To answer that question, let’s first deconstruct some of the sales copy and then take a look at the ingredients. Beginning with the sales copy…
“‘Hybrid Compound’ is a term that’s been coined by a team of leading pharmaceutical and organic chemists working in the sports supplement industry. A hybrid is defined as a compound derived from nature that’s been organically altered or synthesized to deliver more powerful effects!”
Sounds impressive, right? Beyond the fact that leading pharmaceutical and organic chemists are not working in the sports supplement industry, the term “hybrid compound” is already taken.
Note to Pharma Freak: this was also true back when you were calling “Ripped Freak” a “hybrid-drug.” Seriously: stop trying to “repurpose” terms that other, more serious people are already using.
And what about this one?…
“… the RIPPED FREAK formula also contains five newly discovered methylated derivatives of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG) from green tea extract.”
In case you’ve forgotten, EGCG is an essential catechin of green tea, to which some of its thermogenic and weight loss benefits have been attributed. What Pharma Freak has neglected to mention here is that these so-called “newly discovered” EGCG derivatives are naturally occurring, and are likely present in other green tea extracts as well. Plus, there’s nothing particularly “new” about them.
With that said, what’s in Ripped Freak? Good question…
1. Methyl EGCG™ (EGCG Derivative Stack) (Green Tea Extract/Camellia Sinensis): As I mentioned already, EGCG is an essential catechin of green tea. And even though EGCG is helpful for weight loss (see J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):389S-395S) some studies (see J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):396S-402S) have indicated that…
- More potent dosages of EGCG may lead to greater effect
- EGCG may work best when combined with other catechins and stimulants—like those found in green tea.
As noted just above, there’s no chemical whiz-bang expertise behind the “EGCG Derivative Stack” – O-methylated EGCG derivatives are already present in green tea extracts. But even if they were highly purified compounds, there’s no evidence to suggest that they’re any more effective for weight loss than the parent compound.
2. Oleuropein Aglycone (Olive Leaf Extract/Olea Europaea ): Oleuropein is a phenolic compound found in olive leaves and extra virgin olive oil. A potent antioxidant, oleuropein (both in its glycosylated and aglycone forms) contributes to the stability of the oil, as well as its flavor. In-vitro and rodent studies have also demonstrated it may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and atheroprotective effects.
Amusingly, the Ripped Freak copy states this about oleuropein aglycone…
“ A new study recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Sciences & Vitaminology suggests that OA may increase norepinephrine, epinephrine (adrenaline) and uncoupling protein (UCP) levels!*”
Well, yes – the study does suggest this. It is questionable, however, whether the results obtained by humans consuming an extract of unknown purity (or standardization) will be the same as those obtained in rats given intravenous injections of “approximately 100%” pure oleuropein aglycone during an experiment that lasted approx. 10 minutes for each rat.
3. 1,3,7-Trimethyl-1H-Purine-2,6(3H,7H)-Dione Methyl Gallate Ester: A very deceptive way of labeling “caffeine” – particularly when it’s naturally derived from “Coffee/Coffea Arabica, Whole Bean” (presumably, this is the green coffee bean extract (GCE) listed on the front of the package – which makes it doubly deceptive, since the GCE Dr. Oz et al have been promoting is standardized for chlorogenic acid, and is a poor source of caffeine).
Caffeine, of course, is a common, albeit relative mild thermogenic, with well-established effects (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97). In this formula, caffeine is one of the two allegedly engineered compounds, and is delivered in the “methyl gallate ester” format. When conferring with our scientific and technical advisor Elissa, here’s what she told me…
“Neither caffeine nor raspberry ketones (the other “engineered” ingredient in this formula) is a majorly impressive thermogenic, so it remains to be seen whether delivering them as methyl gallate esters improves anything. In my opinion, improving the half life and bioavailability of caffeine is more likely to get you/keep you more wired than ever, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
She also sent me this link for a patent which discusses the potential use of methyl gallate esters for improving drug bioavailability. Apparently, it’s not completely clear whether this is largely based on in-vitro work and speculation, or whether there are actually drugs with pharmacokinetic data in humans that prove it actually works as claimed. Just because something looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it works very well in real life.
4. CH-19 Sweet Red Pepper Ester Stack: Red peppers contain capsaicin, a 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.”
This is where related compounds, known collectively as “capsinoids” come in. Found in sweet – not hot – peppers, capsinoids have been put forward as an easier-to-take alternative to capsaicin. The so-called “ester stack” in Ripped Freak is simply an extract containing naturally-occurring capsinoids from the CH-19 sweet pepper variety.
- 4-Hydroxy-3-Methoxybenzyl (E)-8-Methyl-6-Nonenoate = “capsiate”
- 4-Hydroxy-3-Methoxybenzyl 8-Methyl-Nonanoate = “dihydrocapsiate”
- 4-Hydroxy-3-Methoxybenzyl 7-Methyl-Octanoate = “nordihydrocapsiate”
The use of “chem-speak” makes the “stack” look more high-tech than it really is. Unfortunately, this “less-than-meets-the-eye” revelation is matched by the fat-loss “powers” of capsinoids… to be blunt, there’s not a whole lot of “there,” there. According to one review…
“Evidence indicates that capsaicin and capsiate both augment energy expenditure and enhance fat oxidation, especially at high doses. Furthermore, the balance of the literature suggests that capsaicin and capsiate suppress orexigenic sensations. The magnitude of these effects is small. Purposeful inclusion of these compounds in the diet may aid weight management, albeit modestly.”
How much is “small” and “modest”? One study on dihydrocapsiate in humans estimated the effect was ”… equivalent to an increase in daily energy expendtiture of approximately 100 kcal for a 100 kg individual.” Certainly that’s better than nothing, but it’s hardly the fulfillment of anyone’s six-pack dreams.
5. Raspberry Ketone (4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one): a phenolic compound derived from red raspberries, raspberry ketones have only really been shown effective in animal studies (you can view the details of the study here). You are not a mouse, and the results of animal studies do not necessarily translate over to humans.
An unpublished pilot study performed on Razberri-K (a patented form of raspberry ketones) demonstrated it enhanced post-exercise fat oxidation, although the results were apparently not large enough to be statistically significant.
Does delivering this ingredient in a “methyl gallate ester” form vastly improve the thermogenic efficiency of this ingredient?
There’s no clinical evidence to confirm or deny this claim.
And there you have it… the Ripped Freak fat burner in a nutshell.
As you can see, most of the overwrought! breathless! claims! punctuated with exclamation points! are basically marketing 101.
That’s not to say you won’t get anything out of this product. If nothing else, the caffeine should keep you feeling energized and alert. And caffeine/green tea extract is definitely a useful combination.
What about the other ingredients?
Certainly the olive leaf extract is a healthful addition; and the raspberry ketones/capsinoids can’t hurt – although I’d be happier if there were more (and better) fat loss data behind these ingredients. On the plus side, the doses of each “amplifier” blend seem reasonable: despite the desperate attempt to impress by the use of IUPAC nomenclature, there appears to be little “label decoration” in the formula itself.
So is Ripped Freak worth a shot? I’d say that depends on a) your willingness to experiment; and b) your tolerance for taking pills – in truth, the primary ingredients in this product are readily available on their own. For example you could stack caffeine, raspberry ketones and green tea extract and create a “customizable” product for considerably less.
I know what I’d do, but it’s your call…
|Summary of Ripped Freak|