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What Supp With Your Abs?

You've got the workout set. The diet is down pat. Now all you need are the supplements to put your abs over the top.

By Jim Stoppani, PhD
What Supp With Your Abs?

You've put in the work in the gym to burn fat. You're eating clean and getting enough rest to ensure proper recovery. Now it's time to consider supplements that’ll further enhance your ability to melt away the last of that flab, letting your abs shine through.

Obviously you're going to be looking for supps that reduce your bodyfat stores. Such supplements can essentially be divided into four main categories: 1) those that increase thermogenesis, or calorie-burning; 2) those that increase lipolysis, or the amount of fat released from fat cells; 3) those that keep insulin levels steady; and 4) those that blunt hunger. Of course, many fat-burning supplements have multiple benefits, but they’re classified here according to their major mode of action.

 

THERMOGENICS

The following supplements mainly work to increase the number of calories, including those from fat, burned throughout the day. 

Beta-phenylethylamine

This important stimulatory transmitter enhances neurotransmission. It promotes calorie-burning by increasing the release of the neurohormone norepinephrine. Take 100–500 mg 1–2 times daily.

Capsaicin

This is the spicy chemical in chile peppers. It boosts fat loss and increases metabolic rate by raising levels of norepinephrine. Look for capsaicin supplements that are measured in Scoville thermal units, or heat units, and take enough to supply 40,000–80,000 units 30 minutes before meals and 30–60 minutes before exercise.

Evodiamine

This extract from the evodia rutaecarpa fruit burns bodyfat by stimulating receptors in the central nervous system that boost calorie-burning. Go with 30–50 mg 2–3 times per day before meals.

Green tea extract 

Green tea contains compounds called catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main catechin responsible for the thermogenic effect of green tea. EGCG inhibits the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, which keeps calorie-burning high. Take 250–500 mg standardized for EGCG three times daily before meals.

Synephrine

This is the active ingredient in the plant citrus aurantium. It has a chemical structure similar to ephedrine, but it boosts fat-burning without elevating heart rate or blood pressure. Take 200–600 mg of citrus aurantium standardized for 5–20 mg of synephrine 2–3 times per day before meals. 

 

LIPOLYSIS BOOSTERS

These supplements mainly work by increasing the amount of fat released from fat cells so it can be burned for fuel. Supplements that boost lipolysis are more effective when taken with thermogenics since the thermogenics ensure that the freed up fat is burned away as fuel.

Caffeine

This common central nervous system stimulant binds to fat cells to enhance lipolysis. Take 100–300 mg 2–3 times per day.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Numerous clinical trials have shown that this healthy fat helps shed bodyfat, add muscle mass and boost strength. One way CLA works is by inhibiting the fat-storing enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is found around fat cells where it picks up fat from the circulation and stores it in the fat cells as bodyfat. By inhibiting LPL’s actions, CLA prevents the storage of fat and encourages the burning of more fat as fuel. Take 2–3 grams with meals 2–3 times daily. 

Forskolin

This is the active compound in the herb coleus forskohlii. Forskolin enhances fat loss by activating the enzyme adenylate cyclase. This leads to a cascade of events, including activation of the hormone-sensitive lipoprotein lipase, which allows the body to break down the fat stored in fat cells and use it as fuel. Take a coleus forskohlii supplement standardized for 20–50 mg forskolin 2–3 times daily before meals.

Yohimbine

This is the active ingredient found in the African tree pausinystalia yohimbe. It enhances fat-burning by counteracting the alpha receptors on fat cells, which limit the amount of fat that’s released. Take 2–10 mg three times a day.

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