Fat Free by Applied Nutraceuticals is a multi-mechanism fat-burner which contains both stimulant and non-stimulant ingredients.
GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT:
Green Coffee Extract is generally standardized for Chlorogenic Acid, which can partially inhibit carbohydrate absorption and has proven moderately effective for weight-loss in humans. However, the Green Coffee Extract present in Fat Free AM is actually just standardized for Caffeine (95%), and Applied Nutraceuticals makes no mention of Chlorogenic Acid.
Caffeine can induce lipolysis (breakdown of fat) by stimulating the release of Noradrenaline. This is the neurotransmitter responsible for the focus and increase in perceived energy that generally accompanies Caffeine consumption. However, these effects tend to fade with prolonged use, as demonstrated in a 1992 study in which 24 weeks of Caffeine intake (200mg/day) failed to induce weight-loss in humans.
While Caffeine is not necessarily an effective long-term weight loss solution, it is very synergistic with EGCG (discussed next) and can also potentiate the effects of other stimulants such as alpha-Yohimbine and possibly Theobromine. Fat Free contains an undisclosed amount of Caffeine, but given that it’s the first ingredient listed in a 995mg proprietary blend, there is likely a sizable dose.
EPIGALLOCATECHIN GALLATE (EGCG):
Green Tea Extract has been shown, in multiple studies, to induce and/or contribute to noticeable weight-loss. Although this effect was originally thought to be related to caffeine content, more recent research has pointed to a green tea catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as the compound primarily responsible for these effects.
A 2009 study, published in “The Journal of Nutrition”, found that subjects consuming 625mg Green Tea Catechins (EGCG) alongside 40mg Caffeine paired with exercise lost an average of 2.2kg (4.8lbs) compared to the subjects in the control group (consuming just Caffeine), who lost an average of 1kg (2.2lbs). These findings were corroborated by a 2009 meta-analysis, published in the “International Journal of Obesity”, which concluded that Green Tea extract tended to cause about 1.2kg (2.6lbs) reduction in bodyweight, and that effects could be amplified with Caffeine in non-caffeine tolerant individuals.
Further research has revealed that EGCG can effectively block Catechol-o-Methyl Transferase (COMT), the enzyme responsible for the degradation of Catcholamines such as Noradrenaline. The result is an indirect increase in Noradrenaline which induces lipolysis. So, while EGCG is not likely to induce noticeable weight-loss alone, when combined with Caffeine or other Noradrenaline-releasing stimulants, it can be quite synergistic. Most of the efficacy has been demonstrated using doses of 400-500mg EGCG daily and the less caffeine-tolerant the individual, the better.
Applied Nutraceuticals does not list the exact dose of EGCG, but given that the Green Tea Extract in the formula is standardized to 45%, one serving of Fat Free likely does not contain an effective dose. At multiple servings (2 or 3), however, there is probably an effective 400-500mg dose.
Despite its escalating popularity in pre-workout and weight-loss supplements, Hordenine remains very under-researched. In vitro and animal studies indicate that its primary mechanism of action is via Momoamine Oxidase inhibition, with oral doses being shown to augment Noradrenaline-induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself. So, rather than acting as a stand-alone stimulant, Hordenine can amplify/extend the effects of other stimulants by blocking the reuptake of Noradrenaline (and other Monoamines). By blocking its reuptake, Hordenine allows more Noradrenaline to remain in the synaptic space, ultimately extending/augmenting its lipolytic effects. Though the exact dose of Hordenine is not listed, it doesn’t take much to do the trick (usually 25mg or so).
Loquat is generally standardized for the active compound Ursolic Acid which has shown promise in mice as a body re-composition agent. A 2011 study, published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food”, found that mice given 15mg/kg daily for 15 weeks experienced an attenuation in weight gain compared to control group. Though the mechanisms by which Ursolic Acid works is not entirely understood, preliminary (in vitro) findings point to insulin potentiation and downregulation of certain lipase (fat breakdown) enzymes.
Applied Nutraceuticals has disclosed that this particular Loquat extract is standardized for 20% Ursolic Acid, but since we don’t know the exact amount of Loquat in the formula, this doesn’t really mean anything. Whether or not there is enough Ursolic Acid in the Fat Free AM formula to convey any meaningful benefit is unclear, and seems unlikely given its position on the label.
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 Fat Free formula.
7-Keto DHEA is a metabolite of DHEA which has been investigated primarily with regards to weight-loss and hormone interaction. A 2000 study, published in “Current Therapeutic Research”, found that 200mg of 7-Keto DHEA daily for 8 weeks had no influence on circulating Testosterone in adult males. A 2005 study from “The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” found that several DHEA metabolites, including 7-Keto DHEA, exhibited minimal influence on Androgen receptors.
While 7-Keto has shown no efficacy as a Testosterone booster, it has stronger implications for weight-loss. A 2000 study found that 200mg 7-Keto given to subjects who were on a calorie restricted diet resulted in more weight loss than the placebo group (consuming the same diet) over an 8 week period. A 2007 study, published in “The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry”, found that 200mg of 7-keto DHEA raised the metabolic rate of subjects on a calorie restricted diet by 1.4%, whereas the placebo group experienced a 3.9% reduction in metabolic rate (the normal reaction to calorie restriction). However the length of this particular study was only 7 days, not long enough to measure weight loss, though this provides a likely mechanism of action for the first (2000) study.
As with all the other ingredients, Applied Nutraceuticals does not disclose the exact amount of 7-Keto DHEA in the Fat Free formula, but given its position (at the end) of the proprietary blend, there is likely far less than 200mg.
BLACK PEPPER (PIPER NIGRUM FRUIT EXTRACT):
Piper nigrum, also known as Black Pepper, contains Piperine. Several studies have found that black pepper extract, when combined with other supplements, has increased the absorption of those supplements (as measured by plasma levels). Piperine’s ability to increase absorption of other compounds is due to the inhibition of certain enzymes which breakdown most compounds, as well as the slowing of intestinal transit (increasing the amount of time these compounds are exposed to the possibility of uptake).
Rauwolscine (also known as alpha-yohimbine) is what is known as a ‘stereoisomer’ of Yohimbine, meaning it is chemically similar in structure. Because of this similarity, Rauwolscine is also an alpha receptor antagonist, capable of increasing lipolysis beyond what can normally occur during exercise. However, unlike Yohimbine, Rauwolscine has not been studied in humans so an optimal dose has not been established. Fat Free likely contains just a few mg or so.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Fat Free certainly contains several effective fat-burning ingredients, both stimulant and non-stimulant. Unfortunately, given that the entire formula is concealed within a proprietary blend, I’s difficult to determine the true efficacy of individual ingredients. Given the overall weight of the blend, some of the non-stimulant ingredients (7-Keto, Ursolic Acid) may be under-dosed. That being said, at two or three servings daily, combined with the correct diet and exercise program, Fat Free may very well result in some noticeable weight loss. However, at 75 cents per serving, three doses a day may not be the most feasible option.
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