LeanWorks is Muscle Elements’ non-stimulant weight-loss formula which contains several pretty well known ingredients…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT:
The primary bioactive in Green Coffee is Chlorogenic Acid, an effective carb-blocker which has demonstrated some pretty clear weight-loss benefits in human subjects.
A 2007 study, published in the “Journal of International Medical Research”, found that 12 weeks of Green Coffee (450-500mg Chlorogenic Acid) supplementation resulted in a reduction (6.9%) in glucose absorption in healthy volunteers. Researchers also noted average weight loss of 5.4 kg (almost 12 lbs) over the duration of the study in the group receiving the Green Coffee Extract.
A 2006 study, this time using a smaller dose of Green Coffee Extract (yielding 140mg Chlorogenic Acid), found no such weight-loss benefit over a 12 week period. The obvious difference between these two studies is that the dose of the first (positive) study was about 3 times the dose used in the second (negative) study.
A 2012 study found that adults who consumed GCE (containing about 315mg Chlorogenic Acid) daily lost an average of 8kg with the average reduction in body fat being about 4%.
Muscle Elements lists the amount of Green Coffee Extract in LeanWorks at 600mg, yielding 300mg of Chlorogenic Acid per serving. 300mg is well within the clinically validated range, though higher doses may be more effective.
A 2009 study, funded by Gateway Health Alliances (a manufacturer of African Mango supplements), found that 150mg taken prior to meals for 10 weeks was able to reduce food intake (suppress appetite) in human subjects.
Unfortunately, this was the only seemingly well-constructed human study, and the conflict of interest naturally makes us skeptical of the results. A 2013 systematic review, published in the “Journal of Dietary Supplements”, concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence for African Mango as an effective weight-loss supplement. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, just that the current research is tenuous at best.
LeanWorks contains 150mg of African Mango per serving.
Carnitine is an amino acid that is heavily involved with the metabolism of fat for energy. It is required for the proper transport of fatty acids in the mitochondria, where they are oxidized (burned) for energy. Because of this integral role in the fat-burning process, Carnitine supplementation is alleged to burn-fat, and while it may certainly help normalize fat-burning capacity, human studies regarding weight loss are mixed. While Carnitine deficiency can certainly hinder fat-burning, the implications for healthy individuals are unclear.
A 2002 study, published in “Metabolism”, found that Carnitine supplementation (1g/day) increased fatty acid oxidation rates in humans without Carnitine deficiency.
A 2004 study from the same journal found that L-Carnitine supplementation (3g/day) increased fatty acid oxidation in overweight subjects while having no effect on protein synthesis or breakdown.
However, a 2005 study, published in the “International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research”, found that Carnitine supplementation failed to influence weight-loss in rats. The results of this study were in-line with an earlier (2002) study in which L-Carnitine supplementation (4g/day) failed to influence fat mass, body mass, or resting lipid utilization in moderately obese women.
A more recent (2010) study found that Carnitine supplementation did favorably influence fatty acid utilization in rats, though this study did not measure fat mass post-supplementation.
Ultimately, Carnitine does possess the mechanisms by which it “should” burn fat (via increased utilization of fatty acids), though supplementation has failed to result in fat-loss in animals and humans. LeanWorks contains just 225mg of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate per serving, a pretty negligible dose compared to other Carnitine-containing weight-loss formulas we’ve come across.
Despite the popularity of Raspberry Ketone, it has never actually demonstrated any efficacy for weight-loss in actual humans and, even in rat studies, has produced lackluster results using massive concentrations.
A 2010 in vitro study found that treatment with Raspberry Ketone increased fatty acid oxidation and lipolysis in adipocytes (fat cells). However, the amount/concentration of RK used in this study is beyond what could practically be consumed in oral supplement form.
A 2005 study, seeking to determine the weight loss effects of raspberry ketone on rats fed a high fat diet, noted dose dependent anti-obesity effects using doses of .5-4 grams/kg. This would roughly correspond to a 150lb person consuming 34-130 grams daily, a highly impractical dose.
In a 2012 study, similar effects were observed in rats, though this time with a focus on fat accumulation in the liver resulting from a high fat diet. The only human study that exists grouped Raspberry Ketone in with several other popular weight-loss ingredients so the effects cannot be attributed to raspberry ketones alone.
On a molecular level, Raspberry Ketone certainly demonstrates anti-obesity effects, but the doses used to achieve these effects are far more than what the average human could practically consume.
Muscle Elements lists the amount of Raspberry Ketone at 105mg per serving which, despite being a pretty average dose compared to other weight-loss formulas, has never demonstrated any clinical efficacy.
Taraxacum Officinale, also known as Dandelion, has a long history of use in alternative medicine as a diuretic. A 1993 study published in “Pharmaceutical Biology” pointed to the high potassium content as a possible reason for the diuretic of effect, though various compounds have been isolated and alleged to contribute to this effect.
A 2009 study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that supplementation with Dandelion Extract caused more frequent urination in subjects, but a specific mechanism of action was not identified.
Muscle Elements does not disclose the exact dose of Dandelion Extract found in LeanWorks, but we wouldn’t consider it an important ingredient anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.
Similar to Green Coffee Extract, White Kidney Bean is more of a calorie-blocker than a fat-burner, as it doesn’t actually target fat. Both in vitro, and in vivo studies have demonstrated the ability of White Kidney Bean to block the absorption of carbohydrates, when consumed simultaneously, via inhibition of amylase (a digestive enzyme responsible for the absorption of starches). By reducing carbohydrate absorption, WKB may mimic the effects of a calorie (carb) restricted diet to some degree. While all studies have confirmed that there is some carb-blocking effect, the degree tends to vary and the total weight loss effect is likely influenced by many individual factors.
A 2004 study from “Alternative Medicine Review” found that Phase 2 (a patented White Kidney Bean extract) supplementation resulted in a trend towards weight-loss, but did not achieve statistical significance.
A 2007 study, published in the “International Journal of Medical Sciences”, found that White Kidney Bean extract (445mg) was able to reduce bodyweight in slightly overweight human subjects.
Muscle Elements does not disclose the exact dose of White Kidney Bean in LeanWorks, but given a 225mg proprietary blend which it shares with Capsimax and BioPerine, we’d estimate no more than 100-150mg or so.
RED PEPPER (CAPSIMAX):
Capsimax is a brand name for Red Pepper Extract which is standardized for certain key bioactives. Though commonly standardized for Capsaicin content alone, Capsicum also contains other compounds, collectively referred to as Capsaicinoids, which include Dihydrocapsaicin and Nordihydrocapsaicin.
A 2007 study noted an increase in fat oxidation (relative to placebo) during low intensity exercise in healthy adult males who consumed 150mg of capsaicin one hour before exercise.
A 2001 found subjects who consumed CH-19 Sweet (containing Capsinoids) had significantly higher core body temperatures and increased oxygen consumption (indicative of energy production) compared to the placebo group.
A later (2010) study, published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, found that Dihydrocapsiate supplementation (3-9mg/day) caused a small but noticeable increase in the resting metabolic rate of healthy human subjects.
Whether LeanWorks contains an effective dose of Capsimax is unclear, though given its position in a mere 225 proprietary blend, there can’t be much more than 100mg at most.
Piper nigrum, also known as Black Pepper, contains Piperine. Several studies have found that black pepper extract, when combined with other supplements, has increased the absorption of those supplements (as measured by plasma levels). Piperine’s ability to increase absorption of other compounds is due to the inhibition of certain enzymes which breakdown most compounds, as well as the slowing of intestinal transit (increasing the amount of time these compounds are exposed to the possibility of uptake).
THE BOTTOM LINE:
As a non-stimulant weight-loss formula, LeanWorks may be moderately effective, but most of the efficacy can likely be attributed to Green Coffee Extract as many of the other ingredients are either ineffective or just under-dosed. However, at a price of about 35 cents per serving, LeanWorks is clearly meant for multiple servings daily which would further increase the efficacy of some of those under-dosed ingredients.
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