Update 8/1/20. Jillian's Maximum Strength Fat Burner is a dietary supplement promoted by former Biggest Loser Trainer, Jillian Michaels. While the supplement is no longer actively sold, the ingredients in the supplement can still be found in other products. Also see the reviews on Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control supplement. and Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss Formula. Do read both reviews because these supplements are different.
The Supplement was supposed to:
- Promote Preferential Loss Of Fat Mass*
- Encourage Lipolysis (release of fat from mature cells)*
- Inhibit Activity Of Phosphodiesterase*
On the website, all of these statements have an asterisk next to them which refers people to the bottom of the website page. People told that “these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA to cure treat or prevent any disease”. This is standard cover your butt language that all supplement advertisements carry in US.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the statements:
Statement # 1 What does “preferential” fat loss mean? Does it mean that the supplement will preferentially lead to fat loss in specific areas, like under the arms or tummy? That’s what I think it means however if I am right, then this is called “spot reduction” and it’s impossible! No supplement or exercise will do this.
Jillian Michaels knows this is not true because it is “personal training 101”. If preferential fat loss doesn't mean spot reduction, what else could it be referring to?
Statement #2 is a structure-function claim because it contains the ambiguous word “encourages” fat loss. They also use the word “lipolysis” which means fat loss. Lipolysis sounds smart and that’s likely why they used that word.
If somebody sounds or looks smart, people take them more seriously. This is why Dr. Oz always wears his scrubs and its why doctors often wear white coats or have stethoscopes around their neck on TV. In fitness, personal trainers are sometimes seen as smarter if they have good abs or big muscles.
Statement #3 jumped out at me because Jillian's fat burner supplement is alleged to inhibit phosphodiesterase. Phosphodiesterase is an enzyme that breaks a specific type of chemical bond, called a phosphodiester bond. Doctors abbreviate phosphodiesterase as PDE.
There are many types of phosphodiesterase enzymes in our body. Each type is responsible for different actions. For example, Viagra is also a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Doctors call Viagra a PDE 5 inhibitor.
Some research finds that the enzyme PDE 3B is involved in fat burning. But, Jillian's Fat Burner website does not tell you which PDE enzyme the fat burner is inhibiting. Does it inhibit the same type as Viagra? Likely not.
I'm telling you this because unless they tell you which PDE enzyme the fat burner inhibits, you don’t know if it’s inhibiting the type that helps you burn fat, or causes erections – or does something else. Phosphodiesterase is also another one of those “smart words”, like lipolysis.
Jillian's fat burner Ingredients
According to the website, Jillian's fat burner contains a “proprietary blend” of the following:
- Blood orange (fruit) extract
- Bitter orange (fruit) extract
- Sweet orange (fruit) extract
- Grapefruit extract
- Guarana (fruit) extract (standardized to 12% caffeine)
- Coffee bean (standardized to 70% natural caffeine)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Kola Nut (seed) extract -standardized to 12% caffeine
- Cocoa (seed) Extract
- White Willow (bark) Extract
- Cayenne Pepper (fruit) Powder
Notice that many of the ingredients are similar to those of Jillian Michaels Calorie Control supplement.
Let's review the research on each of these ingredients and see what we can learn.
It’s interesting that blood orange and sweet orange are listed as separate ingredients but they are similar. Both are extracts from oranges.
A recent study in lab mice did find that blood orange reduced body weight and this is likely why it is found in this supplement. What about people? More research is needed.
Blood orange may have a blood pressure-lowering effect. As such, people who take high blood pressure medications should speak to their doctor before using this weight loss supplement. Other drug interactions may also be possible.
Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) is a stimulant that is chemically similar to ephedra. As such it also elevates blood pressure and heart rates.
Bitter orange may have a mild fat-burning effect but it should be avoided by anyone with health or medical issues including people with high blood pressure, heart problems, liver or kidney issues, and those who take antidepressants to name a few. How much bitter orange is in Jillian's supplement? They don't tell us.
Bitter orange supplements have even resulted in heart problems– even in healthy people.
This is a caffeine-containing compound. Weight loss supplements often use guarana because caffeine has a mild fat-burning effect.
This is another caffeine-containing compound.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
There is no good proof that alpha-lipoic acid promotes weight loss in humans.
There are studies suggesting that Alpha Lipoic Acid may help people with type II diabetes. Generally, research uses a lot to impact type II diabetes. How much is in the Jillian's Fat Burner? They don't tell us.
Kola Nut Seed Extract
Could the extract be caffeine?
Cocoa Seed Extract
Might the extract be caffeine?
. Grapefruit can slow the breakdown of caffeine in the body. As such, grapefruit helps caffeine stay in the body longer. This means heart rate and blood pressure stay elevated longer also.
Warning! Grapefruit can interact with many medications. This can result in the medication either being absorbed too fast or not absorbed enough. Either can lead to serious medical complications. Grapefruit can interfere with drugs used to treat heart problems, anxiety disorders, infections and epilepsy to name a few.
While Willow Bark Extract
Whats the extract? Could it be aspirin? Aspirin is thought to work synergistically with caffeine. Since white willow bark is similar to aspirin, it may interfere with blood thinner medications.
See the Right Size Smoothie review
Cayenne Pepper Fruit Poweder
This compound contains capsicum, the molecule that causes your mouth to burn when you eat peppers. The thinking is that spicy foods enhance the metabolic rate. Right size smoothie, which I reviewed in another blog, also contains cayenne pepper fruit. Cayenne pepper may interfere with blood thinner medications.
After looking at the ingredients, I come to the following conclusions:
1. Jillian's Maximum Fat Burner contains several ingredients that are also found in other weight loss products. The dosages may be different however. Since the name of the product is “Maximum Strength” the amounts may be greater.
2. Many of the ingredients contain caffeine which might help the fat burning process. The stimulating effect of caffeine may also promote more physical activity – and hence more calories burned at the end of the day. How much caffeine is in a serving of the product? They don't tell us.
3. Some of the ingredients – bitter orange, cayenne pepper fruit, grapefruit extract, white willow bark – are in my opinion, scary and should be avoided by people who take any medications or have health issues.
4. Since people who are overweight tend to have more health issues, in theory, they may be at higher risk of unhealthy side effects.
5. I was unable to discover any published peer-reviewed studies of Jillian's weight loss supplements – any of them.
What do you think?