Weight loss supplements, a.k.a. fat burners, are some of the most popular supplements on the market. Just about every company in the game has at least one product specifically designed to help you get lean, drop unwanted water weight, and reveal the slim, sexy physique hidden underneath the stored fat.
Most of you know that caffeine is one of the main ingredients in thermogenic fat burners, but have you given much thought about any of the other ingredients that are in your favorite weight loss product?
Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the less frequently used fat loss agents that helps crank up your thermogenic engine in evodiamine.
What is Evodiamine?
Evodiamine is a naturally occurring bioactive alkaloid from a plant called Evodia rutaecarpa. It has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a weight loss aid, where it goes by the name Wu-Chu-Yu. It’s also been used to treat various digestive problems including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and poor appetite. Evodiamine was also used by Chinese healers as a warming agent or “hot herb”, which speaks to its thermogenic properties.
The Evodia plant belongs to the Tetradium family of trees in Asia, but found predominantly in China, which explains its heavy use in ancient Chinese medicine.
What Does Evodiamine Do?
Evodiamine has been studied extensively, and researchers have documented a number of interesting effects the potent alkaloid exerts in the body.
Increases Body Temperature
The main reason you’ll see evodiamine used in supplements (particularly fat burners) is that it increases body temperature, which helps your body burn more calories and ultimately lose weight. Some research conducted on mice has shown that evodiamine may improve fat loss by 28% and decrease overall weight by 10%. 
Animal studies have also noted that evodia can improve resistance to cold, though this hasn’t been replicated in human trials yet. [1,2]
Evodiamine not only helps your body burn more calories, it also may prevent your body from creating new fat cells. Research has shown that evodiamine decreases preadipocyte differentiation.
What does that mean?
Basically, preadipocytes are “infant” fat cells that have to grow and mature into full-fledged adipocytes (fat). Growth and differentiation of preadipocytes are regulated by communication between individual cells or between cells and their external environment. Evodiamine is able to inhibit preadipocyte differentiation by disrupting these communication lines via two different mechanisms [3,4,5]:
- Activates the MAPK cascade, subsequently reducing insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt and PPARγ activity
- Agonizes TRPV1 receptors (vanilloid receptors)
Through these actions, evodiamine reduces the uptake of fat and subsequently increases your body’s natural fat burning mechanisms. Burning more calories and preventing fat cells from maturing provides a two-pronged attack to help you get lean and mean!
Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen work by inhibiting a pro-inflammatory enzyme known as COX. Reducing inflammation helps reduce pain and swelling.
Aside from its warming and fat loss benefits, evodiamine was also used as a natural pain reliever, and there’s some research to support that use, as scientists have noted that evodiamine prevents upregulation of COX-2.  Moreover, the powerful alkaloid was shown to inhibit another well-known marker of inflammation in NF-kB.
One of the most interesting things about evodiamine is that it can affect how your body metabolizes certain compounds, such as caffeine. More specifically, evodiamine reduces the exposure of caffeine to the body [7,8], which means it suppresses circulating levels of the stimulant and helps smooth out the stimulant effects of caffeine. Essentially, you get the energy and focus of caffeine, without the jitters or overstimulated feeling.
Some additional research indicates that evodiamine may also help improve cognition. 
Benefits of Evodiamine
- Increases Thermogenesis
- Relieves Pain
- Decreases Inflammation
- Enhances Fat Loss
- Reduces Appetite
Due to the lack of human studies on evodiamine, there hasn’t been an “ideal” or most effective dose; however, fat burners on the market dose it anywhere from 5-100mg, depending on the standardization of the evodia extract.
Now, as to effectiveness, evodiamine has an incredibly short half-life, lasting just under an hour.  Evodiamine also suffers from relatively low bioavailability, but the bioavailability can be improved when using a whole plant extract standardized for evodiamine rather than using an isolated evodiamine supplement.
Evodiamine is an underutilized fat burning agent that increases your calorie burn and prevents fat gain in the body. It may also suppress appetite and decrease pain and inflammation. When paired with caffeine, it helps smooth out the harsh “jolt” it can frequently provide, which is why you’ll see evodiamine frequently paired with caffeine in pre-workouts and fat burners.
- Kobayashi, Y., Nakano, Y., Kizaki, M., Hoshikuma, K., Yokoo, Y., & Kamiya, T. (2001). Capsaicin-like anti-obese activities of evodiamine from fruits of Evodia rutaecarpa, a vanilloid receptor agonist. Planta Medica, 67(7), 628–633. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2001-17353
- Callsen, M. G., Moller, A. T., Sorensen, K., Jensen, T. S., & Finnerup, N. B. (2008). Cold hyposensitivity after topical application of capsaicin in humans. Experimental Brain Research, 191(4), 447–452. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1535-1
- Wang, T., Wang, Y., Kontani, Y., Kobayashi, Y., Sato, Y., Mori, N., & Yamashita, H. (2008). Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Endocrinology, 149(1), 358–366. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2007-0467
- Pearce, L. V, Petukhov, P. A., Szabo, T., Kedei, N., Bizik, F., Kozikowski, A. P., & Blumberg, P. M. (2004). Evodiamine functions as an agonist for the vanilloid receptor TRPV1. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2(16), 2281–2286. https://doi.org/10.1039/B404506H
- Zhang, L. L., Yan Liu, D., Ma, L. Q., Luo, Z. D., Cao, T. B., Zhong, J., … Tepel, M. (2007). Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 channel prevents adipogenesis and obesity. Circulation Research, 100(7), 1063–1070. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.RES.0000262653.84850.8b
- Choi, Y. H., Shin, E. M., Kim, Y. S., Cai, X. F., Lee, J. J., & Kim, H. P. (2006). Anti-inflammatory principles from the fruits of Evodia rutaecarpa and their cellular action mechanisms. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 29(4), 293–297.
- Noh, K., Seo, Y. M., Lee, S. K., Bista, S. R., Kang, M. J., Jahng, Y., … Jeong, T. C. (2011). Effects of rutaecarpine on the metabolism and urinary excretion of caffeine in rats. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 34(1), 119–125. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12272-011-0114-3
- Tsai TH, Chang CH, Lin LC Effects of Evodia rutaecarpa and rutaecarpine on the pharmacokinetics of caffeine in rats . Planta Med. (2005)
- Yuan S, Gao K, Wang D, et al. Evodiamine improves cognitive abilities in SAMP8 and APPswe/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 2011;32(3):295-302. doi:10.1038/aps.2010.230.
- Liao, J.-F., Chiou, W.-F., Shen, Y.-C., Wang, G.-J., & Chen, C.-F. (2011). Anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious effects of Evodia rutaecarpa (Wuzhuyu) and its major bioactive components. Chinese Medicine, 6(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8546-6-6
- Hu CQ, Li F, Yang XW. Simultaneous determination and pharmacokinetic analysis of seven alkaloids and two flavonoids from rat plasma by HPLC-DAD after oral administration of Wuzhuyu decoction. J Asian Nat Prod Res. (2012)