Yohimbine is a chemical that is derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree, a tall evergreen. While the tree is native to Western Africa, supplements containing yohimbine are sold across the world due to the chemical's wide variety of benefits. Yohimbine is a common ingredient in energy drinks and sports nutrition supplements.
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Yohimbine is a vasodilator, which means that it expands blood vessels. This allows for easier blood flow and superior circulation. In particular, studies have shown that yohimbine is effective in improving blood flow to extremities, such as your hands and feet. Lower doses of yohimbine can also lower blood pressure and increase heart rate, which can help your body deliver nutrients to working cells.
Yohimbine is also a popular ingredient in weight-loss and fat-burning products. This is because some studies have shown yohimbine to be effective in removing "stubborn fat"--slimming down problem spots like the abdomen and thighs.
Yohimbine's slimming effect is due to its blockage of alpha(2) andrenoreceptors, which prevent the release of a fat-mobilizing hormone, norepinephrine. Yohimbine ensures higher norepinephrine levels, which causes your body to break down fat cells. This also increases blood flow to fat tissue, which causes less fat to be retained
Yohimbine also has another advantage for dieters--appetite suppression. Studies have shown that supplementation with yohimbine reduces overall calorie intake by neutralizing feelings of hunger.
Interestingly, one study found that yohimbine reduced carbohydrate and fat intake, but not protein intake. This assists in appetite suppression because protein increases feelings of fullness. Your body also burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates or fat.
Supplements that promise to optimize sexual health and battle erectile dysfunction also contain yohimbine. This is because of yohimbine's tendency to increase blood flow to extremities--in this case, your genitals.
In addition, yohimbine can slightly increase testosterone levels in men. Women can benefit from yohimbine as well, as the chemical can increase feelings of sexual arousal.