Appetite suppressants are a weight loss supplement that work slightly differently to your typical thermogenic fat burner.
While a fat burner is designed to help you burn fat even while resting and essentially enables you to ‘get away’ with being lazy or cheating on your diet, appetite suppressants are all about helping you to not cheat and not be lazy. These are designed to improve your ‘adherence’ so that you stick at the diet you commit yourself to.
This is a great strategy then but in order to get the very most from it, you need to think about how you’re going to time your supplement usage and fit it into your broader diet.
How Appetite Suppressants Work
Appetite suppressants work by altering the hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain associated with hunger and satiety.
When you eat a large meal, normally this will result in a sudden increase in sugar hitting your blood stream. This surge of sugar then triggers the body to release insulin, which is the hormone that allows us to use blood sugar for energy. When that happens, tryptophan is left in the blood which is converted into serotonin, making us feel happy and content.
The brain recognizes this signal and thus produces a hormone called ‘leptin’ which tells us we’re full. Over time though, we get hungrier again, and eventually this causes the stomach to produce ghrelin – the infamous ‘hunger hormone’.
As you can see then, your appetite and hunger are closely related to both your blood sugar levels and your mood. This is why people get ‘hangry’ and it’s why we try to comfort eat – as it will result in a rush of serotonin, dopamine and other ‘feel good’ hormones.
When to Use Them
Appetite suppressants can achieve this end in several ways. Some contain 5-HTP which is a natural precursor to serotonin and thus a substance that can boost your mood and suppress your appetite. Others contain ingredients like ‘hoodia’ which stimulate the hypothalamus to release ghrelin.
Either way, these work by relatively quickly helping the body to feel less hungry while also improving your mood.
It takes about an hour for something like 5-HTP to be absorbed into your blood and thus you should consider taking it about an hour before you normally start looking for your comfort food. That might mean before the 4pm crash, or just before you get home from a long day in the office. You might use hoodia slightly closer to the time you’re going to need it.
Meanwhile, note that these are not long term solutions. Neurotransmitters do not exist in a vacuum and thus you can’t really affect one without affecting others. Increasing serotonin via 5-HTP for instance will actually decrease dopamine. Likewise, serotonin is broken down into melatonin and can make you sleepy!
Use this as a strategic aid then and consider combining with other supplements and certainly a good diet program for best results. Don’t rely on your supplements – use them to support your diet and training instead.