Prescopodene Review: America’s Most Powerful Diet Pill? Really?
The Prescopodene retailers make some pretty outrageous claims about their product. Here’s a brief excerpt…
“…suppressing your appetite in 7-10 minutes… turning your body into a “fat evaporator” through the powerful heat cycling effects of thermogenesis… and adding a metabolic boost so dynamic that your body burns fat hour by hour, day by day, without any effort.”
The best part — if you believe the Prescopodene claims — is that this product’s miraculous “fat-evaporating” powers are validated by a 6 month clinical trial. Wow! Sounds great! Where do I sign up?
Well, hold on a second. Doesn’t it seem to be just a bit “too amazing” that the makers of Prescopodene have been able to accomplish what big pharma, with all its zillions of dollars, has been unable to do? Create a product that “burns fat like a laser” without any effort?
And isn’t it funny this company is making exactly the sort of claims both the Federal Trade Commission and Health Canada warn against here, pointing out that they are not reflective of the realities of weight loss?
Let’s have a look at the clinical study, because frankly, my “spider senses” are tingling.
Hmmm. This isn’t good.
First off, although a “study” is presented on the Prescopodene web site, I couldn’t find it listed in the PubMed database, or anywhere else for that matter. So it doesn’t appear to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, where its conclusions and methodology can be examined and critiqued by like-minded professionals. At best, it’s an in-house study that has no independent research to verify its conclusions.
Additionally, Dr. Robert Johnson, the M.D. referenced on the web site as “testing” Prescopodene does not have his name on the “clinical study.” And the institute he works for? “The Obesity Research Clinic” is about as generic as it gets. Heck, a search on Google for “obesity research clinic” yields over 200 results. I ask… which “Obesity Research Clinic”, and where? It’s all a bit too suspicious for my liking.
However, since I’m not a trained scientist, I decided to ask Elissa, our resident scientist, for her opinion. Here’s what she said…
So “Dr. Robert Johnson” is an M.D. – AND a Ph.D? Ok, there are some truly ambitious folks who are both M.D.s and Ph.D.s – but they’re relatively rare…and you can be darn sure any M.D. who also has a doctorate isn’t seeing patients individually in a clinic setting. He’d be an administrator.
In addition, if he were a real person, the location of the clinic would be highly relevant – it would add credibility. “Dr. Johnson” would want this info included too – it would be good for his clinic. Yet this info is missing…I wonder why?
Point being, with a generic personal and clinic name; and no business address, “Dr. Johnson” is untraceable.
Same deal with the so-called “clinical study.” Any direct info that would enable someone to track this study down, such as the journal, issue, publication date, page numbers, etc., is missing.
Likewise, there’s no institutional affiliation(s) for the authors of the paper. This is standard-issue stuff that ALWAYS accompanies a genuine, scientific paper – even an “in-house” one. Science is about transparency and accountability: if you make it public, then you open yourself to critique and comment by the community. Period. Anonymity is NOT an option.
That this info is omitted is reason enough to be suspicious – very, suspicious. One omission could be an oversight… multiple omissions represent a pattern.
There are other, more subtle issues that send my “BS meter” off the charts.
1. In addition to the fact that the study itself can’t be found (outside the ad), none of the study authors show up in a PubMed search for other obesity research. Yet their names are attached to a weight loss study on 873 obese subjects!
That’s a hyooooge number of subjects for a study: it’s on a scale used for high-level drug research. It would almost certainly be a hospital/clinic-based multi-center trial…so you’d think only researchers with known, well-established obesity research credentials would be qualified to conduct a study of that size. It takes a lot of detailed planning, tight organization and institutional access to control a study of this magnitude.
So it’s quite strange to see – not one – but FOUR untraceable authors (there also appears to be a fifth author, as the initials “T.D” appear, but are not attached to a last name…rather sloppy, if you ask me).
2. This would an insanely expensive study, too. How did they measure “caloric reduction” without analyzing detailed food diaries? How did they determine “metabolic increase” without performing indirect calorimetry? How did they determine body fat percentage changes to 2 decimal places without DEXA?
We’re talking big $$$ here, for trained personnel and specialized equipment. So who funded it? I’ve yet to see ANY dietary supplement company bankroll a study of this magnitude and complexity. This is “Big Pharma” territory. There are also some peculiarities in the data, as well as in the way the data is reported, that make me question the validity of this study – assuming an actual study was even performed. Quite honestly, there are so many irregularities packed into that abstract that I’m tempted to believe the study it describes is more “science fiction” than “science.”
Phew! It’s isn’t looking too good for Prescopodene (if you didn’t understand all of what Elissa was saying above don’t worry; all it really means is that this “study” does not look authentic).
But what about the ingredient profile? Well, as you’ll see when I breakdown the ingredients, there is nothing in Prescopodene that would facilitate the sort of results advertised on the web site. Of course there’s also the problem that the dosage of each ingredient is not revealed so there’s no way to assess its potency or the value it adds to the formula.
1. Ascorbic acid: This is plain old vitamin C. The advertising claims it “removes toxic compounds that are released when fat is metabolized.” This statement, I’m afraid is not based on anything resembling fact.
2. “Pyridoxine HCP” [sic]: What the heck is “Pyridoxine HCP?” No idea. While it sounds high-tech and sciency, it’s almost certainly a typo: no doubt it’s pyridoxine HCl, a common supplemental form of vitamin B6. And yes, this vitamin is required for the proper utilization of macronutrients, but unless you suffer a deficiency, supplementation is not going to result in any more noticeable weight loss than taking a regular brand vitamin blend.
3. Green tea: It’s true: green tea is one of the shining bright lights in the weight loss supplement world (you can read the full review of green tea here). There’s a catch though; it needs to be present in a significant enough dosage, and standardized for the correct amount of critical catechins and polyphenols.
Does Prescopodene contain a strong enough dose? Who knows? That information is not revealed. Nonetheless, I highly doubt it. One of the issues facing any product that contains a pile of ingredients is simply one of logistics; you can only fit a limited amount of ingredient into the small number of medium-sized capsules that most people can easily tolerate.
The more ingredients a product contains, the less likely it is to contain a dosage high enough to elicit any effect (there are exceptions of course; ingredients that only need to be present in microgram amounts, like certain vitamins and minerals).
4. Advantra Z ® (Citrus aurantium extract, standardized for synephrine): The Prescopodene advertising material states that this ingredient…
“Stimulates Beta 3 receptors, which breaks down fat, increases energy and metabolic rate, and creates thermogenesis.”
Unfortunately, the clinical research performed on synephrine for weight loss has been far from “glowing” in its assessment. One study (Am J Cardiol. 2004 Nov 15;94(10):1359-61) on the “Safety and efficacy of citrus aurantium for weight loss” concluded…
“An extensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Collaboration Database identified only 1 eligible randomized placebo controlled trial, which followed 20 patients for 6 weeks, demonstrated no statistically significant benefit for weight loss, and provided limited information about the safety of the herb.”
5. DMAE: A precursor to choline, a full review of DMAE is available here. DMAE is an antioxidant and it can help elevate mood. However, I would challenge the makers of Prescopodene on their claim that it “increases physical energy.” The only study that I’m aware of that shows DMAE to have any benefit in this regard occurred when it was combined with ginseng and used as a secondary ingredient (see Clin Ther. 1991 May-Jun;13(3):373-82).
6. Yerba Mate: Does it increase energy, promote thermogenesis and suppress appetite as advertised? Well, it does contain caffeine, which is a well-known thermogenic. But studies showing yerba mate to be an effective weight loss agent have been, well… hardly conclusive.
In one study, yerba mate combined with guarana and damiana (neither of which are included in this formula) resulted in delayed gastric emptying and an increased feeling of satiety (see J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-50). One animal study showed that it reduced the obesity incurred by a high fat diet (Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008 Feb 26).
On the other hand this study (Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):529-36), which examined the clinical evidence for several “natural” weight loss aids — including yerba mate — concluded…
The evidence for most dietary supplements as aids in reducing body weight is not convincing. None of the reviewed dietary supplements can be recommended for over-the-counter use.
So while it’s possible further studies may vindicate mate as a weight loss agent, the current evidence does not support the statements made by the retailers of Prescopodene.
7. Pantothenic Acid: Vitamin B5. Again, it can be argued that various vitamins can help you lose weight in that they help put your body in an optimal state to do so. But does vitamin B5 burn fat consistent with the Prescopodene sales pitch? Uh, no.
8. Magnesium: Involved in more than 300 cellular reactions, magnesium is an element of vital importance. It’s common in legumes, leafy green veggies, nuts and meat but is probably a smart addition to any supplement, as the majority of people fail to meet the daily RDA for magnesium. However, it won’t “melt fat” without exercise.
9. Ginger Root: According to the Prescopodene advertising material, ginger root “decreases appetite and increases number of calories burned.” Ginger contains gingerols, which are chemically related to capsaicin. There’s some who speculate ginger may also posses metabolism-boosting characteristics, but there’s little data to support that theory at this time.
Some small animal studies performed on zingerone (a component of ginger) have been positive for weight loss (Yakugaku Zasshi. 2008 Aug;128(8):1195-201) albeit the dosage used (170 mg/kg) is too high to be transferred into humans (a Human Equivalent Dose for a 180 lbs. person would be over 2g a day… of pure zingerone, no less).
Ginger also seems to accelerate gastric emptying… the opposite of the sort of thing dieters want (Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;20(5):436-40).
10. Tyrosine: Weight loss supplement retailers have been including tyrosine in their formulas for years because it is a precursor to the thyroid hormone thyroxine (also known as T4). Supplementation therefore, may have a positive effect on thyroid hormone levels, which may contribute to an increased metabolic rate. To date however, there is no reliable clinical evidence to indicate this is the case. Be that as it may, human studies on supplemental tyrosine use multi-gram doses, so there’s very likely not enough tyrosine in Prescopodene to make a difference.
11. Cocoa Extract: Confusing, because we’re not told what this is standardized for. Cocoa extract contains a series of xanthines, or “caffeine-like” chemicals. It also contains PEA or phenylethylamine, a amphetamine-like compound that retailers claim boosts mood and encourages feelings of euphoria. Unfortunately, PEA is metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase (MAO), so it’s unlikely supplemental PEA actually increases PEA levels in the brain.
12. Grape Seed Extract: A very powerful antioxidant, and a great source of proanthocyanidins, preliminary animal studies demonstrate grape seed extract’s ability to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells (see Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2008 APR;14(4):331-3), as well an ability to exhibit cardio-protective effects (J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;50(5):503-9).
But as an appetite suppressant? Or an agent to “stimulate the breakdown of fat for energy?” I couldn’t find any research to validate this claim by the retailer.
Prescopodene is an extremely over-priced, “kitchen sink” supplement. This is not a ground-breaking, revolutionary compilation. The “clinical study” is suspect, and the claims are not reflective of anything resembling reality. It’s no surprise therefore, that we recommend you steer clear of this product.
|Summary of Prescopodene|