Have you gained a paunch over the last twelve months?

Maybe your love handles have expanded or your figure has become more voluptuous?

Madness and mayhem have been borne from the COVID pandemic. The fear, insomnia and stress generated may each contribute to weight gain. Combined, for many it has been a waistline disaster. So common is this experience that a new term has been coined, “The quarantine 15”. This is a comic reference to weight gain due to lockdowns and lifestyle limitations.

While meant to be satirical, it is steeped in fact…

One study found that 22% of participants reported gaining between five to 10 pounds through the pandemic. The authors identified specific triggers that led to increased eating. People over ate “in response to sight and smell, eating in response to stress, and snacking after dinner.” Those who slept poorly or engaged in less physical activity also reported weight gain.

So, if you’ve noticed that your clothes now have a snugger fit, you’re not alone. The good news is that there is hope and help available…

There are three science-backed ingredients to boost your fat burning capacity and regain a healthier silhouette: bitter orange, capsimax and gamma-butyrobetaine (GBB).

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange (citrus aurantium) is an ancient medicine that has been prescribed therapeutically for a raft of complaints. Its active ingredients offer protection against potential triggers for weight gain, and in combating overweight directly.

Let’s take a look…

Bitter orange has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties that may calm constant stress, while its sedative effects enhance sleep.

Benefits of bitter orange’s anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties

Chronic stress can trigger weight gain by emotional eating and hormonal change. When faced with long-term psychological strain, the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, jumps. This change is strongly linked to abdominal obesity.

To make matters worse, this hormonal shift specifically lays down fat in the tummy area. Other than being downright uncomfortable, this is the most dangerous place for fatty deposition.

As an article published in the journal, Circulation, found, “Greater abdominal adiposity is strongly associated with insulin resistance… and systemic inflammation.” Both insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation can lead to further weight gain.

Benefits of bitter orange’s sedative properties

Insomnia has been linked to an increased risk of obesity. As you slumber poorly, your body and mind change. Daytime fatigue reduces the desire to exercise. Sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance, which adds fat to the midriff and body. The level of the hunger hormone ghrelin rises, increasing appetite.

Yet, bitter orange enhances sleep, which may combat this range of fat-building processes.

Directly, this medicinal herb has been shown to increase thermogenesis; it helps to burn fat.

Capsaicin (Capsimax)

Capsaicin, an ingredient extracted from hot chili peppers, has set the world on fire. (Pun intended)

Studies show this fiery compound raises whole-body energy expenditure and metabolism by activating brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue is more metabolically active than the white adipose tissue that forms most of our excess body fat.

(When you “pinch and inch,” your fingers compress white adipose tissue.)

As opposed to white, brown adipose tissue helps to balance glucose level and increase insulin sensitivity, which are key for healthy weight loss.

When a person who becomes insulin resistant, they face difficulty using their fat stores for energy. In essence, it becomes a struggle to burn body fat. Capsaicin flips the equation.

Capsaicin helps to activate brown adipose tissue and burn more fat, while also discouraging fat storage.

Additionally, studies have shown that ingestion of capsaicin increases satiety and reduces energy intake; it helps you feel full and consume fewer calories. It also increases lipolysis - the breakdown of fat - during exercise.

As an added advantage, capsaicin helps those who are overweight to burn fat more easily.

Little wonder it has been dubbed an “anti-obesity drug”!

Gamma-butyrobetaine (GBB)

Gamma-butyrobetaine (GBB) is both a mouthful to say and a key naturally occurring molecule. It is the precursor to L-Carnitine, an important amino acid derivative.

Imagine a precursor as simply an ingredient that is required to produce a product; like eggs or flour or sugar for a traditional chocolate cake. While simplistic, think of it like this: the more GBB you have in your system, the more L-carnitine you can make. This matters because L-carnitine is key to burning fat for energy.


Inside each cell, there are small structures called mitochondria. They are the furnaces of the cell, required to convert food into energy. L-carnitine is the key that opens the furnace door to fat burning. It literally transports fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix.

If you are low on L-carnitine, though, instead of being burnt, fat gets stored. Once stored, it is more difficult to use it for energy.

But, L-carnitine does more than simply help fatty acids into the mitochondrial fire. It also seems to strengthen the mitochondria itself.

In the aging process, for example, there is an associated decrease in the ability of muscle cells to burn energy in their tiny furnaces. This is associated with a loss of muscle mass and an increase in fat storage. L-carnitine slows these negative effects by improving the ability of mitochondria to effectively burn fat. Amazing, hey?

It’s not surprising, then, that supplementing with L-carnitine has been shown to improve body composition, decrease belly fat and increase muscle mass, regardless of changes in food intake.

The Takeaway

Fat loss is a complex business. It’s never as simple as “just eating less and moving more.” The contributors are emotional, mental and physical. But if you’ve tried — and failed — at a diet in the past, you already know this.

Bitter orange, capsimax and gamma-butyrobetaine (GBB) are important compounds that aid in weight loss in a multitude of ways; by calming stress, enhancing sound slumber, reigniting thermogenesis, improving insulin sensitivity, increasing feelings of fullness, reducing calorie consumption, and boosting metabolism.

That’s a potent combination!