For a century or longer people have been looking for a magic weight loss pill. A slimming elixir to solve all our problems and help us live the lives we want without dieting or exercise.
Could we have found our magic pill?
Was it hiding in the erectile dysfunction this whole time?
What is Yohimbine?
Yohimbine is a compound found in the bark of the Yohimbe tree native to western Africa. Traditionally, it is used to treat erectile dysfunction and increase sexual desire.
Benefits of Yohimbine
Yohimbine’s ability to help achieve erections is largely due to its ability to improve blood flow and circulation. Yohimbine is an aphrodisiac, meaning it increases desire and sexual arousal.
Due to the stimulatory effect yohimbine has on your neurotransmitters, it has also shown benefits for fat loss.
Yohimbine and Weight Loss
Yohimbine supplement may play a role in reducing fat mass in both lean and obese individuals.
Many other studies have failed to provide evidence that it aids in weight loss.
Note: More research is needed.
Yohimbine and Lipolysis
Yohimbine increases fat loss by acting on the alpha-2-adrenergic receptors which preserve fat burning effects, thus resulting in increased lipolysis. Furthermore, it has an indirect link to fat burning by stimulating the release of adrenaline. The release of adrenaline opens many pathways for the release of visceral fat.
One caveat to these miracle findings is that it appears to only work in a fasted state. It will increase insulin production during meal absorption.
Insulin acts as a shuttle for storing glucose into the cell, which will lead to fat storage if one consumes more calories than the body needs.
Yohimbine and Your Hormones
Yohimbine increases noradrenaline production which can induce anxiety and panic disorders if supplemented at doses higher then the recommended amount. Excellent aerobic ability will protect you from the increase in anxiety.
Cortisol is a common stress hormone that is linked to obesity and the inability to lose weight. Supplemented alone, it does not increase cortisol levels in the body the way it increases noradrenaline.
However, if supplemented amidst caffeine, cortisol was increased. Other stress hormones such as prolactin, beta-endorphin, ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) are not released with yohimbine supplementation.
Stimulatory Effects of Yohimbine
Yohimbine will increase blood pressure which may put you at cardiovascular risk. One study showed that yohimbine’s effects on blood pressure can be positive for a person who suffers from orthostatic hypotension, a condition where one experiences extreme light-headedness (also known as syncope) upon standing up.
Some studies have attempted to show that it can improve cognition and focus due to its interactions with the same chemistry common ADHD drugs target.
While yohimbine can enhance the effect of these drugs, it will not alter attentiveness on its own.
Is Yohimbine Safe?
Yohimbine can be found over the counter or prescribed as yohimbine hydrochloride by a medical doctor. Prescription yohimbine hydrochloride is only to be used under the direct supervision of your medical team.
Supplemental yohimbine is not regulated, therefore the amount of compounds the label is boasting is not always truthful. When it comes to side-effects, the dosage makes the poison.
Many medical professionals will suggest taking a half-dose portion the first time you supplement with yohimbine to assess how it works with your specific chemistry.
CAUTION: If you notice any adverse effects stop taking it immediately and consult your medical doctor.
It can play a role in the onset of seizures, anxiety, heart problems such as tachycardia, and high blood pressure.
- Yohimbine is a compound found in the bark of the Yohimbe tree
- The active compound works by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors
- It may be most effective for fat burning if taken on an empty stomach before your morning workout
- It may not increase Cortisol levels unless paired with caffeine
- Yohimbine supplement may increase anxiety and panic in some populations
- It has a stimulatory effect on the cardiovascular system which may lead to heart problems
- The stimulatory effects of yohimbine may not affect sleep cycles
- Anyone wanting to try supplementing with yohimbine should use extreme caution and start with half-doses
Health Insiders relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
 Cohen PA, Wang Y-H, Maller G, et al. Pharmaceutical quantities of yohimbine found in dietary supplements in the USA. Drug Testing and Analysis. 2016;8(3-4):357-369.
 Kearney T, Tu N, Haller C. Adverse drug events associated with yohimbine-containing products: a retrospective review of the California Poison Control System reported cases. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2010;44(6):1022-1029.
 Ornella Corazza, Giovanni Martinotti, Rita Santacroce, et al., "Sexual Enhancement Products for Sale Online: Raising Awareness of the Psychoactive Effects of Yohimbine, Maca, Horny Goat Weed, and Ginkgo biloba," BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 841798, 13 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/841798
 M Lafontan, M Berlan, J Galitzky, J L Montastruc, Alpha-2 adrenoceptors in lipolysis: a2 antagonists and lipid-mobilizing strategies, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 55, Issue 1, January 1992, Pages 219S–227S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/55.1.219s
 Charney DS, Heninger GR, Redmond DE Jr. Yohimbine induced anxiety and increased noradrenergic function in humans: effects of diazepam and clonidine. Life Sci. 1983 Jul 4;33(1):19-29. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(83)90707-5. PMID: 6865647.
 Cimolai N, Cimolai T. Yohimbine use for physical enhancement and its potential toxicity. J Diet Suppl. 2011 Dec;8(4):346-54. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2011.615806. Epub 2011 Oct 21. PMID: 22432773.
 Cuneo RC, Livesey JH, Nicholls MG, Espiner EA, Donald RA. Effects of alpha-2 adrenoreceptor blockade by yohimbine on the hormonal response to hypoglycaemic stress in normal man. Horm Metab Res. 1989 Jan;21(1):33-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1009143. PMID: 2538385.
 Goldberg MR, Jackson RV, Krakau J, Island DP, Robertson D. Influence of yohimbine on release of anterior pituitary hormones. Life Sci. 1986 Aug 4;39(5):395-8. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(86)90518-7. PMID: 3016439.
 Gronier B. In vivo electrophysiological effects of methylphenidate in the prefrontal cortex: involvement of dopamine D1 and alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Feb;21(2):192-204. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2010.11.002. Epub 2010 Dec 13. PMID: 21146374.
 Ito, K., Hirose, H., Kido, K., Koyama, K., Maruyama, H., & Saruta, T. (1995, December). Adrenoceptor antagonists, but not guanethidine, reduce glucopenia-induced glucagon secretion from perfused rat pancreas. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8861456
 Lafontan M, Berlan M, Galitzky J, Montastruc JL. Alpha-2 adrenoceptors in lipolysis: alpha 2 antagonists and lipid-mobilizing strategies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Jan;55(1 Suppl):219S-227S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/55.1.219s. PMID: 1345885.
 Kucio, C., Jonderko, K. and Piskorska, D. (2019). Does yohimbine act as a slimming drug?. [online] Europepmc.org. Available at: https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/1955308 [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]
 Reiner S, Ambrosio M, Hoffmann C, Lohse MJ. Differential signaling of the endogenous agonists at the beta2-adrenergic receptor. J Biol Chem. 2010 Nov 12;285(46):36188-98. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.175604. Epub 2010 Sep 13. PMID: 20837485; PMCID: PMC2975241.
 Ribes G, Hillaire-Buys D, Gross R, Blayac JP, Loubatières-Mariani MM. Involvement of a central nervous pathway in yohimbine-induced insulin secretion. Eur J Pharmacol. 1989 Mar 21;162(2):207-14. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(89)90283-5. PMID: 2566496.
 Sommer M, Braumann M, Althoff T, Backhaus J, Kordon A, Junghanns K, Ehrenthal D, Bartmann U, Hohagen F, Broocks A. Psychological and neuroendocrine responses to social stress and to the administration of the alpha-2-receptor antagonist, yohimbine, in highly trained endurance athletes in comparison to untrained healthy controls. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2011 Jun;44(4):129-34. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1277166. Epub 2011 Jun 27. PMID: 21710402.