Review: LG Sciences Lipotropic (Pea) Protein - Bodybuilding Supplements

Review: LG Sciences Lipotropic (Pea) Protein

Note: Lipotropic Protein has been discontinued.

The secret to this new protein is something called polyphenols, which are plant extracts that are known to help increase the body’s own fat burning effect. Polyphenols can be found in many plant varieties, but some of the most potent come from tea extracts like green and black tea. These polyphenols are proven to help the body burn more fat calories per workout and to keep burning fat all day long.

This is how LG Sciences describes its new Lipotropic protein supplement, which is derived from “Sativum.” According to the product web page, it’s pretty amazing stuff…in fact, it’s the “‘Holy Grail’ of all protein supplements,” that’s “the most advanced on the market.”


So what is “Sativum”? In all the paragraphs describing their product, LG Sciences never quite manages to reveal this, but it’s actually pretty simple…

It’s pea protein. Pea protein isolate, to be precise. But they can’t bring themselves to say it, for some reason…even in the list of ingredients, it’s referred to as “Gemma Protein Isolate”—a trade name used by bulk resellers such as

So why avoid the word “pea”? Probably because it’s a plant protein, and in bodybuilding mythology, plant proteins have little value for building muscle. This is because they’re “incomplete”—that is, limiting in one or more essential amino acids.

Now, it is true that pea protein is limiting in the sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine). But this would only be an issue if it was the sole source of protein in the diet. In a mixed diet, however, it’s less important, as the limiting amino acid(s) can be supplied by other foods. From your body’s perspective, amino acids are amino acids, regardless of the source. Thus, pea protein—and other good-quality “vegetarian” protein powders (such as rice and soy)—can also be used to fulfill total protein requirements for omnivores.

It’s a good thing too, since whey and casein protein powders have gone up in price. It helps to have alternatives for people on tight budgets, as well as vegetarians and those with food allergies/intolerances. A high quality commercial pea protein isolate like Pisane, averages around 85% protein and has a PDCAAS (protein digestibility corrected amino acid score) around 0.89—lower than whey, casein or soy, perhaps, but still reasonably high.

The information on the label bears this out.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 115
Calories From Fat 0
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 1g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 26g
Sodium 0mg
Potassium 100mg
Typical Amino Acid Profile Per 100 Grams
L-Aspartic Acid 12.50g
L-Serine 5.60g
L-Histidine 2.70g
L-Threonine* 3.90g
L-Proline 4.40g
L-Tyrosine 3.90g
L-Valine* 5.20g
L-Methionine* 1.20g
L-Cysteine 1.10g
L-Glutamic Acid 20.30g
L-Glutamine 1.43g
L-Glycine 4.10g
L-Arginine 9.10g
L-Alanine 4.40g
L-Leucine* 8.70g
L-Phenylalanine* 5.60g
L-Tryptophan* 1.00g
L-Lysine* 7.70g
L-Isoleucine* 4.70g
* Essential Amino Acid
Ingredients: Gemma Protein Isolate, Betaine Anhydrous, Cocoa Powder, Lecithin, Inulin, Thickener (Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup Solids), (AminoMax) Bromelain Extract, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Sucralose, Calcium, Saccharin, Xanthan Gum

As you can see, Lipotropic Protein provides a solid amount of protein, with very little fat or carbs. Like other pea protein isolates on the market, it’s particularly rich in arginine, and contains respectable amounts of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) as well.

So far so good…but “good” isn’t what LG Sciences is claiming. The company insists that Lipotropic Protein is more than just an alternative protein powder with a decent nutritional profile… As noted above, it’s those polyphenols that make this product extra-special. Yet LG Sciences doesn’t reveal anything about the specific compounds or the dose consumed per serving. Nor do they present any evidence that pea polyphenols enhance fat oxidation.

Peas do contain polyphenols, of course, but according to one analysis, pea protein may be a different story…researchers looking for a biomarker to detect pea protein in processed foods could find only one: a compound called pisatin, which has antifungal activity and is potentially toxic to human cells. Interestingly enough, it may be an uncoupling agent, similar to (also toxic) fat loss compounds like 2,4-dinitrophenol or usnic acid.

If this is what LG Sciences is referring to, however, it’s a real stretch…as noted by the authors,

“…a reliable detection of pea protein is currently not possible with pisatin as the indicating substance, because it was not found in all protein samples analyzed. As a phytoalexin, pisatin is only produced in a pea plant under certain environmental conditions.”

Personally, I think the “polyphenol” claim is straight out of Marketing 101. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that the burden of proof is on LG Sciences.

LG Sciences also states that betaine, which is added to the formula in an unknown amount, “increases thermogenesis”.

This is an equally specious claim.

Betaine supplementation has been shown to enhance protein and decrease fat deposition in growing pigs, although similar effects in humans have never been documented, despite the use of betaine as a supplement for treating elevated homocysteine levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

So is there any unique role for Lipotropic Protein—or pea protein in general—for fat loss?

Hmmm…pea protein is high in arginine, which has been shown to enhance lean mass gains and reduce fat in animal models like rats and pigs. Once again, we can’t assume this happens in people, however. After all, arginine supplements are pretty popular these days, so if increased arginine intake led to decreased body fat, I think we’d have heard about it by now.

How about this, then? An “in-house” study by one producer (Cosucra) demonstrated that a preload of pea protein isolate increased satiety and delayed gastric emptying in healthy volunteers. Thus, it could be beneficial for fat loss from that perspective, although the study falls far short of proof: the controls were given a non-protein preload rather than a different protein…so this effect may not be unique to pea protein at all.

It may be Lipotropic Protein’s best hope, however. I recently gave the chocolate flavor a try, and found it was oddly satisfying when mixed in milk. The flavor wasn’t bad, either, although it had a distinct, “beany” taste that the chocolate couldn’t quite conceal. I used it on and off over a month, and the effect was pretty consistent. I didn’t lose any weight or fat because of it…but then again, I wasn’t trying to. But if I were, a pea protein-casein blend might be useful.

I think this sums up Lipotropic Protein pretty well. While I think the fat loss claims are dubious, there’s really nothing wrong with the protein itself. It’s filling, economical and has a decent amino acid profile. You don’t need a whole lot more from a “general use” protein supplement.

The flavor’s a bit off-putting, perhaps, but if you’re looking for an alternative to dairy-based protein powders—and aren’t looking for a gourmet experience—then Lipotropic Protein is an option to consider.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

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