Sigh. Here we go again.
That was my first response to the Liponox sales page, and this statement especially…
“Trying to create the World’s Most Powerful Diet Pill, our R & D team was challenged to formulate an advanced weight loss formula designed with the newest breakthroughs in modern science. After 2 years of rigorous development, what we discovered was the secret to rapid weight loss.”
This, of course, is nonsense on so many levels—the least of which is that the Liponox R&D team did not discover any such secret, nor did they formulate anything—unless that’s what you want to call selecting a few ingredients other people have already used and patented and then put them into your own product. And two years? Give me a break. More like 10 minutes.
So what’s in Liponox that makes it SO amazing?
Well, under an impressive looking banner (“The Science Behind Liponox), the main ingredients are listed…
1. Irvingia gabonensis: Also known as African mango, this ingredient has gained some exposure in the mainstream press over the last few years, largely due to a segment on the Dr. Oz show. But as we have pointed out on numerous occasions, Dr. Oz has been less than diligent in presenting weight loss “solutions” to the general public. African mango is certainly one of those cases.
While the weight loss effects of the Irvingia gabonensis extract (called IGOB131) used in Liponox has been demonstrated in clinical trials—the Liponox sales page boasts of 28 pounds in 10 weeks—there are some serious problems that call these conclusions into question…
i. I found a patent application for IGOB131 filed by the study’s lead author, Julius Oben. Dr. Oben already holds a patent on another Irvingia gabonensis preparation for weight loss. This represents a conflict of interest.
ii. There are some curious statements in the study that could use elucidating. For instance, it indicates that “no major dietary intervention or formal physical activity program was instituted during the course of the study.” Yet later it reveals that both the placebo and test group consumed foods that broke down to the following: 56% carbohydrate, 29% protein, and 15% fat.
How can it be that 2 groups of people (102 in total) both consumed the exact identical nutrient profile without any major “dietary intervention”? Where are the “error bars?”
And it gets even more mind numbing when it comes to calorie consumption; daily energy consumption for the IGOB131 group was 2767 ± 187 kcal, and for the placebo group, it was 3156 ± 185 kcal.
That’s correct; the people on the Irvingia gabonensis extract were also consuming 400 fewer calories per day… yet the discussion of the results makes no mention of this difference. This is inconceivable to me—even if the difference was due to appetite suppression (an effect of IGOB131), it’s entirely relevant to the claimed weight loss effect of the extract.
In short, I’ll be happy to believe these results when I see independent confirmation. This is not to say that I believe Irvingia gabonensis extract doesn’t work at all—lots of traditional medicinal plants contain compounds that are physiologically active. But I believe it’s prudent to remain skeptical about the magnitude of the effect. I’ve been in this business for a long time, and have seen many “miracles” fall flat on closer examination.
At any rate, study participants received 150 mg of Irvingia gabonensis extract twice daily. The recommended dose of Liponox is 1-2 capsules twice daily, so you’d need to take the full 2 pill dose twice daily to get the recommended amount. That means this 80 capsule container will last only 20 days, not the full month as claimed by the retailer.
2. Cissus quadrangularis: Also known as veld grape, this ingredient is traditionally used as an anti-osteoporotic, and the be quite frank, I’m surprised to see this it here. Why? Because Cissus was all the rage a few years back, but pretty much dropped into oblivion when it did not deliver the results promised.
You see, there is some clinical data validating this ingredient’s effects on weight loss, but once again the only studies that exist (Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Feb 4;6:4 and Lipids Health Dis. 2006 Sep 2;5:24) just happen to have been conducted by someone with a financial conflict of interest…
Yes, the lead author on this study, Julius Oben (who incidentally is the same guy who conducted the African mango studies as well) also has a patent on Cissus quadrangularis for weight loss.
So in short, the only studies performed on this ingredient have been conducted by the person who has the most to gain financially from a positive result.
What this essentially means is that until we have independent corroboration of these results, we have to remain skeptical of these.
3. Green Select® Phytosome Green Tea: Although the effects of green tea on weight loss tends to be exaggerated by the retailers, it is still a supplement we like for all the reasons outlined in our review, not the least of which being that it elevates the metabolism and inhibits the action of the enzyme fatty acid synthase.
This particular form of green tea is a specially formulated, highly bioavailable form of green tea extract, and as indicated by the retailers, its effects have been proven in a clinical study.
But while the retailers wax lyrical about Phytosome Green Tea’s amazing weight loss effects, the study authors are much more cautious, stating…
“Other potential variables between groups should be considered; for example, it is possible that individuals given an oral treatment targeted to enhance weight loss might have followed the diet more strictly.”
This is relevant because we don’t know what extra encouragement and expectations the test group were given. This is important when we consider claims that Phytosome Green Tea extract produces more weight loss than other, standardized green tea extracts. The thing is, there was no placebo and no blinding – a real methodological issue which calls the study conclusion into question.
“Additional studies are needed to determine whether the product demonstrates an anti-obesity effect without the hypocaloric diet.”
In other words, the retailers of Liponox are saying one thing, and the study authors are saying something quite different.
On a positive note, 2 capsules contain 150 mg of ingredients, so a 4-capsule daily dose conforms to the amount in the clinical study.
4. Green Coffee Bean Extract: According to the sales material I reviewed…
“Green Coffee Bean Extract is filled with chlorogenic acid, an acid that actually helps prevent the formation of fat inside your body! Not only can it prevent fat from forming in the first place, but Green Coffee Bean can help you get rid of the existing fat, especially the stubborn and dangerous visceral fat that lies deep within your body and may surround your vital organs.”
There are two points I would like to make in regard to this statement…
First, although green coffee bean extract has also received major media attention as of late (it too was featured on the Dr. Oz show), the clinical data supporting its use is—once again—preliminary and hardly the stuff of weight loss dreams (if you generously interpret the study results the most you get is a weight loss of 1.4 lbs. per week, which is hardly dramatic).
Second, while the Liponox sales copy discusses the power of chlorogenic acid and references the chlorogenic acid study to support its effects, the product label shows that the green coffee bean in the product is not standardized for chlorogenic acid, but for caffeine.
In other words, the entire discussion on chlorogenic acid is moot, because Liponox does not contain any.
5. Lipoffeine Energy Blend: This 500 mg blend contains caffeine, plus 5 other herbal compounds standardized for it (green tea, guarana, green coffee bean, kola nut and yerba mate). Using a combination of herbals and caffeine (in this case dicaffeine malate) as your sources of caffeine is no more effective that simply including the equivalent dose of plain old stuff, so I have to conclude these ingredients simply are included to make the label look more impressive.
Nevertheless, caffeine is a staple ingredient in most fat burners and it does have demonstrated, although mild effects on the metabolism (see here and here for supporting evidence). In the case of this product there is no way to tell how much caffeine is actually present, but it looks like it is probably a pretty fair bit, which means this product is not a candidate for anyone with high blood pressure or heart problems, or is sensitive to stimulants.
It also contains a sprinkling of tea dust (black tea, white tea and oolong tea) which is standardized for polyphenols. At this dose there is not going to be enough additional tea polyphenols to do anything but “spice” up the label. The value of tea polyphenols in this formula comes from the Phytosome Green Tea we discussed earlier.
So now that we know what is in Liponox, what’s the bottom line?
On the plus side…
- Two 2-capsules daily servings (4 caps per day) delivers up the correct amounts of Irvingia gabonensis, Cissus, and Phytosome Green tea. In other words, the amounts included in this product conforms to the amounts used in the clinical studies referenced.
- There’s plenty of caffeine here to provide plenty of additional energy, should that be what you are looking for in a product like this.
On the con side…
- This product is expensive; there’s not a over the counter diet pill on the planet that is worth $60 a bottle.
- In most cases, the studies supporting the ingredients in this formula are either not independently corroborated, or they are small and preliminary.
- Despite discussing the benefits of chlorogenic acid in the sales copy, Liponox does not seem to actually contain any.
- According to the retailers, “Each Bottle of LIPONOX contains 80 easy to swallow capsules and is designed to last a full 30 days.” At 4 capsules per day (the amount you will need to take to consume the main ingredients in the amounts used in the clinical studies referenced), a bottle lasts 20 days. At 3 capsules per day, a bottle lasts 26.6 days. At 2 capsules per day it lasts 40 days. Whoever put this little gem together isn’t exactly a mathematical genius; there is no possible way to take a consistent number of pills each day and end up with this product lasting 30 days. Duh.
- Despite offering a 90 day money back guarantee, no physical address of the company is provided, nor is it revealed on the sales site who actually retails this product. This is importance; it’s pretty difficult for any customer to obtain recourse if s/he does not know who s/he is dealing with. Using DomainTools.com, we discovered it is a company called XPI Supplements that sells Liponox. But even when we visited their official web site, we couldn’t find anything to indicate who they really are—just an address for returns; 1084 Industrial Park Dr Orem, UT 84057.A quick search using Bing.com reveals this return address is being used for all sorts of dubious online products including Colonetix, Prevera, Prototype #37-C, Apidexin, Somabien, Acnepril, Nantokin, DecaSlim, Phenphedrine and Testogenix. This is also the address listed as belonging to Garret Devore Labs and Blackstone Nutrition (these guys hold the coveted #1 spot on our biggest scam retailers wall of shame and have an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau). Is XPI Supplements is a shell company used by Garret Devore Labs and Blackstone Nutrition? We can’t be sure, but the apparent connection is enough to make us extremely wary of doing business with the retailers of Liponox.
As you can see, there are a ton of “cons”, and not a heck of a lot of “pros.”
Our conclusion, therefore, shouldn’t come as a surprise…
Save your money, and don’t bother with Liponox.
But what if you are still interested in experimenting with some of the ingredients in this formula? Well, there are some options…
- For $28, you can buy a month’s supply of properly standardized Irvingia stacked with decaffeinated green tea (at Swanson Vitamins). Stack this with some caffeine (about $4 at BodyBuilding.com), and for slightly more than 50% of the cost of Liponox, you’re going to get most of the benefits.
- Green coffee been extract: Although Liponox does not appear to contain any chlorogenic acid, you may wish to experiment with it regardless, perhaps on the basis of Dr. Oz’s recommendation. However, it is not going to be a cheap proposition even if you buy it in isolation. The study used to justify its use used two dosages; 700 mg of GCE (green coffee extract) and 1050 GCE. To replicate the lower dose, you would need to take two caps twice daily of Life Extension CoffeeGenic. To replicate the higher dose, you’d need 2 caps three times daily. At $28 for 90 caps, you’re going to require 2 bottles and almost $60 to take the most optimal dosage for a month.
At this point, we don’t see any point in experimenting with Cissus.