The subject of ‘Fat Burning Agents’ is relatively simple in theory, you consume a supplement, control your calories and exercise a minimum of 4-5 days a week in order to promote the fat burning process. However, the mechanism behind this is a little more complex than first meets the eye, for example some fat burning agents help to burn fat by increasing your metabolic rate, whilst others liberate fat from the bodies fat cells, and some transport the fat that has been liberated from fat cells into mitochondria (energy manufacturing factories) so it can be burned for energy.
Like any metabolic pathway in the human body there is a sequence of events that lead to an end result of some sort, usually the production of energy. You may have noticed a slight sequence at the end of the first paragraph where I eluded to the chain of events that occur between fat being liberated from the cell, and the liberated fat being transported into the muscle, organs or other bodily tissue so that it can be burned for good. The problem with lipolysis (removal of fat from fat cells) is that if it isn’t piggy backed to the bodily tissue via the blood, then ultimately the amount of free circulating fat in the blood could increase.
The risk of free circulating fat in the blood stream isn’t usually a problem in a healthy, exercising person because the bodies ability to uptake fat into mitochondria is pretty efficient. However, if the amount of fat liberated from fat cells exceeds the bodies ability to transport it and burn it, then some risks may be attached. So how do you go about reducing this risk? Well, you can do this by getting the balance right between Caffeine, Yohimbe, Forskolin and Hydroxycitric acid (all key Lipolytic agents), and L- Carnitine (a very popular transporting agent). In doing so you would be helping your body to liberate fat so that it can be effectively transported to muscle etc where it is readily converted into energy. If this metabolic pathway in the mitochondria (known as beta-oxidation of fat) isn’t fed by the likes of L- Carnitine, then the circulating fat in the blood stream is re- converted back to fat (adiposity).
Another big player in this chain of reactions is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), CLA is a prime example of a metabolism booster meaning it increases the amount of energy your body expends. An increased metabolic rate has been seen to improve lean mass to fat ratios resulting in reduced fat deposition, especially around your mid-section (Llewellyn, W, 2009). So in order to maximise your bodies fat loss capability it would be wise to combine the above three fat loss agents (Lipolytics, transporters, and metabolism boosters) in optimal ratios.
Llewellyn, W. (2009). Sport supplement reference guide. CLA. FL: Molecular Nutrition.