Wouldn’t it be great to burn calories without having to lace up your running shoes or break a sweat? Obviously, there's no magic pill for weight loss. But studies have shown that certain supplements can help speed the process when you're eating well and working out—which means they can probably help you.
Your metabolic rate is the number of calories your body uses to fuel your system at rest—the amount of calories you burn doing absolutely nothing other than living. How fast or slow your metabolism is is already inscribed in your genetic code, but certain factors—namely diet and exercise—can help turn the dial up. In particularly, certain supplements can help kick your body's fat-burning abilities into high gear.
But what should you be popping? Here’s five that are backed by experts.
Remember: Always to your doctor before adding a new supplement—especially more than one—to your diet.
1. Thermogenic supplements
In a new study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers had resistance-trained guys take a thermogenic fat loss supplement, made from a cocktail of ingredients that help increase heat in the body and increase your ability to burn fat. They found that the guys’ resting metabolic rate increased by 7 to 9 percent compared to when they took a placebo. This was mostly thanks to the caffeine and green tea extract, each of which can help boost fat metabolism and, when combined, help increase the release of certain neurotransmitters like epinephrine and dopamine, which in turn boost your metabolism. (Try one like Iron Cuts.)
“Selenium can help insure that your thyroid—the gland in your neck that regulates metabolism—stays healthy and continues to produce the hormones that keep your metabolism and energy at optimal levels,” says John Rowley, C.S.C.S., director of wellness for the International Sports Sciences Association. In fact, a recent Chinese study found that people who ate a diet low in selenium—which is found mostly in seafood like tuna and oysters—were more likely to have some type of thyroid disease.
3. Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is incredibly important for a healthy digestive system, as it helps your GI tract better absorb nutrients and chemicals. If you aren’t scoring enough of the stuff in your diet, though, try a capsule: A 2015 study in Obesity found that rats who consumed a fiber supplement dodged some of the harmful metabolic effects of a high-fat and high-sugar diet.
The second highest concentrated mineral in your body, zinc is necessary to help keep your systems running properly, particularly your immune system. “Your thyroid gland needs zinc to produce thyroid hormones, which helps maintain your metabolism and energy,” says Rowley. Plus, zinc can help control your appetite, keeping your metabolism on track, he adds
The same compound that gives red wine all its health-boosting benefits, resveratrol also helps kick start your metabolism. In fact, obese people who took resveratrol supplements for 30 days saw a similarly positive effect on their sleeping metabolic rate as restricting their calorie intake, according to a study in Cell Metabolism.
What's more, the study found the supplement reduced inflammation markers in blood cells and muscles, and improved mitochondrial metabolism, allowing the cell powerhouses to perform their role of turning food into fuel faster, thereby aiding in weight loss.