Citrimax, carnitine and chromium are compounds that are commonly used either separately or in combination as weight loss supplements. While the three differ in many aspects -- one is derived from an Asian fruit, one is an amino acid and one is a mineral -- proponents of all three claim that supplementation with these nutrients can alter your metabolism, decrease your appetite and stimulate weight loss. Critics point to the fact that the FDA has not approved Citrimax, carnitine or chromium as safe and reliable weight loss aids.
Video of the Day
Citrimax is the brand name for hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, a substance extracted from the rind of the dried native southeastern Asian fruit, Garcinia cambogia. According to Nutritional Reviews, this powdered dried fruit has been used in the Asian culture as a way to suppress the appetite and induce satiety. HCA is believed to inhibit the action of the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase, an essential component in the conversion of carbohydrates to fat. Citrimax is thought to cause these carbohydrates to be stored within the muscles as glycogen, and elevated glycogen levels in the body are thought to suppress appetite. Studies reported in the journal "Nutrition Research" indicate HCA may increase the amount of serotonin in the brain; the neurotransmitter's concentration is thought to be inversely proportion to your appetite and cravings for sugar -- the more circulating serotonin, the less you feel the need to eat.
Carnitine is the amino acid also known as L-carnitine, and one of its main functions is to facilitate the passage of fat molecules into the cell mitochondria where the fat is used to provide energy for cellular metabolism. Because of carnitine's connection to metabolism, proponents believe that using the compound as a dietary supplement can give you a boost in energy, help you burn fat quickly and more efficiently and allow you to exercise longer without pain since it is also believed to help decrease lactic acid levels in cells. NutraSanus reports that carnitine supplementation is also thought to be connected to a decreased risk of developing complications in people suffering from heart disease.
Like Citrimax and carnitine, chromium is used as a weight-loss aid. The most common form of chromium in dietary supplements is as chromium picolinate, an easily digested and absorbed compound that consists of the mineral chromium and a compound known as picolinic acid.Chromium picolinate is thought to promote the function of insulin, suppress hunger -- cravings for carbohydrates in particular -- and speed up your metabolic rate. It is also believed to be essential for a healthy endocrine system and to help decrease both cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Citrimax, carnitine and chromium are often combined together in dietary supplements that take the form of weight loss pills or drinks. For example, one such product, the Simply Fit line of what the makers refer to as "calorie-burning" beverages, advertises all three compounds as major ingredients, combined together to give you a maximum metabolic boost while helping you lose weight and gain more lean muscle mass. Other products, like those sold by Max Body Supplements, combine approximately 200 mg chromium picolinate, 1,500 mg Citrimax and 500 mg carnitine together with other vitamins and minerals thought to stimulate weight loss.
Both the FDA and the Office of Dietary Supplements branch of the National Institutes of Health advise against using non-approved supplements like Citrimax, carnitine or chromium since there are not sufficient studies to guarantee their purity, safety or effectiveness. Before using any one of these products -- or any product that contains all three together -- consult your doctor. If you choose to use any of the three and begin to experience side effects such as vomiting, severe headaches, diarrhea, an increase in your heart rate, insomnia, hives, unexplained swelling or difficulty breathing, stop using the products immediately and seek medical attention.