Saturday, March 10, 2012

OxyElite, Jack3D and PowerFULL - USPLabs' "Own" Studies Find: The Products Are Safe and OxyElite Does Even Work!

Image 1: When the sales of the "crown jewels" in their line-up is at stake, even the average supp company CEO becomes interested in "science"
You know that I am a huge fan of supplement companies spending some of your (the customers) hard earned money on actual research. The latest "science offensive" from USPLabs, however, has a negative connotation. I mean, you should expect that you establish that your product is safe before you throw it onto the market, right? Be that as it may, the way USP is currently under attack by the FDA and Johnny Pacheco, whose motifs for filing a class action suit against USPLabs are somewhat nebulous (cf., is still overblown and the petty controversy about whether DMAA aka "geranium" is or is not a natural constituent of geranium oil puts me off big time... so let's stop gossiping and take a look at the latest data from the USPLabs at the University of Memphis ;-)

"We have got three products here, make sure they are safe and effective!"

I guess, when the whole issue about the "false claims" about 1,3-dimethylamylamine (aka geranium) boiled up, someone in the USPLabs head quarter in Dallas must have had the glorious idea that his, or I should say, the company's money would be better invested in some research to refute at least those claims pertinent to the possible adverse health effects of USPLabs mega-sellers Jack3D and OxyElite Pro than in yet another Ferrari for the CEO. The results of this glorious idea have recently been published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolic Insights and, assuming that USP did not get a bulk discount, must have cost them 5x $1699 for the publication, only...
Figure 1: Summary of study design and main findings of the five recently published studies on Jack3D (Whitehead. 2012; Farney. 2012), OxyElite Pro (McCarthy. 2012a; McCarthy. 2012b) and Powerfull (Alleman. 2011)
I have summarized the study design, as well as the main results, of which I do believe that they are reliable, despite being "sponsored" and despite being published in a "pay and have your articles published in 3-weeks"-journal, in figure 1. The main message here is obvious: The "geranium" containing products are safe!  The problem with this message is yet, that ephedra is just as safe, when it is consumed in reasonable doses and by healthy, young and athletic people. Whenever something is touted as a fat burner, you do yet get people like the obese diabetic who is supposed to have died after taking a dozen of the "good old" Super Caps (30mg ephedrine) along with a few cans of coke in his "effort" to lose weight.

As safe as a weapon - in the hands of the right person ;(

In this context it is also quite telling that the subjects in the acute OxyElite study were advised to take only a single cap, while the recommendation on the label says that a "regular" serving would be two caps. By selecting the right subjects (lean, healthy, young, athletic) and using a "minimal dosing approach" the scientists thusly produced the results USP needs to present them in court, where they will be having a hard time, anywas. After all, a recent study by Lisi et. al. apparently confirms that...
[...] geranium oils do not contain methylhexaneamine and that products labelled as containing geranium oil but which contain methylhexaneamine can only arise from the addition of synthetic material (Lisi. 2011)
With respect to the "natural" claim, USP thus appears to be on the losing side, it will therefore be all the more important for them to refute the claim that their "unnatural" product is (on top of being unnatural *outrageous* ;-) also bad for your health.

The products "work", but without making a noticeable difference

And despite the fact that the other study results pertaining to the effectiveness of the products are going to be of little value in court, I suspect that you will be interested to hear that all three products, i.e. Jack3d, OxyElite Pro and PowerFULL do "work" - the extend to which they do so is however either not statistically significant or very unlikely to come up to what USP is making their customers believe the products would do.
Image 2: Jack3D is a powerful stimulant, but chronic intake will rather burn you out than increase your gains.
Note: It should be said that none of the studies investigated the effects on training performance. This is relevant, because I personally believe that for the "supplement naive" subjects in the study, the caffeine + geranamine rush from Jack3D would definitely have made a difference on an acute basis. With regard to the chronic effects of pre-workout products, we do yet all know that their contribution to both strength and muscle gains is meager and has been scientifically validated only for products which contain relatively large amounts of BCAAs - something Jack3D, which is not much more than a beta alanine laden stimulant cannot boast of.
The meager +27kcal (total) increase in resting energy expenditure in the 2h after the ingestion of a single capsule of OxyElite, for example, is about as useless as the pronounced increase in free fatty acids (+100%) and glycerol (+44%) in the same trial as long as you don't get your ass off the couch and "exercise the fat away" - in the worst case, the decreased insulin tolerance that comes with the increase in catecholamines in response to the ingestion of the caffeine + geranamine + yohimbine containing supplement will have people who take the word "fat burner" too literally stash away even more fat, when they pop their 2 caps of OxyElite in the morning, benefit from the statistically like-wise non-significant appetite suppressant effect of the product, to fast all day long and then go on a rampant binge in the evening.
Figure 2: Changes in appetite, dietary intake in kcal, total fat free and fat mass, trunk fat (measured by DEXA) and skinfold thickness after an 8-week intervention (regular exercise was maintained and the subjects voluntarily reduced their energy intake) with either OxyElite Pro or placebo (data calculated based on McCarthy. 2012b)
The data from the 8-week trial on the OxyElite Pro (McCarthy. 2012b), I plotted in figure 2 does yet show that the addition of a "fat liberator" like OxyElite or any other stimulant based self-proclaimed "fat burner", can actually help you shed body fat, if you combine it with a reasonable reduction in energy intake (~20% in the study at hand) and exercise (5.2 ±0.3 hours/week in the study at hand).

OxyElite Pro is a reasonable addition to diet + exercise, but PowerFULL?

Image 3: Duong at the beginning and end of his impressive12-week transformations I've seen in quite some time (click here to read more)!
And, by the way, if you want to support USPLabs' fight against the FDA and a group of notorious litigators, you better buy another bottle of OxyElite and a container of Jack3D, before spending a single buck on the false hope that the transient and highly individual (more than 40x difference between subjects; Alleman. 2011) increase in GH, Alleman (French for "the German" ;-) and his colleagues observed after the ingestion of one serving of PowerFULL would increase anything, but USPLabs non-DMAA dependent income.

Apropos, with methylhexaneamine (DMAA), as chemists sometimes refer to it, being banned in Europe as of now, everyone here in the EU who wants to give either Jack3D or OxyElite Pro a shot, to see similar results as Duong (cf. image 3), who used the latter during his awesome transformation, should better hurry. The products will disappear from the market, as soon as the retailers have sold their last stock.