Everybody wants to burn fat fast. While a healthy diet filled with whole, natural fruits, veggies and protein provides all the important nutrients your body needs to burn fat; there are some supplements and spices that can help augment your weight loss program. We all love a little bit of help, don’t we?
CALCIUM, SELENIUM & ZINC
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Most people only think of minerals as something with health benefits in their multivitamin/mineral supplement. Yet several minerals are critical for helping you to become and stay lean. Getting ample amounts of these three will do the trick.
Calcium can help with fat loss and prevent fat gain. Calcium regulates the hormone calcitriol, which is responsible for the production of fat and the inhibition of fat breakdown in your body. When calcium levels are adequate, calcitriol is suppressed. Calcium also aids fat loss by decreasing the amount of dietary fat that’s absorbed by your intestines.
Selenium is critical for thyroid hormone production, and is a component of the enzyme that helps convert the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3), which is responsible for keeping the metabolism elevated. Low selenium levels can impair thyroid function and promote hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormones.
Zinc is important as well because being low in this mineral can interfere with thyroid hormone production, leading to a lowered metabolic rate. Zinc deficiency is common in hard-training athletes, especially when they cut calories in an effort to get lean.
One study from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) found that subjects who were on a low-zinc diet had significantly slower metabolic rates. When they took a zinc supplement (25 mg) for 20 days, their metabolisms jumped to higher levels than before they followed a low-zinc diet.
AMINO ACIDS: GLUTAMINE, ARGININE AND L-CARNITINE
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and a few provide potent anabolic effects. But did you know that some also have impressive fat-burning properties? Glutamine, arginine and L-Carnitine are such amino acids, and their fat-burning effects are magnified when they’re combined.
Research shows that glutamine can increase fat-burning and metabolic rate. In a study from Iowa State University (Ames), test subjects who took glutamine with breakfast increased the number of calories and amount of fat burned for energy compared to when they took an amino acid mixture (glycine, serine and alanine).
In a follow-up study from the same lab, scientists showed that glutamine taken before exercising resulted in more calories being burned than when subjects took the amino mixture. Glutamine works to increase lipolysis, which frees fat from fat cells.
Arginine’s ability to boost nitric oxide (NO) levels is well known, but that same property also makes it a quality fat-burner. Research shows that NO can increase fat-burning due to its ability to enhance lipolysis.
Lipolysis is also known as the breakdown of stored fat. This is accomplished through a chemical reaction called hydrolysis, in which one molecule is split apart–in this case a molecule called triglyceride–into two molecules. Triglyceride is the main constituent of fat in the body. It is made out of a glycerol molecule, which is a main component of many lipids. According to the Mayo Clinic, triglycerides are converted from unused calories and stored away within fat cells.
Stored fat is used to produce energy whenever your body runs out of energy from the foods you eat or carbohydrates stored elsewhere. So the entire idea of weight loss is founded upon the basic notion that your body will rely upon these pent up stores in times of need, which is why it’s important to moderate calorie consumption and eat healthy foods.
With the greater metabolic burn from glutamine, the freed fat is much more likely to be burned for fuel. Also, arginine increases GH release, which also enhances lipolysis.
Confirming arginine’s ability to improve fat loss is a 2007 study from the University of North Carolina (Wilmington) that showed that female athletes who supplemented with arginine for four weeks lost body fat and simultaneously gained muscle mass without otherwise changing their dietary intakes.
L-Carnitine can help shuttle fat acids into the mitochondria. The free fatty acids formed from lipolysis can only be shuttled into the mitochondria through a transporter molecule called L-carnitine, which is why some people promote L-carnitine for fat loss. It’s not a great fat loss agent by itself, but when combined with caffeine, green tea, and exercise it helps increase metabolism and weight loss.
Caffeine has been shown to increase the rate of lipolysis by more than two fold, and it works synergistically with adrenaline to increase lipolysis and promote fatty acid oxidation.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: CLA & FISH OIL
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been proven in numerous clinical trials to help shed body fat while adding muscle mass as well as boosting strength. One way that CLA works is by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme found around fat cells, where it picks up fat from the circulation and stores it as body fat.
Fish oil is friendly to muscle and an enemy to fat. Fish oil contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids that are now known to be beneficial for burning fat. One of the main mechanisms is through omega-3’s conversion to beneficial prostaglandins that can promote thermogenesis. Omega-3 fatty acids also help prevent dietary fat from being stored as body fat.
RED PEPPER & GINGER
Sometimes increasing your body’s fat-burning potential is as easy as using certain spices in your food. Adding a little red pepper or ginger is an easy way to spice up your meals and increase your metabolism. If you like spicy food, then boosting fat loss can be as simple as eating.
Capsaicin, the chemical in chili (red) peppers that makes them spicy, boosts fat loss by increasing metabolic rate and fat-burning through its ability to raise levels of norepinephrine. It also works to significantly decrease hunger and thus your overall caloric intake.
Ginger is a root with numerous properties that make it an effective treatment for inflammation, nausea and motion sickness. It’s also a valuable aid for fat loss. Research shows that both fresh and dry ginger increase metabolic rate and lactic acid production by muscle. Since lactic acid stimulates growth hormone (GH) release and GH increases lipolysis, this is another fat-loss benefit of ginger.
Now that you are armed with more information you can add these healthy supplements and spices to your diet to create a leaner, stronger, and healthier you.
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