PGX Daily For Weight Management: Review & Information
PGX Daily is garnering a lot of interest from visitors lately, due to an extensive advertising campaign and prominent displays at big-box super stores like Wal-Mart. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s the weight loss diet product with the catchy little slogan…
“PGX will change your life, even if you don’t.”
Of course, PGX Daily will not change your life, even if you don’t. But it certainly sounds good, doesn’t it? That doesn’t mean this isn’t a decent product of course, and possibly even one worth experimenting with—it’s just that no diet product, no matter how good, will accomplish this sort of result.
That said, let’s get back to basics and look at the claims made for this product, and the science that apparently supports its miraculous effects. First let’s take a look at the ingredients…
PGX Daily is derived from glucomannan/konjac. That means it is basically a fiber supplement. There are numerous glucomannan-based fat burners on the market today—Lipozene, FiberThin, Propolene, and Tetrazene are a few that come to mind immediately. So the use of glucomannan in weight loss products is nothing new.
What is new is the claim that PGX (short for “PolyGlycopleX”) is superior to glucomannan and other individual, soluble fiber sources, due to its higher viscosity. PGX is a sort of hybrid of three such fiber sources. The other two are…
- Sodium alginate: An algae-based thickener that is commonly used in pie fillings.
- Xanthan gum: A thickening agent formed by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris.
Here’s how one abstract describes it:
“PolyGlycopleX (PGX) is a highly viscous polysaccharide manufactured by reacting glucomannan with other soluble polysaccharides using a proprietary process (EnviroSimplex). The resulting polysaccharide (alpha-D-glucurono-alpha-D-manno-beta-D-manno-beta-D-glucan, alpha-L-gulurono-beta-D-mannuronan, beta-D-gluco-beta-D-mannan, alpha-D-glucurono-alpha-D-manno-beta-D-manno-beta-D-gluco, alpha-L-gulurono-beta-D-mannurono, beta-D-gluco-beta-D-mannan) is a novel entity with the highest viscosity and water-holding capacity of currently known fibers.”
Why is viscosity important? Viscous fiber sources like oat beta-glucan, pectin, guar gum and psyllium have health benefits beyond making you more “regular.” As noted in this summary…
“While it is generally known that “fiber is good for you,” it is less well known that specific health benefits are associated with specific fiber characteristics. Many of the health benefits of fiber can be directly correlated with the viscosity of soluble fibers when hydrated (i.e., gel-forming). A reduction in viscosity of a given fiber will attenuate these health benefits, and a nonviscous fiber does not exhibit these health benefits.
…Increasing the viscosity of chyme with a viscous soluble fiber has been shown clinically to lower cholesterol for cardiovascular health, improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, normalize stool form in both constipation (softens hard stool) and diarrhea (firms loose/liquid stool), and improve the objective clinical measures of metabolic syndrome (glycemic control, lipoprotein profile, body mass index/weight loss, and blood pressure).”
So viscous fiber is good, and PGX is the most viscous of all. Does this mean that PGX is the One Fiber to Rule Them All?
In truth, it’s hard to tell. As of this writing (October, 2012) I was able to locate 15 studies on PolyGlycoPlex indexed by PubMed. Unfortunately, a significant number of these are on diabetic rats. These studies suggest that PGX supplementation can improve blood lipids, enhance glycemic control and boost secretion of satiety hormones.
There are also some human studies that generally confirm the above. Taking 2.5g – 5g of PGX prior to starchy meals measurably reduced the post-meal rise in blood sugar (“postprandial glycemia”). It also effectively reduces the overall GI of the starchy foods its added to.
Problem is most of the human studies are acute – that is, they’re concerned with the immediate effects of consuming PGX. Even worse, comparative studies are few and far between. It is not hard to show that something is better than nothing. It’s more difficult to prove that something is better than related alternatives.
This is particularly relevant to the theme of this review: weight loss. Even though the number of human studies is limited, the record is sufficient to establish that PGX supplementation is both safe and healthful. But how effective is it at helping users shed pounds?
Unfortunately, there’s only one PGX study (so far) that addresses the subject… and I knew by just looking at the title…
“The Effect of a Novel Viscous Polysaccharide along with Lifestyle Changes on Short-Term Weight Loss and Associated Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: An Observational Retrospective Clinical Program Analysis.”
…that I was going to have a problem with it. I bolded the problematic part.
Translated, “An Observational Retrospective Clinical Program Analysis” means “we gave PGX to some overweight people; gave them some diet/exercise counseling, and made some measurements.” The number of subjects was small (29), there were no controls, nor any attempt to ascertain how much the subjects were eating (or not eating).
While this may be a pretty good “real world” scenario, it stinks from a scientific viewpoint, since there’s no way to measure the contribution of the supplement itself.
It’s also worth noting that the lead author of this paper is Michael R. Lyon, MD… who consults for Natural Factors, the makers of PGX Daily. Suffice it to say, the lack of independent oversight does not enhance the credibility of a poorly-conducted study. Calling it a “retrospective clinical program analysis” is the scientific equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.
For the record, the average weight loss was 5.79kg (~13 pounds) over 14 weeks – decent, but hardly astonishing.
Nonetheless, it’s reasonable to assume that PGX could help dieters feel fuller, longer when taken before meals. A 2009 study, for example, found it induced a small, but measurable reduction in pizza eaten by teens given a PGX preload, vs. glucomannan or cellulose (the PGX group ate an average of 35g less – about 1.2 ounces).
So what’s the bottom line on this product?
PGX is a convenient form of fiber that appears to have plenty of benefits. Although you can get more fiber into your diet simply by eating the right fruits and vegetables, many people will appreciate the simplicity offered by PGX Daily. It will likely help you eat less, and this reduction in calories could help you lose weight. It also appears to be helpful in moderating glucose levels, which may reduce your cravings for sweets, and desire to snack.
PGX Daily also contains 600mg medium chain triglycerides per gel cap. It’s tough to say what – if anything – this adds to the efficacy of the product. There is some evidence MCT oil may be helpful for weight loss (also see American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 44, 630-634), it is only at very large dosages that such results are observed. The latter-mentioned AJCN journal study, for example, used approximately 74 times more MCT oil than found in PGX Daily. Even if you take the maximum recommended dose (3 – 6 softgels before each meal), you’ll still come up short.
Be that as it may, the real problem I have with this product is its cost. A bottle of 120 softgels will set you back $30 US – and it won’t last very long if you’re taking the recommended dose of 9 – 18 softgels per day. To justify that cost, PGX Daily should be demonstrably superior to other soluble fibers… and that’s just the problem. I suppose it could be, but I’ve yet to see any good data to prove it.
At this point, there’s no reason to believe the PGX Daily formula will deliver significantly better weight loss results than simple glucomannan, which can be purchased for considerably less money.
For instance, a 180-capsule bottle of the NOW brand glucomannan is just under $10 at BodyBuilding.com, our recommended online retailer. You could even add other useful ingredients, like a good, standardized green tea extract, and still be money ahead.
Unless you see a specific health reason to use this product, that would be my recommendation.
|Summary of PGX Daily|