Many bodybuilders use the compound known as hordenine as a weight loss supplement. The dietary supplement, derived from grassy plants and grains, works as a central nervous system stimulant. It is said to work by slowing the digestion of food, and stimulating the release of the hormone norepinephrine, which can help energize the body.
Chemically known as N,N-dimethyl-4-hydroxyphenylethylamine, or C10H15NO, hordenine is a phenylethylamine alkaloid, or a stimulative psychoactive chemical substance. As a central nervous system stimulant, the compound is used as a weight loss stimulant by many people. The compound is chemically related to the amino acid known as tyramine. The substance is available without a prescription from a physician. Hordenine is typically sold in capsule form.
Proponents and users of the substance claim that it works by stimulating the nervous system and encouraging the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine, a hormone, can help extract lipids, or fats, from body tissue. These loose lipids are then supposed to be easier to break down during bodybuilding or general physical exercise, being used as an energy source rather than clinging to the body's cells. Research to prove these effects as true, however, is ongoing.
Those who take the supplement also claim to have reduced appetites as a result. This claim is based on the compound's supposed ability to slow the digestion of food, making eaters feel fuller. Research on this claim is ongoing as well.
Plant sources of hordenine are plentiful. Several different types of cacti, including the Pereskia genus and Beehive cactus, are known to contain the alkaloid in small amounts. Members in the Ariocarpus cactus family contain the compound. The paddle cactus is another source.
Higher levels of hordenine may be found in the spineless cactus known as Peyote. The Peruvian Torch and San Pedro cacti are also good sources of the substance. The best source of the stimulant, however, is the barley seed.
In addition to being used as a dietary supplement for weight loss and bodybuilding, hordenine has other medicinal properties. It can be used as an antibacterial product. These antibiotic properties can be useful in medicine.
Some side effects may be experienced upon taking hordenine. Some takers of the dietary supplement may experience an increase in either or both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Difficulty with bowel movements and heavy sweating may also occur. In most studies, side effects only occurred after a high dose or overdose of the compound was taken. Most effects are short-lived if they do occur.