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PhenQ Review: Effective For Weight Loss?

PhenQ Review: Effective For Weight Loss?

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PhenQ is a weight loss supplement that advertises “five powerful weight loss pills in one”. By this they mean their product has 5 active ingredients, which doesn’t really track with their marketing claim. Many weight loss supplements have more than one active ingredient; that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re effective.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients and their dosage in PhenQ based on medical research to determine if the supplement is likely to be safe and effective for weight loss. 

Ingredient Review

PhenQ ingredients list

The first active ingredient in PhenQ is Capsimax Plus Blend, which is a trademarked blend manufactured by a company called OmniActive. It contains several compounds which are thought to be thermogenic.

While the original Capsimax has been shown in medical research to be effective for fat loss, we can’t find any clinical research proving that Capsimax Plus is effective.

The 50 milligram (mg) dose of Capsimax Plus in PhenQ also appears to be underdosed, because both studies we located on Capsimax used 100 mg. 

Chromium picolinate is the second active ingredient in PhenQ, at a dose of 80 micrograms (mcg). This dosage appears significantly underdosed. 

A meta-review of chromium supplementation for weight loss, published in the Obesity Reviews journal, analyzed the results of more than 10 individual trials on the subject. The lowest dose of any of the studies was above 100 mcg, and the vast majority of studies used chromium doses of 400 mcg or over.

The review did suggest that chromium supplementation can induce weight loss, but only at an effective dose, which the amount in PhenQ doesn’t appear to be.

The third active ingredient is caffeine anhydrous at a dose of 100 mg. While there is some medical research associating caffeine intake with weight loss, we haven’t seen conclusive evidence that caffeine anhydrous supplementation alone is effective.

When a patient consumes caffeine in the form of coffee or tea, there are numerous other chemical compounds that could be affecting weight loss and metabolism. We can’t locate any medical research suggesting that 100 mg or less of caffeine anhydrous is effective for weight loss, and PhenQ doesn’t publish any, so we’ll consider this an ineffective ingredient.

Nopal is the next-listed active ingredient, and PhenQ claims its inclusion is “helping you gain more control over your hunger”. It’s true that increased fiber intake can aid weight loss efforts, as we’ve discussed in numerous past reviews like our recent Bio X4 review, but the 20 mg dose in PhenQ is extremely low and unlikely to provide any weight loss benefit.

Fiber intake has been proven to be associated with weight loss, but an additional 14 grams (g) a day is required for an average weight loss of 8.38 pounds over 3.8 months according to the study.

1 gram = 1000 milligrams, and fiber supplements are typically measured in grams because the clinical research and government guidelines indicate that upwards of 40 grams are needed for optimal weight loss.

The 20 mg fiber in PhenQ provides 0.1% of the 14 g additional dose suggested by the linked study. We have never come across a medical study suggesting that <500 mg fiber is effective for weight loss, and we find this dosage to be almost insulting to the intelligence of PhenQ’s consumers.

L-carnitine fumarate is included at a dose of 150 mg. A medical review published in the Obesity Reviews journal found that l-carnitine (but not l-carnitine fumarate) was effective for weight loss, but the lowest dose used in any of the included clinical trials was 2 g/day, or 8% of what appears to be the minimally-effective dose.

We can’t find any medical studies suggesting that l-carnitine is effective for weight loss at a dose of 150 mg, nor can we find any medical studies even testing l-carnitine fumarate for weight loss, so we will conclude that this is another underdosed and ineffective ingredient.

PhenQ does contain a few other active ingredients, but for the sake of brevity we will conclude here that this product is very poorly formulated. We see no need to analyze the two other active ingredients when all 5 of the active ingredients they highlighted seem ineffective at the given dose for inducing weight loss.

Questionable Filler Ingredients

Not only is PhenQ poorly formulated, but it also contains several questionable filler ingredients that we’d recommend consumers avoid.

The supplement contains artificial food dye FD&C blue #1 to add color to the product. There is legitimate medical concern over the toxicity of food dye as an additive, and while the amount used in PhenQ is almost certainly low, we recommend avoiding products with artificial food dye altogether.

PhenQ also contains potassium sorbate which is a preservative. This ingredient is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but we typically recommend avoiding preservatives altogether as they provide no nutritional value and research on their long-term safety is still developing.

Uncited Medical Studies

PhenQ uncited medical studies

PhenQ claims that their product is “backed by science” and then shows an uncited graph suggesting that one patented ingredient in their formulation is effective. 

Just because one ingredient in a formulation is effective, it does not necessarily make the formulation overall effective (or safe). 

But more importantly, PhenQ doesn’t even link to or detail on the graph what clinical trial they’re pulling that data from. We tried searching for medical studies on “a-Lacy’s Reset”, the patented ingredient they’re highlighting, and couldn’t find any with the results highlighted on PhenQ’s site.

It’s extremely amateur and arguably fraudulent in any case to be making medical claims and using graphs suggesting specific health outcomes without citing any specific research as proof.

No Public Team

PhenQ’s website doesn’t include any information about the team behind this product. Who is the founder? What medical experts were involved in the formulation?

The About page in their footer notes that PhenQ is owned by a company called Wolfson Brands which is based in the U.K. Their website does not mention any medical experts involved in the formulation or research of PhenQ.

Questionable Social Following

At the time of writing, PhenQ’s Instagram account has 4,248 followers and its recent post are getting 5 likes. This is a red flag, and suggests that the company may have paid for followers rather than organically grow their social channels.

This is a minor concern, but these sorts of ethical red flags are important in the context of evaluating a brand. 

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PhenQ is one of the worst weight loss supplements we’ve reviewed to date. All 5 of the active ingredients they highlight on their site appear to be ineffective or underdosed or a combination of the two.

The company makes bold health claims that are uncited, includes questionable filler ingredients and has a website with no information about their founders or researchers, along with a social media account that makes it look like they bought fake followers.

We don’t recommend this product or anything associated with this brand. We recommend that consumers seeking natural weight loss products try adding supplemental fiber powder to water at a dose of 14 g/day, which is backed by research and which we believe to be a much safer option for inducing sustainable weight loss than taking PhenQ.

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