Yohimbe has been a hot topic in weight management for performance sports. The claim is simple: Yohimbine supports fat loss. Let’s break that down…
The herb Yohimbe, technically dubbed Corynanthe Yohimbe, comes from the bark of the Yohimbe tree that grows in Cameroon, Zaire, and Gabon. Yohimbine is the major active constituent of the bark, with the active ingredient being yohimbine hydrochloride.
Researchers have studied Yohimbine for some time and it is one of the few supplement components with laboratory backed results. It’s not a silver bullet, but in the world of supplementation, it has demonstrated results.
How Yohimbine Works
Yohimbine acts on the adrenergic receptor system in fat cells and regulates thermogenesis. It works against the alpha-subunits of the adrenergic system – the units that work against fat burning. Yohimbine inhibits the alpha-subunit’s ability to suppress fat burning.
Yohimbine itself can potentially induce fat loss vicariously through the release of adrenaline; adrenaline itself is an activator of beta-adrenergic receptors. Beta-adrenergic receptors increase the activity of the enzyme adenyl cyclase – which further supports fat burning. However, the effect of Yohimbine on adrenaline appears to fade after two weeks of supplementation.
Studies suggest a fasted state improves the effect of Yohimbine supplementation. The working theory is that later in the day, the impact of food on insulin levels lowers Yohimbine’s effectiveness. In one study, two groups exercised for 21 days and consumed the same diet; one group received 10mg x2 day of Yohimbine supplementation, and the other a placebo. At the end of the 21 day period, the Yohimbine group showed an average of 2% body fat loss, compared to the placebo group. Further, a 2002 study suggested a pre-workout is the most effective supplementation for Yohimbine. The conclusion is that consuming Yohimbine supplementation in a fasted state prior to exercise appears to have the greatest effect on fat burning.
Dosages of 0.2mg/kg bodyweight have been successfully used to increase fat burning without significant implications on cardiovascular parameters like heart rate and blood pressure. This results in a dosage of:
- 14 mg for a 150lb person
- 18 mg for a 200lb person
- 22 mg for a 250lb person
Individuals with a higher body weight should exercise caution, since yohimbine may over stimulate an unprepared cardiovascular system. While yohimbine supports fat loss, when supplementing yohimbine for the first time, always start with a half-dose and assess tolerance before proceeding.
As a note of caution, research has also shown:
- Yohimbine can cause extreme anxiety in individuals predisposed to anxiety. The supplement may trigger manic psychosis or suicidal episodes in people with bipolar disorder
- Yohimbine can interact with a large amount of neurological medications and should not be used in conjunction with these medications without consultation with a doctor
- The actual vs labeled dose of yohimbine in many supplements can range from 25-150%
Always check with your medical provider before incorporating supplementation into your diet.
– Train Hard!