According to the retailers, Apidextra does some pretty amazing things. Apparently, it…
- Delivers rapid weight loss results
- Melts body fat, maximizes the metabolism, and controls appetite
The retailers claim it also “surpasses” prescription drugs in effectiveness, and according to the advertising I read, contains clinically tested ingredients and dosages.
This statement pretty much sums up the sales hype…
“Apidextra is the Scientifically Advanced Diet Pill that pushes the body’s boundaries! Our research and development team struck gold by blending eight clinically proven weight loss ingredients. This formula revolutionizes the weight loss market and has unbeatable strength.”
So… are all the claims true? Does this product’s blend of 8 patented and clinically tested ingredients really represent a scientific breakthrough in natural fat burners, and does it outperform prescription drugs?
For the answer, you’re going to need to read further.
For the moment, suffice to say that Apidextra is actually a great product to use as a “case study” for how retailers can make their products appear pretty impressive by referencing official looking clinical data and throwing around words like “patented” and “patent pending”. But, as you’ll learn as you read further, the case for their product’s effectiveness is not nearly as strong as it appears to be at first glance.
To illustrate, let’s consider the word, “patented.”
Most people are impressed to hear that a product they are considering purchasing includes patented ingredients (which is why the retailers are quick to point it out, of course).
That’s because most people believe “patented” means “proven to be effective.”
Unfortunately, that’s not what it means. Not by a long shot. As Elissa points out in this blog post, a patent is simply a “legally-recognized grant of property rights over an invention, formula, or design. And here’s the “kicker”…
The patent holder is not required to prove that their process or product actually works to obtain a patent.
So the term “patented”—as used by retailers to tout the effectiveness of their products’ ingredients profile—means absolutely nothing.
And what about “clinically proven?”
First of all, in order for something to be “clinically proven” in the sense that the retailers mean, all that needs to be done is demonstrate that it delivers “statistically significant” results. That really doesn’t mean as much as you might think …
“In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance.”
“As used in statistics, significant does not mean important or meaningful, as it does in everyday speech.”
In other words, “statistically significant” does not mean “dramatic” or “miraculous.”
Second, while retailer’s are thrilled to reference clinical studies to sell their products, they aren’t so happy to…
- Explain the study results in context or provide a link to the study abstract so you can verify the results for yourself.
- Provide links to conflicting studies; studies performed on the same ingredients that showed less dramatic, or no results.
- Identify financial conflicts of interests or anything which may call the credibility of the referenced study’s conclusion into question.
- Identify the dosage or amount of standardized ingredient used in the study and confirm their own product contains a corresponding amount.
You’re going to get to see most of the above points “in action” as we dive into the ingredients profile. What’s in Apidextra?…
1. Chromax (a patented form of chromium picolinate): Because chromium plays a role in insulin function, it has been a common addition to weight loss pills for years. This, on the grounds that it improves insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and bodyfat composition. Reading the Apidextra web site, you’ll see this statement…
“This patented ingredient also has the power to stabilize blood glucose levels. While Chromax is battling body fat, it even works to develop lean muscle mass. Research has shown that.”
Except that it hasn’t.
For instance, numerous studies (see Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Dec;30(12):1730-7, J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1995 Dec;35(4):273-80) clearly demonstrate that chromium picolinate does not build muscle and improve athletic performance.
But what about the “35 clinical trials that prove this ingredient has the strength to suppress appetite and provide long-term weight loss results” the retailer cites? Obviously, they neglected to mention the “analysis of randomized trials” on the effectiveness of chromium picolinate for weight loss (see Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Apr;27(4):522-9), which concluded…
“In conclusion, our meta-analysis suggests a relatively small effect of chromium picolinate compared with placebo for reducing body weight. The clinical relevance of the effect is debatable and the lack of robustness means that the result has to be interpreted with caution.”
Oops. This is what’s called “cherry picking”, or selecting only the data that supports your argument to present to your audience.
Truth is, the data supporting chromium’s effects on weight loss are inconsistent and contradictory.
2. Glucomannan: Yes, Apidextra contains glucomannan, a simple fiber supplement that shows some potential for weight loss and blood sugar reduction. It’s a product we like—it actually made it to our recommendations page.
Unfortunately, the problem with glucomannan is that it needs to be taken at a significant dosage. For example, this study used 1,000 mg of glucomannan taken 3 times a day prior to meals. That’s 3,000 mg of glucomannan a day.
And although we can’t prove it one way or another for sure, it is extremely unlikely that Apidextra contains anywhere near an effective dose. How can we be sure of that?
For instance, the largest capsule size most people can tolerate (size “00″) will contain between 600-735mg of ingredients, depending on the density of the powder used. The Apidextra sales copy suggests taking 1-3 capsules twice daily (already we have a problem; the best studies—including the one they reference—used 3 daily doses of glucomannan, not two).
At the lowest dose (1 cap twice daily), the most ingredient you can possibly consume will be 1470 mg—half of the recommended daily dose of glucomannan. At 2 capsules taken twice daily we’re getting closer, at 2940 mg. But that’s assuming Apidextra contains nothing but glucomannan, and as we know it does not; it contains 7 other ingredients—one of which also needs to be present in a multi-gram dosage).
If you take 3 capsules twice a day, it is possible (but not guaranteed) that you’re getting an effective dose of glucomannan. But that raises another issue; Apidextra costs $44 a bottle. At this dosage, a bottle will last you 10 days, so you’ll need 3 bottles to get through a month. Glucomannan is cheap; a month’s supply can be had for around $10 from a reputable online retailer.
3. Super Citrimax (hydroxycitric acid): Again, much ado is made about the clinical research supporting this ingredient’s effectiveness, but if you look at the study in question, you’ll see the dosage used; 4666.7 mg providing 2,800 mg HCA. For all the reasons discussed just above, there is no possible way Apidextra contains anywhere near an effective dose of this ingredient.
4. Caffeine anhydrous: Caffeine is a common ingredient in just about every weight loss diet pill on the planet. There are a couple of reasons for this; first, it does exhibit mild thermogenic effects and does offer weight loss benefits (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
Second, it provides a “boost” of energy that so many people find helpful. One word about the “anhydrous” form of caffeine; there’s no clinical data to indicate its any more effective for weight loss or energy than the “plain old” stuff.
5. Cissus quadrangularis: Also known as veld grape, this ingredient is becoming more prevalent in weight loss products on the basis of two positive studies (Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Feb 4;6:4 and Lipids Health Dis. 2006 Sep 2;5:24). Despite this apparent good news, there are issues here too…
- There’s no way to confirm Apidextra contains the dose of Cissus that corresponds to the positive studies.
- The lead author of these studies, Julius Oben, has a patent on Cissus as a weight loss agent. This financial conflict of interest calls his “impartiality” and the results of these studies into question.
- There have been no independently performed studies that confirm the weight loss effects of Cissus—something we’d want to see before we’d recommend Cissus as an effective weight loss agent.
6. Green tea: By now, just about everyone on the planet is aware that green tea exhibits some pretty decent benefits for weight loss. Its significance, however, is largely exaggerated by retailers as its effects are quit subtle (to learn what you can really expect from green tea, see the article, “How Much Weight Can I Lose With Green Tea?”).
Having said that, green tea needs to be present in a suitable dosage and standardized for an appropriate amount of the essential catechin EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, in order to be effective. Does Apidextra contain an effective dose of green tea? Is it standardized for EGCG?
Who knows. That information is not revealed.
7. African Mango: The Apidextra web site makes much ado over this “clinically proven” ingredient, posting some pretty impressive looking graphs that demonstrate just how well it “works.” And yes, there are some studies that demonstrate it does—see Lipids Health Dis. 2005 May 25;4:12, Lipids Health Dis. 2009 Mar 2;8:7, Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Nov 13;7:44.
But the retailers of Apidextra leave out some critical information.
If you checked out the links to the positive studies I just provided, you may have noticed a familiar name in the author’s section. Yes, Julius Oben—the guy who performed all those positive studies on Cissus just above—is a contributing author on these studies as well. And wouldn’t you just know it? He has a patent on African Mango (also called Irvingia gabonensis) for weight loss.
That means the same issues we had with Cissus (above) apply here too…
- There’s no way to confirm Apidextra contains the dose of African Mango that corresponds to the positive studies.
- One of the study authors has a significant financial conflict of interest which call the study’s conclusions into question.
- No independent studies confirm the effects of African Mango on weight loss.
8. Fucoxanthin: A carotenoid found in seaweed that’s making its way into weight loss products on the assumption it aids in weight loss. While there are animal studies to confirm this claim, no human-based study data exists to support this assumption.
Additionally, studies also indicate this compound has extremely low bioavailability in humans (which essentially means the human body has a tough time absorbing and utilizing this compound).
Newer studies suggest combining Fucoxanthin with novel forms of fat are more effective for weight loss, but no such oils exist in Apidextra. This makes it difficult to allot much value to this ingredient’s role in the product’s formula.
So there you have it; Apidextra in all its “glory.”
As you can see, the major claim of the retailer (that the product contains “clinically tested ingredients and dosages”) doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny.
When you look closely at the studies that supposedly validate those claims, you quickly begin to realize how meaningless the term “clinically tested” actually is. To make things worse, no dosage information is provided so we can’t confirm the assertion that ingredients are included at the levels shown effective—and, as demonstrated by the discussion on the limitations of capsule size, some of the ingredients cannot possibly be included at an effective dosage.
So what value does Apidextra actually deliver?
Given the fact that no dosage information is provided, it’s impossible to tell. That’s not a good thing. When a retailer is asking $44 for a bottle of their product—significantly more expensive than products readily available offline—they need to come to the table with more than meaningless advertising drivel.
If it were me, I’d be buying the most promising ingredients on their own and taking them at the dosage shown effective in the studies, thereby creating my own “stack.” For example, for about $20 less than what Apidextra is retailing for, I could buy…
- A month’s supply of glucomannan ($10)
- A month and a half supply of caffeine ($4)
- A month’s worth of a potent, properly standardized green tea supplement ($11).
Not that this stack is going to be a fat burning miracle, but at least you can confirm what you are taking.
At the end of the day, the caveat “buyer beware” seems particularly apt for Apidextra.