Xenadrine is a supplement company that markets their dietary supplement as “fat-burning” pills. The focus of these products is thermogenesis, claiming to offer “a thermogenic experience packed into a cutting-edge, rapid-release blue chrome pill”. This hyperbole is characteristic of fitness industry marketing, but they also claim to provide clinical evidence that the active ingredient in Xenadrine can double the rate of weight loss during a “low-calorie” diet.
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The corporation responsible for these weight loss products is both large and successful, boasting a record of 9,000,000 sales across all Xenadrine products and offering a 30-day 100% money back guarantee. This is a reassuring sales practice and, unlike many other companies in the industry, there are very few reports of systematic customer service problems. The size and media attention surrounding the company and its products have ensured a decent customer service policy in regards to returns, but we still have reservations. Xenadrine EFX was a popular product on the market between 2002 and 2006, but made unrealistic and unsubstantiated claims, resulting in a formal refund policy being enacted by the FTC. This suggests that Xenadrine has a history of exaggerating claims for their products and we have to be more critical of the claims they continue to make.
Xenadrine offers two main products: core and ultimate. These are both diet pills which have green coffee bean extract as the active ingredient, an ingredient that has generated a lot of media attention in recent years. The ‘ultimate’ version includes a greater quantity of caffeine and an “ultimate complex” that consists of a variety of fruit and herb extracts. Interestingly, a variety of these ingredients are openly marketed as being part of the “sensory” experience of the product and have no effect on any purported weight-loss effects.
As mentioned above, the main ingredient in both of these products is the green coffee bean extract – a dietary aid that contains a large amount of chlorogenic acid. This has been featured on shows such as Dr Oz, attracting huge media sensation and being touted as a miracle weight-loss product. This product has a number of verified health benefits, including reductions in blood pressure  and reduced absorption of glucose during digestion . Whilst it also demonstrates antioxidant properties, as it may convert to caffeic acid during digestion . Thus, we can initially assume that there are some positive health effects associated with supplementation of moderate quantities of green coffee bean extract, regardless of impacts on weight loss – this is important to consider as a factor in Xenadrine’s overall value to health and fitness.
Xenadrine also offer studies on their website to support the effects of green coffee bean extract as a dietary aid by comparing it to diet alone. In the first of these studies, it is claimed that weight loss was almost twice as great in the group consuming green coffee bean extract, with an average weight loss of 4.97kg +/- 0.32kg. This is an incredibly significant increase in weight loss, especially when combined with purported increases in Muscle mass  – however, it is important to remember that this study was performed on individuals who were already overweight and without monitoring the macronutrient or caloric intake of the individuals involved. The study makes no mention of these variables – this means that we cannot assume that green coffee actively causes a reduction in body mass, but merely correlates well with it during this study. The caffeine content of such an extract would explain this difference: the consumption of large quantities of caffeine has been shown to positively-impact the metabolism (despite having possibly pro-oxidative qualities) . These are still considerable benefits for those who struggle to reduce their caloric intake.
The main concerns regarding this study are its methodological and contextual validity: whilst the results do suggest a positive effect to green coffee extract, there are a number of problems about which we must be cautious. Firstly, it does not appear in a peer-reviewed journal or publication: this is important because scientific consensus can establish the merit of a study’s design and method. This is even more important in this case, as Xenadrine products have previously had their benefits exaggerated and a peer-review of any supporting data would provide assurance that this is no longer the case. Finally, testing on Svetol – a trademarked product – suggests that we should be concerned about the funding and biases implicit in this study. It has been shown that industry funding biases have profound effects on reporting of data and can entirely-prevent unfavourable findings from being reported . When these are considered together, we have reason to doubt the findings of this particular study – other
A variety of other studies present some evidence for the efficacy of this ingredient, though they are generally qualified by other evidence which suggests either small or negative effects to the consumption of green coffee extract. Whilst there are a handful of studies confirming the claims that Xenadrine makes for green coffee extract, there are a number of negative effects that may be associated with consumption. Firstly, this product is definitely not suitable for those who have pre-existing heart concerns: high caffeine intake (particularly high in the case of the “ultimate” formulation) will be dangerous for these individuals. Additionally, green coffee extract can have a host of moderate side effects from nausea to diarrhea, so caution is necessary before trialling these products for yourself. As ever, the possibility of interactions with prescription medicines is a possibility and a course of supplements should always be checked with a doctor if you’re already consuming prescription medicines.
From a value perspective, Xenadrine offers an inexpensive product: even the “ultimate” version of the product can be acquired for $18-25. This is far cheaper than most other forms of diet pill and it comes with a much greater assurance of safety than many others. This means that, even if we cannot establish exactly how effective Xenadrine might be for weight loss, it is not likely to provide any severe side effects and may have positive health benefits, especially for those who struggle with satiety or are already significantly overweight. Whilst Xenadrine has yet to achieve FDA approval, it seems safe – even if its chosen studies and marketing ethics both have a lot of room for improvement.
Overall, the worst thing that we could say about Xenadrine is that it is, at worst, a company that exaggerates the effects of otherwise-innocuous products. As stated above, there is very little chance of sustaining significant side effects and there are some established and less-established benefits to the consumption of green coffee extract. We haven’t found any significant differences between the two products aside from the amount of caffeine and some other innocuous compounds, so there is very little to promote “ultimate” over “core”. Whilst we cannot definitively say that the product is effective at this point, we can say that it is unlikely to cause any significant concerns, and with the price being as low as it is the best course of action is likely to try it and see if it works for you.
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 Watanabe et al., 2006: ‘The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension’ in Clinical and experimental hypertension, 28(5), pp.439-449
 Thom, 2007: ‘The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people’ in The journal of international medicine research, 35(6), pp.900-908
 Sato et al, 2011: ‘In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid’ in International journal of pharmaceuticals, 403(1-2), pp.136-138
 Dellaibera and Lafay, 2006: “Svetol, green coffee extract, induces weight loss and increases lean to fat mass ratio in volunteers with overweight problem”
 Acheson et al, 1980: “caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilisation in normal weight and obese individuals” in the American journal of clinical nutrition, 33(5), pp.989-997
 BMJ, 2014: ‘industry sponsorship bias in research findings: a network meta-analysis of LDL cholesterol reduction in randomised trials of statins’ in BMJ, 2014, p.349
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.
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