The Zovatol fat burner appears to be sold online, mostly via eBay.
So what’s the scoop with Zovatol, dubbed the “Thermogenic Fat Burning Breakthrough”? Is there any evidence to validate any of the claims made for the product?
It’s probably not going to surprise you to discover that no studies have been performed on this product, nor is there any evidence it has any positive effect on weight loss.
Zovatol contains a couple of useful ingredients, but since the dosage of these is not revealed, it’s impossible to determine if they are present in a potent enough dosage to elicit any effect. Let’s have a closer look “under the hood” of the Zovatol formula and see what we can find…
1. White and green teas: Green tea is one of the few “fat burners” that shows some real promise for weight loss. In the appropriate dosages (and standardized for the appropriate catechins, i.e., EGCG) it elevates the metabolism, inhibits the activity of the enzyme amylase, and provides amazing antioxidant activity (for a full review of green and tea and to view accompanying clinical references, click here!).
The problem is that we do not know how much green tea Zovatol contains, nor do we know if it is standardized for these critical catechins and caffeine. So it’s impossible to assess the value it provides to this formula. You’d think if the product contained an ample amount of this critical ingredient, the retailers would be happy to share this information with the world.
And what’s the deal with “white tea?”
Well, it comes from the same plant as the green tea (Camellia sinensis) but it is harvested earlier, before the leaves are fully opened and the leaves are covered with a fine white hair (hence its name).
White tea has a lighter, sweeter taste than green tea, tends to be lower in caffeine and higher in antioxidants, and has undergone very little processing.
There’s no doubt it probably provides many of the benefits provided by green tea. However, the positive weight loss studies I’ve viewed have been performed on green tea, not white tea.
And clinicians have attributed much of green tea’s weight loss effects to the combination of a critical catechin (EGCG) and caffeine. Since white tea contains much less caffeine, it may not be nearly as effective a weight loss aid.
And of course, just like the green tea, we have no idea how much the Zovatol formula contains.
2. Caffeine: According to the sales page I saw, Zovatol contains “just the right amount to take off your water weight and heighten your metabolism without giving you the jitters.” Not sure what this means exactly; caffeine is a diuretic, but its well-established effects on weight loss are a result of an elevation in metabolism (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97) not a dramatic shedding of “water weight.”
Once again, it’s not revealed whether “just the right amount” of caffeine is actually enough to elicit a response. Theoretically, Zovatol could contain several hundred milligrams, or it may contain hardly any at all.
3. Capsaicin (from hot peppers): According to the retailer, this fat burner “revs up your metabolism to help you blast fat faster.” That statement is contradicted by this study (Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):R77-85. Epub 2006 Jul 13) which says…
“Capsaicin has been shown to be effective, yet when it is used clinically it requires a strong compliance to a certain dosage, that has not been shown to be feasible yet.”
In other words, in order for capsaicin to have an effect on your metabolism, it has to be taken in doses much too high to make it practical.
The retailer also states (in regards to capsaicin)…
“… works synergistically with the other ingredients for maximum fat burning.”
Unfortunately, there is no clinical evidence to validate this statement.
4) Yohimbe (usually standardized for yohimbine and other alkaloids): Zovatol retailers claim that western scientists have found that yohimbe (derived from the bark of a western African evergreen tree) is an “excellent thermogenic.” A few studies bear out yohimbe’s positive effect on weight loss (Isr J Med SCI 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6).
However, its effects are not dramatic — although yohimbe is certainly an ingredient you can “feel” (yohimbe is a stimulant but some users notice feelings of cold / shivering / goose bumps) which is probably why many supplement retailers add it to their compilations.
What’s the bottom line on Zovatol?
It’s high priced. It has a very ordinary ingredient profile of indeterminate potency and strength. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that we do not recommend Zovatol.
A high quality green tea extract stacked with caffeine tabs would likely provide greater results for less $$$.