Non-stimulants that Safely Raise Metabolism

Dr. Michael Smith, Michael Smith

October 31, 2012

3 Min Read
Non-stimulants that Safely Raise Metabolism

Canadian scientists have reported that a decrease in energy expenditure with aging may cause 120-190 excess calories to be stored in the body every day, translating to an extra 13–20 pounds of body fat a year.1 If there’s any hope in achieving a healthy weight, we need to restore a youthful metabolic rate.

But there’s a problem: Many of the so-called “metabolic boosters” raise metabolism by stimulating your central nervous system and cardiovascular system. However, this can have unwanted effects.

Take for instance, guarana, a large plant from the maple family. It contains caffeine-like compounds called theine and mateine.2 Although it’s generally recognized as safe, guarana can make some people feel anxious and may cause heart palpitations and insomnia.

So the search is on for non-stimulatory, natural compounds that can raise metabolism safely. So far, two compounds really stand out in the market.

Fucoxanthin Directly Targets Body Fat

Thermogenesis is the process of producing cellular energy in the form of heat, which can be triggered by the mitochondrial uncoupling protein-1. Japanese scientists discovered that a plant extract called fucoxanthin activates uncoupling protein-1 that signals fatty acids to generate energy rather than remain stored as body fat.3

Derived from a species of Japanese brown seaweed, fucoxanthin provides a unique solution for safely boosting cellular metabolism. Unlike many "fat burners" that stimulate the central nervous system to promote weight loss, fucoxanthin works directly in fat cells.4

In a 16-week study, 110 obese women were placed on 1,800 calories a day and given either 200 mg of fucoxanthin mixed with pomegranate seed oil or a placebo. The researchers reported an average weight loss of 14 pounds for the fucoxanthin group versus 3 pounds for the placebo group.5

Recognizing that weight loss is not the only marker of improvement, the researchers reported that supplemented patients also demonstrated a significant reduction in visceral fat, the type of fat that covers the organs of the abdominal cavity.5

CLA Activates Fat Cell Death

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a group of healthy fats found primarily in meat and dairy products. CLA has been shown in a number of studies to have a wide variety of benefits with regards to the immune system, cardiovascular protection, blood sugar maintenance, lipid profiles, and body composition.

CLA most likely raises metabolism by activating programmed death of fat cells, preventing fat cell development, and reducing accumulation of fat inside adipose tissue.6,7,8

In studies that support the use of CLA in a weight loss program, the amount of CLA used varies from 1.7 to 12 grams per day. In one study, 3.4 g CLA per day for 12 weeks significantly reduced body fat mass in overweight and obese particpants.9

Two six-month studies in overweight adults showed CLA decreased body fat mass in specific regions of the body for all participants and prevented weight gain during the holiday season.10,11

What You Need to Know

Why risk unwanted side effects when there are safer options for raising your metabolism? Fucoxanthin and CLA can help you lose weight safely by burning fat without causing anxiety or other unwanted symptoms common to stimulants.


1.     Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60:18-24.

2.      Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

3.     Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jul 1;332(2):392-7.

4.      Int J Mol Med. 2006 Jul;18(1):147-52.

5.     Ramazanov, Z. Effect of Fucoxanthin and Xanthigen™, A phytomedicine containing fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil, on energy expenditure in obese non-diabetic female volunteers: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Submitted for publication 2008.

6.     Diabetes 2000; 49: 1534–1542.

7.     Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, August 1, 2004; 28(8): 941-55.

8.      Diabetes 1996; 45: 1644–1654.

9.     J Nutr. 2000 Dec;130(12):2943-8.

10.  Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar;97(3):550-60.

11.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11.

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