With an overwhelming number of weight-loss supplements flooding the market today, it's best to only use those supplements that have proved to be effective in a clinical setting; this way you will get the best results, while conserving money and being safe. Among these clinically proven weight-loss supplements are green tea extract, psyllium husk, glucomannan, CLA and whey protein.
Green Tea Extract
One 2007 study published in "Obesity" found that green tea extract could reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease by reducing body fat, LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. Green tea extract contains a substance known as catechins that are responsible for its weight-loss properties. The subjects who lost weight in the study were given green tea extract containing 583 milligrams of catechins per day.
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Psyllium husk is a form of soluble fiber that is commonly used in fiber supplements. A 2010 paper published in the "Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology" noted that various fibers can have a weight-reduction effect on the body, though psyllium husk stands out as being among the most effective in reducing weight, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Glucomannan is another fiber supplement that stands out for its role in weight reduction. A 2005 study published in "Medical Science Monitor" tested with glucomannan along with two fiber supplements on 167 men and women with obesity, who were otherwise healthy. The study concluded that glucomannan reduced body weight, while the other fiber supplements did not
CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, is a type of fatty acid that naturally occurs in dietary sources but can also be supplemented. A 2012 double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in "Nutrition" tested 1.7 grams of CLA for 12 weeks on Chinese participants who had obesity. The result was a lower rate of obesity in these subjects, with no apparent negative side effects.
Although whey protein may be most popular for its role as a muscle enhancing supplement, it may also be useful for reducing body fat, particularly when calories are restricted. A 2008 study published in "Nutrition and Metabolism" administered whey protein to subjects adhering to a 500-calorie reduced diet. The study found that subjects who were given whey protein lost significantly more body fat and retained more muscle tissue compared with a control group, which also adhered to a 500-calorie reduced diet.
A well-rounded fitness program should include both fat loss and lean muscle gain. The American Council on Exercise notes that resistance training, cardiovascular exercise and calorie moderation are essential components of your fitness plan. Assuming you've already made the necessary lifestyle changes, certain supplements may provide additional help in accomplishing your goals.
Athletes, weight lifters and bodybuilders use creatine to improve muscle size and strength. Creatine improves strength by giving muscles more energy for contraction. Creatine also increases muscle fullness and size by drawing water into muscle cells. Although the National Strength and Conditioning recognizes creatine as effective and generally safe, creatine supplementation may cause minor muscle cramps due to dehydration.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Leucine, isoleucine and valine make up the branched-chain amino acids. During resistance training, muscle proteins are broken down and metabolized for energy. The body must repair this damage before muscles can grow stronger. Supplementing with branched-chain amino acids before and after training can limit muscle breakdown and ensure that more recovery time is dedicated to new muscle growth. Although BCAAs are considered to be safe, consult your physician before you start taking them.
Caffeine, which occurs naturally in coffee, tea and chocolate, is among the most widely used drugs in the world. Also available in supplement form, caffeine may improve fat burning, according to The Physician and Sports Medicine Journal. A moderate dose of caffeine taken before exercise seems to increase the amount of fat oxidized for energy. Caffeine is also a central nervous system stimulant which boosts metabolism and overall calorie burning. Do not use caffeine as an exercise aid if you have a heart condition or blood pressure issue.
Protein as an all-purpose nutrient which aids both muscle gain and fat loss according to nutrition expert Mauro Di Pasquale, M.D. Protein, which the body uses to build muscle following training, also stimulates metabolism, leading to increased fat burning. Whey protein is an effective supplement because it digests quickly, mixes well in shakes and has a mild taste. While protein supplementation is generally safe, those with kidney disorders may be unable to handle increased protein in their diet.
- Obesity: A Green Tea Extract High In Catechins Reduces Body Fat And Cardiovascular Risks In Humans
- Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: The Right Fiber For The Right Disease: An Update On The Psyllium Seed Husk And The Metabolic Syndrome
- Medical Science Monitor: Experiences With Three Different Fiber Supplements In Weight Reduction
- Nutrition: Effect Of Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplementation On Weight Loss And Body Fat Composition In A Chinese Population
- Nutrition and Metabolism: A Whey-Protein Supplement Increases Fat Loss And Spares Lean Muscle In Obese Subjects: A Randomized Human Clinical Study