Written by  BodyActive Technical Panel
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Yohimbe : According to one study, oral yohimbine supplementation may actuate significant fat loss in athletes. Some internet shops sell expensive formulations of yohimbine for transdermal delivery to effect a local reduction of adipose tissue.


Yohimbe is a substance derived from the dried bark of the Corynanthe Johimbe tree of the southern Cameroons and Congo region of Africa, and Quebracho of South America. The bark contains the active ingredient Yohimbine HCl.

Yohimbine HCl is an Alpha-sub-2-Adrenergenic antagonist. This alkaloid blocks receptors in the brain leading to such physiological responses as increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased irritability, increased motor functioning, and vasodialation. Used in the medical profession for years as a treatment for male impotence as it tends to increase blood flow to the extremities and the penis whilst tending to prevent blood from flowing back out. Also used for this reason of increased blood flow in severe cases of diabetes where blood flow to the legs is a problem. It is interesting to note that this result tends to be obtained only from the synthetic variety of yohimbine and generally not from the herbal bark. It has also shown some promise as a libido enhancer and may have activity as an aphrodisiac.

Not only does Yohimbine improve sexual function and drive, it has been shown to decrease fat synthesis in the body as well as increase fatty acid metabolism from fat stores in women (especially in the hips.) This is due to the alpha 2 adrenergenic receptor blocking - a major factor in combating lower body fat. This activity is induced by estrogen, hence the specifity of this problem to women and those taking androgenic products. It is interesting to note that when using a beta2 receptor agonist like ephedrine, when these receptors down regulate you have these alpha 2 receptors which are working hard to increase body fat storage and resist fatty acid mobilization. For this reason when the effects of ephedrine begin to wear off it is a good idea to begin using an alpha blocker like Yohimbine. 

For a few years it was discussed as to whether yohimbe had any effect on testosterone levels or production due to it's sexual action but this is not true. However this could potentially be a useful aid in the fight against fat loss. Some of this confusion arose when a few yohimbine preparations were found to contain methlytestosterone - one of the orally bioactive forms of testosterone in humans. However even this is a divided area of research as some experts believe methlytestosterone is in fact useless in adults. Either way the conclusive eveidence shows that there is in fact no elevation in testosterone.

Useful doses vary and have been shown effective at 3 -5 mg 3 times a day. Some studies have shown taking doses higher than this may actually have less effect and so 'the more is better' approach just wouldn't work in this situation. Although doses of a high 10 - 20 mg have been shown to lower platelet aggregation in the blood stream meaning that it could help prevent arteries from becoming blocked and causing stroke or heart attacks. When using the yohimbe bark a correctly standardized extract should be used to give this dose of Yohimbine HCl not 3 - 5mg of the Yohimbe bark itself as this may contain non or very little of the actual active ingredient.

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