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With the obesity epidemic in full swing, it's no surprise that the diet supplement industry is making a killing. New products are constantly entering the marketplace, each one promising to be the wonder pill that will lead to rapid fat loss. Most of them are a disappointment. They are loaded with under-dosed and placebo enhanced ingredients and, often, fortified with artificial sweeteners. To find real value in the diet pills market you have to do your research.
Cirsium oligophyllum, also known as Japanese Thistle, is a perennial plant that is grown in sunny marshlands. The flowers are pollinated by insects. The young leaves of the plant are edible and can be added to soups, or fried. The root is thought to be rich in inulin. The plant has been shown to have a lipolysis promoting activity that induces fat loss. This effect was shown to be even more pronounced when synergistically coupled with caffeine. It has proven to be equally effective in animal studies when taken both topically and orally (1).
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to Zaire, Cameroon and Gabon. The bark of the tree contains the chemical yohimbine. Yohimbine was believed for some time to enhance testosterone levels, but this has been proven to be false. It has, however, proven itself as a libido enhancer and cure-all for erectile dysfunction. Although not scientifically proven, it appears that yohimbine may also be beneficial in helping to remove the stubborn fat that typically stores itself around the waist of men and the hips and thighs of women (2).
Yohimbe carries with it the side effect of anxiety in higher dosages. It is important,then, to keep the dosage manageable. It is recommended to take .2 mg per kg of bodyweight.
Higenamine is a compound that is found in a number of plants including the sweet apple tree. It has the ability to mimic the activity of neurotransmitters in the body. The plants that contains this compound have traditionally been used in herbal medicine to cure all sorts of ailments. This has led researchers to take a closer look at its actions within the human body.
Studies have shown that higenamine has the ability to increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels. This enhances oxygenation and brings more nutrients to the body's cells more quickly. It can also boost energy levels. In addition, it is believed to help to speed up the metabolism, leading to increased calorie burn.
Taking higenamine may lead to increased heart rate. It should not be taken by people who are on heart medication.
Caffeine is derived from a range of plants including the coffee bean, cocoa bean and kola nut. Seconds after you put caffeine into your body, it enters the bloodstream to be taken to the organs of the body. The effects will be felt straight away . . .
How does caffeine achieve these impressive results? CNS stimulation is achieved though the release of the hormone epinephrine from the adrenal glands. Production of another hormone, adenosine, is blunted by caffeine. With caffeine, though, too much of a good thing can be a problem. Too much CNS activation can make a person feel wired and jittery. Getting the optimum balance between too little and too much caffeine is critical to finding the best pre-workout for you.
Studies reveal that a caffeine dosage of between 2 and 4 mg per pound of bodyweight will work best as a pre-workout stimulant. If you go beyond this level, you’re likely to generate an unnatural, wired sensation that will be followed by a huge energy crash (3).
Selaginella Tamariscina is a species of plant that is endemic to Asia. It is an evergreen perennial. The plant is both astringent and homeostatic. This plant is believed to have life promoting properties. It contains an ingredient called amentofavone, which contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antiviral properties. Amentoflavone is also a vasodilator which allows for greater blood flow and increases the strength of contractions (4).
Grapefruit is a nutrient packed superfood, which has been used historically to treat a range of maladies. In terms of weight loss, it has been shown that the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) assists the body to make use of sugar, which produces more energy and minimizes fat storage. It also increases the metabolism. AMPK is usually stimulated by exercise, so taking grapefruit extract can produce an exercise like effect. Another compound in grapefruit is called Nootkatone. It has been shown that Nootkatone stimulates the use of AMPK to produce even better results (5).
Grapefruit extract has also been seen to help reduce cellulite levels.
The key ingredients listed above have some scientific data to support their use as a fat loss enhancer. The most impressive, of course, is caffeine. However, at just 100mg per capsule, this is significantly under-dosed. It was obviously prepared with people who are stimulant sensitive in mind. Even at two tablets, you would only be getting 200 mg, with the effective recommended dosage being between 250-400 mg per day.
Another issue with Norcodrene is that it comes with quite a number of side effects.These are not just theoretical, as a number of users have reported suffering from them. They include increased heart rate from the yohimbe and higenamine, along with hypertension and anxiety. Overall, we feel that the ingredients are rather bland and will not produce the significant results that are promised by the advertising for this product.
Norcodrene is a natural product that includes a range of herbal ingredients that have some scientific backing as to their mild ability to help induce weight loss. However, it appears that the majority of those ingredients are under dosed so will not produce appreciable results in terms of thermogenic boosting, energy production and the loss of body fat.
In summary, Norcodrene is a decent fat loss product. Over the long term it will help you to use weight. Just don't be beguiled by the promotional material, as it will not meet those expectations.
(1) Mori S1, Satou M, Kanazawa S, Yoshizuka N, Hase T, Tokimitsu I, Takema Y, Nishizawa Y, Yada T.: Body fat mass reduction and up-regulation of uncoupling protein by novel lipolysis-promoting plant extract.
(2) Callahan MF, Beales M, Oltmans GA.: Yohimbine and rauwolscine reduce food intake of genetically obese (obob) and lean mice.
(3) Acheson KJ, Zahorska-Markiewicz B, Pittet P, Anantharaman K, Jéquier E.: Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals.
(4) Lee IS1, Nishikawa A, Furukawa F, Kasahara K, Kim SU.: Effects of Selaginella tamariscina on in vitro tumor cell growth, p53 expression, G1 arrest and in vivo gastric cell proliferation.
(5) Heggers JP1, Cottingham J, Gusman J, Reagor L, McCoy L, Carino E, Cox R, Zhao JG.: The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity.
Steve Theunissen is a freelance writer living in Melbourne, Australia. He is a former gym owner and personal trainer and is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness and fat loss. Steve also writes history books with a focus on the history of warfare. He is married and has two daughters. You can contact him via the "About Us" page.