Update 6/4/22. Few products have generated as much interest as the Thrive Patch, also known as the “Thrive Premium Lifestyle DFT.” The patch is supposed to provide a time-released steady stream of weight loss and energy-boosting ingredients into the body that is said to be “greatly superior to that of any consumable product.” Does the Thrive weight loss patch work or is it a scam? I think this question hinges not only on the ingredients used in the product but also whether those ingredients actually be absorbed through the skin and into the body? These are the big questions I'll address in this review.
Why A “Critical” Review?
While the title of this review includes the word “Critical” I want to make clear that I am not referring to something bad, meant to bash the product. In the world of science, a “critical review” means a review that contains information that the author feels is critical for people to know about.
My hope is this review will help you better understand the Thrive Patch, the DFT technology and ingredients used in the product.
What Does DFT Stand For?
DFT stands for Dermal Fusion Technology. It's a phrase used by Le-Vel (The Thrive company) to refer to the Thrive Patch. From the name, it sounds to me like the patch is supposed to fuse with the dermis and epidermis of the skin, and in doing so, allow the ingredients in the patch to pass into the body. From there, those ingredients are supposed to help with weight management, curb appetite and give people energy to work out better.
When I looked at this product, there were 3 different types of DFT patches. They are:
- Thrive Premium DFT
- DFT Ultra
- Black Label DFT
Let's first look at the Premium DFT Patch and then cover both DFT Ultra and Black Label DFT patches below.
Thrive Patch Ingredients
According to a PDF on the Le-Vel.com website, there are 6 ingredients in the Premium DFT patch. They are:
- Green Coffee Bean Extract
- Garcinia Cambogia
- White Willow Bark
I can't tell how much of each ingredient is in the Thrive Patch. If any Thrive Promoters can share that with me, I'll be glad to update this part of my review.
Either way, since the ingredients are listed in the order I've put them here, I believe this means that ingredients at the top make up most of the product, and those at the bottom make up the least.
At the heart of the DFT technology is the very last ingredient in this list – Cosmoperine. This is what Dermal Fusion Technology is based on. Let's take a look at that ingredient next.
What Is Cosmoperine?
On the DFT patch pdf file which can be downloaded from Le-Vel.com, we see that cosmoperine is trademarked by the Sabina corporation. Sabina is a company that makes a very of supplements and holds patents on them too. Cosmoperine is the common name for a compound called Tetrahydropiperine (THP).
On the Cosmoperine.com website, we see THP is the name given to a metabolite of black pepper. The page I linked to also states cosmoperine (THP) can enhance the absorption of various drugs (and supplements) when they are applied transdermally (on the skin).
Here is the US Patent page for THP.
The US Patent, tells us the Sabinsa Corporation (which owns the trademark on THP/cosmoperine) has provided evidence THP can increase the absorption of Forskolin when both compounds are applied to the skin (rat skin according to the patent). Since it works in rat skin, I'll assume it also works when used on human skin.
Forskolin (also called coleus forskohlii) is another name for ForsLean which is also in the Thrive Premium DFT patch. The Sabinsa corporation calls their preparation of forskolin, ForsLean.
So, to summarize, it appears the driving force (the secret sauce, if you will) in the DFT patch is Cosmoperine. This ingredient allows other ingredients to be carried through the skin. But, just because those ingredients can get into the body from penetrating the skin, does that also mean they will work?
This is the BIG question.
Let's look at the research on the Thrive DFT Patch next
Thrive Patch Research
I searched the Le-Vel website for research to show that the Thrive Patch caused people to lose weight. No evidence could be located
I then searched the web for:
- Thrive Patch Research
- Thrive DFT patch Research
- Le-Vel Thrive DFT Research
No clinical studies could be located.
This says to me the Thrive Patch may have no published, peer-reviewed clinical studies showing it causes people to lose weight.
Remember, just because the ingredients in the Thrive DFT Patch might penetrate the skin does not mean that they will cause weight loss. They might or might not. These are two different issues.
So, to get a better idea, we will have to look at each ingredient in the Patch to see what might be going on.
Let's do that next.
This is a trademarked version of a supplement called coleus forskohlii (say, cole-E-us-four-skoll-EE). Since it is listed first, it makes up most of the Thrive Premium DFT patch ingredients.
As I noted in the review of coleus forskohlii, there is weight loss research on this ingredient. Some of that research shows it might work and other studies show it might not work.
In one study, which lasted 12 weeks and involved 19 overweight women, researchers noted coleus forskohlii might reduce gaining weight.
In other words, it didn't cause the women to lose weight, but just reduced their odds of gaining weight. The women in this study used 500 mg of coleus forskohlii per day.
This study used ForsLean, the same brand of coleus forskholii that is in the DFT patch. That's good.
Remember, the women took an oral supplement. They didn't put it on their skin. Would a transdermal patch also work? I can't find a single weight management study involving a ForsLean transdermal patch.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
The active ingredient in green coffee bean is often said to be a compound called chlorogenic acid. As such, chlorogenic acid is likely the extract used in the TDF Patch. I'm not convinced this compound works.
As I revealed in the green coffee bean review, one of the very best studies on this compound was retracted by the authors because they could not verify the results of the study. Here is the study. As can be seen, the words “this article has been retracted” as well as and “Retracted” appear scrolled across the study pages.
In 2014, a small study was published that involved 20 healthy people. For 2 weeks people drank 40 grams of green coffee (1.4 oz) and for another 2 weeks, they drank 40 grams (1.4 oz) of black coffee. They were told to not alter their eating patterns.
Researchers noted when people drank green coffee, they had a lower body mass index (BMI), lower cortisol levels and had lost more abdominal fat, than when they drink black coffee. They also experienced lower blood pressure and their blood vessels were more elastic too.
Regardless of our feelings about this study, the people in this investigation drank the coffee. They did not use a transdermal patch.
See the list of weight loss scams for more insights.
This is also called HCA or hydroxy-citric-acid. I'm on the fence when it comes to Garcinia Cambogia and weight loss. As I pointed out in my review of garcinia Cambogia weight loss research, I have seen research showing:
As well as research showing
At best, it's a toss-up. Many studies have problems, which further complicates things. No study appears to have been done to see if a transdermal patch of garcinia Cambogia helps people lose weight.
Read the Garcinia Cambogia review and pay attention to the side effects controversy too.
CoQ10 is short for coenzyme Q10. It's also called ubiquinone because the molecule is ubiquitous, or everywhere, in the body. It's a substance that helps our mitochondria turn calories into energy.
I have never seen a study of CoQ10 and weight loss or weight management. When I looked for evidence, I saw articles saying it helped, but no website showed me proof – published clinical studies involving people.
This is the CoQ10 brand I use
White Willow Bark
White willow bark contains a compound that looks like aspirin. So it has some pain-reducing effects. This is why you might see it show up in arthritis supplements such as Instaflex (click to read review). It's also an ingredient in Thrive W so see that review for more insights.
Weight loss and weight management supplements sometimes contain white willow bark. This is likely because of the reputation aspirin has for increasing the effects of caffeine and ephedra. In the fitness world, this combination is called the “ECA Stack” where ECA stands for:
I think this is the reason I saw white willow bark in these two weight loss supplements from TV trainer, Jillian Michaels:
Thrive Black Label And Ultra Patches
There is more than one type of Thrive Patch. There is also:
- Thrive Ultra Patch
- Thrive Black Label Patch
The difference between the Ultra and Black Label patches is not only in the ingredients used but also the size of the patches may be different too.
In the table below, I compare the ingredients in all 3 different types of Thrive Patches – in the order, they are listed on the product pdfs – so you can compare them to each other.
|Thrive Premium Patch||Thrive Ultra Patch||Black Label Patch|
|Green Coffee Bean Extract||Green Coffee Bean Extract||Green Coffee Bean Extract|
|Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia|
|White Willow Bark||White Willow Bark||Cosmoperine|
|Cosmoperine||Cosmoperine||Satiereal Saffron Extract|
|Satiereal Saffron Extract||Green Tea Extract|
|Green Tea Extract||White Willow Bark|
As previously said, they don't tell us how much of each ingredient is present in the different DFT patches. We can only assume that the ingredients listed at the top are most plentiful while those at the end of the list are the least.
All versions of the Thrive Patch contains the cosmoperine ingredient. That's good. Remember this is the ingredient that appears to help carry other ingredients through the skin.
As you can see, the Black Label Patch has the most ingredients. But, does this mean it's better than the other two? We can't know which is best unless they are all pitted head to head against each other in a clinical study.
Clinical studies on this topic cannot be located.
That said, let's cover a few of the ingredients in the Ultra and Black Label patches and see what we can discover about them as far as weight management is concerned.
Satiereal Saffron Extract
This is an ingredient in both the Thrive Ultra and Black Label patches. Satieral is the name given to an extract from saffron. The extract is called Crocus Sativus. The company that makes the satiereal extract is a French company called InoReal.
Here is the US patent for Satiereal.
The name satiereal, refers to satiety, the feeling of fullness and not wanting to eat anymore.
There is some research on Satiereal.
In a study published in 2010, 60 overweight women were given either satiereal or a placebo for 8 weeks. The women consumed 176.5 mg of satiereal per day. Researchers noted women who used satiereal weighed less than women who got the placebo. Those women also reported less snacking too.
There have also been some studies on saffron to help depression.
In a 2005 study of women who were depressed, 45 women were randomly given 30 mg of saffron or a placebo for 6 weeks. Women getting the saffron (Crocus sativus, which is what Satiereal comes from) scored better on depression questioners compared to women who got the placebo.
Several other studies also hint that saffron can help mild to moderate depression too. But, does satiereal work when it's in a patch? The research involves taking it orally – not in a patch.
Heres Satiereal Saffron on Amazon
This is an ingredient in the Black Label Thrive Patch. Another name is 5 hydroxy-tryptophan. It's a variation on the amino acid, tryptophan. The 5 HTP molecule (like tryptophan) helps us make serotonin which plays a role in mood as well as appetite. As far as depression is concerned, studies are sometimes criticized for having issues.
As for reducing appetite and weight loss, this also has been studied. In one investigation, 20 overweight women were randomly given either 900 mg of 5 HTP or a placebo for 6 weeks. The woman who received the 5 HTP lost more weight than women who took the placebo.
How much weight did they lose? Somewhere between 3 to 5 pounds over the course of the study. That's not much given the study lasted 6 weeks.
No study using a transdermal patch can be located. All the studies appear to give 5 HTP orally.
This is an amino acid that is found in tea. Theanine sometimes finds its way into weight management supplements. I believe it's used in supplements in the hopes it might help calm people down. The idea is people who are less stressed are probably less likely to overeat. This study lends evidence that L-Theanine can have a calming effect on people. In this study, 50 mg was used in healthy people.
In one study that involved 16 people, Theanine seemed to make people feel calmer when they were relaxed, but it didn't seem to have any anti-anxiety effects when they were stressed – in other words, when ya really need it to work.
Arginine helps us make nitric oxide which can help relax blood vessels and this is why it's sometimes used in exercise supplements – as way to drive more blood/oxygen to muscles during exercise. For more on nitric oxide see the review of SuperBeets.
Arginine also helps us make human growth hormone (HGH). While growth hormone can play a role in muscle building, and this, in turn, might lead to weight loss, I think one has to take a lot of it to increase HGH levels.
See the SeroVital review for more insights.
In one study of arginine and weight loss, 90 overweight men and women were given either 3 grams or 6 grams of arginine a day or a placebo for 8 weeks. Researchers noticed those taking arginine showed significant reductions in body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, body fat, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. These changes were not seen in those getting the placebo.
What about weight loss? Those getting 6 grams of arginine a day lost about 8 pounds while those getting 3 grams a day lost about 3 pounds.
This investigation was based on a Masters Thesis. One problem was that the study was “single-blinded.” This means the researchers knew who was getting arginine and who was getting the placebo. Also, body fat was determined using skinfold calipers and the researchers only measured 2 sites (triceps and subscapularis regions). That might be an issue because if more sites were measured could lead to more accurate results.
Regardless, this was an oral arginine study. No patch was used.
Quercetin is an antioxidant found in foods such as broccoli and blueberries. Does it affect appetite, weight loss or anxiety? Proof cannot be located.
Other supplements containing quercetin include:
- Life Shotz (click to read review)
- Ceraplex (click to read review)
- Tissue Rejuvenator (click to read review)
See those reviews for more information.
This is a source of caffeine. Caffeine is popular in weight loss products and energy drinks. The idea being that the more awake you are, the more you will move and burn calories. Other products I've looked previously that also contained guarana include:
Caffeine – alone – seems to have little weight loss research. In other words, caffeine is almost always used alongside something else.
As I mentioned in my review of the fat burner called Thermo Detonator, I located a study were people who took 1000 mg of yerba mate seemed to burn fat better than those who took a placebo. I don't think the Thrive Patch has that much yerba mate.
Other products reviewed here that also contained yerba mate include:
See those reviews for additional information.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that we actually store in the body. While healthy people may not need this nutrient regularly, other people like vegans, older folks and those taking certain medications may be deficient. Vitamin B12 is also popular in weight loss supplements. I think there are 2 reasons for this:
1 The vitamin might give us more energy
2 The vitamin might help weight loss
If you not deficient, vitamin B12 probably does not boost energy levels. As for weight loss, there is no good proof it does this either.
See my review Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss.
Does Vitamin B12 Cause Cancer?
Thrive Patch Active Ingredients
When I review a product, I like to try to drill down to what I believe might be the active ingredients. I do this not only because I'm curious, but also because people ask me.
Because they want to save money.
After looking at all the ingredients these are the ingredients that might be most responsible for any weight loss effects that people might notice. Here they are:
|Thrive Premium Patch||Thrive Ultra Patch||Thrive Black Label Patch|
|Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia|
|Satiereal Saffron Extract||Satiereal Saffron Extract|
Notice the similarity between the different types of Thrive Patches. Of course, cosmoperine is present in all of the DFT patches because, as reviewed above, this is the ingredient that's supposed to carry the other ingredients into the body.
Also, notice that ForsLean (coleus forskholii) is the first ingredient listed in ALL of the DFT patches.
As for the other ingredients listed in the table above, I found human weight loss/ appetite suppression studies on them (which you can read above). That research though involves when they are taking orally. Whether they work the same way when used in a patch, I cannot say.
For those on a budget here are those ingredients to purchase individually:
Thrive Patch and Weight Loss?
Le-vel distributors often say that the Thrive Patch is not a “weight management” supplement and not a weight loss supplement.
But, what does “weight management” really mean? It's a vague term. Think about it. Just saying you are managing your weight doesn't say how you are managing your weight. Are you managing it to gain, lose, or maintain weight?
The fact is many of the ingredients in the patch are weight loss compounds. Specifically, these 3 ingredients are in many weight loss supplements:
- ForsLean (Coleus forskohlii) click to read the review
- Green Coffee Bean click to read the review
- Garcinia Cambogia click to read the review
Thrive Patch Side Effects
When I looked for online testimonials, I didn't see anyone complaining of terrible things when they used the DFT Patch, so that's good.
In the comments below, a few people, have mentioned the Patch caused rashes, blisters and/or caused red/itchy skin. To reduce this it may be wise to rotate where the patch is placed on the skin. Don't place the patch on the same area all the time.
I think the side effects would probably hinge on whether the ingredients really can get into the body in significant amounts. That said, let me make a blanket statement and say:
- If you take any medications, (like blood thinners) or are breastfeeding or pregnant, show the ingredients to your doctor and pharmacist first.
- Stop using the patch at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- If you have any health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, psychological issues, or liver or kidney problems, show the ingredients to your doctor and pharmacist.
Who Makes The Thrive Patch?
Thrive supplements are a product of the Le-Vel LLC. They are also known as Le-Vel Brands LLC. Their website is Le-Vel.com. Their address is 9201 Warren Pkwy #200, Frisco, TX 75035. Their contact phone number is: 888-557-0005.
The BBB rating for Le-Vel was A+ when this review was updated. The Better Business Bureau noted “patterns of consumer complaints” surrounding refunds and the creation of unauthorized accounts. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
SiteJabber gave Le-Vel 3 stars out of 5 when this review was updated. See the SiteJabber site for more insights.
The review of Thrive W has more information and hundreds of comments and testimonials.
When taken orally, I believe the ingredients which might be the active ingredients are:
This is for taking them orally. I am unable to locate proof they work when placed on the skin.
Does The Thrive Patch Work?
Here are my opinions on the Thrive DFT Patch.
1. There is evidence cosmoperine can penetrate the skin (of a rat) and increase the absorption of some drugs when applied to the skin. Presumably, this means it also works on human skin too. I'll assume it does.
2. There is evidence cosmoperine can enhance the absorption of ForsLean (coleus forskhloii) when both are applied to rat skin (let's assume human skin too). Since ForsLean is the first ingredient listed in all of the Thrive Patches could this be the main active ingredient?
3. I believe there is a lack of clinical research showing the patch increases blood levels of the ingredients in the human body.
4. Most of the research on the ingredients involves taking them orally – not placing on the skin with a transdermal patch.
I'm genuinely intrigued that an ingredient placed on the skin can enhance the absorption of other ingredients. That said, even though the Thrive Patch is touted as being a better delivery system, I want to see a few human weight loss studies before I give a final judgment. I'm really looking forward to published studies on this.
I just bought a crap ton of thrive patches mostly the ultra patch and a couple black labels. I take wellbutrin 150xl and viibryd 20mg I’m wondering if there is enough saffron or 5-htp in these patches to cause issues with my medication. I know most doctors will just tell you to stay away but I love thrive and I have already spent a lot on the patches.
I’m wondering though since Wellbutrin works on dopamine and viibryd is a atypical antidepressant/ssri if it will have an impact. I know you’re not a doctor but what are your thoughts? Do you think the skin absorbs these ingredients more or these patches have a significant amount to worry about?
Joe Cannon says
Hi Courtney, from what I’ve been able to find, cosmoperine is the black pepper extract in Thrive patches that allows the other ingredients to pass through the skin into the body. There is one study showing cosmoperine helps Forslean (coleus forskohlii) penetrate skin but I have not seen research for the other ingredients in Thrive Patch.
That said here’s what I suggest. Since you are taking medications, show the ingredients in Thrive patches to your pharmacist. They know drugs best. Your pharmacist should be able to help you figure out if the ingredients in Thrive would interact with the medications you are taking.
You can also set up an in-depth consult with a pharmacist who will go through all your medications too. On my podcast, I interviewed a pharmacist who discussed how to do this. Here’s the link to that podcast episode:
I hope this helps Courtney and you write back and let us all know what happened.
Is Thrive safe for a person that has had a mini stroke.
Joe Cannon says
HeLen, I can’t say either way because I’m not aware of any clinical research on this. That said, I’d suggest investigating all supplements you take. I suggest you show the ingredients to your doctor. All strokes are serious. I still don’t see any evidence for the thrive patch. See these other reviews too
Thrive W Review
Thrive Shake Mix Review
Thrive DFT Due Patch review
If your thinking about the patch for weight loss, remember there is more evidence for eating high fiber diet.
I hope this helps. Any other questions, just ask.
I bought my friends Thrive package since she said she didn’t have any luck with it. The only thing is she only took the capsules, so each of the individualized packages only includes two shake mixes, 4 patches, and a small pouch to mix with water.
I’m wondering why each packet has 4 patches?
Will this still work for me?
Joe Cannon says
Hi Paula, do you know if this was an introductory package? Can any Thrive ambassadors shed light on this for Paula?
I have tried the white patch and love how I feel but have gotten a rash, a pretty significant reactive rash. I don’t care about the weight loss properties, its the mood and sense of well being I’d like to find in a supplement. What would you recommend to replicate that aspect?
Joe Cannon says
Hi Rhonda, several people have told me they feel more alert/better when they use the Thrive Patch. While I could only find evdience for one ingredient penetrating the skin, based on what people are saying, its possible others are as well.
When it comes to improved energy, I think its due to the caffeine
As for improvements in mood, I believe these are the key ingredients
Saffron Extract (Satiereal)
Between the two above, start with saffron and see how that works. I think that’s better than combining two or more ingredients together.
How soon did it take for you to notice a change in mood with the patch?
I noticed it the first day when I was getting off work to go to the gym. I WANTED to work out, instead NEEDING to work out and my overall mood was positive. I did the patch a second day and placed it above my ankle, reacted less but still miserable itchy rash but again, great mood.
I’m peri-menopausal & I’ve tried multiple caffeine-based supplements, it’s the mood factor that I was impressed with. I was wondering if it was the saffron, thank you for your feedback. I’m now in search of a supplement with those properties. *** Also I have taken sleep aids for 12 years and I did not have to for those 3 days.
Joe Cannon says
Rhonda, if it helps take a look at companies like Now and Jarrow. They are good companies.
Did the saffron help? I have a series of rashes now. One for each day since starting it 7 days ago. The rash is worst two to three days after removing it.
Using rubbing alcohol, mild soap and water, and even baby oil and Benadryl cream does not seem to help.
Joe Cannon says
Bonnie, my guess is rubbing alcohol might irritate the rashes. Have you tried any hydrocortisone creams?
Hum, I don’t think so… I’ll look for some to try next. Thanks.
Joe Cannon says
Bonnie, let us know what happens.
Joe Cannon says
Bonnie, so sorry to hear about your rashes.
Toni Broyan says
I hit menopause because I had a complete hysterectomy. I tried everything. I tried thrive. vitamins and shake has a lot of vitamin B, But I found the patches vary. The best one I have found so far it the black/white label. That’s the only one with vitamin B12 in it. Sometimes I do wear a white label and another.
Right now I have a white label and an Ultra on. White label makes me feel good. Using the Ultra I lost 3 lbs in 2 days. As far as the marks. YES, I do get those. I take patches off, get in the shower, after my shower I use a little rubbing alcohol then I lotion the area really good before I get dressed.
Marks go away in a days time. No, I am not a promoter LOL… I started Thrive March 2019.
Joe Cannon says
Hi Toni, thanks for your honest insights and reflections on the patches you’ve been using. My hope is they continue to keep working for you. Do check back with us and let us know how you are doing with it.
A woman I work with is a “distributor” (my word) of this patch. She’s 5’4” and about 98 lbs. She claims it’s a vitamin patch. If it’s supposed to be a weight loss patch she should definitely not be using it! She also drinks a shake every morning containing some product in a bag that she mixes with milk. I think this is also from the same company.
This is a multi-level-marketing business.
Joe Cannon says
Dave, its interesting your co-worker calls it a vitamin patch because it doesn’t have any vitamins (unless they changed the formula?). From what I could tell the ingredients are mostly used for weight loss. Since shes 98 pounds, I’d agree its probably not something she needs.
Thrive does have a shake mix. I wonder if that’s what she’s taking?
Here’s the Thrive Shake Review
Toni Broyan says
Thrive is weight management, not necessarily weight loss.. She hopefully will put weight on…
Joe Cannon says
Toni, Ive heard others discussing the differences between weight management and weight loss on other reviews. Weight management does encompas both weight gain and weight loss, the patch contains ingredients usualy used for weight loss like
green coffee bean
that’s why I called it a weight loss patch. I linked to the separate reviews on those ingredients for anyone who wants to look at them.
I agree, depending on her height, she sounded pretty thin to me too.
Carol Fawcett says
I have been using the patches but I break out and itch so much at the site that I can not use it everyday as recommended. I change the site daily too. I have been using the whole 8 week program. I have great good sugars but no weight loss or gain . It is so expensive. I may not be able to continue.
Joe Cannon says
Carol, Do you feel the Thrive patch has lowered your blood sugar? 8 weeks should be enough time to notice reductions in body weight.
Question: Thrivers claim that the discoloration on the adhesive side of the DFTs at the end of the day (after wearing them for 12-24 hours) is due to “toxins being pulled/removed from the body.” Thoughts? I’m thinking they may have “invented” this logic to benefit their primary motive; is there any truth to it?
Joe Cannon says
Hi Amy, I dont believe that either. My guess is the mark may be due to dirt/sweat building up around the patch. We see this also with band-aids left on too long. Does anyone else have insights on whats going with the skin discoloration after using the patch?
I have a few DFT patches here and have wanted to try them for a while. I think I will do this just to see what happens.