MHP’s Dren (or Drenbuterol) claims to be a “fat loss breakthrough”, and “an advanced pharmacological approach to fat annihilation!” Of course, this sort of thing is nothing new. Supplement retailers have been making claims like this for years. That said however, Dren does warrant a closer look…
At its core, the Drenbuterol formula is pretty ordinary; it contains several ingredients common to many of the more popular fat burners on the market…
1. 5-HTP (5 Hydroxytryptophan): There is some clinical evidence that 5-HTP is an effective appetite suppressant (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;56(5):863-7), although it’s at a much higher dosage than is included in Dren.
2. Caffeine: Caffeine’s thermogenic properties are well documented (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97, Am J Physiol. 1995 Oct;269(4 Pt 1):E671-8). It’s not revealed just how much caffeine is included in the Dren formula, but it’s likely a decent dose, since it’s the first ingredient on the label (ingredients are listed in order of highest dosage to lowest).
3. Yohimbine: A few studies bear out Yohimbe’s positive effect on weight loss (Isr J Med Sci. 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6) but its effects are hardly earth-shattering. If you review the study, you’ll also see individuals were receiving 20 mg of yohimbine per day — and I highly doubt that much is included in the Dren formula.
The one ingredient that makes this formula special is called “beta methoxy phenethylamine.”
Phenethylamine (also called PEA) is the “feel good” amphetamine-like chemical that is found naturally in chocolate. Although there’s no clinical evidence that PEA offers benefits for weight loss, supplement retailers have been using it more frequently in their formulas as a “mood elevator.”
Since PEA is naturally metabolized by an enzyme known as “monamine oxidase” (which ensures only the tiniest amounts of PEA actually enter the bloodstream) the better formulas (like Gaspari’s CytoLean, reviewed here) combine PEA with natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (commonly referred to as MAOIs).
Other products include PEA without MAOIs, and claim that you’ll feel the “euphoria of consuming 1,000 chocolate bars“… a claim without an iota of merit, of course.
OK, now back to beta methoxy phenethylamine. According to MHP, the manufacturers of Dren, this unique form of PEA resists metabolism by monamine oxidase, and acts in much the same manner of ephedrine to encourage the burning of fat. Of course, there is no clinical evidence to indicate this is so — in house or otherwise — so we’re left with nothing but the manufacturer’s word to rely on.
According to Elissa, our resident “in house” scientist…
Beta-PEA is in the same family as both epinephrine and ephedrine. So, IF it can resist breakdown in the body and IF it can cross the blood-brain barrier, then presumably it could also function as a sympathomimetic.
The issue is the modification at the beta-carbon of the “ethylamine” portion of the molecule. There are two carbons (alpha and beta) and an amine here.
Normally, beta-PEA is broken down by an enzyme, monoamine oxidase, which cleaves off the amine terminal group on the ethylamine portion and modifies the alpha carbon. Thus, it should come as no surprise that known, orally-active psychoactive phenethylamines have modifications at the alpha carbon, which would render them resistant to MAO breakdown.
BUT, I don’t see how the methoxy addition to the beta carbon would have a similar impact…looking at what monoamine oxidases do, there doesn’t appear to be any reason why this addition to the beta carbon would matter.
However, judging by the descriptions of Dren’s effects on one popular web site, it is possible this form of PEA retards the breakdown of MAO and does generate some effect.
In case things got a bit technical there, what Elissa is saying is that she can’t see why this unique form of PEA would be any more or less effective surviving MAO metabolism than the form currently found in other popular products, but there is a possibility that this is indeed the case.
Frankly, very little real information is available… certainly not enough to make a statement one way or the other with any degree of certainty.
So does Dren “work” as described?
Well, like Elissa and I have both already said… there’s isn’t any independent study to show it does. At the same time, there may be something to this form of PEA.
“Maybe” is as good as we can get on this one. Before I go though, there is one other thing Elissa shared with me that I’d be remiss to not include here…
PEA derivatives give me the willies, as the substituted phenylethylamines are a very diverse group… and includes agents with an addictive potential (amphetamine, for example).
So I find the lack of supporting studies and health/safety information troubling. In my opinion, supplement companies do not have the right to treat their customers as guinea pigs to test de facto drugs.
You heard her… if you are considering supplementing with Drenbuterol, proceed with caution, and considered yourself forewarned!
If you’ve used Dren, we’d love to hear from you — tell us what you think!
|Summary of MHP DREN|