B4 is BPI Sports’ signature fat-burner which derives most of its potential from several stimulant. On the whole, it may be moderately effective.
Caffeine consumption causes an increase in catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine), which induce lipolysis (breakdown of fat). However, while it certainly possesses the mechanism by which it may act as a fat-burner, the weight loss effects of caffeine tend to fade with prolonged use, so it is not very effective as a fat-burner in the long term by itself. In combination with other stimulants though, the fat-burning effects of caffeine may be enhanced so we view Caffeine as a necessary ingredient in any truly effective stimulant-based fat-burner.
Dendrobium has become a popular addition to pre-workout/fat-burner supplements in the past few years, especially after DMAA was banned by the U.S. FDA. However, the claims surrounding its use tend to differ from company to company. Dendrobium is alleged to contain several alkaloids, including Phenylethylamines, a class of compounds which cause an increase in the catecholamine neurotransmitters and therefore may induce lipolysis to a relatively potent (though short-lived) degree. Unfortunately, until more studies on Dendrobium and it’s constituents are published, the implications of the ingredient will remain somewhat unclear.
Psoralea corylifolia is an herb native to India, which has been used for variety of thing including (but not limited to) mental stimulation. Multiple studies have verified that extracts from Psoralea is a moderately potent catcholamine (noradrenaline/dopamine) reuptake inhibitor in vitro, though there are currently no well-documented human studies. Psoralea, in the supplement industry, is primarily seen in preworkouts and stimulant-based weight loss products. B4 is essentially both, since most of the weight loss potential of this product comes from the inclusion of several stimulants which may increase focus and intensity during exercise while simultaneously increasing lipolysis. based on it’s strong historical use, it is likely that the catecholamine reuptake inhibition recorded in the in vitro studies extends to human use.
Canavalia gladiate has been investigated as a potential alternative treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, which is characterized by a drastic decrease in the amount of Dopamine produced by the brain. Since Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in motor-function, the result is decreased motor function (rigidity, slowness of movement, shaking, etc.). Dopamine, being a versatile neurotransmitter, is also directly involved in pleasure/reward, mood, and sleep. Rats which were injected with Canavalia gladiate extract showed increased levels of dopamine as well as the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, indicating that it increases levels of all catecholamine neurotransmitters. As mentioned above, increases in catecholamines are inherently pro-fat-loss, with noradrenaline having a particularly potent effect.
Quercetin is a versatile antioxidant that has been finding its way into supplement products with a variety of claims attached. One in vitro study found that Quercetin induced apoptosis (cell death) in pre-adipocytes (“baby” fat cells). Adipocytes, or “fat cells”, are cells whose primary function is to store fat. The term “’pre-adipocyte” refers to a premature, or “baby”, fat cells. A 2008 rat study showed that supplementation with Quercetin increased energy expenditure (i.e. calorie burn) to a notable level after 3 weeks, but this effect was not evident after 8 weeks. The authors of the study attribute this diminished efficacy to certain “adaptive changes” that Quercetin may undergo. Again, no human studies exist testing the effects of quercetin on weight loss, and for this reason it cannot be concluded with any certainty that quercetin supplementation may result in weight loss, though the mechanism does exist.
RED WINE CONCENTRATE:
Red Wine Concentrate contains a compound called Resveratrol, which may have some anti-obesity effects (among other health benefits). While there is no direct evidence to suggest that resveratrol can increase weight loss in a short period of time, a 2008 in vitro study found that resveratrol, in combination with quercetin, induced apoptosis in fat cells. Several other in vitro studies have observed similar results, and it appears as though long-term Resveratrol supplementation may reduce weight-gain by preventing over-accumulation of adipocytes.
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).
THE BOTTOM LINE:
B4 would certainly be classified as a stimulant-based fat-burner, given that almost all the ingredients are stimulants of sorts. These ingredients have shown varying degrees of efficacy (mostly in vitro) with regards to fat-loss, with Yohimbe being the most well-established. While some ingredients (such as Red Wine Concentrate) may not actually induce weight-loss directly, the net-effect of the entire B4 formula is most likely moderate fat-loss. Again, this fat-loss potential arises from several stimulants present in the B4 blend, so those sensitive to stimulants in anyway should be cautious. At about 85 cents per serving, B4 is appropriately priced relative to similar stim-based fat-burners.
- Banoth, Ramya Kuber; Thaakur, Santh Rani; “Anti-Parkinsonian effect of various extract of Canavalia gladiata seeds in Mice”. Journal of Pharmacy Research. Nov 2011, Vol. 4 Issue 11, p4050.
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