Umzu Review: Effective or Overpriced Supplements?

Umzu Review: Effective or Overpriced Supplements?


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Umzu is a popular supplement brand that sells a wide variety of supplements. The brand sells everything from immunity supplements to testosterone boosters to probiotics and more.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in some of the brand's most popular products: Umzu Redwood, Umzu Testro X, and Umzu Collagen. We'll analyze published medical research and then give our determination of whether the supplement is likely to be effective or not.

We'll also review their diet protocol called "Thermo Diet." In each section, we'll explain whether we recommend the product or whether we believe there to be superior alternatives.

Umzu Redwood Review

Umzu Redwood ingredients

Umzu Redwood is listed as the brand's best-selling product at the time of updating this article, and appears to be primarily a cardiovascular supplement, with a stated benefit of "nitric oxide & circulatory support."

Nitric oxide is a chemical compound that's produced naturally by the body, but is also contained in food products and supplements. It may reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients when supplemented, and also may improve athletic endurance.

The first active ingredient in this formulation is garlic at a dose of 300 milligrams (mg). Garlic can reduce blood pressure in some hypertensive patients and improve nitric oxide synthesis, and is a good choice for a cardiovascular supplement. A 2014 medical review of garlic supplementation found that it had potentially therapeutic effects in regard to prevention of atherosclerosis and reduced cholesterol levels. One of the examined studies included a dosage lower than that in Umzu Redwood.

Horse chestnut is the second active ingredient, and while this plant has been used traditionally for circulatory benefit, it isn’t primarily a nitric oxide precursor to our knowledge. We can't locate any medical studies suggesting that horse chestnut improves cardiovascular health in humans, and Umzu doesn't share any, so we'll consider this to be an ineffective ingredient.

Another ingredient we consider underdosed in this product is a compound called casein hydrolysate. This does appear to be an effective ingredient for cardiovascular health. 

A medical review published in the Hypertension Research journal found that 1,250 mg of casein hydrolysate improved blood vessel dysfunction. This dose is over 10x the amount in Umzu Redwood, and we cannot identify any clinical trials proving that a dose as low as that in Redwood is effective.

There are no ingredients in this formulation we would consider harmful, and all of the ingredients we highlighted do have research backing for cardiovascular benefit. That being said, we would not recommend Umzu Redwood because we believe several of the ingredients are significantly underdosed.

Our Cardiovascular Supplement Recommendation

We would recommend l-citrulline supplementation to consumers seeking a potent nitric oxide precursor. This is one of the most well-studied compounds for enhancing nitric oxide function. A medical review found that l-citrulline directly stimulates nitric oxide production, which can lower blood pressure.

It's also more cost-effective to purchase l-citrulline than Umzu Redwood. Nutricost sells over one pound of l-citrulline powder on Amazon for $29.95, which equates to a $0.50 cost per serving.

Umzu Redwood costs $45.94 for a one-time purchase at the time of updating this article, and contains 60 servings, which equates to a per-serving cost of $0.77. 

Umzu Testro X Review

Umzu Testro X Supplement Facts panel

Testro X is another bestselling Umzu product, which claims to aid in “boosting your body’s ability to produce testosterone.”

People who've read our recent Testoprime review article will know that we're generally unimpressed with testosterone-enhancing supplements, and find many of them to be poorly formulated with weak or no medical evidence.

Two of the active ingredients in this product are minerals: zinc and magnesium. Both can support healthy testosterone function, but we haven’t seen any evidence suggesting either mineral improves testosterone levels in healthy adults who aren’t deficient in that mineral. 

We believe minerals shouldn’t be randomly supplemented but instead taken in a targeted manner to solve deficiencies documented through testing. Someone already replete in zinc should experience no benefit by taking 136% Daily Value (DV) of zinc in this supplement, and such a practice may be unsafe.

Testro X contains five ingredients which we consider poor choices for a testosterone supplement: l-leucine, l-theanine, inositol, glycine and black pepper fruit extract. We can't find any medical studies suggesting these compounds to be effective for enhancing testosterone status in men, nor does Umzu share any, so we will consider these all ineffective.

In their ingredient breakdown, Umzu describes l-theanine as “relaxing” and inositol as a “small molecule structurally similar to glucose that is involved in cellular signaling.” Neither of these health claims have anything to do with testosterone, and we find their inclusion on a testosterone supplement product page quite strange.

The three remaining ingredients (ashwagandha extract, coleus forskohlii, boron) have been tested in preliminary studies for testosterone improvement with minor benefits, and are adequately dosed in our opinion. Since boron is a mineral we’d recommend a blood test prior to supplementing.

The research on ashwagandha extract is particularly impressive. A clinical trial found that this botanical compound increased testosterone by 15% in overweight men.

We would not recommend Umzu Testro-X for several reasons. First, we don't recommend supplements with random blends of vitamins and/or minerals. This product also contains many ingredients, like various amino acids, which we don't believe will impact testosterone at all.

While ashwagandha extract has promising early research for testosterone benefit in men, we would recommend considering taking ashwagandha extract in isolation rather than Testro-X.

Umzu Collagen Review

Umzu collagen ingredients

Umzu sells a collagen product called zuCollagen. It contains over 22 grams (g) of collagen, which is an effective dose of collagen for optimizing skin health and reducing wrinkles. We consider 10 g of daily collagen to be the maximally-effective dose based on medical research.

A meta-review published in the International Journal of Dermatology examined the effects of collagen supplementation on skin aging and found that this protein reduces wrinkles, and increases skin elasticity and hydration.

We don't understand Umzu's decision to include a seemingly random, miniscule amounts of Vitamin A and hyaluronic acid into this formulation. Providing 3% of the DV of Vitamin A and a relatively small dose of hyaluronic acid strikes us as a cheap way to "fill out" the Supplement Facts panel without adding much benefit to consumers.

We disagree with the practice of manufacturers adding random vitamins into their products, because we believe it's only logical to take supplemental vitamins and minerals in the case of a documented deficiency. Vitamin A can be easily obtained from food.

Our Collagen Recommendation

Bulletproof collagen product shot

We recommend Bulletproof collagen over Umzu's product based on formulation and price. While both products are sourced from pastured animals, Bulletproof's product is free of the Vitamin A inclusion and just contains one active ingredient: collagen peptides. It's a cleaner, simpler formulation in our opinion, although the difference between the two formulations is minimal.

Bulletproof collagen is superior in regard to one-time purchase price. The supplement costs $43.95 and the per-serving price for an effective dose (10 g) is $0.88.

zuCollagen has a one-time purchase price of $51.69, which equates to a per-serving price for an effective dose of $1.15.

Thermo Diet Review

Umzu has a diet recommendation page on their site we consider unscien​​tific called the “Thermo Diet”. The brand claims this diet will “increase energy flow through the cells”. 

The diet protocol has seemingly random inclusions and exclusions. You can eat potatoes but not peanuts. You can eat eggs but not mint tea.

We consider it to be unfortunate that many supplement and pharmaceutical companies still overcomplicate diet recommendations. Eating foods (ideally whole unprocessed foods) at a caloric deficit is the only way to consistently lose weight. Avoiding mint tea, because Umzu said to, isn't likely to help. This is basic thermodynamics.

As we described in our Plenity ingredients review article, one medically proven way to make dieting easier is to increase dietary insoluble fiber, because doing so increases the sense of fullness. Eating a large salad will make you feel more full than eating the equivalent calories in fries, because of the fiber difference. We believe this sort of approach would be better than randomly excluding foods based on the “Thermo Diet," and we would recommend that Umzu consults a Registered Dietitian and updates that page on their website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Umzu isn’t the worst supplement company we’ve reviewed (that award still belongs to BulkSupplements and their many failed third-party tests), but we consider most of their formulations to be low-quality, and we disagree with many of the brand's health claims. 

Some of the ingredients used in Umzu supplements have significant medical research backing, but we consider the dosage to be underdosed and ineffective in many cases.

We believe there are alternatives which can be superior from both an efficacy and cost standpoint compared to Umzu. We recommend l-citrulline powder over Umzu Redwood, and Bulletproof collagen over zuCollagen.




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