Muscle Pharm Shred Matrix Fat Burner Review
A serving of Muscle Pharm’s Shred Matrix offers up 2437.5 mg of well over 40 ingredients… all jammed into 3 capsules.
Of course, when you start jamming a zillion ingredients into a product like Shred Matrix, you run into a big problem; the medicinal plants, food compounds and herbs that are typically found in weight loss products are much like pharmaceutical drugs; they need to be present in a potent enough dosage to have any effect.
Products that contain a lot of ingredients are less likely to contain potent dosages of the individual ingredients than less complex formulas. Therefore, most ingredients will serve only as “label dressing.”
In other words, they make the label appear impressive, despite the fact that most ingredients are not present in a dose strong enough to actually do anything.
The difference with Shred Matrix is that with almost 2500 mg of ingredients, it’s entirely likely that there are more than a few ingredients present in a strong enough dosage to be effective (it’s just a little difficult to determine which ones, exactly.) Therefore, dismissing this product outright is unfair and unprofessional.
So let’s take a closer look at the formula. The proprietary matrix is broken down into 8 “stages”…
Stages 1 & 2: Energy and Fat Metabolism
- Guarana seed extract: A South American plant that produces berries with a high concentration (up to 7.5%) of caffeine.
- Caffeine Anhydrous (150mg): An alkaloid and central nervous system stimulant found in coffee, tea, guarana, etc. Caffeine can enhance exercise performance, and also has mild thermogenic effects.
- Green tea extract: There’s some decent evidence to suggest green tea and its essential catechins provide some real benefits for dieters. Be helpful if we knew what it is standardized for here, and how much is present. Otherwise its hard to assess its real value to this formulation.
- Suma extract: Also known as Brazilian ginseng, this adaptogen was traditionally used to boost energy and libido. Some preliminary evidence validates suma’s libido boosting effects (in an animal model). Human based studies are lacking.
- Saw palmetto: An odd addition to this formula, as saw palmetto extracts are usually used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
- Yerba mate extract: Usually included it fat burners for its caffeine content—caffeine’s positive albeit mild effects are well established (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
- Fo-ti root: A Chinese herb with potent antioxidant effects, and demonstrated cardio-protective characteristics (in animal studies).
- Siberian ginseng: Works in a similar manner as Panax (Asian) ginseng. See the full review for more details.
- Cayenne: A spice that is also known as capsicum, hot pepper, red pepper, chili and chili pepper.There is a small body of evidence that indicates that cayenne consumption can indeed elevate the metabolism (Br J Nutr 1999;82:115–23, Br J Nutr 1998;80:503–10).
- Yohimbine: An alkaloid that’s the active principle in yohimbe bark. Yohimbine stimulates lipolysis by increasing blood flow in adipose tissue and blocking the activation of a 2-adrenoceptors on fat cells…although it works better in theory than in fact.
Stages 3 & 4: Appetite Balancing & Weight Management Control
- Glucomannan: is an un-absorbable polysaccharide that is derived from the konjac root (i.e., a “fiber” supplement). Several studies suggest it’s modestly useful for weight loss and appetite control.
- Guar Gum: A water-soluble fiber, used commercially primarily as a thickening agent.
- Alpha lipoic acid: A potent antioxidant that plays a role in glucose management; studies show supplementation leads to an enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Gymnema sylvestre extract: Native to India, studies in humans and animals have confirmed it can improve glucose control, possibly by inhibiting glucose uptake in the small intestine and enhancing insulin release.It may even have positive effects on lipid metabolism and has potential for use in treating diabetes and obesity.
- Banaba Extract: Corosolic acid has been shown to improve glucose control. As such, it makes sense to include it in the Shred Matrix formula.
- D-Biotin: A B vitamin, biotin plays an essential role in the breakdown of amino acids and certain fatty acids.
- Calcium Malate: the calcium salt of malic acid. Malate is a citric acid cycle intermediate.
- Phaseolus vulgaris: Derived from white kidney beans, you’ll find this ingredient included in weight loss supplements for its “carb blocking” abilities. Clinical data on this ingredient is mixed, with older data suggesting minimal, although positive effects, while a newer study was slightly more positive (the latter study used 445 mg of Phaseolus per day, a dosage likely to be much higher than that included in this formula).
- Chromium: Chromium plays a role in glucose moderation, and is often included in weight loss formulas to help reduce sugar cravings. Clinical data validating its effects is inconsistent, however.
Stage 5: Anti-Stress Mood Balancing Matrix
- Turmeric: A spice and source of curcumin, which has therapeutic potential for treating/preventing cancer, Alzheimer’s and inflammatory diseases. Turmeric has also shown hypoglycemic and anti-obesity effects in animal experiments.
- Panax ginseng root: Probably included as an adaptogen, to improve stamina, immunity and tolerance to stress.It’s also claimed that ginseng can enhance libido and athletic performance.
- 5-HTP: Used in alternative treatment for depression. Studies also validate 5-HTP’s benefits for weight loss (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;56(5):863-7, J Neural Transm. 1989;76(2):109-17) . However, even 5-HTP needs to be consumed in significant amounts to be helpful. One study used 900 mg per day, and the other, 8 mg/kg/day (a 150-person weighs about 68 kg. To be compliant with the dosage of the second study, this person would require 544 mg of 5-HTP per day).
- Echinacea angustifolia (root): An herbal remedy used as an immune-system booster.
- Garlic: Garlic has a range of medicinal properties. The power of garlic is mainly attributed to a compound called allicin, a sulphur-bearing compound that gives the herb its strong taste and aroma.
- Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis): An herbal medicine with soothing/calming effects.
- Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): An immune-system booster that’s a staple of traditional Chinese medicine.
Stage 6: Brain Power Matrix
- Pyroglutamic Acid: a cyclized derivative of the amino acid glutamine. It can cross the blood-brain barrier, and is sometimes used as a “smart drug” to enhance memory and cognition, similar to piracetam—which has the same basic structure. Although user reports are generally favorable, scientific evidence is limited to a few older animal studies and a single human study.
- Papain 2000: Another enzyme, this one with numerous uses, including meat tenderization. Seems a bit out of place in this matrix—perhaps it should have been listed in the previous one.
Stage 7: Diuretic Complex
- Uva ursi: A herb with well-established diuretic effects.
- Dandelion extract: Used to treat digestive orders and improve liver function, also a natural diuretic.
- Potassium Aspartate: A form of the mineral potassium, a positively charged ion that plays an important role in fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
Stage 8: Sugar Stop™ & Enzyme Aid Matrix
- DigeSEB®: An extensive digestive enzyme blend designed to promote optimal digestion.
- Ginger Root: Has both culinary and medicinal uses.
- Fennel Seed: Commonly used as a treatment for dyspepsia, this herbal also has diuretic properties.
- Almond Oil Powder: Normally used in cosmetics as a skin softener, also rich in vitamins D & E.
- Dulse Leaf: A seaweed also known for its iodine content.
- Alfalfa Leaf: As a medicinal herb, alfalfa has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion, arthritis, bladder problems, allergies and menstrual difficulties.
- Chlorella: An algae, it contains high amounts of chlorophyll as well as the enzymes chlorophyllase and pepsin, which aid digestion.
- Artichoke Leaf: In herbal medicine, it is used as a bile stimulant and diuretic.
- Irish Moss: Also known as red algae, normally used as a source of carrageenians, a thickener used in convenience foods.
- Wild Yam Root (Mexican): Included in performance supplements for various reasons, none of which have much in the way of supporting evidence.
- Apple Pectin: A dietary fiber helpful for maintaining digestive health.
- Kelp: Often included for its iodine content— a vital substrate for many thyroid hormones.
- Bromelain: A protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapple.
- Rutin NF: Rutin is a flavanoid; a class of polyphenols found in plants/plant foods that may help prevent degenerative diseases.
So there you have it; Shred Matrix in all its glory.
Reading through the descriptions of the various ingredients really emphasis just how many of them there are, and just how unlikely it is that any more than a handful are present in dosages strong enough to elicit any effect.
Of course, if the “right” ingredients are present in the correct dosage, this product may indeed offer some value. For example, certain ingredients in the appetite control matrix (like ALA, chromium, corosolic acid and gymnema) do not need to be present in a huge dose in order to have some effect.
It is also likely Shred Matrix contains enough caffeine and adaptogens to provide plenty of added boost, if that is what you are looking for. The enzyme blend looks like it could be helpful, too (although we don’t know how active the enzymes are).
And, if the user reviews at BodyBuilding.com are to be believed (and all feedback must be taken with a grain of salt, as it is anecdotal, and may be presented by individuals with ulterior motives) the large majority of users are very happy with this product.
Most indicate it has suppressed their appetite and cravings and provided additional energy—which seems to confirm what I believe about it.
The other issue with Shred Matrix is cost; it is significantly more expensive than other less convoluted products—$42.99 at GNC (it’s somewhat cheaper at Bodybuilding.com: $32.45). And taken at 6 caps/day, even a 120 capsule bottle won’t last the month.
Personally, I prefer to use products that contain fewer ingredients, all present at an effective dose, than kitchen sink products like this one.
|Summary of Muscle Pharm Shred Matrix|
But ultimately, it’s your call.
March 5, 2013
“Personally, I prefer to use products that contain fewer ingredients, all present at an effective dose, than kitchen sink products like this one.”
Which products do you like to use?
March 6, 2013
You and I are on the same page, Moriah. I tend to use simple, effectively dosed products – creatine, glutamine, BCAAs, whey protein, essential fatty acids… that sort of stuff. 😉