Life Extension Magazine®

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Activate Your Fat Burning Enzyme!

Studies show that G. pentaphyllum and hesperidin help activate the AMPK enzyme inside cells, slashing abdominal fat.

By Michael Downey.

AMPK is a cell enzyme that turns on fat-burning1 and other beneficial cellular processes.2,3

With age, AMPK activity tends to decrease.4

Two plant compounds have been shown to promote youthful AMPK activity:5,6

Together, these compounds may help slash unwanted belly fat.

What is AMPK?

Excess abdominal fat is a major health problem.

It churns out a steady stream of pro-inflammatory compounds that damage blood vessels, heart muscle, brain cells, and other tissues.9,10

Belly fat is strongly linked to heart disease,10,11 type II diabetes,12 and other health issues.13,14

AMPK is an enzyme inside cells that helps regulate glucose and fat metabolism.15-17

When activated, AMPK enhances energy metabolism,2,18 which helps reduce abdominal fat5 and the inflammation18 it produces.

AMPK signaling may decline with age. This results in impaired metabolic function, increased inflammation, and reduced cellular housekeeping functions—all of which accelerate aging.2,18,19

A decrease in AMPK activity also leads to weight gain because the body is more likely to store fat rather than burn it for energy.20

The plant compounds G. pentaphyllum and hesperidin have been shown to promote AMPK activity, mitigating abdominal obesity and the damaging inflammation it generates.

Enhanced Gynostemma

Gynostemma pentaphyllum is an herb that has been shown in clinical and preclinical studies to help prevent metabolic disorders like obesity,21 glucose metabolism,7 elevated lipid levels,7,22 and fatty liver.21-24

Lab and animal studies also demonstrate that G. pentaphyllum is an AMPK activator7,23 that stimulates fat burning and cellular uptake of glucose in muscle cells. It has been shown to decrease weight gain and cholesterol levels.22,23

In a 2022 mouse study, researchers found that Gynostemma extract inhibited weight gain.25

In another study, G. pentaphyllum extract reduced fat mass, enhanced exercise endurance, and increased performance in treadmill-trained mice.26

To fully combat the age-related drop-off in AMPK activity in humans and the resultant belly fat accumulation, researchers in South Korea developed a much stronger form of this extract than was initially available at the time.

They used heat and pressure treatments combined with a steam sterilization technique called autoclaving to produce a G. pentaphyllum extract that contains 10 times the quantity of two of its key AMPK-boosting compounds, damulin A and damulin B.27 This specially processed G. pentaphyllum has been the gold standard for several years.

In a 12-week human trial, this extract triggered a remarkable 11% decrease in abdominal fat.5

This potent G. pentaphyllum extract is so novel, it was granted a patent by the U.S. government.27

Losing Belly and Body Fat

To validate this extract’s ability to reduce abdominal obesity, scientists enlisted 80 overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 kg/m2.

Volunteers were randomly assigned to receive 450 mg a day of the patented G. pentaphyllum extract or a placebo. Both groups continued their usual diets.

During the 12-week study, total abdominal fat area, body weight, body fat mass, percent body fat, and body mass index all decreased in those taking G. pentaphyllum compared to placebo recipients.5

The results showed that:5

  • Total fat area fell 6.3% in people receiving extracts, but less than 1% in the placebo group,
  • Abdominal fat deposits fell 11% in the extract group, but only 3% in the placebo group, and
  • Subcutaneous fat (found just under the skin) decreased nearly 4% in treated subjects, but increased slightly in placebo recipients.

Additionally, those receiving G. pentaphyllum lost an average of one inch off their waistline, equal to about one belt notch.

What you need to know

Get Help Burning Belly Fat

  • Activity of the “fat-burning enzyme” AMPK can decrease with age, contributing to accumulation of dangerous and inflammatory abdominal fat.
  • Researchers developed an extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum that contains 10 times the usual amount of two AMPK-activating compounds.
  • This patented G. pentaphyllum extract was shown in a controlled human study to reduce total fat area by 6.3% and abdominal fat deposits by 11%.
  • The citrus flavonoid hesperidin also boosts AMPK and was shown in a human trial to reduce percent of body fat by 3.7%.
  • G. pentaphyllum and hesperidin can be taken together to help activate AMPK and reduce abdominal fat and its deadly effects.

Fat-Fighting Hesperidin

Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in citrus fruits. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that it activates AMPK.6,8,28,29

It may help fight fat accumulation in other ways as well, including by:

  • Inhibiting absorption of dietary fat from the gut,30,31
  • Inhibiting genes involved in all phases of fat cell development,32
  • Promoting the production of enzymes that break down body fat,32,33
  • Reducing body fat accumulation and storage,32 and
  • Increasing secretion of adiponectin, a hormone that decreases appetite and inflammation.8

In a human study, 40 healthy amateur athletes were given 500 mg of hesperidin or a placebo daily for eight weeks. They maintained their usual diet and lifestyle.34

In the hesperidin group, average percent body fat decreased by 3.7%.34

In a clinical trial of 24 individuals with metabolic syndrome, participants were given 500 mg per day of hesperidin or placebo for three weeks. After three weeks significant improvements in biomarkers of inflammation, vascular function and metabolic parameters were seen in the treatment group compared to placebo.6

Together, hesperidin and Gynostemma extract may complement each other and maximize the effect of targeting abdominal fat.


The decline in AMPK activity that occurs with aging leads to increased abdominal fat and harmful inflammation.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract increases AMPK activity and reduces belly fat.

Preclinical evidence has revealed that the citrus compound hesperidin also stimulates AMPK activity and could work in other ways to further reduce belly and overall body fat.

These compounds provide a dual-action approach to reducing abdominal fat. •

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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