Page updated Dec 5, 2018. First published Sep 18, 2013. No comments
Evodiamine is a supplement ingredient allegedly causing fat loss in a very novel way. Having anti-obesity actions similar to capsaicin, Evodiamine has the potential to grow really big as far as interventions to tackle human obesity is concerned. However, evidence in favour from clinical trials is lacking. Read on to find out more about this new and exciting compound!
Enhanced calorie intake coupled with lack of physical activity is responsible for modern metabolic diseases– diabetes, cardiovascular, cancers and the likes –including obesity (Wang et al., 2008). These are a major health and economic burden on most countries of the world. Therefore the need to tackle obesity has gained momentum.
In recent years, interventions to either:
reduce calorific intake through suppression of appetite and/or
increase calorie expenditure through stimulation of metabolic rates
are being explored as ways to counter obesity.
Compounds like ?–lipoic acid and Evodiamine are some that have shown promise in causing weight-loss using these methods (Bray & Tartaglia, 2000; Crowley, Yeo, & O’Rahilly, 2002; Kopecky, Clarke, Enerback, Spiegelman, & Kozak, 1995; Kim et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2008). While ?–lipoic acid acts through a centrally-mediated mechanism (Kim et al., 2004), Evodiamine causes fat loss through stimulation of ?3 adrenergic receptors.
Let us investigate the fat-loss abilities of Evodiamine further.
What is Evodiamine?
Evodiamine is an alkaloidal compound derived from Evodia fructus, a fruit also known as Bentham or Rutaceae (Evodia rutaecarpa) (Wang et al., 2008). Evodiamine is the same compound that Chinese herbal medicine likes to call Wu-Chu-Yu (Criticalbench.com, 2013). It might be of interest to note that the Chinese have been using this herb for centuries as a weight-reducing aid!
Researchers believe that Evodiamine may possess an anti-obesity effect not every different from that of capsaicin (Kobayashi et al., 2001).
Mechanisms through which Evodiamine causes fat loss
No one knows how Evodiamine reduces body-weight! However, a few theories have been proposed for its alleged weight-reducing potential. These are:
Increased energy expenditure (through uncoupling protein-1, UCP-1) – increased metabolism leads to higher resting metabolic rates, more calories burned even at rest and therefore loss of bodyweight. Stimulation of adrenergic system (through ?-3 receptors in brown adipose tissue) is believed to be responsible for this mechanism (Wang et al., 2008)
Inhibition of differentiation and maturation of adipocytes – research has it that Evodiamine may inhibit the differentiation of immature stem cells (precursor cells) to form mature adipocytes (fat cells). It may be interesting to note here that it is only the mature fat cells that are capable of storing fat (Kolonin, Saha, Chan, Pasqualini, & Arap, 2004; Crowley et al., 2002). Therefore, the inhibition of differentiation into adipocytes results in decreased number of fats cells and hence body fat (Kobayashi et al., 2001; Wang et al., 2008)
Doses and Adverse effects
Since no human data is available, it is – needless to say – that the minimum effective dose of Evodiamine hasn’t been defined. Having said that, it is best avoided in situations like severe kidney or liver disease, pregnancy and lactation.
However, since Evodiamine is a ?3 adrenergic receptor agonist, it lacks the cardiac stimulatory effects seen with other fat burners. Hence, might be considered safer than most other ‘adrenergic supplements’. However, no studies have been conducted investigating the effectiveness of Evodiamine.
Scientific Evidence for the Effectiveness (or the lack of) of Evodiamine
Although, extensive research investigating Evodiamine’s effectiveness hasn’t been conducted, the small animal studies that have delt with the subject have reported a positive correlation between Evodiamine supplementation and loss of body weight. To date however, no human clinical trials have been conducted.
Here are some studies suggesting that Evodiamine’s may be an effective weight-reducing agent.
A study conducted by Kobayashi in 2001 supplemented mice with Evodiamine (1-3mg/Kg of bodyweight) subcutaneously. Results showed that there was an increase in skin temperature by more than 50C providing ample proof that Evodiamine increases energy expenditure through increased dissipation of heat (Kobayashi et al., 2001). Furthermore, the authors of the study were of the opinion that Evodiamine may also stimulate heat production – both mechanisms reducing perivisceral and subcutaneous fat
Wang et al. reported that UCP1-knockout mice when fed with a high-fat diet and 0.03% of Evodiamine (W/W) for 2 months, the increase in body weight, body fat and blood levels of leptin and insulin seen in control mice were not seen in test mice (Wang et al., 2008). This, the authors believe is due to the ability of Evodiamine to inhibit adipogenesis – through (1) down regulation of adipocyte transcription factors and (2) insulin-induced Akt signalling – and stimulate metabolism through UCP1.
Although the little evidence from animal studies suggests that Evodiamine may be effective in causing weight-loss, there is no denying that there isn’t any evidence that it would work in humans; as stated earlier, there aren’t any studies conducted in humans to date.
Verdict on Evodiamine
Animal data suggest that Evodiamine supplementation may be an effective and safe way of reducing body-weight. However, there is severe dearth of human evidence. Therefore, Evodiamine, although it brings forth a novel mechanism of fat loss, cannot be recommended at the present moment.
Large-scale human clinical trials investigating its effectiveness and safety need to be undertaken before Evodiamine can be labelled as an anti-obesity agent.
Bray, G. A. & Tartaglia, L. A. (2000). Medicinal strategies in the treatment of obesity. Nature, 404, 672-677. PM:10766254
Crowley, V. E., Yeo, G. S., & O’Rahilly, S. (2002). Obesity therapy: altering the energy intake-and-expenditure balance sheet. Nat.Rev Drug Discov., 1, 276-286. PM:12120279
Kim, M. S., Park, J. Y., Namkoong, C., Jang, P. G., Ryu, J. W., Song, H. S. et al. (2004). Anti-obesity effects of alpha-lipoic acid mediated by suppression of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase. Nat.Med, 10, 727-733. PM:15195087
Kobayashi, Y., Nakano, Y., Kizaki, M., Hoshikuma, K., Yokoo, Y., & Kamiya, T. (2001). Capsaicin-like anti-obese activities of evodiamine from fruits of Evodia rutaecarpa, a vanilloid receptor agonist. Planta Med, 67, 628-633. PM:11582540
Kolonin, M. G., Saha, P. K., Chan, L., Pasqualini, R., & Arap, W. (2004). Reversal of obesity by targeted ablation of adipose tissue. Nat.Med, 10, 625-632. PM:15133506
Kopecky, J., Clarke, G., Enerback, S., Spiegelman, B., & Kozak, L. P. (1995). Expression of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein gene from the aP2 gene promoter prevents genetic obesity. J Clin Invest, 96, 2914-2923. PM:8675663
Wang, T., Wang, Y., Kontani, Y., Kobayashi, Y., Sato, Y., Mori, N. et al. (2008). Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activ ated protein kinase signaling. Endocrinology, 149, 358-366. PM:17884939
About the author: Rachel Butler
Rachel likes getting to the bottom of everything that is put in front of her, which comes from her background in law. Whenever there is anything tricky to look at, Rachel is always the first port of call.
Her weekends are spent either cycling or walking, then topped off by indulging her love of chocolate as a reward for her hard work.
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