Cellucor’s D4 Thermal Shock fat burner claims to be able to…
- Attack deep fat deposits
- Skyrocket caloric burn
- Provide explosive energy
- Suppress appetite
- Improve mental focus
Since the Cellucor brand has the reputation for selling higher-end, more costly—and allegedly—more effective products, we thought it was high time we took a closer look at one of their offerings, putting the ingredients profile under the microscope.
So, what’s in D4 Thermal Shock? Two capsules boast a 1,093 mg blend of the following 10 ingredients…
1. Amla Fruit Extract: Also known as Indian gooseberry, this is one of the ingredients that Cellucor claims to act as a “beta-2 adrenergic agonist” in their formula. This, thanks to one of its active compounds—”phyllemblin.”
Unfortunately I was unable to either confirm or deny this claim, despite some fairly serious digging. When conferring with our scientific and technical advisor Elissa about this ingredient, she forwarded me this document, noting…
“This “kinda-sorta” confirms this claim, although it’s vague about whether any human research has been done. But there are no clear references in this document, nor are there any relevant abstracts to be found in PubMed. So either this claim is based on unpublished research; research published in very obscure Asian journals; “in-house” stuff prepared by whatever company they sourced the ingredient from; or stuff published prior to – say – 1960 (it’s much harder to find older abstracts/papers online).”
For the record, Amla is an Ayurvedic treatment for asthma and cough, so it’s not impossible that it contains some sort of beta-adrenergic activity.
However, even if we assume that Cellucor is right about phyllemblin being a potent beta-2 adrenergic agonist, we are still faced with a couple of problems…
- How much phyllemblin is actually in the Amla extract?
- Is it orally active?
- Is the Amla extract standardized for phyllemblin?
- Is it provided in an amount sufficient to produce the desired effects?
The onus is on Cellucor to address every one of these issues, and to date, they have not done so.
2. Caffeine: This ingredient has a well established record as a mild thermogenic, and does deliver mild weight loss results (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97). As such, it’s an ingredient common to the majority of fat burners on the market. And of course, caffeine cheaply and effectively addresses the most common complaint of dieters; lack of energy.
However, D4 Thermal Shock contains a TON of caffeine—290 mg per two capsule serving. That’s the equivalent to three cups of coffee’s worth! As such, this is a product that is going to give you one heck of a boost. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine and/or stimulants you will probably want to start with 1 capsule 2 times per day to assess your tolerance to this product.
3. White willow bark: In the old days, white willow bark was used as the herbal form of salicin, and comprised the third element of the good old ephedra / caffeine / aspirin stack. In ephedra-free fat burners like this one, there is no evidence it offers any benefit, short of the anti-inflammatory effects inherent to salicin.
“A biogenic amine and constituent of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange). Octopamine is promoted as a fat loss agent, although there is only limited animal (and NO human) data to support this. Any effects on fat loss are likely to be weak, as its oral bioavailability is low.
5. Yohimbine: The standardized extract of the bark of the African Yohimbe tree, there is some data showing yohimbine is a somewhat effective weight loss supplement (see Isr J Med Sci. 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6) likely because of its action as an alpha 2-receptor antagonist. Evidence also validates its “lipid-mobilizing action.”
6. Evodiamine: A compound derived from the Chinese fruit Evodia Rutaecarpa. It’s claimed to burn fat by increasing the body’s production of heat, as well as reducing the body’s ability to store fat.
Although a preliminary animal study shows promising results, to date there’s no evidence showing evodiamine works in people.
7. Sclareolide: A compound isolated from clary sage extract. Theoretically, sclareolide is a cAMP stimulator (as is forskohlin). cAMP is what is called a “second messenger.” In other words, this compound is required to “spark” many intracellular processes. This can give rise to various “total-body” effects as raised thyroid hormone levels and increased fat burning. While there is some evidence that forskohlin exhibits modest weight loss effects, no such evidence exists to validate such a claim for sclareolide.
The final ingredients are included to address the “improve mental focus” claim…
8. Passion Flower Extract: This herb demonstrates a mild sedative effect.
9. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: An amino acid which happens to be the precursor of several important neurotransmitters (l-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) which are important contributors to mood, cognitive performance, as well as combating stress. And yes, there is evidence that l-tyrosine has a positive effect on mood (see full tyrosine review for accompanying clinical references) and cognitive performance.
Unfortunately, these results were obtained with dosages that vastly exceed what is present in this formula. For example this study (which showed an improvement in cognitive function) was performed with 100 mg/kg tyrosine.
To put that in perspective a 200 lbs. man would need to take about 9 grams, or 9000 mg of tyrosine to obtain this effect.
If D4 Thermal Shock contained nothing but tyrosine, it would take 4 days worth of capsules (at the full 4 caps/day dose) to deliver an effective dose.
Although the “acetyl” version of tyrosine may (or may not) be somewhat more effective, there’s certainly no reason to believe this ingredient serves nothing more than label dressing in this formula.
So there you have it—Cellucor’s D4 Themal Shock.
As you can see, there are a few problems with this formula. For one, several of these ingredients appear to be included on the basis of mere speculation.
Others have little or only animal based clinical evidence to validate their effectiveness, and others… well, they’re simply ordinary ingredients you can readily find in much cheaper products. You might enjoy the “blast” of energy D4 Thermal Shock Delivers, but you really don’t need to spend $45 / bottle for it.
In my opinion, when you’re paying that much for a month’s worth of product, you have every right to expect Cellucor to “step up” with more than simple generalities and advertising “spiel”. Cellucor needs to provide some evidence that highly touted ingredients like “emblic myrobalan extract” actually work as described.
That said, I’d love to hear from any of you who have used this product. What did you think? How did it work for you? Use the link below to leave your comments, and read existing user reviews…