Because they address the core problem of obesity and weight problems, defective thermogenesis, the Somatherm™, ThermoCaps® and ThermoTea® products are the mainstays. Each differs in profile and application, but each is thermogenic, and also enhances lipolysis (the release of fat from the storage depots, also known as adipose tissue). The Carb Blocker™ and Starch/Fat Blocker products can be thought of as ancillary products that address what are best thought of as "peripheral" and behavioral issues associated with weight problems.

Since thermogenesis is the cornerstone of weight loss, a few words about it may be needed. The word "thermogenesis" means "production of heat", and heat is, of course, just one form of energy. In simple terms, when you eat food, your metabolic rate increases to make the digestion, absorption and metabolism of that food more efficient. All "macronutrients" (protein, carbohydrate and fat) cause thermogenesis, but the effect is greatest with protein. Other constituents of food, and some herbs (such as Bitter Orange, also known as Citrus aurantium), are also thermogenic. For example, you may feel warm after a cup of coffee or tea; the caffeine is thermogenic. Some spices contain thermogenic substances and exercise is a thermogenic activity.

What this really means is that a thermogenic substance, be it protein or Bitter Orange, can boost energy production in your body, and by increasing your metabolic rate, it can increase your energy requirement, increasing the gap between "Calories In" and "Calories Out". The consequence is a better rate of weight loss. Very often, combining thermogenic substances results in an improved effect; thus combining products such as our "mainstays" with a high protein diet does in fact result in much improved effects, greater than can be achieved with either separately.

Muscle is, of course, a major site of thermogenesis, so if you start losing lean body mass, your thermogenic response also decreases. This is a good reason for making sure that you get enough protein. On bad diets, without enough protein, the metabolic rate actually falls, so rates of weight loss can decrease, sometimes to zero. This happens most often in those who are seriously overweight, and who may stop losing weight even on diets of only a few hundred Calories per day. Products containing Bitter Orange, such as our "mainstays", do indeed help to spare body protein, and in fact when combined with a protein diet may result in a temporary paradoxical effect that lasts a few weeks, where fat is lost, inches round the waist decrease, but body weight remains relatively constant. This is due to lipolysis; the products stimulate the loss of fat, which is worth 9 kilocalories per gram, but in the presence of adequate amounts of amino acids (from a high protein intake) assist in incorporation of these amino acids into protein, which is worth only 4 kilocalories per gram. Simple mathematics indicate that a gram of fat broken down under such circumstances can give rise to more than a gram of protein built into lean body mass. But the medical focus of weight loss, and the associated benefits, are actually centered on reduction of the amount of stored body fat, which is much more important than simply shedding the pounds!

How to choose a "mainstay"(thermogenic) product!

The choice between SomaTherm™and ThermoCaps® may not seem obvious. However, SomaTherm™ is intended to reinforce the thermogenic and lipolytic actions of the product with satiety induction and mood elevation (from St. John's Wort). ThermoCaps® does not contain St. John's Wort; instead it contains nutmeg, which provides small amounts of myristicin and elemicin. These latter substances cross the blood-brain barrier and may be converted in the brain into amphetamine-like substances which are known to suppress hunger. Therefore with ThermoCaps®, the intent is to reinforce the thermogenic action with hunger suppression. Both products have the same thermogenic and lipolytic potencies, so the choice really comes down to whether inducing satiety and improving mood or reducing hunger will benefit the consumer most.

ThermoTea® is a unique and simple herbal tea that has been used in the Orient, in one form or another, for hundreds of years. It not only tastes good, it also provides the same thermogenic and lipolytic effects as the other mainstay products, though it is less potent. In addition, it contains a liberal amount of Green Tea, containing the powerful anti-oxidants that scavenge free radicals and help protect the body from the gradual accumulation over time of oxidizing substances that can cause cell damage and accelerate aging processes. While the main function of the Green Tea is to provide the caffeine that exerts a synergistic effect with the alkaloids from the Bitter Orange, thus enhancing the thermogenic and lipolytic actions, the extra benefits of the anti-oxidants present are certainly not to be ignored. Since ThermoTea® is to be used as a tea or tisane, it also provides an easy way for those on diet plans to meet the requirements for fluid intake, and it is, of course, also zero-calorie!

How to choose an "ancillary" ("digestion denial") product!

Carb Blocker™ is indicated for those who like consuming carbohydrates in the form of starchy foods. It is difficult to break the dietary habits of a life-time, even when you know that those habits have made major contributions to all those surplus pounds of fat, and even on the best dietary plans, time is sometimes necessary to overcome these habits, which otherwise may completely negate the entire weight reduction plan. The Carb Blocker™ product contains an active amount of an alpha-amylase inhibitor (actually a small protein molecule) derived from beans, each tablet under optimal conditions (and taken exactly according to the directions) can prevent the breakdown of up to 100 grams of starch (worth 400 kilocalories) in a meal. The starch (from pasta, potatoes or similar starchy foods) that is not broken down then essentially behaves like dietary fiber and passes into the large intestine, where, like dietary fiber, it is fermented by micro-organisms. The results of this fermentation include short chain fatty acids, which are absorbed, so the end result is that the original starch, which would have added 4 kilocalories per gram to the energy intake, now only adds about 1 kilocalorie per gram, but in a different and nutritionally more beneficial form. Ideally, Carb Blocker™ would be used for several weeks in those with known carbohydrate cravings, during which time the user can be re-educated to consume smaller servings of starchy foods, but there is no reason why it cannot be used for longer periods of time.

Some users view Carb Blocker™ as a permit to binge on starch! While this use seems somewhat counterproductive in changing eating behavior, the bottom line is reducing body fat and weight, and if there is no other way of doing it, then let it be so! After all, it is results that count!

The protein that is the active alpha-amylase inhibitor is sensitive to oxygen and gastric acid, and easily destroyed, so the tablets are made by a special process that provides adequate protection when used according to the directions. The other active ingredients are present mainly to provide anti-oxidant protection for this sensitive enzyme inhibitor.

The Starch/Fat Blocker combines the action of the Carb Blocker™ with a reduction in fat absorption (due to the inclusion of chitosan), for those who believe that their weight problem is at least in part caused by excessive fat intakes. The tablets additionally contain enough Chitosan to bind up to 3 grams of fat in the small intestine. Excessive reduction of fat intake is not recommended, since it may prevent absorption of essential fatty acids (required for optimal performance of many metabolic systems) and hinder absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins. Because of this action, the Starch/Fat Blocker should not be used within an hour of taking a multi-vitamin or an essential fatty acid supplement.

The "support" products.

The main support products are the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and the Cleansing Tea.

Ensuring an adequate intake of EFAs, both in the correct amounts and in the correct balance, is one of the most important prerequisites for both good health in general and, for those seeking to lose weight, optimal rates of weight loss.

The Cleansing Tea is indicated for those who may be constipated. Though chronic constipation should not be a problem on a good diet plan that provides some dietary fiber and an adequate intake of essential fatty acids, this condition often has its roots long in the past from previous bad dietary habits, and its persistance during the course of a weight reduction program is very often a fact of life. Previous prolonged use of laxative products may in fact have created a condition that will not go away despite dietary changes, and those who suffer from this condition generally require laxative support to control it. The Cleansing Tea is ideally suited; reliable and effective, good taste, and it also addresses the requirement of an adequate fluid intake. The active principle is Senna, used for many years as a stimulant laxative.

Other matters.

You will notice that many of our products contain Oriental Ginseng extract and/or Ginkgo extract. There are some very good reasons for using these botanicals as adjunctive ingredients. The Oriental Ginseng contains active substances (collectively known as ginsenosides) which have a metabolism toning effect, and can optimize hepatic metabolism. Very useful when your main active components are increasing the rate at which fat is withdrawn from the adipose tissue, because the resultant free fatty acids can be oxidized in the liver.

The Ginkgo contains active substances known as ginkgosides which dilate blood vessels (vasodilation) and increase blood flow, also useful when you want to carry metabolic breakdown products away from the tissues where they were formed. The vasodilation action also counteracts any vasoconstrictor effects that might be caused by the main active ingredients. The vasodilation effect of Ginkgo extends to the central nervous system and by increasing blood flow in the brain can improve mental performance and perception.

Oriental Ginseng and particularly Ginkgo also have other beneficial effects, such as scavenging free radicals.