Update 8/21/19. According to the Plexus Website, Plexus Slim Boost “is an alternative companion to Plexus Slim” containing a “thermogenic blend of ingredients.” Thermogenic means stimulant. When I became aware of the ingredients in this product, I got curious and I wanted to investigate what ingredients in Plexus Boost are stimulants as well as which ingredients have human evidence showing that they might actually work. This review also will to shed light on which ingredients lack evidence as well as try to see if the Boost supplement has any side effects. Plexus Boost is the official name of the pre-release product known to Ambassadors by the much less sexy name, “THBV2.”
Plexus Boost Label
I found the Plexus Boost Supplement Facts label confusing. I say this because in the “% DV” column of the label ―instead of listing the percentage that each ingredient contributes to our Daily Value for a nutrient ―the column lists actual amounts of the ingredients. This doesn’t make sense.
The column clearly states ” % DV” so I'm not sure why they have actual amounts listed? Some ingredients do contain percentages (which I assume are the % DV) in parentheses next to the ingredient (for example, chromium has 10% listed) while other ingredients (like Niacin and B12) have no percentages listed. I've never seen a Supplement Facts label like this before.
I think the label is a manufacturing mistake and I would not be surprised if Plexus Boost eventually gets a new label to better conform to how a Supplement Facts label should look.
Because the label looks confusing to me, I won't include the percent daily value in my replication of the ingredients list below. Instead, I'll just list the ingredient and the amount which Plexus Boost contains.
Plexus Boost Ingredients
According to the Plexus Boost label, each bottle contains a 30 day supply (60 capsules). Serving size of 2 capsules contains the following ingredients:
|Active Ingredients 102.4 mg total|
|Calcium glycinate||50 mg|
|Vitamin B 6||30 mg|
|Niacin 20 mg||20 mg|
|Vitamin B 12 methylcobalamin||500 mcg|
|Folic acid||400 mcg|
|Proprietary blend 900 mg total|
|Caralluma Fimbriata extract||?|
|Citrus Reticulata /Nelumbo Nucifera blend (Higenamine from tangerine peel/lotus seed)||?|
|Yerba mate extract||?|
|Green tea extract||?|
mg = milligrams. mcg = micrograms. ? = unknown amount
Plexus Boost Research
Plexus Boost has no published peer-reviewed research to show it works. I know this is true because when I searched the National Library of Medicine for “Plexus Boost ” Nothing showed up. I also googled “Plexus Boost research” and no studies showed up via that method either. Likewise, PlexusWorldWide.com, the company behind the product, lists no proof either.
That said, some of the ingredients in Plexus Boost do have some weight loss research. So, let's now review the ingredients and try to get an idea which might work ― and might not work― and which be the real active ingredients.
There are 3 categories of ingredients in Plexus Boost. They are:
- Active Ingredients
- Proprietary Blend ingredients
- Additional Ingredients
Let's look at each of these groups separately
The Plexus Boost label lists 6 ingredients that they say are “Active.” I take this to mean these are the main ingredients that cause weight loss and/or are “thermogenic”. But, there is no good proof for any of them. Below is a breakdown of these 6 ingredients.
I think Plexus Boost has calcium because of some evidence showing it might help weight loss. But, in that research, people often used at least 800 mg of calcium per day. Plexus Boost only has 50 mg in 2 capsules. There are also studies showing calcium does not work. While calcium is a good mineral, I think it’s a long shot when it comes to weight loss.
Calcium glycinate is the type of calcium used in Plexus Boost. I believe this combination is may be used to improve absorption. But, I am unable to locate any calcium glycinate research showing it helps weight loss in people.
This vitamin is also called pyridoxine. Various websites talk about B6 wand weight loss, however, I am unable to any good proof for this claim. The adult RDA for this vitamin is about 1.3 to 1.7 mg per day. Plexus Boost contains 30 mg of vitamin B6, which I feel is a lot, especially when combined with foods containing this vitamin.
There are some websites that discuss how vitamin B6 helps thyroid function. The thyroid controls metabolism. A better working thyroid might help weight loss. But does vitamin B6 do this? According to this 2006 study titled Thyroid function during B-vitamin supplementation of patients on antiepileptic drugs, it didn’t help thyroid function.
The B vitamins are widespread throughout foods and because of that, I don’t think most people reading this are lacking B6. This page of the NIH website discusses vitamin B6 at length for those who want more info.
Also called vitamin B3. Most people are not deficient in niacin because it's in many foods. The RDA for niacin for adults is 14-16 mg per day and Plexus Boost provides 20 mg of niacin. People often report feeling flushed when they take high doses of niacin. This is because niacin is a vasodilator (it opens up blood vessels). I'm not sure if Plexus Boost would do this because it does not provide much of this vitamin.
That said, this might vary with the amounts of niacin in other foods and supplements people are taking. I'm not aware of any niacin-weight loss research. There are actually 2 main types of niacin. Niacin is one type and the other is called niacinamide. The label of Plexus Boost says niacin but both words are used sometimes used interchangeably. I'll assume this product has niacin.
Chromium picolinate is one of the most popular ingredients in weight loss supplement history, despite the fact that most studies show it doesn’t work. The research pretty much overwhelmingly shows this. So why is it in Plexus Boost ―and many other products? My opinion is I think it's because those who make supplements are afraid people won't buy products that don’t contain it! That's how good chromium picolinate marketing was in the 1990s. To this day, many people still believe it's true!
Some of the products I've previously reviewed that contained chromium include:
Interestingly, the original Plexus Slim formula contained chromium nicotinate, rather than chromium picolinate. I don’t think it makes any difference what type they use because I don't feel it either improves energy or weight loss.
For more on this mineral, see this review on chromium that I've previously written.
Here is my review of vitamin B12 and weight loss. The fact that I've written an entire review ―specifically on B12 and weight loss ―tells how popular this has become. But again, where is the proof? I can't find any.
Both seniors and vegetarians might eventually run out of B12, but this would take time to occur because we store about 2-3 years worth of this vitamin in our bodies. Yes, that's right, we don't pee out this B vitamin!
People who take some types of medications (like some diabetes meds) might also benefit from this vitamin as well. That said, for people who are basically healthy and not deficient in B12, I can't find any proof that supplements boost energy or help with weight loss.
Like B12, there is just isn't any good proof that folic acid helps weight loss. Folic acid and B12 are both needed to make red blood cells. People lacking these vitamins might suffer from anemia. A symptom of anemia is being tired. So I'm going to guess that Plexus Slim Boost contains folic acid (and B12) of the in the hopes of improving red blood cells ―and hence energy levels.
One problem with this is that I don’t think most people are lacking these vitamins to the point where it would cause anemia. Folic acid has been added to several foods (fortified) for years because it can reduce birth defects. If you take a multivitamin you are probably also taking folic acid as well.
Folic acid is an important vitamin to be sure, but I just am not aware of any proof it helps people lose weight.
Of all the ingredients listed in the “Active Ingredients” category, only chromium picolinate has any proof, but that proof is not in sync with the majority of studies that have been conducted.
Now let's cover the research on the “Propriety Blend” in Plexus Boost. Because these 4
ingredients are separated from the others into a unique formula, I think these are likely to be the real active ingredients. Remember 2 capsules of Plexus Boost contain a total of 900 mg of these 4 ingredients, but they do not tell us how much of each is in the product.
According to the Plexus Slim website, Caralluma Fimbriata is “an edible cactus that has been traditionally used by tribal East Indians for years to suppress hunger and enhance endurance through increased energy.” There is research on this Caralluma Fimbriata. It may curb appetite but as for weight loss, more study is needed.
Human studies tend to use 1 gram (1000 mg) of Caralluma Fimbriata ―which is more than the total amount in the entire proprietary blend of Plexus Boost (900 mg).
It is true that Caralluma Fimbriata makes up most of this blend (since it's the first ingredient listed) but since I'm unable to find any proof less than 1000 gram works, I have to wonder why Plexus decided to use less than was used in research studies?
Caralluma fimbriata is also found in:
So see those reviews for additional information.
On the label, it's stated that higenamine (pronounced “ha-gin-a-meen”) is derived from 2 different plants. Let's translate those names:
- Citrus Reticulata =mandarin orange
- Nelumbo Nucifera = lotus seed
Notice that the label states that “higenamine from tangerine peel/lotus seed.” But citrus reticulate refers to mandarin orange, not tangerine (Citrus tangerina). Yes, both are related to each other, but they are not the same thing. I believe this may be a label typo.
Higenamine is an ingredient that some people may not be aware, of so let's take a closer look at it and why it may be in this product.
What Is Higenamine?
Higenamine, also called norcoclaurine, is a plant chemical present in small amounts in different things (such as lotus seeds and oranges). Higenamine is a stimulant. Some websites refer to higenamine as “a known and ideal DMAA substitute.” DMAA, a decongestant drug, used in some weight loss supplements that have been linked to several deaths. See this NY Times article and this review at ScienceBasedMedicine for more on DMAA.
While I am not sure if higenamine does the same thing as DMAA, the thing to know is that higenamine can raise heart rates and blood pressures. Currently, there is not much human research on higenamine weight loss supplements. In other words, nobody yet knows if it actually helps people lose weight or not.
Currently, I'm not aware of any human evidence that higenamine alone helps people lose weight. Most of the research I've seen involves mice and rabbits ―and even that research isn't on weight loss.
So, why is higenamine showing up in weight loss supplements?
Higenamine is also found in Plexus Accelerator Plus. See that review for more information.
Yerba Mate Extract
The scientific name for yerba mate is Ilex paraguariensis. That said, what extract of yerba mate is in Plexus Boost? They don’t tell us. Since yerba mate contains caffeine, might this be the extract? Herba mate has been an ingredient in several weight loss supplements I've looked at previously including:
So see those reviews for additional information.
Regardless of its use in weight loss supplements, I'm not aware of any published peer-reviewed evidence that yerba mate alone (or in combination with the other ingredients in this product) helps people lose weight. What I do see is lab mice weight loss studies.
Green Tea Extract
What green tea extract are they using? While I'm tempted to speculate that the extract might be either caffeine or ECGC (as both are popular in weight loss supplements), I can't say for sure. Green tea is very popular in weight loss supplements, in fact here is a list of all the green tea weight loss supplements I've looked at before. Because green tea extract is the last ingredient listed, I don’t think the product has much.
This is a proprietary ingredient used as a stabilizer for the powder in the capsules. It's used as a substitute for silicon dioxide, which some people don’t like to see in supplements. If you have the Accelerator Plus supplement, you may notice NuFlow is an ingredient in that product also.
For more info see my review of the Plexus Accelerator Plus.
Ingredients That Are Stimulants
- Herba mate (maybe depending on extract used)
- Green tea (maybe depending on extract used)
I believe these are the ingredients that comprise the “thermogenic blend” mentioned on the Plexus website.
Ingredients Which Lack Evidence
The following ingredients have no published peer-reviewed proof that they help people lose weight.
- Yerba mate
- Calcium glycinate
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
Ingredients With Research
The following ingredients do have some human weight loss evidence
- Caralluma Fimbriata
- Chromium picolinate (maybe)
Yes, I did include chromium in this list because even though I don’t personally feel it helps ―and the majority of published studies back me up on this ―I have occasionally seen studies showing it works.
Here is my review of chromium picolinate and weight loss. Notice how many studies say it works.
Between those two ingredients, I feel the evidence is currently strongest for Caralluma Fimbriata although it is not a slam dunk either and, if the research is to believe, one might have to use more than is in Plexus Boost if it's going to work.
Plexus Boost vs. Accelerator Plus
In writing this review, I noticed that both of these products contained similar ingredients so let's list them side by side in case anyone was curious.
Plexus Accelerator Plus
|Calcium glycinate 50 mg||Niacin (Niacinamide) 20 mg|
|Vitamin B6 30 mg||Vitamin B6 30 mg|
|Niacin 20 mg||Vitamin B12 500 mcg|
|Chromium picolinate||Calcium glycinate 50 mg|
|Vitamin B12 500 mcg||Proprietary blend 950 mg|
|Folic acid 400 mcg||1. Yerba mate leaf extract|
|Proprietary blend 900 mg||2. Higenamine|
|1. Caralluma Fimbriata||3. Hordenine|
|2. Higenamine||4. Hawthorne leaf extract|
|3. Yerba mate extract||5. 5 HTP|
|4. green tea extract||6. Green tea leaf extract|
mg = micrograms. mcg = micrograms. Red color indicates similarities. Blue indicates differences between products.
Notice the similarities between Plexus Boost and Plexus Accelerator Plus. While there may be some differences in the amounts of some of the ingredients, looking at these products side by side, Plexus Boost contains all the ingredients as Accelerator Plus except:
Given that some people have reported strange side effects from Accelerator Plus, could Plexus Boost is an attempt to make a “kinder, gentler” version of the Accelerator Plus?
See my review of the Accelerator Plus for more information.
Boost and Accelerator: Better Together?
After I published this review I was told that some Ambassadors may inform customers to alternative between Plexus Boost and Accelerator Plus such that they take the Boost supplement for a little while and then go back to the Accelerator Plus for a while.
I can only imagine that the reason for this might be thinking that people would eventually get used to one of these supplements and that alternating back and forth between both would produce greater weight loss effects.
But, there is no published, clinical proof showing that rotating between Plexus Boost and Accelerator Plus produces better results. I'm also not aware of any proof that people eventually get used to one of these products, necessitating the need to switch to the other product periodically.
Regardless of whether people alternate between both products, do not take both at the same time. Even the Boost label cautions against this.
How Much Caffeine?
The label does not list caffeine as an ingredient. That said, I wonder if caffeine may be in the green tea extract and/or yerba mate extract? If anyone finds out if Plexus Boost does or does not contain caffeine, let me know by leaving a comment below.
Plexus Boost Side Effects
Given the lack of research on the product itself, I can not say for certain what the side effects if any might be. I did notice that the Plexus Boost label contains this warning that I'm going to put into bullet format to make it easier to read:
- “Not intended for expectant or nursing mothers or if you have had a heart condition, high blood pressure or any other cardiovascular condition. “
- “Not intended for children under the age of 18. “
- “Avoid taking this product with cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, PPA or products containing caffeine.”
- “Not intended to be taken Accelerator Plus. “
- “Before starting this or any other supplementation, consult a physician first.”
- ” If unpleasant effects occur, discontinue use. “
I am glad the Plexus Boost label mentions not to take it with the Accelerator Plus supplement. Both supplements contain higenamine, which is a stimulant. Using both products at the same time might increase higenamine to levels that which may be dangerous in some people.
Higenamine can increase heart rate and this effect may be magnified when combined with caffeine. Higenamine might also have a blood thinner effect. As such it may interact with blood thinner medications.
Anyone who has ANY medical condition should speak to a doctor or pharmacist before using Higenamine.
Because of its stimulant content don’t use Plexus Boost before going to bed.
Herba mate has been associated with an increased risk of cancers of the mouth and throat. In several studies on this issue, people who developed cancer drank hot tea beverages containing yerba mate. What about supplements? Would they do the same thing? I have no idea and that's why I'd recommend speaking to an oncologist, ears nose, and throat doctor,s or pharmacist who may be able to shed more light on this.
Stop ALL supplements at least 2 weeks before having surgery. Some supplements/ingredients can increase the chance of bleeding. This is not good if you are having surgery.
Do not use Plexus Boost while breastfeeding in case some of the ingredients are passed to the nursing baby.
How Much To Take?
The label of the product says to take 1 to 2 capsules per day. For those who are going to try Plexus Boost, I recommend being extra conservative and starting with only 1 capsule ―or less than this ―for the first week. This is to reduce the severity of any side effects (if any) you may notice.
If you read my review of Plexus Accelerator Plus, take note of the comments. Some people have reported elevated heart rates, blood pressure problems as well as other issues. Would Plexus Boost do the same thing? I'm not sure. My opinion is starting with less than is recommended is the safest course of action.
Does Plexus Boost Work?
The Plexus Slim website calls Plexus Boost an “alternative companion” to Plexus Slim. That wording is vague. Should it be used alongside Plexus Slim? But the word “alternative” makes me wonder if they are saying Plexus Boost should be used instead of other products (like Accelerator Plus) ―or in place of Plexus Slim (the “pink drink”) itself? The only ingredient with some good evidence is Caralluma Fimbriata. Might the unique combination of ingredients in Plexus Boost work better than Caralluma Fimbriata alone? Anything is possible.