Note: The original Gaspari Detonate formula discussed below has been replaced by a new one: Detonate XT.
Gaspari’s Detonate has all but disappeared off the face of the planet – almost overnight. You may be wondering why that is; never fear, all will be revealed in this review. With that said, let’s begin at the beginning…
The advertising I reviewed for Gaspari’s “Detonate” fat burner boasts of a “clinically studied formula” that generated “measured results.”
Oh yes, and “supported safety data” as well.
Where this study is, of course, they don’t say. Because I can’t find it anywhere. If such a study exists – and it’s up to Gaspari to make it public, not only so we can confirm their assertions, but to expose it to critique – then it doesn’t seem to be published in any of the “normal” places. Of course, my problem may be that I am making the reasonable assumption that the term “clinically studied” refers to the Detonate formula itself, and not a handful of its ingredients.
That said, a few clues can be found in the FAQs included in the advertising we reviewed. In response to the question, “what sort of results can I expect from Detonate?”, Gaspari provides the answer…
“From the first dose, you’ll notice a strong stimulant and sensory effect. Our clinical studies have demonstrated a strong trend for weight loss and lean body mass recomposition over a four week period when following the directions correctly.”
As our scientific and technical adviser Elissa pointed out to me, “strong trend” is “spin” for “did not reach statistical significance“. Additionally, since no one really knows what “lean body mass recomposition” actually means (weasel-wording at its finest, as Elissa pointed out) it’s tough to know just what sort of results you can reasonably expect. It appears that Gaspari is selling a stimulant, and trying to “wring” a weight loss claim out of it.
And I’m a little skeptical of the “safety” claims as well, as you’ll see in a moment.
For the most part, the formula is pretty ordinary. It’s an 8- ingredient, 700 mg blend of “run-of-the-mill” ingredients, all jumbled together with no specific dosage or standardization information provided…
- Tangerine extract: Probably standardized for “hesperidin” but we don’t know for sure since the label doesn’t say. Herperidin may inhibit the action of drug metabolizing enzymes, which its likely role in this formula (you’ll see why in a moment).
- Caffeine: Yawn. The well known stimulant that graces the labels of most weight supplements on the planet has a role here, too.
- Green tea: Likely under-dosed given the logistics of serving size, a properly standardized green tea extract can be beneficial for dieters.
- Coffee bean: Also likely to be under-dosed, green coffee has been around for some time, but only recently hit the “big time”, thanks to national exposure on the Dr. Oz show. It IS helpful for weight loss, although its effects and study results are dramatically exaggerated. Full review here!
- Asian ginseng: Although ginseng certainly offers a myriad of benefits, at the dosage likely to be included here, it serves little purpose other than to “dress up the label.”
- Black pepper extract: Boosts the absorption and enhances the bio-availability of certain supplements (see more).
- B-Phenylethylamine (PEA): Found naturally in a number of foods (chocolate is the best known), this chemical relative of amphetamine is often added to fat burners on the premise that it boosts mood, energy, fat burning and so forth. There’s no clinical evidence it does any of this, plus it’s so rapidly metabolized by the enzyme monamine oxidase (MOA) that’s it’s unlikely to cause any effect. However, supplement manufacturers like Gaspari are doing their best to inhibit that breakdown by MOA by including natural inhibitors like the aforementioned hesperidin. Its effectiveness has never been confirmed in a clinical study.
The eighth ingredient of the formula, however, is not so ordinary.
It’s called “Dendrobium”.
Dendrobium is a type of orchid native to China, Thailand, Vietnam and similar tropical Asian regions. Although it’s one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology, to date, there is exactly ZERO published evidence to support its use as a fat burner. It is, however, being touted as a credible alternative to DMAA, or Dimethylamylamine (the proscribed stimulant that used to be a common addition to popular pre-workout supplements like USP’s Jacked, Isatori’s PWR as well as many fat burners as well. See more on DMAA here!).
Is dendrobium safer than DMAA? Probably, since orchids have also been used in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries.
But is it really a good stimulant alternative to DMAA? Here’s where the waters start to get a bit muddied.
According to this supplier, it contains some very interesting chemical constituents including phenylethylamine and a handful of other PEA derivatives: N,N-Dimethyl-B-Phenylethylamine, and N,N-Diethyl-B Phenylethylamine. If this is true, then it’s conceivable that dendrobium could contribute to the claimed mood/energy-stimulating effects of Detonate. This might make it a worthwhile addition, even in the absence of any major fat-burning effects.
Unfortunately, the true chemical composition of dendrobium is currently in dispute, thanks to a recent lawsuit against Driven Sports, the manufacturers of Craze – another dendrobium-containing supplement. Although the suit was eventually dismissed, the plaintiffs’ claim that Craze was spiked with “synthetic stimulant drugs” caught the attention of supplement industry insiders. One, James Neal-Kababick, director of Flora Research Laboratories, noted that he has done “extensive research” on the species, but he “has yet to find any phenylethylamines that are native to dendrobium.”
Even worse, a team of researchers associated with NSF International, recently published a paper claiming to have detected a “methamphetamine analog N,α-diethyl-phenylethylamine (N,α-DEPEA)” in Craze. NSF International also alleged that additional testing revealed the same compound was found in Detonate. As the chemical name implies, N,α-DEPEA is one of those phenethylamines that James Neal-Kababick said he “has yet to find” in dendrobium.
If this finding is confirmed, and it is shown that N,α-DEPEA isn’t found naturally in dendrobium, then both Driven Sports (Craze) and Gaspari Nutrition (Detonate) could find themselves in a world of regulatory hurt. Not surprisingly, both companies recently suspended production of their respective products until the controversy is settled.
According to USA Today, however, Detonate can still be found in certain stores and online outlets.
So, is Detonate worth purchasing – assuming you can find it?
Problem is, we really don’t know what value dendrobium adds to this formula.
Without it, you’re left with a pretty “run of the mill”, everyday formula that may or may not offer some value to dieters, depending on whether the key ingredients are dosed properly or not.
And unfortunately, since Detonate is a “proprietary blend,” we can’t tell.
Detonate – in its current form – may be off the market for some time (if not for good) – so it’s probably a moot point, but regardless… thumbs down.