We seem to mention lifestyle changes in conjunction with virtually every health regimen we discuss. Changes include cleaning up your diet and choosing to exercise more. We know the benefits of exercise – increasing muscle, burning calories, improving body composition, more lean muscle, and less fat. What if you could convince your body you were pumping iron or jogging, rather than reading a book or streaming a video? Forget “no pain, no gain,” in this article; we will introduce you to the world of AMPK Activator supplements, designed to stimulate AMPK, mimicking the effect of exercise in your muscles and cells.
So, what is an AMPK Activator? Let’s find out!
AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) – The Energy Enzyme
AMP-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) is a fuel-sensing enzyme present in your body’s cells and plays a role in cellular homeostasis (balancing or establishing equilibrium within your cells). During exercise, AMPK is activated in your skeletal muscle, in adipose tissue, your liver, and other organs. When activated, such as when cellular energy is low, AMPK stimulates energy-generating processes such as glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation and decreases energy-consuming processes such as protein and lipid synthesis. Exercise is the most potent physiological activator of AMPK, activated when intracellular ATP levels are lowered. ATP or Adenosine triphosphate is the organic compound that provides energy to drive processes in your cells – it’s the source of energy used to power the movement of contractions in working muscles.
AMPK is often called the “master metabolic regulator” – it switches on the same fat-burning and energy-producing metabolic processes that exercise does.
What Is An AMPK Activator?
Like other hormones and bodily systems, AMPK levels decline with age, contributing to age-related weight gain, particularly in abdominal adipose tissue. So back to our original premise, what if you could convince your body that your ATP levels are lowered due to exertion or calorie restriction so that you could stimulate or activate AMPK to stop storing and start burning body fat? That is the role of a relatively new category of supplements, AMPK Activators.
This article will explore the other purported benefits of AMPK activation, such as lowering blood sugar levels, preventing metabolic disorders, reducing inflammation, and anti-aging. We will review several of the more popular AMPK activation ingredients, cite findings from clinical studies on AMPK activation, and provide several recommendations of the best products currently on the market.
If shedding excess body fat is one of your goals, we think you will find this review intriguing. But, don’t be surprised if, in our efficacy comments, we recommend a few additional stressors such as Intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, and intense exercise, to provide even greater AMPK activation.
Types Of AMPK Activator Supplements
Nearly all AMPK Activator Supplements come in capsule form. They are either single-ingredient products (generally ActiveAMP, a generic form of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, or Berberine) or formulations containing a combination of the ingredients discussed below. The lone exception is Jiaogulan Herbal Tea, a form of Gynostemma tea. See more on Gynostemma below.
Key Ingredients In AMPK Activators
One of the most prevalent AMPK Activating ingredients is the herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Rather than using a generic form of this herb, we applaud the brands that opted for a patented, trademarked and clinically validated ingredient such as ActiveAMP® from Gencor.
Active AMP From Gencor – Gynostemma Pentaphyllum
Gencor is a prominent ingredient supplier in the natural products space with several patented and trademarked ingredients, including ActiveAMP. Their clinically studied ActiveAMP is extracted from this adaptogenic herb (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), which contains compounds that regulate metabolic processes typically produced during exercise.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the gold standard in clinical studies) on eighty overweight participants showed statistically significant decreases in the active group compared to the placebo group in reducing body fat, weight, and BMI (Body Mass Index), and total abdominal fat area.
Other Popular AMPK Activator Ingredients
Berberine – other than Gynostemma pentaphyllum, is the only ingredient used as either a stand-alone product or the other ingredients in this list. Berberine, known to activate AMPK, is a super antioxidant that may improve several age-related issues, such as lowering your bad cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, digestion, heart health, and weight loss.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – a fatty acid that plays a crucial role in metabolism and energy production. It functions as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Hesperidin – a “bioflavonoid” most commonly found in citrus fruits. Hesperidin may help regulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and provide energy for athletic performance.
Resveratrol – from red grapes’ skin and seeds is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It’s used in AMPK formulations for its ability to lower cholesterol and protect against obesity.
Calcium – is a mineral that plays an essential role in building bones and keeping them healthy. Calcium also enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat.
Quercetin – a flavonoid that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease.
Forskolin – a popular ingredient in many sports nutrition and weight loss supplements, forskolin helps the body burns fatty acids.
Curcumin – one of the most popular ingredients in the natural product space, is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is thought to be beneficial in combatting many serious health issues.
Carnitine – another popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. Carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production.
Clinical Studies Of AMPK Supplementation
Per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, recent clinical studies on AMPK Activation show promise for:
“Considering the extensive effects of AMPK within the cell, it is no surprise that there are many and varied activators of AMPK. Many of these activators show promise for the treatment of a wide variety of health issues including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.”
PubMed quotes a National Library of Medicine study:
“AMPK is a key player in regulating energy metabolism, placing it at the center stage in studies of diabetes and related metabolic diseases. AMPK is activated in response to a variety of stimuli, including cellular stress, exercise, and a wide range of hormones and agents that exert impacts on cellular metabolism. Genetic and pharmacological studies demonstrate that AMPK is required for maintaining glucose homeostasis. Activation of AMPK by pharmacological agents presents a unique challenge, given the complexity of the biology, but holds a considerable potential to reverse the metabolic abnormalities associated with type 2 diabetes.”
Given the potential of AMPK Activation, we anticipate continued growth and a plethora of new entries in the category.
AMPK Activator Benefits
Although clinical studies focus on the benefits of AMPK Activation in severe health issues such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, the natural products companies market the product differently due to FDA and FTC regulations. The benefits indicated by supplement manufacturers include:
- Regulates Energy Usage
- Supports Weight Loss
- Decreases Inflammation (actually, a health claim according to the FDA)
- Improves Metabolic Pathways and Insulin Sensitivity
- Improves Physical Performance
- Supports Healthy Aging
- Encourages the Body to Burn Stored Abdominal Fat
- Restores youthful AMPK levels
Will An AMPK Activator Supplement Work For Me?
Every person’s anatomy and response to supplementation is different. However, the preponderance of evidence indicates that added or activated AMPK has significant health benefits. Clinical studies prove that activators will switch on the same fat-burning and energy-producing metabolic processes that exercise does.
The ingredients used in Activators are all proven performers in the natural products space, particularly Berberine, Curcumin, Resveratrol, Quercetin, and Carnitine. Even taken alone, these supplements will have significant healthful benefits.
How to increase the odds that AMPK Activators will work for you? Stressors such as intermittent fasting, severe calorie restriction, and intense exercise are known to activate AMPK. So, a clean diet and exercise finally make their appearance in this article, as methods to augment your AMPK Activator for optimum results.
Are AMPK Activators Safe?
In clinical studies, some participants experienced stomach pain, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation.
When considering adding any new supplement to your regimen, talk to your doctor first, particularly if you are on prescription medicines.
Best AMPK Activators
When making our selections for recommended NMN supplements, we adhered to the following criteria:
- Our preference for a patented, clinically tested ingredient played a significant role in our choices.
- We ensured the products are manufactured in the U.S. in a certified cGMP facility (Good Manufacturing Practices).
- We looked for companies and brands that have independent third-party testing for quality and purity.
- Having a Money-Back Guarantee was important to us as it indicates the manufacturer’s confidence in its product.
Active-PK by LCR Health
Our first selection comes from LCR Health (Live Cell Research) of Woodland Hills, CA, an anti-aging supplement and nutraceutical company. Active-PK has only three ingredients, each indicating its precise dosage, and one is a clinically proven, patented ingredient, ActivAmp®, manufactured by Gencor Labs. The other ingredients are Berberine and Quercetin. We love the formulation and the company’s go-to-market strategies, including their cGMP certification, third-party testing, and quality guarantee.
On the company website, a thirty-day supply retails for $89.95. There are also special offers for sixty-and-ninety-day supplies. On Amazon, sixty capsules, a thirty-day supply sells for $52.95.SAVE UP TO 60% ON ACTIVE-PK
AMPK Metabolic Activator, from Life Extension
Life Extension is one of the most respected brands in the healthy aging space. Their AMPK Metabolic Activator features Actiponin®, another patented Gynostemma extract, combined with Calcium and Hesperidin.
Life Extension maintains a Certificate of Analysis on file for every product manufactured and offers a Money-Back Guarantee on all products.
Thirty-servings retail for $28.50 on the company website.GET THE BEST PRICE ON AMPK METABOLIC ACTIVATOR
Jiogulan Tea from Immortalitea
We wanted to round out our best of products with a representative product from the Jiogulan Tea variety. Jiogulan Tea is from Gynostemma pentaphyllum, the most potent form of AMPK Activator on the market today. Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern science agree, our bodies need the synergistic effects of full-spectrum herbs. Pharmaceuticals and extracts manufactured with chemistry are less effective. Immortalitea gynostemma organic tea is pure 100% gynostemma pentahyllum leaf, is naturally sweet and brews a bright green delicious caffeine-free herbal tonic.
An eight-ounce bag retails for $27.28 on Amazon.com. The product costs $9.95 for a fifteen-teabag package on the company website immortalitea.com. The company also offers a 100-count, 500 mg capsule package for $19.83.GET THE BEST PRICE ON IMMORTALITEA JIOGULAN TEA
Stacking AMPK Activator Supplements
Suppose you are taking a single ingredient product such as Berberine or Gynostemma pentaphyllum. In that case, even if you are using ActiveAMP, we believe there are benefits to stacking your product with the other ingredients listed in our review:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Curcumin C
To Summarize: AMPK Activators
We find AMPK Activators’ science intriguing and love the concept of tricking our bodies into thinking we have exercised to help achieve our weight loss goals. The clinical studies and quality ingredients in these formulations give us confidence in recommending you consider adding an Activator to your supplement arsenal.