Update 7/7/19. 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 can 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
I'll first look at the Premium DFT Patch and then cover both DFT Ultra and Black Label DFT patches below.
Thrive Premium Patch Ingredients
According to a PDF on the Le-Vel.com website, there are 6 ingredients in the Premium DFT patch. They are:
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 this 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 product website for research to show that the Thrive Patch caused people to lose weight. I didn't see any.
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 appears to 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 a study from 2005, which lasted 12 weeks and involved 19 moderately 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.
While this is interesting, remember, the women took an oral supplement. Would a patch work also? 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 effect 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.
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 woman 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 2008 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 exercising muscles. 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. The study lasted 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.
This is an antioxidant found in foods such as broccoli and blueberries. Does it affect appetite, weight loss or anxiety? Proof cannot be located.
A few of the products I've looked at which also had 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.
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 ingredients 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:
Is The Patch For Weight Loss?
Le-vel Distributors often say that the thrive patch is not a weight loss supplement but rather is for “weight management.”
But, what does the phrase “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 weight, lose weight, or maintain weight?
Vague phrases aside, 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 review
- Green Coffee Bean click to read review
- Garcinia Cambogia click to read review
So, while people may say weight management, weight loss is the main reason researchers have looked at these ingredients.
Thrive Patch Side Effects
When I looked online, 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 Thrive 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 put it 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 Thrive Supplements?
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 of “A+” when this review was updated. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
SiteJabber gave Le-Vel 3.5 stars out of 5 when this review was updated. See SiteJabber site for more insights.
The review of Thrive W has more information and hundreds of comments.
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?
OK this was a pretty long review. We covered a lot, so for those who want me to cut to the chase, 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. The evidence I refer to is in the US Patent on cosmoperine.
2. There is evidence cosmoperine can enhance the absorption of ForsLean (coleus forskhloii) when both applied to rat skin (I'll assume human skin too). ForsLean is the first ingredient listed in all of the Thrive Patches and for that reason, I wonder if it might be the main active ingredient?
3. I believe there is a lack of research showing the patch increases blood levels of the ingredients in the body. Remember, just because stuff might penetrate the skin, how far does it penetrate – and do those ingredients actually make it into the blood?
4. Other than ForsLean (coleus forskholii), I cannot locate any published, peer reviewed evidence showing that cosmoperine increases the absorption of the other ingredients in the DFT patch. I'll assume it does until research shows otherwise.
5. I'm not aware of any studies noting the ingredients in the DFT Patch work -the same way as they do orally – when applied to the skin transdermally in a patch.
I'm genuinely intrigued that an ingredient placed on the skin can enhance the absorption of other ingredients. That said, even though the Patch is touted as being a better delivery system – and hence a more superior weight loss product, 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.