Yohimbine Boosts Exercise Performance by 29%
by: Robbie Durand
The alkaloid known as yohimbine is the primary active constituent in yohimbe. Yohimbine has been touted as a testosterone booster, but the research has been inconclusive for its testosterone enhancing effects, whereas the effects on yohimbine being a fat loss agent is much more conclusive. Yohimbine supplementation in humans has been shown to significantly elevate plasma glycerol and free fatty acids, and the effect was further enhanced during physical activity when the levels of catecholamines are elevated. Yohimbine inhibits the alpha 2 receptors and increases the action of catecholamines for lipolysis (fat burning). Due to these blocking properties on the alpha 2 receptor, norepinephrine and epinephrine typically have prolonged effects in the synapse, resulted in enhanced fat burning. Activation of the beta-receptors is lipolytic (causes fat breakdown) while activation of the alpha2 receptor is anti-lipolytic (blunts fat breakdown). Stubborn fat areas have a high density of alpha2 receptors, making it harder for fat breakdown to occur in that area. In order to burn stubborn fat, the actions of the alpha2 receptors must be blocked, which is where yohimbine’s fat loss benefits are beneficial. Previous studies have found that yohimbine supplementation has been shown to enhance fat loss. Kucio, Jonderko, and Piskorska (1991) found that administration of yohimbine (20 mg/day) during the 3-week low-energy diet (1000 kcal/day) in 20 female obese outpatients significantly increased the mean weight loss. It seems that besides the lipolytic effects of yohimbine supplementation, several studies suggest that yohimbine may influence satiety and food (energy) intake; although this requires more investigation. Another study found that supplementation with yohimbine combined with resistance training does not significantly alter the muscle mass, yohimbine supplementation appears to enhance fat loss in athletes. In moderate doses (20 mg/day) yohimbine does not raise heart rate, increase blood pressure, or induce anxiety. A new study suggests that in addition to yohimbine for weight loss and fat loss, yohimbine also has performance enhancing effects.
Yohimbine exert a direct influence on skeletal muscle, as mentioned previously, it elevates catecholamines which causes excitability of the muscle fibers. Through rising levels of noradrenaline, yohimbine can potentially augment force production while exercising. A new study recently suggests that yohimbine can improve cycling performance. Researchers in Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghad-Iraq, in collaboration with Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Kerbala, Kerbala-Iraq, had medical students exercise on a cycle ergometer. Pulse was measured using ear pulse sensor and maximum pulse rate achieved in this study and the entire exercise parameters were recorded as baseline data, then each subject take yohimbine tablets 5 mg (orally) and after 2 hours, each subject run on cycling ergometer to fatigue state. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) was measured to estimate oxygen consumptions during the cycling trial to exhaustion.
At the end of the study, yohimbine significantly improved all ergogenic parameters (efforts,calories, distance, speed and exercise time) from baseline after single oral dose of 5mg. Yohimbine increased cycling performance by 29% and increased fat oxidation by 10%. Conclusions: Yohimbine accelerates and improves cycling performances via positive ergogenic effects. So, yohimbine can be used as ergogenic agent for ameliorating the physical fatigue.
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