How Effective Is Yohimbine for Weight Loss?

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  • Written By: Glyn Sinclair
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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The effects of using yohimbine for weight loss is a much debated subject. Some studies claim that it is actually dangerous to use yohimbine for weight loss, whereas other studies profess its ability to help people to lose weight. It is thought yohimbine may help people lose weight by blocking alpha-2 receptors in the body and increasing levels of norepinephrine, or stress hormone in the blood. Studies have not yet proven conclusively yohimbine’s ability to help people lose weight and there are a number of negative side effects associated with taking the drug.

Yohimbine is actually found in chemical form in the bark of the yohimbine tree, which is an evergreen tree from Africa. This chemical is said to stimulate the nervous system, as well as burn and release fat from fat cells. This process supposedly raises the metabolic rate and reduces appetite, and these two qualities combined might be the factors that create the circumstance for weight loss. Certain double-blind studies have shown that women ingesting 5 mg of yohimbine at least four times a day were able to lose more weight than those taking a placebo. Double-blind refers to an experiment procedure whereby neither the person controlling the experiment and those involved know all the aspects of the experiment.


Yohimbine is known to have a number of side effects and interactions with other drugs and substances. Some of the negative effects that have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with products containing yohimbine can include seizures, renal failure and even death. Lesser side effects that have been noted are anxiety and lowered blood pressure. Yohimbine is a Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitor at higher doses and because of this can have adverse effects when ingested along with foods and substances that contain tyramine, such as red wine, liver products, and certain nasal decongestants. Using yohimbine for weight loss should be coordinated with a medical doctor because of these interactions and side effects.

It is recommended that people should avoid using yohimbine for weight loss if they suffer from diabetes, heart, liver and kidney disease as well as low blood pressure. Some of the symptoms of yohimbine overdose can include fatigue, nausea, water retention, stomach problems and even paralysis. Even if the substance is taken in small doses, on a daily basis it can build up in the body and potentially cause problems.


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