Fat burners are an interesting topic as they evoke controversial responses from both health gurus, and the general public. This article will briefly touch upon the core components found in common fat loss products, as well as highlight the potential side effects brought about after ingestion. Every fat loss product has a slew of ingredients which contribute to its metabolic properties. As the reader, remain cognizant of the fact that high doses of almost any pharmaceutical product may induce negative side effects. Please speak to your MD prior to supplementation, ensuring safe administration.
Common ingredients found in fat burners include an array of vasodilators; compounds which trigger the dilation (widening) of our blood vessels. For the purpose of exercise, vasodilation aids in attaining a more effective workout. Athletes who ingest "pre-workout" supplements, often contain Creatine concoctions, or Nitric-Oxide; NO is a potent vasodilator and when ingested (as expected), induces blood vessel dilation, increasing blood flow to our skeletal muscles. Popular fat burners featured on today's market make use of Niacin (Vitamin B3). Niacin is associated with capillary dilation, and plays a role in the metabolism of glucose, fat, and alcohol. Physicians may potentially administer Niacin as a treatment for anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Higher doses of Niacin typically result in a Niacin "flush"; a warm sensation felt throughout the body as a result of increased capillary dilation (individuals may experience reddening of various regions of the body). Extreme doses of Niacin may bring about hives, blurred vision, and cause excessive sweating.
Sympathetic stimulators are compounds which increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The SNS is responsible for inducing the fight or flight response - activation of the SNS increases heart rate as a result of epinephrine/norepinephrine release, and aids in capillary/tracheal dilation (facilitating gas and metabolite exchange) - all factors which allow the body to respond to increased physical demand. Fat burners contain a number of sympathetic stimulators; some as simple as caffeine extract, others as potent as the renowned Ephedra. The purpose of these compounds is to maintain an elevated heart rate for extended periods of time. In a previous article, I highlighted the correlation between increased heart rate, and lipid oxidation. Ingesting a stimulant leads to an elevated heart rate, causing higher levels of fat metabolism. An elevated heart rate can be quite concerning especially for sedentary individuals with no adaptation to exercise, as the risk of a heart attack is quite possible. Overweight individuals should not rely solely on fat burners to metabolize fat.
"Fat Burning Formulas"
Most stimulant labels will advertise a "fat burning formula" specific to that brand, setting it aside from the competition. Examples of these chemical assortments include compounds which affect hormone release, amino acids associated with increased levels of lipid metabolism, plant extracts, or a combination of trace minerals. Whether or not these formulaic mixtures derive true results is up for debate.
To frown upon fat burners in their entirety would be ignorant, as with the proper medical supervision, can result in an adequate amount of weight loss. A sedentary individual commencing an exercise regimen should consult their MD before taking any stimulants; failure to follow up with your physician while supplementing may lead to a host of adverse side effects. While trained individuals may not experience such symptoms, the proper precautionary measures should always be taken.
Patience and perseverance.