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Phenocal is a ‘natural fat burning supplement' that was introduced to the market in 2009, so far it has been very difficult to find out where Phenocal is based as it does not say anywhere on their website. This is normally a red flag for any company, particularly when none of the staff are named either.
Which basically means that Phenocal is designed to help you lose weight and increase your energy levels, which is fairly typical for fat burners. Hilariously, Phenocal claims to be a “Dynamic Fat Burner” and promises “Rapid Weight Loss” within the same group of bullet points. I mean, OBVIOUSLY if your product burns fat you would expect weight loss right?
There are absolutely tonnes of ingredients in Phenocal, including Vitamin D, and B Vitamins, Chromium, Fucoxanthin, Bioperine, and a propriety blend (which we will look at in detail later on).
Phenocal contains all of the B vitamins which are: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Biotin, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12. There are too many to go to individual detail for each one but suffice it to say you probably don't need to be supplementing with any of them as your diet should easily achieve the recommended daily amount of each. Most B vitamins are found in meat, dairy, fish, vegetables, eggs, and foods such as potatoes. There is no harm in supplementing with additional B vitamins, but they aren't going to help you achieve fat loss nor will they give you energy.
Another vitamin that is critical for health yet we get in abundance through diet and in this case from standing outside in the sun. One study did find that obese women who had a deficiency of Vitamin D lost fat mass when supplementing with it , however another study actually found that supplementing with Vitamin D increased body fat . So mixed results at best.
Chromium is an essential mineral that can be found in meat, eggs, and in wholegrain foods. As a supplement it is taken to help metabolise Carbohydrates, fats, and protein. As with the first two ingredients, supplementing with Chromium is only likely to benefit those with a deficiency (of which there will be very few) whilst anyone with normal or elevated levels of Chromium will see no benefits at all.
Now here's an interesting ingredient, Fucoxanthin actually seems to have a good reputation for reducing body fat and increasing metabolism . Now one thing that should be made clear is that the results aren't instant, and that studies which have seen positive results have taken weeks of supplementation before anything became visible. But if you are exercising you should be in it for the long game anyway.
This is black pepper extract and is a source of piperine which is used to increase absorption rates of supplements. It has no effect on fat loss or metabolism, other than possibly helping the ingredients that do have an effect get absorbed better.
Now that we have looked at the separate ingredients contained in Phenocal we can have a look at what is contained in the propriety blend. This is what is supposed to make Phenocal stand out from all the other fat-burning supplements out there. It contains:
In short, there is no way that we can look at every single one of these ingredients and keep this article below 20k words! So instead we will highlight some of the more well known ingredients and assess how effective the Propriety blend is at burning fat and raising metabolism.
The first ingredient that stands out is Green Tea extract (Phenocal also contains Green Tea Leaf Powder) which has been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation (burning fat for energy) . However Green tea extract has a diminished effect on habitual caffeine consumers  (i.e. anyone who drinks tea or coffee or energy drinks on a regular basis) and only seems to show benefits on people who abstain from caffeine. Phenocal also includes L-Tyrosine which is an amino acid that may have a beneficial effect on stress.
Another main ingredient is CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which is a fairly popular supplement which is believed to increase fat burning. Studies confirm that CLA does have an effect on body fat in obese people  but there doesn't seem to be an effect on people who are average body weight.
Yerba Mate is basically caffeine, which is a common ingredient in most fat burners and with good reason. Caffeine can improve body composition , improve physical  and the rate of perceived exertion , and increases metabolism .
Sadly, Phenocal gives no indication how much Yerba Mate is contained in the product so it is impossible to say whether there is enough to produce results.
Phenocal contains a number of useful ingredients such as CLA, Yerba Mate, Green Tea Extract, and Fucoxanthin that will probably assist fat loss in overweight or obese people. The effect of these ingredients in people with an average to slightly overweight body is minimal at best, and as a lot of these ingredients do not have their amounts written down it is hard to say how effective they would be.
As a company Phenocal doesn't give away much information which is usually a red flag but as a product there is potential for this helping. Considering the high price ($52.99 on Amazon) and the fact that it lasts for just 25 days if you take them as directed it may not be advisable to spend your money on this product when there are other fat-burners out there which produce similar or even better results.
Reviews of Phenocal have been mostly negative with just 2.5/5 on Amazon, but most of the reviewers seem to have given it a “I tried it for 4 weeks and nothing happened” review when ingredients such as Fucoxanthin take much longer to show an effect. Essentially these reviews aren't very scientific in nature.
Could Phenocal produce fat loss results? In isolation almost certainly not, combined with exercise and good nutrition it may give obese or overweight people an extra 2-5% advantage. If this seems worth $52.99 then give it a go.
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The legal representative of the company behind Phenocal has tried to take this review down by filing a Trademark Infringement complaint. We'll let our readers reach their own conclusions as to the motivation, validity of claim and overall business practices of this manufacturer.
Please also read the following disclaimer:
All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. The term Phenocal as well as the Phenocal product image and logo, are used under Nominative Fair Use for the sole purpose of identifying these products. The reviews in this site, including this review of Phenocal, reflect the subjective opinions of the authors.
Matt Smith is a fitness and nutrition writer with more than 10 years experience as a personal trainer, and a degree in Sports Science from London Metropolitan University. He has written for many fitness websites, and runs his own blog and podcast at beernbiceps.com. You can contact him via the "About Us" page.