Monday, July 9, 2012

Magic Bullet Or Creative Marketing, On Fat Burning Ingredients

by Kris Pitcher

We would all love to boost our fat metabolism. Amen! There is of course some very creative marketing around this topic. Don't fool yourselves, this is a multi-billion dollar industry, and everyone wants to cash in on our desire to burn more fat.

Anecdotal claims aside, I mean I really don't care what your neighbor swears by, there is some valid science behind some of the supplementation out there. One of the most simple, and possibly least sexy, ways we can boost our metabolism is with caffeine.

Caffeine works to enhance the sympathetic nervous system activity releasing fatty acids from adipose and intramuscular tissue storage. Now, that is sexy.

One of the key findings here is that its effects seem to acutely enhance metabolism at rest and during low-intensity exercise but less during moderate and high-intensity exercise. (Jeukendrup & Randell 2011)

Now, this is me thinking out loud here (using my logic and all)...but since we are utilizing fatty acids at a larger rate during rest and low-intensity exercise to begin with due to the energy system we are using, it makes sense we are enhancing metabolism of that activity (during the energy system it's most active - low-intensity) with this supplement. Whew, that was a long winded thought. In short, the supplement works the best during the energy system were we are already releasing the most fatty acids.

Another big one in the supplement arena is L-carnitine. It's marketed to increase muscle mass, improve fat metabolism and enhance fat loss. Yes! Sign me up for that! So, does it work?

The science isn't sure. L-carnitine is present in large quantities in meat and has been of interest in the industry for over 20 years. That's a long time to study a supplement. What it does for us is transport long-chain fatty acids across the membrane of our muscle cell's mitochondrion. It takes the fatty acid to the place where it needs to go for further breakdown.

So, if we can increase the transport, we should be able to increase the amount of fat metabolism. But again, the science isn't conclusive. While this one isn't conclusively out, it's not conclusively in either. Twenty years of interest however, has my interest peaked.

There's the skinny on two commonly marketed fat burning ingredients. Read your labels, and know how these things interact with the rest of your plan. You can decide if you need a fancy fat burning complex. Or, if you might just need a quick cup of coffee before your cardio? It's up to you, now that you know.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I like the fatty acid turorial... I was reading about CLA and tried it and am still taking it along with green tea leaf in my coffee/cacao drink in the morning. I think its hard to nail down one silver bullet as you mentioned so I try to integrate a few in my diet then not worry about it. If I lose extra it's a bonus!