Be a Winner!
Lose Fat 

n excess of stored body fat may be unsightly, and it's certainly unhealthy, but it does have one redeeming virtue: it embodies a store of chemical energy that you can use when the chips are down. You can, in a sense, burn it up. Your body's way of doing this is through thermogenesis, a series of chemical reactions in which the fat molecules are converted to carbon dioxide and water, releasing thermal energy - heat - in the process.

The trouble is, your body finds it easier to store fat (a piece of cake, so to speak) than to burn it (your basic kicking and screaming). To win the battle of the bulge, you need all the help you can get.

So if you happen to be obese, or heading in that direction, you might be interested in knowing how to jump-start your thermogenic engine - assuming, of course, that you're already making an honest effort in the diet and exercise departments, because without those as a foundation, you're already two strikes down.

It should console you to know that it may not be just an overindulgence in Big Macs (with fries, of course) that is to blame for your condition. Some scientists now believe that "Most Obesities kNown Are Low In Sympathetic Activity" - MONA LISA for short. In other words, your sympathetic nervous system may be underperforming, possibly through no fault of your own.

What you want, then, is something that will boost your sympathetic activity, thus enhancing thermogenesis - something like ephedra, the herb from China and India that has been used in the East for thousands of years as a tonic and safe weight-control agent. Its active ingredient, ephedrine, is a sympathomimetic amine, meaning that it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system by acting similarly to noradrenaline, the neurotransmitter for that system.

Ephedra in combination with the alkaloid caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant that also stimulates the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems, works synergistically. This dynamic duo acts to suppress appetite at the brain level. Even more important, though, is that they stimulate thermogenesis throughout the body. As a bonus, their combined action promotes the loss of fat but not of lean muscle mass.

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone for you sticklers), a steroid hormone, is a close chemical relative of both testosterone and estrogen. It is well known as a mood elevator and energy booster - and, more recently, as an antidepressant - but it also turns out (in laboratory animals, at least, and perhaps in humans as well) to help promote weight loss. (Come to think of it, what could boost your mood and energy, and banish depression, better than dropping ten pounds of ugly fat?) The mechanism, however, is not clear. It may involve appetite suppression or thermogenesis induction, or both.

Yohimbe is an African herb best known for its prosexual activity. As in the ephedra/caffeine combination, it acts - albeit by a different neurological mechanism - both to reduce food intake and to burn fat. (We don't make this stuff up, you know - we just follow Mother Nature's leads as revealed in the scientific literature.) If, in addition to doing those things, the yohimbe should happen to give your love life a bit of a jump-start too, we doubt that we'll be hearing any complaints about it.

Wait, there's more! The formulation also includes the element chromium (as chromium aspartate), an essential nutrient that is known to play a key role in increasing the body's sensitivity to the hormone insulin. This is vitally important for promoting weight loss through thermogenesis. Chromium supplementation has been shown to lower body weight yet increase lean body mass (less fat, more muscle), apparently as a result of the increased insulin sensitivity.

Then there are willow bark, dandelion root, ginger root, valerian root, and vitamins B1 (thiamine) and C. All are good for you. All serve a useful function. Good luck, and may we see a lot less of you in the future!

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