As you know, there are a million supplements out there that claim to help you lose weight.
Do they work?
Some supplements are can be very helpful, while others are just a waste of money.
Before we get started, it should always be pointed out that supplements are just that… a supplement.
Supplement to what? A healthy diet and exercise routine. In other words, healthy habits that you live by.
So, what are the weight loss supplements that actually work? Let’s get started…
Weight Loss Supplements That Actually Work
In this article we will focus on supplements that directly help with weight loss, and supplements that help functions that support weight loss, such as sleep. These supporting supplements and functions can be just as helpful for weight loss as the supplements directly related to weight loss. Let’s get started…
Apple Cider Vinegar
First and foremost, apple cider vinegar is a natural product derived from… apples. Multiple scientific studies show that ACV has a myriad of health benefits that can help you trim down.
ACV Helps Control Blood Sugar
One study showed that having a serving of ACV before a carb-filled meal helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce spikes in blood sugar that would normally occur after such a meal (1). It does this by helping your body store excess glucose in your liver, which reduces the rate of glucose production and absorption.
ACV Helps Regulate Digestion
One of the main recommendations you’ll see in most successful diets is the idea of eating smaller, more frequent meals. The reason for this is that it helps give your body a steady supply of nutrients through your day, but what this is really doing is keeping your blood sugar levels consistent.
Studies show that ACV can help slow the rate of gastric emptying, which is the rate at which food leaves the stomach, and slow the rate at which starches are absorbed into the blood stream, which helps keep your blood sugar levels more consistent throughout the day.
Another study showed that participants who had vinegar along with eating white bread showed a reduced glycemic response.
ACV Can Help You Feel Full
If you feel full, it’s a lot easier to avoid overeating. One Swedish study found that when people had vinegar with a meal, they reported higher levels of satiety and felt fuller than those who ate meals without vinegar. This is especially helpful to do with dinner, so that you minimize your late night cravings.
ACV Can Help You Control Your Appetite
You’ve probably had the experience of eating a lot of junk carbs or sugar, and then still being hungry for more carbs and treats. That’s because when your blood sugar spikes, your body produces insulin which causes your blood sugar to drop back down. That drop makes you feel sluggish and hungry, which starts the cycle of overeating on low quality junk foods.
ACV has been shown to help slow digestion and absorption of carbs into your bloodstream and improve insulin sensitivity to high-carb meals (2), which helps keep your blood sugar levels stable for longer periods of time.
In this way, apple cider vinegar can work as a natural appetite suppressant by increasing satiety after meals, especially meals high in carbs (3). When blood sugar levels are evenly maintained throughout the day, cravings for low quality carbs and sugar can decrease, so that it’s easier for you to avoid hollow carbs and stick to healthier and more nutritious foods.
ACV Can Reduce Belly Fat and Aid Weight Loss
One study in 175 people with obesity showed that consuming apple cider vinegar daily led to reduced belly fat and weight loss (4). This was done in a double-blind Japanese study. The subjects were randomly assigned to three different groups of similar body weight, BMI, and waist circumference. Then the groups either ingested 15ml, 30ml, or 0ml of vinegar daily. The body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat area were all tracked and measured over a 3 month period. At the end, the groups who ingested vinegar daily compared to the zero vinegar group had significantly lower body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, and waist circumference.
Drinking ACV vs ACV Capsules
So how do you get your apple cider vinegar in each day? Well, you can drink a tablespoon 2-3 times per day, or you can take ACV capsules. Many people prefer capsules for the obvious reason: It’s much easier to swallow a couple capsules than to drink raw vinegar every single day. It’s also more convenient to take a few capsules with you to work to take with lunch than to try and transport a few tablespoons of vinegar somehow.
Natural Sleep Aid Supplements
Sleep is something almost everyone could use more of. Sleep is when our bodies repair, rest, and get ready for the next day. There are obviously thousands of processes happening during sleep, but quality sleep – and enough quality sleep – is one of the biggest ingredients in a healthy weight loss plan.
How Sleep Affects Weight Loss
You’ve probably had the experience of being sleep deprived and tired, and then binge eating or having huge cravings for junk food. Being low on sleep contributes to making bad decisions. It dulls the activity of your frontal lobes which are responsible for decision-making and impulse control.
Lack of Sleep, Cortisol, and Insulin Resistance
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Running on not enough sleep feels terrible, and besides being tired, you’re stressed and uncomfortable. Not only that, but your body is more likely to hang onto fat because lack of sleep and cortisol increases insulin resistance. This reduces your body’s ability to convert carbs into energy, and in turn your body can’t properly process fats from your bloodstream and it stores them as body fat.
Sleep won’t directly cause you to lose weight, but lack of sleep messes with your metabolism and triggers weight gain instead of aiding weight loss. One study on people that were dieting had them cut back on their sleep over 14 days, and during this time the amount of weight they lost dropped by 55% even though they kept eating the same amount of calories each day (5). They also reported feeling hungry and un-satisfied after meals, and reported low energy levels.
What Natural Sleep Aid Supplements Actually Help?
Not getting enough sleep depletes your energy, lowers your ability to make healthy choices, lowers your resolve, and actually increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes (6).
Which natural sleep aids actually work and which ones are just nice ideas? Here are some natural sleep aids back by science with proven sleep benefits:
Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces on its own, and it essentially tells your brain that it’s time to sleep. One of the biggest benefits of melatonin is that it reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Taking a melatonin supplement just speeds up this process. Personally, melatonin is the only sleep aid I’ve ever tried that gives you a “natural” sleepy feeling, makes sleep easier, and then has no groggy hangover the next day. One of the best uses of a melatonin supplement is to take it at the same time, to help you stay on a consistent sleep schedule, which alone solves a lot of obvious problems.
Magnesium is an essential mineral, and maintaining healthy magnesium levels can help your sleep, as well as your overall mental and physical health. Magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, squash, broccoli, legumes, dairy products, meat, chocolate, and coffee. A magnesium deficiency is very common among adults, which is why many people take daily vitamins or supplements containing magnesium.
Insomnia is one of the most common side effects of magnesium deficiency, and people with this type of deficiency often experience restless sleep or waking up a lot during the night. On the other hand, healthy magnesium levels lead to deep and restorative sleep that leaves you feeling well-rested with plenty of energy. Research in this area indicates that supplementing with magnesium can help insomnia and improve sleep quality.
Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that supports many functions in your body such as immune health and cognitive development, including the ability of your body to product serotonin and melatonin… both critical for deep, restful sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body uses to make serotonin and melatonin… are you seeing a pattern here? Having low levels of tryptophan is associated with depression and impaired learning and memory function, as well as anxiety.
This is a flower that has been used for centuries for its calming effects. Passion flower appears to boost gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in your brain, which helps lower brain activity to help you relax and sleep better. One double blind study took 41 participants who drank tea containing passion flower before sleeping each night for a week as well as one week with drinking a placebo tea before sleeping. Based on the participants own evaluation of their sleep quality, in addition to actual polysomnography, the week of taking passion flower before sleep led to “significantly better” sleep quality as compared to the placebo week (7).
Chamomile is widely been used for its calming properties. Its effectiveness for relaxation and calming might be caused by an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep (8). In one study of 60 nursing home residents, those who received chamomile extract daily experienced significantly better sleep quality than those that didn’t (9).
This is a compound found in most types of tea, and it has impressive calming qualities. It is thought to be the compound that gives tea its slight “umami” flavor, and some studies have linked umami with decreased risks for obesity. L-theanine specifically works to promote relaxation and help you sleep by boosting levels of GABA and other calming brain chemicals, but lowering “excitatory” brain chemicals, and enhancing brain alpha waves. It promotes and enhances better sleep, not by acting as a sedative, but by lowering anxiety and promoting relaxation.
Valerian is an herb found in Asia and Europe, but is now grown in most parts of the world. Valerian root has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Valerian is another compound that helps decrease GABA breakdown in the brain, which lowers anxiety and gives a calming and tranquil effect. It can also help maintain serotonin levels, which is important for healthy, restful sleep.
A Sleep Aid That Contains All of the Above?
You can find supplements or teas for most of the above ingredients, but what about a sleep aid that contains the right dose of ALL of them? TrimZzzs sleep formula contains just that.