know about 'Fat Burning' supplements.

Here's what you should know about 'Fat Burning' supplements.
13 Seeds Hemp Farm

Hey guys! Welcome to another edition of 3 Question Friday! 

We have some awesome questions this week that will tell you everything you need to know about ‘fat burning’ supplements, what to expect when taking a turmeric supplement and how to manage fibromyalgia naturally!

Congratulations to Joslyn, Ryan, and Dianna who all won $20 gift vouchers just for asking Ben a question! You can always send your questions to ben@13seeds.com.au 

Let’s dive straight into this week’s questions!

  1. Joslyn asked “What’s the go with ‘fat burning’ supplements?”
  2. Ryan was curious “How long will it take to see the effects of TheraJoint+?”
  3. Dianna wanted to know “Is hemp seed oil good for fibromyalgia?”

 

1. What are your thoughts on ‘fat burning’ supplements?

For many people keeping the weight off can be an issue. It can be easy to try shortcuts to keep the weight off as weight loss can be a difficult task when we are surrounded by copious amounts of junk food!

‘Fat burning’ supplements are claimed to help you “lose weight fast!” These claims are allegedly due to these supplements ability to increase the breakdown of fat and increase your metabolism. 

Often these supplements contain one or many ingredients claimed to have these fat loss effects, but is it all trash talk? Let’s look at some common ‘fat burning’ supplements and see what the science has to say about it!

Caffeine

Caffeine, in particular coffee has many benefits such as antioxidants and improved focus, but does it stack up as a weight loss product? Caffeine has been found to increase fat metabolism short-term, although these effects are typically small (less than 20%) and if a regular caffeine consumer these effects typically diminish (2).

One review that looked at several different studies found that caffeine intake might promote weight loss, reduce BMI (learn more about BMI here) and reduce body fat (1).

While another review explained that caffeine on its own has not demonstrated to be effective in reducing body weight suggesting that caffeine alone may not be a great fat burning tool (2).

Enjoy your latte, but don’t forget to exercise!

L- carnitine 

L-carnitine (aka levocarnitine) is a compound in body made from amino acids (building blocks of protein) that is also found in meat and dairy. L-carnitine has an important role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids (fats) into your cells.

In theory L-carnitine could be an effective weight loss supplement by increasing the breakdown of fat. However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that a healthy person can produce enough L-carnitine in the body (from amino acids methionine and lysine) even when dietary carnitine is insufficient (eg. exclusion of animal products) (2).

Due to complexities of the human body, the evidence in both human and animal studies is mixed, so probably best to skip this one for the time being (3, 4, 5, 6).

Green tea extract

Green tea is different to other tea leaves as it processed from non-oxidised/non-fermented leaves, meaning that it contains the highest quantities of antioxidants called catechins that are absent in black teas.

Of these catechins, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is the most abundant and active catechin. Catechins, in particular EGCG are believed to enhance metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of fat with green tea extracts being used as a popular weight loss product (7). 

One review concluded that “Green tea has the potential to increase fat metabolism at rest, also during exercise, and may help to lose body fat and body weight. As with caffeine, the effects appear to be relatively small.” (2).

These findings suggest that green tea may not be as powerful as these supplement companies claim it to be. Also be mindful that high doses of green tea extract (not so much green tea itself) can cause liver damage in high doses (8).

Chromium

Chromium is a trace mineral, that we only need in small amounts and is found in cheese, mushrooms, brewers yeasts and wheat germ. Supplement brands have claimed chromium to be both a ‘muscle builder’ and ‘fat burner’ due to chromium’s role in potentially improving the effects of insulin. 

Studies that have looked at both weight loss and performance with chromium supplementation have mixed results, with only one study demonstrating beneficial effects with chromium supplementation (9, 10, 11, 12).

Based on these findings it’s probably best to avoid supplementing with chromium as we only need it in small amounts in the diet and high doses could cause complications as it can interfere with other minerals in high doses.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of omega 6 fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. CLA is similar to the abundant omega 6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA) found in many foods, however, has a slightly different structure. Interestingly, it’s actually a trans-fat, although is very different to industrial trans fats that you want to avoid.

It’s suggested that CLA can act as a fat loss supplement through its ability to decrease energy and food intake, increase energy use and improve fat metabolism. However, majority of the potential weight loss effects of CLA have mostly been done in animals. Only modest fat loss has been seen in human studies (3g/day), with more research needed to understand it’s effects and safety in humans (2). 

Supplementing with CLA is unlikely to yield significant differences for weight loss, probably best to save your money on this one for the time being (2).

Taurine

Taurine is non-essential amino acid as it is made in the body and is not required from the diet. Taurine can also be found in many foods such as meat, fish, dairy and is often added to energy drinks. Just in case you were wondering taurine is not made from bull semen as far as the old wives' tale goes.

There are two human studies that looked at taurine as a fat loss and performance supplement that had conflicting results (13, 14).

Considering the lack evidence, taurine still needs more research to be considered a potential fat loss supplement.

Protein

Protein is macronutrient, meaning we need it in large amounts that is found in both animal and plant-based foods.

In fact, protein can suppress your appetite by reducing a hormone called ghrelin that stimulates hunger. Protein also has satiating effects (feeling full) due to its high thermogenic effects (how much energy you use to break down a food).

A 2017 study found that participants who consumed a high protein diet had significantly more weight loss than those with low protein diets. Aim for 1g/kg (sedentary) – 1.6g/kg (active lifestyle) of protein per day (15).

Fibre

Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy.

Soluble fibre (a type of fibre) helps to create a gel-like substance in your gut by absorbing water that increases hormones that make you feel full (GLP-1) and supress ghrelin, our “hunger hormone”.

One study found that increasing natural soluble fibre in the diet can help to reduce fat and calorie intake (calorie deficit) that resulted in weight loss. Aim for 30gm of total fibre/day (16).

Take home message

Most ‘fat burning’ supplements either have a lack of evidence or conflicting results. Based on what we know so far caffeine and green tea do have fat burning properties, however these effects in humans are generally quite small and short-term.

However, when we look at nutrients that are part of a healthy diet such as fibre and protein, we can see that these macronutrients can be particularly efficient in supporting weight loss that won’t break the bank.

If you are struggling to lose weight you are most likely in a calorie surplus (too much energy in from foods, not enough energy out through exercise). Calories are how we measure energy in foods.

When we eat too much energy in from foods and too little energy out from exercise/movement this can result in a calorie surplus, that can result in excess weight being stored.

The best way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit. Aim to eat less by eating smaller portions, increase protein intake, reduce stress, increase sleep, and of course participate in regular exercise! If you need some weight loss support, hit up our head nutritionist Ben.

2. How long will it take to see the effects of TheraJoint+?

Great question! TheraJoint+ is our brand-new turmeric supplements that is one of the highest grade turmeric supplements on the market and can be used to relieve symptoms of mild arthritis and joint pain

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet, as to how long it will take to feel the effects of a turmeric supplement as everyone is different and this may vary from person to person.

I have read some sources online that it can take 4-8 weeks to start seeing results as it takes time for the curcuminoids (the active compound) to build in your system. However, these claims are mostly hearsay and are not backed by evidence.

Based on our extensive research we suggest that you take 1 capsule every day and according to a study that looked at turmeric and osteoarthritis you should start to notice improvements in your health within 14 days (17).

If you want to learn more about the benefits of turmeric click here and to purchase 13 Seeds TheraJoint+ click here!

3. Is hemp seed oil good for Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by generalised pain and muscle stiffness that can be felt in many different areas around the body called “regions of pain”. Chronic fatigue and sleep problems are also common complications of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is not characterised by inflammation or damage to painful areas, instead may be due to an overactive pain system controlled by the brain and nerves.

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • pain – usually aching, stiffness and tiredness of muscles. Pain may be worse after rest (eg. first thing in the morning) or after activity
  • extreme fatigue (tiredness), making it difficult to do your normal daily activities
  • poor sleep
  • problems with concentration and memory
  • irritable bowel (diarrhoea, stomach pain).

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, however may be more common in people who have inflammatory arthritis (eg. rheumatoid), an illness (eg. virus), pain from an injury or trauma, emotional stress, and depression (18).

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, although a combination of medications, therapy and lifestyle changes can help to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Fibromyalgia and diet

While there aren’t any specific dietary recommendations for fibromyalgia, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, while also staying in a healthy weight range can help to manage symptoms.

This includes eating mostly whole-foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and healthy fats. While also reducing sugar and processed foods as much as possible.

Hemp seed oil contains essential fatty acids, in particular an omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is then converted into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the body.

EPA and DHA have important roles in regulating inflammation, brain health, nerve health, and eye health in the body.

There wasn’t much research on fibromyalgia and omega 3’s but I managed to find a couple of studies.

One study involved giving high doses of omega-3 fatty acids for one month to 12 female patients. Significant beneficial changes were observed for pain regions, pain severity, fatigue and depression (18). While another study also reported beneficial results in reducing pain regions with supplementation of 2400mg/day DHA and EPA for 7 months (19).

Based on these findings hemp seed oil may be beneficial for the management of fibromyalgia symptoms in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Lifestyle changes can help to manage fibromyalgia too that include therapy, massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, tai chi and exercise.

If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at ben@13seeds.com.au

Disclaimer: 

This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.

References: 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30335479/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00908.x
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10861338/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12378044
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15929637
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22738052
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938410000703
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547925/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8054959/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8775366/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8644693/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17291720/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20739720/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18583380/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644969/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6460672/
  18. https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/fibromyalgia/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20090445/
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