Tetradecylthioacetic Acid, a weird fat burner
If you remember the bodybuilding supplements from the first decade of this century, then you may know tetradecylthioacetic acid [TTA]. In that period
this weird chemical was, along with many more other substances, a component of a number of some controversial fat loss supplements. Most of these product have
disappeared from the shelves, but tetradecylthioacetic acid recently returned. Now, often in significantly higher concentrations than ten years ago, it is often the only active ingredient in capsules. And some supplements makers sell the stuff itself as powder, in large bags. It's about time to figure out what kind of substance tetradecylthioacetic acid is exactly.
A synthetic fatty acid
Tetradecylthioacetic Acid is a synthetic fatty acid that can not be converted into energy.
A PPAR agonist
In the nineties scientists discovered that tetradecylthioacetic acid boosts fat metabolism by stimulating the fat sensor PPAR-alpha. Through the same mechanism, researchers discovered, inhibits the substance inflammation, the growth of cancer cells and the development of insulin resistance.
There are three types of PPAR: alpha, gamma and delta. The alpha receptor is found in the liver. When it is activated, the liver burns more fat. The gamma receptor is mainly in fat cells. If it is stimulated, the fat cell stores fatty acids. The delta receptor is found in muscles. If that receptor is stimulated, then muscles burn more fat.
In 2002, Norwegian scientists reported that test animals, which received a large dose of tetradecylthioacetic acid via the oral route, where not getting fatter when they consumed abundance of calories. [J Lipid Res. 2002 May;43(5):742-50.] The Norwegian publication also showed that tetradecylthioacetic acid not only stimulated PPAR-alpha, but also PPAR-delta and to a lesser extent PPAR-gamma.
A metabolic booster
In 2009 nutritional scientists, affiliated with the University of Oslo, published another animal study. In this study, the Norwegians fattened rats by giving them feed which contained lots af fat [Lard] for 7 weeks.
Half of the rats also recieved tetradecylthioacetic acid [Lard Plus TTA]. If the rats had been adult humans, they would have consumed about one and a half to two grams of tetradecylthioacetic acid daily.
The supplementation significantly inhibited the increase in body weight. Nevertheless, the supplementation caused the test animals to eat more. That's weird, because most PPAR-alpha agonists diminish appetite by interfering with the biosynthesis of some hypothalamic neuropeptides.
When the 7 weeks were over, the rats given tetradecylthioacetic acid were not only lighter than the rats in the otther group. Their body composition also deviated from the rats in the Lard group: they had more muscle and less fat.
How tetradecylthioacetic acid boosted the metabolism of the rats is shown below. In the liver, the activity of the metabolism enhancing gene UCP3 was increased by no less than a factor of two thousand.
"Our data are in accordance with activation of PPAR-alpha as the main mediator of tetradecylthioacetic acid effects on hepaatic gene expression", write the Norwegians. "The effect of tetradecylthioacetic acid on feed intake is opposite to what has been reported for other PPAR-alpha ligands, and may be related to concomitant activation of PPAR-gamma, reduced leptin signaling or perhaps reduced hypothalamic malonyl-CoA sensitivity."
"To further elucidate the effects of tetradecylthioacetic acid on feed intake and feed efficiency, use of metabolic cages would be clarifying. In addition, investigations into whether tetradecylthioacetic acid may accumulate in the hypothalamus and promote [...] levels of satiety regulating neuropeptides should be considered."
When the first fat loss supplements with tetradecylthioacetic acid hit the market in the first decade of the 21st century, supplement manufacturers tried to prevent the increase in appetite by combining tetradecylthioacetic acid with appetite-suppressant components such as oleoylethanolamide.
We wonder whether those products actually worked. The amount of tetradecylthioacetic acid they contained was on the low side. However, this is different for the new generation of TTA supplements.
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