by Mike Arnold
As most of you guys know by now, I have been working for with IronMag Labs for the last several years, and proudly so. I was initially attracted to the company about 5-6 years back, after trying one of their original products called Super DMZ. Since then, IML has made great strides in terms of both company growth and product development, releasing numerous new and innovative products along the way. Some of these have gone on to be top-sellers in their respective categories and regular additions to my supplement regimen, such as Advanced Cycle Support and Essence EFA. Others, such as the now defunct Methadrol Extreme and M-StenRX, were among the most potent and trusted designer steroids ever released onto the OTC market and gave even traditional anabolics a run for their money.
One of IronMag Lab’s earliest products was the fat burning thermogenic known as Lean Fuel Extreme. As with any reputable supplement company endeavoring to maintain a competitive edge, IronMag Labs kept abreast of the latest advancements in sports nutrition science, taking note of any new research which might help further improve their product line. When such an opportunity arose for Lean Fuel Extreme, IML wasted no time, re-formulating the original for greater potency and effectiveness. Appropriately, Lean Fuel Extreme was re-named Lean Fuel V2.
Truth be told, the fat burning sector of the supplement industry has always been volatile, with vast differences of opinion as to what constitutes the ideal product, but for the most part, fat loss supplements fall into one of two categories—those which rely on a “feeling” to make sales and those which rely on science. The former are generally heavy on stimulants and light on everything else, attempting to convince the consumer of their effectiveness through nervous system stimulation alone. While this might please the stimulant junkies, this one-dimensional approach falls short in terms of results and often leads to adrenal burnout.
Fully aware of these shortcomings, IronMag Labs decided to merge the best of both worlds. Combining metabolism boosters, lipolytic agents, appetite suppressants, insulin sensitizers, mood enhancers, anti-inflammatory compounds, vasodilators, and absorption agents, Lean Fuel V2 is a comprehensive product designed to attack fat loss from multiple angles, but without falling prey to the shortcomings of most stimulant-based products. First on the list of ingredients is Caffeine. Standard fare for anyone trying to drop bodyfat, caffeine is the most widely used stimulant in the world, with over 100 billion doses consumed annually in the form of America’s favorite morning beverage alone, coffee. Once you factor energy drinks, fat loss products and other caffeine containing supplements into the equation that figures rises considerably.
When it comes to fat loss, caffeine possesses several attributes which can help users achieve their goals. In addition to its positive effect on energy and mood, caffeine is a potent thermogenic with lipolytic effects. First associated with fat loss products over 15 years ago, the term “thermogenesis” is a defined as the process by which the body produces heat through calorie burning. This increase in metabolic rate directly influences fat loss by making the body more likely to dip into stored fat for use as energy. When combined with an increase in lipolysis (the breakdown and release of stored fat into the bloodstream), the body is even more likely to use body fat to meet its energy needs.
Caffeine induces lipolysis through 2 primary mechanisms; an increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine production (the body’s strongest fat burning hormones) and the inhibition of phosphodiesterase. Although they get there in different ways, both paths ultimately stimulate lipolysis via an increase in the intracellular messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate, or cAMP, for short. This results in the activation of the enzyme lipase, which signals the breakdown of triglycerides and their release into the bloodstream. Lest you underestimate the value of this benefit, let me remind you that growth hormone, which is well known for its potent fat loss properties, stimulates fat loss primarily through accelerating lipolysis.
Lean Fuel V2 also contains theobromine, a methylxanthine found in large quantities in cocoa. Similar to other methylxanthines, such as caffeine (coffee) or theophylline (tea), theobromine is a stimulant, but is much milder in this regard. Clinically, it has been used as a diuretic, helping to relive fluid retention in patients experiencing heart failure, but it is theobromine’s other qualities which make it a useful addition to this product. Unlike most other stimulants, which function as vasoconstrictors (compounds that cause the blood vessels to constrict), this stuff has the opposite effect, causing the blood vessels to expand in diameter. This counteractive vasodilatory effect helps mitigate the negative effects that other stimulants have blood-pressure and intramuscular blood flow, which are two of the biggest downsides to conventional stimulant use.
Theobromine also acts as a mild appetite suppressant and may lead to improvements n insulin sensitivity. With insulin being the body’s primary fat storage hormone, any decrease in blood levels will have a positive effect on fat loss. One way we can achieve this is by improving the body’s response, or “sensitivity” to insulin. In doing so the body’s need for this hormone diminishes, as it no longer requires as much of it in order to maintain normal blood glucose concentrations. This leads to a decrease in overall insulin production and consequently, an improvement in the body’s fat loss environment. But this is not the only benefit of decreased insulin levels. Fat cells also become more receptive to the lipolytic effect of stimulants.
You see, insulin is anti-lipolytic in nature, in that it signals fat cells to hold onto stored fat. This makes them less likely to release fat into the bloodstream even when in the presence of opposing signals. Therefore, anytime we decrease insulin levels, we make it easier for stimulants to induce lipolysis and promote overall fat loss.
Another popular compound in today’s fat loss stacks is hordenine, and for good reason. Not only does it increase epinephrine and norepinephrine levels similar to caffeine, but it potentiates the effects of all stimulants. How does it do this? Whenever we ingest a stimulant, the body quickly begins to break it down, eventually rendering it inactive through a process known as monoamine oxidase. As a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), hordenine disrupts this process by reducing the rate at which stimulants are metabolized, thereby prolonging and intensifying their effects in the body.
Hordenine also functions as an appetite suppressant, an insulin sensitizer, and even slows the transit of food through the digestive tract. If you’re wondering how slowing the movement of food through the digestive tract helps with weight loss, it will become clear in a moment. Basically, the faster food is digested and released into the bloodstream, particularly carbohydrates, the higher and faster insulin levels will rise, resulting in what’s known as an insulin spike. As mentioned previously, insulin causes fat cells to resist lipolysis, so the last thing we would want to do when trying to lose fat is spike our insulin levels. For those of you who may not be aware, several of today’s most popular and effective insulin sensitizers, such as Cinnulin-PF, improve insulin sensitivity through this same mechanism.
Next on the list is higenamine. This interesting molecule is found in many different fruits and berries and has been clinically evaluated for its potential as a treatment for asthma, due to its vasodilatory effects on bronchial tissue. A potent beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist, higenamine is in the same class of drugs as Clenbuterol, one of the most well known and perhaps most effective fat loss drug outside of DNP. Like clenbuterol, higenamine significantly increases lipolysis and overall energy expenditure. As a side benefit, it also possesses anti-platelet aggregating properties, decreasing stroke risk in those who are prone, such as steroid users.
For those of you who have experienced anxiety from using stimulant-based fat burners in the past, you will appreciate this next compound. DL-Phenylalanine, a combination of both the D and L form of the amino acid phenylalanine, is a solid addition to Lean Fuel V2. While you might initially think that these 2 amino acids are similar in their effects, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, both are quite different, with one acting as an anti-anxiolytic and stress reducer, and the other acting as a dopamine and norepinephrine booster.
While stimulants provide several beneficial effects, they are far from perfect. Unfortunately, they can cause anxiety in a considerable percentage of users by altering brain chemistry, hampering the feel-good experience they are seeking. The D form of phenylalanine can help off-set this unwanted side effect by increasing brain levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the body’s natural defense system against anxiety, working to counterbalance the actions of excitatory neurotransmitters via reduced nerve transmission.
D-phenylalanine is also used as a pain reliever, usually in concert with other remedies, as it blocks the enzymes responsible for breaking down endorphins. Endorphins have often been referred to as “nature’s heroin” due to their potent pain-reducing and pleasure-inducing effects. Obviously, manipulating this hormone in our favor will produce positive results in pain relief and mood elevation. Combined with the epinephrine and dopamine elevating effects of the L variant, DL-phenylalanine fits in nicely with the rest of this stack.
As you’ve noticed by now, Lean Fuel V2 includes several compounds capable of increasing levels the potent fat-burning hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, but rather than focusing on raising levels alone, IML also searched for ways to boost their effectiveness. This is where Green Tea comes in. Consumed by Asians for centuries, Green Tea was only recently popularized in the West and is mostly known for its health promoting and fat burning properties. These benefits are derived primarily from a class of phytonutrients known as polyphenols. Of these, EGCG is the most notable, although all four provide benefits in terms of fat loss.
When it comes to postponing the metabolism of epinephrine and norepinephrine, EGCG is the star player. This polyphenol works by inhibiting the enzyme catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT), which is responsible for degrading various catecholamines, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. By preventing COMT from doing its job, catecholamine activity is prolonged, resulting in enhanced lipolysis and fat burning.
In addition to fat loss, Green Tea also cripples the body’s ability to add bodyfat through 2 different mechanisms; preventing preadipocyte differentiation and impeding lipogenesis. A preadipocyte is basically an immature fat cell. When exposed to pro-differentiation (fat-gaining) stimuli, these inactive cells transform into adult fat cells called adipocytes, which in addition to making us fatter, secrete a variety of hormones that make it even more difficult to stay lean. The polyphenols within Green Tea retard this process by suppressing the factors responsible for initiating differentiation, but this is not all. They also partially inhibit the enzyme fatty acid synthase, which is in charge of converting blood sugar (glucose) into bodyfat.
Lastly, Green tea has been shown to suppress the translocation of Glut-4 in fats cells, while stimulating Glut-4 translocation in muscle tissue. In order to understand how this is relevant, let’s briefly examine the relationship between Glut-4 and insulin. As most of you know, insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream to both muscle and fat cells, so that it can be used for energy, glycogen synthesis, fat storage, etc. However, insulin doesn’t actually take glucose inside the cell, but drops it off at its front door. Glut-4, an intracellular transporter, finishes the job by rising to the cell surface and shuttling the awaiting glucose inside. If glut-4 does not rise, glucose cannot get in.
When we consume Green tea it suppresses the rise (translocation) of Glut-4 in fat cells, making them less likely to store fat. However, it has the opposite effect on muscle tissue, stimulating Glut-4 to rise more readily. This results not only in a nutrient re-partitioning effect, but in an increase in insulin sensitivity, preventing bodyfat accumulation from multiple angles. Lean Fuel V2 is infused with a high potency, full spectrum Green Tea extract which contains all naturally occurring polyphenols, rather than just the single polyphenol EGCG.
Typically included in water shedding formulas, Uva Ursi is an interesting addition. Not only does its mild diuretic effect prevent excess sub-q water retention, which can blur muscle definition and make us look fatter than we really are, but it possesses an anti-inflammatory properties. The benefits if reducing systemic inflammation are too numerous to mention here, as this process is related to just about every degenerative disease experienced by modern society, including leptin resistance. As one of the main hormones responsible for the long-term regulation of energy balance, ensuring that the body responds properly to Leptin is crucial.
Produced by fat cells, leptin levels are dictated by bodyfat levels. The more bodyfat we have, the more leptin our fat cells release. The less bodyfat we have, the less leptin they release. Fat cells use leptin as a communicator, informing the brain of their fat storage status. High lepton levels tell the brain that we have plenty of extra fat lying around, while low amounts of leptin let the brain that fat stores are low. When leptin levels are high, the brain responds by sending out signals which suppress appetite and increase metabolic rate and when they are low, the brain does the opposite.
When we start a diet and bodyfat levels start to decrease, leptin levels decrease right along with it. Although this is a normal process put in place by the body to achieve homeostasis, it can make things rough for those trying to lose fat, especially once bodyfat levels become fairly low and leptin production slows to a crawl. Under these circumstances, it is all the more important that the little leptin we have left is working properly. I wish I could say that problems in this area are uncommon, but with such a large percentage of people living in a state of chronic systemic inflammation, this just isn’t the case. Uva Ursi helps correct this imbalance by reducing inflammation, once again allowing the body to respond to Leptin properly.
Next up is synephrine. Derived from citrus aurantium/bitter orange, this alkaloid is a frequent addition to most fat loss products. At one time touted as an ephedrine replacement, it is now recognized as distinct from its forbearer, although it does share many similarities. Both are beta-agonists which increase lipolysis and overall calorie expenditure, but synephrine lacks the increase in blood pressure and heart rate characteristic of ephedrine.
Rounding out the list is white willow bark extract, chromium polynicotinate, and piperine, which lend additional anti-inflammatory and insulin sensitizing support, as well improved absorption of the compounds herein. In conclusion, this is IML’s most powerful fat loss product yet. Containing a well-rounded blend of scientifically validated ingredients, Lean Fuel V2 attacks fat loss from multiple angles while avoiding many of the drawbacks which plague other stimulant-based products.