Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite is fat-burner released under the MuscleTech brand which derives most of fat-burning potential from stimulants, but also contains a few non-stimulant ingredients…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and is a well-established ergogenic aid. Caffeine consumption causes an increase in catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine), which may raise the metabolic rate and induce lipolysis (breakdown of fats). However, the weight loss effects of caffeine tend to fade with prolonged use, so it does not appear as though caffeine is an effective fat-burner in the long term. While caffeine’s weight loss potential is negligible, it increases focus and perceived energy in most people, which generally leads to more intense workouts (thus burning more fat), and may act as a mild appetite suppressant in some. Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite contains 270 mg of caffeine per serving which is enough to make even somewhat caffeine tolerant individuals feel alert and/or focused.
GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT:
Green Coffee Extract contains a compound known as Chlorogenic Acid, which is believed to be the compound responsible for the weight loss benefits GCE has become so well known for in the supplement industry. While GCE has shown promise in multiple studies regarding its ability to promote weight loss, there are certain conflicts of interest present that lead us to believe the results of these studies have been overstated by supplement companies who simply want to promote their product. The potential weight loss effects of GCE cannot be completely ruled out, as it would be difficult to completely fabricate positive study results. However, GCE has built a reputation as a “miracle” weight loss supplement, and based on the evidence, this is certainly an exaggeration.
Coleus Forskohlii is an Ayurvedic herb which has been studied (though not extensively) for its potential as a weight-loss agent/testosterone booster. The active component, Forskohlin, has been demonstrated to increase Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP), the result of which is an increase in the rate of fat-loss. A 2005 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that 25mg Forskohlin twice a day for 12 weeks was able to prevent weight gain compared to the control group in overweight women. Another 2005 study, the subjects of which were overweight men, found that the same dose (25mg) was able to favorably influence body composition (i.e. less fat, more lean mass), which corresponded with an increase in testosterone over 12 weeks. A more recent 2011 study noted a roughly 2.5% decrease in BMI after 2 months of supplementation. Ultimately, Forskohlin may certainly result in weight-loss or at the very least, prevent weight gain. These effects may be more apparent in men, as an increase in cAMP also increases testosterone, which inherently burns fat and increases lean muscle mass.
Theanine is commonly found in Green Tea and is generally believed to be the agent in the tea that promotes relaxation and counteracts the caffeine that is also present in green tea. Various studies have been conducted using doses of 50-200mg and most have shown promise with regards to this synergistic effect when combined with caffeine. One 2007 study noted a stress-countering effect of 200mg of Theanine and this study suggests cortisol blocking properties as the mechanism of action. Several more studies have confirmed that Theanine, in doses ranging from 50-200, has the ability to alter the effects of caffeine in humans generally resulting in what can be described as a “calm alertness”. However, there is literally no evidence to suggest theanine is useful for weight management. While MuscleTech does not mention exactly why Theanine is present in the formula, it is most likely to mitigate some of the jitters that may result from the stimulants present in the formula.
Theobroma Cacao contains both caffeine (discussed above) and theobromine, a chemical relative of caffeine. While its stimulant properties are less potent than caffeine, it is alleged to increase heart rate to a greater degree. In theory, increasing heart rate could provide more oxygen for fat oxidation (burning fat), but this is JUST a theory, and there is currently no scientific evidence to support it. Very few studies have examined the effects of Theobromine on weight loss, and those that have, have studied the effects in conjunction with other stimulants such as caffeine. The weight loss effects of Theobromine on its own would most likely be negligible. However, when combined with other stimulants, there may be a complimentary effect. More studies are needed to know for sure.
The primary active component of Yohimbe (Pausinystalia Yohimbe) is Yohimbine, which acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor responsible for blocking lipolysis. By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine allows for more lipolysis to occur. A 2006 study showed that while there were no increases in strength, supplementation induced fat loss in athletes (soccer players). As previously stated, Yohimbine directly acts on alpha-2 receptor, but its fat loss capabilities may also be magnified by its ability to increase the catecholamine neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline which in turn induce lipolysis. However, its ability to increase catcholamines may degrade fairly quickly (a few weeks), so for Yohimbine to be truly effective as a weight-loss agent, it must be combined with something that activates the beta-adrenergic receptors in the first place (i.e. caffeine and other stimulants or exercise).
Rauwolscine (also known as alpha-yohimbine) is what is known as a ‘stereoisomer’ of yohimbine, meaning it is chemically similar in structure. Because of this similarity, Rauwolscine produces similar effects, although perhaps to a milder degree. It is common for supplement companies to include both Rauwolscine and Yohimbine together since both compounds are naturally present in certain plants.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
MuscleTech touts Green Coffee Extract as the key ingredient, but as mentioned above, these claims may be a little exaggerated. Realistically, there is more scientific evidence to support Yohimbine as a fat-burner then GCE, so we’re a little confused about why MuscleTech doesn’t mention it much. Much of the fat-burning potential of Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite lies in the stimulants caffeine and yohimbe. The hefty dose of caffeine (270mg) paired with Yohimbe may very well induce lipolysis to some degree as well as provide a noticeable boost in perceived energy and alertness. Coleus Forskohlii is also an ingredient of interest, seeing as how it has shown promise for weight management in humans, but we need more studies to determine its true efficacy. Overall, Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite, when combined with an exercise program may very well help to achieve slight to moderate weight loss.
- Vinson, Joe A., Bryan R. Burnham, and Mysore V. Nagendran. “Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects.”Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy 5 (2012): 21.
- Dellalibera, S. S. Ą., B. Lemaire, and S. Lafay. “„Svetol*, green coffee extract, induces weight loss and increases the lean to fat mass ratio in volunteers with overweight problem.”.” Phytotherapie 4.4 (2006): 194-197.
- Ho, Lap, et al. “Dietary supplementation with decaffeinated green coffee improves diet-induced insulin resistance and brain energy metabolism in mice.”Nutritional neuroscience 15.1 (2012): 37-45.
- Henderson, Shonteh, et al. “Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2.2 (2005): 54-62.
- Godard, Michael P., Brad A. Johnson, and Scott R. Richmond. “Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men.” Obesity Research 13.8 (2005): 1335-1343.
- Haskell, Crystal F., et al. “The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood.” Biological psychology 77.2 (2008): 113-122.
- Owen, Gail N., et al. “The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.” Nutritional neuroscience 11.4 (2008): 193-198.
- Einöther, Suzanne JL, et al. “L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness.” Appetite 54.2 (2010): 406-409.