Phytoceramides: Clinically Proven Wonder Pills Or Lacking In Scientific Evidence?

I’ve been looking at the latest anti-aging supplement to hit the headlines: phytoceramides. These plant-derived supplements, borne of rice, sweet potato or wheat, have been recommended by Dr Oz as a natural alternative to the facelift or other surgical procedures, effectively plumping the skin from the lowest dermal layer through to the top epidermis and keeping us looking younger and healthier.

In my article entitled Phytoceramides: How These Anti-Aging Tablets Work, I outlined how the supplements:

  • Contain lipids that are the same as those found naturally in our skin, mimicking their actions
  • Penetrate each of the four layers of our skin (known as dermal layers)
  • Boost our natural production of collagen, which plumps the skin and increases elasticity
  • Form a protective layer against infections and inflammation
  • Keep our skin hydrated, locking in moisture
  • Slow the aging process and can even reverse existing signs of aging such as wrinkles and crow’s feet, from the inside out

But is there any clinical evidence to support these claims?

I found just four clinical trials studying the effects of phytoceramides, with just two focused on skin issues and improvement. But the remaining studies are incredibly interesting, and have enough potential beyond simply aesthetics for me to give these supplements a thumbs-up.

Clinical study #1

51 women aged between 20 and 63 were prescribed a wheat-based phytoceramide or wheat-extract oil (WEO) with the following findings:

  • Skin hydration was significantly increased.”
  • Skin dryness and redness tended to be reduced in the WEO group.”
  • “The WEO capsules were perceived by participants as being more effective than placebo on all skin dryness signs.”
  • “After 3 months’ treatment, a significant increase in skin hydration and an improvement in associated clinical signs were observed in women with dry skin.”

Clinical study #2

Imokawa et al were researching the causes of ‘atopic’ dry skin, and concluded that “an insufficiency of ceramides in the stratum corneum is an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin”, linking dry skin to a lack of ceramides.

Clinical study #3

Jung et al were researching how phytoceramides could positively improve brain function, and concluded that phytoceramides “could be a potential new therapeutic agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

And finally, Clinical study #4

Just 3 years ago, Sekiya et alwere researching immunity and they discovered that certain phytoceramides could stimulate a natural increase of our immunity against viruses.

Is this enough to say, categorically, that phytoceramides are clinically proven to help us in the battle against aging?

No, unfortunately not. Are the findings very encouraging? Yes, certainly. Should we be supplementing with phytoceramides for anti-aging? Yes, I believe so, particularly if there are additional benefits such as increased immunity and protection from neurodegenerative diseases.

For more information about what to look for if you want to try phytoceramides for yourself, please check out my Phytoceramides: Dosage and What To Look For article.

Phytoceramides: How These Anti-Aging Tablets Work

Hi, and a warm welcome back to my research articles. This time around, I’m leaving the diet pills and syrups behind me for a while, and I’m focusing my efforts on the latest skin care craze to hit the headlines: phytoceramides.

Phyto-what?

Indeed! I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t heard of them, I certainly hadn’t until a few months ago. Yes we’ve all heard of ceramides, yes we’ve all been using them in our skin and hair health regimes, but what on earth are phytoceramides?

What “on earth” is right…phytoceramides are ceramides derived from plant form, normally sweet potato, wheat or rice. They’ve been used extensively in Japan for some time, topically to rejuvenate skin, hair and even assist with hair loss ailments such as alopecia.

How do phytoceramides make us look younger?

Our good friend, Dr Oz, recently featured them on his national television show, and since then we’ve been racing out to experience them for ourselves. So just how do they work?

  • Phytoceramides contain lipids that are the same as those found naturally in our skin, mimicking their actions
  • Phytoceramides penetrate each of the four layers of our skin (known as dermal layers)
  • Phytoceramides boost our natural production of collagen, which plumps the skin and increases elasticity
  • Phytoceramides form a protective layer against infections and inflammation
  • Phytoceramides keep our skin hydrated, locking in moisture
  • Phytoceramides slow the aging process and can even reverse existing signs of aging such as wrinkles and crow’s feet, from the inside out
Dr Oz explaining how phytoceramides leave the blood stream and enter the lower dermal level, penetrating up through to the top, visible levels.

Why not just use a phytoceramide skin cream?

A good question. However, when consumed in a tablet form, the phytoceramides can help our whole bodies – skin and hair – to look healthier and younger, rather than just the areas we apply a cream to. They have been said to start at the inner dermal layer and work their way up through the epidermis, giving radiant results from the inside out.

And also, if you already feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day like me, trying to combine work with children, relationships and a social life, you won’t have time for extensive morning and evening skin care routines. By the time I’ve showered, styled my hair and applied my make-up, I’m usually running out of the door with a coffee in my hand! So anything that makes my skin-care routine that little bit more management and gives me a few extra minutes is welcome in my books!

For more information, such as the clinical research behind phytoceramides or what to look for if you want the best phytoceramides supplement, please visit my other articles or read my extended review of phytoceramides.

Phytoceramides: What is the World Saying About These Anti-Aging Pills?

Phytoceramides, or plant-derived ceramides, are the latest discovery in our fight against the signs of aging. And with it being a multi-billion dollar industry, it is clear that we are pretty obsessed with looking younger.

I’ve looked at phytoceramides; how they work, what to look for and even written an extended review of phytoceramides, but in this article, I’m looking to the general public to see what the word is on the street. I’ll be going to forums, social media and beyond, and asking the important questions:

  • Do consumers feel that phytoceramides stop the aging process?
  • Do consumers feel that phytoceramides treat and improve existing signs of aging?
  • Are phytoceramides an expensive anti-aging treatment?
  • Which is the best phytoceramides for anti-aging?

The medical community

There’s nothing on WebMD about phytoceramides or even any decent information on ceramides, nor on Drugs.com. It’s unusual to see so little information on research sites, although Drugs.com has a lot of information on ceramides in general. However, there’s no point me reviewing that data, as phytoceramides are very different.

Forums

These too, are relatively quiet with many people using the terms phytoceramides and ceramides interchangeably, despite the fact that they come from very different sources. For example, on the forum part of skincaretalk.com, someone asks whether anyone has had success with phytoceramides and anti-aging, and the conversation descends into just talking about ceramide creams in general.

On ehealthforum.com, someone put forward a post asking whether anyone had tried phytoceramides, but at the time of writing this, no one so far has responded.

On the weightlifting forum eroids.com, the talk is more skeptical with one commenter saying “I was into phyto based supplements for a while but they simply aren’t effective in the short term”, noting that perhaps good results would be seen if phytoceramides were taken over many months or even years.

In summary, there is very little information on either forums or medical sites. What concerns me about the forums is the amount of garbage on them, crazy levels of spam about ‘miracle phytoceramides’ on the most random of forums, everything from Screwfix DIY site forum to the Wutangclan forum. It’s unlike any other level of spam I’ve seen.

Social media

Twitter is full of spam too, with the odd decent skincare company such as Epicura skin (@katietownes2) posting customer reviews of their phytoceramides product. Many of the posts are identical with indicates spam/mass marketing, in general avoid any tweet that says “check it out!!” too. In fact, there was nothing but spam or marketing on Twitter, with just one contributor (@smithpaulmel) stating “Jesus. Miracle phytoceramides. Whatever next!”

Facebook has just four product pages dedicated to selling just phytoceramides, although other skincare companies like Epicura Skin posts some of its Amazon reviews on its Facebook page. Customer comments include “this product has changed the way I looked at myself. My skin is hydrated from inside. I look so young” and “you can really see the skin improvement”. The other sites such as Phytoceramides have more rounded advice on what to eat, what to apply to the skin and more for anti-aging, as well as selling a product. Purephytoceramides is too young to be judged, and Phytoceramide (singular) has also only just joined the scene.

YouTube has a few video reviews such as 69-year old rxstrmom, who said that the lines around her mouth “may be a little bit softer” but found that the signs were strong enough for her to continue use unfortunately (although I think she looks AMAZING). Commenter Cary Daly agrees with me, saying of Rxstrmom’s video, “I don’t know if you saw the difference I saw, but I saw a remarkable difference!” and Sally Wingles saying “I can see a difference in your skin/face especially under your eyes and around your mouth, color/texture since your original Dr Oz Video on how to look 10 yrs younger. So, whatever you’re doing it is working (since that first video).Aveya Beauty has a post wrongly entitled sweet potato phytoceramides (actually she’s been using a rice-based product and feels that the skin on her face and neck is much smoother, and she has been told she looks ‘well rested’. The lovely girl from The SkinCareTips has seen ‘amazing’ results in that her skin looks softer and wrinkles are less pronounced.

In summary, there’s not a lot on social media, and what’s there is a bit mixed in terms of opinion. I’m genuinely surprised that phytoceramides are not more of a hot topic, perhaps when more clinical studies have been conducted, we’ll see more reviews and opinion.

Amazon and sales sites

There are over 1,000 reviews for the first 16 products on Amazon, with an average rating of 3.9 out of five. Some products have excellent ratings such as the Bu Sofi supplement, with comments such as:

  • “I have been using this along with the bu sofi vitamin c serum everyday. Very pleased! My face has more moisture and my wrinkles look smoother.”
  • “Thought I’d try these phytoceramides [for eczema] and I’ve actually seen an improvement. My skin is way less dry and itchy. Will definitely keep using!”
  • “I’ve been getting compliments about my “glowing” skin lately, which is really cool. I could swear my hair is shinier and my nails are stronger.”
  • “I have only been taking this pill for one week. I already see results. It is an excellent product.”

Other products with lower ratings have comments from both ends of the spectrum, ranging from:

  • “I have been taking it for about a week now [for dermatitis]. It has all completely cleared up using this brand. I am truly happy with the results.”
  • “Have only used it for 10 days but am noticing a little difference. My skin is smoother, softer, and clearer.”
  • “These pills have been a lifesaver. I have been using them for about 7 months now and the results are incredible.”

To…

  • “Yet another bogus product, don’t waste your money”, and
  • “I have seen no difference in my skin after taking this product.”

The number one bestseller, LifeExtension, weighs in at 3.8 out of 5, and the comments again range from incredible to ‘meh’. Here are some of them:

  • “My skin has never looked or felt better.”
  • “Skip the pricey moisturizers and try this.”
  • “Good natural fix.”
  • “By the fifth week, I’d estimate there was about a 25% improvement [of ‘turkey neck’]. Currently, it appears there’s about a 50% improvement.”
  • “The pills did produce an improvement but it was only minimal improvement.”

On iherb.com, the limited number of reviewers (just 9) also rated the above LifeExtension brand 4.5 out of 5, with the comments ranging from – at worst – ‘not seeing many changes after 2 months’ to – at best – ‘product really works’, ‘surprised with the fast results’ and ‘highly recommended’.

So there we have it, the supplements sure do well on sales sites such as Amazon, but elsewhere on the web they’re in their infancy. I can’t wait to see a bit further down the line what people are saying about them, as I feel they have real potential that isn’t being tapped into yet. Perhaps when there are a few more clinical studies, these pills will be thrust further into the spotlight…

Phytoceramides: Dosage, Side Effects and What To Look For

So how much should I look for in my phytoceramides supplement?

With regards to dosage, there is little in the way of concrete supplement information. A paper by Soft Gel Technologies Inc to the FDA states “there are no special requirements for use in dietary supplements containing Ceramides such as the need to take it on an empty stomach. No suggested conditions for use are required or recommended by SGTI. Ceramides are a naturally-occurring in many foods. Again, sphingolipids account for 0.1% to 0.2% of the human diet and ceramides account for 0.3 to 0.4mg per day in the human diet. Ceramides are neither hormones nor stimulants. Furthermore, there are no limits on the duration of use. Ceramides can be taken for a long term supplementation regimen to keep the skin moist and healthy.”

How much is enough and how quickly will I see results?

The recommended dosage, well, the dosage that the health and medical industry has commonly agreed on, is around 350mg per day, taken once per day. As put forward in the above paper though, there are no other requirements with regards to dosing, such as taking the tablets on an empty stomach. That said, I found one website that recommended taking the supplement with food.

It’s generally recommended to take them for at least a month before major changes are seen in the skin and hair. So don’t give up too quickly, these are fantastic supplements but nothing will change years of damage to our skin overnight, we need to be a little patient.

What to look for when buying phytoceramides

Phytoceramides are a naturally occurring lipid found in plant sources, therefore there are very few exacting criteria to look for if you want to buy them. However, I have put together a short checklist so that if you want to look for a phytoceramides supplement yourself, you can use this as a guideline:

  • Select a supplement containing at least 350mg phytoceramides
  • Ensure that it says ‘plant-derived phytoceramides’ on the pack
  • If you have a wheat intolerance or allergy, choose phytoceramides derived from rice or sweet potatoes
  • Opt for a supplement produced in an FDA-approved laboratory
  • Supplement with a Vitamin C tablet or serum if you can, for even more anti-aging effects
  • Choose organic or pure versions with no fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Always buy from a vendor you trust, and check reviews from other purchasers before you buy
  • Don’t be tempted by ‘free’ trials, often you get locked into an auto-shipping process that it can be hard to cancel

Can anyone take phytoceramide supplements?

I couldn’t find any contraindications but I would advise that until further research is done, anyone pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive should avoid any supplements not recommended by your physician.

Also, if you have a gluten or wheat intolerance, coeliac disease or allergies, look for the rice or sweet-potato versions of phytoceramides and avoid the wheat-based versions.

How can I help phytoceramides to restore younger looking skin?

As well as taking a Vitamin C supplement or using a Vitamin C serum, there are some other everyday changes we can make to improve our skin tone and fight off the signs of aging:

  • Drink loads of water. Then drink some more.
  • Minimize your consumption of dehydrating drinks, such as caffeine or alcohol.
  • Exfoliate as often as you can, I whip up a quick mix of coconut oil and brown sugar for a store-cupboard alternative, no need to pay crazy prices
  • Stop smoking. We all know the effects that this can have on our skin.
  • Always use a UV protection – in your foundation, moisturizer or anything you use. Make it part of your daily routine.
  • Use the best moisturizer for your skin. Some swear by the big-name brands like Elemis or Clinique, for me, Ponds or coconut oil works just as well! Find your moisturizer and use it like it’s going out of fashion!

Venus Factor Diet Review: Same Old, Same Old Or Real Workout For Real Women?

It’s not often that I am surprised by new diets or exercise routines, I mean, we’ve had everything from blood type diets to caveman diets, no carbs/low carbs/good carbs, raw food (which actually gave me terrible indigestion and bloating) and everything in between!

So when I heard about the new Venus diet and exercise plan, I was a little skeptical, probably as you are. A diet and exercise plan just for women? But, as I thought more about it, I was more intrigued. We’re not the same as men, we store fat in different places, men seem to be able to just stop eating when they diet (do you have many female friends that can do the same? I certainly don’t) and even when we run for hours each week, we still struggle to shift the stubborn pounds. Why is that?

I was asked to review the Venus Factor Diet and after my initial scoffing, I actually saw the potential behind the program. A diet and exercise program that takes hormones into consideration, and looks at why women store fat differently and what exercises we can do to shift it? The idea has merit!

Venus Factor Diet: What is it?

The Venus Factor Diet has been invented by diet and fitness expert John Barban, specifically for women that are looking to shift excess weight and typically have been on the diet treadmill for years with no long-term success.

He says that his system, which has been finely tuned and tested on real women, “has nothing to do with silly exercise machines, cardio, restrictive or pre-packaged diets, or whatever weird berry pill the diet industry is talking about these days.

In fact, it’s based on calorie deficits and maintenance, i.e. eating fewer calories than you expend on 5 or 6 days per week, and more on your maintenance days, to kick start your metabolism. But unlike many diets, this is carefully crafted to get your body used to a maintenance amount of calories (i.e. to maintain your weight) so you don’t end up piling it all back on.

Why do women need a separate diet?

Barban believes that women should be treated very differently to men when dieting, for the following reason; the hormone responsible for fat burning leptin, which speeds up the metabolism and signals your body to burn fat. Women naturally produce more leptin than men, which should be a good thing, right? However:

1)      Women can be three times less responsive to leptin signals than men, so we don’t use it to its maximum. This is called leptin resistance, and

2)      When women diet, our leptin levels drop twice as much and twice as fast as they do when men diet. This means that our weight loss plateaus much faster than men’s weight loss.

Women are disadvantaged when it comes to dieting?

Yes! All this time you, if you’re like me, probably thought it was something you were doing wrong, or you attributed your weight loss failure to bad genes or ‘just the way I’m built’. But the truth is that dieting is much harder for women than it is for men, particularly after pregnancy when the leptin levels plummet even further.

So how does the Venus Factor Diet help?

Barban has discovered a system that ‘resets’ the body and the leptin levels, effectively re-wiring it to its most effective fat burning state. He calls this the ‘metabolic override’, and views it as a way to work WITH your body for weight loss, rather than AGAINST it, “so your fat loss process becomes simple, and even ENJOYABLE”!

He has designed it to work with our hormones, which as we know are very different from men’s. His system, he tells us, promises:

  • High energy levels
  • No cravings for ‘forbidden’ foods
  • No weight loss plateaus
  • A boosted metabolism
  • Permanent fat loss from female problem areas like stomach, hips, butt and thighs

He also explains which foods we regularly eat that we think are healthy, that actually jeopardize our weight loss efforts, such as sugar, sweeteners and soy products (see the section below on foods).

What type of exercises does it endorse?

Barban believes that women’s workouts need to be a lot shorter than those of our male counterparts, and advocates more strength work. Remember how shocked we all were when we found out that brisk walking does more for fat loss than fast running? It didn’t appear to make sense, but scientific studies have shown that we burn fat at lower intensities, whereas we improve cardiovascular or aerobic fitness at higher intensities.

John’s ethos echoes this; he has developed a 12 week nutrition program along with over 140 exercise designed for women to burn fat. His exercises programs, which you are encouraged to do just 3 times per week, include weights supersets (two complementary exercises run without breaks) and pyramid style reps, help us to target cellulite and increase our leptin sensitivity.

You’ll discover techniques such as Fibonnaci pyramids, with higher reps and lower intensity at the ‘bottom’ of the pyramid, moving up with intensity and down with reps at the ‘top’ of the pyramid. These are bona fide techniques used by athletes to train, to ramp up their metabolism.

You’ll also interject these pyramids by adding in extra exercises on the way ‘up’, and reducing them on the way ‘down’. It’s exactly this kind of body shock that our system needs to reboot and start really burning fat.

Sounds exhausting…

But actually it’s not! Whereas I was exhausted after each workout when doing Phase 2 of Insanity, this workout had me buzzed up at the end! I had more energy from about day 3, and it got better and better.

The workouts are pretty short too, around half an hour depending on your ability. And they don’t take a massive leap, like…ahem…Insanity, in the second month the reps increase from 10 to 12, in the third month up to 15, for example. They are extremely doable and the video tutorials are excellent. And just three times a week? I do supplement with a little cardio, but generally the weekly program is FAR less strenuous than my previous routine.

How long does the program last?

The diet is 12 weeks but with the variety of exercises, you may find yourself doing them for many weeks afterwards. Many of the Venus Factor converts are committed to the program for life. It’s very easy to fit in 30 minutes a day and the energy buzz afterwards will have you hooked.

What kind of results can I expect to see?

Basically, if you lose 10lbs, it will look like you’ve lost double that, as you’re targeting the problem areas. So if you have a fat mid-section, a huge butt or men’s thighs, when you slim those areas, your weight loss will be so much more noticeable.

This is fantastic as I’m sure you’ve had the same problems as me before: you work hard to lose weight but it goes from the wrong places – from your face, from your small bust or flat butt, or any other areas that you DON’T want to lose it from!

However, this is not a program to have you all skin and bones. Barban does not advocate that in the slightest. In fact, he says “your target healthy [body fat percentage] range is between 20%-30%. Most of our Venus transformation contest winners arrive at their best figure anywhere between 18%-22%” but notes that your goals are highly individual to you.

Barban encourages you to look beyond the scales on this program, and gives you your target waist, hips and shoulder measurements to be in your best shape. Weight is just a number, but when you can actively try and achieve the best shape possible, the numbers won’t mean a thing!

What kind of foods does the Venus Factor Diet recommend?

The diet is healthy and has restrictions for either 5 or 6 days (1000 kcals for me), which in turn lowers leptin levels and slows fat-burning potential, so each week women are given a one or two ‘cheat days’, when you’ll eat the calories you would if you were maintaining your weight (1700 kcals for me) . The cheat days are designed to rev up the metabolism again and fool the body that it is on a weight or fat loss journey, and every month you change the focus of the ‘cheat’ – one month it’s protein, one month it’s fat, one month it’s carbs.

And are you hungry on this diet? Well, if you’re used to eating a lot then you’ll find it hard. However, with John’s innovative “willpower depletion” idea, he advises you to fast overnight for 12, 14 or 16 hours, as long as you can, as you have a lot more willpower in the mornings. Save your coffee until mid-morning, your breakfast until lunch etc, and you’ll find it easy to stick to the low calorie diet.

Not have breakfast?

Yes we’ve all been told the benefits of a hearty breakfast, ramping up your metabolism blah blah blah! But if you kick start your metabolism first thing, you’ll be hungry all day.

Are there any supplements that go well with the Venus Factor Diet?

Barban suggests Garcinia Cambogia but I believe that it is not the only supplement you could go for. Depending on your individual profile, you could try:

  • Green coffee bean extract
  • White mulberry leaf extract
  • Yacon syrup
  • Raspberry ketones
  • CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)

I’ve written extensive reviews about each one, so you can find out which is best for you. Have a high blood sugar level or cravings for sugar? Consider white mulberry leaf extract or tea. Find diets mess up your digestive system? Supplement with a little yacon syrup to help pass food through the body. Sluggish metabolism? You could try raspberry ketones, which contain a thermo genic property similar to chilies that helps ramp up our fat burning capacity.

Each of us is different and there is no one-size fits all. Have a look at my other reviews to see.

Is there anything else that I can do to boost my weight loss?

Although the exercise program is focused specifically on trimming down our problem areas with strength training, I still think that cardio has its place. I find short bursts of interval training (jog, sprint, jog etc) are excellent at fat burning and weight loss in a short time. So I’d advise a small amount of cardio several times a week to encourage your weight loss even further. You don’t have to hit the streets or waste time travelling to the gym; try it at home with 10 minutes doing jumping jacks or skipping rope, 30 seconds slow, 30 seconds as fast as you can intermittently. Anything works – running on the spot, high knees, you name it. You may have read my Insanity review a while ago, pick any one of Tony’s warm up exercises and do it in intervals for ten minutes for fast, incredible results!

You can also boost your weight loss by switching to herbal teas such as mulberry leaf or green tea, which both have solid health-boosting properties, drinking at least 64oz of water per day and cutting way back on salt, which makes us hold on to water and raises our blood pressure.

But diets don’t work for me…

I’ve heard this a million times; I can’t diet, I don’t have the willpower to diet, I don’t have time to diet, I don’t have the money to diet and other things that we keep saying. Unfortunately, the more we say these, the more our brain believes them and we inadvertently turn these statements into self-fulfilling prophecies. So it’s high time we change this mindset around!

As I’ve detailed above, the Venus Factor Diet is unlike any other diet, particularly with its inclusion of ‘cheat’ days designed specifically to boost the metabolism. So it’s time, ladies, to forget about how diets don’t work, and instead take it one day at a time. The cheat days sure make the lower calorie days easier to bear when you can see a candy bar or pizza in sight!

Is it ridiculously expensive?

Of course, that’s the question on everyone’s lips! Sometimes, these diet programs or home food deliveries can have costs that are extremely prohibitive. So, is the Venus Factor Diet any different?

In a word; yes. When I purchased it, I was really surprised when it turned out to be $47 for the whole 12 week program. That’s half of what many of us pay for a single personal training session, and includes a robust nutritional guidance plan as well as your exercise programs worked out for each day.

It also featured a 60-day money back guarantee, stating that if for any reason you weren’t happy with the program, you’d get 100% of your money refunded. It actually stated that you’d get this refund within 48 hours, although I must admit I’ve seen two reviews that say that their money wasn’t returned that quickly. Maybe the company is unused to getting these requests and can’t actually deliver the refund as quickly as had hoped, perhaps these were just unfortunately isolated incidents that I picked up on, who knows.

What’s in the box?

If you buy the time-limited offer, you’ll receive the following (although I’m not sure how long the offer will be available for):

  • 12 week fat loss book
  • Venus Factor workout videos (worth $297)
  • Access to Venus Immersion, an online community of Venus Factor members (worth $97)

I’ve joined online communities before and some have been good, some have been great, and some have been…well…underwhelming. If you go for a serious, athletic program, you may find yourself out of your depth when trying to strike up friendships online, all those acronyms and abbreviations. That’s what I loved about the Venus women – it was like chatting to friends and sharing positive stories is such an effective source of motivation.

What’s good about the Venus Diet Factor?

  • Very cost-effective at just $47 (although I would expect this to rise in the near future)
  • Targets women’s issues such as hormones, leptin resistance and weight loss plateaus
  • Easy to follow, with a ‘cheat’ day or two to boost our metabolism (and keep us happy!)
  • Prepares us for post-Venus so we won’t pile back on the weight
  • Community of thousands to help when you need advice, motivation or just a bit of fun
  • Re-wires the body and ‘overrides’ our low fat burning potential
  • Fat loss from targeted problem areas such as butt, thighs, belly or waist
  • Targets cellulite far better than many exercise programs do
  • 60 day money-back guarantee if you don’t enjoy it or don’t get the results you were after
  • Prompt individual service, my question was replied to within 12 hours

Anything not so good?

  • Low calories diet for 5 days can be difficult to follow, even with cheat days
  • You have to provide the gym equipment – weights or bars, stability ball etc
  • It doesn’t come with a calorie tracker (although free MyFitnessPal.com version is excellent)
  • It’s incredibly sales-y – I know people that didn’t even make it through Barban’s video because of the selling technique (they’ve since bought it on my recommendation, but may not have done otherwise)
  • You’ll start to receive quite a lot of emails after you sign up, some are interesting but if you’re short of time, you may not appreciate them all! I send them to a folder to read later, on a Sunday when the kids are doing their homework!

What are other people saying about the Venus Factor Diet?

There are comments from authorities such as integrated nutritionist & physician, Dr Hollowell, who said “I’ve never reviewed a nutrition plan so perfectly catered for the female metabolism and hormonal environment to encourage quick, sustainable fat loss.”

International best-selling fat loss author and fitness expert, Kyle Leon, said “this truly cutting edge system has enabled hundreds of my female clients…to reach a remarkable new level of long term leanness”.

Real user opinions include:

  • “After doing the Venus program I realized that before I was doing almost everything wrong. I’m 50 and I’m in the best shape of my life…I have never been happier.”
  • “John, Brad and his team ensure you have ALL the tools you need to reach the BEST SHAPE you have ever been in your entire life.”
  • “Eight children in 12 years and I look and feel better than I ever have in my entire life!”
  • “At my age I cannot believe the shape that I am finally getting, and I owe it all to the Venus Factor program.”
  • “I was pretty surprised when I saw my after pictures. I didn’t think I changed so much. The transformation was amazing.”
  • “I lost all my post pregnancy weight which was amazing…I have never been part of an online community like this one – it is truly special.”
  • “[From starting Venus Factor] I never looked back and I never strayed. 6 months later, I am 50 lbs lighter.”
  • “I’ve never looked or felt better than I do now following the Venus lifestyle.”

My opinion: A summary review of the Venus Factor Diet

I admit I was skeptical but this diet has a serious amount of science behind it. Forget what you know – as they say, ‘if you do what you always do, you’ll get what you always got”. It’s time to retrain your brain AND your body! This is a fabulous program that offers a lot of common sense and is a fast track to a better metabolism and a more toned body, in conjunction with our hormonal balances. I’d give it a 4-4.5 out of 5, just knocked down off the top spot because of the over-the-top sales pitch and the fact that I saw two reviews in which they didn’t get their refund in the timescales they were supposed to.

Phytoceramides: A Review of New Plant-Based Anti-Aging Ceramides

Hi, thanks for checking out my series of articles focused on the new anti-aging tablets on the scene, phytoceramides. In my role as Chief Product Analyst, I’ve had the opportunity to review tens, if not hundreds of health and beauty products, some of which are good, some less exciting, and some amazing. This time I’m super-excited about these new tablets which help restore our youthful looks from the inside out.

In this extended review of phytoceramides, I’m addressing the questions on everyone’s lips at the moment, namely:

  • What are phytoceramides?
  • How do phytoceramides help us look younger?
  • Do phytoceramides genuinely help us slow and reverse the aging process?
  • Why would I take phytoceramide tablets when I have ceramides in my beauty products?
  • Are phytoceramides safe to take?
  • Is there anyone that can’t use phytoceramides?
  • What do I look for if I want to buy phytoceramides myself?

So just what are phytoceramides?

You’d be forgiven for not knowing too much about these tablets, as they’ve only recently been launched and cleared by the FDA. Ceramides have been used extensively for many years but usually come from animal sources, whereas phytoceramides are extracted exclusively from sweet potato, wheat or rice.

Ceramides are components that penetrate each of the four levels of our skin, from the epidermis or top layer, right down to the basal layer. We’ve used them for decades in our skin care and hair products as they are known for their abilities to look in moisture and keep our skin looking younger, healthier and plumper. By looking in moisture, wrinkles are less pronounced and the skin looks rejuvenated, thus we look younger!

With phytoceramides, we’re taking a tablet that targets skin care and locks in water from the inside out, plus we have the added advantage that we’re not consuming animal products.

How do phytoceramides work?

There are several ways in which phytoceramides are known to encourage and maintain healthier, younger-looking skin:

  • Phytoceramides contain lipids that are the same as those found naturally in our skin; they mimic their actions to plump out the skin
  • Phytoceramides penetrate each of the four layers of our skin (known as dermal layers)
  • Phytoceramides stimulate the production of collagen, which plumps the skin and increases elasticity
  • Phytoceramides encourage a protective barrier against infections and inflammation, helping with problems such as dry skin, sun damage and patches
  • Phytoceramides keep our skin hydrated, retaining moisture and helping stave off wrinkles
  • Phytoceramides slow the aging process and can even reverse existing signs of aging such as crow’s feet, from the inside out

Do phytoceramides genuinely help us slow and reverse the aging process?

There are a LOT of claims out there about various anti-aging products, I mean it’s an industry worth nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars! We’re obsessed with looking younger than our years, which is why many of us take to extreme procedures to maintain our looks.

But in a market so catered to making us feel inferior, old and ugly by bombarding us with pictures of stunning, flawless and young models, it’s inevitable that some products are pushed on us that are not all that they claim.

I reviewed the clinical research behind the claims for phytoceramides, you can read my full analysis here, but in summary, here is what I found:

  • There are unfortunately just four studies that I could find, focused on phytoceramides and ceramides for skin health and anti-aging
  • The first, a study on 51 women, stated categorically that when prescribed a wheat-based phytoceramide, “skin hydration was significantly increased”, skin dryness was reduced and skin hydration was improved
  • The second, a study looking at the causes of ‘atopic’ dry skin, concluded that “an insufficiency of ceramides in the stratum corneum is an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin”
  • The third, by Jung et al in 2011, linked phytoceramides to improvements in brain function and even concluded that they could help treat brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s
  • The fourth and final, by Sekiya et al also in 2011, discovered that certain phytoceramides could boost our natural immunity to viral infections

Why would I take phytoceramide tablets when I have ceramides in my beauty products?

This is one question that I get asked a lot; if I already have ceramides in my products, why should I take a tablet? It’s a valid question, but I believe there is a strong argument for the supplement rather than a cream.

My opinion, having reviewed all of the research and opinion on phytoceramides, is that when you apply a cream, it sinks in to the top layer of skin and perhaps the second layer. When we use fillers, they fill the wrinkles in on the top layer but these mask wrinkles rather than treat them at the source. When you take a tablet, they work in the body and cause internal improvements that penetrate outward, so that the root cause of wrinkles and signs of aging are reversed and improved inside-out.

Furthermore, taking a tablet is far less hassle than a daily half-hour routine of expensive skin creams, scrubs, rubs, massages and more! I don’t know about you but my day is already short enough for all the things I have to do, so anything that makes my day easier and gives me the same or better results is definitely worth considering!

Are phytoceramides safe to take?

Many ceramides are derived from bovine sources, so it’s understandable that many of us would prefer to switch to plant-based versions. And, as phytoceramides are naturally occurring, there are very few – if any – side effects.

That said, if you’re allergic to wheat or have an intolerance, you could suffer the same issues if you take the wheat-based phytoceramides. Stick to the rice or sweet potato versions if you have any problem with wheat.

Finally, I have to maintain my professional integrity and err on the side of caution by saying that, until further research is done, it’s advisable that anyone trying to conceive, pregnant or nursing avoid this or ANY supplement not recommended by your physician. Not enough is known about how these supplements affect foetal growth or babies, so it’s always advisable to avoid them if you are TTC, nursing or currently pregnant.

How quickly will I see anti-aging results?

The general consensus on the Dr Oz show and amongst the general public is that results will start to show in around 4 weeks, so stick with it. Whereas cosmetics with plumpers or fillers will show immediately, these are just what they say they are – cosmetic. If it’s too much of a step for you to stop using the creams and rely on the supplements, why not carry on with both until you’re seeing the results of the tablets? I know I couldn’t live without my skin primer!!

Is there anyone that can’t use phytoceramides?

As I mentioned above, I would just avoid if it you’re pregnant, nursing or TTC, and avoid the wheat-based versions if you’re a coeliac or have any kind of negative reaction to wheat.

What do I look for if I want to buy phytoceramides myself?

I’ve written an article specifically focused on what to look for in your phytoceramides as well as dosage information. Whilst there is no specific guidelines on how much to take, nor any directions such as ‘take it on an empty stomach’, the general consensus is that your supplement needs to contain around 350mg of phytoceramides.

Already know you want to try phytoceramides but don’t have the time to do the research? Click here to be taken to my number one recommended phytoceramides for younger looking skin.

However, if you have the time to research your supplement, or you already have a specific supplement or store in mind, here is a short checklist that you can refer to, in order to ensure you’re getting the best phytoceramide supplement for anti-aging:

  • Choose a supplement containing at least 350mg phytoceramides
  • Look for the words ‘plant-derived phytoceramides’ on the pack
  • Choose phytoceramides derived from rice or sweet potatoes if you have a wheat allergy or intolerance
  • Always choose supplements that are produced in an FDA-approved laboratory where you can
  • Supplement with a Vitamin C tablet or serum if you can, for even better anti-aging effects
  • Choose organic or pure versions with no fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Always buy from a vendor or online store you trust
  • Check reviews from other purchasers before you buy and look for ‘Amazon verified purchase’ on the reviews if you’re choosing a supplement from Amazon
  • Avoid ‘free’ trials that just ask you to pay the shipping, often you get locked into an auto-shipping process that it can be difficult or sometimes impossible to cancel

What else can I do to boost my anti-aging results?

As well as taking a Vitamin C supplement and Vitamin B complex, which I’ve always found helps my skin, nails, and hair, you can also combine your phytoceramide supplements with a weekly facial scrub and at drinking least 2 liters of water per day. Obviously we have all seen how smoking, caffeine, recreational drugs and alcohol can adversely affect our looks, so clean living and phytoceramides are the only way to look young!

What are people saying about phytoceramides?

When I research a product, I like to look at a range of sources including medical forums, chat rooms, social media and online stores, to get a rounded view of the market opinion. I must say that in this case, when researching phytoceramides, it was pretty quiet out there. I put these down to phytoceramides being a new thing, combined with a general fatigue perhaps of the ‘miracles’ that Dr Oz seems to be touting every week. Whatever the reason, there’s just not much chatter out there about phytoceramides…yet! When people experience the benefits, I fully expect this to change quickly.

On social media, there are a few video reviews on YouTube but it’s mainly sales-focused for companies selling skincare products. And whilst a few YouTube reviewers feel that their results weren’t dramatic, the comments from viewers begged to differ, claiming that they can see far more results than the reviewers perhaps felt!

On Amazon, products are rated an average 3.9 out of 5, and we’re talking over 1000 reviews here on the first page alone. The same goes for other online stores, with products rated extremely highly. It’s strange that products seem to be so popular yet the market is not fully aware of them yet, perhaps people are trying to keep the secrets to themselves! Or perhaps it’s because not enough research has been done yet on phytoceramides to truly hit the headlines. Time will tell!

In my full ‘review of phytoceramide reviews‘ article, I note that there is a LOT of spam and marketing around this product. Luckily, you can spot these phoney reviews a mile away – avoid anything that shouts ‘miracle’ and is on completely the wrong forum…my favorite example is a random post about miracle phytoceramides on a Wutang Clan chat forum!!

I’ve detailed the most common comments I’ve seen below, ranging from the marginally unimpressed to the seriously happy:

  • “Very pleased! My face has more moisture and my wrinkles look smoother.”
  • “Thought I’d try these phytoceramides [for eczema]…my skin is way less dry and itchy.”
  • “I’ve been getting compliments about my “glowing” skin lately, which is really cool. I could swear my hair is shinier and my nails are stronger.”
  • “I have been taking it for about a week now [for dermatitis]. It has all completely cleared up using this brand. I am truly happy with the results.”
  • “These pills have been a lifesaver. I have been using them for about 7 months now and the results are incredible.”
  • “My skin has never looked or felt better.”
  • “Skip the pricey moisturizers and try this.”
  • “Good natural fix.”
  • “The pills did produce an improvement but it was only minimal improvement.”
  • “I have seen no difference in my skin after taking this product.”

A mixed bunch as you can see, however my opinion is that in general the comments were far more positive than negative or neutral.

What’s good about phytoceramides?

In my opinion, there are a whole host of great things about phytoceramides, and very few negatives. I’ve summarized them for you, so that you can decide for yourself at a glance:

  • Inexpensive, especially compared to pricey skin creams
  • Plant-based so suitable for those avoiding animal products
  • Target skin problems and signs of aging from the inside-out
  • Fast, long-lasting results in around four weeks
  • Simplify your beauty regime
  • Free up your time by cutting down your beauty processes
  • Very good user reviews and product ratings
  • Encouraging research on 51 women
  • Positive side effects such as hair health and reducing skin dryness
  • Ceramides used for decades
  • Possible help for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Could help us fight off infection
  • FDA cleared
  • All natural

Anything not so good?

  • Not enough rigorous clinical research to substantiate claims
  • Inferior products pop up because of the ‘Dr Oz’ effect
  • Some users therefore don’t see the positive results they’d hoped for
  • Wheat-based versions may aggravate coeliacs or those with adverse reactions to wheat
  • Lots of spam-my, phoney marketing online

My opinion on phytoceramides

I’m genuinely delighted that phytoceramides have come out in tablet form as they are a natural source of ceramides, cut down the time required for healthier, younger-looking skin, are far cheaper than many face creams and other beauty products, and seem to have a wealth of other potential health benefits. I’m surprised that more people are not aware of the supplement, but I don’t expect this to last long! I’d love to hear your views, if you’re a phytoceramides convert or just interested in trying them. Best of luck!

Garcinia Cambogia Buying Guide May 2014

How To Choose The Purest, Highest Quality Garcinia Cambogia Supplement At The Best Price
Jump to the #1 Garcinia Cambogia Extract

garciniacambogia-1_clipped_rev_1Garcinia Cambogia is a natural, tropical fruit with an abundance of health claims to its name. Doctors and consumers alike have reported incredible weight-loss numbers. Yet the news isn’t all good; some supplements are worse than others, and the more artificial ones have led to certain side effects.

This guide to Garcinia Cambogia is designed to explore the research on the benefits and side effects of the natural fruit extract. Most importantly, it aims to help consumers make sound decisions when choosing their supplement.

What Is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia seen on Dr Oz

Garcinia goes by many names, including Garcinia Cambogia and Garcinia gummi-gutta. It is a natural, tropical fruit that is commonly used in traditional cooking throughout Southeast Asia.

When you buy a Garcinia Cambogia supplement, you are actually getting the Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) extract from the fruit. This extract is responsible for the health and weight-loss benefits of the fruit, and it has been tested in numerous clinical studies for safety and efficiency. There has not been a single study that has shown adverse side effects of HCA [1]. So why are there concerns with Garcinia Cambogia supplements?

Be Wary of Greedy Businesses

Because Garcinia Cambogia is so popular, and so many doctors have recommended it, a lot of companies saw early on that there was money to be made in the Garcinia Cambogia market.

fistful-of-dollars_clipped_rev_1Having a lot of companies involved is a good thing — it creates competition and lowers prices for consumers. Yet many companies, in order to make a greater profit, have ruined the health benefits of Garcinia Cambogia extract with artificial additives.

This guide will help consumers find the best possible supplements and stay away from the bad ones.

Don’t Get Sick with Side Effects

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a natural component of the Garcinia fruit and has been eaten by hundreds of thousands of people for countless generations — all without any negative side effects.

The problem with some of the Garcinia Cambogia supplements is that they are filled with artificial additives and extra drugs like caffeine. Companies do this to save money and, in some cases, to boost the weight-loss potential of the supplement.

Yet mixing weight-loss drugs can be dangerous. I recommend finding a Garcinia Cambogia supplement that is 100% natural. If your supplement isn’t entirely natural, you risk unwanted chemicals leading to side effects. As long as you find a natural HCA supplement, it will be perfectly healthy and safe.

Choose the Safest Supplements

thumbs upMany thorough clinical studies have supported the safety of Garcinia extracts [2]. These tests, of course, were performed with natural HCA extract, so consumer safety is only presumed with regards to a 100% natural supplement. I do not recommend supplements with artificial additives.

It’s also important to be sure that your supplement comes from a cGMP and FDA certified lab in the USA. If the lab is not certified, the ingredients may be less pure and the finished product will be less trustworthy and less effective.

Discover the Full Range of Benefits

Garcinia-Cambogia-Transformation-USA-800x788With all-natural ingredients, Garcinia Cambogia supplements are not only safe, but very effective. A research article published in Current Genomics showed that Garcinia extract supplements are “safe and efficacious for weight loss [3].” 

In another article found in Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism reported that after 8 weeks in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients lost 5-6% body weight and BMI [4].

In addition to weight-loss, HCA has been credited with [5]:

  • Reducing HDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Increasing LDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Increasing serotonin levels (boosting patient mood).
  • Decreasing cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Decreasing risk for diabetes.

Garcinia Cambogia extract is not recommended as a treatment for depression. However,serotonin, a hormone tied to mood, is better regulated with HCA [6]. This reduces the tendency for “emotional overeating.”

Avoid These Problems

When looking for a good Garcinia Cambogia supplement, be careful to avoid the following:

  • “Free” trial offers
  • Too much HCA (e.g., 75% HCA)
  • Impure Garcinia (supplements with fiber and stimulants)

ft

With the free trials I found online, consumers were invited to try “exclusive free trials” or “free bottles.” After the first free bottle was shipped, customers were sent and charged for large subscriptions at exorbitant prices.

It’s important that the HCA content isn’t too high. It’s probably too much of a good thing. Most studies have been performed with 60% HCA concentration, so I recommend consumers stick with what’s been proven.

As stated earlier, some companies add impurities to their Garcinia supplements. But in the case of fiber and stimulants, the goal isn’t to make the product cheaper, but to make it more “effective.” Do not take these supplements. There have not been enough studies performed with mixed drugs like these to ensure your safety.

Many of these extra drugs work by stimulating bowel movements, increasing body temperature, or by speeding up your body. These are unhealthy ways to achieve a health goal, and because they have not been tested when mixed with Garcinia Cambogia extract, we do not know what their combined effects will be.

My Criteria for a Trustworthy Garcinia Extract Supplement

After reviewing the abundance of research available, I have collected a series of criteria to help guide consumers in finding the right Garcinia Cambogia extract supplement.

The top things to look for are:

  • At least 60% concentration of HCA.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Made in a certified lab.
  • Made in the USA.

The reason I recommend a 60% HCA supplement is that this concentration is reportedly the most effective. With any less than 60% HCA, the supplement is too diluted to be effective.

My Top 3 Recommendations

Because there are so many options available, I have reviewed some of the top Garcinia Cambogia supplements for my key criteria. These are my Top 3 recommendations.

These supplements meet my strict criteria and offer the safest weight-loss potential. Consumers who choose any of these supplements are likely to enjoy healthy, natural weight-loss — at a reasonable price.

Rank
#1
#2
#3
BrandVitovia Garcinia CambogiaPure Garcinia Cambogia ExtractGarcinia Cambogia Direct
garcinia-cambogiamiracle
Overall5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars
AvailabilityLimited stock!Limited stock!Limited stock!
HCA Percent60% HCA60% HCA60% HCA
Special OffersBuy 3, get 2 FREE
Bonus eGuide
Buy 3, get 2 FREE
Buy 3, get 2 FREE
No fillers/binders
Free Shipping
Active on Facebook
Where to Buy?

References

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424601/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15234082
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19452041
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15056124
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682937/
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3034692/

Want to Buy Green Coffee Bean Extract? Where To Buy And What To Look For!

Hello! A very warm welcome back to my series of articles focused on wonder supplement Green Coffee Bean! Following on from my extended review of Green Coffee Bean, my articles on Green Coffee Bean Side Effects and How Green Coffee Beans work, this latest article has been researched and shared so that you can be assured of the best quality GCB.

All Green Coffee Beans are not created equal!

It’s important that you know exactly what to look for when buying Green Coffee Bean Extracts, so that you can get the maximum benefits, whether that’s weight loss, more energy or a better functioning liver.

Despite being a natural product, there are still varying degrees of quality. As a rule of thumb, always buy the best that you can afford and research reviewer comments before choosing. Here’s a quick checklist to help you buy the best supplement for optimum results:

  • Choose a 400mg supplement and take 3 times a day, the optimum amount according to our friend Dr Oz, although it’s worth noting that in the human trial (see my Benefits of Green Coffee Bean article), the high level of dosage was 1050mg per day
  • Look for a supplement that contains at least 50% chlorogenic acid
  • Buy a reputable brand and always do your homework first, reading online reviews
  • Look for GCA (Green coffee antioxidant) or Svetol on the label
  • Look for a sign showing it was produced in an FDA certified lab
  • Buy organic when possible
  • Look for fillers or artificial ingredients and avoid!
  • Never be tempted to take more than you should, guidelines are there for a reason and if you take more than you should, you may suffer unpleasant side effects. Less is more.

So where do I buy Green Coffee Bean extract?

Now I’m not selling any brand, so I’m offering you an unbiased opinion. For me, when I go to buy a supplement like Green Coffee Bean, African Mango, Chia Seeds or anything of that nature, there are two things I look for:

  1. That it fulfills the necessary minimum requirements for its category (in the GCB class, for example, this is at least 50% chlorogenic acid)
  2. That it has received positive reviews more frequently than not, using Amazon and checking for bona fide purchasers (look for the Amazon Certified Purchase under the name)

There are a ton of places you can buy Green Coffee Bean, Walmart is one of the more popular places and has had some very positive reviews. Other brands that I would select would be:

As with any supplements, they may work better for some than for others. If you’re considering a purchase, try a forum on the subject, such as SparkPeople, Fitday.com, wedding forums or even bodybuilding or training forums. You can chat to other people or just read their experiences.

Ready to try it? Opt for one with a money back guarantee and be wary of signing up for auto shipments, some reviewers have been stung by non-existent customer service or returns policies and covert billing methods. Always take care people!

I hope this has helped you learn what to look for in the best Green Coffee Bean supplements. Got a story to share? We’d love to hear from you, please post your comments or stories below. Until the next time! Michelle.

Yacon Syrup: Getting This Gem Into Your Everyday Diet

I’ve been concentrating my research efforts onto the latest craze in the diet world; yacon syrup. Made from the concentrated and evaporated liquid of the South American yacon vegetable, the syrup is a low-GI sugar substitute that doesn’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels, due to its high concentration of fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

It has also been shown to help lose weight in a couple of studies, and reduce appetite by its ability to control our hunger hormone, ghrelin. For more information about the numerous health benefits of this syrup, please check out my Yacon Syrup Health Benefits article.

So just how can you work this into your diet?

Many people are starting to take the syrup daily, one teaspoon an hour before meals, and see the benefits. But there are also a large number of people that use the syrup, which is heavy and strong like molasses, into their recipes in place of sugar.

Here are just some of the ways in which you can incorporate it into your meals, if you don’t fancy taking a spoonful throughout the day:

It can be a bit expensive though, if you’re substituting for sugar. You need less (around ¾ cup of yacon syrup per cup of sugar), and if you’re substituting yacon for sugar in your favorite recipes, reduce the wet ingredients by 2tbs, a tip offered by myrealfoodlife.com.

So there you go – my favorite recipes as well as some advice on using yacon syrup in baking. Please do share your recipes or provide feedback on any of the above that you try, I’d love to hear your success stories!

Best wishes, Michelle.

Green Coffee Bean: Just How Does It Work As a Weight Loss Aid?

Hi! By now I think we’re all well aware of the new supplement Green Coffee Bean extract, after its feature slot on the Dr Oz show, and we’ve been buying up a dazzling array of these supplements in our thousands.

This is the latest article in my Green Coffee Bean series; you may have already read my extended Green Coffee Bean review and started researching yourself whether you could expect any side effects when taking green coffee bean extract, and this article is focused on the phenomena behind green coffee beans: just how do they work?

What are Green Coffee Beans?

Just a quick recap! Green coffee beans are coffee beans in their natural state before they’ve been roasted and ground into our daily fix! In their natural state, they contain an enormous amount of chlorogenic acid, a natural chemical compound which is noted for its weight loss power.

What is chlorogenic acid?

The chlorogenic acid compound, or antioxidant, may help slow the release of glucose into the blood stream after eating[1]. A common trading name is Svetol, and it can be found as a food additive in coffee, gum and mint candies. It may also have hypertensive, or blood pressure reducing, qualities, according to an article written in 2005[2] looking at both studies on humans and rats.

Why are Green Coffee Beans causing such a stir in the diet industry?

This high proportion of chlorogenic acid helps weight loss in two ways:

  1. Firstly, it inhibits the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which means that it’s harder for the body to create and store fat, and
  2. Secondly, it increases the fat burning abilities of the liver, targeting our excess fat stores so that we burn our existing fat off faster

Essentially, it increases the liver’s metabolism abilities, which helps us keep our weight under control. The liver is an essential part of our functioning, and Green Coffee Bean helps our liver to work more efficiently.

For more information, this video is really helpful!

But not all Green Coffee Bean extract is the same, read my article on Where To Buy and What To Look for if you’re ready to make your purchase. Until next time, all the best, Michelle.

Yacon Syrup: Dosages, Side Effects And Contraindications

We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages from new supplements we should be taking to lose weight, have better immune systems, detox our bodies, improve our hair, skin, sexual performance and all manner of claims.

But sometimes, we rush ahead without looking at the potential problems we could stir up if we’re currently on medication or have any health problems. Point in case when I started taking a women’s supplement touted as ‘amazing’ and it interfered with my thyroid medication as the supplement contained iodine.

Just because something is touted as natural or beneficial, you must ALWAYS check that it’s suitable for you.

Yacon Syrup: Can anyone use it?

The beauty of yacon syrup, as is the beauty of sacha inchi (now available in an oil for dressings) and coconut oil, is that they are 100% natural derivatives of raw products. Yacon is a tuber vegetable used in cooking and medicines across South America, and the syrup is obtained by distilling and evaporating the juice.

So for that reason, it should be able to be used by anyone, and in fact only one documented case of asphyxia (allergic reaction) has ever been noted[1] after one woman received a skin prick test.

Of course, if you ever experience any unwanted side effects, you should always stop taking any supplement or medication.

How much yacon syrup should I take?

The human studies have been conducted using 0.29 g and 0.14 g fructooligosaccharides per kg per day , and found that the lower amount was tolerated well but raising to a higher dose has caused problems with bloating and discomfort. On the Dr Oz show, his subjects took a teaspoon three times a day, which should equal around 15mg. I would advise starting with this amount and increasing slowly if you wish.

What about side effects?

The side effects noticed on the higher dosages were flatulence and bloating so “the recommended daily consumption of yacon syrup with no undesirable gastrointestinal effects is 0.14 g fructooligosaccharides/kg”, according to the seminal Gentra et al study[2] on yacon and humans.

Are there any contraindications?

Like other natural products such as coconut oil, there are no interactions between yacon syrup existing medications that have been documented. The only problem I could foresee is if you consume too much and experience a laxative effect, it could lessen the effect of any medications you are taking. As with any supplement, natural or not, please ALWAYS stick to the recommended dosages.

Yacon Syrup: What to look for

There are many products out there, and very few with poor reviews. Just look on Amazon and you’ll see that there are over 200 products but on the first page of Amazon, there are just 190 reviews for the 16 products. So it’s in its infancy, but I’m delighted not to see our beloved Dr Oz’s name splashed all over them – as we all know, he doesn’t promote specific brands so know that if you’re looking at a version that says it’s Dr Oz approved or verified.

Yacon syrup is not cheap, retailing at around $25-30 for an 8oz bottle. This should be enough for 2 weeks if you’re taking a teaspoon before each meal. Don’t be tempted by cheap products that may compromise the quality, aim for:

  • Pure yacon syrup with no additives or other ingredients
  • A syrup rather than tablets (unless they’re filled gel cap
  • Organic where possible
  • Look for raw on the label

Good luck! If you have any story to tell regarding dosage or success stories, please feel free to share them below.


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20358031
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19254816

Green Coffee Bean Reviews: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

Hi and welcome back to my series of articles on the diet supplement that is causing a storm: green coffee bean extract. You might have already read my detailed Green Coffee Bean review, in which I saw some moderate weight loss for the first few weeks, which then upped the ante in the second stage.

I explained how this is my favorite of all the new weight loss wonder drugs to come to market, mostly because I loooove coffee so I also felt more alert and focused, as well as losing weight. I also helped outline what to look for when buying a green coffee bean supplement, and pointed out the potential side effects and contraindications of green coffee beans, for those doing the sensible thing and checking out whether green coffee bean was for them.

But what does everyone else think?

I’m just one person in 7 billion so what worked for me might not work for you. It depends on age, health, diet, exercise, metabolism and general genetic make-up, so what I’ve done is round up the reviews to give you a general idea of how effective green coffee bean extract is, from a variety of sources.

First off, the clinical sites

AlternativeMedicine.com gives a good overview although doesn’t focus so much on consumer reviews. But it’s a good spot to find a quick overview of the potential benefits, such as how it can assist with blood pressure, metabolism and obesity. Bottom line according to them; it could have many benefits but always consult a physician.

WebMD.com does include green coffee bean reviews as well as clinical information, on the other hand. The great thing about this site is that you can look for the benefit you’re looking for and see how people have rated it. Interestingly, the supplement has only received an average of 2.5 out of 5 from users looking for a solution for obesity or weight loss, but around 3.6 out of 5 for those looking for a solution to blood pressure or general wellness. Comments range from extreme weight loss (over 25lb) to sick stomachs, and everything in between. Bottom line, the supplements out there range from high strength genuine articles through to phony or inferior products, so overall the ratings will represent this.

Forums

Sports, health or weight loss forums are often the best place to read real reviews, as the phony ones stand out a mile! People also discuss a bit more openly as they may do on, say, Facebook or even Amazon. So what are the people on forums saying about green coffee bean extract?

MyFitnessPal reviewers were minimal but generally fell into two camps; one that hadn’t tried the supplements but thought the whole thing was a sham, and the second that saw moderate to good results (between 2lb and 7lb in a week with little change to diet or exercise). Overall positive, with particular note to generally feeling great along with moderate weight loss.

Sparkpeople.com commenters are similar in that very few have actually taken the supplement, but have a strong opinion on the diet industry in general. The handful of people that actually had taken the supplement saw some good weight loss results.

Bodybuilding.com forum contributors were a little more upbeat, calling primary ingredient chlorogenic acid a “nice overlooked ingredient”. Contributor DavidVlad lost around 5lbs with no significant changes to exercise or diet.

WeddingWire.com users saw moderate to good results, with users losing between 12lb and 24lb over three months; there were no specific recommendations but overall it was more positive without the skepticism. One lady said that they gave her stomach ache and she had to stop, however.

Amazon

The Daddy of review sites, there are nearly 10,000 review of green coffee bean extract on the first page of Amazon alone. The lowest rating (with around 300 reviewers) weighed in at just 2.4 out of 5, but the best-selling products, such as NatureWise Green Coffee Bean Extract, scored nearly 4 out of 5 from over 2,500 reviewers. There were some higher rated products but they had fewer reviewers. Typical comments were:

  • “Excellent product, it really works!”
  • “Easiest weight loss ever.”
  • “Actually not a gimmick.”
  • “Great for weight loss.”
  • “Awesome.”
  • “Working great so far…”

…for the best products, to;

  • “It gave me a headache every time.”
  • “Didn’t do anything.”
  • “Another disappointment.”

…for the lower rated products.

Bottom line; do your research and read the reviews before you settle on a particular brand.

The stores

Walmart.com sells a few brands of green coffee bean extract, with the products being rated from 3 out of 5 to 4.5 out of 5 for its Java Slim brand. The comments range from “I lost 27lbs with this product” (Java Slim) and “Great choice for weight loss”, through to comments such as “alright” and “too soon to tell” for the lower rated products.

Target only sells one brand and has one reviewer, so it’s too early to say whether theirs is a good brand, although the one reviewer rated it 4 out of 5.

GNC.com has a range that has been voted between 3 and 4 out of 5, with the comments from the 500 or so reviewers going the full spectrum, from “not worth the money” and “no difference after 2 weeks” through to “miracle pill” and “great appetite suppresser”. One of its leading sellers, ResVitále, would be recommended by over 80% of its reviewers.

Social Media

The Twitter, and Facebook for that matter, discussions seem to be from more research-based or sales companies. There were very few real user discussions to be found, but the comments that I did find were from celebrities who were using it in conjunction with healthy eating. Green Coffee Bean on Facebook has more than 30,000 likes, but the comments are damning them because of their “free trial” with auto charging and shipping. Be aware that you can always ‘buy’ likes on Facebook, and research the user comments before giving away your credit card details. Typical comments included “do not waste your money on these products”, “imposters” and the more ominous “I do not appreciate the way this “FREE” trial has turned into free access of my bank account”. Always be careful and read the small print, nothing in this life is free especially when it comes to the diet industry.

YouTube

I always like to check in on registered nutritionist and PhD Maria Jane Clifford. She refers her clients to Green Coffee Bean and calls it a “great and natural healthy supplement for weight loss”. There are of course the eponymous before and after photos, such as this site, but you never truly know whether these are genuinely related to the product that they’re being used to advertise.  The lovely lady at WeightLossPeeps has been steadily losing 5lbs a month with no major changes to diet or exercise, whereas MrsCeeCeeDee saw very few results. Bottom line; results are going to differ from person to person, and the reviews on YouTube are mixed. I’d recommend researching your chosen product based on store or Amazon reviewers, then following up by checking on YouTube to see whether there are any videos or photos from uses of that particular product.

I hope that you’ve found this round up of reviews helpful. Generally I’d say that this product generates more positive reviews than negative, but as always (particularly with the Dr Oz effect of sham companies setting up immediately after the show to cash in), I’d say that not all green coffee bean extract supplements are the same, but if you get a superior product that fulfils the ‘what to look for in green coffee bean supplements’ requirements, you should see weight loss when you continue with your healthy diet and moderate activity. Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or stories, I’d love to hear them!

Red Berry Diet: What’s All The Fuss Around Raspberry Ketones?

Once you’ve read my Raspberry Ketones review, I’ll tell you exactly what to look for if you’re looking to buy Raspberry Ketones and what to look for to get the best product! Michelle Carrillo.

The Full Review

Hi, and welcome to my no-holds-barred review of Raspberry Ketones. Since their ‘discovery’ on prime time show Dr Oz, we’ve been racing to the stores to try a new way to lose weight; with minimal exercise and diet changes, and a big intake of red berry antioxidants.

But the diet industry and some of the players in it are notoriously unscrupulous, and some people have tried Raspberry Ketones and experienced very little impact on their weight. Does this mean that it’s a scam, or is there a trick to buying and supplementing with Raspberry Ketones that these people are missing?

In my extended review I’ll look at the research for, and against, to help you make an informed decision as to whether to integrate Raspberry Ketones into your diet for weight loss and all-round health. Thanks for reading my Raspberry Ketone review, I hope you find it helpful!

What are Raspberry Ketones?

Before we look at who should take Raspberry Ketones and how to find the best Raspberry Ketones for weight loss, let’s take a minute to look at why Raspberry Ketones have been propelled to the top of our wish list. It might surprise you to discover that they have not ‘just’ been discovered, raspberry ketones have been around for a very long time in the following forms:

  • Raspberry food flavorings, such as jams, jellos, candies
  • Raspberry aromas, in perfumes, shampoos and creams
  • It’s also widely used in cosmetics

The raspberry ketone itself is a natural phenolic (like an alcohol but more acidic) compound that’s found in red raspberries and, to a lesser extent, in blackberries and cranberries. It also has a similar molecular structure to capsaicin (found in chili peppers), which have thermogenic and subsequent metabolism-boosting properties.

So why would I supplement my diet with Raspberry Ketones?

I mean, if it’s just a chemical compound that’s used for aromas and flavorings, how can this affect my weight loss? Well, many people correctly think that raspberries contain a lot of antioxidants, but there are a LOT more benefits than those that meet the eye!

  • Reduction in body weight through two methods:
    • By causing the body temperature to rise, like capsaicin, and boosting our metabolic rate and helping us burn calories faster, through the intake of rheosmin which boosts enzyme activity, oxygen consumption and heat production in our cells[1]
    • By encouraging the production of a hormone called adinopectin, which regulates the body’s fat production. Typically, lower levels of adinopectin tend to be associated with obese or overweight people
    • Helping the liver fight back! Through the release of adinopectin through the raspberry’s flavonoid named Tiliroside, the buildup of plaque on our arterial walls can be prevented and we can fight off fatty liver disease[2] (caused by diet, not alcohol-related liver disease)
    • Keeping a healthy fat level: a healthy liver helps us burn off existing fat stores through an efficient metabolism and prevents excessive buildup of new fat stores. Raspberry ketones also decrease our natural production of pancreatic lipase, the enzyme that makes us store fat[3]
    • Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes; Hormone adinopectin can help prevent the onset of diet-related, or Type 2, diabetes[4], and inhibit the activity of enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which usually breaks down food to release the glucose, so Raspberry Ketones can help control blood sugar levels
    • Cancer-busting antioxidants; Raspberries are bursting with natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, lowering oxidative stress and decreasing the risk of cancer-forming cells
    • Lowering the appetite; As with many metabolism-boosting supplements, they can leave the user with more energy and less focused on snacking. Simply being more active and being able to think more clearly than when suffering from the usual sugar spikes and post-carb lethargy can help us control our food intake more than before
    • The stuff you can see! An interesting Japanese study found that with a topical application of raspberry ketones, skin elasticity and hair growth, up to 50% even in alopecia sufferers, could be expected

How are Raspberry Ketones specifically linked to weight loss?

All of the above benefits show that we should be incorporating Raspberry Ketones into our diet, but how do they specifically help with our weight loss?

The best article that I found for explaining just how raspberry ketones support weight loss was from website WHFoods.org (World’s Healthiest Foods). It explains, although in slightly scientific terms, just how raspberry ketones can help us lose weight and keep it off; the Holy Grail, right?! Here’s a recap:

  1. Raspberry ketones boost our metabolism in fat cells by increasing activity, oxygenation and heat production, so we are less likely to store new fat there and may be able to use up existing fat stores
  2. Raspberry ketones reduce the activity of our fat-digesting enzyme so that we digest and absorb less fat
  3. Raspberry ketones increase the production of hormone adinopectin, to improve blood sugar balance and insulin regulation
  4. Raspberry ketones slow down the activity of enzyme alpha-glucosidase, responsible for breaking down starches into sugars, to significantly reduce blood sugar spikes

Can’t I just eat raspberries?

Around 1-4mg of Raspberry Ketone is gathered from every kilogram of raspberries, so in order to get the recommended amount of around 100mg a day, you’d need to eat around 90lbs according to our friend Dr Oz! Now I LOVE raspberries but I’d struggle to even incorporate a single 1lb into my daily diet!! Make it easier on yourself and just grab the tablets. Raspberry Ketones can be produced synthetically so quickly and cost effectively, so you get all the benefits for a low price.

Raspberry Ketones: Where’s the evidence?

Now there are clinical studies around to show the efficacy of Raspberry Ketones on weight loss, but they are lacking in numbers and what some might call rigorous testing. I’ve found several conducted on mice, but to be honest the research is pretty limited at the present time. So, whilst the FDA has concluded that Raspberry Ketones are ‘generally safe for consumption’, I think that the research is far from empirical and needs a lot more clinical studies to be unequivocally linked to weight loss. As health expert and pharmacist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Catherine Ulbricht, said; “Reliable research on the use of raspberry ketone for any health condition in humans is currently lacking. Further high-quality research is needed.” But I want to present the three studies to you so that you can make an informed decision:

  • In one study, mice were fed a high fat diet and 2% of their total diet comprised raspberry ketones. The raspberry ketones were found to prevent an increase in overall weight, liver weight and fatty tissue[5]
  • A study conducted in 1970 concluded that when given a dosage of 100mg/kg, rats showed no effect on body weight[6]
  • An in-vitro study using humans found that raspberry ketones may increase the production of adiponectin, an essential element of fat and glucose metabolism[7]

So, whilst research is currently limited and a little inconclusive, there are still some positive and encouraging aspects.

Is it trusted and safe to use?

An interesting question. Has it been evaluated and approved by the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) as fit-for-purpose as a weight loss aid? No. Has it been approved as ‘generally safe for consumption’? Yes. Will we most likely have been consuming it as a flavor agent for most of our lives? Yes. Raspberry Ketones in high dosages haven’t been approved by the FDA, along with many supplements of its type, but it is a compound synthetically produced from a natural product. As long as you fulfil the health profile (see below and also my Side Effects and Who Should Use Raspberry Ketones article), you should be safe to try supplementing. It should go without saying that if you experience any adverse effects, stop and get medical advice. In fact, it’s always better to embark on using supplements after you’ve chatted it through with your physician.

Who should and who shouldn’t’t take Raspberry Ketones?

Being a natural supplement, there are few people that should avoid taking Raspberry Ketones. However, until more research has been undertaken, it is recommended that the following people should avoid it, or use it under medical supervision:

  • If you have issues with your blood pressure, please take advice from a physician before using Raspberry Ketones
  • If you have a chronic disease, whether physical or mental such as Alzheimer’s, and are taking medications, please consult a physician before using Raspberry Ketones
  • If you are pregnant, trying to conceive or nursing, it’s advisable not to use Raspberry Ketones until more research has been done
  • There is a certain discussion around Raspberry Ketones and the thyroid; if you are using Thyroxine or have any thyroid problems, consult a physician

For a more in-depth look at Raspberry Ketones, the side effects and contraindications, you can access my full report here.

Finding Raspberry Ketones: What to Look For

Once you’ve decided that you want to try supplementing your diet with Raspberry Ketones, the next important thing to do is to find a reputable brand….

In general, I would say:

  • Always use a name or store that you trust, and if possible, opt for a version that offers a money-back guarantee or check that the manufacturer is FDA-registered
  • Look for 100% natural or pure raspberry ketones, not ketones grown in a lab
  • Opt for versions with no added ingredients, fillers or binders
  • Avoid any version that says ‘Proprietary blend’, you want 100% raspberry ketones
  • Make sure it contains at least 450mg of raspberry ketone per serving
  • Be careful with ‘free trials’ and automatic shipping, these can work out very hard to cancel and end up costing your health as well as your bank balance

Taking Raspberry Ketones: Dosage and instructions for optimum effects

In the successful rat trial, the rats were given between 0.545 and 2.18g per kg, which equates to a human equivalent of around 80 to 340mg per kilogram of weight. According to examine.com, the correlating amounts for humans should be within the following parameters:

  • 870-3,700mg for a 150lb person
  • 1,100-5,000mg for a 200lb person
  • 1,500-6,200mg for a 250lb person

However, these amounts are extremely high and show no evidence of supporting weight loss against the recommended daily intake of 450mg or 500mg two or three times daily, before meals. Some brands, such as NatureWise recommend between 1 and 2 because of their high concentration.

Take them on an empty stomach, half an hour before a meal. You can choose if you want to take it before breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, or however you want. For me, it makes more sense to take them before your two biggest meals of the day, or before any particularly starchy meal (to help control blood sugar levels afterwards).

The million dollar question: Do Raspberry Ketones assist with weight loss?

At the moment, the jury is out. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of happy and positive customer reviews, but nearly as many that claim no results at all. Why is this? Personally, I think that there are some cleverly-worded dud or inferior pills out there, call it the ‘Dr Oz effect’, as many of these companies appear out of the woodwork as soon as a product has been touted on the show.

I tried two versions; one containing a couple of additional ingredients such as African mango, for a couple of weeks, then a pure ketones supplement. Both made me feel a little spaced, like I was on an intense coffee buzz, but that wasn’t altogether unpleasant as I’m a coffee addict anyway!

I didn’t snack nearly as much as usual, although one could argue that a big glass of water half an hour before a meal usually curbs the appetite.

Did I lose weight? Maybe a pound or two, nothing hugely noticeable, but then again I had a holiday during that time and I usually add a good 7lbs over a fortnight’s break (glutton I know! It’s my downtime!!) but I weigh just under my regular weight now.

So, inconclusive I know, but I certainly didn’t put on weight, even with the cocktails, which was an unexpected bonus! My advice? Try it for yourself, it has worked for so many people. I’m just about to start again without the curve-ball of a vacation, and I’m hoping to get rid of the 5lb or so I could do with shifting. I’ll keep you posted!

What’s great about Raspberry Ketones?

  • Relatively inexpensive (a good brand will cost around $20 for a month’s worth)
  • Naturally occurring chemical
  • Strong appetite suppressant qualities
  • Keeps blood sugar levels under control
  • Provides energy throughout the day
  • Helps rid of stubborn fat stores
  • Easy-to-swallow veggie capsules available

Anything not so great?

  • Less than scrupulous versions full of fillers, you need to buy wisely
  • The above issue has resulted in many negative reviews
  • Can cause anxiety and a rise in temperature
  • Can curb appetite and lead to extreme weight loss

What others are saying about Raspberry Ketones?

I’ve looked at various sources of reviews, from medical sites to Amazon, health food stores to weight loss forums, and for me, the results have been inconsistent. I see this a lot with new diet ‘miracle’ products, not because the product itself is dubious but usually for two reasons. Firstly, there are unscrupulous companies out there that pounce on shows like Dr Oz and have inferior products for sale within hours of the shows going live. And secondly, because pills and supplements are hailed as ‘miracle’ weight loss aids, so people think that they can eat whatever they like (in some cases, even drop off their old diet) and lose weight. Now this simply isn’t possible folks, we still need to moderate our eating and try to be as active as possible. It’s a supplement – it’s key to remember this word – view it as a ‘supplement to a healthy lifestyle’ for optimum results.

Here are a selection of the typical comments I found from a wide range of reviewer sites:

  • Columnist for Woman Magazine, Julia Miller, used Raspberry Ketones with a colon cleanser and stated “I couldn’t be any happier with the results. I lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks, no special diet and no intense exercise.”
  • “Outstanding product!”
  • “You didn’t’t get bigger overnight and you’re not going to lose it overnight, but it does work, be patient.”
  • “Since the first day I started taking these, I do not crave sweets at all.”
  • “Wonderful and it really works.”
  • “This, along with exercise, low sugar and low carb diet, I have lost 30lb so far.”
  • “Did not work for me.”
  • “Have taken these for 2 weeks with no effect at all, really disappointed.”
  • “Each time I’I’ve tried them they’ve given me the jitters and made me feel like I have consumed way too much caffeine!”
  • “Better than hoped for.”

My opinion: A summary review of Raspberry Ketones

It seems that over the last year, a wealth of supplements and diet aids have surfaced; Garcinia Cambogia, African Mango, Green Coffee Bean Extract and of course Raspberry Ketones. Many success stories have been as a result of a supplement that contains some or all of these, although there have been some encouraging results using Raspberry Ketones alone. For me, it was not the most dramatic weight loss I’ve seen, but it stopped me putting on the usual pounds that I gain on vacation. I would recommend finding a reputable supplier that offers a money-back guarantee, and trying the product for yourself. Just don’t look at it as a replacement for healthy eating and activity!


[1] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39
[2] http://globalhealthideas.org/raspberry-ketones-improve-liver-health-and-aid-weight-loss/
[3] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39
[4] http://www.evitamins.com/a/key-health-benefits-raspberry-ketone-230
[5] Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005;77:194-204
[6] Gaunt IF, Sharratt M, Colley J, Lansdown AB, Grasso P. Acute and short-term toxicity of p-hydroxybenzyl acetone in rats. Food Cosmet Toxicol.1970;8:349-358
[7] Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2010;76:1654-1658

Green Coffee Bean: What Are The Side Effects and Contraindications?

Hello and a very warm welcome back to my articles focusing on new wonder supplement, Green Coffee Bean (GCB) extract!

You may have already read my extended Green Coffee Bean Extract review or researched for yourself using my What To Look For And Where To Buy article, well this article is something that you MUST read before taking GCB: What are the Side Effects of Green Coffee Beans?

But Green Coffee Beans Are All Natural, How Can There Be Side Effects?

Yep, green coffee beans are just unroasted coffee beans, so they should be natural right? Wrong. In the same way that coffee affects people in different ways, so do GCBs. It’s therefore very important to read the following guidelines; if in doubt, always check with your physician before adding any supplement to your diet.

Typical side effects

Read any mix of reviews and typical side effects you´ll read about include:

  • Jittery, like a big caffeine boost
  • Diarrhea, or other stomach upset
  • Nausea or sickness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or poor sleep
  • Elevated heart rate…

….I mean, it’s a hit of coffee! You can expect the same symptoms really as if you drink a lot of coffee so if you’re not used to coffee, you should build up your supplement intake slowly.

Is Green Coffee Bean Suitable for Everyone?

At the moment, only a handful of studies have been undertaken, and therefore there is not enough information to state with clarity who should and who shouldn’t supplement their diet with Green Coffee Bean. However, WebMD – which usually errs on the side of caution – recommends that people with the following medical issues should use caution or consult their physician:

  • Anxiety disorders; caffeine may aggravate these disorders and I read of one woman who was bipolar and felt worse on taking GCB
  • Bleeding disorders; there is “some concern” that GCB may exacerbate bleeding disorders like haemophilia
  • Diabetes; research suggests that green coffee beans may affect the blood sugar levels by either increasing or decreasing the levels. Use with caution and monitor your blood sugar levels carefully if supplementing with GCB
  • IBS; caffeine can make irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhoea symptoms worse
  • Glaucoma; some users have experienced eye problems when taking GCB, as caffeine can increase the pressure in the eye. Avoid if you have glaucoma
  • High blood pressure or hypertension; for those that don’t regularly consume much caffeine, the caffeine in GCB could increase blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis; sufferers may aggravate their condition with too much caffeine, which can cause calcium to be flushed out of the bones
  • Pregnant, trying to conceive and nursing; as with any caffeine products, these women should avoid using GCB for optimum reproductive and maternal health

As with any supplement, it makes sense to consult your physician first. And (I’ve said it a hundred times and will continue to do so!!!!) ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you have any adverse effects with GCB or any medicine or supplement, stop or reduce your intake. What is right for one person may not be right for you, even if it is natural.

Thanks for reading this article on Green Coffee Bean and the side effects, I hope you’ve found it useful. Got a story to share? Please add it below! All the best, Michelle.

Yacon Syrup: Does The Clinical Research Support The Weight Loss Claims?

In this, my latest series of research articles, I’m putting yacon syrup under the spotlight. If you’re anything like me, you probably groan when you hear about another ‘miracle pill’ or ‘diet game-changer’, or any of the other hyperbole associated with these old-but-new discoveries.

I mean, how many more pills, potions, fruits, veg or seeds can be discovered?

But then, you read a little further, and you discover that if you can take the exaggerated weight loss claims with a pinch of salt, some of these new discoveries can actually benefit you in a whole range of ways. Forget the miracle diet pill that lets you sit on the sofa eating cookies and not exercising and losing weight, that doesn’t exist I’m afraid.

However…I would like you to pay attention to this new syrup, as it could bring a lot of benefits to you and your lifestyle. I’ve found at least 20 clinical that have been undertaken on both humans and rodents, which you can view in my Yacon Syrup and the Health Benefits article for more information. I this article I’m focused specifically on yacon and weight loss though.

Have there been many clinical studies conducted on the yacon, in relation to weight loss?

In short, no. Unlike most new herbal supplement, numerous tests have been conducted within the last 3 years, testing the product for potential properties in boosting immunity, reducing weight and body fat, curbing appetite, improving blood sugar levels and more, but there have been very few to date focused specifically on yacon syrup and weight loss.

I’ve detailed what I could find though, so that you can make an informed decision about whether yacon syrup could help you lose those stubborn pounds:

Study 1: Genta et al, 2009 [1]

Format: Placebo controlled, double-blind

Subjects:  Obese and slightly dyslipidemic pre-menopausal women, 120 days

Dosage: Two doses were administered; 0.29 g and 0.14 g fructooligosaccharides per kg per day

Findings: “Daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index. Additionally, decrease in fasting serum insulin…was observed. The consumption of yacon syrup increased defecation frequency and satiety sensation.” Yacon was better received at the lower dosage.

Study 2: on the Doctor Oz show

Format: Uncontrolled

Subjects:  40 women

Dosage: A teaspoon of yacon syrup before meals for 4 weeks

Findings:

  • 29 (73%) of the women lost weight
  • 14 women lost five pounds or more
  • Average weight loss was 2.9 pounds
  • Average reduction in waist size was 1.9 inches
  • Total weight lost among all the women was 153 pounds
  • 27 (68%) recommended Yacon as a weight loss tool.

Study 3: A systematic review of medicinal, anti-obesity plants by Hasani-Ranjbar et al in 2013[2] found that “studies with Nigella Sativa, Camellia Sinensis…Yacon syrup… sea buckthorn and bilberries show significant decreases in body weight” but concluded that “safety of these plants still remains to be elucidated by further long-term studies.”

Is that enough to base a sound, clinical opinion on?

No, absolutely not. But does the evidence point to something very beneficial? Yes, I believe so. I truly believe in supplementing an otherwise healthy lifestyle (and I don’t mean the gym religiously and a ridiculous, carb-free, sugar-free, alcohol and caffeine-free diet, I mean a generally healthy, active life where we can enjoy a glass of wine and chocolate when we feel like it) with products like coconut oil and yacon syrup, particular both in an organic state.

Because we’ll lose weight? Maybe.

Because they are truly beneficial products that have been relied upon for centuries that could help us lose weight? Exactly. Let’s look at the bigger picture; even if yacon syrup isn’t the miracle weight loss pill we hoped for, it is certainly a sugar substitute that is beneficial for us in many other ways.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to share your weight loss stories below, good or bad, as we’d love to hear from you.


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19254816
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23777875

Yacon Syrup: What Health Benefits Does This Syrup Yield?

Welcome back to my series focusing on new wonder supplement, yacon syrup. In these articles, I am supplementing my extended review of yacon syrup with a series of smaller articles, focusing on one specific area of research. If you’re reading this article, chances are you are looking for more information on whether yacon syrups has any additional benefits besides weight loss.

I’ve scoured the research archives to report back on the health benefits of yacon syrup, and I don’t mind admitting that there are more than I expected! I was amazed when I researched coconut oil that there were so many benefits I’d never expected, and the same can be said of yacon syrup.

What was the yacon originally used for?

Originating in South America, the vegetable was – and still is – used in herbal medicine systems across the continent. According to the ‘Awesome Rawsome website, in Bolivia the vegetable was eaten raw as a diuretic for kidney and bladder problems, with the leaves used to treat cystitis, hepatosis, and nephrosis. In Peru, the leaves were ground and applied to treat myalgia and rheumatism, and in Brazil the leaves were brewed as a tea and drunk to help diabetes.

So what are the key benefits of yacon syrup?

Obviously, we’re revved up by the purported weight loss properties of yacon. But before I get to that (you can read my full research article focused on yacon syrup and weight loss here), let’s look at some of the other benefits which have been used in South American medicine for centuries:

  • Better gut health – yacon syrup increases the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut[1] which are essential for digestive health[2]
  • Reduction in colon transit time for food to pass through the body, with one study[3] documenting a reduction from almost 60 to just under 39 hours to pass through, a reduction of 33%.
  • Improved immunity – some studies have shown that supplementing with yacon can help prevent the risk of autoimmune and metabolic disorders, such as this 2010 rodent study[4] that demonstrated the antimicrobial properties of the yacon leaves against MRSA, and this 2012 rodent study[5] that found that “the consumption of yacon does not exert negative effects on the immune system, helps to preserve an anti-inflammatory state in phagocytic cells, and improves mucosal immunity, possibly preventing the risks associated with autoimmune and metabolic diseases.”
  • Positive effect on cholesterol – various studies have shown an increase of ‘good’ cholesterol such as this 2012 rodent study that concluded that “a positive effect on triglycerides levels and HDL-cholesterol was observed” when diabetic rats were fed the yacon extract
  • Helps with constipation – studies have shown that as well as a significant decrease in time spent passing food through the body, the stool frequency and softness have both improved, making it a useful supplement for those suffering from constipation
  • Regulates blood sugar levels – particularly in menopausal women with insulin resistance, and a 2013 rodent study[6] saw fasting glucose levels reduced by around 9%

Are there any other health benefits?

Essentially, some studies show that yacon syrup helps with weight loss in the following ways:

  • Low calorie sugar alternative at just 20kcal per teaspoon
  • Helps clear the digestive tract, see above colon transit time point
  • Increases defecation, both frequency and ease
  • Reduces insulin resistance, in that the usual sugar spike is not present even though yacon syrup behaves like a sugar when you consume it, i.e. raises blood sugar levels
  • Curbs our appetite by decreasing the body’s natural production of ghrelin, our ‘hunger hormone’

You can find out more about the science behind these claims in my in-depth article focusing on the clinical research conducted to date on the yacon fruit.

Is there anything bad about yacon?

As I mentioned above, in Brazil the leaves are steeped as a tea. However, in the western world we’ve undergone more tests and potentially linked the yacon leaf tea to kidney problems. In this 2011 report by Oliveira et al[7], they conclude that “The renal damage was associated with increased blood glucose levels after prolonged oral administration of the {extract}…Based on our results, we do not recommend the oral use of yacon leaves to treat diabetes.”

So there you have it!

A natural food rich in benefits. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, there are many benefits to this low-sugar carb that make it a useful and healthy addition to your everyday diet. Experienced any of the benefits above or even some other benefits I haven’t documented? Please share them below and join in the discussion!


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12926870
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23037903
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18781073
[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20119720
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23176799
[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23712282
[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20951787

Sacha Inchi Inca Peanuts: Miracle Superfood Or Just Another Fad?

Is it my imagination or is a new superfood discovered each week? Just when you think that they’ve uncovered all there is to uncover in the world of health and nutrition (see my articles on chia seeds and Garcinia Cambogia, for example), a new natural product has been thrust into the spotlight: Sacha Inchi, also known as Inca Peanuts.

Sacha What?

By Michael Hermann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michael Hermann (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sacha Inchi, or Plukenetia Volubilis to give them their scientific name, have formed an essential part of the diet for those living in the Amazonian rainforest for over 3,000 years.  Harvested primarily in the Peruvian Andes, these nuts (which are actually seeds) are a rich source of omega 3s, omega 6s and proteins. Furthermore they’re rich in Vitamin A and alpha-tocopherol vitamin E and, according to the Underground Health Reporter, are 96% digestible and 100% irritation-free.

Health benefits of Sacha Inchi

These little seeds are a natural source of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, and contain three times as much omega 3s and twice as much fiber as walnuts, in comparison. In fact, Sacha Inchi is said to be the highest concentration of essential fatty acids in the world, at nearly 50% omega 3 by volume. Some of the nutritional and health benefits of the Sacha Inchi can be listed as follows:

  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs) protect the central nervous system[1], according to research published by the Archives of Neurology
  • Increased levels of omega 3 EFAs also reduce age-related macular degeneration and improve vision, according to the Journal of Ophthalmology[2]
  • Sacha Inchi can improve circulation and blood pressure
  • Sacha Inchi can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and improve good cholesterol (HDL), according to a study undertaken by the Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Publica in 2011[3]
  • Omega 3 controls healthy blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of Type II Diabetes
  • EFAs are a great anti-inflammatory

Other benefits of Sacha Inchi

  • Can be used as a weight loss aid; a study in 2002 by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry[4] found the nuts high in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the production of happy hormone serotonin which can suppress appetite
  • Increased production of serotonin also improves mood and lifts depression
  • Natural, non-GMO harvest
  • 100% Vegan
  • Nutty, tasty kernels which can also be made into an oil
  • Natural oil can form irritant-free soaps and creams
  • No fishy aftertaste that some EFAs can suffer from

How to prepare Sacha Inchi

The nuts have to be roasted at a low temperature, no more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure that their oils maintain all of the health benefits. Once cooked, much like raw peanuts, the kernels can be popped out of their star-shaped shell. So pretty!!  In terms of recipes, I love this acorn squash and sacha inchi soup from vegan blog Choosing Raw contributor Genna, it has such a unique flavor.

For those with a sweet tooth, I found this recipe for a sacha inchi ‘nutella’, I can’t wait to try it out for a healthier alternative!

Sacha Inchi oil is a cold-pressed oil that can be used in many recipes too, such as this sacha inchi pesto, and the oil is available from many health food stores.

Got a health story or recipe to share related to sacha inchi? Please post it below!  I may follow this article up with other sacha inchi news and reviews, so please stay tuned! Thanks and all the best, Michelle.


[1] http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/omega-3-for-memory#axzz2hjFeMPeu

[2] http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.htm

[3] Garmendia F, Pando R, Ronceros G. “Effect of sacha inchi oil (plukenetia volúbilis l) on the lipid profile of patients with hyperlipoproteinemia.” Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2011 Dec;28(4):628-32.

[4] Sathe SK, Hamaker BR, Sze-Tao KW, Venkatachalam M. “Isolation, purification, and biochemical characterization of a novel water soluble protein from Inca peanut (Plukenetia volubilis L.).” J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Aug 14;50(17):4906-8

Green Coffee Bean: A Review Of The Benefits

Hi! If you haven’t heard the buzz around green coffee bean (GCB) extract, or antioxidant, you must have been on holiday in a quiet place for a very long time! Since their discovery and subsequent promotion on the Dr Oz show, we’ve been going mad for these little beans, envisaging what we’ll do when we’re the weight we’ve always wanted to be!

So just what are the weight loss benefits of green coffee beans, and are there any other benefits? For sure! I’ve been looking at GCBs for a while now, you may have read some of my other articles such as the Side Effects of Green Coffee Beans, and Where to Buy & What to Look For, so now I want to outline to you exactly why you should put these on your shopping list!

First and foremost: the weight loss benefits

I mean, that’s why we’ve gone so mad for them, right? We all want to lose those stubborn pounds, particularly if we don’t have to change our diet or lifestyle so much! So just what weight loss benefits does GCB extract offer?

  • green coffee graphProven weight loss; in a study in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, 16 subjects were given either a placebo, 750mg daily or 1050mg daily for several weeks, then given a break, then resumed the study with a different amount or placebo, another break and then the final trial. The results were outstanding;
    • When taking the placebo, subjects lost between 0 and 1 kg
    • When taking the low dosage (750mg daily) subjects lost between 2 and 3kg
    • When taking the high dosage (1050mg daily) subjects lost around 8kg (see graph)
  • Overall, subjects lost an average of 18lb, or 10% of their body weight over the 22 weeks
  • Proven weight loss #2; when participants took 400mg 3 times a day on the Dr Oz show for just two weeks, those taking the supplement lost twice as much weight as those on the placebo. OK, we’re only talking about 2lb vs 1lb but still, it was in just 2 weeks so if this was continued for 22 weeks, this could lead to up to 22lb of weight loss

Other health benefits because of course, it’s not all about weight loss…

  • Key ingredient of GCB, chlorogenic acid, could help lower blood sugar levels; just one 400mg capsule before food can help reduce blood sugar spikes by 32%[1]
  • Chlorogenic acid helps the body dispose of fat efficiently and quickly
  • GCB could help reduce blood pressure, according to one study using animals and several tests on humans with mild hypertension
  • Reduced blood pressure can lead to improved energy, mental clarity, hormone function and detoxification capabilities
  • Lower weight can help reduce instances of Type 2 Diabetes[2]
  • Huge antioxidant properties; 2500 on a scale where an orange is 3 and blueberries 10[3], to help fight free radicals in the body
  • Increased energy through caffeine consumption
  • Increased concentration and focus through caffeine consumption, this fun infogram shows just when to have coffee during the day to perform optimally (and when to have a beer!)

So it’s not just weight loss that you can benefit from, there are benefits abound! And whilst the research is still relatively young, the pointers are that these natural beans could help you in a ton of ways. Try them for yourself, once you’ve read my Green Coffee Beans and Contraindications article to make sure that you are able to safely take them.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on the benefits of Green Coffee Beans. If you’ve experienced an unexpected benefit, please share your story below! Best wishes, Michelle.

The Caffeine Everyone’s Talking About: What’s All The Noise Around Green Coffee Beans?

The Top 3 Green Coffee Supplements

Hello! My regular readers will know that I have a huge interest in the diet and health supplement industries, and my latest supplement under the microscope are causing a huge buzz – Green Coffee Beans.

In my detailed review of Green Coffee Beans, I look at the pros and cons, the side effects and the health benefits, the weight loss properties and the clinical research findings, or lack of. I’ll also include a round-up of the worldwide reviews, and help you learn what you should look for if you want to try them for yourselves. I hope you find this article useful, and welcome your feedback and stories you would like to share about Green Coffee Beans! Thanks for reading.

Start losing weight with my top choice for Green Coffee Bean Extract.

What are Green Coffee Beans?

Before we take a look at the weight loss and health benefits of Green Coffee Beans and where to buy the best ones, we should first understand the history of them.

Green coffee beans are regular coffee beans in their natural state, before they’ve been roasted and ground into our favorite beverage! When in this state, they contain a huge amount of a chemical compound called chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant and the element that is touted as a weight loss sensation.

What is chlorogenic acid?

Chlorogenic acid is a compound that may help slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating[1]. Trading names include Svetol, and derivatives can be found in items like coffee, gum and mint candies. Chlorogenic acid may also help to reduce blood pressure, according to an article written in 2005[2] focused on human and rodent studies. The Japanese study concluded that “results suggested that daily use of GCE has a blood pressure-lowering effect in patients with mild hypertension.”

So why choose to supplement your diet with Green Coffee Beans?

I drink coffee every day, and I don’t mean just a latte mid-morning, I’m a proper coffee nut and have been known to drink up to 8 coffees a day when I have deadlines looming. So I must admit, I did think “why bother with green coffee beans when I already get a lot of caffeine each day?” So I was as shocked as you might be, when I found out all of the benefits of green coffee beans besides weight loss. Plus unfortunately all of the weight loss benefits of green coffee beans are lost once the bean’s been roasted.

I’ve actually written an in-depth article on the benefits of green coffee beans beyond simply weight loss, but here’s a recap of why you should definitely consider adding green coffee beans to your day:

  • Proven weight loss; in a study in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, 16 subjects were given a placebo, 700mg daily or 1050mg daily for several weeks, changing every few weeks. Wth the higher dosage, subjects lost around 8kg and overall they lost an average of 18lb, or 10% of their bodyweight over the 22 weeks
  • Proven weight loss #2; the Dr Oz show gave half its test subject a 400mg supplement and half a placebo and in just two weeks, those taking the supplement lost twice as much weight as those on the placebo. Just 2lb vs 1lb but it could add up over the weeks!
  • Key ingredient of GCB, chlorogenic acid, could help lower blood sugar levels; and reduce blood sugar spikes by 32%[3]
  • Chlorogenic acid helps the body dispose of fat efficiently and quickly
  • Lower weight can help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes[4]
  • Antioxidant properties, to help fight free radicals in the body and reduce the risk of cancer
  • Increased energy and concentration through caffeine consumption
  • GCB could help reduce blood pressure, according to one study using animals and several tests on humans with mild hypertension
  • Reduced blood pressure can lead to mental clarity, hormone function and detoxification capabilities

How are Green Coffee Beans specifically linked to weight loss?

I’ve just outlined what all the benefits of Green Coffee Beans are, but how are they specifically related to weight loss? Well, the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans helps us lose weight in two ways:

1)      It slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, making it harder for the body to create and store fat, and

2)      It increases the liver’s fat burning capabilities, targeting our existing fat stores first so that we burn off our body fat faster

So there we go, we get rid of our fat and also inhibit the creation of new fat. That’s what I call a win win situation! If you want to know more, I found this video, which uses diagrams and an animated film to show how green coffee beans support weight loss.

Green Coffee Beans: The Clinical Research

As with many of the new supplements available, such as Raspberry Ketones and African Mango Extract, the evidence supporting the weight loss claims is limited until further research is undertaken. It is surprising that more clinical research isn’t completed before the products go mainstream, which is indicative of our obsession with easy weight loss, I guess. Anyway, I’ve put together a summary of the clinical evidence, so that you can understand expectations and make an informed decision of whether or not to try Green Coffee Bean extract for yourself:

  • The study detailed above conducted in India found that over 22 weeks, subjects lost on average 18lbs, with notably more weight loss when on higher dosages than lower or a placebo. Pros: positive findings. Cons: limited study (16 people), conducted by GCB producer.
  • A study conducted on mice[5] found that “Caffeine and chlorogenic acid showed a tendency to reduce visceral fat and body weight”. Pros: found that weight gain and fat accumulation is reduced using caffeine and GCBs. Cons: study on male only mice, not humans
  • Another study conducted on mice[6] intravenously fed chlorogenic acid noted that fatty liver deposits were reduced by 24%. Pros: resulting fat loss and improved liver function for better metabolism. Cons: study on mice, not humans

In fact, only 5 clinical studies have been undertaken and of those, two were ruled out for inclusion. In a review study conducted by Onakpoya, Terry and Ernst (2011)[7], they concluded that “the results from these trials are promising, but the studies are all of poor methodological quality. More rigorous trials are needed to assess the usefulness of GCE {green coffee extract} as a weight loss tool.”

So I’ve given you as many facts as are available. Is it conclusive? Most certainly not. Is it reliable and clinically sound? No, each of the studies have their cons. Is it possible that green coffee beans can support weight loss? For sure! Although the evidence is limited, it is still based on fact so I say that whilst more research needs to be done, the initial findings are very encouraging.

Is it trusted and safe to use?

Well, the jury’s still out I’m afraid. Has it been evaluated and approved by the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) as fit-for-purpose as a weight loss aid? Sadly not, just yet. But what I think is that, as long as you fulfil the health profile (see below and also my Side Effects of Green Coffee Beans article), you should be safe to try supplementing. It should go without saying that if you experience any adverse effects, stop and get medical advice. If in doubt, consult your physician.

Are Green Coffee Beans safe to use?

Green coffee bean extract is a natural occurring compound, so should be suitable to anyone that doesn’t have an adverse reaction to coffee or caffeine. But, until more research has been undertaken, it is recommended that the following people should avoid it, or use it under medical supervision:

  • Those with anxiety disorders
  • Sufferers of bleeding disorders
  • Diabetics;
  • Sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or diarrhoea symptoms worse
  • Sufferers of glaucoma
  • Those with high blood pressure or hypertension
  • Osteoporosis sufferers
  • Pregnant, trying to conceive and nursing

For a more in-depth look at Green Coffee Beans, the side effects and contraindications, you can access my full report here.

What to Look For When Choosing A Green Coffee Bean Supplement

After reading this information, you may wish to try a green coffee bean extract supplement for yourself, to see whether it can help you shift stubborn fat stores and increase your fat burning capability. Whilst I’m not promoting any particular product, in general my advice would be:

  • Always use a name or store that you trust, for this supplement and any other for that matter
  • Whilst the dosage guidelines vary, I’d advise a 400mg supplement, 3 times a day
  • Look for a supplement that contains at least 50% chlorogenic acid
  • Look for GCA (Green coffee antioxidant) or Svetol on the label
  • Buy organic when possible
  • Avoid any with fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Never be tempted to take more than you should, guidelines are there for a reason and if you take more than you should, you may suffer unpleasant side effects. Less is more.
  • Buy a reputable brand and always do your homework first, reading online reviews

Green Coffee Bean Dosage

Some sites recommend between 100mg and 200mg a day, others recommend 400mg twice or three times a day. The main clinical study on humans dosed with up to 1,050mg a day (350mg two or three times a day). So my advice is to stick to the guidelines on your chosen brand. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try starting low and increasing your dosage as you like.

Take them on an empty stomach, half an hour before a meal. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, I would recommend taking them in the morning and afternoon, not at night, to avoid any sleeping disruption.

In summary, do Green Coffee Beans help with weight loss?

The research would certainly seem to suggest that green coffee beans can help boost metabolism and burn away fat, but there are a lot of unhappy people out there that have tried green coffee bean supplements and not had any joy.

So, is it a fad? Well, there are just as many people out there that have seen huge benefits from green coffee beans! I think that the disparity between the two is more likely because of the amount of rogue traders (call it the ‘Dr Oz effect’) that appear out of nowhere to sell you inferior products. There are a lot of products on Amazon with thousands of positive reviews, so always opt for one of those, or a brand you trust that offers a money-back guarantee.

I opted to try two of the more high profile ones on Amazon (I don’t want to give you the name as I’m not endorsing any particular brand for this article). Despite some of the reviewers feeling anxious and jittery, I felt fine taking them, although this could be due to my coffee addiction! I found that during the morning, I felt more alert than usual, and during the afternoon I avoided that mid-afternoon slump.

I took one type for 2 weeks, then had a week’s break, then the other for 2 weeks. During this time, I lost 3lbs without making any major adjustments to my diet. Hardly groundbreaking amounts and it’s not even visible, but the point is that it’s there, and if you carried on losing at that rate, you could lose up to 30lb in a year, and that is NOT to be sniffed at!

Aside from the weight loss, I am going to continue to take these supplements to encourage liver health and metabolism overall, and because I find that they give me more focus and alertness. Warning though, one day I took them when I – uh – was a little hungover (far too much wine) and although I already had an achy head, I found that the supplements made it much worse. So don’t take them if you’re dehydrated, they are after all caffeine related!

**UPDATE** I carried on with one brand for another 6 weeks and found that they really kicked in after the initial slow weight loss. 3lbs in the first five weeks, followed by 6lbs in the weeks after that. I had to stop then as I don’t want to lose any more weight! Maybe the key is researching the right brand and sticking with it without expecting it to come off immediately.

What’s great about Green Coffee Beans?

  • Naturally product
  • Increased fat burning and liver cleansing capabilities
  • Increased mental alertness and focus
  • Some appetite suppressant qualities
  • Could help lower blood pressure
  • Helps rid of stubborn fat stores

Anything not so great?

  • Too many inferior versions available
  • Can cause anxiety or jitters
  • Can cause insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Can increase headaches
  • Mixed reactions so won’t work for everyone

What others are saying about Green Coffee Bean extract?

I’ve scoured the web looking for real Green Coffee Bean reviews and my findings are that there seem to be a few stand-out products, along with a whole heap of inferior ones or just plain duds. Therefore the feedback is very mixed, but here is a summary of typical comments I’ve pulled together:

  • “This pill has changed my life.”
  • “Excellent appetite suppressant.”
  • “Yes it works!”
  • “Seems to really help with curbing appetite.”
  • “Two thumbs up, I was able to lose 7lbs.”
  • “It’s not a miracle pill but you can see the results.”
  • “I stopped taking them, it didn’t respond to my body that well.”
  • “Modest results.”
  • “I only take it when i am eating lunch, otherwise I feel sick.”

My opinion: A summary review of Green Coffee Beans

I saw very modest weight loss during the first five weeks, but the effects really seemed to kick in during the weeks that followed. They made me more focused and mentally alert, although some users find them hard on the stomach. Of all of the weight loss supplements to come to market over the last few years, this is my favorite, but I think that it’s because I’m a coffee fiend and I love the buzz, so I know it won’t be for everyone. Bottom line; there are some bad products out there so research well and opt for a product with good reviews that fulfils my ‘what to look for’ criteria, then STICK WITH IT for some incredible results. Good luck, and please share your story here! Michelle.

Missed the Dr Oz show and want to find out more about Garcinia Cambogia? Here’s a recap…

As if you needed to know, Dr Oz is a celebrated cardiologist, author and TV personality. Star of the infamous Dr Oz show, a three-time Emmy award-winning program starting its fifth series, he is fondly referred to as “America’s Doctor” and up there with Oprah and Ellen as our most trusted celebs.

Last year, Dr Oz introduced us to Garcinia Cambogia Extract (GCE) and since then, a maelstrom of activity has followed! New GCE supplements have appeared in health food stores everyone, with less reputable ones on the internet or via unscrupulous suppliers, as people surge to buy this miracle weight loss supplement.

But what’s all the fuss about? I’ve researched Garcinia Cambogia extensively and put together a few articles such as What is Garcinia Cambogia?, Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?, and What are the Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia?, but I wanted to write one to bring you, the reader, up to speed with Dr Oz’s findings, in case you missed the show.

1 – Key message: The Doc’s key message is that Garcinia Cambogia is a “revolutionary fat buster…that just might be the most exciting breakthrough in natural weight loss to date”. No wonder the nation stirred!

2 – What Garcinia Cambogia is:  The doctor explains the origins of this extract, which is from the rind of the Malabar or tamarind fruit, found and used medicinally and in cooking throughout South East Asia and India.

3 – Who’s supporting it: Along with the doctor’s guest, Julie Chen MD (more of her later), the supplement is touted by two specialists;

A)     Dr Harry Preuss from Georgetown University Medical Centre, who is at the forefront of research into the supplement and comments that the ideal weight loss is when you lose fat and retain muscle, which is what GCE promotes, and

B)      Dr Rich Scheckenhbach, a research scientist who believes GCE is an ‘exceptionally effective fat buster’

4 – The key advocate: Dr Oz’s guest is Julie Chen MD, an intern at the Fellowship of Integrative Medicine, who has delved deep into the product and recommends it for both its price (lower than other supplements) and the fact that weight loss can be seen to increase as much as two or three times the rate of regular dieting.

5 – The guest: One lady lost 10lb in 4 months after hitting a weight loss plateau, she was on the show displaying a tiny waistline and discussing how not only did she lose weight by doing the same thing, but how she had an abundance of energy whilst taking the supplement. She also discussed that her sugar cravings had decreased and that despite not losing a great deal of weight, she had dropped a dress size and experience no adverse side effects.

6 – How Garcinia Cambogia works: Both Dr Oz and Julie Chen then detailed exactly how Garcinia Cambogia works in two ways – firstly by blocking the body’s ability to create fat and secondly about how the supplement helps curb emotional eating. Here’s what I understood:

A)     Garcinia Cambogia blocks the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for the default function of converting sugar and carbs to fat. So instead of the fat cells getting fatter, GCE effectively provides a plug to the fat cells, instead directing the sugar and carbs to the energy stores to be burnt off.

B)      The body starts to burn fat from the fat cells, as they’re not getting pumped full of new fat every day.

C)      There is less stress on the body and the fat cells, which in turn reduces the body’s natural stress hormone cortisol, which means that there is less belly fat being stored; a virtuous circle!

D)     Users lose weight as their body mass starts to shed fat and gain lean muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories throughout the day than fat, up to 20 times as much!

E)      Garcinia Cambogia seems to work as an appetite suppressant, sending signals to the brain from the stomach that change the appetite and encourage the body to produce more serotonin.

F)      Serotonin makes us happier and less stressed, and less likely to eat comfort foods such as sugars, starches and salt.

G)     Other health benefits in studies saw a potential decrease in total cholesterol, LDL and tri-glycerides by up to 30%, as well as an increase in good cholesterol HDL.

H)     Some studies showed that obese patients could potentially see some insulin and leptin resistance, which are the hormones that control our appetite and sugar conversion to fat.

In summary: Garcinia Cambogia seems to work in two ways – firstly stopping the body’s ability to create fat, and secondly by reducing the body’s cravings for food – particularly bad ones – through the production of appetite-suppressing hormone, serotonin.

7 – Where to buy Garcinia Cambogia: Dr Oz doesn’t recommend any particular brand but lets us know what to look for to buy the best Garcinia Cambogia. His three recommendations are to look for one specifically marked as Garcinia Cambogia or Garcinia Cambogia Extract, secondly to choose one that has AT LEAST 50% HCA (the active ingredient) and finally to choose one that includes Potassium (chemical symbol K) for the most effective Garcinia Cambogia. He also encourages us to look out for supplements with no binders, fillers or synthetic ingredients

8 – How much Garcinia Cambogia should I take?: Julie Chen recommends between 1500mg and 3000mg a day but notes that the most important aspect is to take the supplement on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before a meal.

9 – Contraindications and side effects: Dr Oz skates over who it’s not good for (those with diabetes, those pregnant or breastfeeding) but you can find out more about side effects and contraindications in my full Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects article.

So that’s what the Great Doctor says! What do I think of it all?

  • I believe that this supplement has the potential to boost weight loss when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, as per the recommended guidelines
  • I picked up on quite a few statements that were vaguely positive, such as “potentially helpful for…”, “might help…”, “seems to work as…” and so on. I guess it’s not right to say Garcinia Cambogia WILL deliver weight loss results as it will depend on the individual’s commitment, physical activity levels etc. Just be aware that it’s a supplement that needs more research
  • On that note, I would have liked to have seen more references to research studies and clinical trials. I had to do my own Garcinia Cambogia research review, you can find out more information about the real results there
  • Personally I’d have liked to have seen more about the background of the three doctor advocates, it would have helped add weight to the supplement’s claims
  • I didn’t think that 10lb weight loss in 4 months was particularly special, but knowing that the lady had dropped a dress size and was more toned is encouraging, if she hadn’t changed her diet or exercise levels
  • There will be rip-off artists and con merchants on the internet, please be careful when buying Garcinia Cambogia Extract – buy from a reputable store or from an authorized dealer such as this one

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve bought Garcinia Cambogia and experienced great or even not-so-great results. Please get in touch and share your story with me! Thanks for reading my article.