In the perennial war between the protruding waistline and our all out efforts to get rid of it, more often then not the bulging waist line tends to come out the winner. And it’s not really all that surprising, considering the fact that we pretty much live markedly sedentary lives with easy access to highly processed ‘junk food’.
Since strict diet and daily exercise are not a particularly palpable option, dietary supplements and other assorted weight loss pills are seen as a quicker route to regaining fitness and getting rid of those highly irksome extra pounds. One such supplement is Yоhіmbіne.
Recently Yohimbe or more accurately, its most important active ingredient ‘Yohimbine’, has become increasingly popular amongst many proponents of the health and fitness industry.
In fact, many manufacturers and marketers of this supplement claim that it can actually help in the loss of what is colloquially reffered to as ‘stubborn fat.’ I.e those areas of the body that refuse to give up their fat deposits regardless of how hard we exercise. These may include the lower belly of males and the thighs and hip region of females.
What is Yohimbine?
Yohimbe is an evergreen small tree which is native to the continent of Africa. The scientific name of Yohimbe is Pausinystalia Yohimbe. Chemically, the bark of the Yohimbe tree bark is known to contain a compound known as Yohimbine.
Medically, Yohimbine is an alpha-2-adrenergic pre-synaptic blocking agent. This unique ability of the substance leads to an increase of activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn may lead to a potential increase in epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine in the body. Adrenaline in the blood stream in turn, is responsible higher blood pressure levels as well as increased heart rate as the body primes itself for its ‘fight or flee’ response.
Yohimbine and weight loss
Alpha-2 receptors are generally found in those parts of the human body that have a tendency to hoard fat. These areas may typically include breasts, abdomen, thighs and buttocks.
When exposed to adrenaline the above mentioned receptor sites of alpha-2 inhibit lipolysis (the process of the release of fatty acids in the cell), the beta receptors, on the other hand, stimulate lipolysis.
In laymen’s terms, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and growth hormone fuel the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue into the blood stream.
Once they have found their way into the blood, such fatty acids are usually rapidly oxidized. If there is excessive fatty acid in the blood stream it encourages fat storage; therefore our meals may end up sticking to our hips or abdomen area in the form of fatty deposits in the long run.
In a clinical trial 20 top level athletes were tested for the effects of this supplement. 10 were part of a control group that was given this supplement at the rate of 20 mg per day in two equal doses, while the other group of 10 athletes was given a placebo. The trial was conducted over a period of 21 days.
There was a clear difference between the athletes (soccer players) who were taking this supplement viz-a-viz those who were not. And the former showed a significance decrease in body fat levels. However the supplement was combined with a high exercise routine suitable for elite athletes before it was able to give such good results. (Source)
Increase in sexual potency
Yohimbine is also widely used for its alleged aphrodisiacal qualities amongst males. It has been widely touted be an all natural remedy for erectile dysfunction. However, no conclusive studies using botanical Yohimbe have been published which show that it is a safe and effective treatment for this problem.
Safe and effective dosages have not been clearly established as yet with regard to Yohimbine Therefore it is recommended to go for the lowest possible dose as advised by the manufacturer of that particular supplement. It may then be increased till maximum efficacy is achieved but it should never exceed the original recommended dosage. As a general rule, the usual dosage for this supplement is 15 to 30 mg daily.
An upset digestive system is often one of the most common side effects of taking Yohimbine. Users have reported symptoms that include nausea and diarrhea and even vomiting.
High Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Levels
Yohimbine has been known to cause fluid retention in the body as well as chest pain and breathing difficulties. Because of its tendency to influence adrenaline in the body, if may also cause both blood pressure and heart rate to surge to dangerous levels. Any Yohimbine supplement must be taken only after prior consultation with a physician.