Phentramin-D Diet Pill Review: The “Legal” Phentermine?
The folks marketing Phentramin-D™ seem to have no problems pushing the limits with their advertising spiel…
“Phentramin-d ® is a scientifically developed chemical compound designed to produce effects similar to Adipex and Phentermine and it doesn’t require a prescription! Available in small white tablets with blue specks, Phentramin-d Tablets is NOT an herbal product, but a true pharmacological weight loss aid designed to boost energy, stimulate metabolism, and effectively suppress appetite. Phentramin-d combines in a specific ratio that can help you lose up to 25 pounds in a month!”
“[S]cientifically developed…” – check. “[D]oesn’t require a prescription…” – check. “[L]ose up to 25 pounds in a month…” – check. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen promises just like these, I wouldn’t be typing this right now; I’d be sipping a drink—relaxing under a palm tree on a tropical island somewhere; as opposed to dealing with the onset of yet another brutal Canadian winter.
They also claim that…
“The primary ingredient in Phentramin-d elevates your metabolic rate, helps to increase fat mobilization, and increases your energy levels…. Experts agree Phentramin-d is the best weight loss product available on the market.”
Of course, there is absolutely no clinical data on any sort to validate any of these statements. We don’t even get the names of the so-called “experts.” We’re to take this all on the word of the retailer.
So what’s in Phentramin-D™?
1. 1,3,7 Trimethylxanthine: Elissa wrote a great blog post recently about how some retailers will use complicated nomenclature to hide the true identity of ordinary ingredients. In this case, 1,3,7 Trimethylxanthine is more commonly known as “caffeine.”
Nothing wrong with including caffeine in your weight loss product, of course—research shows it does offer some benefit for weight loss (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
So why hide this ingredient behind complex chemical nomenclature? The answer is simple: when you’re trying to extract $67/bottle from the wallets of potential customers, offering them a ubiquitous, low-tech ingredient they can find at any drug store for under $5 simply won’t do!
Back to the caffeine content…
Unfortunately, we also do not know how much caffeine is included in this formula and whether or not it is included in a potent enough dosage to elicit any effect. I would suspect it is; it’s cheap enough, and one of those ingredients customers can definitely “feel.”
2. Beta-Phenylethylamine: This is one of the two replacement compounds for 1,3-dimethylpentylamine, which was part of the formula when I first reviewed it in early 2012.
What happened between then and now? Why the change?
Also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine or DMAA, 1,3-dimethylpentylamine was hardly unique to Phentramin-D – it was a stimulant ingredient in a wide range of pre-workout and weight loss supplements. However, it’s now a) banned by a number of sporting organizations and governments; b) subject to FDA action; and c) the raison d’etre for a series of class action lawsuits (as well as one wrongful death suit). As a result, nearly all of the popular supplement manufacturers have dropped it like a hot rock.
Is beta-phenylethylamine a good replacement for it?
The problem with PEA supplementation is that it’s rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase (MAO), which means oral supplementation is unlikely to increase PEA in the bloodstream in any significant manner, unless whopping doses are used (anecdotally, I’ve seen reports of users taking 1 – 2 grams at a time). In one study that demonstrated PEA’s positive effect on mood, it was prescribed with selegiline—a drug normally used to treat Parkinson’s disease that functions as a potent MAO-B inhibitor. In other words, selegiline prevented the breakdown of PEA by monoamine oxidase, which then allowed it to act on the brain accordingly.
Of course, supplement retailers can’t use selegiline in their formulas so those who are serious about getting the most out of phenylethylamine’s mood elevating effects are including natural MAO-Is in their formulas. There’s little data on how well these work, however. A study on VPX’s “Meltdown” RTD suggested that, despite the inclusion of methyl-hordenine HCL (a form of hordenine, a natural MAO-B inhibitor)…
“The results of this study however, do not support any role for phenylethylamine in affecting mood in apparently healthy, college-aged females consuming an energy drink. In addition, no difference in alertness, focus and energy was noted.”
3. Synephrine: This is the other compound used to replace DMAA. Personally, I find this rather ironic, since the makers of Phentramin-D apparently didn’t think too highly of it, once upon a time. You can still find descriptions like this still floating around the web…
“A truly revolutionary, next generation product, Phentramin-d contains NO HOODIA, NO CHROMIUM, NO EPHEDRA SUBSTITUTES SUCH AS SYNEPHRINE, CITRUS AURANTIUM OR CHA DE BUGRE but a powerful, effective, yet safe pharmacological formula that far supersedes these herbal ingredients and makes them not only unnecessary but, in our opinion, outdated for rapid, effective and safe weight loss.”
Emphasis mine. Ooops!
They’re right about the “ephedra substitute” label, however. After the ephedra ban, synephrine was touted as its replacement in many fat burner compilations (this based on promising animal studies). Unfortunately, human-based studies have been less exciting. Results were lackluster, they suffered from methodological flaws, or were done using a combination of ingredients (making it impossible to attribute results to any specific ingredient).
So what’s the bottom line?
At the end of the day, Phentramin-D™ is a glorified caffeine pill of indeterminable strength and potency.
It’s hard to justify $67 for a month’s worth for a product like this… particularly since you could recreate it yourself, for considerably less money. Here’s how:
- Over at BodyBuilding.com, you can pick up a bottle of 100 caffeine tabs for less than $5.
- Add a bottle of synephrine (180 caps) for $12.
- And finally, add 120 caps of phenylethylamine for $18.
The whole thing comes to less than $35 dollars. Even if you factor in the cost of shipping you’re still saving a ton of cash. Plus, you’re getting enough product for 6-8 weeks of supplementation. I’m not smitten with this particular combo from a fat loss perspective, but if you’re tempted to try this product, it’s probably the best way to go about it.
|Summary of Phentramin-D|