Science-Based Cortislim Review: Stress Related Weight Loss -

Science-Based Cortislim Review: Stress Related Weight Loss

Cortislim, if you haven’t heard, is a new fat burner on the block. It features several ingredients typical to common ephedra-free fat burners, but its main focus is not “fat burning” as we have come to know it.

Nope, it “apparently” works by controlling weight gain and accelerating fat burning by negating the effects of the hormone cortisol—specifically in the stomach or “belly” area, if we are to believe the advertising hype.

Since I first published this article, the makers of this product were charged by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for making false and unsubstantiated claims and forced to pay over 4 million dollars in customer redress. You can read about the FTC’s action here!

I guess that makes the question “does CortiSlim work?” a bit redundant, don’t you think?

So, I hear you asking — what the heck is cortisol?

Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, and is required for many vital purposes — proper glucose metabolism, blood pressure, immune function and inflammatory response are a few. In times of stress, either mental or physical, the body can produce an excessive amount of cortisol.

At these high levels, cortisol is a nasty little number indeed. It can negatively affect cognitive performance, suppress thyroid function, foster blood sugar imbalances and the subsequent deposition of body fat, decrease bone density, as well as other things. Athletes don’t like cortisol, as it is catabolic — i.e., muscle-wasting, rather than anabolic — i.e., muscle building.

Bottom line?

Excess cortisol levels may indeed be somewhat responsible for excess fat deposition and weight gain, no doubt about it (you’ll see why I say “somewhat” a little later on).

OK, now back to question of the hour — can this product really encourage weight loss by addressing the high cortisol levels tied to everyday stress? This Cortislim review will attemtp to answer that by looking at a few of the ingredients…

The most important “stress related” ingredient in this compilation is Magnolia bark, standardized for something called “honokiol”.

Does honokiol help with stress reduction? What about weight loss?

Very little human-based clinical evidence exists to support either statement.

There is some animal based evidence showing stress-reducing effects (see J Pharm Pharmacol. 2000 Nov;52(11):1425-9) as well as some interesting anti-oxidative effects (see Phytomedicine, Volume 14, Issue 10, 15 October 2007, Pages 696-700).

There is one “somewhat” relevant human study that looked at the effectiveness of a Magnolia & Phellodendron combination on weight management (see Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):50-4). It concluded…

“The results of this pilot clinical study indicate that obese subjects who eat in response to stress may benefit from taking a dietary supplement ingredient containing proprietary extracts of M officinalis and P amurense. The mechanism of action appears to be through reduction of cortisol levels and possibly perceived stress, thereby helping participants maintain body weight.”

I’ll draw your attention to the words “may benefit”, and “mechanism of action appears to be through reduction of cortisol levels”. In other words, this hardly constitutes definitive proof that honokiol’s stress reducing effects are a result of cortisol reduction, or that Cortisol (or any other stress-reducing fat burner) is a product you will benefit from. Lastly, this study was performed with a combination of two ingredients; not magnolia on its own.

In other words, the benefits ascribed to this product are based mostly on speculation at this time.

One other ingredient, L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has demonstrated relaxant qualities—although to my knowledge this action has not been attributed to any reduction in cortisol either.

Other major ingredients in this formulation—like chromium, banaba leaf, and vanadyl all work well to stabilize blood sugar levels, and moderate insulin reaction.

Green tea, when present in the appropriate dosage and standardized for the polyphenol EGCG (epigallaocatechingallate) can be helpful for dieters. Cortislim does not contain an effective dose of EGCG.

Some versions of CortiSlim contain synephrine (labeled as Advantra Z or citrus aurauntium). At one point, synephrine was considered a credible alternative to ephedra. However, clinical studies have shown synephrine to be largely ineffective for weight loss.

OK, let’s get to the bottom line…

Cortislim may indeed be able to reduce your stress levels—through the effects of Magnolia bark anjd L-Theanine contained in its formulation. But that’s not to say it lowers cortisol levels and it’s a far cry from saying you’re actually going to lose weight with this stuff. Most people don’t gain weight simply because they are stressed (although for some, stress does equate with overeating).

Nope, most of us gain weight because we are inactive and consume too many calories. Very simple.

The makers of this product, however, have positioned their product perfectly to tap into one of the major issues with today’s hectic lifestyle—stress, and offer a “magic pill” solution to both it and weight loss. Smart product positioning! However…

While it is arguable that stress does play a role in weight gain, it is one that is secondary to sedentary lifestyles and excessive calorie consumption. It is a serious “oversimplification” to say, as it does on the Cortislim Web site, that “stress keeps us fat”. It’s also greatly misleading, since it does not take into account the other major factors that have contributed to the obesity crisis over the last several decades.

Perhaps what is even more disappointing is that at the time of this writing, you really have to dig to find any mention of the importance of proper eating and exercise on the Cortislim Web site. That, to me, is a big credibility killer.

Cortislim, like many other supplements, continues to perpetuate the myth that weight loss is easy, and does not require getting off the couch. Nonetheless, it’s an appealing scenario, and I have no doubt that they’ll have no trouble flogging their products to millions of unsuspecting buyers — buyer who will be disappointed once again.

Having said that, I must say that I believe that supplements like Magnolia Bark may have some merit. I personally would be interested in experimenting with magnolia bark extract for its anti-anxiety effects, but I’d be hesitant to recommend Cortislim as a viable fat burner (even more so, now that the FTC has taken action against it).

Author: Paul

Paul Crane is the founder of His passions include supplements, working out, motorcycles, guitars... and of course, his German Shepherd dogs.


  1. Cortislim worked great for me. I lost a lot of my stomach fat right away. My mom managed to get some cheap, and wanted to have me try it with her. She noticed the results before I even did, like how my stomach had almost completely flattened out after maybe 2 months of max use, and doing pilates.

    I fell off the wagon though, and stopped remembering to take the pills so of course I ate more and gained more back. If it wasn’t so expensive I’d definitely use this product again.

    I didn’t have any bad side effects from it. I just felt full, and needed to kinda force myself to eat smaller serving size portions since I never felt hungry.

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  2. I’ve been taking Cortislim for years.

    Before I started taking it I was having to take water pills, gas x, and laxatives because of water retention, bloating from gax, and constipation.

    Once I started Cortislim I no longer have to take any of this. I find that it helps with my digestive tract and water retention. I’m in my late forties and my belly would be so bloated it was horrible.

    Maybe Cortislim needs to reconsider how it markets itself. My sister also takes this for the same reason and she has been on it over a year.

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    • Thank you for your support! Some of our ingredients aid in anti-inflammatory qualities and that is probably what is helping you.

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  3. I have used Cortislim in the past and I felt it worked great. I am suffering now with onset of higher symptoms of Fibromyalgia and the sediment levels in my blood are high.

    I need to know where to get it again.


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  4. I started using Cortislim about a year and a half ago. It was on the advice of a friend who swore by it. I am not trying to sensationalize this supplement but I really can not do without it. I have lost nearly 40 pounds and kept it off for a year. Unfortunately, I can not stop taking the supplement. I get VERY grumpy if I don’t have it for a few days. Ironically I also take a prescription pill that is a relative of Valium for siezures.

    Cortislim strted to show some weight loss effects after about a months use. My clothes strted not fitting before the scales changed. I was not as hungry as usual but still had hunger pangs. I continued to take it and started enjoying the way I wasn’t so melancholy anymore. Life looked a little brighter for me.

    My husband started buying me fitness magazines. I started to follow a more healthy lifestyle regimen. As the months wore on and I had a few surgeries which put me in bed I still managed to lose weight.

    I was in a wheelchair or on a crutch for many years. I have lupus and MS (an extremely rare pairing). As the weight started to come off more I started to change the way I was eating. I adopted the 6 small meal plan. I also added mostly organic grains to my diet. I also started an excercise regimen.

    At first it was all isometric from the comfort of my bed. Then it progressed to weighted cuffs. Now I am on an machine every other day. I continue to get stronger and my crutches have been a distant memory for more than 6 months.

    I don’t know what part Cortislim had in this but I am smaller than I have ever been as an adult. I am now a size 2. I am 5’6″ tall. I won’t give Cortislim all the kudos for my weight loss but it started the ride I’m on. My family knows when I have run out. I don’t have to tell them.

    You forgot to mention how much calcium is in Cortislim. A LOT. I get steroid treatments every now and then and it is supossed to make you gain weight and have brittle bones. Not me. I am almost 40 so falling from a 10 ft. ladder (I was foolish as I am still not strong enough depite my feelings otherwise) should have done something. Nothing happened.

    I will continue to take Cortislim because I need it. It helps me a lot. However a note of warning to those planning to take it, you have to give it a chance. I started taking it before they added the “bitter orange” and it still worked.

    I don’t really diet anymore I just eat sensibly and excercis as I am able.

    WARNING: Do not try to buy it from the Cortislim website as after 6 monthe of purchases they have suddenly decided to bill your credit card and not deliver the product nor return calls. I will not shop from them again.

    However until someone can recommend a better product with the calming effect and calcium and sugar balancing properties of this supplement I will continue to purchase and use it. As I said before, I am the smallest I have ever been since reaching adult size. That goes all the way back to 13 years old when I finished growing. LOL.

    So long story short, Cortislim started me on the road to a better me and the better me discovered excercise and proper eating along the way. I will never be fat again, count on it!

    Editor’s Comments: The makers of CortiSlim were fined in excess of 4 million dollars by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for making false and unsubstantiated comments about this product, and one other CortiStress ( you can read about there action here!). Instead of experimenting with CortiSlim, I’d recommend Magnolia bark — the ingredient in CortiSlim that has the “calming” effect.

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  5. If the feds are against it, it must be a good product. There are many thousands of products out there that claim to reduce body fat and none of them work.

    Isn’t it strange that the feds don’t sue any of them? What about all the products at GNC, etc.? They don’t work and the feds let them stay in business. Somethings up with that.

    Editor’s comments: Phyllis, we can appreciate your skepticism; after all there are plenty of products that make outrageous claims and are not targeted by the “feds” (your assertion that the feds don’t sue “any” of them is incorrect, the FTC has acted against many products and companies!

    However, your conclusion that because the FTC has acted against Cortislim (and not other offenders) it must somehow be an effective product – is illogical and incorrect.

    In large part, what attracts the FTC and other regulatory bodies to a product are the amount of “noise” it makes.

    In other words, how aggressively is the product advertised, how egregious are the claims, how many people are contacting the FTC and their local Attorney General’s office making claims about deceptive billing practices, and so on. In the case of CortiSlim – a product for which there is absolutely ZERO scientific validation of its claims – it was a LOT of noise. A nation-wide T.V. advertising campaign guaranteed a ton of sales, and consequently, a lot of complaints.

    Additionally, one individual involved in the company (Greg Cynaumon), is alleged to have a long history of nefarious and fraudulent business dealings. Guys like this tend to be at the top of FTC’s radar screen, for obvious reasons.

    So while it may be appealing to think there’s some governmental “conspiracy” whose mandate it is to squash highly effective natural products at the best of the pharmaceutical industry… it is completely untrue.

    Cortislim and its makers deserved to be targeted. Should others who make similar, unsubstantiated claims? Of course. But like most governmental agencies, demands at the FTC are high and resources are limited, so in part, the “feds” act against mostly against the worst offenders. It’s not perfect, we agree. But it’s all that’s available at this time.

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  6. I used it 3 years ago. I just used 2 bottles and went from 185 to 160 in a 9 month period. I started to see results with a combination of jogging at least 2 times a week.

    I loved it!

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  7. If Cortislim were marketed as simply an anti-stress supplement, I would have given it a 5. Because the product is labeled for weight loss and stress reduction, I gave it a 3. I have not had any weight loss with this product but I did have a phenomenal and almost instant reduction in my stress symptoms (ex. racing heartbeat, irritability, and heavy chest). On days when I feel overwhelmed, worked-up, and jittery, I find that when I take the Cortislim, it mellows me right out WITHOUT making me tired.

    I will still take Cortislim for stress because that is what it works for. You will probably not lose weight with it though.

    Editor’s comments: One of the ingredients in CortiSlim, Magnolia bark, may indeed display anti-stress characteristics. As for weight loss, not so much.

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  8. I have been on CortiSlim for about two weeks now. I have been working out regularly and have been sticking to a low fat eating plan.
    There are times we eat out and I have still manged to drop the inches that I thought would never go away. I have not had any jitters or feeling nervous. I feel great and my clothes are fitting better and better. Pants I couldn’t get into a month ago I fit into.

    This is one great product.

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  9. I used CortiSlim for awhile, and didn’t notice any difference, so stopped. I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinet and wondered if I should throw it away as another useless product I have been duped into buying. I decided to look up if it even still sells as I didn’t see it in the beauty products store. It has gone from $35 to $19, and there is a controversy about it, so I guess I will throw it away. Jo in TX

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  10. I give it a 4 because I didn’t lose a pound while taking Cortislim but it took away my monthly PMS completely!!!! Which is great because I had very bad PMS. My husband noticed it after my second period then I realized it was the cortislim that did it.
    Pretty funny that my husband had to point it out to me.

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  11. I have taken Cortislim before and noticed right away the change in my midsection. I also noticed I wasn’t stressed all the time but what was weird when I stopped taking Cortislim I was eating anything I wanted and continued to lose more weight to the point where my curves were disappearing. I even had family members question what had happened to me. Then one day I woke up and had an hour glass figure. I know that is hard to believe but that is what happened with my exercise involved. So you tell me if it worked or not. I guess everybody if different but it worked for me. Once again I purchased Cortislim and will let you know on my outcome.

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  12. I love it how the ‘Editors’ on this website jump in like Big Brother or somebody’s overbearing mother in an attempt to reverse any claim made in the favor of this product.

    So Cortislim was not able to produce evidence from long-term research, yet still went ahead and made certain claims about the pills. Maybe not the wisest move but a gutsy one. They paid the price, yet they are still in business.

    All I know is that I have only been taking Cortislim for a little over a month and I have already noticed weight loss on many areas of my body. I have not put forth much effort. I do exercise a bit each day and try to eat healthfully through several small meals each day. But I was doing that before and not losing weight. I also love the subtle stress-reducing effect of the pills.

    So there.

    Editor’s comments: Chris, nice work on taking the time to learn who we are, and what we do. We’re not a cheering section for the supplement industry – and especially not for products whose claims have ZERO basis in clinical science. Additionally, since so many weight loss supplements are sold online, many comments are NOT genuine; they are made by employees of supplement retailers, affiliates (who earn commissions on referred sales) and so on. It’s our job to point this out to people who might be desperate enough to fall for some of these claims. Oh, and by the way; your experiences are anecdotal and are not “evidence” that the products. You’ve heard of the placebo effect, right?

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  13. I took Cortislim only sporadically for two months a year or two ago, and I must say that while I don’t remember losing any weight with the amount I was taking, I FELT great! I had energy and was able to do more. However, I didn’t take as much as recommended because of my money problems due to disability. I have severe Fibromyalgia and other issues and if I had the money to spend monthly, I definitely would take this product again and follow the dosage instructions this time.

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  14. Have to agree with Chris on the “big brother” attitude of their comments, which seem less concerned for keeping a neutral voice as they do apologizing for positive reviews–many of which don’t appear to be of the *************** nature a PR team for CortiSlim would write, but actually that of satisfied consumers. Once in a while, it’d be nice to see you leave such a lengthy response to a negative review. *cough cough*

    But I digress. For someone who’s stress IS almost directly linked to their weight gain, I’ve had moderately positive results with CortiSlim. To say they have “ZERO basis in clinical science” is definitely an overstatement by the enlightened web team here, though so are some of the claims made by CortiSlim. The CortiSlim formula is based on a lot of “could be” and “is likely” science–not the greatest thing on which to base a national TV campaign. But if your stress is directly correlated with your eating habits, CortiSlim will likely be a good choice for you.

    I’ve had satisfying results.

    Editor’s comments: Beth, we’ve removed the profanity from your post. It’s not appropriate here.

    In regards to your comments: Before you go shooting off at the mouth about what it is we should or shouldn’t be doing here, maybe you should read our “About Us” page, or our FAQs. We’re neutral, in that our comments are not mandated by the sale of one product or another, but we DEFINITELY have a mandate (which you would have learned had you taken the two seconds necessary to find out, before sharing your “comments” here). And we’re certainly not geting to let anyone post unsubstantiated nonsense without call them on it. It’s our web site, and if you don’t like it – go somewhere else. We get 10’s of thousands of visitors every month who visit every month who “get” what we do – and if you don’t, well too bad.

    You see, we’re not here as a cheering section for the supplement industry. Our goal is the education of our visitors. Sometime that means we have to tell them about the placebo effect, the fact that manufacturers use forums like this one to “sneak” positive comments past the moderators in an effort to boost sales, that those same retailers post negative feedback about their competitors products, that most unbiased visitor feedback sites are actually owned by the retailers themselves, that diuretics can make it appear like a product is “working” when it is in fact not, and that no comments anywhere – even here – can be trusted, because there is no way to authenticate ANY of them.

    Here’s a perfect example; a short while ago, the district attorneys of several California districts took action against pills called Dex L10 and Dex L10 Complete, which led to a partial ban of the product and fines being paid by the company. One of the things the district attorneys where able to show was that this hoodia based diet pill (hoodia is “supposed” to suppress appetite and aid weight loss although no studies have ever verified this) didn’t contain any hoodia at all.

    And yet, if you go to Amazon and read the reviews of this product, you will find (of today’s date), 8 people gave this product 4 or 5 stars (out of 5), while 6 gave it a single star. What does that tell you, exactly?

    Let us spell it out for you…

    Since the product doesn’t actually contain any of the ingredient to which the weight loss and appetite suppressing are attibuted, users experiencing postive effects are either experiencing the placebo effect, or they are being paid to post their “testimonials” (see this video to see how easy THAT is).

    There simply is no other option.

    Two points here; the first? Testimonials from satisfied customers mean nothing, even if they are genuine.

    Second – no comments or testimonials can be authenticated, and you can’t attribute anything to any of them. We want people to have a forum to share their experiences, but it’s also a forum where we inform people about what sort of dirty tricks are being pulled on them.

    That does not mean neutral.

    Oh yes, a couple of other things Beth; one – for this statement…

    “To say they have “ZERO basis in clinical science” is definitely an overstatement by the enlightened web team here”

    … to be an “overstatement”, there would have to exist some clinical data that supported the claims of the manufacturer. There isn’t any. If you know of some, please present it here. We’d love to see it.

    Second, if the “PR Team At Cortislim” were posting positive reviews here (and we don’t allege that they are) don’t you think their #1 goal would be to make them appear as not to have originated from the retailer, but from everyday users? Hello? Looks like you really gave this a lot of thought, Beth…

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  15. I want to thank you for dedicating time and space to educate people on CortiSlim, but I ask that you utilize the most current information in doing so.

    In 2008, the Company was taken over by new owners and management. The predecessor company was forced into bankruptcy as a result of the Federal Trade Commission actions against it and its former owners for making false claims.

    The current ownership and management is wholly unrelated to the former owners or company and is dedicated to the education and mitigation of stress, diabetes and obesity throughout the world.

    The product was overhauled and re-released in 2011. We introduced CortiSLIM Advanced, containing the #1 most potent blend of Calciplex D, providing a 3-pronged approach to weight loss by attacking stress, enhancing thermogenesis and supporting lean body mass through maintaining healthy glucose levels. We also have CortiSLIM Burn, which is most effective when used in conjunction with exercise as it has a unique thermogenic agent that will help you burn fat more effectively and help increase energy and stamina required for your workout. CortiSLIM Original is still available, but when stock runs out, we will only have the two products. We have a 60 day money-back satisfaction guarantee.

    We are currently conducting double-blind medical studies with some very prominent doctors in California. CortiSlim products offer a unique combination of ingredients which affect Cortisol, blood glucose and insulin hormone production. The products, when combined with other life-style changes, have a positive effect on weight and body fat-loss.
    The product is available locally in Canada, and in the USA.

    Editor’s comments:
    Thanks for the update Sue. Please update us with a link to the study when it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Just a thought; if the new ownership is so upstanding and “dedicated to the mitigation of stess, obesity and diabetes”, don’t you think it would be a good idea to perform the clinical studies on the products *before* you sell them to the general public?

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    • Thank you for getting back to me and for your comments.
      We have 11 Binders of studies done on the ingredients in our products. We have a doctor that has a host of ongoing patients that he monitors cortisol and other hormone levels, puts them on CortiSLIM and watches the cortisol levels drop. I, myself, once had a cortisol level of 31 (normal is 4-6) mine are now 9 after 16 months only using cortisol. The work that Shawn Talbott just grazed the top of the harmful effects of excess cortisol in all of his studies and books he has published on the subject.
      We will continue to monitor current research and approve upon our products as new studies suggest.

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      • No offense Sue, but none of this – “11 binders of unpublished studies” – means anything when it can’t be verified or critiqued. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… provide a link to double blind, placebo controlled, peer-reviewed study please, published in a reputable journal.

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  16. I used to use it faithfully for a couple years before it was snatched off shelves due to FDA…and simply put…IT WORKED!…. very well, and very quick… and I’ve experimented with almost every popular weight loss product out there. There’s only a couple that have truly worked without giving me negative side effects. This was one.

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