search
Health Insiders
Is Yohimbine Effective for Weight Loss? (Our Science-Based Review)

Is Yohimbine Effective for Weight Loss? (Our Science-Based Review)

While certain benefits of yohimbine have been studied, the evidence linking yohimbine with weight loss is very limited.

yohimbine

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.

Yohimbine is now marketed as a weight loss supplement. The active compound works by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors.

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.

A study performed on elite soccer players showed that 20 mg of yohimbine given for 21 days reduced the body fat levels by an average of 2.2%. This study noted the effect was on fat mass and no changes were made to the player’s muscle mass. This significant finding suggests a direct relationship between yohimbine and lipolysis.
Another study showed yohimbine to significantly increase weight loss efforts for twenty females suffering from obesity. The women were each instructed to follow a restrictive 1000 calorie per day diet, which would make anyone lose weight, however, the group who supplemented with yohimbine showed ~3 pounds more lost than the placebo group.

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 supplements may be most effective for fat burning if taken on an empty stomach before your morning workout.

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.

Despite its stimulatory effects, it will not disrupt your sleep. One study showed yohimbine does not change melatonin production when supplemented at 10.8 mg as late as 6:00 PM.

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.

Summary

  • 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
Feedback:

18 sources

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.

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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
4. 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
5. Charney, D. S., Heninger, G. R., & Redmond, D. E. (1983, July 4). Yohimbine induced anxiety and increased noradrenergic function in humans: effects of diazepam and clonidine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6865647
6. Cimolai, N., & Cimolai, T. (2011, December). Yohimbine use for physical enhancement and its potential toxicity. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432773
7. Cuneo, R. C., Livesey, J. H., Nicholls, M. G., Espiner, E. A., & Donald, R. A. (1989, January). Effects of alpha-2 adrenoreceptor blockade by yohimbine on the hormonal response to hypoglycaemic stress in normal man. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2538385
8. Goldberg, M. R., Jackson, R. V., Krakau, J., Island, D. P., & Robertson, D. (1986, August 4). Influence of yohimbine on release of anterior pituitary hormones. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3016439
9. Gronier, B. (2011, February). In vivo electrophysiological effects of methylphenidate in the prefrontal cortex: involvement of dopamine D1 and alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21146374
10. 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
11. Lafontan, M., Berlan, M., Galitzky, J., & Montastruc, J. L. (1992, January). Alpha-2 adrenoceptors in lipolysis: alpha 2 antagonists and lipid-mobilizing strategies. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1345885
12. 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]
13. Reiner, S., Ambrosio, M., Hoffmann, C., & Lohse, M. J. (2010, November 12). Differential signaling of the endogenous agonists at the beta2-adrenergic receptor. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20837485
14. Ribes, G., Hillaire-Buys, D., Gross, R., Blayac, J. P., & Loubatières-Mariani, M. M. (1989, March 21). Involvement of a central nervous pathway in yohimbine-induced insulin secretion. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2566496
15. Sommer, M., Braumann, M., Althoff, T., Backhaus, J., Kordon, A., Junghanns, K., … Broocks, A. (2011, June). 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. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21710402
Author
Facebook pinterest Twitter instagram instagram

Cristen Lindsay RD, CNSC

Cristen Lindsay is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. She has a demonstrated background in ...

More Posts

View All
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! icon This article was informative. icon I have a medical question.
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article was informative. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. icon I have a medical question.
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

X

Healthinsiders.com is intended to be used for educational and information purposes only. All Health Insiders content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a board of medical experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, medical authorities, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

Medical Disclaimer: This product/supplement review is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options.

Health Insiders does not assume liability for any actions undertaken after visiting these pages and does not assume liability if one misuses supplements. Healthinsiders.com and its Editors do not ensure that unforeseen side effects will not occur even at the proper dosages, and thereby does not assume liability for any side effects from supplements or practices hosted under the domain of Healthinsiders.com.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date, or any otherwise dubious content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.