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Fat Loss & Metabolism Supplements

I know I titled this section fat loss supplements, but, sorry, there are no real effective supplements that just straight up cause fat to fall off your body without any dietary change, and if they do, they are likely causing damage to your body. Trust me, as much as I read and research, if there was a supplement that allowed me to eat whatever, not move, have perfect health, and have no side effects, but melt off all my fat, I’d weigh less than I do now and be lean. 😉

However, there are certainly supplements and specific nutrients that can help with fat metabolism and with food cravings (helping to prevent future fat accumulation). Here are some recommendations:

Fat Burning / Fat Metabolism

Acetyl L-Carnitine – When you see carnitine supplements, you will see L-carnitine and Acetyl-L-carnitine. L-carnitine will be the one promoted for fat metabolism and the acetyl version will be promoted for brain health (protects brain neurotransmitters). However, what you wouldn’t know is that your body will take the acetyl version and turn it into the regular version. This means you get the benefits of brain health and fat metabolism in one pill. If you are deficient in carnitine or not utilizing it well, you will have difficulty getting the healthy fats you eat into your cells to be burned as energy. Carnitine supports mitochondrial function which supports energy production. If you have been on a diet with the largest % of calories from carbs, you may have difficulty burning fat as fuel when switching to a lower carb, higher fat diet without supplementing with carnitine (for a short time) and/or taking it in via food. *Bonus: Acetyl L-Carnitine has shown, in research, to have positive benefits for diabetes related nerve pain.

There are a few different brands on the market and many are just fine. I have taken and recommend Jarrow Formulas for this supplement. 500mg once per day *Typically only need to supplement with Acetyl L-Carnitine for 3-6 months after starting a lower carbohydrate, higher fat diet.

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) – This is a popular fat burning supplement. I don’t recommend the supplement because they are primarily all from safflower oil which is too high in omega-6 fatty acids, but CLA is proven as a fat burner and can increase lean mass. CLA can help prevent and improve diabetes, according to some, and can also help prevent heart disease and cancer. Whether CLA really provides all the stated possible benefits, further research is needed, but taking in some CLA via diet can’t hurt! It can be found in grass-fed beef and grass-fed butter and ghee and other grass-fed dairy.

Lipase – Lipase – This is a digestive enzyme that is specific to breaking down fat. Your body makes lipase in your pancreas. Of course, if your pancrease is so busy making insulin in response to a high carb diet, you might not be producing enough lipase. Lipase can be taken as a digestive supplement (usually in a blend). Consider taking a digestive supplement blend like NOW Super Enzymes (to be further discussed under digestive supplements).

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) – Riboflavin is another key nutrient in the process of converting fat to energy (either dietary fat or your body fat). Once inside the mitochondria, fatty acids can’t be used for fuel without riboflavin coenzymes. Riboflavin can be readily obtained via the diet and is also usually contained in a B complex supplement. *Bonus – Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce migraines. I am currently using a B complex from Source Naturals.

Food (mostly sugar and carb) Cravings

Chromium – Chromium is a mineral that enhances the role of insulin and helps transport glucose into cells. It helps convert sugar into energy and helps metabolize fat. There is some indication that chromium also helps muscle building. Diets high in simple and refined sugars deplete chromium from the body, and even mild deficiencies of chromium can interfere with blood sugar regulation and cause fatigue, anxiety, and sugar cravings. Infection, intense exercise, pregnancy and lactation, and chronic stress can also reduce chromium levels. Many diabetics and pre-diabetics and obese people are deficient in chromium. Chromium can be safely supplemented, but no vast amounts are needed. This Source Naturals chromium can probably be taken every other day.

Glutamine – Glutamine is an amino acid. Glutamine is promoted as a bodybuilding/muscle building supplement for growth and for exercise recovery, and it is good for that. It is also noted to promote immune function and I will cover this under digestion/leaky gut supplements. While it is not heavily promoted as such, glutamine has the side effect of inhibiting food cravings. *I have been taking glutamine for my gut and I don’t have any cravings. The brand that I like is Millenium Sport Technologies because it is pharmaceutical grade and high quality. The link may not go directly to the product, but you can search the site for glutamine.

Lysine – An amino acid that reduces anxiety and calms stress and helps with cravings and stress-related eating. It helps regulate production of cortisol. Lysine reduces overactivity of serotonin receptors, thereby calming your brain. It also helps leptin to be more efficient. Lysine promotes organ and muscle growth and may help lower cholesterol. Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and plays a role in the formation of collagen (both good things for bone health). Lysine can get converted to L-carnitine in the body. There are lysine supplements, but unless you have tested deficient in this amino acid, I would just focus on food sources like salmon, trout, chicken, eggs, grass-fed beef, parmesan cheese, and venison.

Vanadium – A trace mineral that helps improve insulin sensitivity and helps shuttle glucose into muscles for use. May also be helpful to support thyroid function. You can supplement with vanadium when it is combined with chromium. I have not experimented with supplemental vanadium and have not had any clients taking it. If you wish to experiment, this should be a safe supplement from Source Naturals.

Gymnema Sylvestre – Herbal supplement whose name means “sugar destroyer”. It helps prevent glucose from getting into your bloodstream too quickly and it makes things taste less sweet (thus making you not enjoy/crave the taste of sugary stuff as much or at all). Source Naturals makes a gymnema supplement.

Cinnamon – A spice that helps regulate blood sugar, gives you more energy, and decreases bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Has been shown to be effective for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Use ¼ tsp up to 2 tsp. daily with food or take a 1 g. supplement such as New Chapter Cinnamon Force.

Carbohydrate Metabolism

B Vitamins – The metabolism of carbohydrates in the body requires all of the B vitamins. Many foods contain various B vitamins, so eating a wide variety of vegetables plus sufficient protein will help provide most of the necessary B vitamins. Because they are water soluble vitamins, it is generally safe to supplement with a B complex. There are many good B vitamin products on the market. I am currently using a B complex from Source Naturals.

Alpha – Lipoic Acid – An antioxidant that is essential for metabolism and helps protect us from glucose triggered oxidation which ages us from the inside out. It helps regulate blood sugar and insulin and supports healthy weight management as well as increases energy levels. It also regenerates other antioxidants within the body (notably vitamins C & E) and boosts glutathione, your body’s prime antioxidant. ALA has shown to help protect nerves in the brain. There are several good Alpha-Lipoic supplements on the market, including this one from Jarrow Formulas.

CoQ10 – An antioxidant that helps with energy production and is critical to heart function. Has been shown to help with migraines, inhibit the development of fatty liver, reduce high blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, increase oxygen utilization, increase carbohydrate utilization, and boost stamina. CoQ10 depletes with age and with intense exercise. Several good CoQ10 supplements exist. I like this one from Jarrow Formulas. *Please note that CoQ10 is best absorbed with fat, so it should be taken with your highest fat meal of the day. You can take 200mg to 300mg, consider supplementing on the high end if you have a proven deficiency or are currently taking or have recently taken statins. Statin drugs deplete CoQ10 from the body and supplementation is necessary with statins.