LG Science’s Speed is discontinued.
LG Science’s Speed has one major claim to fame… its “Cyclicone” content. Apparently, this derivative of Citisus laborinum (the active ingredient of which is called cytisine)…
“… acts like nicotine to melt away fat but unlike nicotine, it’s completely non-addictive and safe.”
Cytisine is a toxic alkaloid which is similar to nicotine in chemical structure. It is used pharmaceutically as a “stop smoking” drug (called “Tabex”).
Cytisine’s claim to fame is that it has been used for “forty years as a smoking cessation” tool in Europe. And yes, there is some clinical data validating its effectiveness in this regard (Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1553-1559).
Unfortunately, none of the conclusions of the studies have been validated by any western data. All the studies were published between in 1967 and 2005 in eastern bloc countries — and these sort of studies are notoriously unreliable.
In large doses, cytisine can interfere with respiration and cause death. Some cytisine containing plants have been used as recreational drugs. Side effects of such use include headache, nausea, convulsions, vomiting, and the aforementioned respiratory failure (in higher doses).
Here, however, is where it starts to get interesting. First of all, it should be noted that Eric Marchewitz, (the founder and CEO of LG Sciences) has applied for a weight loss patent on cytisine, although there is no research to back up his claim. His patent application claims the effectiveness of cytisine at a daily dosage of between “0.2 to 1 mg.”
According to Archives of Internal Medicine data on cytisine as a smoking cessation aid, the pharmacologically active dose of cytisine (assuming we credit the Eastern bloc research) is 3 – 9 mg/day.
With cytisine’s potential for side effects like increased blood pressure and tachycardia (see Archives of Internal Medicine for more info) — which definitely could be exacerbated by both the caffeine and synephrine components of this formula — its likely the Speed formula contains only the lowest possible dose of cytisine.
And what of cytisine’s weight loss benefits? Well, there’s no mention of it as a “side benefit” of using cytisine for smoking cessation. Funnily enough, it’s weight gain that is one of the side effects.
“ A nicotine partial agonist combined with a CB-1 receptor antagonist may facilitate weight loss while reducing the incidence of undesirable side effects. Nicotine has long been appreciated to have anorectic properties, but its use has been limited by a poor spectrum of activity, side effects, and less efficacy than anti-obesity agents. This may be due to lack of specificity of nicotine for neuromuscular, ganglionic, and central nervous system receptors. The development of nicotine partial agonists with specific receptor subtype affinities is an approach to potentially reduce side effects and enhance efficacy. (see Li, Ming D. et al., “Nicotine, Body Weight and Potential Implications in the Treatment of Obesity”, Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 2003, 3, 899-919).”
There is, of course, some evidence that nicotine does have some thermogenic effects, although it appears this effect is blunted in those who are already overweight. Nonetheless, the “dosage” of nicotine recommended to those who want to use it as a weight loss agent is about 20 mg — the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Here’s the thing though…
There’s no evidence to indicate cytisine in any more (or less) effective than nicotine in this regard, but assuming they have similar effects in equivalent doses, then there’s probably not enough cytisine in Speed to really offer much in the way of thermogenesis.
It may however, work quite well as an appetite suppressant.
OK, well what else is in Speed?
1. Synephrine (usually derived from Citrus aurantium): As a “chemical cousin” of ephedra, synephrine has replaced the ephedra content of many popular fat burners (ephedra now being illegal, of course). Retailers claim synephrine offers all the “fat burning” benefits of ephedra without any of the annoying side effects — sleeplessness, “the jitters”, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, etc, etc.
Unfortunately, the evidence to support these claims is a bit sparse. First of all, there are studies that show synephrine-containing products do elevate blood pressure and heart rate, despite claims that it is not a stimulant (see Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Jan;40(1):53-7. Epub 2005 Nov 29).
And its fat burning characteristics?…
This study (Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):79-88) concludes…
“While some evidence is promising, we conclude that larger and more rigorous clinical trials are necessary to draw adequate conclusions regarding the safety and efficacy of C. aurantium and synephrine alkaloids for promoting weight loss.”
And this one (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.”
One study (“Increase in the thermic effect of food in women by adrenergic amines extracted from Citrus aurantium“) performed at the University of McGill in Montreal and published in Obesity Research (Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1187-94.) was slightly more positive. But although it concluded that Citrus aurantium did not have any effect on blood pressure and pulse rate, and did elevate the metabolism, the results were hardly earth-shattering…
“CA (Citrus aurantium) 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.”
2. Caffeine: Caffeine’s benefit as a thermogenic (fat burner) is well documented (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97), so it makes good sense to include it any fat burner.
Speed also contains 530 mg of “Focus Factors”; tyrosine, hordenine, theobromine (a xanthine (i.e., a caffeine-related chemical) derived from cocoa) and hawthorne berry. It’s unlikely the size of dosage of the ingredients in this element of the formula will have all but the slightest effects. Tyrosine, for example, is a great ingredient for focus and mental acuity, but needs to be taken in multi-gram doses (1-3 grams) to have any effect.
So what are we left with?
A couple of ordinary ingredients which are moderately helpful (but no weight loss panacea), an ingredient for which little real evidence exists, but may be a decent appetite suppressant, and a smattering of ingredients to help with focus.
It’s an interesting formula to be sure. The question remains, however…
Is there enough cytisine in this formula to make it effective?