Just recently, a site visitor asked me what I thought about Zyatrim, a fat burner advertised as the “high speed diet pill that really works.” That answer turned out to be a little more difficult that I expected, given that it takes some real digging to find out what exactly, the Zyatrim formula contains.
Because despite the mounds of scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo — most of it about “apoptosis” or cell death — that you’ll find everywhere on the site (its role is no doubt to convince you that this product is on the cutting edge of scientific research) the retailers didn’t seem to be too interested in providing a listing of ingredients anywhere (I finally found a basic listing in the FAQ section, although the dosage is not revealed).
It also seemed a bit too convenient that the makers of Zyatrim “forgot” to include in their advertising material any of the supporting research that the ingredients actually work as claimed.
And as Elissa stated in our correspondence on Zyatrim…
Even if they had an “effective” ingredient, let’s face it, lots of things can trigger apoptosis on a cell culture sitting in a dish. Whether they do so when ingested orally in a non-toxic dose is an entirely different matter, and one that would need to be demonstrated by genuine clinical studies.
And…to push the “best case scenario” even further, a truly effective systemic agent capable of triggering fat cell death would not discriminate between “unnecessary” fat cells in a woman’s thighs…and equally unnecessary (from a body’s perspective) fat cells in a woman’s breasts. If the stuff really worked as claimed, female users would probably require breast implants.
Interesting. So what are the miraculous ingredients In Zyatrim? Well, there’s an indiscriminate amount of…
1. Acacia rigidula: Apparently, there are “5 complex compounds” of the stuff included in Zyatrim. Acacia is perennial tree native to Mexico. It’s especially interesting in that it is reported to contain a whole slew of alkaloids and amines — some previously thought to be only human inventions. A few of these compounds include nicotine, phenylethylamine, hordenine, methamphetamine and mescaline. It should be noted though that not everyone agrees that Acacia is likely to harbor such constituents.
Finding acacia in fat burners isn’t that uncommon. It is included in Lipo 6 X, and standardized for hordenine, a monamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). However, it’s pointless to speculate what if any value acacia offers to this formula, as we’re not informed what it is standardized for, and what dosage is present.
2. Methylsynephrine: A full review of synephrine can be found here. To summarize, its effects on weight loss are relatively inconsequential and largely over-exaggerated by retailers (and there’s no evidence to suggest methylsynephrine is any more effective than the regular synephrine).
3. Phenylethylamine HCL: You’ve probably familiar with this ingredient by now — it’s the “amphetamine-like” chemical commonly found in chocolate.
There’s no evidence that phenylethylamine (PEA) offers any benefit for weight loss, so I suspect many manufacturers include it for it “supposed” mood-elevating characteristics.
The problem is that phenylethylamine is rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monoamine oxidase. This prevents all but the tiniest amounts from entering the bloodstream. That’s why the best PEA supplements (like Gaspari’s CytoLean, reviewed here!) also contain natural monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Zyatrim could contain a MAOI, as it could be one of the compounds the acacia content is standardized for. Unfortunately, that information is not revealed on the web site.
4. Cassis nomame Extract: included in weight loss products for its “ability” to inhibit the enzyme lipase which is required for the break down and deposit of fat. However, there’s very little clinical evidence to validate these claims. Check out this excerpt from this Pubmed abstract on “Nutraceutical resources for diabetes prevention”…
“There does not appear to be a natural lipase inhibitor functionally equivalent to orlistat, although there are poorly documented claims for Cassia nomame extracts.” (Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(1):151-8.)
5. Theobromine: Derived from cocoa and similar in chemical to caffeine, this ingredient is no stranger to weight loss products. Despite that, it has a relatively insignificant effect on the central nervous system, and animal studies show it to be inferior to caffeine for fat burning (see Food Chem Toxicol. 1984 May;22(5):365-9). Frankly, Zyatrim would be better off with a decent dose of caffeine.
6. Yohimbe: A few studies bear out Yohimbe’s positive effect on weight loss (Isr J Med SCI 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6). However, its effects are not dramatic — although yohimbe is certainly an ingredient you can “feel” (yohimbe is a stimulant but some users notice feelings of cold / shivering / goose bumps) which is probably why many supplement retailers add it to their compilations.
7. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate): An important catechin found in green tea (reviewed here), and one thought to be crucial to its weight loss benefits. However, studies have shown that although EGCG is beneficial to dieters, it really needs to be combined with caffeine and the other catechins naturally present in green tea (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 26, No. 4, 396S-402S). In other words, Zyatrim would be better off with a quality green tea extract than plain EGCG.
In the end, what you have is a relatively ordinary blend of ingredients, very few of which have much in the way of clinical evidence to validate their effectiveness. And of course there’s the problem that we don’t know how much and to what percentage any of these ingredients are standardized. Then there’s the acacia — how much is included here? For what is it standardized? Without this information, it’s impossible to assess its value to this formula.
Do I need to reinforce the fact that there isn’t a single study — in-house, peer-reviewed or otherwise — referenced on the web site to validate the “cell death” theory or any of the other claims made by the retailer?
Reputable retailers don’t hide their formulas. In fact, they are required by law to reveal the contents of their products. And while the makers of Zyatrim might argue they are not revealing their formula to prevent their competitors from “reverse engineering” their formula (ridiculous!), I would argue that anyone serious about copying any formula just has to buy the product and send it to a lab.
Zyatrim is also expensive — $49 a bottle. For that much, you could buy a product with some decent science behind it, and still have enough left over for lunch for you and a friend.
This product offers a 100% money back guarantee, and I’d like to hear from you as to whether or not they honor it!
The web site also offers the opportunity to get a free bottle, although you need to call a toll free number to learn more. I would be very surprised if you are not added to a recurring billing program — where a new bottle is sent to you every month.
Although I haven’t received any comments about the Zyatrim program, most customers who are added to such programs often find it very difficult to cancel their “membership” despite the retailer’s assurances (you can learn more about this by watching our video, “The 5-7 Day Free Trial Scam“).
Is this something you should try? Frankly, the cost, the lack of forthrightness on the matter of ingredients and the lack of any clinical evidence to validate any of the claims makes this extremely difficult for me to recommend. However, I would love to hear about your experiences with Zyatrim…