Editor’s Note (June, 2015): Xenadrine Ultra has been discontinued in favor of a new line of Xenadrine products, which will be covered in future reviews.
If you’re reading this review, it may very well be because you’re hoping the new Xenadrine Ultra measures up to the original, ephedra-based Xenadrine—a product much loved by millions.
If that’s the case, I’ll save you the aggravation of having to read this whole review…
It doesn’t. Not even close.
Given that’s the case, is there anything to this new formula? Is it worth investigating? The advertising, after all, sounds pretty persuasive…
“Advanced weight loss power can now be yours, thanks to new Xenadrine ULTRA. This incredible new formula contains powerful key ingredients that promote dramatic weight loss! With new Xenadrine ULTRA, you can get the body you want ultra fast. Plus,with a powerful, energizing key ingredient, you’ll feel a boost from the very first time…”
So should you consider experimenting with it? Let’s take a look…
What’s in Xenadrine Ultra?
In addition to a handful of B-vitamins and calcium, each serving of two “rapid-release” capsules offers up 939 mg of the following…
1. Yerba mate, guarana and damiana (YGD) : Normally you’ll find both yerba mate and guarana included in fat burners for their caffeine content. Damiana, on the other hand, seems a bit out of place here at first glance, as it is commonly used to boost libido. However, these three ingredients are included here for a reason (and that’s why I’ve “lumped” them all together instead of addressing each one separately). It is because one study shows that this combination of ingredients…
“… significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context.”
While this appears promising, there are a few problems. First, because of the ambiguity of the product’s label, we can’t be sure whether these three ingredients are present in the dosage corresponding to the positive study (participants received 3 capsules containing 336 mg yerba mate, 285 mg guarana and 108 mg damiana prior to all three meals).
While it is possible, that would only leave a mere 210 mg to be distributed among the remaining ingredients—which all but ensures they’re present only as a “label dressing” (in other words, they make the label appear impressive, even though they are included in a dosage far too low to have any effect.
2. Caffeine: Here’s that powerful, “energizing” ingredient the advertising was referencing. The retailers are obviously not expecting you to glance at the label.
Caffeine—while certainly energizing—is also very ordinary, and unlikely to impress customers. Unless, of course, its inclusion is hidden by uncommon nomenclature (i.e. caffeine also can be referred to as “1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine”, which you probably won’t recognize).
That said, as ordinary as it may be caffeine has demonstrated, albeit mild weight loss effects (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97), and will certainly provide a boost of energy, if that’s what you are looking for.
Additionally, the label indicates this product contains 200 mg of caffeine, which means that even with accounting for the natural caffeine content of the yerba mate and guarana, there’s got to be a good solid chunk of it here.
The relevance of this?
It simply means that the caffeine content of this product is going to “eat up” most of the remaining 210 mg which is to be divided up amongst the remaining ingredients (assuming the YGD combination is present at an effective dosage).
3. L-Histidine: An essential amino acid in children and precursor to histamine and carnosine.
4. Gamma-oryzanol: A group of constituents derived from rice oil bran. Normally, it is included in supplements to lower cholesterol or raise testosterone and / or hGH (human growth hormone) levels. Clinical evidence supporting its use however, is extremely scarce.
5. Campesterol: A plant sterol, usually included in supplements to lower serum cholesterol.
6. Beta-sitosterol: A plant compound with a structure similar to cholesterol. It has therapeutic uses for reducing serum cholesterol and treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).
7. Para-amino-benzoic acid (PABA): Often referred to as Vitamin Bx (although not a real vitamin), PABA is commonly used in sunscreens, and is an intermediate in the bacterial synthesis of folate (another B vitamin).
And that’s it; Xenadrine Ultra in a nutshell.
So what’s the bottom line on this product?
Basically, what you’ve got here is…
- The combination of yerba mate, guarana and damiana (YGD) shown to be helpful in a single, small study. This combination has been used in weight loss products for almost 10 years, although its use fizzled out some time ago, when it never really delivered as promised (we’ve never heard from a single person who found the YGD combination to be helpful). That said, maybe older formulas were under-dosed. It’s possible. But I wouldn’t expect miracles.
- Caffeine, a moderately useful but inexpensive ingredient.
- Under-dosed amounts of various plant sterols and other natural cholesterol reducing compounds.
In my books, this doesn’t add up to particularly good value. Sure, many people will like the boost delivered by the caffeine, but caffeine is cheap—you can buy a whole bottle of the stuff for under $4 at BodyBuilding.com—and its inclusion here does not justify a purchase.
Secondly, there’s absolutely nothing here to justify the claims of ultra-fast, dramatic weight loss. Even if we take the clinical study at face value, participants lost less than 2 lbs. per week—a number that is more accurately described as “moderate”, and well within the realms of what you can expect by implementing a smart diet and exercise program alone.
What about value for money?
Hmm… not so good there, either. A 60 capsule bottle will set you back $24.99 at GNC. That’s a 10-day supply at the recommended 6 caps per day. That’s a $75 investment for a 30 day experiment.
Nothing here to warrant that outlay of cash, I’m afraid.
If you want a product that will help you feel fuller longer, lower your cholesterol and even shrink your waistline a little, consider glucomannan. Best of all, a month’s supply of product will set you back around $10.