Did you know that some nootropic supplements can help you lose weight? If you’re not familiar with nootropics, they’re basically a group of supplements or drugs that improve your mental function.
Some of the common mental benefits include increasing cognitive capacity, improving focus, and enhancing memory.
How can supplements that boost your brainpower help you lose weight?
Your mind and body are more closely related than you think. Without your brain, your body wouldn’t be able to regulate its metabolism and wouldn’t know how much fat to store. No two nootropics have the same effect on your body.
Let’s dig deeper into some of the specific ways that nootropics may help you improve your weight loss.
Lose Weight by Taking Control of Your Hypothalamus
You’ve probably heard that losing weight is a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn. While this is true, hormonal influences make weight loss much more complicated. Focusing on caloric balance alone might cause you to lose fat, but you might also lose lean muscle as well.
Arguably the most important organ in your body for weight loss is your brain—more specifically—your hypothalamus.
Your hypothalamus is located deep in your primitive brain. It’s constantly regulating various hormones in your body to decide how to store the calories you consume through your diet. The release of most hormones in your body is dependent on hormones released in the hypothalamus.
Are you familiar with your thyroid gland? It’s the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that’s responsible for regulating your metabolism. It can’t properly function without your hypothalamus first producing thyrotropin-releasing hormone.
One of the most critical hormones for determining how much fat and muscle your body stores is called human growth hormone (HGH). Your hypothalamus regulates HGH release by producing growth hormone-releasing hormone.
If you’re interested in the science behind how stimulating HGH improve your body composition, check out this video by Dr. Eric Berg.
Nootropics that can stimulate your hypothalamus can increase your metabolism and decrease the amount of fat you store. Alternatively, supplements that stimulate the release of hormones that normally requires stimulation of the hypothalamus may also increase your fat loss.
For example, the hormone norepinephrine increases the rate your body breaks down fat and carbohydrates. Normally, it’s only released from your adrenal glands after your hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone. However, some nootropics may directly cause your body to release more norepinephrine.
Green Tea Extract: The Nootropic that Stimulates Norepinephrine for Fat Loss
If you’re a regular tea drinker, you might be happy to find out that research shows green tea has benefits for both your mental and physical health.
The green tea plant is also known as Camellia Sinensis. It has a range of health benefits including stimulating your metabolism. The fat burning benefit of green tea comes from a group of molecules called catechins.
The most powerful catechin for fat burning is called epigallocatechin (EGCG).
Many green tea extracts contain about 50% EGCG. Researchers have found weight loss benefits from consuming high dosages over 400mg per day.
Green tea also contains the stimulant caffeine, which stimulates the release of norepinephrine.
Does Drinking Green Tea Cause a Pound of Fat Lose Per Month?
In an interesting metanalysis published in Obesity Reviews in 2011, researchers examined the complete body of literature available on green tea extract for fat loss. They concluded that the combined catechin and caffeine content in green tea causes your body to burn about 5.7 grams of body fat per cup of tea.
There are 454 grams in a pound. So to put that in perspective, drinking about 80 cups of tea could lead to a pound of fat loss compared to not drinking any green tea.
If you’re a consistent tea drinker, it’s reasonable to drink this amount over a month. Alternatively, taking a green tea extract supplement may speed up the process.
Put Down the Coffee if You Want to Maximize Green Tea Benefits
In another meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers set out to see if being a regular caffeine consumer affected the weight loss caused from consuming green tea. They found a non-significant effect showing that regularly consuming caffeine may dampen the weight loss effect of green tea.
There was also non-significant evidence showing that green tea consumption might have a greater weight loss effect on Asian people. More evidence is needed to confirm these two findings.
A study published in 2010 by researchers based out of Shanghai looked at the effect of catechin enriched green tea on body composition. The researchers found that participants given 88mg of catechins per day had 1.2kg more weight loss over 90 days compared to a control group.
It’s worth noting that although caffeine has widely studied metabolism-boosting effects, it’s not considered a nootropic itself. It’s considered a stimulant drug.
Green Tea Extract Bottom Line:
- Has a metabolism boosting effect
- May have a stronger impact on Asian people
- May have a stronger effect on people who consume little caffeine
Are You Keeping Your Hunger Hormones in Check?
Are you familiar with the two hormones leptin and ghrelin? Both of these hormones are responsible for regulating your hunger even though they have opposite effects.
When your stomach is empty, ghrelinergic cells produce the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. After eating, your stomach expands, and ghrelin production declines.
Fat cells produce leptin. When your body fat percentage increases, your body produces more leptin, and your appetite becomes suppressed. As you lose body fat, your hunger increases because your fat cells produce less leptin.
These two hormones are collectively known as your hunger hormones. Remember how we mentioned earlier that your hypothalamus regulates your hunger? You can thank these two hormones for that.
When your hunger hormones bind to receptors in your hypothalamus, it signals to the rest of your brain that it’s time to stop eating.
If you’ve ever tried a starvation or crash diet, you probably know how hard it is to lose weight that stays off. Have you ever had a friend who constantly alternates between dieting and binging?
The presence of these two hormones makes starvation diets nearly impossible to sustain no matter how strong your willpower is. Even if you managed to stay in a caloric deficiency for a week or a month, eventually your brain is going to panic and tell you it’s time to binge.
So what’s the answer?
Slow, consistent weight loss will keep your hunger levels regulated better than quick binge dieting. Certain nootropic supplements like Modafinil may also be able to decrease your appetite to make weight loss easier.
Boost Your Brainpower and Control Your Appetite with Modafinil
Modafinil is a drug that’s designed to increase feelings of wakefulness. It was originally created to counteract sleep disorders like narcolepsy. The standard dose of Modafinil is 100-200mg.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and move more. Modafinil may help you lose weight by decreasing your feelings of tiredness and directly reducing appetite.
Shortened or disturbed sleep is associated with decreased leptin secretion and increased ghrelin. People with narcolepsy are particularly prone to obesity because of their disrupted sleep patterns. Modafinil increases daytime wakefulness which may improve hunger hormone function.
Modafinil Decreases Appetite in Children
Researchers in the Department of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the effects of Modafinil on children and adolescents. Participants took a dose of 170-425mg of Modafinil per day over six weeks.
Sixteen percent of the participants reported that they had a suppressed appetite. Participants who took Modafinil lost weight, but the weight loss didn’t reach statistical significance.
Modafinil Decreases Symptoms of Fatigue
In a double-blind placebo study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, participants took 300 grams of Modafinil and then had to complete a cognitive task immediately after the dosage. The research team concluded that participants who took Modafinil had significant increases in cognitive function and reduced symptoms of fatigue.
Modafinil Bottom Line
- Modafinil seems to have a moderate effect on decreasing appetite
- Modafinil improves symptoms of fatigue.
Try Taking Nootropics to Improve Your Self-Control
While some nootropics may have more direct weight loss benefits from stimulating metabolism (like green tea extract), other nootropics may have an indirect benefit.
Imagine you’re sitting in your living room and there’s an apple pie you bought from your local bakery in your kitchen.
Do you think you’re more likely to resist the temptation if you’re tired or if you’re feeling mentally alert?
Unfortunately, as your brain fatigues, so does your self-control. Nootropic supplements that increase your alertness and decrease symptoms of mental fatigue may induce weight-loss by reducing your temptation to cheat on your diet.
Recharge Your Brain with Synephrine
Synephrine is naturally found in some plants like bitter orange. Its mental benefits include being able to reduce mental fatigue, speed up brain processing, improve focus, and enhance motivation.
It’s generally recommended that you take 10-20mg three times per day. Synephrine may help you lose weight in two ways. First, it decreases mental fatigue; and second, it may increase your resting metabolism.
In a study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, healthy participants were given a placebo or 50mg of a synephrine supplement. The researchers measured the participants’ metabolisms over 75 minutes. The group who consumed synephrine saw their resting metabolism increase by 65 calories.
Drop Body Fat with Forskolin
Forskolin is the active ingredient in the herb Coleus forskohlii, which is in the mint family. Supplementation of forskolin is thought to increase testosterone and induce fat loss. Consumption of this supplement increases levels of cAMP, a molecule linked to weight loss.
In a double-blind study published in Obesity Research, researchers gave overweight and obese participants 250 grams of Coleus forskohlii (which contains about 10 percent of the active ingredient Forskolin) for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, the participants had a significant increase in lean body mass and a decrease in body fat, with an average of 4.52kg compared to the control group that only lost 0.51kg.
The researchers also found that testosterone increased in the group who consumed forskolin, although there was a high amount of variance, so it’s difficult to say how significant the hormonal change was.
Testosterone is a hormone that’s critical for both men and women to lose weight. Testosterone has a muscle building and fat burning effect. Men have much higher amounts of testosterone than women on average.
Forskolin Bottom Line
- May increase testosterone levels
- May increase fat loss in overweight individuals
How Seniors Can benefit from the Nootropic Muscle Builder Acetyl-L Carnitine
Acetyl-L Carnitine is a nutrient produced in your kidneys and liver. It’s commonly found in high-protein animal foods such as beef, milk, pork, and fish. It’s thought that this supplement can improve memory, mental alertness, and muscle gain in elderly people.
The supplement L-Carnitine may be particularly noteworthy for aging populations. In a double-blind placebo study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined the effects of L-Carnitine on people over 100 years of age.
The researchers found that giving participants two grams of L-carnitine daily for six months lessened effects of mental and physical fatigue. Participants also had increased muscle mass and decreased amounts of body fat compared to a placebo group.
In another study published by researchers in Italy, the team examined the effect of L-Carnitine on 84 elderly subjects. The researchers looked at the effect of two grams per day for thirty days. They found significant improvements in the participants’ body composition and symptoms of mental fatigue.
Acetyl-L Carnitine Bottom Line
- Seems to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat in elderly individuals
- Seems to improve symptoms of mental and physical fatigue in elderly individuals
Could Raspberry Ketones be the Secret to Weight Loss?
Raspberry ketones are the chemicals that give raspberries their delicious smell. They’re often used in perfumes or processed foods give them a pleasant aroma. When consumed in high dosages, it’s thought that raspberry ketones can have a metabolism-boosting effects.
There’s a caveat though. Extracting enough raspberry ketones from raspberries to benefit humans is impractical. When you buy a raspberry ketone supplement, it’s generally synthetically made (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
The structure of these ketones is similar to capsaicin in spicy peppers, which has known metabolism-boosting benefits.
Right now, research is limited, but a study performed on rats offers promising results. In the study, which was published in Life Sciences, rats were divided into a control group and a ketone group.
Both groups were given a fatty diet. At the end of the study, the mice given ketones weighed an average of 50 grams while the mice in the control group weighed an average of 55 grams.
There’s only one study looking at the effect of raspberry ketones on humans, and it’s hard to make a conclusion from it.
In the study, participants were given a mix of caffeine, raspberry ketones, garlic, capsaicin, ginger, and synephrine. The group who took the mixture did lose almost three times more fat than the control group, but it’s hard to say how much of an effect each ingredient had.
Raspberry Ketones Bottom Line
- One study on rats shows they may have benefit for weight loss
- More research needs to be done on humans, but raspberry ketones can plausibly induce weight loss
Can Roasting Your Coffee Beans be Robbing You of Coffee’s Health Benefits?
Green coffee beans are coffee beans that haven’t been roasted yet. Coffee contains a substance called chlorogenic acid, but much of this compound is lost during the roasting process. Studies show that orally consuming green coffee extract has a slight body fat reducing effect in overweight and obese individuals.
Dosage is usually based on the total amount of chlorogenic acid present. The general dosage is about 120-300mg per day.
In a study published in Norway, researchers looked at the effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on the body mass of overweight participants. The researchers found that after 12 weeks the group that consumed the chlorogenic acid coffee had a significantly higher amount of weight loss compared to the control group.
Green Coffee Beans Bottom Line
- Seem to increase weight loss in overweight people
How to Add Nootropics to Your Diet for Weight Loss
The primary function of nootropic supplements is to enhance your cognitive function. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t also reap the benefit of weight loss from them as well. Each nootropic supplement has different effects on your body.
Nootropics can improve your body composition by improving your ability to resist temptation, by physically reducing your appetite, or by stimulating the production of hormones that cause weight loss.
We’re not recommending that you try taking every supplement at the same time. Actually, that would be a terrible idea because you won’t know which supplement is working.
A better strategy would be to include one nootropic into your supplement routine at a time for about a month and monitor the effects it has on your body.
If you feel it’s increasing your mental function or weight loss, you can add another supplement to your diet as well. If you don’t think it’s working for you, try alternating with a different nootropic.
Green tea extract and Modafinil are two good choices to start you weight loss stack with.
Daniel grew up in Halifax, Canada. He completed his Honours Kinesiology degree at Dalhousie University where he received an education in topics such as nutrition, exercise physiology, strength training, and sports psychology. He graduated with his MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan in spring 2019. Through his writing career, he’s developed a particular interest in endocrine and mental health research.