| 8 minutes

Can Supplements Really Boost Your Metabolism?

Written by HannahTrautmann, PhD - Medical Writer | Reviewed by Josephine, Nutritionist (M.Sc. Nutrition & Food Sciences)

Metabolism Matters

If you’ve ever felt sluggish or out of energy, you know how important metabolism is to your overall health. Unfortunately, many people in the United States and worldwide are metabolically unhealthy. As of 2018, almost 42% of Americans have metabolic syndrome, and those numbers are on the rise (1). Metabolic syndrome means you have any three of these markers, indicating problems with your metabolism:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood glucose (sugar)
  • High triglycerides (fat)
  • Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL; also known as “good” cholesterol”) (2)


These metabolic issues are dangerous because they put you at risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke (2). Anyone can have problems with their metabolism, but it is a particular concern in older populations and people with lower socioeconomic status (1).

The good news is that you can take steps to help yourself lose weight and body fat! Lifestyle changes can boost metabolism and lower your risks of metabolic disease. Here’s what you need to know about diet, popular weight loss supplements, and your metabolism.

How Does Metabolism Work?

Metabolism is a complex series of reactions that converts your calorie intake (food and drink) into energy for your cells (3). Metabolism can be thought of as the balance between two main processes: anabolism and catabolism (3). 

Anabolism is the creation of macromolecules like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and catabolism is the breakdown of these substances into simple parts (3). 

Catabolism releases energy in a form that is useful to your cells, called ATP (3). This provides the energy for all sorts of processes in your body, from breathing to moving to fighting infections (3).

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is one way to measure metabolism (4). Metabolic rate refers to the minimum amount of calories you need to sustain life (4). This accounts for breathing, circulating blood, growing new cells, and other normal bodily functions but does not include the energy you need for daily physical movement (4). Because weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you eat, many people want to improve their BMR, or “boost” their metabolism, to ensure they burn calories for the purpose of losing weight.

Metabolism-Boosting Foods and Supplements

While eating healthy food sources and exercising are key to burning more calories and losing weight, supplements to boost or increase metabolism can help, too. You may have heard of common ingredients in weight loss supplements to boost your metabolism like (8-16):

  • L-carnitine
  • Caffeine
  • Capsaicin
  • Resveratrol
  • Green tea
  • Calcium and vitamin D3

What you may not know is that protein can be an important contributor to metabolism and your weight loss journey. Almased products are protein-rich shakes that increase metabolism, promote weight loss and retain muscle mass (17-18).

Let’s go through each of these components, metabolism-booster supplements, and foods one by one to look at the most recent research.

Genes and Environment Affect Your Metabolism

BMR varies from person to person and can change over time because it depends on body weight (mass), fat, and age (5). If you’ve ever heard someone say they have a “fast metabolism”, they likely meant that their BMR is high (6). In other words, they use a lot of calories just existing so they can eat more without gaining weight and thus help to stay at a healthy weight. People with a “slow metabolism” have a low resting metabolic rate and need to be more careful about the amount of food they eat, otherwise weight gain may occur (6). 

Metabolism is not a case of nature vs. nurture—rather, it is impacted by nature and nurture. That is to say, genetics, lifestyle, and environment all affect your metabolism (7), as do certain hormones (3). Though you can’t yet change the genes that slow your metabolism, you can make changes to your lifestyle and environment to improve your metabolic health and body functioning.


L-carnitine is a molecule naturally made in the human body that can also be added to your diet through red meats, fish, milk, and poultry (8). L-carnitine is involved in the breakdown of fatty acids and helps use up the fat stores in your body (8). 

In a review of nine studies, researchers concluded that participants who received L-carnitine supplementation lost more weight than those who did not take the supplement (9). But, the weight loss decreased over time, suggesting that the beneficial effects of L-carnitine may be short-lived (9). 

Similar results were found in a more recent review of 37 scientific evidence studies, but the decrease in body weight after L-carnitine supplementation was modest (average 1.2 kilograms, or about 2.6 pounds lost) (10). Side effects include nausea, stomach pain, and an increased risk of atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries) (10).


Ever felt fidgety and energised after your morning cup of coffee? That’s evidence of caffeine boosting your metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure (11). Caffeine can also help with weight loss via thermogenesis (energy loss through heat) and minimizing energy intake (it’s normal to not feel hungry after consuming caffeine!) (11). It should be noted that the effects are more pronounced in people who are lean and if the caffeine is consumed in powder or supplement form (11). 


Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chilli peppers (12). Capsaicin targets a certain receptor that is located on cells involved in metabolism and can lead to weight loss and insulin sensitivity (a major concern in metabolic syndrome) (12). 

Most of the research done, has been in animals, but some preliminary studies show that capsaicin can improve metabolism in healthy humans when taken in capsule or chilli form (12). Eat your daily dose of spicy foods within a balanced diet!


Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound that can be consumed via grapes (and wine!), peanuts, and berries (13). Research in mice and rats has shown that resveratrol can improve blood glucose levels and lead to fat loss (13). There are a lot fewer studies in humans, so the effects of resveratrol supplementation are still unclear (13). Because of the promising results on multiple metabolic markers, though, more studies should be done to look into this compound.

Green Tea

Your favorite drink may just help you lose weight! Green tea has all the benefits of caffeine, plus it contains a substance called catechins (11,14). Catechins are compounds that may help break down and burn fat (14). While some studies show positive effects of green tea dietary supplements, other studies show no effects or effects that only occur when caffeine is present (14). 

It should be noted that catechins aren’t absorbed very well when using an extract, so drinking green tea in tea form may have the best effects (14). Research with larger datasets may help clear up some of the confusion around green tea and weight management.

Calcium and Vitamin D3

Both calcium and vitamin D3 are key nutrients in a healthy and effective diet and can come from dairy, vegetables, and fish (15). Calcium can promote more fat breakdown and prevent fats from being absorbed into the body (16). Vitamin D3 helps your body absorb calcium, so studies often look at the two nutrients together (15). 

One study found that college students with very low calcium diets who took calcium and vitamin D3 supplements had significant fat loss but no corresponding weight loss or change in glucose levels (16). Other studies did not find fat loss with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements (16). The positive effects could be limited to only those with very low calcium diets, which is not recommended given the importance of calcium (16).

Protein and Almased

Almased products are high-protein weight loss supplements that has been investigated in rigorous scientific studies to look at metabolic profiles and weight loss (17-18). Researchers use a state-of-the-art live-in metabolic chamber called a whole-body calorimetry unit (WBCU) (17). With this technology, scientists can determine how many calories are burned by measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. They can even tell if the calories come from the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, or protein (17).

Metabolism Booster Effects


In one short-term randomized controlled study, scientists measured metabolism after exercise in people who had an Almased shake instead of a typical breakfast (17). They found that Almased increased fat breakdown, suppressed hunger, and improved metabolic markers like insulin and triglycerides (17). 

Another study looked at the impacts of using Almased for 12 to 26 weeks with a 52-week follow-up (18). They found that those who used Almased consumed less fat and carbohydrates and more protein, which led to weight loss (18). Together, these data show that Almased can increase metabolism in both the short and long term.

Boost Your Metabolism Today

Boosting your metabolism can make a big improvement in your overall health. Metabolism-booster supplements are actively being researched. Research studies show that protein-rich Almased can lead to weight loss and improved metabolic markers (17-18). You can combine Almased with other foods for boosting metabolism for weight loss, like caffeine and green tea, to have an even bigger effect- check out our recipes. Even Almased alone can make a difference in your metabolism and life.


  1. Liang X, Or B, Tsoi MF, Cheung CL, Cheung BMY. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011–18. Postgrad Med J. 2023;99(1175):985-992. doi:10.1093/postmj/qgad008
  2. What is metabolic syndrome? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Published May 18, 2022. Accessed November 6, 2023. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/metabolic-syndrome
  3. Judge A, Dodd MS. Metabolism. Essays Biochem. 2020;64(4):607-647. doi:10.1042/EBC20190041
  4. Metabolism: What it is, how it works and disorders. Cleveland Clinic. Updated August 30, 2021. Accessed November 7, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21893-metabolism
  5. Johnstone AM, Murison SD, Duncan JS, Rance KA, Speakman JR. Factors influencing variation in basal metabolic rate include fat-free mass, fat mass, age, and circulating thyroxine but not sex, circulating leptin, or triiodothyronine. AJCN. 2005;82(5):941-948. doi:10.1093/ajcn/82.5.941
  6. Does metabolism matter in weight loss? Harvard Health. Published July 16, 2015. Accessed November 6, 2023. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/does-metabolism-matter-in-weight-loss
  7. Kastenmüller G, Raffler J, Gieger C, Suhre K. Genetics of human metabolism: An update. Hum Mol Genet. 2015;24(R1):R93-R101. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddv263
  8. Pekala J, Patkowska-Sokoła B, Bodkowski R, et al. L-carnitine - Metabolic functions and meaning in humans life. Curr Drug Metab. 2011;12(7):667-678. doi:10.2174/138920011796504536
  9. Pooyandjoo M, Nouhi M, Shab-Bidar S, Djafarian K, Olyaeemanesh A. The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2016;17(10):970-976. doi:10.1111/obr.12436
  10. Talenezhad N, Mohammadi M, Ramezani-Jolfaie N, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Salehi-Abargouei A. Effects of l-carnitine supplementation on weight loss and body composition: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 randomized controlled clinical trials with dose-response analysis. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2020;37:9-23. doi:10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.03.008
  11. Harpaz E, Tamir S, Weinstein A, Weinstein Y. The effect of caffeine on energy balance. JBCPP. 2017;28(1):1-10. doi:10.1515/jbcpp-2016-0090
  12. Panchal SK, Bliss E, Brown L. Capsaicin in metabolic syndrome. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):630. doi:10.3390/nu10050630
  13. Chaplin A, Carpéné C, Mercader J. Resveratrol, metabolic syndrome, and gut microbiota. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1651. doi:10.3390/nu10111651
  14. Hodgson AB, Randell RK, Jeukendrup AE. The effect of green tea extract on fat oxidation at rest and during exercise: Evidence of efficacy and proposed mechanisms. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):129-140. doi:10.3945/an.112.003269
  15. Calcium. US Department of Health and Human Services. Updated August 30, 2023. Accessed November 6, 2023. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/nutrition/calcium-shopping-list
  16. Zhu W, Cai D, Wang Y, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D3 supplementation facilitated fat loss in overweight and obese college students with very-low calcium consumption: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013;12:8. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-8
  17. Oliveira CLP, Boulé NG, Berg A, et al. Consumption of a high-protein meal replacement leads to higher fat oxidation, suppression of hunger, and improved metabolic profile after an exercise session. Nutrients. 2021;13(1):155. doi:10.3390/nu13010155
  18. Röhling M, Stensitzky A, Oliveira CLP, et al. Effects of a protein-rich, low-glycaemic meal replacement on changes in dietary intake and body weight following a weight-management intervention—The ACOORH Trial. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):376. doi:10.3390/nu13020376
Buy Now
Buy Now
Get in touch with us
Get in touch with us