When it comes to weight loss supplements, there’s no shortage of options out there. Some promise to boost metabolism, while others claim to curb appetite. It’s no surprise that people are curious about the weight loss benefits of yohimbine. Yohimbine is a substance found in the bark of the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree, which is native to central Africa. For centuries, it has been used for a variety of purposes, including as an aphrodisiac and to help treat erectile dysfunction. More recently, yohimbine has been gaining popularity as a weight loss aid. Are you interested, does it really work? This article takes a look at the evidence.
Does Yohimbine Work For Fat Loss?
The theory behind the weight loss effect of yohimbine is that it is thought to help to release stored fat from your fat cells. Once released, the fat can then be used for energy.
Yohimbine can block the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, which play a role inr storing fat. By blocking these receptors, yohimbine may help to increase the amount of fat that’s released from your cells (11).
A few studies have looked at the effects of yohimbine on weight loss. The results are mixed—some show a small amount of weight loss, while others show no significant effect.
One study from 1991 looked at the effects of yohimbine on 20 obese women who were all placed on a very low calorie diet. After three weeks, those who took yohimbine lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t take the supplement (5). Interestingly, they didn’t see any effect of yohimbine on lipolysis in this study.
Another small study from 2006 involving elite soccer players found that yohimbine supplementation helped to decrease body fat percentage (10).
However, not all research has shown that yohimbine is effective for weight loss. A 1986 controlled study found that yohimbine had no significant effect on weight loss in overweight or obese adults (1).
It’s also important to note that most of the research on yohimbine for weight loss has been done with short-term studies. There is clearly a lack of long-term research to determine the safety and effectiveness of this supplement for weight loss.
Side Effects Of Yohimbine
The supplement yohimbine is derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree which is native to Africa, where its bark has been used for centuries in traditional medicine there.
Yohimbine is considered safe when taken in small doses. However, there are some potential side effects, especially if it’s taken in large doses or for a long period of time.
These side effects include:
This supplement can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (8). If you experience any of these side effects, don’t hesitate to contact your health professional.
High Blood Pressure
Yohimbine can also cause a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or other heart-related conditions, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking this supplement (8).
Yohimbine may also cause anxiety or jitters in some people. The reason for this is unclear, but it may be due to the fact that yohimbine can block the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. These receptors play a role in the nervous system (8).
Other potential side effects of yohimbine include headache, dizziness, and restlessness (8).
How Much Yohimbine Should I Take A Day To Lose Weight?
When it comes to taking yohimbine for weight loss, there is no standard dose. The amount that you take will depend on a variety of factors, including your weight and the severity of your obesity.
It’s important to start with the lowest possible dose and increase gradually as needed.
Yohimbine is available in powder form or as a supplement. It can also be found in some weight loss supplements.
Consider the purity of the product before purchasing it. Some products may not contain pure yohimbine, and may also contain other ingredients that can cause side effects.
It should go without saying that it is important to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements, including yohimbine. This is especially important if you have any underlying health conditions or take medication on a regular basis.
Because this supplement is not regulated by the FDA, there is no guarantee of its safety or effectiveness.
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How Quickly Does Yohimbine Work?
The effects of yohimbine on weight loss in studies were typically seen within two to three weeks. However, it may take longer to see results in some people (10). It may not work for you at all.
If you don’t see any results after taking yohimbine for four weeks, it’s important to consult with your doctor. They can determine if this supplement is right for you and help you find an alternative treatment option.
Does Yohimbine Increase Metabolism? No. Here’s What Does
Your metabolism is the process your body uses to convert food into energy. A fast metabolism burns more calories and can help you lose weight.
Yohimbine affects the nervous system and can block the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. This may lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate (11).
That said, yohimbine does not increase your metabolism. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
If you’re looking to increase your metabolism, there are other things you can do.
Exercise is by far the most widely researched and effective way to boost your metabolism.
It helps you build muscle, which in turn burns more calories at rest. It also causes your body to release hormones that can lead to a temporary increase in metabolism.
If you’re looking to boost your metabolism, aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day (7). This can be any combination of aerobic exercise and strength training.
Eat More Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps you build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones.
It also takes more energy to digest than carbs or fat, so you burn more calories from eating protein.
Aim to eat at least 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight per day (6). This amounts to 56 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound (68-kg) person. You may need a bit more if you are active or trying to build muscle.
Protein rich sources are found in both animals and plants, in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Limit Refined Carbs
Refined carbs are those that have been processed and had the fiber removed. This includes things like white flour, white rice, and sugar.
These foods are high in calories but low in nutrients. They’re also quickly digested, which can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels (2).
Overconsumption of refined carbs has been linked to weight gain and obesity. For this reason, it’s best to limit your intake (2).
Instead, opt for complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. These are high in filling fiber and essential nutrients while providing calories for energy.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea is a popular beverage that’s rich in antioxidants. These are substances that protect your cells from oxidative stress and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases (4).
Green tea has also been shown to boost metabolism. Some studies have found that people who consumed green tea burned more calories than those who didn’t (4).
To reap the benefits, drink two to three cups of green tea per day. You can also take green tea extract supplements. Just be sure to start with a low dose, as too much can cause side effects like nausea and dizziness.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can help you feel more awake and alert. It can also lead to a temporary increase in metabolism.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate. It’s also available in supplement form. If you prefer supplements, start with a low dose of 50–100 mg per day (9). This is about the same as one cup of coffee.
You can gradually increase your dose as needed, but be sure not to go over 400 mg per day. This can cause side effects like anxiety and irregular heart rhythm (9).
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Strive For Hormonal Balance
Your hormones and your metabolism interact in several ways. For example, insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. It also plays a role in metabolism (3).
If you have too much insulin in your blood because your cells are resistant to it, you could realize weight gain and obesity. This may happen because it causes your body to store more fat (3).
Other hormones, such as thyroid hormones, also affect your metabolism. An imbalance in these hormones can lead to a slow metabolism (3).
For this reason, it’s important to strive for hormonal balance. If you think you may have an imbalance, talk to your doctor. Your hormone levels can be tested and then you can receive treatment options.
Some triggers of hormonal imbalance that you can work on include (3):
- Poor sleep
- Chronic stress
- A sedentary lifestyle
- An unhealthy diet
The Bottom Line
Yohimbine is a supplement that is derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree. It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but its effects on weight loss are still unclear.
Most of the research on yohimbine has been done in animals, leaving limited information on its effects in humans.
Yohimbine is considered safe when taken in small doses, but it can cause side effects, especially if it’s taken in large doses or for a long period of time.
If you’re considering taking yohimbine for weight loss, it’s important to speak with your doctor first to know if this supplement is right for you and help you find the lowest possible dose.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- [Lack of efficacy of yohimbine in the treatment of obesity] (1986, pubmed.gov)
- Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat? (2010, pubmed.gov)
- A Review of Weight Control Strategies and Their Effects on the Regulation of Hormonal Balance (2011, nih.gov)
- Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review (2010, pubmed.gov)
- Does yohimbine act as a slimming drug? (1991, pubmed.gov)
- How much protein do you need every day? (2022, harvard.edu)
- How much should the average adult exercise every day? (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of the safety in use of Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe (K.Schum.) Pierre ex Beille) (2013, wiley.com)
- The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review (2017, nih.gov)
- Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players (2006, pubmed.gov)
- Yohimbine in erectile dysfunction: the facts (2000, pubmed.gov)