Abrexin™ – if you care to believe the advertising – is a stimulant free, clinically proven nighttime weight loss product that…
“… taps into your body’s natural ability to burn fat while you are sleeping.”
And it gets better.
There’s no need to alter your lifestyle, or stick to a hard to follow diet or impossible workout regimen; just take one Abrexin with water before bed and you’ll lose weight while you sleep.
This statement is especially comical considering Abrexin provides customers with a very intense interval-based exercise plan, which is described as “results, not pleasure oriented, which means it’s gonna hurt”. And their 7-Day Program is definitely a diet plan if I have ever seen one.
If you still believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairly, maybe you’ll buy into this stuff. But for everyone else, well…
These claims need to be taken with a grain – actually a HUGE chunk – of salt.
To explain why, let’s take a closer look at Abrexin. What does it contain?…
1) Lactoferrin (300 mg): A natural microbial, a component of whey protein, and a protein found both in cow and human milk, the role of lactoferrin in weight loss has only very recently been researched – as demonstrated by this study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. This small Japanese study (conducted with only 26 individuals) is the solitary study I could find justifying the use of lactoferrin for weight loss. And it the results, while statistically significant, were not dramatic.
What’s “not dramatic”, you say?
How about 3.3 lbs in two months? (with 2.86 lbs of that coming off in the first 4 weeks).
Hardly the stuff of weight loss “dreams.”
That aside, there are a couple of other issues of which you might not be aware. To illustrate what they are, let’s go back to the claim made by Abrexin – that you don’t need to go on a restrictive diet, and you don’t need to exercise.
Are these statements backed up by the study?
If you review the study yourself you’ll see, under the heading “Design and Subjects”, that although energy and fat intake were not restricted, “the subjects were instructed to maintain their usual dietary intake and physical activity.”
And further down, under “Dietary Diary and Daily Living Records” you’ll find…
“The subjects recorded the content of their meals in a dietary diary for 3 d before the visits at 0, 4 and 8 weeks. Based on the information in the diaries, dietitians analysed the daily energy intake, fat intake and fat:energy ratio, using Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan, the 5th revised and enlarged edition(27), and mean values for the 3 d were calculated. In addition, the subjects recorded their compliance of the test tablet intake, and daily activities, including eating habits and exercise, measured by a passometer (Spalding cumulative passometer PS453; Tokyo Compass Mfg. Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) every day from 0 to 8 weeks, in a daily living record using a simple checklist. The clinical investigators provided feedback of the daily living record to the subjects to encourage a constant level of daily activity. Physical conditions and adverse effects were examined by a physician in the interview at each visit.”
What’s the importance of this?
Well, a couple of things…
- The fact that “energy and fat intake were not restricted” does not mean the participants were consuming calories like they were going out of style. In fact, if you review the table data associated with the study, you’ll see that those individuals taking the active ingredient were consuming between 1900 and 2048 calories per day over the course of the study. While this is certainly not “restrictive” in the sense that most of us understand it to mean, it is certainly not representative of an “over-consumption” of calories either… it’s pretty much a standard base number. It’s also a bit difficult to believe that all study participants were able to consume a fairly specific number of calories over 8 weeks without some instruction.
- Since these individuals were not placed on a standardized diet this is essentially a methodological flaw, since it puts each individual into his or her own unique study group. What should have happened is that everyone – and I mean both the control (placebo) group and those taking the active ingredient – was put on an identical diet, that way any notable differences could attributed to the supplement. Since this didn’t happen, the accuracy of the results are thrown into question.
- You can’t be for assessed for compliance of eating habits and exercise, if there are no limitations on eating or recommended exercise program.
In other words, while the participants may not have been engaging in the sort of impossibly hard workout regimen the Abrexin folks reference, it sure the heck appears like they were doing something.
2) GP Shield: According to the Abrexin web site, this is a “special coating that helps each Abrexin target your midsection”. This makes it sound like it’s actively involved in the fat fighting process, but in reality, it is a simple enteric coating which protects the lactoferrin in formula from the harsh environment of the stomach, allowing it dissolve in the intestine for greater effectiveness.
3) BioPerine® (5 mg): This is a black pepper extract normally included in weight loss products for its ability to enhance the absorption of certain compounds. There is some clinical evidence to support this.
However, the Abrexin sales copy also “talks” about their product’s ability to elevate the metabolism – a characteristic that is attributable to this ingredient (lactoferrin does not work this way). Since many “hot” herbs and spices like black pepper and hot red and green peppers contain compounds (like capsaicin) that “rev” up the metabolism, it’s not hard to imagine that a black pepper extract has some similar effect (Bioperine’s parent company calls it a “thermonutrient”).
But while such compounds do have short term effects on the metabolism, as stand alone weight loss agents, they’ve largely been duds. For example, this recent study found no statistically significant differences in the amount of weight/fat lost between a capsaicin/piperine/EGCG/carnitine supplemented group vs. placebo… rather, they concluded that the supplement was efficacious with respect to various other health markers (inflammation, insulin resistance). While this is an unambiguously good thing… “massive weight loss” it ain’t.
There’s also the potential issue with piperine’s (the non-trademarked version of BioPerine) possible effects on drug metabolism.
And the silliness doesn’t even end there.
According to the advertising on the official site, “Abrexin gives you a deeper, more restful sleep.”
There is no evidence that either lactoferrin or Bioperine has any effect on sleep patterns.
So where is this claim coming from? Who knows? Unsourced claims of fact are not scientific – in fact, they are just the opposite. At least I could examine and assess the problems with the Japanese study “validating” the use of lactoferrin. The Abrexin sales materials provide no such transparency – it’s all big claims and graphics, and zero evidence to support them.
So what’s the bottom line?
As you can see, the clinical data supporting the use of lactoferrin for weight loss is far from conclusive. The numerous issues and questions that we raised during our discussion make it impossible to use this study for the basis of the claims Abrexin makes.
And the only other ingredient in this formula… well, it been used for ages to enhance the bioavailability of compounds (as it should be) but while it elevates the metabolism slightly, there is no evidence that supplementation leads to weight loss.
Generally, nighttime fat burners and weight loss products are almost always an EPIC fail.
Because they don’t contain the stimulants your typical fat burners do. And the use of stimulants is one of the most surefire ways to elevate the metabolism.
Second, since you are not active at night, your metabolism is at its slowest rate. Even if you were able to elevate it a couple of percentage points, this would have relatively little effect, especially if you are not – as the manufacturers are suggesting – making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Third, it is ridiculous to suggest that one pill taken before bed can somehow compensate for the over consumption of calories that occurs daily for so many of us. Even if the pill effectively did burn fat while you slept, you’d simply redeposit it the next day when you returned to your regular eating patterns.
Unless you were restricting your calories to some degree… like the study participants were.
Update: our technical adviser, Elissa, contacted the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau in April, 2013 over the claims made in Abrexin ads. An NAD representative recently informed her that the makers “had voluntarily and permanently ceased all selling, marketing and advertising for the Abrexin product in the United States.” A look at the Abrexin sales site confirms this – it is no longer available for sale in US stores.