ThermoFit is a weight loss supplement from the ItWorks line of supplements. ThermoFit is touted to fire up your metabolism by increasing lipolysis (fat burning). Sounds pretty good so far. While the product website I saw touts acai berry and and a metabolism-boosting ingredient called “Capsimax,” there are other ingredients in the product too. Do they make it work better? In this review, I'll decipher the ingredients in Ultimate ThermoFit and hopefully help you make sense of it. For more information, also see the review of It Works Greens as well as the It Works Fat Fighter review.
According to the ItWorks website (ItWorks.com), the company recommends taking 1 tablet 2-3 times per day with meals. Each tablet of Ultimate ThermoFit has the following ingredients:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)||100 micrograms||1667% DV|
|Chromium (Chromium dinicotinate glycinate)||200 micrograms||167% DV|
|capsaicin fruit extract (Capsimax)||33 mg||N/A|
|Raspberry ketones||33 mg||N/A|
|Acai fruit 5:1 extract (Euterpe oleracea)||100 mg||N/A|
|Proprietary Blend composed of the following:|
|Green tea leaf extract (provides a minimum of 68 mg EGCG and 38.5 mg caffeine)|
|Bitter mellon fruit extract|
|Dandelion root extract|
|Gymnema leaf extract|
Below I'll summarize some of the relevant research on these ingredients.
ThermoFit Other Ingredients
The product contains these other ingredients also:
- Dicalcium phosphate
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Croscarmellose sodium
- Stearic acid
- film coat (hypromellose, macrogol and hydroxypropyl cellulose)
- Magnesium stearate
While these other ingredients play no role in any weight loss effects of the product, it is interesting that one of the uses of macrogol, – also known as polyethylene glycol – is as a laxative.
Macrogol appears to be used in the coating of tablets, likely as a way to make the pills easier to swallow. The amount of macrogol is extremely low and probably would not have a laxative effect.
ThermoFit Weight Loss Research
I was curious if ThermoFit itself was ever tested to see if it helped people lose weight. I did not see any clinical studies listed on the product website.
So I then searched ClinicalTrials.gov. I didn't see any studies.
I then searched Pubmed.gov (the National Library of Medicine). I didn't see any studies there either.
This leads me to believe that at this time, Ultimate ThermoFit – itself -might not have any weight loss clinical research.
Now, let's look at the research on its ingredients.
I'm not aware of any evidence that vitamin B12 helps people lose weight. I've written a review of B12 and weight loss which is worth while checking out for those who want to know more.
Sometimes, medications can deplete B12 levels and one of these is metformin, which is a common drug used by those with Type II diabetes.
Sometimes, as we get older, we lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food too.
If we set aside that it might take a couple of years to run out of B12 (we do store this water soluble vitamin), then adding it to a weight loss product that could be used by older people or those have type II diabetes might make sense.
Vitamin B12 can help boost energy in those who have anemia, but I'm skeptical of this in those whose B12 stores are not depleted.
Chromium is often used to help regulate blood sugar levels. There are studies that find chromium can lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C (also called, HbA1C or just “A1C”) although by how much it can do this is sometimes debated.
Blood sugar aside, I'm not aware of any goof proof that chromium helps people weight loss. For the last few decades, researchers have looked at this issue, but unfortunately, the vast majority of studies find that chromium is an epic fail when it comes to weight loss. If you want to see the research yourself, here is the review of chromium and weight loss.
Ultimate ThermoFit uses a type of this mineral called chromium dinicotinate glycinate (say, chromium Die-Nick-Oh-Tin-Ate Gly-Sin-Ate). This is the mineral chromium, combined with niacin and glycine (an amino acid).
Basically, this means the type used is chromium nicotinate. They combine the chromium nicotinate with glycine, likely to improve its absorption.
Several years ago there was a study that suggested that chromium nicotinate might be better for weight loss than chromim picolinate. Here is more on chromium nicotinate if you are curious.
The product website calls this “the active ingredient” in Ultimate ThermoFit. Capsaicin comes from hot peppers. Just a few of the capsaicin weight loss studies previously conducted include:
In a 2003 study, 91 men and women underwent a 4 week weight loss program. After losing some weight, the people were randomly given either capsaicin (153 mg/ day) or a placebo for the next 3 months. The goal of the study was to see if capsaicin helped people maintain the weight that they previously lost. While those taking capsaicin did indeed show greater fat burning, it did not appear to have any effect on the regaining of the weight that was previously lost.
In a 2012 review of prior research, it was noted that it was possible that capsaicinoids (which are in capsaicin) had the potential to reduce appetite and fat burning. It was also stated that they might result in an extra 50 calories per day being used and this would promote “clinically significant levels of weight loss in 1-2 years.”
In a 2014 review of previous studies, the authors noted that capsaicin appeared to reduce food intake slightly (by about 74 calories) and alter cravings for carbs. They also noted that it may take 2mg of capsaicinoids (the active ingredients in capsaicin) to achieve this effect.
When we eat, insulin gets released, which lowers blood sugar. If too much insulin is released, blood sugar can plummet. This can result in hunger and over eating (as we try to raise blood sugar again), theoretically, resulting in gaining weight. Sometimes doctors give people a glucose tolerance test to see how well they deal with increased blood sugar levels.
In this 2009 study, 5 grams of capsaicin was shown to lower blood sugar better than a placebo when 12 people who were given glucose tolerance test. Could this blood sugar stabilizing effect be another way in which capsaicin works – by controlling hunger caused by drastically high blood sugar levels?
Let's now look at the research on Capsimax.
ThermoFit uses a proprietary type of capsaicin called Capsimax. Because capsaicin might cause stomach irritation, Capsimax is encapsulated into tiny beads, to reduce this from happening.
Capsaicin causes sensations of heat and burning because it promotes the release of “Substance P.” Think “P” for “pain.” Sometimes people with fibromylgia may have issues with substance P. See the Ribose and Fibromyalgia review for more information.
Capsimax is a product of a company called OmniActive Technologies, also known as OmniActive Health Technologies. Their website is OmniActives.com.
They are a global company. Their US office is located at 67 East Park Place, Suite 500 Morristown, NJ 07960. The main office is located in Mumbai, India.
In 2010, a study was published titled Effect of oral intake of capsaicinoid beadlets on catecholamine secretion and blood markers of lipolysis in healthy adults: a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind, cross-over study.
In this study, 20 healthy men and women consumed either 2 mg of Capsimax or a placebo (they took a week off between trials). Prior to using the supplements, all people ate the same food which was provided by researchers.
These researchers noted that use of Capsimax resulted in more fatty acids being released in the blood of people compared to when they took the placebo (in other words, greater fat burning ability).
While greater fat burning ability is good, because the study was so short, it's not not possible to know if this extra fat burning lead to weight loss. Fat burning and weight loss don't always mean the same thing. It would be worthwhile to re-do this study for a longer time period to see if weight loss occurred.
This study reported no negative side effects, which is good.
A 2016 study, titled Tolerability of Capsaicinoids from Capsicum Extract in a Beadlet Form: A Pilot Study, looked at various doses of Capsimax (2mg, 4mg, 6 mg, 8 mg and 10mg) each given for a week, to 12 overweight women. Since the women took 5 different amounts, each for a week, this study lasted 5 weeks.
One of the things this study did look at was weight loss. Regrettably, women did not lose any weight or reduce body mass index (BMI) during this study.
Like the previous study, no negative side effects were reported. Capsimax did not alter blood pressure or impact anything else that was measured (red blood cells, kidney function, etc), which is good.
Raspberry Ketones rocketed to weight loss fame after Dr. Oz once called it “ A miracle in a bottle.” That said, I am not aware of any human studies showing it works (i.e, helps weight loss). There are some lab animal studies but because of the lack of relevant –human– studies, I don't think anyone can say if it helps people lose weight or not.
Chemically, raspberry ketones “look” like capsaicin (which is also in ThermoFit). So, my guess is the idea is that both would pack a bigger punch than either would alone. While that does make some sense, we would need human studies to prove it.
See the raspberry ketone review for more information.
Acai Fruit Extract
Acai is a fruit that some may have heard is a “super food.” Like all fruits (and vegetables), acai has a variety of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The ThermoFit supplement gets its acai from a palm tree called Euterpe oleracea.
One study noted acai lowered blood sugar when 10 overweight adults were given 100 grams (3.5 oz) of acai pulp twice a day for a month (7 oz total per day).
But, superfood or not, does acai help people lose weight? There appears to be very little evidence at this point. Searching the National Library of Medicine (PubMed.gov) for:
- Acai weight loss
- Euterpe oleracea weight loss
turned up no human weight loss studies. That may change in the future as research is always going on.
Acai can be found in a variety of supplements, the most famous of which is probably MonaVie (click to read review).
Green Tea Leaf Extract
The green tea extract used in ThermoFit provides 68 mg of EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). Green tea has been popular in many weight loss supplements even though the evidence that it works, is a little shaky. For more information on the evidence for green tea, I'll direct you to these reviews:
There is also some evidence that green tea/EGCG might reduce blood sugar an AIC levels.
For the record, I do feel green tea is healthy (as are most other teas), but as for weight loss, if it really works, I think its effects might be minimal.
See the supplements and liver failure review for more information.
Bitter Mellon Fruit Extract
The scientific name for this is Momordica charantia. Some diabetics might use this this fruit to help lower blood sugar and manage their type II diabetes. As for weight loss, I did locate a mouse study conducted in 2008 that noted some weight loss. However, in a 2007 human study that lasted 3 months, no significant weight loss effects were observed when it was compared to placebo.
A rat study, performed in 2005 noted that bitter mellon might raise catecholamines, chemicals that the body makes to do stuff. One of these chemicals is adrenaline. Adrenaline helps mobilize fat and carbs during times of stress (in other words, it increases fat burning and carb burning). Might this also by a reason for its use in weight loss supplements?
Dandelion Root Extract
The scientific name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. Dandelion appears to have a diuretic effect. Excess water excretion (peeing) could lead to some weight loss in the form of water weight.
Gymnema Leaf Extract
Gymnema sylvestre, like bitter mellion above, is often used by people trying to better manage blood sugar levels. Some lab animal research also hints that it might help promote weight loss, although human studies are lacking.
See the Glucotor V2 review for more on gymnema.
Blood Sugar Lowering Ingredients
Here is a list of ingredients in Ultimate ThermoFit that might reduce blood sugar levels
- Green Tea
- Bitter Mellon
Even though ThermoFit is touted to help weight loss by boosting metabolism, could the additive effect of all of these compounds provide a different way for the product to work- by fending off hunger caused by drops in blood sugar after eating? This is pure speculation.
How Much Caffeine?
According to the It Works website, Ultimate ThermoFit contains 38.5 mg of caffeine per tablet. This comes from the green tea contained in the proprietary blend.
If you take the recommended 2-3 tablets per day, this comes to 77 mg and 115 mg of caffeine respectively. The caffeine content is clearly stated on the Supplement Facts label.
Does It Cause Flushing?
Because ThermoFit contains niacin-bound chromium, some might wonder if it will cause the “niacin flush” that is common to people who take this mineral. That would depend on whether the chromium is bound to niacin or niacinamide. Niacinamide is also a type of niacin but it does not cause flushing.
I'm not sure what type of niacin is in Ultimate ThermoFit. If you don't notice any flushing, then it might be niacinamide.
ThermoFit Side Effects
I was happy to see the product website providing a general warning to “Consult your physician if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition.” That caution aside, I think in healthy people, ThermoFit is safe. In addition, here are a few other things that might be worth noting. This list is not complete:
- Stop taking ThemoFit at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- Don't take close to bedtime as the product contains 38.5 mg of caffeine per tablet.
- Speak to your doctor/pharmacist if you take medications for blood thinning, heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Does Ultimate ThermoFit Work?
While the majority of ingredients in ThermoFit appear to lack a lot of human evidence, it's possible that the unique mixture of compounds might work for some people. While anything is possible, to know for sure, it will take human weight loss studies. If capsaicin (Capsimax) really is the active ingredient in ThermoFit, could the same results be obtained from any capsaicin supplement? I don't know. Did ThermoFit work for you? Let me know.