Hydroxycut weight loss supplements are heavily marketed through television, the Internet and conventional retailers, but does Hydroxycut work as advertised? While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated its effectiveness, several studies support the product’s weight loss claims.
Hydroxycut, a product of Iovate Health Sciences, is the brand name for a group of herbal dietary supplements. The main ingredients in Hydroxycut products include four herbal extracts: lady’s mantle, komjin, wild olive and wild mint. Some Hydroxycut products also contain green coffee bean extract.
While most of the products contain caffeine as an energy booster, the company also offers a caffeine-free version. In addition to rapid-release supplement capsules, Hydroxycut is available as food sprinkles, chewable gummies and drink mixes.
Hydroxycut Side Effects and Safety
Hydroxycut is exempt from federal regulations, since it is a nutritional supplement and not a drug. The FDA has not tested it for safety or effectiveness. The government agency does investigate dietary products when it receives reports of safety claims against those products. However, there have been no government safety studies on the new Hydroxycut.
The product label warns against use by children under 18 years of age. It urges medical attention for unusual symptoms, but it does not specify common Hydroxycut side effects. The label also advises consultation with a doctor if the supplement user has a medical condition or family medical history.
Early Hydroxycut Version
An early version of Hydroxycut did prompt safety concerns. According to an FDA press release, Iovate voluntarily recalled the product in 2009 when 23 people reported liver problems after taking Hydroxycut. Some cases required liver transplants, and one case involved a death.
The FDA also received reports of brain seizures, kidney failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and other health concerns. At the time, Hydroxycut contained a fruit extract called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The health concerns that prompted the early Hydroxycut recall were never linked to HCA. The new formula does not contain this ingredient.
How Does Hydroxycut Work?
“Lose weight your way” is one of the taglines for Hydroxycut products. According to the company website, the supplement is currently available in seven unique products: Pro Clinical Hydroxycut, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut Caffeine Free, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut Instant Drink Mix, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut Gummies, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut Sprinkles, Pro Clinical Hydroxycut Max! for Women and Hydroxycut Hardcore.
Weight loss and more energy are the primary benefits of Hydroxycut. The active herbal ingredients work with caffeine and green coffee bean extract to boost energy, speed metabolism and melt fat. The website advertises significant weight loss when dieters combine Hydroxycut supplements with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Does Hydroxycut work as the marketing claims? Researchers have conducted few studies on the effectiveness of Hydroxycut products. However, two clinical trials back up the company’s claims. One study was funded by Iovate Health Sciences, the maker of Hydroxycut. A third party conducted the other study.
Researchers examined another herbal supplement, a product of Sprunk-Jansen, in 2010. This product, which contains a different formulation of the same key ingredients as Hydroxycut, was shown to be effective for weight loss.
In another study, the green coffee extract found in Hydroxycut Hardcore was shown to be an effective weight loss aid in yet another product. Applied Food Sciences funded this smaller study. No significant Hydroxycut side effects were discovered in the clinical trials and related studies.
In addition to the promising research, Hydroxycut boasts a network of positive reports and success stories. The company website features the personal stories of 25 men and women who have used Hydroxycut to lose weight. Many health and fitness forums also contain reports of the benefits of Hydroxycut for weight loss and better health.
No supplement is a magic pill for weight loss. When combined with diet and exercise, however, some nutritional supplements are effective weight loss aids. With promising studies and anecdotal reports for support, the question, “does Hydroxycut work?” gets a resounding “yes.”
FDA. (May 1, 2009) “Iovate Health Sciences U.S.A., Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Hydroxycut-Branded Products.” United States Food and Drug Adminitration. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/recalls/ucm145164.htm/
IHS. (2013) “Hydroxycut: Lose Weight Your Way.” Hydroxycut [official website]/Iovate Health Sciences. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://www.hydroxycut.com/
WebMD. (2013) “Weight Loss and Diet Plans: Hydroxycut.” WebMD Medical Reference. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://www.webmd.com/diet/hydroxycitric-acid-hydroxycut/
(The above are sources we used for our “Does hydroxycut work?” article research).