Recently Yohimbe and its active ingredient yohimbine have been the subject of some heated debates among fitness enthusiasts, because, despite the reported evidence of effectiveness, there is narrow research to support the use of yohimbine for bodybuilding results.
While it was originally considered a flop of a supplement, because it did not increase testosterone levels as first expected, it had been followed by some men for its reported ability to increase and support sexual health.
However, some supplement manufacturers have recently claimed that it can also aid in the loss of “stubborn fat”, found in areas around the midsection of men, and on the glutes and thighs of women.
Bodybuilders take yohimbine during their cutting cycles to help them achieve a lower body fat percentage, and also used as an energy booster and sometimes taken as a pre-workout supplement in an ECY stack.
Reviews of yohimbine supplements for bodybuilding are often seen positive responses, but exhibit a high risk of side effects.
Fat Burning and Weight Loss
Yohimbine is a popular ingredient in weight-loss and fat-burning products, and studies have shown yohimbine to be effective in slimming down problem spots like the abdomen and thighs.
Yohimbine’s slimming effect is due to its blockage of alpha2 adrenoreceptors, which prevent the release of a fat-mobilizing hormone, norepinephrine.
Yohimbine ensures higher norepinephrine levels, which causes your body to break down fat cells, and also increases blood flow to fat tissue, which causes less fat to be retained in the body.
The use of yohimbine for weight loss is inconclusive, and you should know that such studies do not automatically endorse the self-prescribed use of this supplement.
Alpha-2 receptors are common in sites of the body that tend to preferentially accumulate fat. Such parts include the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and thighs.
When exposed to circulating catecholamines, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, alpha-2 receptor sites inhibit lipolysis, which is the release of fatty acids, while the beta receptors stimulate lipolysis.
Epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and growth hormone stimulate the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue into the bloodstream, and once in the bloodstream, fatty acids are usually rapidly oxidized if the fatty acid blood concentration is not elevated.
This elevation is usually from fatty acid input resulting from a meal.
Yohimbine for Bodybuilding
The terms yohimbine, Yohimbe, and yohimbine hydrochloride are related but not interchangeable, and Yohimbine is an alkaloid contained in the bark of the Yohimbe tree.
Yohimbine is a general stimulant that works by increasing adrenaline levels in the body. It also suppresses a regulatory process that prevents the body from burning fat, and food intake partially negates the effects of yohimbine.
This is the reason why consumers are advised to normally take the supplement while fasting.
Yohimbine hydrochloride (yohimbine HCL) is a standardized synthetic form of yohimbine that is available only as a prescription drug in the United States.
This synthetic yohimbine cannot be used as an ingredient in dietary supplements and only the natural extract derived from Yohimbe tree bark can be used in supplements.
Despite positive reviews on yohimbine for bodybuilding, there is very little clinical evidence supporting its efficacy.
One study, published in a print edition of Research in Sports Medicine, where researchers evaluated the effects of supplementation on exercise performance and body composition in professional soccer players, sought to provide evidence of yohimbine bodybuilding benefits.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured body mass, muscle mass, and certain exercise performance indicators, such as bench and leg presses, shuttle runs, power tests, etc…
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, the test group, and the control group.
In the test group, participants consumed tablets containing 20 milligrams of yohimbine twice daily for 21 days, while subjects in the control group took cellulose pills identical in appearance to the yohimbine tablets.
The result showed that there was no statistical difference in lean muscle mass between participants in the two groups.
Furthermore, there were no changes in exercise performance indicators within the two groups.
However, the percentage of body fat did decrease in the test group that took yohimbine, which led the researchers to conclude that it is a suitable fat loss strategy for athletes.
These results suggest that yohimbine would be an effective bodybuilding strategy if the consumer’s goal were to lose weight with a supplement during a cutting cycle.
Dosages for Bodybuilders
There are no studies done to determine the optimal dose of Yohimbine for bodybuilders to take, but data from other studies can be used to inform dosage guidelines.
The mean dose of Yohimbine HCL as a treatment for erectile dysfunction is 0.4 mg/kg body weight or 30 mg daily, and a maximum of 50 mg.
Some people suggest for 5-100mg of yohimbine HCl taken daily, most often administered in one to four divided doses throughout the day for 2 – 8 weeks.
The regular dosage to treat dry mouth is 6 mg three times daily.
The dosage for Yohimbe bark extract is 5 – 10 teaspoons of shaved raw bark simmered in a pint of water to make Yohimbe bark tea, and adding 0.5-1.0g of vitamin C converts the alkaloid into more readily water-soluble ascorbate.
The Yohimbe herbal tea is more commonly taken as a libido-enhancer in both men and women.
Dosages for other treatments include 10mg of yohimbine once weekly in patients with anxiety issues.
This dosage is normally administered 45 minutes preceding therapy and can be maintained for four weeks.
In people suffering from depression, a dosage of 5-30mg yohimbine 3-4 times daily has been administered for ten days.
Yohimbine is also believed to help combat sexual dysfunction associated with anti-depressant use.
Before using yohimbine for bodybuilding cycles, consult with a doctor, as they can help you decide on the best dosage for your needs.
Besides various benefits of Yohimbe, there are some side effects of this herb if consumed in the wrong ways.
Yohimbe is considered to be safe when taken in for a short time with moderate doses but can cause some adverse side effects if consumed in high doses.
That is why users are advised to take in Yohimbe only under medical supervision.
The side effects of Yohimbe include:
- profuse sweating,
- rapid and irregular heartbeat even heart attack,
- kidney failure
- raised blood pressure,
- stomach upset,
- vomiting, and