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Obesity is an increasingly prevalent and preventable morbidity with multiple behavioral, surgical and pharmacological interventions currently available. Commercial dietary supplements are often advertised to stimulate metabolism and cause rapid weight and/or fat loss, although few well-controlled studies have demonstrated such effects. We describe a commercially available dietary supplement (purportedly containing caffeine, catechins, and other metabolic stimulators) on resting metabolic rate in humans, and on metabolism, mitochondrial content, and related gene expression in vitro. Human males ingested either a placebo or commercially available supplement (RF) in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over fashion. Metabolic rate, respiratory exchange ratio, and blood pressure were measured hourly for 3 h post-ingestion. To investigate molecular effects, human rhabdomyosarcoma cells (RD) and mouse myocytes (C2C12) were treated with various doses of RF for various durations. RF enhanced energy expenditure and systolic blood pressure in human males without altering substrate utilization. In myocytes, RF enhanced metabolism, metabolic gene expression, and mitochondrial content suggesting RF may target common energetic pathways which control mitochondrial biogenesis. RF appears to increase metabolism immediately following ingestion, although it is unclear if RF provides benefits beyond those provided by caffeine alone. Additional research is needed to examine safety and efficacy for human weight loss.


This article was originally published in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, volume 7, issue 1, in 2015. DOI:10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.03.008

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Center for Food and Biomolecules, National Taiwan University

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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