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We recently reviewed the complete nutrition range. The problem with this was simply that the range was so extensive that we couldn’t cover it in a single article (without droning on!), so we’re going to look at a few of the product lines in a little more detail than we have previously. This begins with tone: the “general health” product line that includes 2 main products, ‘tone gold’ and ‘tone fusion’. We will discuss these in their own right, as the opinions expressed in our previous article were specific to the protein powder, pre-workout and cleanse products.
The CTS360 range is a variety of “fat burner” pills, aiming at increasing metabolism and reducing bodyfat. There are 3 products in this range: maximum, advanced and night. We will provide brief discussions of the products, their active ingredients and what effects we can expect from them based on the scientific and clinical evidence. It is important to note that our confidence in complete nutrition has been reduced due to the inclusion of anabolic steroids in their ‘Tone’ range, meaning that serious consideration has to be taken for their manufacturing processes and general approach to customers’ wellbeing.
2 out of 5: focuses on stimulants and “trendy” ingredients
Advanced is the CTS standard formula, targeting those who have “a moderate stimulant tolerance” – suggesting that the active ingredients in the product are psycho-motor stimulants. The active ingredients are caffeine, EGCG, Green tea extract, Salicin and synephrine. Immediately, we are aware that some of these products are relatively ineffective whereas others are slightly worrying.
Caffeine is neither of these: the effects of caffeine on metabolism, brian unction and athletic performance are well-documented. This is why we find it in almost every fat burner or dietary supplement: caffeine has a modest positive effect on metabolic function, aiding in the metabolism of fat . EGCG is also modestly effective – whilst it is easily available in regular green tea, green tea extract can assist in metabolising around 5.7g per 50mg EGCG, meaning that a supplementary dose will generally burn less than 30g of fat per day . This is a very small effect.
Salicin is an equally low-effect product, with no real evidence to suggest that it can assist in fat-burning. This is the original chemical source for aspirin, so we can assume that its inclusion in the CTS range is for the reduction of negative side effects associated with a caloric deficit. The problem here, however, is that side-effects are common and range from nausea and dizziness to vomiting and breathing problems. This is an ingredient about which we should be very careful: whilst CTS360 advanced is for those with a “moderate” tolerance, this is because it poses some possibility for serious side effects!
The ingredient that concerns us most, however, is synephrine. Synephrine is a powerful stimulant, chemically similar to ephedrine, and has very little reputable evidence to support its effectiveness. Whilst Ephedrine is an effective solution to improving metabolic rate and awareness, synephrine has no reliable evidence to support either of these conclusions. The only study that has been conducted on synephrine has conflicts of interest, being funded by a company that sells synephrine-based products. Thus, synephrine is a compound that has insufficient scientific evidence to support its benefits but has been included anyway – this seems to needlessly add to the stimulant-load of the product. This appears to be a trend in Complete nutrition’s products over the past 3 articles!
1 out of 5: the same as advanced, but with added “fad” ingredients!
If CTS360 advanced contains an excessive content of unnecessary stimulants, we can only speculate at the content of the ‘maximum’ product. As with advanced, the ingredients are part of a proprietary blend, which means that they do not have to provide exact quantities of each ingredient. If advanced is for moderate stimulant tolerance, then we can reasonably assume that this is a more severe product – especially given that it costs $5 more than other formulas.
The only notable differences between maximum and advanced is the inclusion of raspberry ketones, PEA and Alpha-GPC. Raspberry ketones are the biggest ‘fad’ ingredient in fat burners in recent memory: despite being included in a large proportion of marketed “fat burners”, the necessary supplemental dose for an overweight adult is anywhere between 50 and 100g – far more than could possibly be included in a weight loss supplement .
PEA – or phenylethylamine – is a trace amine that is linked to the proper function of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. There are initial clinical suggestions that it can improve the symptoms of depression and improve cognitive function (particularly in a protective function during the aging process). The problem with PEA is a serious shortage of research, meaning that we are unable to confirm these claims of positive effect until the research “catches up”. Additionally, it is likely that PEA is broken dsown into ineffective compounds when it is supplemented orally.
Alpha-GPC is far more interesting and impressive. This compound is associated with both protection against cognitive decline and the improvement in power output among athletes. These are both likely related to the improvement of neural health. This also has a modest effect on the oxidation and metabolism of fat cells, though it is important to note that this is mostly associated with liver fat. Whilst this is definitely a positive effect and, arguably, more important than reducing subcutaneous fat deposits, it is not what we expect from a fat-burning supplement. We believe this is much more important and one of the greatest benefits of this product, though perhaps not the conventional approach to burning fat.
2 out of 5: expensive, many useless ingredients
Despite the problems with advanced and maximum, there is some hope that complete nutrition’s night supplement may have some value. Night is marketed to “improve daytime weight loss by providing stimulant-free digestion and a soothing cleanse, all during a restful night’s sleep”. The obvious problem with this is that cleanse supplements do not cause long-term weight loss.
As we have repeatedly discussed, cleanse diets are short-term weight loss supplements that do not decrease body fat but simply remove mass from the intestinal tract by increasing excretion in both urinary and fecal forms. This means that the weight losses some people experience are short term and depend on continually ingesting laxatives or diuretics. This is clearly not what a fat-burning supplement should aim to do and there are numerous problems with extensive use of laxatives .
The inclusion of senna leaf is particularly concerning as high doses of this product have been considered toxic due to their likelihood of causing severe intestinal spasms, diarrhoea and severe nausea. Clearly, the dosages are a concern in this product and the failure to provide customers with an accurate number for the senna extract puts their health at real risk and should be considered yet another example of Complete nutrition’s irresponsibility to their customers.
The final problem that we need to raise regarding this supplement is the fact that many of the ingredients don’t actually affect weight loss in any significant way, according to the clinical evidence. Psyllium husk, garcinia cambogia, Valerian root and a number of other natural extracts are relatively ineffective considering the claims made by the company. Whilst these can have positive antioxidant or fiber effects, they do not have a marked effect on fat loss.
There are some incredibly useful ingredients in this product however. The inclusion of 5HTP and Melatonin are both excellent supplements for the improvement of sleep quality – something that does play a large role in the regulation of metabolism and body composition. Melatonin is an excellent compound for the improvement of sleep quality and has long been supplemented by athletes to improve the restfulness of their sleep and the associated hormonal and metabolic impacts, as well as improving recovery between exercise sessions .
5-HTP is another compound that can markedly improve the quality of sleep and has a variety of general benefits to mental health. This compound is chemically prior to the neurotransmitter serotonin, the chemical in the brain that modulates mood and is closely tied to the effectiveness of sleep. Improving sleep quality through these two compounds is the most effective system we’ve seen for the reduction of body fat (through the improvement of the hormonal profile) – failure to achieve sufficient quantities of restful sleep are associated with reductions in testosterone of as much as 16% – something that would have a large impact on body composition, metabolism and mood .
However, it is important to note that both melatonin and 5-HTP are found in reasonable quantities in other market alternatives and melatonin can be supplemented by itself relatively inexpensively. Given the $55 price tag for this product, we fail to see the benefits that it might have over this cheaper, simpler approach!
The maximum strength formula presents us with a clear cut case of unnecessarily dangerous supplementation. Whilst there are various mechanisms by which a supplementary dose of stimulants could improve fat loss, the evidence for synephrine’s effectiveness and the effects of excessive stimulant intake are well-documented: hypertensive crises, addiction and psychoses are associated with stimulant abuse [7, 8]. This has led some to suggest that they ought to be prescription-only.
Overall, we’re unimpressed with CTS360 and believe that complete nutrition’s approach to manufacturing and marketing their products is irresponsible and underhanded in many ways. The ingredients in their products are either “fad” compounds, generally-ineffective or associated with severe negative side effects. In addition to this, the relative content of each of these ingredients is shrouded in mystery due to the proprietary blends used: meaning that we cannot say for certain whether these products are likely to be harmful to customers’ health! Over the course of our 3 articles covering Complete nutrition, we’ve seen a consistent decline of their products’ quality and CTS360 is no different. We cannot give the CTS range more than a 2/5, for the reasons specified above – it is not sufficient to provide a variety of stimulants under the guise of fat-burning, especially without stipulated quantities to allow customers to make informed decisions!
Steven has researched over 500 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. He has also worked with nutritionists specializing in weight loss while coaching people on how to transform their physiques and live healthy lives. You can contact him via the "About Us" page.