Slimirex® Review: The “All Natural” Diet Pill?
According to the product web site, Slimirex® is an “all natural” weight loss product that…
“… is the only weight management formula in the world combining 10 proven fat fighting and appetite suppressing nutrients in every capsule.”
Uh huh. I’m still waiting for them to explain why 10 ingredients are better than – say – 8… or 5… or even 1! But I’m not holding my breath: there isn’t an explanation. You’re just supposed to see the number “10” and be impressed. But just because “10” is bigger than “1,” does not mean that “10” is better than “1.”
Look at it this way: if you have a headache, do you really think a blend of 10 different analgesics will somehow be better than a single-ingredient product like aspirin or Tylenol? Why should we expect nutraceuticals to be different than pharmaceuticals? One ingredient can work just fine, if it’s provided in the right dose.
And don’t fall into the “all natural” trap, either: “all natural” is a meaningless marketing term that is intended to cast a warm, rosy glow over the product, and reduce the likelihood of you thinking critically about it (see this blog post for more about the “all natural” claim).
What about the “proven ingredients” claim?
Well, as you’ll see when I break down the ingredients for you, almost all have been “proven” to some extent. Unfortunately, some have been “proven” to be useless for weight loss. Others have been proven to be somewhat effective at vastly higher dosages than included in this product. “Proven” as you’ll find out, can also be a misleading term.
So what’s in Slimirex?
1, Lipofuzion™: a 1032 mg strong proprietary blend of 4 ingredients…
i. Green tea extract: If there’s one ingredient that really shows some promise for dieters, it’s green tea. We can assume that Slimirex contains enough green tea to be effective (since it’s listed first in this 1032 mg blend of ingredients), but it would be nice to know how potent the extract is. In other words, what percentage of polyphenols and EGCG is this green tea standardized for?
ii. Cha de Bugre: Used in fat burners and weight loss products as an appetite suppressant. Unfortunately, there is exactly ZERO proof it works, as none of its apparent benefits have been verified by any controlled studies.
iii. Pinolenic acid: Also known as Korean Pine Nut Oil (also referred to as “Pinnothin”) this ingredient is also included as an appetite suppressant (it is thought to stimulate several appetite suppressing hormones—cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide 1).
The only published study I could find on this ingredient (see Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Feb 28;7:6) demonstrated mediocre results at best. I asked our scientific and technical advisor Elissa to have a closer look at the study and she reported…
“The results are pretty underwhelming – 2 g of Pinnothin taken 30 min before a buffet lunch reduced food intake by 9% – by weight in grams – and energy intake by 7%. The latter figure averaged to a whopping 50 calories.”
Notice too that the study used 2 grams (2,000 mg) of ingredient—if a full days dose (6 caps) of Lipofuzion contained this ingredient only, it would barely contain enough Pinothin to make these study results relevant.
iv. Fennel seed: Commonly used as a treatment for dyspepsia, this herbal also has diuretic properties.
2. Super Citrimax (450 mg): Here’s a good example of one of the “proven” ingredients. Yes, it has been established that Super Citrimax (standardized for hydroxycitric acid) is helpful for weight loss (see J Med. 2004;35(1-6):33-48).
But if you check out the study for yourself, you’ll see that these results were obtained with 4666.7 mg of SuperCitrimax® (providing 2,800 mg HCA) divided into three daily doses. In other words, 2 3-dose capsule servings of Slimirex contains one fifth the amount of ingredient found helpful in the published study.
And, to top it all off, the folks in the study were exercising 5 times a week!
3. Advantra-Z (the patented form of synephrine): Once thought to be a credible alternative to ephedra, clinical studies have proven synephrine to be largely ineffective for weight loss. The most positive study I could unearth (Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1187-94) stated…
“CA (citrus aurantrium) alone increased thermogenesis, on average, by 4% (52), a response that is statistically significant but not necessarily clinically significant, representing an average 1 kg over 6 months.”
Whoop-dee-do. So much for a miracle.
4. 7-Keto: A metabolite of DHEA, a steroid hormone produced naturally by the bodies of both men and women. The good thing about 7-Keto® is that it displays no apparent side effects (i.e. no conversion to testosterone or estrogen, and no effect on the sex hormones).
What’s promising about this ingredient is its positive effect on thyroid hormone levels in obese people — again, without any adverse effects of any kind (see Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 2, Number 4, October 1999, J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Sep;18(9):629-34. Epub 2007 Apr 5, Current Therapeutics, (7):435-442 2000).
The dosage for these studies was 100 mg, given twice a day. To its credit, that’s the amount included in the Slimirex formula.
5. Slimaluma®: The patented form of the Indian cactus, Caralluma fimbriata.
One study (see Appetite. 2007 May;48(3):338-44. Epub 2006 Nov 13) performed with 1,000 mg over a period of 60 days showed relatively modest appetite suppressing effects.
A daily serving of Slimirex provides a mere 200 mg of this ingredient—one fifth the amount used in the clinical study.
6. Gugulipid®: The patented form of guggul lipid (standardized for guggulsterones), is made by the Sabinsa Corporation. There is some evidence guggul extracts have potential as lipid-lowering and thyroid stimulating effects, but it’s far from a weight loss miracle.
According to the product web site, Sabinsa provides several types of gugulipid products, which are standardized to 2.5% and 7.5% E&Z guggulsterones. The Slimirex formula contains 60 mg of Gugulipid, which constitutes little more than “label dressing.”
7. Forslean®: The patented version of Coleus forskohlii standardized by forskolin, a cAMP stimulator. cAMP is a “second messenger.” In other words, this compound is required to “spark” many intracellular processes. An increased concentration of cAMP can have such “total-body” effects as raised thyroid hormone levels and increased fat burning.
While a positive effect of forskolin on weight loss was established in one study (Journal of Obesity Research August 2005, “Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated With Forskolin Consumption In Overweight and Obese Men”), the results were not overwhelming.
Another study was less positive (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2(2):54-62, 2005). It concluded…
“Results suggest that CF (coleus forskohlii) does not appear to promote weight loss but may help mitigate weight gain in overweight females with apparently no clinically significant side effects.”
Additionally, if you check the study, you’ll see it was performed with 500 mg of coleus forskohlii standardized to 10% (yielding 50 mg active ingredients). This product contains slightly more than 50% of the amount of active ingredient proven “helpful” in the study.
8. Bioperine®: A black pepper extract shown to improve the bioavailability of certain ingredients. Its role in this formula is to improve the overall absorption of the ingredients; there is no evidence Bioperine has thermogenic properties.
9. ChromeMate®: The patented form of chromium polynicotinate. Chromium has a role in insulin function and thus plays a role in blood sugar moderation. Clinical data validating its effects are contradictory, however. That said, this is probably the form of chromium you want to experiment with at this time.
And there you have them… the 9 “proven” ingredients (actually there are 12 ingredients here!). Of these ingredients…
- 2 are present in dosages likely to coincide with the referenced clinical studies (green tea and 7-Keto)
- 2 (fennel seed and Cha de Bugre) do not have any clinical validation in the form of published studies at all.
- 2 (Slimaluma, Super Citrimax) have a small amount of clinical validation but are not included in the Slimirex formula at a dosage that remotely coincides with these studies.
- 5 (Forslean, Gugulipid, Advantra-Z, Pinothin, and ChromeMate) have clinical validation, but’s it’s either inconsistent, contradictory, or shows such a minor benefit that you have to wonder why they were included in the formula at all. Additionally, none of these ingredients are present in the dosages found moderately helpful in studies.
- 1 ingredient (Bioperine) serves only to improve the bioavailability of these ingredients; it has no role in weight loss.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t get 9 “proven” ingredients out of that.
That said, the biggest problem with Slimirex is the price—at the time of this writing, it’s a whopping $78.95 for a 20 day supply. There’s absolutely nothing here to justify that price.
For example, for about the same amount of money, here’s what you could purchase at a reputable online retailer (we recommend BodyBuilding.com)…
- 1 month’s supply (2 bottles) NOW Slimaluma plus, which provides 1,000 mg of caralluma per 4 capsule serving as well as 400 mg green tea standardized for 50% EGCG ($29.00)
- 1 month’s supply (2 X 100 mg caps twice a day) 7-Keto NOW 7-Keto ($19.99)
- 1 month’s supply (2 90-cap bottles) of NOW Super Citrimax ($20.00)
- 3 month’s supply chromium ($5.99)
… and you’d still have $5 left over! In other words, it’s cheaper to buy the most promising individual ingredients in isolation, and take them at the dosage found helpful in the clinical study than it is to buy Slimirex.
In the end, Slimirex suffers from its outrageously high price, and the simple logistics of supplement manufacturing; that is, herbs and medicinal ingredients need to be present in certain dosages to be effective (just like prescription medications). By stuffing 12 ingredients into their product, the makers of Slimirex have guaranteed that the majority of ingredients simply cannot be present in a dosage high enough to elicit an effect. And while green tea and 7-Keto might be worth experimenting with, you can do so for much, much less than Slimirex’s huge price tag.