Friday, January 20, 2006

Anna Nicole Smith Swears By Trimspa. Should You?

Trimspa offers “weight loss products” that are big on hype but offer nothing when it comes to scientific proof of efficacy.

By the way, “proof of efficacy” is a great phrase to use when discussing nutritional supplements…I highly recommend interjecting this idiom whenever appropriate.

You’d be hard pressed to find another line of weight loss supplements that contain as many suspect ingredients as are contained in the Trimspa product offering. For the sake of relative brevity, this item will just breakdown Trimspa X32. Next week I’ll provide you with a look at Trimspa’s other main products, Lipospa and Carbspa.

Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients list for Trimspa X32.

First we have Chromium. Chromium is old school. Chromium also does nothing, as in NOTHING. As a matter of fact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has gone on record and stated that claims that chromium can aid in athletic performance, building muscle or weight loss are unsubstantiated and deceptive. From a scientific study standpoint, only those diabetics who have a chromium deficiency may benefit from chromium supplementation. And this isn’t nearly a “for sure.” If anything, the science that exists indicates that chromium is of no value to anyone.

Next in Anna Nicole Smith’s favorite weight loss concoction is one of these “blended ingredients.” Trimspa calls their secret ingredient “X32 Proprietary Blend.” X32 is a combination of Hoodia, Glucosamine, Green Tea Extract, Cocoa Extract, Citrus Naringin, Chromium Chelavite (goody, more chromium!), Vanadium, and Glucomannan.

Remember how the FTC feels about chromium while reading this passage from the Trimspa web site that describes what Trimspa’s chromium can do;
Chromium Chelavite is an important nutrient that aids in controlling glucose (blood sugar) and carbohydrate cravings; it also offers many other benefits. It helps the body's insulin metabolize fat, convert protein into muscle, and turn sugar into energy, supporting weight loss and the development of lean body mass. A lack of chromium in the diet can result in weight gain, sluggishness, and can trigger a craving for sugar and other carbohydrates.

Plain and simple, there is no data that supports this assertion.

Let’s take a peak at Hoodia, the favorite herbal appetite suppressant of the Bushmen of South Africa. The best “evidence” that I can find that attests to the efficacy (there’s that word again) of Hoodia as an appetite suppressant are silly anecdotal tales that revolve around assertions that the Bushmen have been eating Hoodia for thousands of years to ward off hunger during long hunting trips. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see some science to back up this claim.

Since there is no science, and since we only have the word of supplement manufacturers to fill the scientific void, I say “thumbs down” on Hoodia.
And by the way, the plant from which Hoodia is derived is on some kind of endangered/protected list in South Africa, and can only be exported under very tight licensing arrangements. This situation has resulted in unscrupulous Hoodia Brokers selling faux Hoodia to unsuspecting supplement maker types. Isn’t there any honor amongst thieves?

A weird choice for inclusion on this list is “Glucosamine.” While this substance has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain for those suffering from osteoarthritis there is no indication anywhere that this supplement has any effect on anything related to weight loss.

Oh wait…look how this substance is described on the Trimspa web site,
Glucosamine (Gloo-ko-so-meen) is an ingredient, patented by TRIMSPA for weight loss, that actually prolongs the amount of time glucose (or blood sugar) stays within the bloodstream after eating. This delay means that any extra insulin can be used directly by the muscles for energy, instead of being transferred too quickly to the "warehouse," or fat cells.

Now is it just me, or does this seem – shall I say – disingenuous (I’m being nice)? Apparently, the folks at Trimspa have been able to patent an unproven ingredient and use the same name as another ingredient that has other – proven – benefits. I’m having a hard time understanding what Trimspa is doing here. Are you?

There is no scientific evidence that any of the other ingredients in this blend, Green Tea Extract, Cocoa Extract, Citrus Naringin, Vanadium and Glucomannan have any effect on weight loss. And the only “evidence” that exists that supports the use of any of these ingredients comes from the web sites of companies that are selling these products.

For instance, if you do a Google on Citrus Naringin you will find page after page of the same information on the pages of different herbal remedy sites. Even Amazon.com sells Trimspa, for crying out loud. And not one of these sites includes mention of one shred of scientific evidence; they all just parrot the same line – in most cases word for word - with regards to the purported benefits.
And if you do a search on the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) for “Naringin” you will get a hit for “Hesperidin” which is found in oranges and lemons. In legit clinical studies Hesperidin has been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), BY DRINKING A COUPLE OF GLASSES OF ORANGE JUICE PER DAY!

To me it makes much more sense to drink a couple of glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice than it does to buy and take Trimspa, especially when you consider what we know about what Vanadium can do for you.

Here’s a few excerpts from the PDR’s listing since my words can’t do justice in explaining just what Vanadium can do for you,

Vanadium salts have insulin-mimetic activity, and vanadium compounds are being studied as potentially orally active replacements for insulin. The doses of supplemental vanadium that may affect blood glucose levels are potentially toxic, and supplemental vanadium is not recommended for the management of diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. (My emphasis.)

The absorption of dietary vanadium and supplemental vanadium (usually vanadyl sulfate) is poor, and most ingested vanadium is excreted in the feces. It is estimated that less than 5% of dietary vanadium is absorbed.

The use of supplemental vanadium is not indicated for any purpose at this time.

Vanadium is showing promise in the treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but this work is still preliminary and utilizes pharmacological doses of vanadium with unknown long-term safety consequences. Claims that vanadium increases muscle mass have no research support.

Reports that vanadium promotes muscle-mass development are refuted by research.
The amount of vanadium in typical diets (less than 30 micrograms daily) appears to have low toxicity. In one study, 12 subjects were given 13.5 milligrams of vanadium daily for two weeks, followed by 22.5 milligrams daily for five months, Five subjects experienced gastrointestinal symptoms — nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps — and five subjects developed green tongues. In another study, six subjects receiving daily doses of 4.5 to 18 milligrams of vanadium for six to 10 weeks developed green tongues, diarrhea and cramps at the higher doses.

Chromium, ferrous ion, chloride, aluminum hydroxide and EDTA may decrease absorption of vanadium.

So why on earth is Vanadium is included in this mix? Why would anyone willingly put this into his or her body? Especially, since there are no indications on the Trimspa X32 label as to how much of this stuff is in their product. And since chromium may decrease the absorption of Vanadium, why would these two ingredients be mixed in the same formula? How can this product be sold?

TrimspaX32 cannot be recommended for anyone under any circumstances. Come back next week for my breakdown of Trimspa’s other two product offerings.

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