The most common aim of fat burner supplements is to trigger thermogenesis. So what is thermogenesis, and what does it have to do with weight loss?
Thermogenesis22 is how your body creates heat. Your body requires thermogenesis to balance your body temperature. But, thermogenesis also plays a huge role in metabolism!
How They Work and the Benefits
So, how does thermogenesis tie into metabolism and weight loss?
Your metabolism is based on your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE), and Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).
Your RMR33 is the number of calories that your body requires just to exist while at complete rest. RMR takes up around 60-75% of your daily calorie burn.
Around 15-30% of your calories go toward TEE. TEE includes any and all physical movement throughout your day.
The rest of your metabolism relies on TEF. Believe it or not, eating burns calories through the digestion process. Some foods require more calories to digest than others, which is the TEF of the food.
Thermogenic pills trigger your body to increase your RMR by generating more heat. Since your RMR is such a huge factor in your overall metabolism, boosting it has great benefits! One study showed increased metabolic rates, leading to fat loss and reduced BMI.
Common Ingredients and Picking a Supplement
Ingredient lists vary widely between different supplements. But, there is a set of common and generally most effective ingredients. Let’s check them out!
Caffeine Caffeine is one of the top ingredients among the best fat burners. It’s a natural and potent stimulant that comes from plants such as cacao, tea, and coffee plants. It comes with several powerful benefits for weight loss. For starters, it gives you a handy energy jolt! Not only does it have thermogenic properties, but it also triggers lipolysis. Lipolysis is when your body releases fatty acids into the bloodstream to burn as fuel. Finally, it can suppress your appetite21, allowing you to burn calories without miserable cravings.
Green tea Green tea combines the benefits of caffeine with compounds called catechins. One certain catechin, EGCG, amplifies the effects of caffeine. For instance, caffeine helps promote fat burning and boost metabolism34 by releasing adrenaline. EGCG slows the breakdown of that adrenaline, which maximizes the effects.
Capsaicin If you’ve ever bitten into an extremely spicy pepper, that’s thanks to high capsaicin levels. It works similarly to caffeine by suppressing your appetite and releasing adrenaline. Several studies39 showed that capsaicin may help you burn around 50 extra calories per day.
Garcinia Cambogia This ingredient comes from tropical fruit extract. Garcinia Cambogia is shown to block an enzyme29 that is crucial to forming body fat.
Yohimbine Yohimbine comes from the bark of the African Yohimbe tree. Yohimbine needs further research, but current results show a lot of promise. It aims to boost metabolism by triggering several hormones28, including dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Bitter Orange Extract14, or Synephrine Synephrine is similar to Ephedrine, which was banned for severe safety concerns. Many manufacturers use Synephrine now that Ephedrine is off-limits. Bitter Orange grows on a native Asian plant that has popular medicinal uses. Studies show that the Synephrine in Bitter Orange Extract can have thermogenic effects. But, some concerns have surfaced regarding the safety of Synephrine. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has Synephrine listed as a banned substance35.
Bioperine, or Piperine This ingredient comes from black pepper fruit extract. Pairing it with other beneficial ingredients allows your body to absorb more of them. It may also help you release more serotonin and dopamine24. Finally, it has the coveted thermogenic properties! But, exercise caution06 with this ingredient. It can have severe interactions with many medications and possibly lower platelet levels. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems or bleeding.
Theobromine Theobromine is a natural energy source that comes from cacao. It shows the potential for appetite suppression and boosting energy26. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and potential cardiovascular health benefits.
Safety and How to Take Thermogenics
Safety is always the top priority. Although most people do well with supplements, some have unpleasant effects or reactions. Here are some of the side effects and reactions you may have.
Gastrointestinal symptoms. This includes nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Some can develop severe gastrointestinal inflammation.
Liver inflammation, damage, or failure has been reported.
Also, keep in mind that the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements such as fat burners. But, many reputable manufacturers use certified Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facilities. They may also use facilities that meet FDA standards. For the products, some manufacturers use 3rd-party testing to ensure quality and purity. If you see any of these as seals of approval, it’s definitely a plus when choosing the best fat burner.
The best course of action is to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement. This is especially true if you take daily medications or have any medical conditions.
As for how to take these supplements, the suggestions vary based on the manufacturer. Mostly, it is recommended 2 times per day, around 30-60 minutes before your 2 largest meals. This usually starts with breakfast. When you sleep, your metabolism slows down, so taking a fat burner before breakfast will rev it back up. Some people prefer to take it before fasted exercise. Each brand will have directions for use or suggested times.
Don’t forget that miracle cures don’t exist. For you to truly benefit from thermogenic pills, you should combine them with a proper diet and exercise.
My Top 10 Best Thermogenics
Picking the best fat burner will make all the difference. Since there are so many options, I compiled a list. I’ll review my top fat burners, detail the pros and cons, and crown 1 supplement as the best thermogenic!
It also has Raspberry Ketones17, a chemical that comes from various red raspberries. While research is still fresh, it seems to have benefits that are catching attention. Raspberry Ketones are said to boost your metabolism in several ways. One way it does so is by increasing your production of a hormone called Adiponectin. This hormone can suppress appetite, trigger thermogenesis, and promote fat burning for energy.
There is yet another new ingredient, Olive Leaf Extract! This ingredient is sought out for being rich in a micronutrient called polyphenols. This is another ingredient that requires more research but shows potential benefits. Early research shows that it may reduce the production of fat cells37.
Next, it has Bacopa Leaf Extract. Bacopa40, or Brahmi, is a traditional Indian medicinal plant. It is thought to have antioxidant properties, fight inflammation, and improve cognitive function.
Finally, it has Chrysin15. Chrysin is popular among bodybuilders due to its potential to increase testosterone levels.
It is non-GMO, Keto-friendly, gluten-free, and 100% vegetarian!
The facility is FDA and cGMP certified!
They focus on transparency. They do not mask their ingredients with fancy “proprietary blend” names.
With 150 mg of caffeine, there is always a risk of unpleasant side effects.
Several of the ingredients are still lacking in research. As I mentioned, they’ve had small success in early studies. But, they need repeat studies to confirm results as well as bigger scopes of research. For example, Chrysin has minimal positive study results.
The directions suggest not taking your dose on an empty stomach. If you prefer a supplement that you can take before fasting exercise, this one may not fit. Instead, it recommends 2 doses per day, 0-10 minutes before a meal.
It is at the higher end of the cost range. Although it may be a great product, it won’t be an affordable option for everyone.
Next, it contains Cognizin or Citicoline07. Citicoline is a nutrient that promotes better focus and attention.
Then, it lists Theacrine or TeaCrine. Theacrine comes from an Amazonian plant and has properties similar to caffeine. It works by activating Dopamine receptors20 while blocking the drowsiness-causing Adenosine receptors30. This boosts energy, mood, and mental clarity. Theacrine is not a stimulant and may disrupt sleep less than stimulants.
It also contains Paradoxine31. Another name for Paradoxine is Grains of Paradise. These grains are actually a spice similar to ginger. Studies show that Paradoxine has the potential to turn white fat into brown fat. So, why is this helpful? Wouldn’t turning fat into different fat be just as bad? Nope! White fat is what all your extra calories and sugar turn into, AKA all the stuff you want to get rid of. Brown fat is the necessary fat that your body burns for digestion and thermogenesis. So, when you brown the white fat, that’s more fat content burned!
Next, we have Lean GBB. Our body turns GBB10 into a beneficial amino acid called L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine supports Lipolysis, which releases fatty acids into the bloodstream to burn.
We’re not done! It still has many more ingredients, including Capsimax13. This ingredient contains Capsaicin, which boosts thermogenesis and suppresses your appetite.
It adds GS4 Plus. This ingredient comes from Gymnema16, a shrub found in India and Africa. It aims to promote weight loss and reduce sugar absorbed during digestion.
Next, we have another amino acid in the form of TheaKalm. This turns into L-Theanine19, which has several benefits. It can sharpen mental performance, relieve anxiety, and offset the effects of stimulants.
The next ingredient helps you absorb as many nutrients and benefits as possible. It combines Astragalus and Ginseng under the name AstraGin11. This compound also triggers your body to process more amino acids into Nitric Oxide. As a result, you get better blood flow to your muscles.
Last, we have Huperzia Serrata12. This ingredient is thought to enhance memory, cognitive performance, and energy.
There’s no gelatin in the capsules! They are entirely vegetable-based capsules.
They’re no-nonsense! It doesn’t contain any fillers, artificial ingredients, or banned substances.
It happens to be the priciest item on our list.
Huperzia Serrata comes with several risks. Here are a few risks it carries. It can slow your heart rate. If you have epilepsy, it can worsen your seizures. It can worsen respiratory issues by increasing fluid and mucus buildup in the lungs. It can wreak havoc on your GI tract by causing ulcers or blockages. Your urinary tract can also become blocked. This ingredient can react to medications, so check with your doctor beforehand!
The label states that it contains milk, so avoid this one if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan!
Animal Cuts uses an extensive blend of ingredients in their stimulant fat burner! These ingredients are combined into specific complex blends for each benefit it offers.
Let’s start with the Stimulant Complex. This product packs 750 mg of stimulants. It includes Caffeine, Kola Nut Seed, Guarana Seed, Yerba Mate Leaf, Raspberry Ketones, Forskolin, and Evodiamine.
Next is the Metabolic Complex for boosting your metabolism. It contains Green Tea Leaf Extract, Oolong Tea Leaf Extract, Black Tea Leaf Extract, Coffee Bean Extract, and White Tea Leaf Extract.
It also has a Thyroid Complex that aims to promote thyroid health and function. It has L-Tyrosine, Olive Leaf Extract, and Salvia Officinalis Leaf.
To combat water weight, it contains a Water Shedding Complex. This complex has Dandelion Root, Uva Ursi Leaf, Hydrangea Root, Buchu Leaf, Juniper Berry Fruit, and Celery Seed.
There is also a Nootropic Complex. Nootropics03 are substances that stimulate cognitive performance. It includes DMAE, Bacopa, and Huperzia Serrata.
Exercise can cause a lot of stress on your body. That’s why this product has a complex to block stress hormone production. This hormone is called Cortisol. This complex includes Ashwagandha, Eleutherococcus Senticocus Root, Phosphatidylserine, and Magnolia Bark Extract.
CCK08 is a hormone secreted by your intestines that signals the brain when you’re full. Animal Cuts has a CCK Boosting Complex to suppress your appetite and cravings. It includes Cha-de-Bugre, Apple Pectin, and Cinnamon Bark.
The last complex helps your body absorb the other ingredients better. It contains Ginger Root, Cayenne, Grapefruit, Quercetin, Naringin, and Bioperine.
It comes from a certified Good Manufacturing Practice facility!
It has a ton of ingredients, and more doesn’t always mean better. Everybody is different, and you might have a negative reaction to combined ingredients.
The stimulants may be too strong for some people, and caffeine can have unpleasant effects.
It is not vegetarian or vegan-friendly. They use gelatin for the capsules. The facility also manufactures common food allergens and animal products.
Each serving is in a packet, and each complex is 1 capsule. That means you’re taking 8 pills per servings. Many people don’t feel comfortable having to take that many pills.
It contains artificial ingredients, mostly dyes.
Again, be wary of Bioperine. Many of the other ingredients could potentially interact with daily medications. Consult a doctor to be safe!
There’s not enough evidence to support using cortisol blockers8 for weight loss. That doesn’t mean it won’t help, but research before drawing a conclusion.
This next on our list of the best thermogenics is RSP QuadraLean. It still contains multiple blends, but it is more conservative with them than our last entry.
The Weight Management Blend contains Innobio CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and L-Carnitine Tartrate. CLA41 is a natural fatty acid that comes from meat and dairy products. L-Carnitine42 is another amino acid claimed to boost your metabolism.
The Energy Blend only has 1 ingredient! It is caffeine derived naturally from Green Tea. It packs a hefty dose of 200mg per serving!
The Neuro Blend combines Choline Bitartrate and Alpha GPC 50%. Choline36 aims to boost your metabolism, reduce body mass18, and promote brain health. Alpha GPC25 is a nootropic ingredient like the nootropics from our last entry. It is popular in supplements for fat burning, brain function, and cell health.
The Thermogenesis Blend contains Cayenne Pepper Fruit Extract and Paradoxine. Both ingredients claim to trigger thermogenesis and rev up your metabolism.
A 3rd party tests the product for quality assurance.
It’s reassuring to see that there is quality testing, but I couldn’t find any information on the facility. So, I can’t confirm if the facility is certified or what potential allergens are produced there.
It isn’t vegan. Gelatin is used for the capsules, and the product contains milk.
Be careful with the hefty dose of caffeine! It’s best to limit other caffeinated products while taking this supplement.
CLA is generally safe but may react to anti-inflammatory medications and blood thinners. Also, the claims about weight loss benefits aren’t sufficiently proven.
The bottle gives a warning stating that you may be consuming Lead with this supplement. Lead can cause birth defects, and it isn’t great for your health. I’m not sure why any supplement would contain Lead, but be careful and don’t overdo it.
This great supplement is specially formulated for women! It also keeps it simple with a proprietary blend of 3 compounds.
The proprietary blend, GoBHB, combines 3 forms of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)32. The 3 forms are Calcium, Sodium, and Magnesium. BHB is an abundant type of ketone, so you are supplementing your body with ketones. If you follow a Keto diet, BHB can help ease your body off of carbs while it adjusts to the extreme change. It may also encourage your body to burn fat for fuel5.
It is non-GMO!
The facility is FDA approved, and Good Manufacturing Practice certified!
A 3rd party performs quality assurance tests.
It’s an affordable option!
The capsules contain Gelatin.
I can’t verify if the facility contains food allergies.
Our final contestant for the best thermogenic comes from Dr. Emil!
It has a very simple formula. It uses Green Tea for catechins and caffeine. It also includes Green Coffee Bean, Caffeine Anhydrous, Raspberry Ketones, and Garcinia Cambogia.
It comes in veggie capsules!
It is one of the most affordable options on our list!
The product is vegan, 100% natural, and GMO-free!
The facility is Good Manufacturing Practice certified. Plus, the product undergoes 3rd-party testing.
Dr. Emil is a real doctor who specializes in nutritional supplements.
I couldn’t find an exact dosage of caffeine. Be wary, as it may have enough to cause side effects.
All of these products made a great impression with cutting-edge ingredients. However, the list can only have one best thermogenic supplement! For me, the clear winner is Vintage! The ingredients are mostly backed by research and tested for quality. The company appears to prioritize transparency, clean products, and quality.
Krista Martinez is a freelance writer, SuppsAdvisor contributor, and former Certified Personal Trainer.
She’s currently a college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts.
When she’s not working, you can find Krista playing video games, reading, or working on her novel. You can also guarantee she’ll be listening to her favorite band, Starset. She loves to get active by going for a run or hitting the yoga mat. She hopes to finish her novel soon and see where life takes her!