Thermogenic means tending to produce heat, and the term is commonly applied to drugs which increase heat through metabolic stimulation, or to microorganisms which create heat within organic waste. Approximately all enzymatic reaction in the human body is thermogenic, which gives rise to the basal metabolic rate.
In bodybuilding, athletes wishing to lose fat purportedly use thermogenics to increase their basal metabolic rate, thereby increasing their energy expenditure. Caffeine and ephedrine are commonly used for this purpose. 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) is a very dangerous thermogenic drug used for fat loss; it will give a dose-dependant increase in body temperature, to the point where it can induce death by hyperthermia. It works as a mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation uncoupler, disrupting the mitochondrial electron transport chain. This stops the mitochondria from producing adenosine triphosphate, releasing energy as heat.
Thermally generated methane (CH4) is referred to as thermogenic, originating from deeper sedimentary strata. Thermogenic methane formation occurs due to the break-up of organic matter, forced by elevated temperatures and pressures. This type of methane is considered to be the primary methane type in sedimentary basins, and from an economic perspective the most important source of natural gas. Thermogenic methane components are generally considered to be relic (from an earlier time). The more important source of methane at depth (crystalline bedrock) is abiotic, meaning that the methane formation took place involving inorganic compounds, without biological activity, magmatic or created at low temperatures and pressures through water-rock reactions.
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