In your quest for a lean, ripped physique, you’ve tried supplements like caffeine, synephrine and octopamine. Many of them jack up your metabolic rate and stimulate fatty acid breakdown. A few lesser-known ingredients out there are also worth a look.
A recent study investigated the effect of cheonggukjang on various aspects of fat metabolism. For those of you who’ve never heard of cheonggukjang (me included), it’s a fermented soybean paste used in Korean cuisine. It contains whole as well as ground soybeans.
Scientists placed 30 male mice in three groups: normal diet, high-fat diet and high-fat diet with 40 percent cheonggukjang. The soy-paste mice ate a lot more calories than those in the other groups, but get this: The cheonggukjang group normalized in weight gain and epididymal and back-fat accumulation. So compared to the high-fat group that didn’t get the soybean paste, they were leaner, meaner mice. Okay, maybe not meaner, but at least they were less fatty.
The soybean-paste mice also had serum concentrations of triglycerides and total cholesterol significantly lower than those in the high-fat group. Conclusion: Cheonggukjang supplementation leads to increased mRNA expressions of enzymes and protein involved in fatty acid oxidation in liver, reduced accumulation of bodyfat and improvement of serum lipids in mice given a high-fat diet.1
Another amazing flavonoid, glabridin, is found in licorice flavonoid oil. Mice that received the supplement reduced bodyfat and bodyweight gain.2
Another combination that seems to lower bodyfat by improving insulin and glucose counts is that of the isoflavones genistein and daidzen. Scientists concluded that they play important roles in regulating glucose homeostasis and may help prevent diabetes.3 Another study showed that genistein combined with carnitine fights obesity.4
We’re clearly seeing that whole classes of compounds out there may confer more than just health benefits. Perhaps by fine-tuning the cellular machinery of our bodies, they can also improve body composition. The fat loss category is chock full of surprises. IM
Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (www.theissn.org) and is a sports science consultant to VPX/Redline.
1 Soh, J.R., et al. (2008). Effect of cheonggukjang supplementation upon hepatic acyl-CoA synthase, carnitine palmitoyltransferase I, acyl-CoA oxidase and uncoupling protein 2 mRNA levels in C57BL/6J mice fed with high-fat diet. Genes Nutr. 2(4):365-369.
2 Aoki, F., et al. (2007). Suppression by licorice flavonoids of abdominal fat accumulation and body weight gain in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6J mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 71(1):206-214.
3 Choi, M.S., et al. (2008). Genistein and daidzein prevent diabetes onset by elevating insulin level and altering hepatic gluconeogenic and lipogenic enzyme activities in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 24(1):74-81.
4 Yang, J.Y., et al. (2006). Effect of genistein with carnitine administration on lipid parameters and obesity in C57Bl/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. J Med Food. 9(4):459-467.