Update 7/10/19. “Have you tried that crazy wrap thing?” is the slogan I kept seeing online when I started looking into the company called “It Works!” This is because It Works! started out as a company that sold toning wraps that were said to make people skinnier. Since then, the company has branched out and now sells all kinds of different supplements. In this review, I want to look at the It Works Advanced Formula Fat Fighter (with “carb inhibitors”) and see if it really burns fat or not. I also want to take a look at It Works! the company too, in case you were as curious as I was. Hopefully, by the end of this review, you will have more information to help you do your own research, and have a better idea if the It Works Fat Fighter is right for you.
Who Makes It Works!
The website, MyItWorks.com was first registered in 2002 by a company called It Works Marketing. Over the years the address for the company has changed. This may reflect the company moving to larger headquarters.
Previous addresses for It Works Marketing (better known as It Works Global) include:
- 2006 44th Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49508
- 5325 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34208-5534
The company is currently located at 908 Riverside Dr Palmetto, FL 34221-5035. Performing a google search for this address reveals a company, which is a very impressive 50,000 square foot building bearing the It Works name and logo.
Contact It Works!
The contact page of the MyItWorks website lists the following “loyal customer” contact numbers for those in the US: 1-800-537-2395 and 952-540-5699. The Better Business Bureau lists an additional contact number of (941) 348-6650. International toll-free customer support is also available in these countries as well:
- Australia: 1-(800) 750-398
- Canada: 1-(855) 560-1020
- United Kingdom: 0-(800) 098-8925
- Sweden: +46-770791808
- Belgium: +32-78480292
It Works Better Business Bureau Rating
The BBB rating for It Works is “C+.” When I checked the BBB file, they had a consumer alert for It Works Marketing which stated that:
- “BBB has received a pattern of complaints from consumers alleging that after trying to cancel with the business, they continue to receive additional products.
- Consumers also state that they have found additional charges being taken that the business has not informed them would be occurring.
- Complaints also allege that the business continues to bill after cancellation, and consumers are not informed that there is a $50.00 cancellation fee.”
In response to the BBB, It Works Global stated:
- “The underlying cause of the majority of our complaints is the improper enrollment of Loyal Customers by Independent Distributors.
- The business indicated that the majority of complaints are received from Loyal Customers directly enrolled by a Distributor who did not adequately disclose or explain the auto shipment commitment or Membership Fee associated with becoming an It Works! Loyal Customer.
- With regard to billing issues, the business indicated that refunds processed on the same day as an original charge are considered voided transactions, and the pending charge drops off the customer's credit card statement.”
These are just highlights. See the BBB file” for updates and more information
This Forbes Magazine article provides additional information on how the company was started.
From the Forbes article, it appears It Works Global started out as a company marketing toning body wraps. The It Works wraps might still be the company’s biggest seller, because when I searched for their website —MyItWorks.com—the tagline for the site was “Have You Tried That Crazy Wrap Thing?”
Dr. Bill Sukala's website has a review of It Works Wraps
It Works Fat Fighter Research
When I searched the National Library of Medicine (which lists millions of studies from around the globe) for “It Works Fat Fighter,” no studies showed up. Likewise, doing a Google search for the product turned up no studies. In addition, MyItWorks.com website shows no research.
Therefore, I'm forced to concluded at this time that the product lacks clinical evidence that it works as claimed. If the Fat Fighter works, it’s because of the research on some of its ingredients. Let’s take a look at the research on those ingredients now and see what we can discover.
Fat Fighter Ingredients
According to the product label, a bottle contains 60 tablets. Two tablets contain the following ingredients:
|Chromium dinicotinate glycinate 150 mcg||130%|
|NeOpuntia (cactus leaf) 500 mg||N/A|
|Proprietary blend of the following 510 mg||N/A|
|1. Garcinia cambogia fruit extract||N/A|
|2. Green tea leaf extract||N/A|
|4. Bitter melon fruit||N/A|
|5. Banaba leaf extract||N/A|
|6. Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract||N/A|
|7. Wheat amalyase inhibitor||N/A|
N/A = there is no daily value
Now that we know the ingredients, let's see if we can find any research on the ingredients to see if it really does fight fat.
It Works Fat Fighter Ingredients
Chromium has been popular in weight loss supplements for decades which is ironic given that the majority of human studies I've seen show this is not the case. Here is my review of chromium. Notice how many studies show it doesn't help weight loss.
One thing chromium might do is reduce blood sugar levels. Keep this in mind as you review the ingredients below.
The name NeOpuntia (neo-pUnch-a) is actually a trademarked name for the prickly pear cactus called Opuntia ficus-indica. The cactus is said to bind fat, preventing it from being absorbed.
As we absorb less fat, we absorb fewer calories. Theoretically, this might lead to weight loss. This is why some websites call NeOpuntia a “fat-fighting cactus.” NeOpuntia is a product of the French company, Bio Serae Labs SAS.
See my review of Calorase/FBCX, for more information.
Two tablets of the It Works Fat Fighter contain 500 mg of NeOpuntia. Remember this as we review the research.
I located a company-sponsored study from 2007 titled The effect of NeOpuntia on blood lipid parameters–risk factors for the metabolic syndrome (syndrome X). In this 6-week study, 68 women (20–55 years of age) with metabolic syndrome (basically “pre-diabetes”) were either given a placebo or 4.8 grams NeOpuntia 3 times a day with meals. People ate a “well-balanced diet” with “controlled lipid input” (in other words, they ate a low-fat diet). Forty-nine women completed the study.
Results: The women taking NeOpuntia showed significant improvements in various pre-diabetes symptoms, such that 39% of the women were no longer diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (compared to only 8% of those taking a placebo). These are very impressive results – but there are two things you need to know:
1. This study makes no mention of weight loss. I’m not sure if weight loss was even measured.
2. The people in this study used 4.8 grams of NeOpuntia per day. This is FAR MORE than the 500 mg (1/2 gram) that 2 tablets of It Works Fat Fighter provides. Even taking 6 tables per meal, only provides 3000 mg (3 grams). Each person in the study used 1.6 grams of NeOpuntia with each meal, for a total of 4.8 grams per day.
Opuntia ficus-indica is the main ingredient in the popular health drink called TriVita Nopalea Juice, which you may have seen advertised on TV. See that review for additional information.
See also the XLS Medical review for more on this ingredient.
There are several weight loss studies involving Garcinia cambogia. Its active ingredient is said to be hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The way Garcinia cambogia is said to work is by preventing carbohydrates from being turned into fat.
In my review of Garcinia cambogia, which I suggest you read, I noted the research showing it worked (helped weight loss) used at least 1,667 mg per day (or 1,000 mg of HCA per day). This is important because the entire proprietary blend in It Works Fat Fighter (2 tablets) only contains a total of 510 mg.
Garcinia cambogia is the first ingredient listed, so it likely comprises the most of this blend. But, I see no evidence this amount works. If you read my Garcinia cambogia review, you’ll see studies showing that 500 mg did not work. Based on what I’ve found, I don’t think the Fat Fighter has enough.
Garcinia is controversial. Over the years several reports link it to liver problems.
Green Tea Leaf Extract
While they don't tell us what extract they are using, the label says that this extract has 20% caffeine. To me that says caffeine might be the active ingredient in this extract—but how much caffeine does the product contain? They don’t tell us.
Caffeine is one of the most most popular ingredients in weight loss supplements. It’s an ingredient in these supplements which you may have heard of before:
Caffeine is so popular that I even once reviewed a caffeine shampoo! That said, I’m not convinced that caffeine―by itself―helps people lose weight. That's because the best weight loss research usually combines caffeine with ephedra, another stimulant. Ephedra is banned from supplements in the US because it was linked to several deaths.
As the label indicates, this refers to an extract from white kidney beans. Another name for this ingredient is Phaseolus vulgaris. On some websites, this stuff is also called Bean Pod extract. It has several other names, including Fabenol—as it was referred to when I reviewed the product called Lean and Fab.
Tip. It’s been my experience that ingredients that begin with “Phas” usually refer to kidney bean extract.
Phaseolamin is said to inhibit a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme called alpha-amylase. If you block the action of this enzyme, in theory, carbs would not be digested as well. If we can’t digest carbs, we can’t absorb their calories. In this way, phaseolamin is supposed to promote weight loss.
The blocking of this carb-digesting enzyme is the reason that some call phaseolamin a “carb blocker.” It turns out that there is some weight loss research on phaseolamin. Let's take a look at some of that research.
In a 2004 study titled, Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract, researchers randomly gave 50 people either a 1,500 mg placebo or a phaseolamin supplement called “Phase 2” twice daily with meals (3,000 mg total) for 8 weeks.
At the end of the study, those receiving the Phase 2 supplement lost an average of 3.7 lbs compared to the placebo group which lost an average of 1.65 pounds.
One problem -and it's a big one – was only 27 people completed this study. That’s almost a 50% drop out rate. Why did so many people not complete the study?
Additionally, researchers gave people 3,000 mg of the Phase 2 supplement. We are not told how much is in the Fat Fighter – just that the entire proprietary blend equals 510 mg per 2 tablets. if using 6 tables per day it would be around 6 X510 = about 1530 mg.
Phase 2 is a proprietary phaseolamin supplement that is in many products.
In a 2013 study titled, Phaseolus vulgaris extract affects glycometabolic and appetite control in healthy human subjects, 12 people who ate a normal meal were randomly given either a placebo or Phaseolus vulgaris extract. Those given the Phaseolus vulgaris extract showed reduced appetite, lower ghrelin levels (a hormone that tells us to eat), reduced insulin levels, and lower blood sugar, compared to those getting the placebo. This was a very small study and only lasted 3 hours, but it’s interesting and worthy of a follow-up study.
In a 2007 study titled, A Dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract influences body composition of overweight men and women, 60 slightly overweight men and women were randomly given either a placebo or 445 mg of a Phaseolus vulgaris extract for 30 days before their main carbohydrate-containing meal of the day.
Those who received the Phaseolus vulgaris extract showed a significantly greater reduction in body weight, fat mass, BMI, and other parameters, compared to placebo. The product used in this study was also called Phase 2.
There are also many mouse studies on this ingredient. Since we are not mice, I won't discuss them.
Bitter Melon Fruit
Its scientific name is Momordica charantia. It’s called bitter melon because it has a bitter taste when eaten. Additional names include bitter gourd and salsamino, among many others. There are over 200 different compounds in this plant.
The vast majority of that research appears to be limited to rats and mice. Much of the research is deals with how bitter melon might help diabetes and blood sugar issues by way of its ability to increase insulin levels. Also, not all of that research involves the fruit of the plant.
Some of the mice and rat research used the seeds of bitter melon and oil from the seeds. As such, that research would not be applicable to the fruit, which is what It Works Fat Fighter contains.
One study, titled Momordica charantia (bitter melon) inhibits primary human adipocyte differentiation by modulating adipogenic genes, researchers treated human fat cells with bitter melon juice. They noted that the juice enhanced fat burning in those fat cells.
This is intriguing, and while I like that they used human fat cells, this was still just a test tube study. In other words, they studied the effects of bitter melon juice in isolated human fat cells, rather than in people.
The name “bitter melon” might remind people of “bitter orange,” which is often used in ephedra-free weight loss supplements. As far as I can tell, bitter melon and bitter orange have no relationship to each other. Because of the lack of human research at this time, I don’t think anyone—including the It Works! company—knows if bitter melon helps people lose weight.
See the review of Apple Cider Vinegar. You may be surprised by that research.
The leaves of the Gymnema plant appear to have a blood-sugar-lowering effect, and it might also reduce carb absorption. The majority of the weight loss research, however, involved mice and rats. One human study might provide some insights on why some of the ingredients in the Fat Fighter were chosen.
This study was published in 2004 and was titled, Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. All three of these ingredients in this study are in the It Works Fat Fighter.
In this 8-week study, 60 overweight people were randomly given either:
- Garcinia cambogia (4667 mg)
- Garcinia cambogia (4994 mg) + niacin-bounded chromium (4mg) + Gymnema sylvestre (400 mg)
Results showed those getting the combination of all 3 ingredients showed more weight loss than those taking the placebo. That said, the amounts of the ingredients used in this study are far MORE than are contained in It Works Fat Fighter.
Gymnema sylvestre has been in a few products I’ve looked at previously, including:
- Healthe Trim (for weight loss)
- Glucotor V2 (for diabetes)
So see those reviews for more information.
Wheat Amylase Inhibitor
Amylase is an enzyme that helps us absorb carbs. So if you inhibit this enzyme, it might reduce our ability to absorb carbs. This ingredient just sounds to me like a carb/starch blocker derived from wheat. But, just calling it “wheat amylase inhibitor” is vague, because without knowing the exact name of the inhibitor compound, I can’t say much about it, other than it probably works similarly to phaseolamin, discussed above.
Another name for this compound is vanadyl sulfate. Vanadium appears to have an insulin-like effect and might reduce blood sugar.
In a study from 1996 titled, Effects of vanadyl sulfate on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, vanadium was shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes.
Vanadium is listed last in the ingredients of the proprietary blend. This means it is likely to present in the least amount. This is good because vanadium might become toxic at high levels. They don’t tell us how much vanadium is in the Fat Fighter. The amount, beyond which side effects might be noticed, is currently thought to be 1.8 mg per day for adults.
When I was in college in the 90s, weightlifters used to think vanadyl sulfate made them bigger and stronger. Research shows it doesn’t do that.
Vanadium is found naturally in very small amounts in foods. Vanadium is also an ingredient in:
The health drink called Vemma also contains vanadium.
Blood-Sugar Lowering Ingredients
Here are the ingredients in It Works Fat Fighter that might reduce blood sugar levels:
- Gymnema sylvestre
Ingredients That Block Carbs
Here are the ingredients in It Works Fat Fighter that are thought to be carb blockers:
- Garcinia cambogia
- Gymnema sylvestre (maybe)
- Wheat amylase inhibitor
Note. While I call them carb blockers, the It Works company calls them “carb inhibitors.” these phrases mean the same thing.
Ingredients That Block Fat
Here are the ingredients in It Works Fat Fighter that might block fat:
Notice there are more carb blockers in Fat Fighter than fat blockers. So, a better name for this supplement might be “It Works Carb Fighter.”
Ingredients with the Most Evidence
Based on the studies I could locate, here are the ingredients in It Works Fat Fighter that I feel have the most evidence and are likely the main active ingredients in this product:
I highlight this ingredient because:
1. There are more weight loss studies on this ingredient than any of the others in the product.
2. There aren't as many negative side effects for this as say garcinia Cambogia
For those who want to compare prices and see what others are saying:
NeOpuntia has less proof so it was not included.
See my Calorase review for more information on proven fat blockers.
It Works Fat Fighter Side Effects
Here are a few things to think about when taking It Works Fat Fighters. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than suggested for the first week to see how you respond
- Stop all supplements at least 2 weeks before surgery
- Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should speak to their doctor first
- If you take any medications, speak to your doctor and pharmacist
- Bitter melon might reduce blood sugar, which may be an issue for some people who take diabetes medications.
- Gymnema sylvestre might lower blood sugar levels.
- Vanadium might lower blood sugar. At high doses, vanadium might also cause a color change on the tongue (a green color). The amount which might cause side effects is controversial, due to the lack of good research on vanadium.
From the comments section below, some have said they developed headaches, fainting and one person mentioned seizures.
If you had any side effects—positive or negative—please leave a comment below so others (including me) can benefit from your experiences.
Does The Fat Fighter Work?
It's hard to say at this time if the product helps people lose weight or blocks fat. No clinical studies on the supplement could be located. I admit, I could be totally wrong and the supplement might do exactly what its name says it will do. But, for me, I'd like to see a few studies first to see if it really works.