Thermogenics are supplements designed to stimulate metabolism and thereby increase energy expenditure and promote weight loss, especially in athletes. Most thermogenic supplements contain powerful stimulants that promote increased energy expenditure through the process of thermogenesis and increased blood flow.
Total daily energy expenditure is the sum of the energy which is needed for basal metabolism (energy required for vital body functions), physical activity and thermogenesis. Most thermogenic supplements contain a combination of active substances mainly herbals which temporarily increase metabolism and thermogenesis effect (body energy loss with the form of heat). The most commonly used substances are those which contain caffeine (Gaurana, Bissey Nut, Kola), a type of alkaloid called synephrine (Citrus Aurantum, Bitter Orange), calcium and sodium phosphate, substances which stimulate thyroid activity (Guggulsterones, L-tyrosine , iodine), cayenne pepper, black pepper, tea extract and ginger root.
Τhe aforementioned ingredients used in thermogenic formulations affect body’s metabolism mainly by mediating in fatty acid oxidation in liver and cell mitochondria. In the past, athletes used to take supplements that had ephedrine which is a strong stimulant of metabolism. However because ephedra was linked with several medical complications, side effects (hypertension, arrhythmias), and fatal incidences (sudden death, heat stroke), it has recently banned by FDA.
Thermogenic supplements should be taken along with food before workout and with plenty of water. Because most of supplements contain caffeine, there it is recommended not to be taken in the evening. In order to assist weight loss, thermogenic supplements should be taken along with a hypocaloric diet and regular exercise.
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