Cellucor Super HD Review

Cellucor Super HD

Super HD is a stimulant-containing fat-burner which has become one of Cellucor’s most popular products in recent years. Although the formula does contain Caffeine and Yohimbine, there are several non-stimulant ingredients as well so Super HD can’t be labeled “stimulant fat-burner” necessarily…


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Super HD is a stimulant-containing fat-burner which has become one of Cellucor’s most popular products in recent years. Although the formula does contain Caffeine and Yohimbine, there are several non-stimulant ingredients as well so Super HD can’t be labeled “stimulant fat-burner” necessarily…[Skip to the Bottom Line]


Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. A CNS stimulant is any compound that speeds up mental or physical (or both) processes in the body. It is a popular belief that caffeine increases fat oxidation. However, studies have failed to show caffeine positively influencing fat oxidation in humans. Several studies have examined the effects of green tea extract on fat oxidation and found a correlation, but most have concluded this is due to the other compounds (perhaps EGCG) which are present in green tea, not caffeine. That being said, caffeine may act as a slight appetite suppressant (like most stimulants). Without exercise, the weight loss effects of caffeine supplementation would be negligible. However, being that caffeine acts as a stimulant, it has also been shown to increase exercise capacity and endurance. Assuming all else constant, working out harder and longer is certainly an effective way to lose weight.


Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Tyrosine, while chemically related to L-Dopa, does not produce the same “immediately noticeable” effects. Companies that use this ingredient in pre-workout supplements are mostly going on the assumption that Tyrosine increases Dopamine, and an increase of dopamine generally results in heightened mood, focus, and possibly workout intensity. However it’s important to understand that tyrosine’s inclusion in this product (and other similar products) is based on one massive assumption: that the more tyrosine you consume, the more dopamine you produce. This assumption is far from substantiated by scientific evidence. Human studies testing the effects of oral Tyrosine supplementation on Dopamine levels are non-existent. Tyrosine does appear to have some cognitive benefits which may or may not lead to an improvement in physical performance. As far as a direct effect on weight-loss, there is virtually no evidence either.


Toothed Clubmoss is a plant which contains, among other things, a compound known as Huperzine A. Huperzine A has been the subject of numerous studies, most of which have tested its cognitive enhancement abilities. Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the compound that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The result is an increase in acetylcholine, as less of it is broken down. Acetylcholine controls skeletal muscles and is largely responsible for the mind-muscle connection. In addition to controlling the muscles, acetylcholine is also involved in learning, memory, decision making, and various other mental activities. It’s important to understand that Huperzine A has never been shown to have a direct effect on weight loss. The ingredient is instead intended to maintain mental focus and clarity in the absence of sufficient levels of glucose, during a calorie restrictive diet. While we certainly don’t promote starving your brain of the glucose it needs to function properly, for those that adhere to a strict low-calorie diet, Huperzine A may be of some benefit.


iFAS503 is a trademarked supplement which combines three ingredients: green tea leaf extract, tuber fleece flower root extract, and Parasitic Loranthus (Chinese Mistletoe Extract). These three ingredients have been shown to inhibit fatty acid synthase in rats. The term “fatty acid synthase” refers to a group of enzymes who catalyze (or set in motion) the creation of fatty acids in the body. The result, in mice, has been a drastic decrease in food intake, leading to significant weight loss. Unfortunately, there are no documented human studies to draw on and we are left with only rat studies.


Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body adapt to stress (like exercise). The term adaptogen is a pharmacological term for a substance/compound which promotes homeostasis. The ingredient has been shown to improve stamina and fight mental fatigue in various studies. However, the exact mechanism of action is still unknown. 9 times out of 10, the herbal extract we analyze are based on pseudo-scientific nonsense, but we can’t deny that some herbal extracts are effective. While some claims associated with Rhodiola Rosea tend to be exaggerated, the herb certainly appears to possess some adaptogenic properties and therefore may enhance exercise performance to some degree.


Emblica officinalis (A.K.A. Indian Gooseberry/Amla) is touted by the herbal medicine community to have a variety of benefits in humans. Cellucor claims that it “supports mental energy and memory”, but these claims are, for the most part, unsubstantiated. The claims stem from the fact that Amla does possess antioxidant properties (although less than plenty of other available compounds), which may have a neuro-protective effect. However, there are no human studies demonstrating any significant degree of neuro-protection and for that reason, the inclusion of this ingredient seems based on anecdotal evidence, not science.


Dandelion contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including high levels of potassium. Extracts from the plant have been use in folk medicine specifically as a diuretic. A 1993 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology pointed to the high potassium content as a possible reason for the diuretic effect. A 2009 study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that supplementation with Dandelion Extract appeared to cause more frequent urination in subjects. Ultimately, while water certainly contributes to bodyweight, we do not view long term dehydration as a viable way to lose weight, and would caution users of diuretics to keep in mind that water is essential to life. Fat is what you should focus on limiting if you want to lose weight, not water.


The active compound in Pausinystalia Yohimbe is known as Yohimbine. Yohimbine acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it blocks the action of this receptor. Alpha receptors are responsible for blocking lipolysis (fat burning). By blocking the action of this receptor, yohimbine essentially opens the gates for lipolysis to occur. One study showed that while there were no increases in strength, supplementation “appears to be suitable as a fat loss strategy in elite athletes.” In addition to this property, Yohimbine has also been demonstrated to increase the action of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, resulting in increased mood and concentration.


Red Pepper (Fruit) (2% Capsaicinoids) (Capsimax®), has been showing promise in studies. Of particular interest is its ability to increase fat oxidation. Capsaicin, the particular compound of interest in Red Pepper, has been shown to increase fat oxidation in rats. Furthermore, a 2007 study showed that this effect holds true in healthy men as well. Fat oxidation is the process of “burning” fatty acids for energy (as opposed to glucose). While these results were not particularly extreme, it does appear that Capsaicin can have a direct effect on weight loss in humans.


Evodiamine is a plant extract which appears to mimic the thermogenic effects of Capsaicin in rats. However, no human studies have been published at this time testing the effects of the extract on humans. Due to the lack of human studies available, we cannot determine with any considerable degree of certainty, the efficacy of Evodiamine with regards to weight loss.


Rauwolfia seprentina is an asian plant that contains, among other things yohimbine. For this reason, it is often compared to Yohimbe, and for the purposes of a preworkout supplement, it is basically the same. Rauwolfia extract is generally standardized for two compounds: Yohimbine and Rauwolscine. As discussed above, Yohimbine has actually been shown to be effective for weight loss, via acting as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist. Rauwolscine is chemically very similar to yohimbine and shares this same mechanism of action. Therefore, Rauwolfia extract is certainly an effective weight loss ingredient.


B Vitamins are required for a variety of roles in the human body, one of the primary roles being energy metabolism. However, it is important to understand that someone who eats an adequate diet or consumes a multivitamin receives more than enough B Vitamins to fulfill their biological needs. There is no evidence suggesting that increased intake of B Vitamins will result in increased carbohydrate metabolism or anything like that. Unless you are deficient (which is unlikely), these three vitamins will not contribute to weight loss or energy production.


Super HD contains a few stimulants, as well as certain ingredients designed to elevate mood and improve focus/concentration for those who are dieting and may have low blood sugar much of the time. Yohimbine and Rauwolscine generally have a potent lipolytic effect, and when combined with caffeine and capsaicin, these effects may be further potentiated. Clearly the formula is intended for those on a regular training regimen and diet, and assuming those variables stay constant, the overall effect may very well be weight loss.


[expand title=”References” tag=”h4″]

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  3. Tian, Wei-Xi, et al. “Weight reduction by Chinese medicinal herbs may be related to inhibition of fatty acid synthase.” Life sciences 74.19 (2004): 2389-2399.
  4. Wang, Yan, et al. “Parasitic loranthus from Loranthaceae rather than Viscaceae potently inhibits fatty acid synthase and reduces body weight in mice.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 118.3 (2008): 473-478.
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  6. Hasani-Ranjbar, Shirin, et al. “A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used in the treatment of obesity.” World journal of gastroenterology: WJG 15.25 (2009): 3073.
  7. Kumar, Monica V., et al. “Differential effects of a centrally acting fatty acid synthase inhibitor in lean and obese mice.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99.4 (2002): 1921-1925.
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  9. De Bock, Katrien, et al. “Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 14 (2004): 298-307.
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  13. Clare, Bevin A., Richard S. Conroy, and Kevin Spelman. “The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day.”The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15.8 (2009): 929-934.
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  16. Clare, Bevin A., Richard S. Conroy, and Kevin Spelman. “The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day.”The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15.8 (2009): 929-934.
  17. Wang, Ting, et al. “Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling.”Endocrinology 149.1 (2008): 358-366.
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