Weight loss is always a hot topic and new products are frequently released to the public with much fanfare only to quickly be relegated to the trash bin as people experience lackluster results and move on to the next thing.
While no amount of supplementation will make up for overeating and/or a lack of physical activity, there are certain supplements which can help provide a little edge. The key to successful weight loss supplementation is to understand how different supplements work and choose the ones that best fit a particular situation.
Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the human body used in the conversion of fat to useable energy. It's best used in situations where, despite exercise, the body doesn't appear to be fully utilizing its fat stores. Carnitine may be taken prior to exercise in order to help encourage the body to burn more fat and less sugar during physical activity or before settling in on the couch to watch a movie with a bowl of buttered popcorn.
Chromium is a mineral found in many food sources, although most foods contain minimal amounts of chromium. Concentrated foods sources of chromium include onions, tomatoes, brewer's yeast, oysters, whole grains, bran cereals and potatoes. Chromium is a component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which plays an important role in maintaining proper blood sugar levels through increasing the action of insulin. Chromium picolinate is best used in situations where the body has developed diabetes, insulin resistance or other blood sugar issues. It's not likely to be of much help in those who consume sugar in excess.
Lipotropics are "fat-loving" compounds that help catalyse the export of fat by the liver and the burning of fat for energy. The primary lipotropic in the human body is choline. Other lipotropics, such as methionine, inositol and betaine, play more supportive roles. Lipotropics are best used in situations where there's a reduced ability to remove excess cholesterol through the release of bile into the intestines or when the biotransformation of fat-soluble hormones, such as estrogen, is impaired.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is an antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties and is one of the best performing weight loss supplements in various scientific studies. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, the weight loss effects of EGCG appear to be mostly from an increase in metabolic rate and appetite suppression. In general, 300 mg of green tea extract, (EGCG) taken three times daily, may help in the effort to trim the waistline, in conjunction with diet and exercise.
A growing body of research suggests an imbalance in natural gut flora may contribute to difficulty with weight loss due to increased caloric extraction from food. Inflammation of the gut tissue is also often an unidentified contributor to "stubborn belly fat." In these cases, it's not actually fat causing the difficulty, but excess water being held by the swollen and inflamed gut tissue. In either scenario, probiotics may help correct the underlying imbalance contributing to the difficulty with weight loss.
These natural supplements can help promote weight loss in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. It's important to understand choosing the right supplement for weight loss is often more complex than simply reading the front label. There are many different reasons why weight loss may be difficult and it's essential to correctly identify the factors at play if weight loss supplements are to be effective.
If nothing seems to be working it can be helpful to consult with a trained professional who can properly evaluate metabolic hindrances to weight loss. But always keep in mind supplements are meant to be just that -- supplemental -- not to take the place of a real effort to make lifestyle changes.
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