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The Best Supplements to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Naturally

In this article, we will uncover some of the best fat burning, natural weight loss supplements for both women and men that have actually been shown to work in human clinical trials.

That’s not to say they’re effective 100% of the time, and there are safety considerations for some that we’ll cover below … but each supplement we will review is backed by real, credible research studies, which is more than can be said for most weight loss products on the market, unfortunately.

We won’t keep you waiting … let’s jump right in.

Best Supplements to Lose Weight / Burn Fat

Green Coffee Bean Extract 

Green coffee bean extract is a dietary supplement made from unroasted coffee beans, which are high in compounds called chlorogenic acids that have antioxidant and thermogenic effects.

While an early study showed mixed results of green coffee bean extract for losing weight, more recent studies have shed new light on its effectiveness. Here’s a look …

Research Study Findings
The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials (2011) The meta-analytic result reveals a significant difference in body weight in GCE compared with placebo (mean difference: −2.47 kg; 95%CI: −4.23, −0.72). The magnitude of the effect is moderate, and there is significant heterogeneity amongst the studies. It is concluded that the results from these trials are promising, but the studies are all of poor methodological quality. More rigorous trials are needed to assess the usefulness of GCE as a weight loss tool.
The effects of green coffee bean extract supplementation on lipid profile in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2019) The evidence from available studies suggests that taking green coffee bean extract supplements leads to significant reductions in total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C levels, and has modest, but, non-significant effects on triglycerides levels.
The effect of green-coffee extract supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2019) In the subgroup analysis, studies that were conducted on baseline BMI ≥25 kg/m2 revealed a significant greater reduction in body weight and BMI than those performed on baseline BMI <25 kg/m2. Moreover, short supplementation periods of less than 4 weeks had no effect. The results of current meta-analysis study support the use of green coffee extract supplementation for the improvement of obesity indices, with sub-group analysis highlighting greater improvements in individuals with a starting BMI ≥25 kg/m2.
The effects of green coffee extract supplementation on glycemic indices and lipid profile in adults: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of clinical trials (2020) Green coffee bean extract supplementation improved fasting blood glucose and serum levels of insulin and total cholesterol. Also, there was a significant improvement in other markers of lipid profile in some subgroups of clinical trials.
The effect of green coffee extract supplementation on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2019) Results revealed significant reduction in systolic blood pressure after green coffee supplementation with low heterogeneity among the studies. In addition, a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure  in studies with hypertensive patients, green coffee dosage <400 mg, and administered for 4 weeks was identified. The results of the current meta-analysis study support the use of GCBE supplementation for the improvement of blood pressure indices, with subgroup analysis highlighting improvements in hypertensive patients.

Does Green Coffee Bean Extract Have Caffeine? 

Yes, green coffee bean extract does contain caffeine, but in much lower amounts than regular coffee. Green coffee contains about 10% caffeine, or 10 mg per 100 mg. Compare that to 100 mg of caffeine in one cup of regular coffee.

Green Coffee Bean Extract Side Effects 

According to the National Library of Medicine, Green coffee extracts taken in doses up to 1000 mg daily have been used safely for up to 12 weeks.

Consuming large amounts of green coffee bean extract may lead to caffeine-related side effects, including headache, anxiety, agitation, and irregular heartbeat.

There isn’t enough reliable information to know if green coffee is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Consuming a high dose of chlorogenic acid might increase homocysteine levels, which might be linked to conditions such as heart disease.

Green coffee and other supplements with caffeine should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional in people with anxiety disorders, bleeding disorders, diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and osteoporosis.

Green coffee bean extract may cause interactions with medications and other drugs, including Adenosine (Adenocard), Alcohol (Ethanol), Alendronate (Fosamax), Clozapine (Clozaril), Dipyridamole (Persantine), Disulfiram (Antabuse), Ephedrine, Estrogens, Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Lithium, Medications for asthma (Beta-adrenergic agonists), Medications for depression (MAOIs) such as phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs), Nicotine, Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Phenylpropanolamine, Riluzole (Rilutek), Stimulant drugs, Theophylline, and Verapamil (Calan, others).

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia is a supplement that comes from the fruit rinds of the garcinia tree. These rinds contain a compound called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which may help prevent fat storage, control appetite, and increase exercise endurance.

Here’s a look at some of the research studies that have been conducted on the effectiveness of Garcinia Cambogia on body composition:

Research Study Findings
Long-term effects of Garcinia cambogia/Glucomannan on weight loss in people with obesity, PLIN4, FTO and Trp64Arg polymorphisms Garcinia cambogia may reduce weight and improve lipid and glucose blood profiles in people with overweight or obesity.
Risks Associated with the Use of Garcinia as a Nutritional Complement to Lose Weight Regarding safety, although Garcinia supplements have been revealed as safe in the vast majority of the studies carried out in animal models and humans, some cases of hepatotoxicity, serotonin toxicity and mania have been reported. In conclusion, the results suggest that Garcinia-based supplements could be effective in short-term weight loss, although the data are not conclusive. In addition, the safety of the complement should be further studied.
THE EFFECT OF GARCINIA CAMBOGIA AS COADJUVANT IN THE WEIGHT LOSS PROCESS Studies suggest positive results about the effectiveness of the GC on the weight loss process. However, the ideal dosage has not been well established yet.
Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on visceral fat accumulation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial Garcinia cambogia reduced abdominal fat accumulation in subjects, regardless of sex, who had the visceral fat accumulation type of obesity. No rebound effect was observed. It is therefore expected that G cambogia may be useful for the prevention and reduction of accumulation of visceral fat.

Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects 

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrate Health:

  • Cases of liver damage associated with the use of garcinia cambogia products have been reported. This problem appears to be uncommon, but some cases were severe. Most of the reported cases involved products labeled as containing a combination of ingredients, but some involved products labeled as containing only garcinia cambogia. Don’t use if you have liver disease or take medications that can harm the liver (hepatotoxic drugs).
  • Other side effects associated with garcinia cambogia include headache and nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Little is known about whether it’s safe to use garcinia cambogia during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Garcinia can worsen mania in bipolar disorder. Don’t use if you have bipolar disorder.
  • The HCA in garcinia might affect blood sugar levels and slow blood clotting. This might make it more difficult to control blood sugar and bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking HCA at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications also have this effect. Taking garcinia along with these medications might increase serotonin too much. This might cause serious side effects including heart problems, seizures, and vomiting
  • Garcinia might lower blood sugar levels. Taking garcinia along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
  • Garicina might slow blood clotting. Taking garcinia along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

White Kidney Bean Extract

White kidney bean extract is a carbohydrate blocking dietary supplement that works by inhibiting the digestion of starches. These starches are either excreted and their calories not absorbed, or fermented by bacteria in the colon.

White kidney bean extract can help fight the effects of alpha-amylase, an enzyme involved in breaking down carbohydrates into sugar. By slowing alpha-amylase activity, white bean extract is thought to prevent the body from turning excess sugar (glucose) into fat.

Here’s a look at some of the research studies that have been conducted on the effectiveness of white kidney bean extract on body composition:

Research Study Findings
It’s No Has Bean: A Review of the Effects of White Kidney Bean Extract on Body Composition and Metabolic Health The evidence presented in this review indicates that WKBE aids weight loss, inducing small (average −2.6 kg) but potentially meaningful reductions in body weight in humans on a short- to medium-term basis (28 to 84 days) compared with a placebo, particularly when consumed alongside a high-carbohydrate diet
Regular intake of white kidney beans extract (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) induces weight loss compared to placebo in obese human subjects Phaseolus vulgaris extract has the potential to induce weight loss caused by carbohydrates through its alpha‐amylase inhibiting activity.
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of a Proprietary Alpha-Amylase Inhibitor from White Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) on Weight and Fat Loss in Humans Phaseolus vulgaris supplementation showed an average effect on weight loss difference of −1.08 kg (95% CI (confidence interval), −0.42 kg to −1.16 kg, p < 0.00001), and the average effect on body fat reduction was 3.26 kg (95% CI, −2.35 kg to −4.163 kg, p = 0.02). This meta-analysis found statistically significant effects of Phaseolus vulgaris supplementation on body weight and body fat.
A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): A review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control White kidney bean has the potential to induce weight loss and reduce spikes in blood sugar caused by carbohydrates through its alpha-amylase inhibiting activity.
A Dietary Supplement Containing Standardized Phaseolus vulgaris Extract Influences Body Composition of Overweight Men and Women After 30 days, subjects receiving Phaseolus vulgaris extract with a carbohydrate-rich, 2000- to 2200-calorie diet had significantly (p<0.001) greater reduction of body weight, BMI, fat mass, adipose tissue thickness, and waist,/hip/ thigh circumferences while maintaining lean body mass compared to subjects receiving placebo.

White Kidney Bean Extract Side Effects 

  • There is some evidence that white kidney bean extract appears to be safe in doses of up to 3 grams daily for 2-3 months for most people.
  • Eating large amounts of fresh white kidney bean husks is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Raw husks contain chemicals called lectins. These chemicals can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking destroys these chemicals.
  • White kidney beans and bean pod may lower blood sugar. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Summary

So, we looked at three of the best supplements for fat burning and weight loss for both women and men that have been shown to work for some people in human clinical trials–green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia, and white kidney bean extract.

They may or may not be best for you personally and there are safety considerations to discuss with your doctor … but these three supplements are backed by research studies to help you lose weight and potentially burn fat, which is more than can be said for most weight loss products on the market.

Regardless, the most important thing when trying to lose weight is to create healthy habits. You can’t just take a pill and expect it to melt fat and change your body without putting in effort elsewhere (preparing healthy meals, exercising, etc.).

As many of the studies we looked at have shown, supplements may be able to help you lose weight in the short-term, but for permanent, sustainable weight loss, exercise + proper nutrition are key.

How to Find the Best Probiotics for YOU, According to Science

In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the fascinating yet complex world of probiotics.

We’ll talk about the benefits and risks of probiotics. The best food sources of probiotics. The myths and misconceptions. And what to look for if you decide to take a probiotic supplement.

Away we go …

Download Our FREE Gut Health Guide Here

What Are Probiotics and Why Are They So Popular Right Now?

best vegan probiotics

There are 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body at any given moment (compared to around 30 trillion human cells).

Many of these bacterial organisms live in your gut, part of a stunningly complex network of neurons known as your “microbiome”.

The densest part of your microbiome is in your gut, where about 1,000 species of bacteria feast on complex carbohydrates and fibers you eat.

The microbiome plays an important role in your body …

Scientists have discovered that 70-80 percent of your immune system is controlled by your microbiome and 95 percent of your body’s serotonin—the neurotransmitter that’s the main contributor to your well-being and happiness—is made in your gut, not your brain.

The gut microbiome is largely shaped by what we eat and drink. And the Western diet, with its heavy use of heavily processed foods like refined flour and sugar, actually starves your microbiota, leading to a plethora of health conditions.

That’s why probiotics, these “good”, “friendly” or “healthy” bacteria you can take in supplement form, are so popular now.

The Best Food and Drink Sources of Naturally-Occurring Probiotics

1. Fermented vegetables 

Sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi are among the most popular natural sources of vegan probiotics. But most of the store brands contain vinegar and preservatives, which kill the beneficial bacteria.

So look for pickled vegetables that are naturally fermented using salt.

Or just make your own.

Personal note: I was inspired to start fermenting vegetables after reading Michael Pollan’s fantastic book, Cooked. All you need is vegetables/fruit, salt, and a fermentation vessel. This is the crock I use if you get serious but when you’re first starting out, any large container will work).

Also, the cellular structure of certain foods makes them act as “superfoods” for good microbes to feed on. These include onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens, jicama, and peas.

2. Fermented tea 
Kombucha is black tea that’s fermented with sugar. Some store-bought brands also add sugar, which can strengthen harmful microbes like E. coli.

Personal note: I got this kombucha kit and use it to make a fermented tea called Jun that uses green tea and honey instead of black tea and sugar. Here’s how to make it.

3. Sourdough bread

There is not a more delicious way to enjoy the benefits of probiotics than eating a warm, crusty slice of sourdough bread (assuming you don’t have a gluten sensitivity).

Personal note: I also start making sourdough bread after reading Cooked. Seriously, read the book! Then pick up a sourdough starter and some flour and make this no-knead Cast Iron Sourdough Bread recipe. from the New York Times.

4. Fermented soy

Soy has gotten a bad rap because it’s used so much in processed foods and is one of the top 8 allergens. However, fermented soy products like organic miso, tofu, and soy sauce may actually have some health benefits.

5. Plants … lots of plants

Simple sugars cause conflict between our microbes and cells, but eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains encourages cooperation between them. Gregory Plotnifkoff, MD, coauthor of Trust Your Gut recommends adhering to the old Japanese adage of eating at least 30 different whole foods per day!

6. Supplements

Eating 30 different foods can be a challenge for time-strapped folks though. That’s where probiotic supplements may help.

How to Find the Best Probiotic Supplements for Your Health Needs

healthiest probiotics for vegansNot all probiotics strains are the same. Different strains offer different benefits and some probiotic strains survive manufacturing processes, shelf life and digestive transit better than others. When choosing a probiotic consider the following questions:

  1. Is it derived from dairy? 4 out of every 5 probiotic supplements contain dairy-based derivatives. This isn’t just bad news for vegans. Why Because up to 65 percent of adults are lactose intolerant, which means milk-based probiotics can make things worse for those with dairy sensitivities. On top of that, dairy-based probiotics are often only shelf stable for a few days. After this, the bacteria start to die. So, you have to take more of them to feel any effect. Choose “plant-based” or vegan probiotics instead. The product packaging or company website should tell you if the probiotic supplement you’re considering is from vegan / plant based sources.
  2. Does your probiotic survive stomach acid and/or manufacturing? As mentioned, most don’t. Certain strains fare better than others. Always ask the manufacturer of your probiotic if they have any clinical research to support their product. Just because they sell a popular strain, doesn’t mean their probiotic are live and active.
  3. Is your probiotic tested for safety and potency? The FDA doesn’t require probiotic companies to test their bacteria strains. So naturally, most don’t do it. Probiotic contamination is a big deal though. If your probiotic manufacturer doesn’t have strict quality control measures in place, your probiotic may be doing more harm than good. And, many of these beneficial bacteria die during processing because of the harsh processing methods most manufacturers use. Make sure the company you buy from tests its probiotics for safety and potency and can provide documentation to prove it.
  4. Is your probiotic backed by peer-reviewed clinical studies? Don’t trust marketing claims on product labels and websites. Even most clinical data large probiotic companies cite is funded by the companies themselves. Your probiotic should be backed by randomized, double-blind, peer-reviewed clinical studies (the gold standard in scientific research) whenever possible if the company makes any claims about its benefits.
  5. Does your probiotic contain artificial fillers, preservatives, allergens, and other junk? The answer is usually yes, but manufacturers are very good at hiding this information. The only way to know is to ask them what “excipients” are in it and what purpose those serve.
  6. Does your probiotic contain prebiotic fiber and digestive enzymes? Prebiotics are essentially “food” that probiotics feast on. They help make probiotics more effective once they reach your intestines and colon. Digestive enzymes can help you digest all foods better, so often times you’ll see supplements that contain these as well.
  7. What health challenges are you facing? Different strains of probiotics offer different types of benefits. Don’t just buy a probiotic without understanding the type or types of strains it contains—otherwise you’re very likely wasting your money. For example, I suffer from GI issues, so I make sure I take strains that help me with those.

The Number One Myth About Probiotics

If you’ve shopped for probiotics before, you’ve probably noticed one statistic that all probiotics emphasize on the bottle, the CFU count. CFUs, or colony forming units, are the number of live probiotic bacteria that are supposed to be in each serving.

Some companies pack tens or even hundreds of billions of CFUs per dose. But what they don’t tell you is that most of these bacteria are going to die before they ever reach your small intestine (where they exert  the most benefits).

Probiotic companies have pushed CFU count as the singular point of comparison for the uninformed. In a way, this makes sense because it gives buyers an easy number that they can use to compare competing products.

But more CFUs does not always mean more effective! And in some cases, more can be worse.

The National Institutes of Health states:

Many probiotic supplements contain 1 to 10 billion CFU per dose, but some products contain up to 50 billion CFU or more. However, higher CFU counts do not necessarily improve the product’s health effects.

How Many CFUs Do You Really Need?

CFU numbers on probiotic supplements can vary anywhere from several million to 50 billion, but  research has shown that effective probiotic dosage for general gut health seems to be in the range of 10 million to one billion CFUs per day in humans.

Another thing to keep in mind is that multi-strain probiotics will help you achieve better results than single-strain probiotics. Different probiotic strains excel at different mechanisms, so diversified collection of strains is ideal for overall health.

The Best Time to Take Probiotics

Research shows you can take probiotics before, during, or after meals. However, you may experience additional benefits if you take your probiotics with some form of healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, etc.).

Health Benefits of Probiotics

Let’s look at some of the strain-specific benefits of probiotics …

Sleep Benefits of Probiotics

We spend almost a third of our lives asleep. Researchers are discovering that the duration and quality of our sleep affect everything from our cognitive performance, mood, and memory to the health of our immune and endocrine systems.

It’s widely known that quality sleep can improve your memory, reduce inflammation (the pre-cursor to most disease), sharpen your mental focus, help you control your weight, and lower your stress levels.

Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) produce and regulate a number of neurotransmitters and hormones that impact our sleep:

Tryptophan and Melatonin: Probiotics can increase blood levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin and then into melatonin, the hormone that regulates how sleepy you feel.

Serotonin: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and plays a significant role in sleep quality. Researchers found that serotonin deficiency in rats led to disrupted sleep-wake cycles. Most serotonin is made in the gut.

GABA: Beneficial bacteria help produce GABA, the calming brain chemical, as well as enhance its brain receptors.

Cortisol: If temporary stress and anxiety are the cause of your sleepless nights, rest assured that probiotics may even lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that becomes elevated during times of stress.

So what probiotic strains have been shown to be effective for sleep? Not many, just yet.

A small study showed that the probiotic Streptococcus can help improve sleep outcomes.

Mental Health Benefits of Probiotics

The relationship between the microbiota and anxiety/depression has been studied mainly in animals … but preliminary research is promising.

Your gut microbiota plays a major role in the communication between the gut and the brain.

A review of several research studies showed that certain probiotics have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. The researchers concluded:

Regulation of the gut microbiota using diet, probiotics and FMT (fecal microbiota transplantation) may have important benefits for preventing and treating depression.

Weight Loss Benefits of Probiotics

In a metaanalysis of over 800 studies, researchers found that:

Administration of probiotics resulted in a significantly larger reduction in body weight and fat percentage compared with placebo; however, the effect sizes were small.

Immunity Benefits

Research is still emerging in this area but it appears probiotics may be able to help you keep your immune system functioning at a higher level.

New research has shown that certain strains can activate health immune cells and decrease inflammation.

Gut Health Benefits

Several probiotic strains have been shown to help those suffering from GI issues like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowl disease (IBD), and food allergies.

Safety and Side Effects of Probiotics

According to the National Institutes of Health, the safety of probiotics depends on the state of your health and the strain you’re using.

In people who are generally healthy, probiotics have a solid safety record. Side effects, if they occur at all, usually consist only of mild digestive symptoms such as gas.

On the other hand, there have been reports linking some probiotics to severe side effects, such as dangerous infections, in people with serious underlying medical problems. The people who are most at risk of severe side effects include critically ill patients, those who have had surgery, very sick infants, and people with weakened immune systems.

Do your homework and ask your doctor about any certain strains so she/he can tell you whether it’s safe for you.

Bottom Line About Probiotics

the best probioticsFrom the day you were born, your digestive tract has been exposed to a steady stream of bacteria–some helpful, some harmful. One key to gastrointestinal (GI) health is maintaining a balance of these “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Over time, diet, aging, antibiotic use, travel, medications, illness, stress, and hormonal changes can disrupt your intestinal balance.

Keeping a healthy level of these “good” bacteria is key to maintaining your digestive and immune health.

To help level the playing field of good and bad bacteria, many people find it helpful to add a daily supplement or eat more probiotic fortified foods and beverages.

Like most industries, the market for probiotics is ripe with crappy products. The only way to know if your probiotic is legit is to answer the 7 questions above. If a manufacturer is hesitant to provide any information you ask for, that’s a big red flag for an inferior product that could do more harm than good.

10 minutes of research makes a world of difference when it comes to choosing the right probiotic supplement for you.

Learn More About Pure Food DIGEST (Probiotics + Prebiotics + Digestive Enzymes

Sources Not Linked to Above/Further Reading:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-humans-carry-more-bacterial-cells-than-human-ones/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10564096

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204468004577164732944974356

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/details/article/1386089/The_Microbiome.html

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gut-week-do-probiotics-work-are-they-good-for-me/ 

https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-heal-a-leaky-gut/