When you search for weight loss supplement online, you’ll likely find that the results include hundreds of products that possess a list of ingredients very similar to that of Beach Body ActiVit.
These products could be summed up using the phrase “Over-priced Multivitamin”.
ActiVit claims to boost metabolism, improve immune health and improve muscle recovery times, but with a list of ingredients that’s equal to that of a run-of-the-mill $10 multivitamin, you shouldn’t place any bets on this pill doing more than providing you with a few extra micronutrients.
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Beach Body ActiVit claims to be “formulated with unique ingredients”…
While it is already safe to say you’re better off buying a store-brand multivitamin, let’s give ActiVit the benefit of the doubt and take a closer look at this “unique” product.
What is Beach Body ActiVit?
Beach Body ActiVit is a weight loss supplement that has been available for purchase since 2008. The manufactures of ActiVit are the company “Beach Body” from which the supplement takes its name. ActiVit is easy to acquire online and does appear to be priced affordably – if it proves to be effective at doing something useful, that is. There are even some favorable customer comments and reviews about this supplement for Beach Body to proudly display on their website, so we can be at least a tiny bit hopeful that ActiVit does some of what it says on the bottle.
Beach Body advertises this supplement as being able to boost the energy levels of both men and women who use it, but is there any science backing up this statement?
Does it Work?
Unfortunately, on closer inspection of the product, our fears about this being yet another overpriced multivitamin are confirmed.
ActiVit's ingredients list plays out much like you’d expect. That’s not to say that this product isn't useful in some capacity, it will prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies if taken as recommended, but this is not the job the product is being sold to do.
ActiVit contains vitamins A, C, D, E, K2, B1, B2, B6 and B12, as well as numerous useful minerals. Additional ingredients, ones that actually wouldn’t usually be found in a normal multivitamin are also included, these are:
- Green tea extract: Green tea contains high quantities of green tea catechins. The most potent catechin molecule is EGCE. This molecule is effective in the reduction of fat mass, increased fat oxidation, and increased metabolic rate. As a result, it is often supplemented for weight loss purposes. However, the qualities of green tea extract needed for its effects to become noticeable would be huge [1,2,3].
- Hawthorne berry [4,5]: This berry is being investigated for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects. There is still little evidence surrounding this particular ingredient, but it is sometimes supplemented to control lipid levels. Hawthrone berry may be able to block lipid absorption in the intestines. Studies have shown its effects to be unreliable and further research is needed.
- L-Glutamine: This amino acid will only exert a beneficial impact on the body if the consumer was otherwise deficient  in it prior to supplementation. Examples of populations that are vulnerable to deficiency are vegans, vegetarians and those with a low dairy intake. Some evidence exists to suggest supplementation of glutamine is advantageous during prolonged endurance exercise . It is likely glutamine is included in this product in an attempt to increase the exercise capacity of consumers.
- Cayenne fruit: Cayenne fruit is more commonly referred to as Cayenne peppers. These peppers contain the active ingredient capsaicin [8,9,10], which is responsible for the burning chili heat you experience after eating these peppers. There is evidence that in high doses, capsaicin can increase rates of weight loss due to its initiation of thermogenic mechanisms.
- Inositol: This is a small molecule similar in structure to glucose. Inositol is involved in cell signaling mechanisms and it appears to be an effective anxiolytic when it is administered in higher doses. This ingredient has been seen to be quite effective in treating insulin resistance when taken at a standard dose. While this might hold some advantages for non-diabetics in preventing sugar spikes and crashes, most of the inositols’ impacts will only be beneficial in those with, or at high risk of developing, diabetes [11,12].
- And small amounts of DMAE, L-Methionine, and Choline
There is a reasonable volume of positive customer reviews regarding ActiVit, however, when you take a close look at the dispensing company Beach Body’s business model, it becomes clear that weight loss experienced by users of this supplement is unlikely to actually be due to the multi-vitamin. Many of ActiVit's users are using the vitamin in conjunction with one of the companies exercise programs. It is likely that the results these customers are seeing are, in fact, due to increased activity levels, rather than from the supplement itself.
Moreover, no scientific studies have been carried out regarding Beach Body ActiVit, therefore, there is zero data to back up the weight loss claims of the product. It is true that some of the ingredients included in the supplement, such as green tea extract, do have the support of real scientific research behind them. The positive results seen in trials of such ingredients have not been done in relation to the formula of this product though, and it is important to remember that, the majority of the time, active ingredients such as these are required in high quantities in order to exert a noticeable effect on the human body.
Practicalities and Market Alternatives
There is one major hitch worth mentioning when it comes to Beach Body ActiVit:
In order to get your hands on this supplement, you have to sign yourself up for an ‘auto-ship’ program.
While to some people this might seem excellent – “They’ll send me a new box of pills each month? How convenient!” – the rest of us begin to see the loopholes.
Getting, what is essentially, a multi-vitamin auto-shipped to you each month just seems like overkill. The other downside of this scheme is one that applies to every auto-ship program out there – customers do not like making that commitment, it feels like they’re being scammed, and they often are.
When you sign up for your Beach Body ActiVit membership you’ll be paying a fee of $40 per month and receiving 60 capsules in return (the recommended dose of this supplement is 2 capsules per day). While this is excellent if you believe this supplement really is going to be beneficial and you always take your daily dose, many of us go through patchy stages when it comes to taking vitamins so it’s unlikely that ActiVit will be any different.
As soon as you start missing doses you start building up an ever-increasing pile of excess pills. The official ‘Beach Body’ website does claim that it’s easy to cancel your membership at any time over the phone. How you take this statement depends entirely on how much you trust the company's staff not to spend a lifetime trying to convince you to rethink your decision from the other end of the phone line.
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Beach Body ActiVit is made up of a selection of nutritionally valuable natural ingredients as well as a broad selection of vitamins and minerals. However, the weight loss that this product promotes to its clients is unlikely to take place as a result of the supplement alone – a change in exercise regime and diet is going to be absolutely essential for that.
Crucially, ActiVit is very expensive for a simple multivitamin. Yes, it does contain some additional ingredients in its phytonutrient blend but these are probably nowhere near worth the extra cost of this supplement.
The auto-ship program is also something to be highly wary of. This sales technique can very quickly leave you out of pocket and struggling to get a refund.
With a number of unhappy customers greatly outweighing the happy ones, our conclusion on Beach Body ActiVit is exactly the one we expected to make:
Just go and buy a multivitamin.
Dulloo, Abdul G., et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.6 (1999): 1040-1045.
Nagao, Tomonori, Tadashi Hase, and Ichiro Tokimitsu. “A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans.” Obesity 15.6 (2007): 1473-1483.
Chantre, P., and D. Lairon. “Recent findings of green tea extract AR25 (Exolise) and its activity for the treatment of obesity.” Phytomedicine 9.1 (2002): 3-8.
Asher, Gary N., et al. “Effect of hawthorn standardized extract on flow-mediated dilation in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults: a randomized, controlled cross-over trial.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 12.1 (2012): 26.
Dahmer, Stephen, and Emilie Scott. “Health effects of hawthorn.” Am Fam Physician 81.4 (2010): 465-8.
Novak, Frantisek, et al. “Glutamine supplementation in serious illness: a systematic review of the evidence.” Critical care medicine 30.9 (2002): 2022-2029.
Castell, Linda M., and Eric A. Newsholme. “The effects of oral glutamine supplementation on athletes after prolonged, exhaustive exercise.” Nutrition 13.7 (1997): 738-742.
Lejeune, Manuela PGM, Eva MR Kovacs, and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects.” British Journal of Nutrition 90.3 (2003): 651-659.
Diepvens, Kristel, Klaas R. Westerterp, and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea.” American journal of Physiology-Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology 292.1 (2007): R77-R85.
Egger, Garry, David Cameron-Smith, and Rosemary Stanton. “The effectiveness of popular, non-prescription weight loss supplements.” The Medical Journal of Australia 171.11-12 (1999): 604-608.
Streb, Hanspeter, et al. “Release of Ca2+ from a nonmitochondrial intracellular store in pancreatic acinar cells by inositol-1, 4, 5-trisphosphate.” Nature 306.5938 (1983): 67.
Berridge, Michael J., and Robin F. Irvine. “Inositol phosphates and cell signalling.” Nature 341.6239 (1989): 197.
John has been a fitness enthusiast for over 10 years, starting out while struggling with obesity as a teenager. Over the years he has advised numerous clients on how to transform their physiques and their lives. As a writer on Nutrition Inspector he aims to help others achieve real results by staying clear of the common hype and false claims in the supplement industry!