RAW Nutrition, renowned for its unwavering intensity, reflects of the fervor that four-time Mr. Olympia champion Chris Bumstead brings to every competition.
Indeed, RAW is his brainchild, and it’s only natural that the supplement manifests his passion. In the last couple of years, RAW has undergone a remarkable transformation, bidding farewell to its rough-hewn paper bag packaging in favor of a sleek, modern approach. With this change, what’s on the outside of its products now matches the elegant, sophisticated formulas on the inside.
Now RAW is giving us Essential Burner, a deceptively simple formula that, as we’ll see, has a clever two-part strategy at its core:
Now, this is a strategy that’s increasingly common in the fat burner category. What sets Essential Burner apart from most of its competitors is how focused RAW’s ingredient selection is. Every single ingredient in this formula (except BioPerine, the formula’s bioavailability enhancer) does at least one of these two things.
In a single 2-capsule serving of Raw Nutrition’s Essential Burner, you get the following:
Green Tea Leaf Extract – 250 mg
Every new study that comes out on green tea is just one more confirmation that this plant, and the brewed beverage made from its leaves, is practically a silver bullet for improving human health. Using extracts of the tea plant is a good way to bring its benefits to supplement formulas.
Taking green tea extract has been shown to:
- Accelerate fat burning and fat loss
- Improve circulation
- Increase insulin sensitivity[3,4]
- Decrease blood pressure
- Enhance sense of overall well-being
Tea also seems to be great for liver health – the catechin antioxidants that occur naturally in tea can significantly decrease the amount of inflammation and liver adipose tissue in human subjects.
Finally, green tea extract activates genes related to fat browning – the conversion of metabolically inactive white adipose tissue (WAT) to metabolically active brown adipose tissue (BAT). Unlike WAT, BAT is packed with mitochondria, which burn calories as heat in a process called thermogenesis.
Guarana Seed Extract (22% Caffeine)(Delivering 50 mg caffeine) – 239 mg
Guarana seed naturally contains a lot of caffeine – up to four times the amount as coffee beans, gram-for-gram. However, thanks to the presence of other bioactive constituents like tannins, caffeine from guarana is absorbed more slowly than caffeine from other sources, so you can think of this ingredient as a kind of natural time-release caffeine. The idea behind combining time-released caffeine with caffeine anhydrous, which we’ll discuss in the next section, is to give you the best of both worlds from caffeine use – a rapid energy hit from the anhydrous, stabilized by the more slowly absorbed caffeine from guarana.
However, the stimulant effects of guarana appear to go beyond its caffeine content, as demonstrated in one study where guarana extract improved subjects’ reaction time more than an equivalent dose of caffeine. Nobody knows exactly why this is the case, but nevertheless, this unexplained stimulant action of guarana has made it a popular ingredient in energy drinks for over a decade.
Guarana also activates brown adipose tissue (BAT), meaning it switches on thermogenesis.
Caffeine Anhydrous – 150 mg
Caffeine is a stimulant methylxanthine alkaloid capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This gives it the ability to influence cells in the central nervous system.
As most of us have personally experienced, caffeine can significantly improve mood, enhance focus, support athletic performance, and make the user feel more energetic. Part of caffeine’s energizing effect is its ability to antagonize the action of adenosine, a byproduct of ATP hydrolysis that accumulates while we’re awake and makes us feel fatigue as it builds up in the brain.[13,14]
But caffeine also increases cellular metabolism, giving us energy in a more literal sense. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, which is responsible for degrading a messenger molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).[12-16] The role of cAMP is telling cells to produce energy by burning calories. So caffeine’s inhibition of phosphodiesterase, by raising cAMP levels, ultimately increases the rate at which your body burns calories.
Since fatty acids are one of the substrates your cells burn for energy, caffeine’s upregulation of cAMP makes it a great fat-burning ingredient. One study found that caffeine can increase the body’s rate of fat burning by an impressive 50%, and a 2020 meta-analysis of 19 studies concluded that caffeine has this effect at doses as low as 3 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight.
Caffeine can also help you burn fat indirectly, by enhancing your athletic performance and enabling you to burn more calories in your workout sessions. It’s been shown to increase strength, speed, power, and endurance,[12,13,15,17,18] making it one of the most inexpensive, safest, and effective ergogenic aids in the nutritional supplement category.
Caffeine can also improve attentiveness, alertness, reaction time, and working memory.[20-22]
Theobromine – 100 mg
Theobromine is, like caffeine, a stimulant methylxanthine alkaloid. While it does occur naturally in coffee and tea, chocolate is the primary natural source of theobromine.
Just like caffeine, theobromine inhibits the action of phosphodiesterase, the enzyme that breaks down cAMP. Thus, theobromine can also, like caffeine (refer to the previous section), speed up cellular metabolism.
It also antagonizes adenosine, helping you fight fatigue and stay awake and alert.
Where theobromine differs from caffeine is in its greater thermogenic activity. Theobromine significantly upregulates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator (PGC-1α), which triggers fat browning, the proliferation of new mitochondria in white adipose tissue (WAT) which converts WAT to brown adipose tissue (BAT).
The end result of WAT-to-BAT conversion is increased caloric expenditure via thermogenesis, the process by which your body converts calories into heat.
Gamma-Butyrobetaine HCl – 50 mg
Gamma-Butyrobetaine is a precursor to carnitine. By increasing your body’s supply of carnitine, GBB supplementation can speed up the rate at which it burns fat, by actually shuttling fatty acids into your cells where they can be taken up by mitochondria and burned for energy.[28,29]
GBB does this by upregulating brown adipose tissue (BAT), the metabolically active fat tissue we discussed in the previous section. More BAT means more thermogenesis, and ultimately, more calories burned as heat. Carnitine has actually been shown to significantly increase the core temperature of lab animals who take it.
CaloriBurn GP Grains of Paradise Seed Extract – 30 mg
CaloriBurn GP, a product from NNB Nutrition, possesses a remarkable ability to increase the activity of brown adipose tissue (BAT). This potent extract originates from Aframomum melegueta, also known as grains of paradise, and is meticulously standardized to contain a certain amount of a phenolic ketone known as 6-paradol.
Animal studies have revealed that direct injections of pure 6-paradol effectively trigger thermogenesis within existing brown adipose tissue (BAT). This heightened thermogenic activity in BAT translates into an accelerated metabolism and increased calorie expenditure, ultimately facilitating easier fat loss and potentially expediting weight reduction.[32-34]
This increased activity of BAT also confers metabolic advantages beyond weight management. Brown adipocytes take up glucose and fatty acids from the bloodstream for energy utilization, so increasing the activity of brown adipocytes leads to improved glycemic control and reduced blood triglyceride levels.
Human studies on grains of paradise have yielded some impressive results:
In a study involving women, grains of paradise proved effective for reducing visceral fat, a type of body fat notorious for its adverse effects on cardiometabolic health. Notably, the dosage administered in this study was a mere 30 mg/day, equivalent to the dose used in Essential Burner.
Another study, conducted in healthy young men, gave a single 40-milligram dose of grains of paradise (GP) and observed a substantial increase in basal metabolic rate of roughly 400 additional calories burned per day within just 30 minutes of ingestion. This study is all the more remarkable for the fact that it was conducted in a population known for its generally robust metabolic function.
It is important to note that in reference to the second study, the claim is not that participants burned an additional 400 calories in that particular day – rather, the rate of calorie expenditure was elevated by 400 calories per day within the initial 30 minutes post-ingestion. An analysis of the area under the curve (AUC) revealed that they burned roughly 25 extra calories per hour during the two-hour study period.
Capsimax Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) Fruit Extract – 25 mg
Capsimax from OmniActive Health Technologies is an extremely concentrated red hot chili pepper extract. It was developed to help give you the benefits of capsaicin, without the unwanted gastrointestinal upset that often accompanies capsaicin supplementation.
Capsimax does this by giving you lots of capsaicinoids that increase your core temperature and speed up metabolism, but without causing the burning sensation in your mouth or stomach that capsaicin itself often can. Capsaicinoids can increase the amount of fat your body burns while you’re in a caloric deficit.
BioPerine (Black Pepper Fruit Extract) – 5 mg
BioPerine is a black pepper extract standardized for piperine,[40-43] an alkaloid that can inhibit certain enzymes in your stomach. Since those enzymes ordinarily break down nutrients before they can reach your intestines, piperine’s inhibition of them means they can be absorbed into your bloodstream rather than being digested prematurely.
This means that thanks to BioPerine, every other ingredient in Essential Burner is more bioavailable and hence more effective than it normally would be. That gives you, the consumer, maximum value for your dollar. Piperine is also a powerful antioxidant capable of making your cells more insulin sensitive and warding off fatty liver.[46,47]
Essential Burner is a thermogenesis-focused formula. Every ingredient in here either causes WAT to BAT conversion, or burns extra calories by activating thermogenesis in existing BAT. That’s a smart formulation strategy, as the two main effects of the formula complement each other.