Labrada Charge Extreme Energy Review: Does Charge Work?
When you’ve delved as deeply as I have into the science behind various “fat burning” products, there’s really only one conclusion you can draw…
Fat burners don’t really burn a lot of extra fat.
There… I said it.
It’s true, though. When you look at the best human studies, the thermogenic effects of most “fat burning” ingredients are pretty modest. As our intrepid science and technical advisor, Elissa, once put it…
“It’s like getting a $50 discount on a Cadillac. It’s real and measurable, but it’s not a very big deal in the larger scheme of things.”
Indeed. Nonetheless, a so-called “fat burning” formula can still make a significant contribution to the success of a weight loss program by…
- Suppressing appetite.
- Quelling cravings.
- Enhancing mood/energy.
That last point is huge: when people are tired, rundown or just feeling cranky, it’s tough to find the discipline to exercise or resist their favorite comfort foods/snacks. This is why “fat burners” typically contain caffeine, as well as other mood/cognition-enhancing ingredients.
And this is the direction that Labrada Nutrition’s Charge has gone in. Once upon a time, it was a fantastic, ephedra-based fat burner (one of my favorites, in fact!). After the ephedra ban, it evolved into a decent, if unexceptional, green-tea-based weight loss product. The current version of Charge (“Extreme Energy”) has left fat-burning behind and evolved into a mood/energy supplement. Since this one of the most important functions of a fat burner, however, I still feel comfortable discussing it in this section… especially since there’s a significant overlap between the former and current formulas.
What’s the same? For starters, there’s our old friend, caffeine. Caffeine, in addition to its status as a stimulant, is a well known, proven thermogenic (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
Charge also retains the “Proprietary Charge Thermoblend,” which contains 340 mg of the following…
- L-tyrosine: a thyroid-hormone precursor, supplementation may increase thyroid hormone levels and boost your metabolism. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive evidence that this is so. At the appropriate higher dosage, it can also has a beneficial effect on mood and concentration. Unfortunately, this formula contains a relatively small amount of l-tyrosine.
- L-carnitine: Usually included in fat burners because of its “supposed” ability to encourage fat burning within the cell, studies on l-carnitine’s effectiveness as a fat burner are largely unequivocal. Additionally, studies have been performed with 2-6 gram dosages — much higher amounts than included in this formula. A chemical “cousin” of l-carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR), is often used as a cognition-enhancer, but once again, in higher doses than included here.
- Naringin: a citrus flavonoid common to grapefruit, the effects and levels of caffeine can be extended when consumed with naringin.
Even the smidge of ginger root is still there; and it’s still “window dressing” (as I called it in my review of the previous version).
What’s new in Charge?
- Beta-Phenylethylamine HCl: 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). Unfortunately, PEA is too rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase (MAO) to be of much use. That’s why most products focused on squeezing the most from PEA also contain natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
- PikatropinTM: a proprietary name for picamilon (or pikamilon). Picamilon is a niacin-bound derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Picamilon has been extensively investigated in Russia, but little researched in the West. It allegedly increases cerebral blood flow and induces a state of non-drowsy relaxation.
At one point, Charge also contained 1,3 dimethylpentylamine (aka DMAA), but this ingredient was removed in the wake of FDA action against DMAA. It’s a pity, really, since DMAA packed a solid stimulant punch – I’ve sampled a number of DMAA-containing pre-workout products, and liked nearly all of them. Under the circumstances, I think I also would have liked the “DMAA+” version of Charge.
Will the DMAA-free version of Charge offer just as much of a lift?
Probably not, but anything that contains 200mg caffeine should keep your eyelids apart for a number of hours. And while the “Thermoblend” does not impress, the picamilon might take some of the edge off the caffeine, without reducing overall alertness or drive.
Overall, I imagine that Charge does what most people would expect from an “energy booster.” Personally, I think the formula could be improved (to compensate for the loss of the DMAA), but what’s here should still get the job done.
|Summary of Labrada Charge Extreme Energy|