Vanish is a mostly stimulant-powered fat-burner by Pro Supps which may be moderately effective, although we question the doses of some of the non-stimulant ingredients. Pro Supps’ new fat-burner, Vexxum, may be more effective overall…FIND IT HERE
Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid/cognitive enhancer and is the most commonly consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world. Caffeine causes an increase in catecholamines, resulting in increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. These neurotransmitters tend to be pro-lipolytic, so it is commonly assumed that caffeine is a fat-burner. While the mechanisms of caffeine are certainly pro-fat-burner, the effects tend to fade with prolonged use, rendering caffeine ineffective as a long-term weight loss solution. However, it is a highly effective ergogenic aid and will certainly enhance performance when taken pre-workout.
There is no evidence to suggest that Caffeine Citrate (Caffeine combined with Citric Acid) is any more beneficial than Caffeine alone. Generally, Caffeine Citrate is about 67% and we estimate that Vanish contains upwards of 200mg of Caffeine in total (from all sources).
GREEN TEA LEAF EXTRACT (EGCG)
Multiple studies have confirmed Green Tea Extract appears to be able to induce fat-loss. Although this effect was originally thought to be related to caffeine content, more recent research has pointed to a green tea catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as the compound primarily responsible for these effects. EGCG is an antioxidant found in green tea, and is a member of the group of antioxidants known as catechins. In addition to its antioxidant properties, EGCG has demonstrated the ability to induce fat loss when combined with caffeine, more than just caffeine alone. EGCG works synergistically with caffeine with regards to its effect on noradrenaline. As mentioned above, caffeine boosts noradrenaline while EGCG inhibits catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT), the enzyme responsible for the degredation of noradrenaline. So, caffeine increases noradrenaline, while EGCG prevents its degradation, a synergy which results in excess fat-being burned. EGCG is not effective on its own, nor in people who are highly tolerant to stimulants which increase catecholamines (such as caffeine).
Dicaffeine Malate is simply a combination of Caffeine and Malic Acid. While Creative Compounds, the manufacturer of Infinergy, claims a variety of additional benefits over what can be achieved with regular caffeine, there are no scientific studies to support these claims. Malic Acid plays a role in energy production, but supplementation has never been shown to increase energy in healthy individuals, so for now we would consider Dicaffeine Malate just another form of Caffeine.
Raspberry Ketone, a molecular constituent of Raspberries, have become a popular weight-loss additive in dietary supplements. However, the evidence for raspberry ketone as a fat-burning ingredient is extremely limited and there is actually no direct evidence the ingredient is effective in oral, supplemental doses. In vitro studies using very high concentrations have shown positive results, but human studies are non-existent. The only human study that exists grouped RK in with several other popular weight loss ingredients so the effects cannot be attributed to raspberry ketone. Even in rat studies, RK fail to show any significant fat-burning effects. The overall consensus of the scientific community is that raspberry ketone are nothing more than industry hype.
Advantra Z is a patented form of Bitter Orange Extract which is standardized for Synephrine. Syneprhine became popular after the FDA banned Ephedra as a dietary supplement for weight loss, because they share a similar mechanism of action. While Synephrine has been touted as a replacement for Ephedra, it is important to understand that it is significantly less potent (which is why it is not banned). However, that’s not to say it is completely useless. A 2011 study, published in the “International Journal of Medicinal Sciences”, found that supplementation of 50mg Syneprhine increased the metabolic rate in human subjects without affecting blood pressure or heart rate. Similarly to Ephedrine, Synephrine is a beta-receptor agonist and an alpha-receptor antagonist, the net effect of which is an increase in lipolysis.
Hordenine (chemical name N, N-dimethyltyramine) is chemically related to the above mentioned Tyramine, and likewise, is used in dietary supplements as a fat-burner as well as for increased energy. Hordenine has been shown in animals to augment adrenaline induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself, which indicates it works as a monoamine (Adrenaline) reuptake inhibitor (similar to Tyramine). By functioning as a monoamine reuptake inhibitor, Hordenine may poteniate the effects of the other stimulants in the formula which bring about an increase in monoamines such as noradrenaline, thus extending the lipolysis brought about by these monoamines.
Sulbutiamine is an analogue (chemical relative) of Thiamine (Vitamin B1), the benefits of which pertain mostly to fatigue. A 1999 study found that subjects suffering from chronic post-infectious fatigue who consumed 400 and 600mg of Sulbutiamine experienced significant reduction in over-all fatigue compared to the placebo group. These findings were replicated in a 2003 study, published in “The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India”, in which subjects (again with infection-induced fatigue) who consumed 400mg reported significant reductions as well. Unfortunately, since both of these studies involved patients with some sort of medical ailment, it’s difficult to say how effective Sulbutiamine would be in healthy persons, and even more difficult to say how this anti-fatigue effect may translate to physical performance (if at all). There are absolutely no studies regarding the potential of Sulbutiamine for weight-loss nor is there any reason to suggest it would be beneficial in any way. Furthermore, since Sulbutiamine is listed last in a 305mg blend, the amount is likely negligible with regards to any claim.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen, meaning it may help the body adapt to stressful situations. RR has been shown to improve stamina and fight mental fatigue in various studies. However, the exact mechanism of action is still unknown. We’re not crazy about herbal extracts because there is often a lot of pseudo-scientific claims attached to them, but we can’t deny that some herbal extracts are effective. After all, most pharmaceuticals are originally derived from some sort of plant. While more research is needed to determine the exact mechanism of action, Rhodolia Rosea has proved to be quite effective at countering exercise induced fatigue, making its inclusion in the Vanish formula justified in the eyes of science.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a potent anti-oxidant with wide variety of implications, but for the purpose of this review we will focus on its potential for weight loss. A 2009 study from the “Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry” found that ALA supplementation significantly decreased appetite in rats fed a high-fat diet, resulting in less weight gain than rats fed the same diet without ALA. These results indicate that ALA may be able to influence weight-loss beyond appetite suppression. However, another 2009 study (using similar methods as the first one) noted that the weight-loss in the ALA group was not significantly different than the group who consumed the same diet without ALA, indicating that reduced appetite was the predominant reason for weight loss. Furthermore, a 2011 study, published in the “American Journal of Medicine” found that obese individuals who consumed 1800mg of ALA daily for 20 weeks experienced moderate weight loss compared to the control group. At high enough doses, ALA may result in weight loss but the Vanish blend contains a very low dose of ALA compared to what has proven effective for weight-loss.
Pikamilon (alternatively spelled ‘Picamilon’) is formed by combining Niacin (vitamin B3) and GABA (the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in mammals). Pikamilon is able to effectively cross the blood-brain-barrier where it is converted into GABA. Since GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (as opposed to excitatory) it may produce anxiolytic effects when levels are increased beyond normal. For this reason, Pikamilon is touted as an anxiolytic. However, it has also been demonstrated to increase cerebral blood flow in animals, due to its niacin component (niacin is a vasodilator). Despite a fair amount of efficacy demonstrated in animal studies for both cerebral vasodilation and as an anxiolytic, human studies remain scarce. This is likely because there are better (pharmaceutical grade) anxiolytic compounds as well as cerebral vasodilators. As far as a direct effect on exercise capacity, there are no studies but the theoretical mechanisms of action exist.
Phenylethylamines are a class of compound which cause an increase in the catecholamine neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine) and as such, is a relatively potent (though short lived) central nervous system stimulant. While studies testing the effects of PEA supplementation on exercise performance are limited, a boost in catecholamines may certainly translate into more energy in the gym, resulting in a more intense workout. As far as direct effects on weight loss, studies are more or less non-existent. However, the general physiological reaction to increases in epinephrine and norepinephrine is activation of the beta-adrenergic receptors which induce lipolysis, so the mechanism by which PEA may induce weight loss is theoretically solid, just not documented. Because the effects are generally short-lived, it is hardly a miracle weight-loss supplement on its own, but combined with other beta-agonists/alpha-antagonists, will likely contribute to the overall effect.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the direct precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy neurotransmitter” because of its role in regulating mood, among other things. Indeed, low serotonin levels may cause depression. For this reason, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft are often prescribed in order to restore and stabilize levels of serotonin in depressed individuals. However 5-HTP may offer a simpler method for increasing serotonin: by simply crossing the blood-brain barrier and converting into serotonin. Since 5-HTP’s only function is conversion into serotonin, and it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is more effective at increasing serotonin than supplemental tryptophan (a pre-precursor to serotonin), which can be used for other functions such as protein synthesis. Why exactly Pro Supps chose to include 5-HTP in the Vanish formula remains unclear.
Vinpocetine is an effective vasodilator which has been demonstrated to increase cerebral blood flow (and thus slightly more oxygenation). It is alleged by some supplement companies that by acting as a vasodilator, Vinpocetine aids in the transport of fatty acids to the tissues for more efficient fat burning. Theoretically, this may seem plausible but currently there are no studies regarding Vinpocetine as a fat-burner. Although not commonly mentioned by supplement companies, Vinpocetine can fulfill a secondary role when it comes to stimulant-based fat-burners. Stimulants tend to be vasoconstrictors by nature, which may result in a feeling of pressure in the heads of individuals who are not used to these compounds. By acting as a vasodilator, Vinpocetine may help avoid potential stimulant headaches.
Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in increased levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine controls skeletal muscl and is largely responsible for the ‘mind-muscle connection’ that fitness experts often talk about. In addition to controlling the muscles, acetylcholine is also involved in learning, memory, decision making, and various other mental activities. Rather than having a direct effect on fat-loss, Huperzine is generally included in weight-loss supplements to help maintain mental focus while dieting. Though this claim hasn’t been scientifically evaluated, it stands to reason that Huperzine A may help to attenuate the cognitive decline generally associated with a reduced calories (especially carbs) diet.
Dandelion Extract has historically been used as both a diuretic and mild appetite suppressant. 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. With regards to the appetite suppressant effect: there are no documented studies evaluating the degree of efficacy, but it is fair to assume it is very mild and probably negligible compared to the other stimulants in the blend (though there may be some additive benefit).
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 (fat burning). By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine essentially “leaves the gates open” for 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 it’s fat loss capabilities may also be magnified by its ability to increase the catecholamine neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline which in turn induce lipolysis. As mentioned above, an increase in these neurotransmitters may result in increased focus and workout intensity.
RAUWOLFIA VOMITORIA (ALPHA-YOHIMBINE)
Rauwolfia Votiroia contains Rauwolscine (also known as alpha-yohimbine) which is 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
The ingredient profile of Vanish is comprehensive one, but the levels of some of the individual ingredients may be less than optimal. While the formula is certainly stimulant-based, it also contains some non-stimulant “support” ingredients that may help to attenuate any potential cognitive decline resulting from a reduced calorie diet. Overall, consuming 1 or 2 doses of Vanish in combination with a balanced diet and exercise regimen may result in some excess weight loss and at about 35 cents per serving, multiple doses is a reasonable option. Those looking for a more stimulant-powered fat-burner requiring only one-dose daily should consider Pro Supps’ Vexxum.
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