Atro-Phex is the latest fat burner from BSN, a company renowned for its sports-enhancement products like NO Xplode, Syntha-6, Axis-HT and Nitrix. Atro-Phex isn’t BSN’s first fat burner offering — others include Thermonex (reviewed here) and Cheater’s Relief (reviewed here!).
There’s been some major effort put into the packaging of this product. It comes in a “snazzy” red box, and the capsules are not packed loosely, but come in blister packs.
So one thing’s for certain… Atro-Phex sure looks cool.
But what’s in it?
A single, 1-capsule serving of Atro-Phex contains a proprietary 680 mg blend of ingredients. I dislike “proprietary blends” since they disguise the true amount of each ingredient, making it very difficult to assess for efficacy.
In other words, you can never really tell if an ingredient is merely “label dressing” (i.e., it looks great on the label, but there’s so little of it in the formulation it’s impossible for it to elicit any sort of effect) or whether it is present in a strong enough dosage to be useful. The latter, in my opinion, becomes less and likely the more intensive a formula becomes.
And this is one intensive formula. The Atro-Phex ingredient profile is divided into 5 “matrices”…
1. ATRO-EFX™: An interesting blend of ingredients here, I was actually looking forward to having a closer look at these ingredients until I discovered the “fat burning” element of the Atro-Phex appears to be almost identical to that of another fat burner — Spectra Force Research’s Thermophoric Diet Caps.
So much for innovation.
- Beta-phenylethylamine, a spin on that famous “amphetamine-related” chocolate-derived “feel good” chemical that’s finding its way into more and more fat burners these days (see Gaspari’s CytoLean and Nutrex’s Lipo 6 X). Its effects on weight loss however, have yet to be demonstrated conclusively.
- Caffeine (labeled as methylxanthine): common to most fat burners, caffeine’s fat burning characteristics are well known (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
- Hordenine, a monamine oxidase inhibitor, likely included to prevent the aforementioned phenyethylamine from being metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase.
- N-acetyl-l-tyrosine ethyl ester monohydrate, an “acetylated derivative” of the amino acid tyrosine — that is alleged to be more stable and effective.Tyrosine is included in fat burners for a number of reasons — it enhances mood and focus, is a precursor to important neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, and some say it enhances fat burning since it is a precursor to thyroid hormones T3 and T4 (there is little real evidence to validate this claim however).
- i-FAS50TM: A “precise and synergistic ratio of fatty acid synthase regulators,” consisting of green tea, fleece flower (Fo-ti), and Chinese mistletoe. Fatty acid synthase is an enzymatic system that is involved in the process of turning carbohydrates into fat. Early animal studies suggest the inhibition of fatty acid synthase can lead to dramatic weight loss. Studies also suggest that green tea, fleece flower and loranthus parasiticus are all useful for inhibiting fatty acid synthase (see Life Sci. 2004 Mar 26;74(19):2389-99, Int J Cancer. 2003 Oct 10;106(6):856-62). How supplementation will bear out on human weight loss has yet to be established.
- Phenylalanine: Phenylethylamine (that’s the chocolate “feel good” chemical, right?) can be naturally synthesized from phenylalanine via a process called enzymatic decarboxylation. Additionally, phenylalanine is involved in the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone thought to control satiety.
- Bitter orange extract: A source of naringin, a citrus flavanoid also found in grapefruit, and responsible for grapefruit’s distinctive bitter taste.Most of us have heard how it’s important to be careful consuming grapefruit juice along with certain medications — studies reveal that naringin interferes with certain enzymes which can affect the metabolism and breakdown of these drugs. There is also some evidence that the effects and levels of caffeine can be extended when consumed with naringin.
- Advantra-Z®: A patented source of synephrine. Long thought to be a credible alternative to ephedra as a thermogenic ingredient, clinical data validating synephrine’s fat burning abilities is in short supply. This study (Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):79-88) sums it up nicely…
“While some evidence is promising, we conclude that larger and more rigorous clinical trials are necessary to draw adequate conclusions regarding the safety and efficacy of C. aurantium and synephrine alkaloids for promoting weight loss.”
- Bioperine: Included for its ability to increase the bioavailability and absorption of certain ingredients.
- Yohimbine HCl: The standardized extract of the bark of the African Yohimbe tree is yohimbine. This compound is often used as a natural aphrodisiac. It is also sold as a drug (in the U.S., a popular brand is Yohimex containing 5.4 milligram of yohimbine hydrochloride per tablet) and is used to treat impotency, dilate the pupil of the eye, and stimulate fat loss (studies indicating weight loss are promising but not revolutionary — see Isr J Med Sci. 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6).
- Razberi-k or “raspberry ketones”. These are similar in structure to capsaicin and synephrine — two compounds thought to enhance weight loss via the stimulation of norepinephrine (although real evidence to validate this theory is in short supply). One study performed on rodents (you can view the specifics of the study here) did show that raspberry ketones prevented fat synthesis as well as the rise of blood triglycerides and overall, helped prevent obesity.
2. Mood & Mental Performance Optimizers: Vitamin B6, plus periwinkle alkaloids vinburnine, vinpocetine, and vincamine. The last three ingredients facilitate blood flow to the brain.
3. Aqua-Retic™ Matrix: Includes juniper, a common diuretic as well as dandelion, which also displays diuretic characteristics.
4. Insulin Support & Weight Management: Contains one ingredient — Cinnulin PF®. Cinnulin is a water-soluable cinnamon extract which, according to the product web site has been shown in clinical trials to decrease fasting blood sugar.
5. Pro-Thyroid Stimulator: Includes 7-keto DHEA and Dicana™ — a patent-pending diiodothyroacetic acid isomer. One study has shown that 7-keto does have a positive effect on thyroid hormone levels in obese people (see Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 2, Number 4, October 1999). Diiodothyroacetic acid is a thyroid metabolite that may have a positive effect on metabolism, although to date, most positive studies have been animal based.
Phew! I told you there were a LOT of ingredients in Atro-Phex. So, with all that out of the way, what’s the bottom line?
Well, the Atro-Phex formula certainly is an interesting one.
Regardless, many of the ingredients don’t have much in the way of human-based clinical trials to validate their effectiveness on weight loss.
And there have been no clinical trials performed on this product to date to confirm any sort of “synergistic effect” (i.e., that the sum of the effects of all the ingredients is greater than that of what each one delivers individually).
To me, it looks like Atro-Phex is a fat burner in need of an identity. Was BSN trying to make Atro-Phex “look” like all things to all people by throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the formulation?
All I know is that when a 680 mg “proprietary blend” contains as many ingredients as this one, it’s extremely likely that a large percentage of them do nothing but “spice up the label.” Personally, I’d prefer a less intensive, more focused ingredient profile, with the emphasis on ingredients that have at least some decent clinical data behind them—like Isatori’s LS7 or any of our recommended thermogenics.
Nonetheless, BSN is an extremely popular brand, capable of creating products that meet the needs of their receptive audience, so maybe you’ll want give it a try? (You can buy it online at BodyBuilding.com).
So far, visitor feedback has been pretty positive. Perhaps they’ve got the balance right with this product? We’d love to hear from Atro-Phex users… what do you think?