If there’s one thing that can be said for the folks over at VPX it’s this… they don’t mess around with “wishy washy” formulas. Their Meltdown product is potent, and the original version of Redline Ultra Hardcore definitely took it to the next level.
So how does the current incarnation of Redline Ultra Hardcore measure up? And how does it compare to Meltdown?
Well, while Meltdown’s effects on resting energy expenditure have been verified by a bona fide clinical study, the same can’t be said for the Ultra Hardcore formula. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, of course. It just means it hasn’t been proven effective in a clinical setting.
Nonetheless, the current formula looks a tad… “de-fanged” to me, especially now that the DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is gone.
Let’s take a closer look…
1. Fat Catabolizor™ & B-3Potentiator (127 mg total ingredients/cap): It contains 6 ingredients…
i. Caffeine (97mg): No surprise to find this here; caffeine is the foundation of most weight loss supplements on the market. Not only does it give you a “boost” of energy, it’s cheap and does have moderate thermogenic effects—as demonstrated in the clinical studies here and here! A full dose of Redline Ultra Hardcore delivers a lot of caffeine—almost 3 cups of coffee worth, making it a “less than ideal” product for anyone with heart or blood pressure issues.
Of course, the large dose of caffeine is problematic for another reason. How so? It means there’s a mere 30 mg of ingredients left over from the total of 127mg included in this complex to be spread among the remaining 5 ingredients. With a few exceptions that very likely means most won’t be included in effective doses.
ii. Trans-Resveratrol: Resveratrol, of course, is one of the active constituents of red wine. Preliminary animal studies show promise on all sorts of fronts; anti-aging, anti-cancer, cardiovascular benefits, athletic performance, neurological diseases, increased serum testosterone and more. Despite its great promise, there’s a question as to effectiveness in humans, as clinical data is lacking and oral bioavailability is low (see the full resveratrol review for a complete discussion on this ingredient).
One last comment… commercial resveratrol products offer up around 100 mg of active ingredient (see NOW Natural Resveratrol as an example) often standardized as a 50% standardized extract. For this product to contain a dose strong enough to offer any potential benefit, it would mean most of the remaining ingredients could only be included at the tiniest dosage.
iii. 1, 3, N-Dipropyl-7-Propargylxanthine: Is a caffeine analog that is 100x more potent than caffeine at binding to adenosine receptors in in-vitro tests. It has not been tested in humans for either safety or effectiveness, and its dosage in this product is unknown.
iv. Isopropyloctopamine: A derivative of the biogenic amine, octopamine, which is another component of bitter orange. A recent in-vitro study suggests that it’s lipolytic, but there are no human or animal studies to determine if it’s effective for boosting fat loss when consumed orally. Whether it works or not is anyone’s guess.
v. 3′-5′ cAMP: Also called 3′-5′-Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate, cAMP is known as a “second messenger”, a chemical that sparks many intra-cellular processes. You don’t see this ingredient in fat burners too often; more commonly they contain herbal ingredients thought to stimulate it—ingredients like clary sage and forskohlin. And while no clinical data on oral cAMP supplementation and weight loss exists to my knowledge, studies on forskohlin show a modest effect.
vi. Toothed club moss (standardized for huperzine A): Huperzine A is an alkaloid commonly found in fat burners and pre-workout supplements for its ability to boost concentration and focus. It’s likely that Ultra Hardcore contains an effective dosage, as standalone products usually contain approx. 200 mcg per serving (a little goes a long way).
2. Iphoric® Potent Methyl B-PEA Matrix (105 mg) : This is VPX’s name for their PEA / phenylethylamine “complex” (PEA is the “mood elevating” chemical found in chocolate, once thought to be responsible for the famous chocolate “high.”).
VPX has been using PEA and PEA derivatives in their products for some time, despite the fact that their’s zero clinical evidence it helps with weight loss. Other retailers include it in their product’s formula on the basis it elevates mood, and it certainly can do that.
However, there’s a problem with PEA supplementation; it is rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), which means oral supplementation is unlikely to increase PEA in the bloodstream in any significant manner. In one study that demonstrated PEA’s positive effect on mood, it was prescribed with selegiline—a drug normally used to treat Parkinson’s disease that functions as a MAO-B inhibitor. In other words, selegiline prevented the metabolism of PEA by monoamine oxidase, which then allowed it to act on the brain accordingly.
Of course, supplement retailers can’t use selegiline in their formulas so those who are serious about getting the most out of phenylethylamine’s mood elevating effects are including natural MAOIs in their formulas—like hordenine, which this formula also contains. Theoretically at least, these natural compounds act in a similar fashion to selegiline, although there’s no clinical data to support this theory.
How effective are PEA-containing formulas like Ultra Hardcore at elevating mood? It’s hard to say, and it’s impossible to isolate the effects, given the vast array of stimulants and “mental acuity” ingredients they also contain.
My own experience (which is anecdotal, of course!) with a PEA-based product (the original CytoLean by Gasapri) was a little disturbing; I drove through a red light, almost over a median, and then found myself hunched over a shopping cart in my local supermarket’s parking lot, laughing hysterically until tears ran down my cheeks (my girlfriend was not pleased!). While I recovered quickly (within 15 minutes or so), it’s an experience neither I—nor my girlfriend who was traveling as my passenger—would care to repeat.
But then again, Cytolean contained a spectrum of natural MAO inhibitors. Redline Ultra Hardcore isn’t nearly so well endowed. And if one of the Meltdown studies is anything to go by, it may contribute little to mood improvement.
3. NorEpiphex α-2 Andregenic Tri-Yohimbe Complex + M-MAOxidizor-l (2,250mcg): It sounds impressive, and it’s supposed to. However, the “Tri-Yohimbe Complex” is simply VPX’s proprietary name for a blend of three different variations of yohimbe—all standardized to the alkaloid yohimbine, its active constituent.
Despite being used in weight loss supplements for ages, yohimbe’s effects are not earth shattering. From our glossary…
“Yohimbine stimulates lipolysis by increasing blood flow in adipose tissue and blocking the activation of a 2-adrenoceptors on fat cells…although it works better in theory than in fact.”
The M-MAOxidizor-l component consists of…
- Barley (Hordeum vulgare) standardized to hordenine HCL: Earlier, when I discussed the PEA element of this formula, I talked about how retailers would often use natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in their formulas in the hopes they would prevent the rapid metabolism of the PEA. Hordenine is one such MAOI.
- Olive leaf extract (standardized to hydroxytyrosol): Hydroxytyrosol is a bioactive compound shown in animal studies to reduce oxidative stress.
One problem that I have with this blend is the amount: 2,250 micrograms. That’s 2.25mg – a pretty tiny amount. This might be ok if it was 100% yohimbine HCl… but it’s not: there are other ingredients to consider as well. Assuming that the yohimbe component comprises the bulk of it, we can pretty much assume that the M-MAOxidizor-l portion is strictly “label-dressing.”
So there you have it; VPX Ultra Hardcore in a nutshell.
Like most VPX offerings, we have no doubt it will leave you feeling energized, thanks to the caffeine + huperzine A. However, most of the supporting weight loss ingredients appear to be under-dosed or speculative. Is it worth experimenting with? That’s a question only you can answer—it’s readily available online; BodyBuilding.com retails it for about $40.