Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Eucommia ulmoides burns fat via the autonomic nervous system
Sports supplements like Man's Primal Male contain extracts of Eucommia ulmoides. The supplements are intended to be plant-based androgenic hormone preparations that enhance men's masculinity. And to be honest, Eucommia ulmoides should work, in theory. In 2007 researchers at the National University of Singapore discovered a steroid compound in Eucommia ulmoides that attaches itself to the androgen receptor. [BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Jan 29;7:3.] Its androgenic effect wasn't particularly strong, but never mind.
The Japanese weren't looking at substances themselves – they were studying effects on the autonomic nervous system. The ANBAS Corporation – ANBAS stands for Autonomic Nerve BAsed Science – studies the effects of substances on the autonomic nervous system. [Website] This is the part of the nervous system that controls the functions of organs. The ANBAS Corporation goes in search of compounds that manufacturers of medicines, cosmetics, supplements and functional foods can use in new products. The researchers collaborated with the research department of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, a producer of OTC medicines. [Website]
The Japanese wanted to know whether they could get rats to burn more energy by giving them the yang-enhancing Eucommia ulmoides. If this worked, it would mean that they might have a preparation that could be added to slimming supplements.
When the researchers injected 5 mg of a homemade water-based extract [ELE] into the rats' duodenum, they noticed that the animals' body temperature rose. The nerves controlling the white fat tissue became more active and the amount of free fatty acids in the animals' blood also rose.
In another experiment, the researchers gave rats high-fat feed consisting of 10 percent Eucommia ulmoides extract for a period of 6 weeks. The figure above shows that that the mesenteric and epididymal fat reserves in the abdomen of the experimental animals shrank in comparison with those of control animals.
Feed containing 3 percent extract had no effect.
That the Japanese required such large amounts contradicts previous research results. In a 2008 Korean study, rats lost fat mass when given food containing only 0.175 percent Eucommia ulmoides extract. [Am J Chin Med. 2008; 36(1): 81-93.] The Japanese suspect that the extract they used was not optimal. They want to know more about the composition of Eucommia ulmoides and to find out which ingredients are responsible for the thermogenic effect.
As long at it's not clear which compounds a good extract needs to contain, supplements manufacturers are probably better off not putting Eucommia ulmoides in their capsules.