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SHIFTED BURN: The science behind our thermogenic fat burner

SHIFTED BURN: The science behind our thermogenic fat burner

At SHIFTED we set out to build a fat burner supplement based on scientific studies.  A fat burner that actually works.  In this article, I take a look at the science behind the ingredients we chose.

By Dr. Adam M. Gonzalez
SHIFTED’s Chief Scientific Officer

We crafted SHIFTED Burn as a non-caffeinated, effective, scientifically formulated fat burner with five key, high-impact ingredients designed to supercharge your weight loss efforts.  Let's dive into the details.

Key Points:

  • When the goal is weight loss, strategies and habits need to be established to promote a caloric deficit.  However, there are ingredients that can be incorporated into a fat burner supplement to help promote a caloric deficit.  
  • Grains of paradise supplementation increases energy expenditure and leads to reductions in body fat percentage, particularly in the abdominal area.  
  • Capsaicinoid supplementation increases thermogenic activity, suppresses appetite, increases lipolysis, and promotes improved body composition.  Not only does it aid weight management, but it’s also a performance booster for both endurance and resistance training.  
  • Carnitine can increase fat oxidation during exercise and aid the recovery process after strenuous exercise.  
  • Green tea extract offers many health-related benefits and supports weight loss by boosting metabolism and fat breakdown.
  • Resveratrol supports metabolic health and fat breakdown.

  • When the goal is weight loss, strategies and habits need to be established to promote a caloric deficit.  A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body expends over a given period. 

    When you consistently consume fewer calories than your body needs, it taps into stored energy reserves, typically body fat, to make up for the shortfall. This will lead to weight loss over time as your body uses its stored energy to meet its needs. 

    Creating a caloric deficit requires a reduction of calorie intake via dieting and/or an increase in caloric expenditure via exercise.  However, there are ingredients that can be incorporated into a fat burner supplement to help promote a caloric deficit.  

    Simple Strategies for Burning More Calories

    To avoid putting the cart before the horse, lets first start by giving examples of some simple strategies to burn more calories via exercise: 

    • Walk more – For some, this might mean taking breaks from your desk at work.  For others, it might mean taking a walk after dinner with your partner.  Find ways to move more and enjoy doing so.
    • Lift weights – The most powerful tool we have for maintaining muscle mass while losing weight is to resistance train.  
    • Stick to a workout schedule.
    • Don’t let more than 2 days go by where you don’t exercise.
    • Join a fitness class that you will enjoy (e.g., spin class, CrossFit, Zumba, rowing, yoga).

    Strategies to Reduce Calorie Intake:

    • Prioritize protein at each meal – Compared to dietary fat and carbohydrates, protein has a stronger effect on satiety, a lower likelihood of being converted to body fat, and higher thermogenic properties.
    • Drink more water – Staying hydrated can help reduce hunger. 
    • Eat more fiber-rich foods – Foods higher in fiber can increase food volume without increasing calories, leading to better satiety.  
    • Eat less highly-palatable, highly-processed foods – These can increase energy intake and result in less feelings of fullness.
    • Emphasize nutrient dense, whole foods.
    • Find a diet that works for you to maintain a calorie deficit. 

    SO, YOU ARE READY TO GO!  BUT...

    CAN A FAT BURNER SUPPLMENT REALLY HELP? 

    supplements for weight loss

    I’m sure you have heard unsubstantiated claims about how fat burners are a miracle weight loss cure.  You may have also heard from an ‘evidence-based practitioner’ that all fat burners are a complete waste of money and offer no benefit.  So, where does the truth lie? 

    Ultimately, it is unlikely that a fat burner will directly induce a caloric deficit to rapidly strip away body fat without accompanying lifestyle modifications like a balanced diet and exercise regimen.  However, there are supplemental ingredients that can mechanistically influence fat loss by 1) elevating caloric expenditure, 2) influencing the liberation and oxidation of fat, and 3) regulating appetite. For more information on the science of burning fat, check out our previous blog article entitled, How To Burn Fat Based on Science


    FAT BURNERS: THE RESEARCH

    Research studies have shown that multi-ingredient energy supplements and fat burner supplements can help burn calories and curb appetite to reduce the number of calories consumed.  SHIFTED BURN leverages ingredients with proven benefits. The formula is backed by real science and will offer an edge on your journey to better fitness and weight management.  We developed SHIFTED BURN‘s formula around only the most well-studied and effective ingredients, and we made sure to dose each ingredient optimally, so that our customers can experience a fat burner that actually works and does what it claims to do.  Let’s dive into the science of SHIFTED BURN: 


    PARADOXINE® GRAINS OF PARADISE

    Grains of paradise, scientifically known as Aframomum melegueta, has gained attention for its potential role in weight management and metabolic health. This spice is native to West Africa and belongs to the ginger family. It contains bioactive compounds like 6-paradol, 6-gingerol, and 6-shogaol, which have been studied for their effects on metabolism and fat loss. For example, grains of paradise extract and its principle active compound, 6-paradol, have both shown to activate thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue, which is responsible for burning calories and generating heat in the body (19). Brown adipose tissue tends to cluster around cardiac arteries and in the upper back and lower abdomen, and it’s the major site for sympathetically activated thermogenesis.  Increasing thermogenesis through the activation of brown adipose tissue is a promising and practical strategy for aiding weight management. Activating brown adipose tissue enhances whole body energy expenditure (aka calorie burn) and lipolysis (aka fat breakdown) (42). 

    The thermic and fat-reducing effects of grains of paradise and its compounds within such as 6-paradol appear to be attributed to the activation of the TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid 1) pathway (22).  After binding to receptors of this pathway, it leads to the sensation of heat and activates the sympathetic nervous system, along with increased catecholamine secretion, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure (29).

    grains of paradise

    Research on grains of paradise has shown promising results in terms of its impact on metabolism and body composition. Studies in both animals and humans have shown that consuming extracts of this spice can increase energy expenditure and promote the oxidation of fats. For example, a 2013 study reported that a single 40 mg dose of grains of paradise extract increased energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in healthy men (31).  A follow-up study showed that 4 weeks of supplementing with 30 mg of grains of paradise per day increased whole body energy expenditure and decreased visceral fat (i.e., fat located around the organs in the abdominal area) in non-obese females (32). 

    Some of the preliminary evidence seemed to suggest that a single supplemental dose of grains of paradise would only be beneficial in individuals with high brown adipose tissue activity (31). Yet, a study published in 2021 showed that prolonged supplementation with 40 mg of grains of paradise per day for 5 weeks increased measures of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis and reduced body fat percentage in non-obese males with low brown adipose tissue activity (44).  Similarly, a 2022 study found that supplementing with a grains of paradise supplement for 12 weeks resulted in an increased energy expenditure, a decrease in visceral fat, and significantly greater body weight loss in overweight male and female subjects. Importantly, this study also showed that supplementation was well tolerated, and no adverse effects were reported (30).

    Overall, research indicates that grains of paradise supplementation increases energy expenditure and leads to reductions in body fat percentage, particularly in the abdominal area.  SHIFTED BURN uses the highest quality, branded grains of paradise, Paradoxine®. The ingredient is validated and tested by a third-party laboratory to confirm the concentration of active compounds including 6-paradol. 


    CAPSIMAX® CAYENNE FRUIT EXTRACT

    Capsaicinoids are the natural and bioactive compounds that are responsible for the hot sensation after eating chili peppers, cayenne peppers, and other spicy foods.  The most abundant capsaicinoid is one called capsaicin.  Dietary supplementation with capsaicinoids such as capsaicin has been reported to exhibit several physiological effects. Studies have reported that acute capsaicinoid ingestion can reduce appetite, increase thermogenesis and metabolism, and enhance lipolysis (fat breakdown).  Long-term supplementation with capsaicinoids has shown to reduce energy intake, increase fat oxidation, and assist body fat loss (particularly in overweight individuals) (36, 41, 45).  Similar to grains of paradise, capsaicinoids can activate TRPV1 leading to the sensation of heat and activation of the sympathetic nervous system, along with increased catecholamine secretion, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure.  Interestingly, a recent study reported that capsaicin and grains of paradise exert their effects on brown adipose tissue via different mechanisms, suggesting that they should work synergistically when taken together (15). 

    Capsimax® is a concentrated extract of capsaicinoids from red chili peppers, which is produced with a controlled release encapsulating technology that delivers effective levels of capsaicinoids without stomach distress (the one issue that has been documented with traditional capsaicinoid intake). A study on the assessments of tolerability and safety blood markers following high-dose Capsimax® supplementation showed no adverse effects (11). Capsimax® is also special because it has been clinically studied and well-documented to boost metabolism, promote thermogenic activity, curb appetite to reduce calorie intake, and increase lipolysis.   

    A single 100 mg dose of Capsimax® has shown to increase resting metabolic rate, with energy expenditure being >105 calories greater over a 24-hour period when supplementing with Capsimax® vs. a placebo (10, 28).  Capsimax® (100 mg) has also shown to increase plasma free fatty acid and glycerol concentrations which is suggestive of enhanced lipolysis (fat breakdown) (2), and following one week of supplementation, Capsimax® showed to decrease appetite (46).   Capsimax® also reduces energy intake, reduces waist-to-hip ratio, decreases percent body fat and fat mass, and increases energy levels when supplemented long term (20, 26, 37).  

    Cayenne Fruit Extract

    But that’s not all – capsaicinoid supplementation can also enhance exercise performance.   Along with promoting greater energy expenditure during exercise, more recent evidence has shown that capsaicinoids’ effect on TRPV1 in skeletal muscle stimulates the release of calcium, which may result in more forceful muscle contractions (6).  TRPV1 activation may also increase pain threshold and decrease percieved exertion during exercise – alowing you to get more work done and making the workout feel easier.  Capsaicinoid supplementation improves endurance, resistance training, and high-intensity interval training performance (38).  Placebo-controlled studies have reported that a single supplemental dose of capsaicinoids can improve running time-trial performance (5, 8), lower-body resistance training performance (7), time-to-exhaustion during high-intensity intermittent exercise (6), and resistance exercise performance performed after a bout of high-intensity intermittent running (9).

    Overall, research indicates that Capsimax® supplementation increases thermogenic activity, suppresses appetite, increases lipolysis, and promotes improved body composition.  Not only does it aid weight management, but it’s also a performance booster for both endurance and resistance training.  SHIFTED BURN includes the clinical dose of 100 mg of Capsimax®


    L-CARNITINE L-TARTRATE

    L-carnitine (or just carnitine) is a popular supplement known for its potential role in supporting weight loss, enhancing exercise performance, and even aiding muscle recovery.  Carnitine is formed from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and it can be naturally acquired from food sources or synthesized in the body.  Animal products, such as meat, fish, poultry, and dairy, are considered the most abundant sources of carnitine.  One of the primary functions of carnitine is facilitating the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria (the powerhouses of cells) where these fats are oxidized to generate energy. This mechanism is why carnitine has garnered attention as a potential aid in weight loss by enhancing the body's ability to utilize fat for energy.  Carnitine is most commonly available in supplemental form as L-carnitine, acetyl L-carnitine, and L-carnitine L-tartrate, yet L-carnitine L-tartrate has shown the best supportive evidence – particularly for muscle recovery.  

    Due to its crucial role in energy metabolism, carnitine can aid weight loss via increased fat utilization and daily energy expenditure (24).  The most recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have reported that carnitine can offer a modest effect on the reduction of body weight in overweight adults (1, 34).  These studies concluded that daily carnitine supplementation showed to significantly reduce body weight compared to a placebo in overweight individuals when supplementing 2 grams per day for at least 4 weeks (34).

    Some studies have shown that individuals taking carnitine experience increased fat oxidation during exercise, potentially leading to improved fat loss over time.  Carnitine has also been suggested to support muscle growth by sparing the use of amino acids as an energy source during exercise (14). Along with aiding fat utilization, a growing body of research has indicated that carnitine supplementation improves muscle recovery and decreases markers of muscle damage following exercise (3, 43). Carnitine may increase cellular metabolism, increase membrane integrity, increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscle via improved endothelial function, and serve as an antioxidant to blunt exercise-induced oxidative stress.  Additionally, carnitine supplementation has been shown to increase the amount of androgen receptors that reside on muscle cells, thereby potentially upregulating muscle growth pathways activated during recovery from exercise (13, 43). 

    Overall, research indicates that carnitine supplementation can be a great weight loss supplement when accompanied with healthy eating behaviors and maintaining a caloric deficit. Carnitine can increase fat oxidation during exercise and aid the recovery process after strenuous exercise.  Studies showing these effects have provided 1-2 grams of L-carnitine L-tartrate per day.  SHIFTED BURN includes the clinical dose of 2 grams of L-carnitine L-tartrate. 


    GREEN TEA LEAF EXTRACT

    Green tea leaf extract is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It contains a high concentration of compounds called polyphenols, particularly catechins, which are known for their antioxidant properties. The primary catechin in green tea extract is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for many of its health benefits.  Green tea leaf extract can help combat oxidative stress by reducing cell damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to cardiovascular and brain health.  

    Several studies suggest that green tea extract can aid weight loss by boosting metabolism and fat breakdown.  EGCG can stimulate lipolysis through several mechanisms – it can enhance the oxidation of fatty acids, increase thermogenesis, blunt enzymes that are involved in fat storage, and suppress appetite (35).  For example, one study (12) found that green tea extract containing catechins and caffeine elicited a 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure along with an increase in fat oxidation.  However, when ingesting caffeine alone, only a very slight effect on energy expenditure was observed, highlighting the role that green tea extract plays in promoting the thermogenic effect.  When supplemented over several weeks, many studies show that green tea extract has fat-reducing effects (16, 18, 21, 39, 40).

    green tea extract

    There have also been studies showing a synergistic effect of green tea extract when combined with capsaicinoids and carnitine for reducing appetite. One study (25) found that the combination of green tea extract with capsaicinoids significantly reduced hunger and increased fullness and satiety during 3 weeks of supplementation.  Another study (27) found that the combination of EGCG, capsaicinoids, and L-carnitine increased feelings of satiety over 8 weeks of supplementation. 

    Overall, green tea extract offers many health-related benefits and supports weight loss by boosting metabolism and fat breakdown.  SHIFTED BURN includes 100 mg of Green Tea Leaf Extract standardized for EGCG and polyphenol concentration.  


    RESVERATROL

    Resveratrol is a natural compound found in various plants, including the skin of red grapes, berries, and peanuts. Resveratrol gained attention due to the "French Paradox," a phenomenon where despite consuming diets high in saturated fats, the French population exhibited lower rates of heart disease, potentially attributed to moderate red wine consumption rich in resveratrol (4).

    resveratrol supplement with grapes and red wine in the background

    Resveratrol belongs to a group of polyphenolic compounds called stilbenes and has shown health benefits ranging from heart health to anti-aging effects.  Resveratrol can also contribute to weight management by playing a role in stimulating the breakdown of fat and aiding metabolic outcomes such as insulin resistance (23).  Several human studies have reported that resveratrol can reduce body weight and/or offer favorable metabolic effects (17).  While there are mixed results due to differences in study designs, a recent review of the literature concluded that resveratrol intake significantly reduced body weight, waist circumference, and fat mass – and significantly increased lean body mass (33). 

    Overall, resveratrol holds promise as a natural compound with several potential health benefits – particularly in its antioxidant properties and its influence on various metabolic pathways.  The available evidence suggests that resveratrol supports metabolic health and may also aid in fat breakdown.  SHIFTED BURN includes 100 mg of resveratrol to harness its effects synergistically with the other thermogenic ingredients.  


    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A FAT BURNER SUPPLEMENT 

    The market is saturated with ineffective fat burner supplements with ridiculous price tags. Not all fat burner supplements are created equally.  First off, if your fat burner contains a proprietary blend of ingredients - stay away.  A proprietary blend refers to a mixture or combination of ingredients that a company keeps secret or doesn’t fully disclose on the label.  The company will claim that it is to protect their “secret” formula from being copied, but the truth is that the lack of transparency is typically so that they can mix a bunch of ingredients at ineffective doses and make large margins on sales.  Look for a product that has full transparency using ingredients that have been backed by research at effective doses.

    SHIFTED has formulated a fully transparent stimulant-free fat burner with all the effective ingredient and doses discussed in this article.  Since SHIFTED BURN is stimulant-free, it can also be taken with your morning coffee/tea or in combination with SHIFTED Pre Workout to get the performance and thermogenic benefits during exercise. 


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