Insanity by Nubreed Nutrition is a fat-burner which features a variety of stimulants as well as diuretics and non-stimulant weight loss ingredients…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Caffeine causes an increase in catecholamines, resulting in increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy (in most individuals). These neurotransmitters tend to be pro-lipolytic, so it is commonly assumed that caffeine is a fat-burner. However, while the mechanisms of caffeine are certainly pro-fat-burner, the effects tend to fade with prolonged use, rendering caffeine ineffective as a long-term weight loss solution by itself. That being said, caffeine may potentiate the effects of other stimulant fat-burners as well as increases energy and focus, resulting in longer, more intense workouts. So, while caffeine itself is by no means an effective weight-loss solution, within the context of a stimulant-based fat-burner it can actually be quite effective. Insanity contains an unknown quantity of Caffeine, but based on its position (first) in the 750mg proprietary blend, we’d estimate it contains roughly 200-300mg per serving.
Higenamine, commonly referred to as Norcoclaurine, has gained some traction in the supplement industry as a stimulant fat-burner because of the chemical similarities it shares with ephedrine (now banned). Like Ephedrine, Higenamine acts as Beta(2)adrenergic agonist, meaning it stimulates the beta(2) adrenergic receptors which induce lipolysis (fat burning). This mechanism of action is theoretically synergistic with Caffeine’s ability to increase levels of the Noradrenaline which stimulates the Beta(2)adrenergic receptors as well.
In addition to its fat-burning potential, Higenamine has also been demonstrated in vitro to increase acetylcholine levels, though these findings have not yet been replicated in humans. Overall, there is certainly preliminary support for Higenamine as a fat-burner and potential ergogenic aid, but because no human studies exist there is no recommended dose.
Uva Ursi Leaf is used in folk medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections. The active chemical compound in the plant is a glycoside known as Arbutin, which has diuretic as well as astringent properties. While the diuretic effect of Arbutin may interest those looking to lose water weight, it is worth mentioning that Arbutin converts to Hydroquinone, a potentially toxic compound. There is some evidence to suggest Hydroquinone may be carcinogenic, though the evidence is not overwhelming enough for the FDA to ban products that contain Arbutin. The amount of Arbutin present in the Insanity formula is likely insignificant compared to what has demonstrated these potentially harmful effects in animal studies, but individuals consuming other Uva Ursi/Arbutin containing products should be aware of the potential hazards.
Phenylethylamines are a class of compound which cause an increase in the catecholamine neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine) and as such, is a relatively potent (though short lived) central nervous system stimulant. While studies testing the effects of PEA supplementation on exercise performance are limited, a boost in catecholamines may certainly translate into more energy in the gym, resulting in a more intense workout. As far as direct effects on weight loss, studies are more or less non-existent. However, the general physiological reaction to increases in epinephrine and norepinephrine is activation of the beta-adrenergic receptors which induce lipolysis, so the mechanism by which PEA may induce weight loss is theoretically solid, just not documented. Because the effects are generally short-lived, it is hardly a miracle weight-loss supplement on its own, but combined with other beta-agonists/alpha-antagonists, will likely contribute to the overall effect.
SYNEPHRINE (ADVANTRA Z®) (AS CITRUS AURANTIUM FRUIT EXTRACT):
AdvantraZ is a patented form of Bitter Orange Extract which is standardized for Synephrine. Syneprhine became popular after the FDA banned Ephedra as a dietary supplement for weight loss, because the two compounds share a similar mechanism of action. Similarly to Ephedrine, Synephrine is a beta-receptor agonist and an alpha-receptor antagonist, the net effect of which is an increase in lipolysis. While Synephrine has been touted as a replacement for Ephedra, it is important to understand that it is significantly less potent (which is why it is not banned). However, that’s not to say it is completely useless. A 2011 study, published in the “International Journal of Medicinal Sciences”, found that supplementation of 50mg Syneprhine increased the metabolic rate in human subjects without affecting blood pressure or heart rate.
Theobromine belongs to the same class of chemical compounds as caffeine, known as methylxanthines. While its stimulant properties are less potent than caffeine, it is alleged to increase heart rate to a greater degree. In theory, increasing heart rate could provide more oxygen for fat oxidation (burning fat), but this is truly just a theory. Very few studies have examined the effects of Theobromine on weight loss, and those that have, have studied the effects in conjunction with other stimulants such as Caffeine and Synephrine. While it is doubtful that Theobromine by itself has much potential for weight-loss, it may contribute some when combined with the other stimulants present in the formula.
Rasberry Ketone has become a popular weight-loss additive in dietary supplements, particularly those geared toward women. However, the evidence for raspberry ketone as a fat-burning ingredient is extremely limited and there is actually no direct evidence the ingredient is effective in oral, supplemental doses. In vitro studies using very high concentrations have shown positive results, but human studies are non-existent. The only human study that does exist grouped RK in with several other popular weight loss ingredients so the effects cannot be attributed to raspberry ketone. Even in rat studies, RK fail to show any significant fat-burning effects. The overall consensus of the scientific community is that raspberry ketone are nothing more than industry hype in terms of weight loss potential.
GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT:
A 2010 study from “Food and Chemical Toxicology” found noted multiple anti-obesity effects of Chlorogenic Acid administered to mice including increase beta-oxidations. However, Chlorogenic Acid may also have an alternative mechanism of action via inhibition of carbohydrate absorption. A 2007 study, published in the “Journal of International Medical Research”, found that 12 weeks of Green Coffee (yielding 450-500mg Clorogenic Acid) supplementation resulted in a reduction (6.9%) in glucose absorption in healthy volunteers. Researchers also noted average weight loss of 5.4 kg (almost 12 lbs) over the duration of the study in the group receiving the Green Coffee Extract. These findings conflict with an earlier 2006 study in which Green Coffee Extract (yielding 140mg Chlorogenic Acid) supplementation did not result in weight loss over the same 12 week period. The obvious difference between these two studies is that the dose of the first (positive) study was about 3 times the dose used in the second (negative) study. A 2012 study found that adults who consumed GCE (containing about 315mg Chlorogenic Acid) daily lost an average of 8kg with the average reduction in body fat being about 4%. Though GCE has shown mixed results in various studies, efficacy has been demonstrated using higher doses. Unfortunately, the amount of GCE present in the Insanity formula is likely negligible, since it is towards the end of a 750mg proprietary blend.
The primary active compound in Garcinia Cambogia is Hydroxycitric Acid, which is alleged to favorably influence body weight via inhibition of ATP Citrate Lysase, an enzyme required for the synthesis of fatty acids from carbohydrates (de novo lipogenisis). While inhibition of this enzyme has resulted in weight-loss in rodents, the implications for humans are less promising, because de novo lipogenesis occurs less in humans than rodents.
Garcinia Cambogia has produced mixed results in humans. A 1998 placebo controlled study found that 1500mg HCA daily failed to reduce bodyweight to a significantly greater degree than the placebo group. A 2000 study, published in “Physiology & Behavior”, found that Garcinia Cambogia (1200mg HCA daily) significantly reduced bodyweight over a 12 week period compared to the placebo group. However, a 2011 study found that 10 weeks of supplementation with 2 grams Garcinia Cambogia Extract (60% HCA) failed to reduce weight in overweight subjects, compared to placebo group. So out of the human studies, 2 have failed and 1 has demonstrated efficacy using the same dose as one of the failed studies.
Because of the popularity Garcinia Cambogia has gained in recent years as a potential weight-loss agent, several reviews have been done which have sought to determine its efficacy based on the evidence. Every review (and there have been atleast four) has concluded that while Garcinia Cambogia may be effective in rodents, this effect does not carry over to humans. While we aren’t so quick to dismiss Garcinia Cambogia, we are inclined to agree that, when looking at all the research, it doesn’t appear to be very effective in humans. Furthermore, the amount present in the Insanity blend is negligible compared to the amount that “might” be effective in humans.
Hordenine (chemical name N, N-dimethyltyramine) is chemically related to the monoamine, Tyramine, and likewise, is used in dietary supplements as a fat-burner as well as for increased energy. Hordenine has been shown in animals to augment adrenaline induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself, which indicates it works as a catecholamine (Adrenaline) reuptake inhibitor and can potentiate the effects of stimulants which increase catecholamines. However, due to a complete lack of human studies, no “optimal dosage” has been identified.
The primary active component of Yohimbe (Pausinystalia Yohimbe) is Yohimbine, which acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor responsible for blocking lipolysis. By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine allows for more lipolysis to occur. A 2006 study showed that while there were no increases in strength, supplementation induced fat loss in athletes (soccer players). As previously stated, Yohimbine directly acts on alpha-2 receptor, but its fat loss capabilities may also be magnified by its ability to increase the catecholamine neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline which in turn induce lipolysis. However, its ability to increase catcholamines may degrade fairly quickly (a few weeks), so for Yohimbine to be truly effective as a weight-loss agent, it must be combined with something that activates the beta-adrenergic receptors in the first place (i.e. caffeine and other stimulants or exercise). Fortunately, the Insanity formula has plenty of other stimulants to potentiate the effects of Yohimbe, so it is certainly an effective addition to the Insanity formula.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Insanity is essentially an entirely stimulant-based fat-burner because the non-stimulant ingredients are either under-dosed or just ineffective in general. That being said, as stimulant fat-burner, Insanity is actually pretty effective. Though we can’t be certain of the individual doses of any of the stimulants, there is enough room in the 750mg proprietary blend for effective doses of each, and taking one in the morning on an empty stomach followed by one before workouts later in the day may very well result in more weight-loss than could be achieved by exercise alone. At a price of around 65 cents (best price we found online), Insanity is more or less appropriately priced, though not what we’d consider “a great deal”.
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