Is this all advertising hype?
Or is there anything to this “competition strength specially formulated for women” formulation? Hopefully this review will answer those questions for you.
So let’s begin by taking a close look at the product’s formula. In addition to a smattering of niacin (to regulate blood sugar) and iodine (likely included for its role in thyroid function), the main complex (called SlimQuick Razor Ignite Tech) contains 808 mg of the following 16 ingredients…
We haven’t even starting dissecting the product’s formula, and already we’ve run into our first couple of problems…
First, Razor contains a proprietary formula, which means the dosage of each ingredient is not revealed. Just like prescription drugs, herbal compounds need to be present in a sufficient dosage to elicit any effect. When this information is not revealed, it’s impossible to determine which ingredients are included at helpful dosages and which serve only as label dressing (i.e., to make the label seem more impressive or scientifically advanced).
Second, the sheer number of ingredients included in this formula and the limited serving size (800 mg) virtually guarantees the majority of ingredients included here are not included at useful dosages, and instead are present only to impress customers. Not good.
1. Green Tea Extract: When standardized for the appropriate catechins, polyphenols and EGCG, there is some evidence green tea elevates the metabolism slightly. It may also inhibit several enzymes key to the metabolism of carbohydrates, thus exhibiting a “carb-blocking” effect. Although this element of green tea is properly standardized, it is doubtful there is enough of it to duplicate the results shown in positive studies like this one (which saw participants consuming 270 mg of EGCG per day).
2. Caffeine: Probably the most common ingredient in over the counter weight loss pills, caffeine has a well established record as a mild thermogenic, and does deliver mild weight loss results (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
It also cheaply and effectively addresses the most common complaint of dieters; lack of energy.
Although the amount of caffeine this product contains is not revealed, the warning label reveals a clue; the equivalent of two and a half cups of coffee. That’s about 250 mg.
If you’re sensitive to stimulants, you’ll definitely want to start with a reduced dosage (a full dose is 3 caps). If you have high-blood pressure or any other related maladies, you’ll probably want to give this product a miss.
But at the full dose, Razor will provide plenty of “kick”.
3. Tea Extract/Phosphatidylcholine: Presumably, this is the ingredient that the “clinical study” refers to, which was done on a commercial product comprised of “Green Select Phytosome” green tea extract.
That product was NOT SlimQuick Razor, by the way.
And the study wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, either.
While it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s one that’s devoted to “Alternative Medicine” – a status that almost certainly has an influence on the rigor of the peer-review process. This more “relaxed” attitude can be seen in the paper itself… which reveals that no placebo was used for the control (diet alone) group - it was diet only, or diet plus MonCam (the name of the actual commercial product used).
This is a serious methodological issue, as it’s well-known that people respond strongly to pills, particularly those given in a clinical setting. And the study write up makes no mention of blinding, either – how the researchers interact with the subjects and set expectations is critical. That’s why placebo-controlled trials are also typically “double-blind” – that is, neither the subject nor the experimenter knows which treatments being dispensed are the “real” or “dummy” ones. That way, the experimenter cannot subtly (or overtly) influence the subjects’ behavior.
Placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are the “gold standard.” This one fell short, and inexplicably so, since it would not have been difficult to add this extra layer of care. Thus, this study is suggestive, but far from conclusive.
In the light of past research on green tea, it’s easy to believe that Green Select Phytosome had some positive effect on the subjects’ weight loss, but until a better-controlled study is done, it’s impossible to say if it really is a superior alternative to other standardized green tea extracts as a weight loss supplement ingredient.
In fact, it almost seems redundant in this formula, which already contains a standardized green tea extract ingredient. This is almost enough to make me think it was included solely to give the makers of SlimQuick “bragging rights” – it’s the most impressive-looking green tea study out there, by far.
4. Capsicum Extract: Likely standardized for capsaicin, which is the active component of chili peppers, and the chemical that gives them their “heat.” There is some evidence capsaicin and other capsinoids do have positive effects on metabolism, satiety, and postprandial glucose levels, although those benefits are obtained at a much higher dosage than is likely to be present.
Other evidence (J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):853-62) indicates it may help with symptoms of menopause, too. Does SlimQuick Razor contain enough Chaste Tree Extract to be helpful? Who knows?
6. L-Tyrosine: Because it’s a precursor to the thyroid hormone thyroxine (also called “T4″), supplement retailers will often add tyrosine to fat burners on the premise it enhances thyroid function by contributing to an elevated metabolic rate.
Unfortunately, this assumption is not borne out by any clinical data. Nonetheless, even if tyrosine did “work” it’s highly unlikely that the relatively insignificant amount included in this product would have any effect. Human studies on l-tyrosine typically use multi-gram amounts.
7. Bacopa Extract (Bacopa monnieri): This ingredient is commonly used to enhance focus and concentration.
8. Turmeric: A strong, bitter-tasting spice that is very popular in India as a seasoning for cooking. Turmeric is commonly used in curries and is ground from the dried root of Curcumalonga, a plant in the ginger family that is native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric has shown hypoglycemic and anti-obesity effects in animal experiments.
9. Pomegranate: In this product, pomegranate doesn’t seem to be standardized for punicic acid (also known as conjugated linolenic acid), a component of the seed oil. Most diet pills containing pomegranate are, on the basis of preliminary animal studies showing promising results for weight loss (see J Agric Food Chem. 2007 May 2;55(9):3741-8. Epub 2007 Mar 30, Nutrition. 2006 Jan;22(1):54-9. Epub 2005 Oct 12, Lipids Health Dis. 2004 Nov 9;3:24).
10. Grape Extract: Appropriately standardized for proanthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidant compounds.
11. Cocoa: Although cocoa extracts standardized for theobromine (a stimulant similar to caffeine but with less potent effects) are typically used in fat burners, this ingredient appears to simply be plain ol’ cocoa – like the stuff you can find in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Cocoa is a great source of antioxidants, but there can’t be more than a pinch of the stuff in this formula – not enough to matter.
12. Brown Seaweed (contains fucoxanthin): Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid included in fat burners for its supposed weight loss characteristics—this based entirely on animal studies (see Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jul 1;332(2):392-7, J Agric Food Chem. 2007 May 2;55(9):3741-8. Epub 2007 Mar 30, Nutrition. 2006 Jan;22(1):54-9. Epub 2005 Oct 12, Lipids Health Dis. 2004 Nov 9;3:24).
To date, there is no clinical evidence to indicate a similar effect in humans. Additionally, study data shows this compound could have low bioavailability in humans.
To date, no published human-based weight loss data exists on fucoxanthin itself. On a related note, there is some newer study data that indicates the combination of fucoxcanthin and pomegranate oil does show positive weight loss effects. Once again, however, the serving size limitations of this product ensure that neither ingredient is present in the dosage corresponding to the aforementioned positive study.
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) would mean any ginger-based supplement would need to include a lot of standardized ingredient to deliver a Human Equivalent Dose (HED). This product, for reasons already thoroughly covered, does not.
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).
14. Pepper Extract: Although some retailers claim (without clinical support) that pepper extracts can elevate the metabolism, most of the time they are used to improve the formula’s bioavailability (i.e. the ease at which the body absorbs the product’s various ingredients). Normal dosage for pepper extracts is about 5 mg.
15. Guggulsterones (E & Z): Plant sterols thought to be the active principle in guggul lipid – the resin of the medicinal plant, Commiphora mukul. Preliminary evidence suggests guggul has lipid-lowering and thyroid stimulating effects. It also shows some benefit for dieters, although the effects are subtle at best (in this study, participants received 1,500-3,000 mg per day and saw only the mildest of effects).
So there you have it; the entire SlimQuick Razor formula in a nutshell.
I can’t say I’m particularly impressed.
With their Razor offering, SlimQuick has made a conscious decision to opt for an impressive looking label and a very ordinary product, rather than to seriously attempt to deliver a product that actually provides real benefit to their customers. This is important to keep in mind, because SlimQuick is more expensive than it looks – one 60 capsule box provides only 20 servings. At two servings a day (recommended), you’ll need 3 boxes per month – an investment of nearly $60 US if purchased from a discount retailer like Walmart.
As it stands now, this product contains a potent dosage of caffeine, and indeterminate (but very likely under dosed, given the logistics of serving size and effective dosage) amounts of everything else.
Yes, for many people, the caffeine content of the product will be enough to give them what they are looking for from a diet pill. But caffeine’s weight loss effects are not dramatic, and its inclusion in a product does not justify a premium price (you can buy 100 200 mg caffeine tabs for less than $5 at a reputable online retailer).
It didn’t have to be this way, however. By increasing the amount of ingredient delivered in a 3-capsule serving (easily doubled to 1600 mg) and focusing on a few core ingredients, SlimQuick could have made something of their Razor offering.
For instance, with 1600 mg of ingredient to play with, green tea extract could be standardized and included at an effective dosage, the caffeine content could be reduced to a more manageable level, pomegranate and brown seaweed could be appropriately standardized and included at the dose shown effective in the clinical study I referenced earlier, and, if cost allowed it, synthetic E & Z guggulsterones could be included at an effective dose too.
Sure, it wouldn’t have been a weight loss miracle, but at least they could make a case for genuinely trying to deliver a product capable of making a difference. For the price they’re being asked to pay, consumers should expect no less.
|Summary of SlimQuick Razor|