YOHIMBE: Uses and side effects for weight loss

YOHIMBE: Uses and side effects for weight loss

Yohimbe is found in some fat burner supplements, this article looks to see what uses and benefits yohimbe can bring.

LAST UPDATED: April 2019 by Ben.

This review of yohimbe is supported by cited references.

Yohimbe & Testosterone

If you actually take a look at the ingredients on supplements and take some time out to research them you may notice that Yohimbe features in many fat burner and pre workout supplements.

With a constant demand and desire for supplements that will either increase and improve performance or help with fat loss, it seems that natural stimulants are on the rise.

This is because, they, like caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system which can help provide more energy.

As a result, they delay the feelings of fatigue and in some cases increase body temperature which helps burn more calories.

However, caffeine is tried, tested and proven among billions of people globally.

Many of these “new” natural stimulants are not so, therefore we want to ask the question regarding their background, effectiveness and safety.

What is Yohimbe?

yohimbe tree and bark

Put simply Yohimbe is tree bark.

However, not any old tree bark, it is a tree found in Central and Western Africa called the Evergreen that has been previously used as a herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction (impotence).

In addition, due to its blood flow stimulatory effects it has caught the attention of supplement manufacturers looking for the next big thing in pre workout and fat burner results.

As a result, it can often be found marketed under slightly different guises and names.

One thing to note is that on the ingredient panel, the ingredient may be named as Yohimbe extract or Yohimbe bark and this is completely fine.

However, if the supplement lists Yohimbine Hydrochloride as the active ingredient this is actually man-made and it is not legal to sell as a dietary supplement in the USA.

ingredients panel illustrating yohimbe hydrochloride

Does it help with fat loss?

There’s a mixed bag of results regarding yohimbe and weight loss.

As ever, much of the “proof” seems to be related to anecdotal evidence, i.e based upon someone’s told experiences rather than scientific study.

Or, results have been contradictory meaning there is no clear result.

However, there is a not enough reliable evidence that demonstrates that yohimbe is able to have a positive effect on weight loss.

Besides, yohimbe has a real lack of evidence demonstrating its use for a number of physical and non-physical issues.

Furthermore, it has been promoted in the past as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, however, there’s no evidence of its ability to provide an effective solution. [1] [2]

This is much the same for:

  • Depression
  • Improved athleticism
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion

Any other side effects?

Yes, there are quite a few associated side effects that are not completely positive.

The main one being the heightened risk of a heart attack or seizure.

However, there’s still further alarming possible side effects…

If you are suffering from schizophrenia taking yohimbe can actually make you psychotic. [3]

People who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can experience worse symptoms.

Those with depression can suffer worse symptoms and even experience manic symptoms and feelings of suicide. [4]

Yohimbe can harm the heart, increase blood pressure and make breathing difficult.

In fact, the negative side effects run on and on.

Bleeding can be made worse, as can anxiety, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, prostate problems and even allergic reactions.

Furthermore, the problems can be exacerbated by the doses, it seems there is a wide discrepancy between the doses listed on the ingredients and the actual amounts included in supplements.

man and woman using kettle bells

Final Thoughts

Yohimbe is used as a stimulant and a fat burning ingredient found in many supplements promising weight loss.

It is a very strong stimulant, that much is true. [5]

However, the evidence does not point to any concrete results of weight loss or increased/improved athletic performance nor changes in body mass.

Yet, there list of possible side effects is momentous and alarming.

I personally have tried supplements containing high amounts of yohimbe when playing rugby and it felt as if my heart was palpitating and trying to rip through my chest.

I was also very short of breath.

As side effects go, that was tame when the threat of psychosis, mania, heart failure and seizures not to mention the other side effects are taken in to account.

With all of this in mind, the risk versus minimally possible reward does not fall in favor of supplements containing yohimbe to increase athletic performance or assist with weight loss.

As ever, if you are looking to lose weight the basics are:

Calories in are less that calories burned.

Therefore consume less calories or increase your workload.

If you wish to use supplements ensure that they only use safe and proven ingredients that are able to help you burn more calories and provide you with the energy to increase your exercise.


[1] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-759-YOHIMBE.aspx?activeIngredientId=759&activeIngredientName=YOHIMBE

[2] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yohimbe

[3] https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.141.10.1267?journalCode=ajp

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742556/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19242678

Yohimbe Uses and Risks
Article Name
Yohimbe Uses and Risks
This article covers the risks and uses of using Yohimbe as a fat burner supplement.

Ben BA(Hons), PGCert

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team. He holds a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in sport exercise & nutrition.

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