T Nation

Topical Fat Loss?


What do you guys think about topical fat loss products? Have you ever used one with success?

I've been researching them recently, and I'm interested in this topic as I feel a targeted delivery is superior for certain compounds.


This interests me too. i was thinking of getting yohimbine (some way, some how), grind it up into a powder using a coffee grinder, and mixing it in some BenGay or some sort of menthol based gel.


"Lean Legs" by Charles Poliquin contained yohimbine for topical use. But now he sells a different mixture without yohimbine under the same name. Tim Ferriss recommend a aminophilline cream for spot reduction in his blog.


These are the studies I've found regarding this issue...

aminophylline cream and similar compounds showed localized reductions in thigh mass. The yohimbine cream did not, though.

I haven't read the full text yet as it is not availible online, but I will read it soon. I want to know what was in the yohimbine cream.

.05% aminophylline cream showed an avg of 5cm reduction in waist size from topical application compared to a control group doing the same diet.

This study showed no changes in actual fat mass reduction using aminophylline cream. The issue with the previous two studies is that they did not measure actual fat mass reduction. They simply measured girth reductions which could have been caused by water loss. In this study, they used ultrasound to measure if fat mass reductions occured, so it is more accurate. However, this study has a critical flaw as the subjects did not diet!

Glycyrrhetinic acid cream(from licorice root used to control cortisol) applied on women's thighs led to reductions in thigh fat compared to control group(measured using ultrasound)...fat loss occured in the superficial level of fat but not the deeper layers(probably since the compound couldn't penetrate that deep)...the reduction was small kind of small(2mm)...it still showed localized fat reduction is possible...the subjects didn't diet either, so i suspect reductions would be greater(compared to controls) if they had dieted...


and yeah...

I think compounds like yohimbine hcl and glycyrrhetinic acid would probably work better if applied locally instead of trying to get a systematic effect due to certain negatie side effects associated with both compounds)...also, since abdominal fat has less blood flow than other parts of the body, a more targeted delivery should help with that as well...

the issue is figuring out how to deliver the compounds, so they penetrate the fat cell layers...I'm assuming that is why the yohimbine group failed to produce results in the first study...

also...just checked poliquin's product....it's using glycyrrhetinic acid now...

I read poliquin's thoughts on the subject...he said it's more useful as one gets to a very lean state as ther eis potential for LBM loss at that stage...so, it is of value to try to increase the body's ability to mobilize and ozidize fatty acids from stubborn body fat areas...


If one is in contest condition; they may have value for a final 'clean-up'. Otherwise; not much bang for the buck.


Just freeze it.

Seriously. Fat cells actually die off (not shrink. Die.) when put under the correct negative cold stimulus. And its not that much. Completely do-able with an ice pack and some time. Look up Cryolipolysis to read about the company that patented it into a now FDA approved fat loss treatment. Oh, and fat cells also die off under vibration, but I'm having a hard time finding the study that gave proper frequency levels to make that happen.

But yeah. Interesting stuff.


Good news for my girlfriend who's trying to reduce her inner thighs...


I think in regards to cryolypolysis, temperature and other factors have to be specific. I highly doubt having an ice pack around your waist all day will help to reduce fat.

Same with vibration.

But they do sound interesting none the less.


Funny guy


I have tried both Lean Legs and Lean Legs 2.0. My experience has been positive, I think the 2.0 version is better for sure. You also have to have an already lean physique to see the difference, rubbing this stuff on a tubby isn't going to help.


thanks for posting!

Here is a study on Cryolipolysis's efficacy...some before/after pictures as well..


I was actually just researching the mechanism to induce fat cell death)...I know of some methods to do it systematically, but they carry some risks...a localized method is probably a safer/more effective way to do it...

and, yeah it is definitely not as simple as using an icepack....it requires a certain termperature throughout which is adjusted based on heat flux from the localized site...it also uses suction to create a very static surface area to apply the coils on...the reductions are not even that large, so you need to be extremely accurate with this to get results and avoid nerve damage...


Did you experience any of the systematic side effects of yohimbine HCL with the first one(like increased anxiety)?


I didn't.

Nothing that stood out or that I could notice. I did notice that the areas where I applied it, I did sweat more than normal.


You know I was thinking:

One of the main reasons we have problem areas is because of poor blood flow. A menthol based cream (like icy hot) can help increase blood flow.

Two cheap fat loss agents are caffeine and ephedrine.

I was thinking of grinding the caffeine and ephedrine and putting them in some icy hot. But then, I have no clue about dosage.

Hmm, Im just thinking out of the blue here. I have no clue if it'd do anything.


yeah blood flow is extremley important...

Subcutaneous adipose tissue blood flow (ATBF) was measured by the local clearance of 133Xe from the abdominal and femoral regions of nine individuals with non-endocrine obesity before and after seven days of fasting. Fifteen non-obese individuals served as controls. In the obese group ATBF was similar in the abdominal and femoral regions, 1.7 +/- 0.2 and 1.8 +/- 0.2 ml/min/100 g adipose tissue, respectively. In contrast, in the non-obese group the abdominal ATBF was higher, 4.1 +/- 0.6 and 2.4 +/- 0.2 ml/min/100 g adipose tissue, respectively (P < 0.01). During fasting, ATBF in the abdominal region increased by 45% (P < 0.01), but it remained unchanged in the femoral region.

So, Intermittant fasting may be a way to increase blood flow to the abdominal region...

as far as your idea...Aminophylline's mechanism of action is exactly the same as caffeine...so, you can compare their effects...they are both phosphodiesterase inhibitors...

it may be of value to use a phosphodiesterase inhibitor locally, but ephendrine would work better if taken orally...

because ephendrine exerts it's effect on fat loss through Norepinephrine release...the compound itself has no localized effect on fat cells...

i would look for compounds that enhance mobilization of fat cells rather than compounds that can stimulate lipolysis locally...

you would also need to find a gel carrier that will allow you to penetrate the fat cells for a long duration...I don't have time currently, but I will be doing some research into some compounds that can enhance this...most of these compounds are used in women's cosmetics...


Women's cosmetics eh?

What are some of these compounds that can enhance penetrate fat cells?


Topical fat loss? Seriously? How about calorie reduction?


Calorie reduction will cause fat loss first and foremost in the areas of the body that are programmed to lose fat from first.

Topical fat loss uses substances that directly target lipolysis/mobilization of fatty acids from specific areas.

Many people have claimed success with certain products.


Negative energy balance is only the first step...

Influencing what is oxidized as a result of the negative energy balance is the next step...

Ideally, you want to oxidize as much body fat as possible...this is where advanced level nutrition/supplementation comes into play...

  • Increasing blood flow to stubborn body fat areas
  • Inhibiting A2 receptors
  • Activating beta receptors

influencing these things can have a beneficial effect on fat loss beyond a normal calorie deficit...