Maximuscle’s Thermobol is a UK-based fat burner and weight loss supplement that has generated a lot of interest from our international visitors lately. So we figured it was time to have a closer look at Thermobol, as a courtesy to our friends from “across the pond.”
According to the Maximuscle web site, this product is a…
“…potent, lean definition blend that’s guaranteed to help you optimise the results you get from your training.”
And that it…
“Contains the highest quality herbal extracts…which are supported by extensive research to aid fat loss goals in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise.”
Pretty tame stuff, compared to North American standards.
So what’s in the Thermobol formula? Good question…
1. Bitter Orange Peel: There’s 325 mg here—it’s standardized for synephrine, although what potency is not revealed. Synephrine is a chemical cousin of ephedra, and replaced it in many ephedra-based formulations after the 2005 ban. Unfortunately, clinical data verifying synephrine’s effects on weight loss has been far from complementary. The most positive study I could find (Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1187-94) concluded…
“CA (citrus aurantrium) alone increased thermogenesis, on average, by 4% (52), a response that is statistically significant but not necessarily clinically significant, representing an average 1 kg over 6 months.”
Whoop-di-doo. Hardly a weight loss revolution. And the conclusions of other studies are no more impressive—see the full synephrine review for details. There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests synephrine may help suppress appetite, but that hasn’t been borne out by any clinical studies to date.
2. L-Tyrosine: Because l-tyrosine is a precursor to the thyroid hormone thyroxine (also known as T4) supplementation may have a positive effect on thyroid hormone levels which may contribute to an increased metabolic rate. Many supplement retailers use the fact that tyrosine is a T4 precursor to make claims about its fat burning prowess.
Unfortunately, clinical data validating l-tyrosine’s thyroid-and-metabolism boosting characteristics is in darn short supply. In multi-gram doses (not present in this formula) its greatest demonstrated benefit is as a “mood elevator.”
3. Caffeine: A well-known thermogenic with established, albeit relatively mild, weight loss benefits (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97). The combination of caffeine and green tea (as is present in this formula) has been shown to be even more beneficial for weight loss (see Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204).
It’s often included in fat burners for the simple reason it cheaply addresses one of the most common complaints of dieters; fatigue. A daily 3-capsule serving of Thermobol contains 459 mg of caffeine, which is a significant amount, although when spread out over the course of the day will probably be tolerated well by all but those most sensitive to stimulants.
4. Green Tea extract (90% polyphenols): Green tea is one of the few substances that shows some real promise for weight loss, although its benefits are often great exaggerated by retailers. The standardization to 90% polyphenols in this formula is probably to ensure it corresponds to this positive clinical study that showed the combination of 50 mg of caffeine and 90 mg EGCG (a green tea polyphenol) taken 3-times daily successfully elevated 24-hour energy expenditure.
5. Guarana seed powder: Guarana is normally included in fat burners for its caffeine content and diuretic properties, although with only 12 mg in this product, it comprises little more than “label dressing.”
6. Bioperine®: A proprietary black pepper extract, Bioperine is usually added to product formulas because it can enhance the bioavailability of certain ingredients.
7. Chromium polynicotinate: An essential trace mineral that plays an essential role in insulin function and as such, a smart addition to any weight loss product. That said, clinical evidence validating chromium’s effects on weight loss is contradictory, with some studies showing a minor benefit, while others showing no benefit at all.
8. Various B-vitamins: Do certain B-vitamins play a role in fat and energy metabolism? You bet. Will supplementing with them help you lose weight? Unless you’re suffering some sort of nutritional deficiency, it’s highly doubtful.
9. Capsaicin extract from Hot Cayenne pepper: Capsaicin is the chemical that gives chile peppers their “heat.” The theory is that capsaicin “revs” up your metabolism by creating heat, thus burning off extra calories. However, this study (Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):R77-85. Epub 2006 Jul 13) says it best…
“Capsaicin has been shown to be effective, yet when it is used clinically it requires a strong compliance to a certain dosage, that has not been shown to be feasible yet.”
In other words, in order for capsaicin to have an effect on your metabolism, it has to be taken in doses much too high to make it practical.
So there you have it; Thermobol in a nutshell. Its value can be largely attributed to its caffeine and green tea content, and to a much lesser extent, it’s synephrine and chromium content (the value of remainder of ingredients is either speculative, or they are not present in a dose strong enough to elicit an effect).
Thermobol is not a bad product, as the green tea/caffeine combination is about as close to a no-brainer as you can get in any fat burner. The problem is that for what it is, it’s very expensive—about £35, or US $57 for a month’s supply. Now I don’t know if weight loss products are more expensive in the U.K, but in North America, you can buy much more potent and effective products for significantly less money.
That said, I’m appealing to our European audience to set us straight on this…
|Summary of Maximuscle Thermobol|