Fentraphen™ (37.5 mg) Hardcore Fat Burner Review — $60 For Synephrine And PEA?
Just when I thought it couldn’t be done, yet another fat burner with a name like “phentermine” — Fentraphen™ — has surfaced. According to one glowing review I read, Fentraphen™ works so well because it combines phenylethylamine (PEA is the “feel good chemical commonly found in chocolate) and synephrine in a precise, 37.5 mg dosage… the same dosage “used” in the prescription weight loss drug phentermine.
What they really mean, of course, is that phentermine is sold in 37.5 mg tablets, not that phentermine contains 37.5 mg of the synephrine/PEA blend found in Fentraphen™. Phentermine is “phentermine hydrochloride”… and to suggest otherwise is well… silly. Darned if I know how Fentraphen™’s 37.5 mgs precise blend of two completely different ingredients can be as effective a fat burner as phentermine.
So, short of the name and the dosage size, Fentraphen and phentermine don’t have a whole heck of lot in common. Of course, if you dig deep enough you’ll find a tiny germ of truth — the sort often extrapolated upon by unscrupulous marketers. Phentermine is commonly described as an “appetite suppressant of the amphetamine and phenethylamine class.” Regardless, that’s a far cry from saying a simple blend of PEA and synephrine will duplicate this prescription drug’s results.
With that bit of foolishness out of the way, let’s discuss the Fentraphen™ formula. It contains…
1. Chromium picolinate: Used for glucose management and insulin management. A decent ingredient to be sure, but its effects are subtle; this is an ingredient that plays a supporting role in any formula it is featured in. It’s also a cheap ingredient; you can buy a month’s worth for less than $5.
And 37.5 mg blend of the following two ingredients…
2. Synephrine HCL:Synephrine is an alkaloid that is derived from citrus aurantium. As a “chemical cousin” of ephedra, synephrine has replaced the ephedra content of many popular fat burners (ephedra now being illegal, of course).
Retailers claim synephrine offers all the “fat burning” benefits of ephedra without any of the annoying side effects — sleeplessness, “the jitters”, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, etc, etc.
Unfortunately, the evidence to support these claims is a bit sparse. First of all, there are studies that show synephrine-containing products do elevate blood pressure and heart rate, despite claims that it is not a stimulant (see Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Jan;40(1):53-7. Epub 2005 Nov 29).
And it’s fat burning characteristics?…
This study (Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):79-88) concludes…
“While some evidence is promising, we conclude that larger and more rigorous clinical trials are necessary to draw adequate conclusions regarding the safety and efficacy of C. aurantium and synephrine alkaloids for promoting weight loss.”
And this one (Am J Cardiol. 2004 Nov 15;94(10):1359-61) on the “Safety and efficacy of citrus aurantium for weight loss” concluded…
“An extensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Collaboration Database identified only 1 eligible randomized placebo controlled trial, which followed 20 patients for 6 weeks, demonstrated no statistically significant benefit for weight loss, and provided limited information about the safety of the herb.”
One study (“Increase in the thermic effect of food in women by adrenergic amines extracted from citrus aurantium”) performed at the University of McGill in Montreal and published in Obesity Research (Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1187-94.) was slightly more positive. But although it concluded that citrus aurantium did not have any effect on blood pressure and pulse rate, and did elevate the metabolism, the results were hardly earth-shattering…
“CA (citrus aurantrium) alone increased thermogenesis, on average, by 4% (52), a response that is statistically significant but not necessarily clinically significant, representing an average 1 kg over 6 months.”
Some retailers claim the synthetic form of synephrine (the form used in Fentraphen™) is more effective that the naturally derived compound. There is no evidence this is the case.
3. Phenylethylamine: As I mentioned earlier, this is the “feel good” chemical found in chocolate. Weight loss supplement manufacturers have been using PEA in their formulation for ages — despite the fact there is no real clinical evidence it is the slightest bit helpful for weight loss. There’s another problem with simple PEA supplementation…
The majority of it gets metabolized by an enzyme known as “monamine oxidase.” This prevents all but the slightest amounts from reaching the bloodstream. And alas… no feelings of “well being” or mild euphoria.
That’s why the smartest manufacturers who are using PEA in their formulas are also jamming them full of natural monamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. Gaspari’s CytoLean (reviewed here) for example, contains five natural MAOIs. Fentraphen™ contains no MAOIs, so I highly doubt supplementing will lead to any sort of “chocolate high” or “natural euphoria.”
What you really have is a blend of synephrine — a “not terribly effective” fat burner, and chromium picolinate — a decent, but cheap blood sugar moderator. The small amount of PEA included here is unlikely to provide much effect. If you really wanted to experiment with synephrine, you could do it a lot cheaper — you can buy a month’s worth for less than $15!
At a reputable online retailer like BodyBuilding.com, here’s what it will cost you to experiment with potent doses of all the ingredients (not that I feel such an experiment would be worthwhile, I only use this to illustrate how expensive Fentraphen™ is)…
- 1 bottle (180 / 10mg caps) PrimaForce synephrine: $13.49
- 1 bottle (100/200mcg cap)s chromium picolinate: $4.95
- 1 bottle (120/250mg caps) Unique Nutrition Phenylethylamine: $20.99
In a nutshell, there’s certainly nothing here that justifies the $60 price tag for Fentraphen™. And it ain’t “hardcore.” Not by a country mile!