Review: Grenade Thermo Detonator Fat Burner
If there’s one thing the folks retailing the Grenade Thermo Detonator fat burner got right, it’s the product packaging.
We can’t show it here, of course, since displaying the Grenade product image without permission would be a copyright violation, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s very slick; a grenade, packaged in a military green box which is see-through on two corners, stamped with the logo in orange.
However, if we step away from the product’s packaging what we’re left with is a fairly ordinary product.
The story behind the product “sounds cool”—it was apparently designed for “the miltary.” More specifically, it was developed for a member of the Royal Marines who was attempting to lose some weight in order to gain entry to Britain’s elite special forces unit called the SAS (or Special Air Service). That’s not “the military”, that’s some guy in the military.
Plus, we can’t actually authenticate any of this. It’s a bullet proof story—the members of the SAS are almost as secretive as the U.S.’s Seal Team 6, so it’s not like the soldier’s name can ever be revealed to verify the tale. So we can’t ever confirm this is any more than simple marketing hype.
So let’s discuss the product formula. The Grenade product profile boasts 775 mg divided among 14 ingredients…
(Already we have a bit of a problem; formulas that boast a lot of ingredients may appear more impressive, but in reality, they are less likely to contain optimal amounts of supporting ingredients. In the supplement world, including lots of cool-sounding ingredients at tiny doses to spice up a product’s label is known as “label dressing.”)
Caffeine: No fat burner on the planet is complete without a hearty dose of caffeine. And hearty it is; a single capsule of Grenade boasts 200 mg! (This product claims to be “jitter free” which I find to be somewhat of an “interesting” claim, since a 2-capsule serving boasts a whopping 400 mg of caffeine—and it’s only one of the stimulants included in this product). Of course caffeine has demonstrated, albeit mild, weight loss and performance enhancing effects (see clinical study abstracts here and here!) which makes it a “no-brainer” ingredient for a product like this.
Green tea extract (80% polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate 45% epicatechin): By now you’ve probably heard about green tea, and the benefits it offers to dieters. True, when properly standardized and consumed in the correct quantity (no way to tell the dosage in this product), it can elevate the metabolism slightly as well as inhibit the activity of an enzyme called fatty acid synthase, which is critical for the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. It also appears to act on an enzyme called amylase, which is important for the conversion of starches into glucose. In essence this means green tea may act as a glucose moderator as well.
Despite all these benefits, the effects thereof are subtle at best. Retailers tend to grossly exaggerate the sort of effects you will see with green tea (to put green tea’s effects into the proper context, you may want to read this article!).
Additionally, clinical data is now suggesting there may be a real risk of adverse effects in over-consuming green tea extracts.
Bitter Orange Extract (apparently standardized for synephrine, octopamine, N-methyltyramine, tyramine, and hordenine): In this product, the bitter orange extract likely plays two roles…
- As a weight loss ingredient: Both synephrine and octopamine have been used in weight loss supplements for years, despite only the most luke-warm clinical data supporting the effectiveness of synephrine (there’s no data on octopamine).
- As a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor): Both hordenine and tyramine are selective substrates for MAO-B. I’ll explain what this means and why this is important in a moment. For now, let’s just carry on.
Grapefruit seed extract: Some elements of grapefruit extract, including 6′,7- dihydroxybergamottin for which this formula is standardized, inhibit the action of some forms of the cytochrome P450 enzyme, which are essential for metabolism of a variety of prescription medications (this is why you may have heard you should be careful when taking prescription medication with grapefruit juice). In a product like this one, it is likely included here to increase the potency of some of the ingredients in the formula.
Capsicum Annuum (capsaicin): Chili peppers contain naturally occurring substances called capsanoids, and one of these—capsaicin—is the compound of greatest interest to those who put together products like this one. And yes, there is some evidence capsaicin can decrease appetite and increase energy expenditure—when consumed at the appropriate dosage. In this positive study, for example, participants received a 900 mg red pepper supplement (.25% capsaicin) prior to each meal. Other studies also suggest adherence to a maximum possible dose is necessary for maximum effect.
In other words, capsaicin can be helpful, but Grenade doesn’t contain nearly enough to elicit an effect.
Evodiamine: From our glossary: “One of the principle, bioactive alkaloids of Evodia rutaecarpa. Like capsaicin, evodiamine is a vanilloid receptor agonist, with thermogenic and (potential) anti-obesity effects.” For the most part, however, its value is largely speculative as no human studies have been performed.
Yohimbe (yohimbine): Yohimbine is an alkaloid, and the standardized extract of the Yohimbe tree, which is native to Africa. Clinical data shows yohimbine exhibits some mild weight loss effects, not surprising since it does act as an alpha 2-receptor antagonist. Evidence also indicates some “lipid-mobilizing action” characteristics.
Raspberry ketones: A phenolic compound (a class of natural compounds found in plants) derived from red raspberries. Normally, these are used as a fragrance and/or for food flavoring, but lately they’ve been the darling of the weight loss industry, despite the lack of any credible human data (to date most supportive published clinical data is animal based). I’m sure much of this can be attributed to the attention its garnering in the mainstream media; not too long ago raspberry ketones were focused prominently on the Dr. Oz show, for example.
Phenylalanine: An essential amino acid, Phenylalanine is a precursor to Pheneythylamine and L-tyrosine, and as such is often included in products such as this one for its possible mood and cognitive effects.
Cocoa Bean Extract: Standardized for “methyxanthines”. Methyxanthine is caffeine, so we can assume that’s really why this ingredient is included.
B-Phenethylamine HCI (B-PEA): Pheneythylamine (PEA) is the feel good, amphetamine-related chemical found in chocolate, once thought to be the source of the famous chocolate high. Retailers of weight loss supplements have been adding it to their product formulations for a couple of years, and it’s a great ingredient by which to gauge just how serious they are in formulating intelligent products.
Why is that?
Consuming pheneythylamine orally won’t do anything for you, because it is rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase. In other words, PEA won’t do anything to help elevate your mood, because it gets broken down so quickly.
If a supplement retailer knows anything at all about what they are doing, they will include natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in their products to increase the likelihood the PEA enters the bloodstream unscathed. In this case, Grenade does contain the MAOIs hordenine and tyramine, derived from bitter orange extract.
So they are paying attention at least.
However, just how well these natural MAOIs work preventing the breakdown of PEA, and just how effective an undetermined amount of PEA will be in elevating either your energy levels or weight loss success is not something established by any clinical studies.
Coleus Forskohlii: When dosed properly (250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice a day) there is some evidence that demonstrates forskolin favorably alters body composition as well as elevates testosterone levels in overweight and obese men. Another study demonstrated much less dramatic results.
Yerba mate (caffeine theobromine and theophylline): Another source of caffeine, plus additional caffeine related alkaloids, theobromine and theophylline. Both have similar effects on exercise performance and thermogenesis as caffeine, but are milder.
DMAE: An analogue of choline, DMAE is usually included in supplements like this for its ability to improve memory and focus—read more about DMAE here!
So where does that leave us?
Well, the whopping 200 mg of caffeine per capsule combined with bitter orange extract, yohimbe and possibly the PEA pretty much guarantees you’re getting a product you’re really going to feel. If you’re looking for artificial energy, I don’t doubt this will do it. Despite being advertised as delivering “no jitters” however, I really don’t see how this product cannot cause the jitters, especially at the 2 capsule serving.
As far as an effective fat burner goes, only the dosage of the caffeine is revealed. While it is possible green tea and yohimbe are dosed effectively (there’s no way to confirm this) the majority of the remaining ingredients simply cannot be, given the limitations of capsule size. Several of the ingredients are included based on preliminary speculative evidence only (raspberry ketones, evodiamine) and others have no supporting evidence at all.
At the end of the day what you’re left with is a potent, stimulant based product that really is no better or worse than any of the majority of weight loss products available on the market today. If that’s good enough for you, Grenade is available online at BodyBuilding.com, one of our recommended online retailers.
|Summary of Grenade Thermo Detonator