How safe is HYDROXYCUT?

Feb 13, 2002

The Bottom Line Safety must come first when it comes to choosing a Dietary Supplement and I don't think HYRDOXYCUT is safe.

As a Personal Trainer I’m bombarded with information that shows we are an overweight nation. Regardless of whether the news comes from a popular survey, government figures, or the latest fitness magazine, the nation has a problem with weight. And with any problem there has got to be a solution, right? This is why companies come up with various products that promise weight loss such as HYDROXYCUT.

HYDROXYCUT is advertised as an “Advance Weight Loss Formula” which will make you “Lose Fat Fast”, and “Increase Energy”, because it’s a “Clinically Proven”; “100% Natural”; “Dietary Supplement”. When I picked up the bottle at GNC the first thing that popped into my mind was the fancy advertising and all of the wonderful promises. When comparing the fancy white plastic bottles advertising label to other products on the shelf, the statements: Advance Weight Loss Formula, Lose Fat Fast, Increase Energy, Clinically Proven, 100% Natural, I felt I had the ultimate key to weight loss.

HYDROXYCUT is one of the most highly marketed weight loss formulas on the market second to Metabolife. It’s in almost every fitness magazine I’ve purchased. Generally when companies spend this much money advertising a particular product it’s usually backed by a huge consumer base. Either the product delivers all of the benefits that the manufacturer promises or else consumers have read the countless advertisements and decided to give it a try.

As a Personal Trainer being in shape and looking good is a part of the business. Despite the fact that I usually warn clients when it comes to dietary supplements I decided to give HYDROXCUT a try. After finally attaining the size and mass I’ve always wanted, the washboard abs, or what’s known as the six pack abs have always eluded me.

My fiancé, clients and friends at the gym think that I should be happy with a 4 pack and flat stomach, but I secretly wanted tighter abs, I wanted the six-pack. Plus at the gym HYDROXYCUT has become widely popular with some of my fellow bodybuilders who have tried it. So I decided to shell out a whopping $39.99 for a 160 capsules bottle of HYDROXYCUT.

Like most consumers I always check the label on any product to determine it’s content. The label on this bottle includes the following:

Hydroxagen™ (gardinia cambogia) (fruit & rind)(supplying 100mg of hydroxycitric acid) 2000mg *
Guarana Extract (seed)(standardized for 22% caffeine) 910mg *
MaHuang Extract (stem & leaf)(standardized for 20mg of Ephendra Alkaloids) 334mg *
Salicin Complex (purple & white willow bark)(standarized for 15% salicin) 100mg *
L-Carnitine(L-Carnitine tartrate) 100mg *
Chromium Picolinate 100mg *

Each four capsules of HYDROXYCUT has 2000 mg of Hydroxagen, 910 mg of Guarana Extract, 334 mg of Ma Huang Extract, 15 mg of Salicin Complex (Purple and White Willow Bark), and 300 mcg of L-Carnitine. I like the fact that HYDROXYCUT puts the information and ingredients of its content on an easy to read label. Ma Huang is your basic herbal form of Ephedrine, Guarana Extract is your basic herbal form of caffeine, and White Willow Bark is your basic Aspirin.

According to HYDROXYCUT’s research these ingredients have been used extensively in the treatment of obesity. However what HYDROXYCUT does not give is the additional research and side effects of Ma Huang, Guarana Extract and White Willow Bark.

For example there is wide medical research that shows by combining Ma Huang, Guarana Extract and White Willow Bark you get what I call a “natural highball” which can cause heart valve damage, pulmonary cardiovascular damage, pulmonary hypertension and neuropsychological damage. Heart valve damage or valvulopathy is the most common injury from using these types of dietary supplements.

Valvulopathy occurs when the heart-valves (typically the aortic and mitral valves) do not open and close properly, causing regurgitation of blood. If the valves are seriously impaired, secondary pulmonary hypertension may result.
Pulmonary hypertension ("PPH") is a rare and often fatal condition. PPH results when there is a narrowing or obliteration of the small and medium pulmonary arteries. Symptoms include increased and extreme shortness of breath and tiredness. Often consumers get these symptoms confused with being overweight.

However, if you begin to experience a shortness of breath and increased tiredness while using HYDROXYCUT you should discontinue use and consult with your physician immediately.

Finally, the signs of neuropsychological damage include cognitive disturbance, memory loss, mood swings, behavioral changes, psychotic breakdowns, and possibly depression. Perhaps this is why one of the reasons why some guys in the gyms seems so angry when lifting weight?

Ultimately there is serious significant risk with any forms of ephedrine, mixed with caffeine, and aspirin, and there is no fixed time frame that indicates when damage or the symptoms above will occur. Although research on HYDROXYCUT is not conclusive, people who use these types of dietary supplements for more than six months are at a higher risk of getting the illnesses I’ve listed above.

This does not mean that if you used HYDROXYCUT for more than six months you will become ill. Rather, it is possible that you may become ill.

Furthermore, MaHuang Extract, Ephendra Alkaloids or ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant that is structurally similar to the amphetamines. Contrary to popular belief, there is no good evidence that substances containing Ephendra Alkaloids enhance one's exercise performance.

Currently, the International Olympic Committee and National Collegiate Athletic Association have moved to ban the ingredients in dietary supplements like HYDROXYCUT.
HYDROXYCUT markets itself as a “100 natural” and it can be purchased without a prescription. However there is nothing natural about the Ephendra Alkaloids, which are a byproduct of “ephedrine” in HYDROXYCUT.

I used HYDROXYCUT for approximately two weeks; my performance at the gym did not improve. HYDROXYCUT seemed to make me nervous, moody and jumpy, I bounced around the gym like a basketball at a Harlem Globe Trotters game. These side effects occurred gradually, but within the two-week period of usage. I could not sit still, my heart rate increased dramatically; I was a nervous wreck at the gym. I consulted with my physician and he recommended that I discontinue use immediately.

I followed the manufactures recommended dosages taking 4 capsules 30 minutes before breakfast and taking another 4 capsules 30 minutes before afternoon and evening meals. And I never exceeded 12 capsules per day. However, for me, the risks of taking HYDROXYCUT was to high, (no pun intended) I can’t justify taking something that does this to my body. Unlike my GNC Megamen vitamins and minerals, HYDROXYCUT is not essential for proper nutrition.

My family has a history of high blood pressure and for me the severity of the adverse side effects that ultimately could cause permanent disability and death, outweigh my efforts at obtaining the ultimate 6 pack or washboard abs. HYDROXYCUT posed a serious health risk for me so I discontinued use and for now I’m stuck with a 4 pack.

Fortunately the manufacturer actually warns consumers that this is for adults a doctor should be consulted before taking it. Furthermore it should not be used if you pregnant, nursing or if you have been treated or diagnosed with high blood pressure, liver, heart, thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, nervousness, anxiety, depression, seizure disorder, stroke or difficulty in urination due to prostate enlargement.

Although there are many dietary supplements on the market HYDROXYCUT is one that you should stay away from, the sacrifice is too great. Now the small print on the label sticks out in my mind, more than ever ”hazardous to a person’s health”.


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