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Yohimbine Effects on Weight Reduction, Cravings and Diabetes in GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the Obese

Effects of Yohimbine on Weight Reduction, Craving and Diabetes

Authors: Marcus Free MD, Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi MD, Waqar Ahmad PhD, Kelly Daly RDN, and Don Juravin (Don Karl Juravin).

Abstract (Research Summary)

  • Yohimbine is found naturally in the Pausinystalia Yohimbe tree and the Rauwolfia family of plants (Singh 2004). Yohimbine is best known for its fat burning and appetite suppressing properties.
  • Yohimbine (10mg twice daily) reduces fat percentage by 2.1% over three weeks (Ostojic 2006). In an individual with an average 45 kg (100 lb) overweight, this is 17 kg (37.5 lbs) fat reduction per year before any further dietary or exercise changes.
  • Yohimbine suppresses appetite and reduces food intake by 38% to 44% (Callahan 1984).
  • Yohimbine (20mg per day) reduces weight by ~3.5 kg (7.7 lb) over 3 weeks when following a low-calorie diet (Kucio 1991).
  • Yohimbine (20mg) increases insulin secretion by 59% in individuals with a high risk of diabetes (Tang 2014).
  • Yohimbine inhibits hyperglycemia by stimulating the release of insulin (Nakadate 1980, Nakaki 1980) and blocking the release of glucagon (Ito 1995, Hirose 1993).
  • Yohimbine increases insulin release in non-diabetics, improves oral glucose tolerance and insulin release in type 2 diabetics and reduces plasma glucose level, and increases plasma insulin level of non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics (Abdel-zaher 2001).

Yohimbine Effects on Weight Reduction

Yohimbine increases fat burning through the inactivation of the alpha-2-adrenergic receptors. It reduces fat by 2.1% over 3 weeks, resulting in 17 kg (37.5 lbs) fat reduction per year for a 45 kg (100 lbs) overweight.

Yohimbine Linked to Fat Burning

  • Yohimbine (10mg twice daily) reduces fat percentage by 2.1% over 3 weeks (Ostojic 2006). In an average 45 kg (100 lb) overweight client, this is 17 kg (37.5 lbs) fat reduction per year apart from any other dietary or exercise changes.
  • Yohimbine causes fat loss through adrenalin release (Reiner 2010, Galitzky 1990). Over time, Yohimbine reduces the spike in adrenaline but maintains direct fat-burning effects (Galitzky 1990).
  • Yohimbine increases fat burning through inactivation of the alpha-2-adrenergic receptors and by increasing synaptic norepinephrine (Carmen 2006, Liu 1989, Lafontan 1992, Galitzsky 1990, Galitzsky 1988, Berlan 1991).
  • Yohimbine’s fat-burning effects are most effective during exercise (Galitzky 1988).
  • Yohimbine’s fat-burning effects decrease through fed states (Galitzky 1988).

Yohimbine Linked to Weight Loss

  • Yohimbine (20mg daily) reduces weight by ~3.5 kg (7.7 lbs) over 3 weeks in individuals following a low-calorie diet (Kucio 1991).
  • Yohimbine suppresses appetite and reduces food intake by 38 to 44% in obese rats (Callahan 1984).

Yohimbine Effects on Cravings

Yohimbine reduces cravings by inhibiting alpha-adrenergic receptors, increasing brain concentration of serotonin, and decreasing noradrenaline.

  • Yohimbine reduces cravings as it possesses postsynaptic dopamine receptor blocking properties in addition to its ability to inhibit alpha-adrenergic receptors (Scatton 1980).
  • Yohimbine increases the concentration of brain serotonin (Papeschi 1971), a hormone often deficient in obese individuals and directly linked with cravings. Low levels of serotonin cause uncontrollable cravings for sugary foods (Wurtman 1995).
  • Yohimbine markedly decreases the concentration of brain norepinephrine (Papeschi 1975). Increased norepinephrine in brain synapses increases food-seeking behavior (Hopkinson 1981).
  • Yohimbine stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain (Andén 1982). Dopamine deficiency, common in obese individuals, perpetuates pathological eating or cravings as a means to compensate for decreased activation of these reward circuits associated with dopamine (Wang 2001).

Yohimbine Effects on Diabetes

Yohimbine lowers blood glucose levels through the stimulation of insulin secretion (by 50% to 200%) and blockade of glucagon secretion. 

  • Yohimbine (20mg) increases insulin secretion by 59% in patients with a high risk of diabetes (Tang 2014).
  • Yohimbine inhibits hyperglycemia by stimulating the release of insulin (Nakadate 1980, Nakaki 1980).
  • Yohimbine significantly inhibits blood glucose level induced by both physical and emotional stress (Sim 2010).
  • Yohimbine lowers blood glucose by blocking alpha-2-adrenoceptors, as stimulation of these receptors decreases insulin secretion by 50% to 67% (Ito 1995, Ostenson 1989, Angel 1988) and increases glucagon secretion by 220% to 300% (Ito 1995, Hirose 1993) causing elevated blood glucose.
  • Yohimbine enhances insulin release in non-diabetics, improves oral glucose tolerance and insulin release in type 2 diabetics, and reduces plasma glucose level and increases plasma insulin level in both non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics (Abdel-zaher 2001).
  • Yohimbine enhances the hypoglycemic and insulinotropic effects of the anti-diabetes drug glibenclamide (Abdel-zaher 2001).

Benefits, Side Effects, Drug Interactions

Benefits

  • Yohimbine is used to treat erectile dysfunction (Pittler 1998). 

Safety

Yohimbine (20mg daily) is considered safe for reducing fat mass and has no side effects (Ostojic 2006); however, Yohimbine is not Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) according to the FDA. 

Side effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness: Yohimbine may cause feelings of dizziness and unsteadiness.
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat: Yohimbine may stimulate the heart causing the heartbeat to increase.

Drug interactions

  • Antidiabetic drugs: As Yohimbine increases insulin release and anti-diabetic drugs decrease blood glucose levels, it is important to monitor glucose levels and speak to a physician about decreasing the antidiabetic drugs if required. 

Caution

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited research and therefore best to avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Bleeding condition: Yohimbine may increase the risk of bleeding in individuals with bleeding disorders. 
  • Diabetes: As Yohimbine enhances insulin release, it is important to monitor sugar levels to avoid hypoglycemic episodes. 

References

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Footnote

This research was sponsored by GLOBESITY FOUNDATION (nonprofit organization) and managed by Don Juravin. GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the obese is part of GLOBESITY FOUNDATION which helps obese with 70 to 400 lbs excess fat to adopt a healthy lifestyle and thereby achieve a healthy weight.

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