Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to weight loss.
Phenocal is a weight loss supplement manufactured by a company called Pharmaxa Labs. The brand's website suggests that this pill can provide “dramatic weight loss results” due to its “highly effective and extremely potent ingredients.”
But does Phenocal contain ingredients shown in clinical studies to cause weight loss, or are these just marketing claims? Does the pill contain any questionable additive ingredients? Can it cause side effects? And how do real Phenocal customers rate and describe its effects?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Phenocal based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not it's likely to cause weight loss.
This supplement contains a large number of ingredients, so we’ll break our ingredient analysis into three sections: vitamin and mineral blend, herbal blend and inactive ingredients.
We'll also discuss the potential for side effects and share our concerns about how the company markets their supplement.
Analysis — Vitamin & Mineral Blend
The vitamin and mineral ingredients in Phenocal are shown above. This formulation has been updated since we initially published our review.
After a survey of existing clinical research, there are no ingredients in this blend that we consider to be effective for weight loss at the stated doses.
Chromium is clinically shown to cause weight loss, however as we documented in our Burn Evolved review article, the doses used in most clinical trials are greater than the dose in Phenocal.
Phenocal’s website does not publish any research proving these ingredients to be effective at the stated doses, so we consider them ineffective for weight loss.
We generally recommend against taking supplemental vitamins and minerals without evidence of a deficiency, because this may lead to blood levels of these nutrients that are too high.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that in early 2022 a wellness brand had to recall some of their supplements from the market because all of the added vitamins and minerals were causing toxicity to some consumers.
Analysis — Herbal Blend
The herbal ingredients in Phenocal are shown above.
The proprietary (prop) blend has a total dose of 2.23 grams (g) and 14 ingredients, which equates to an average ingredient dose of 159 milligrams (mg).
Green tea leaf extract is an effective weight loss ingredient but not one we recommend given that it may cause liver injury when taken at high doses according to a Health Canada review.
We recommend avoiding supplements containing green tea extract where its individual ingredient dose isn't published, as is the case here.
Garcinia fruit extract is effective for short-term weight loss, but may be underdosed in Phenocal.
A medical review published in the Journal of Obesity found that this plant extract can cause short-term weight loss, but the dose used in all of the trials analyzed was over 1,000 mg, or over 5x the average ingredient dose in Phenocal.
Conjugated linoleic acid is clinically shown to cause weight loss, but also causes insulin resistance and oxidative stress according to at least one medical review, as referenced in our Obvi Collagenic Burn review article on another weight loss supplement containing this ingredient.
Evodiamine was shown to be effective for weight loss in an animal study even at very low concentrations, but we cannot locate any clinical evidence that this ingredient causes weight loss in humans.
Overall, we consider Phenocal somewhat likely to cause weight loss, given that it contains various research-backed active ingredients supporting that outcome.
However, we don't currently recommend this supplement due to the use of green tea extract and conjugated linoleic acid, and due to our concerns about some of its inactive ingredients described in the next section of this article.
Analysis — Inactive Ingredients
The inactive ingredients in Phenocal are shown above.
Titanium dioxide is banned for use as a food additive in the EU over toxicity concerns, as documented by this USDA announcement.
FD&C Yellow #5 and FD&C Yellow #6 are artificial food dyes.
Synthetic dyes have been suggested in at least one medical review to pose a health risk to humans, as we documented in our Contrave reviews article.
We consider Phenocal to be less healthy than most weight loss supplements we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health given the inclusion of these inactive ingredients.
Highly Questionable Marketing Claims
As shown below, Phenocal's website has an uncited "Expert Opinion" section that uses a stock image:
We performed a reverse image search and found this exact same image on two other websites, including a stock image retailer.
From an ethical perspective, we disagree with this marketing practice.
Phenocal's website also has a graph suggesting their supplement is 7x more effective than the competition:
These results are based on a "user satisfaction survey" rather than a clinical trial.
The brand fails to publish the full study results anywhere on their product page at the time of updating this article.
What are the "Other" supplements represented here, and why would consumers be using two dietary supplements for weight loss concurrently?
Phenocal's website also has a questionable trust seal:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has never recommended Phenocal, although that's what this seal suggests.
Phenocal has simply been added to the Dietary Supplement Label Database, which is maintained by the NIH.
The NIH has no other affiliation with Phenocal; this is simply a notice of ingredient publication.
Does Phenocal Cause Side Effects?
Phenocal doesn't appear to have been tested in any clinical trials, which makes it more challenging to assess the potential for side effects.
However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.
Chocolate bean extract, mate leaf extract, evodiamine and phenylethylamine are all stimulants, so this supplement may cause "jitters," anxiety and other sensations of overstimulation in sensitive individuals.
Overall, we do not consider this supplement likely to cause side effects in otherwise healthy adults.
The brand's website claims "no reported side effects to date" at the time of updating this article.
Pros and Cons of Phenocal
Here are the pros and cons of Phenocal in our opinion:
- Contains some active ingredients shown to cause weight loss
- May support weight loss
- Unlikely to cause side effects in healthy individuals
- Contains green tea extract at unspecified dose
- Contains conjugated linoleic acid
- Contains titanium dioxide
- Contains artificial dyes
- Contains vitamin and mineral blend
- Some active ingredients may be underdosed
- Brand makes questionable marketing claims
- Brand uses stock image to represent "Expert Opinion"
- Doesn't appear tested in any clinical trials published in journals