So-called thermogenic supplements are products that have become very popular in recent years as they promise weight loss and better physical performance. Thermogenics are substances that act by increasing body temperature through stimulation of the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems. The results of thermogenesis are an increase in basal metabolism and a greater fat burning, which helps the patient to lose weight.
The problem is that the results of these supplements are not free from side effects, some of them simpler, such as mood swings, dry mouth, tremors and insomnia, and other more serious conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias, AVC.
In recent years, several government substance control agencies, including the Brazilian ANVISA, have issued resolutions banning the sale of some thermogenic supplements because of their risks to Cheers. With each passing year, the list of banned products has increased.
In this article we will do a review on thermogenic supplements, addressing their composition and possible side effects.
Attention: for there to be no confusion, it is necessary to emphasize that we will speak exclusively about thermogenic supplements, which are industrialized products sold in the form of capsules or tablets. The text will not address the issue of "thermogenic foods because these, if consumed in a balanced way, do not pose a health risk.
What is a thermogenic supplement?
We call thermogenic supplement substances that help speed up metabolism and increase body temperature, helping in fat burning and weight loss.
The strong appeal in the media and the expectation of weight loss with rapid results have contributed to irresponsible use of these substances by the population without it being adequately involved. For this reason, government agencies around the world have closed the siege against the indiscriminate marketing of these products.
The composition of thermogenic supplements has been changing over the years due to the frequent updating of the list of commercially banned substances. The constant withdrawal of unsafe thermogenic supplements has had two effects: greater safety for users, but at the cost of a significant loss of weight loss effect.
Substances that have a high metabolism-stimulating activity, such as ephedrine and dimethylamylamine (DMAA), present in several Thermogenic brands have been banned in several countries, including Brazil, due to their high risk of complications cardiovascular diseases. Currently, the most popular thermogenics use caffeine and synephrine (Citrus auranthium) as major thermogenic substances.
In addition to sifedrine and caffeine, it is possible to find several other substances in the products considered thermogenic, including hormones, vitamins, amino acids, antidepressants and even diuretics, which makes it impossible to define a standard composition for the various brands of complements thermogenic.
Substances frequently present in thermogenic supplements
As there are several different brands, with completely different compositions, let's make a of the main substances present in the most sold thermogenic supplements in Brazil and in the world.
Note: Often, the active substance is not clearly described on the product label and is masked by the use of the scientific name of the plant that gives rise to it. Whenever possible, I will describe the name of the active substance and its plant of origin to facilitate identification.
a) Ephedrine- ephedrine (ephedra) is a substance derived from the plantEphedra sinicaor Ma huang. Molecularly similar to amphetamine, ephedrine was widely used alongside caffeine as a thermogenic supplement, aiming at slimming and increasing athletic performance. Despite their great effectiveness and popularity, ephedra-based thermogens have been banned around the world due to the high risk of side effects.
A study conducted between 1997 and 1999, with users of ephedrine-based thermogenics, found several cases of arterial hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, stroke and crisis convulsive At least 10 cases progressed to death and 13 led to permanent disability. Of these 23 most serious reports, nine occurred in people who had no risk factors and had consumed the doses recommended by the manufacturer.
b) Caffeine- caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and has been used almost universally in commercially allowed thermogenics. Studies show that consumption of up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe in adults (30 ml of espresso has between 30 and 90 mg of caffeine). A safe daily amount of caffeine has not yet been established in adolescents, but it is probably less than the 400 mg adult limit.
Caffeine is not as effective for weight loss as banned substances derived from amphetamine, the which causes its dosage in thermogenics to be very high, in order to compensate for the low efficacy. Some thermogenic products even provide more than 800 mg of caffeine per day, which is more than twice the dose considered safe. Very high doses increase the risk of arrhythmias and cardiac ischemia.
Caffeine in thermogenics is usually obtained through coffee powder, guarana or green tea.
c) Synephrine- Synephrine, obtained throughCitrus auranthium, also known as sour orange or bitter orange, is a substance similar to ephedrine, but weaker. With the ban on ephedrine, synephrine has gained popularity and has often been used in combination with high doses of caffeine.
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Although weaker and less effective than ephedrine, synephrine can not in any way be considered a risk-free substance. Cases of stroke, cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks have been reported due to their use.
The maximum daily safe dose of synephrine is 50 mg. When associated with caffeine, the maximum safe daily dose is 40 mg of synephrine and 320 mg of caffeine.
d) Octopamine- Octopamine is a substance similar to synephrine, which can also be obtained byCitrus auranthium. The efficacy and risks are very similar. Doses up to 50 mg / day are considered safe.
e), -dimethylamylamine (DMAA)- A, -dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is a type of amphetamine, which was banned by ANVISA in 2012.
DMAA can cause a number of side effects, such as agitation, nausea, headache, and elevated blood pressure. Case reports point to AMD as a cause of cerebral haemorrhage, drug hepatitis, rhabdomyolysis and myocardial infarctions.
(f) other substances:chitosan, chrome, ginseng, glucomannan (Amorphophallus Konjac), L-carnitine, psyllium, St. John's wort, taurine and linoleic substances are often present in thermogenics, usually in association with caffeine and / or synephrine. These substances, however, do not present scientific evidence that they are effective for weight loss or increased athletic performance, and may still cause side effects and interact with some medicines.
Care Before Taking a Thermogenic Supplement
No thermogenic supplement should be consumed without the support of a professional nutritionist or physician. Even products authorized by ANVISA can cause serious side effects if they are consumed by people with risk factors for cardiovascular disease or if the stimulant substances are in very high concentrations. high.
A care must be taken to always try to identify all the substances present in the product, with their respective dosages. Products not authorized by ANVISA may have hidden substances in its formula, mainly diuretics, thyroid hormones and antidepressants.
As already mentioned, in recent years ANVISA has withdrawn from the market a series of thermogenic supplements, especially those that had DMAA or ephedrine in its formulation.
Examples of banned thermogenics are:
- Oxylin Pro
- Oxy Elite Pro
- Lipo-6 Black
Some of these brands have changed their formulas, removing the substances banned by ANVISA, and therefore can still be found in the market.