Relacore Review: Does Relacore Really Work?

Our Recommendation: Relacore might be worth experimenting with as a mood enhancer, but there’s limited evidence to support claims of weight loss or anti-aging effects.

Relacore is yet another product (similar to Cortislim, CortiStress and Cortidrene) that claims “belly bulge” is the result of excess stress, and believe it or not, not even your fault. This, from the Relacore Web site…

” …as we all know by now, even ordinary, everyday stress can cause your body to increase or retain belly fat. That’s why you can go on a diet, lose weight, but still look thick around the middle.”

Stress also contributes to premature aging…

“It has long been observed that people who are stressed over prolonged periods tend to look prematurely aged and haggard. (And we’re not just talking about extreme stress, we’re talking about “normal” everyday stress.)”

Thus, it’s not surprising to see Relacore being pitched as both a “weight control ‘adjunct,'” AND an “anti-aging breakthrough.”

Is it true? Can Relacore help you shed both pounds and wrinkles?

There is no scientific proof that Relacore can help you shed pounds OR wrinkles.

Sorry to disappoint, but there’s exactly ZERO proof that Relacore can reduce weight or signs of aging, let alone markedly influence underlying biochemical events like telomere shortening (more on this below).

Nonetheless, there’s a germ of truth hidden inside strongly implied claims like this:

“Stress, and the shortened telomere length associated with elevated levels of stress, has been shown in multiple studies to have dramatic effects on all aspects of life, from obesity to sexual health, even wrinkles. It’s logical that a formulation that helps reduce stress and thus preserves telomere length might have a positive impact on the detrimental effects that stress can produce.”

So let’s talk about stress; and its relationship to belly fat and premature aging (and telomeres!).

When you’re under physical or psychological stress, your body releases (among other things) a steroid hormone from the adrenal glands: cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, and is required for many vital purposes — proper glucose metabolism, blood pressure, immune function and inflammatory response are a few.

Under prolonged/chronic stress, either mental or physical, however, the body can produce an excessive amount of cortisol. At these high levels, cortisol is a nasty little number indeed. It can negatively affect cognitive performance, suppress thyroid function, foster blood sugar imbalances and the subsequent deposition of body fat, decrease bone density, as well as other things. Athletes don’t like cortisol, as it is catabolic — i.e., muscle-wasting, rather than anabolic — i.e., muscle building.

Bottom line?

Excess cortisol levels may indeed be *somewhat* responsible for excess fat deposition and weight gain… particularly when it comes to “visceral adipose tissue” (VAT). This is the fat that surrounds the organs of the abdominal cavity (viscera). Although it also contributes to a thicker waist line or gut, you can’t “pinch” it. It’s also terrible for your health. As summarized in the August, 2010 Harvard Women’s Health Letter, visceral fat is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease/type 2 diabetes, dementia, and breast/colorectal cancers.

This is also where the aging connection comes in. The increased risk for disease that rises with VAT is due to increased oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress also accelerates the shortening of telomeres, which are the stabilizing, DNA-protein complexes on the end of chromosomes. Telomeres protect the genes on the ends of chromosomes from degrading during cell division. Telomeres are viewed as a marker of biological aging, as they gradually shorten over time and continued cell replication. When telomere erosion reaches a point where the cell can no longer replicate, it dies.

OK, now back to Relacore. In essence, what the makers of Relacore want you to believe, is…

  • Relacore can relieve stress, which in turn…
  • Will make it easier for you to lose “belly fat” and…
  • Put the brakes on telomere shortening and slow the aging process.

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That’s a pretty tall order for a product you can buy at Walmart. Problem is, the makers of Relacore have no data to back up these claims, which is why…

The makers of Relacore have been sued for false advertising by both the US Federal Trade Commission and consumers in a class action lawsuit.

A summary of the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint can be seen here; while a copy of the class action lawsuit can be viewed here. In the latter case, a settlement was recently reached, wherein unsatisfied consumers who purchased Relacore between Jan. 1, 2000 and Nov. 10, 2014 were reimbursed up to $28.00 USD each.

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So is Relacore completely useless? Not necessarily…

In truth, Relacore does contain a range of herbal ingredients that may improve mood/reduce stress.

The Relacore formula is a hodgepodge of common vitamins and minerals, plus a proprietary blend. And the proprietary blend contains a handful of promising compounds, such as:

1. Magnolia bark. From our glossary

“The bark of Magnolia officinalis – which is used in Chinese traditional medicine (houpu) to treat lung and intestinal disorders. Magnolia bark extracts contain honokiol and magnolol, which are considered to be the active ingredients. Magnolia bark extracts have anti-depressant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-bacterial activity in animal and cell culture experiments.

Standardized magnolia bark extracts are used in certain weight loss supplements to improve mood and reduce the potential for stress-related eating. A human study on a proprietary blend of Magnolia and Phellodendron extracts (Relora), demonstrated modest improvements in the subjects’ cortisol levels and eating in response to stress.”

The good news, as you can see, is that Magnolia bark does have some “de-stressing” qualities, and yes, it may even help you to lose weight, although the conclusion of the study (Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):50-4) indicates it seems to work a little differently than the retailers of Relacore suggest…

“The results of this pilot clinical study indicate that obese subjects who eat in response to stress may benefit from taking a dietary supplement ingredient containing proprietary extracts of M officinalis and P amurense. The mechanism of action appears to be through reduction of cortisol levels and possibly perceived stress, thereby helping participants maintain body weight.”

In other words, it helped to reduce stress eating a bit, which could, in turn assist with weight loss efforts. It did not, however, cause any weight loss itself – an effect that purchasers of “America’s #1 Belly Fat Pill” might reasonably expect.

And remember, this study was performed on magnolia bark and phellodendron exta together; not magnolia bark on its own.

2. Passionflower Extract.

Passion Flower grows on long vines in shaded, woody areas of the United States. The plant produces edible fruits; while the aerial parts are dried and used medicinally.

Passion Flower is used as a mild sedative and sleep aid. Although few clinical trials have been conducted, the herb is used widely in Europe and is beginning to get attention in America as well.

Most of the research on Passion Flower has been performed in animal models (primarily rats and mice). These studies confirm that it has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects that may be mediated by GABA receptors in the brain. Two Iranian studies also determined it was effective for reducing pre-operative anxiety, as well as useful for treating generalized anxiety disorder in human subjects.

Can passionflower help normalize high cortisol levels? No idea: I was not able to find any data on the subject.

3. Chinese Skullcap extract.

Chinese Skullcap is Scutellaria baicalensis – a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s used to treat a wide range of conditions, from epilepsy to cancer. Active compounds like baicalin and wogonin are currently being researched, due to their apparent neuroprotective, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

So what is it doing in Relacore?

Here’s a WAG: somebody mixed up their Skullcaps. It ought to be American Skullcap, aka Scutellaria lateriflora. As noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center:

“Skullcap can refer to 2 herbs: American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis). Both forms of skullcap are used to treat different conditions and are not interchangeable.

American skullcap is native to North America, but it is now widely cultivated in Europe and other areas of the world. It has been used for more than 200 years as a mild relaxant and as a therapy for anxiety, nervous tension, and convulsions…”

Emphasis mine. Oops.

4. Asian Ginseng (root) extract.

Ginseng is marketed primarily as an adaptogen, to improve stamina, immunity and tolerance to stress. It’s also claimed that ginseng can enhance libido and athletic performance. The results of human studies have been quite mixed, however. A recent systematic review of 65 studies suggested that…

“P. ginseng shows promising results for improving glucose metabolism and moderating the immune response.”

It goes without saying, however, that a minimum dose is needed to see such effects. Since the ginseng is only one of 8 ingredients in a blend that’s only 240mg, it’s unlikely that there’s enough of it in Relacore to make any meaningful physiological impact.

5. Poria extract.

“Poria” refers to Poria cocos, a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine. There is some evidence this ingredient may have anti-cancer benefits and may also act as an anti-inflammatory. Nonetheless, very little western research has been performed on Poria cocus. Traditionally, however, it’s used to treat (among other things), anxiety, restlessness and insomnia, which likely accounts for its inclusion in this formula.

6. Jujube extract.

Zizyphus jujuba is a fruit bearing tree cultivated in Asia. The fruit, called jujubes or red dates, are used as both food and medicine. In the latter capacity, it’s used to treat insomnia and anxiety. There is some evidence from animal studies to support this, although human studies are lacking.

7. Perilla (leaf) extract.

Perilla leaf is another Asian herb that doubles as both food and medicine. Like so many other medicinal plants, it contains biologically active compounds with anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor activities – as demonstrated by in-vitro and rodent experiments.

Compounds in perilla leaf, notably rosmarinic acid and l-perillaldehyde, also reduced stress-induced immobility in mice models of depression.

Interestingly enough, perilla leaf also reduced weight gain and improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high fat diet – at least when fed at 1% and 3% of the diet.

What does it all mean? Perilla leaf is potentially interesting stuff… but that’s all it is, until we have some human studies to go by.

8. Phosphatidylserine.

According to PDRHealth

“There is preliminary research indicating that phosphatidylserine, at doses of 400 to 800 milligrams per day, can inhibit exercise-induced increases in cortisol.”


“Phosphatidylserine has demonstrated some usefulness in treating cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease, age-associated memory impairment and some non-Alzheimer’s dementias. More research is needed before phosphatidylserine can be indicated for immune enhancement or for reduction of exercise stress.”

A couple of points… first, we’re talking about exercise-related stress here, which is not generally a common issue for those trying to lose weight.

Second, 400 – 800 milligrams a day is needed. This is more than the the entire proprietary blend.

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So there you have it. What’s the bottom line?

Relacore may be worth experimenting with as a mood enhancer, although other alternatives are available.

Relacore does contain a range of herbal ingredients that have the potential to improve mood/reduce stress. What is missing, however, is any proof that a) this will help produce weight loss; or b) slow down the aging process (regardless of your benchmark: wrinkles or telomere length).

While I think it would be interesting to experiment with the stress-reducing effects of ingredients like Magnolia bark, I would strongly warn against expecting weight loss/anti-aging miracles from Relacore.

As if to confirm this, a large number of visitors who have written in about their experiences with Relacore were very happy with it. For the most part, they found it useful as a “mood regulator”, with one visitor even calling it her “happy pill.” On the other hand however, very few visitors who commented on Relacore found it helpful for weight loss.

If you’d like to experiment with the mood-moderating effects of magnolia, check out NOW brand’s Relora from (use the coupon code FAT259 to get $5 off your first order).

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What do you think? Share this post or join in or start the discussion below!


  1. I loved the original Relacore I could feel and see the difference around my belly. I have not tried the new formula and I would love to know if it works just as well as the original. I have tried to find it everywhere but no luck. I want to buy the new one but would like to hear from those who have tried the orig and are now taking the new relacore before I make a purchase.

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  2. Ima mommy of three n had c sections w all three. I just bought relacore yesterday. I weigh 128 n am 5 ft 1-1/2. All I have left is extra skin from the c sections. I hope n pray it works to remove most of the excess belly it’s prolly between 8-10 pounds of excess belly. We shal see. Fingers crossed

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  3. I used to take the original relacore, then it was not available. I switched to the relacore extra. It has worked on the belly fat but it has not worked on the anxiety part of things. I’m not sure what has happened to the recipe of relacore but its just not the same. I get more nervous and more fidgety and my anxiety is higher along with my blood pressure. When I don’t take it I seem to be fine, when I do take the recommended dose of 3 pills with a glass of water I am out of control. I have strange thoughts and I just get so angry over nothing. So I’m not sure what has happened but it has only been the last 2 boxes that have had me feeling this way, as of today I am going to stop taking real core for good. I want the original recipe back then I will resume relacore. Thank you for your time.

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  4. I took Relacore Extra for a good month i felt nothing, but maybe my modd was different, but no significant weight loss or anything… Maybe it works better for females…

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  5. I just bought relacore extra im starting it today I’ve heard all good results I hope it helps me I suffer from depression stress and anxiety I take prescribed meds for it they don’t help and my belly fat isn’t bad but after six kids people tend to ask me if I’m 3months prego so I pray that relacore helps me in all the ways I need it to. Let’s go Real core extra..

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  6. These may be the facts, but it’s working for me. I am less stressed and my stomach is softer and smaller. I am already down from size 16 to 14 and I’ve only been taking it for one week.

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    • I took real ore at age 36 an suffered a massive stroke due to an increase in blood pressure. Thank God I’m still alive, it’s been seven years now and still presently in physical therapy, so I do not recommend this diet pill to anyone.

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      • Did you have a stroke related to taking Relacore?

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  7. Im taking the relacore and I feel better , and I see my Belly fat going down. I have more enrgy . Yes it Works

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  8. Previously used origional formula with great results. Lost 25lbs in about a month and about 3 holes on my belt. Disappointed to not see this formula at walmart and decided to give relacore extra a try. Disappointed after day one of not getting the same antianxiety effect as origional formula. Seems like they screwed up a great product trying to make it better.

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  9. I believe it does make me feel better and possibly de-stress me in an office environment.

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  10. I am going to try this starting tomorrow. I do hope to get results. I am a little concerned after reading that many feel the new version doesn’t work as well as the original. I had read good reviews too and went out earlier to buy a bottle of Relacore Extra.

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  11. When I started using Relacore, I was very impressed because I had no side effects like all the other diet pills I had used in the passed. Two weeks into it, I became so sick I was throwing up like a sick dog and no weight loss at all and my heart was racing, my blood pressure was always abnormally high.
    So, I resorted to a healthy method of losing weight and in no time at all, I lost about 10lbs with no side effects and no starving myself and unlike diet pills, I was able to keep it off to this day.
    John Barban is an expert in nutrition, physiology and biology at the University of Florida. He came up with this amazing method to lose weight fast.

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