Facts About Dexatrim

Friday, October 27, 2006 - 10:29am

By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

Dexatrim is one diet supplement that changes like a chameleon. It seems a new mix of supposedly effective weight loss ingredients is concocted into an all new “proprietor’s blend” formulation every few years. In 2001, Dexatrim products were recalled because they contained the ingredient phenylpropanolamine (PPA) , which over time became strongly linked to increased stroke risk, and was subsequently banned by the FDA. Then, in 2002, the FDA recalled all products containing the ingredient ephedra due to its serious and harmful side effects such as stroke, heart attack and even death. Chettem Inc., the manufacturer of Dexatrim, was yet again forced to pull its reformulated products with ephedra from the market. Now, we have a whole new line of Dexatrim products containing a multitude of new and mysterious ingredients.

Supplements are not regulated

It is important to note that because Dexatrim is a “dietary supplement ” and is available over the counter, none of the company’s claims about the product’s safety or effectiveness have been validated by the FDA. Thus, the makers of “dietary supplements” are generally at liberty to assert what they want to assert to sell a product.

For more information on things to look out for when buying supplements see the following article from TheDietChannel: How To Protect Yourself When Purchasing Supplements.

Dexatrim’s ingredient list

When taking any over the counter supplement it’s important to be a savvy consumer and make sure you understand exactly what you’re putting in your body. Keep in mind that “natural” does not always equal safe. This was clearly demonstrated when the “all natural” ephedra was banned from products. Let’s go through the ingredients listed on a box of “Dexatrim Results Ephedra Free” so you can be more informed should you choose to buy it.

Serving size: 1 caplet

Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin E
(as D-Alpha Tocopheryl Succinate)
Vitamin B6
(as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)
Pantothenic Acid
(as D-Calcium Pantothenate)
(as Dicalcium Phosphate)
(as Dicalcium Phosphate)
(as Magnesium Oxide)
(as Zinc Oxide)
(as Amino Acid Chelate)
(as Amino Acid Chelate)

These are all naturally occurring vitamins and minerals found in everyday foods. You could get a much greater amount of each of these by eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fat free dairy products daily. There is no established science that chromium enhances weight loss either. Nothing magical here.

Proprietary Herbal Blend #1:

Bitter Orange Peel Extract
Bitter Orange could be similar to ephedra – side effects and all. It contains two chemicals similar in structure to ephedrine and can lead to cardiac problems. Take caution with this ingredient.

Yohimbe Bark
There is no scientific evidence to support that Yohimbe enhances weight loss. Possible side effects include: high blood pressure, headache and palpitations. Yohimbe should not be taken with MAO inhibitors and may interfere with other prescription medications.

Eleuthero Root
Also known as Siberian Ginseng, has no valid studies to support its role in weight loss. However, most Ginseng products are considered generally safe.

Licorice Root
No studies show effectiveness in weight loss. Can be a mild laxative. Excessive doses of licorice extract can cause serious side effects such as high blood pressure.

While rutin has been shown to be an effective antioxidant and useful in strengthening the capillaries, there is no evidence that it helps with weight loss.

Kelp is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it has no relation to enhanced weight loss.

Fenugreek Seed
The dietary fiber found in Fenugreek may help keep blood sugar levels low and reduce hunger. However, 15-20 grams per day would be required to achieve this effect. This product provides nowhere near this amount.

While this substance may help reduce cholesterol levels, there is no indication that it is beneficial in weight loss. You can get plenty of hesperidin by drinking a glass of orange juice each day.

Proprietary Herbal Blend #2:

Cocoa Extract
While this substance may help improve cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar (in rats), there is no evidence that it enhances weight loss.

Caffeine can increase mental alertness and may have some weight loss benefits, but it is no panacea.

Green Tea Leaf Extract
Research shows that green tea leaf in combination with a low calorie diet is no more effective than a low calorie diet alone.

Gelatin, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Croscarmellose Sodium, Stearic Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Pharmaceutical Glaze, Carnauba Wax

These are fillers, and ingredients to support product stability. None are related to weight loss.

What’s the verdict on Dexatrim?

There are no independent studies to validate Dexatrim’s effectiveness or safety. The product has undergone two revisions in the past six years due to the removal of two harmful ingredients: ephedra and PPA. Bitter orange—included in Dexatrim’s current product—could well prove to be harmful as well. The jury is still out on this one. Regardless, there is no panacea for weight loss in this revised formula. Time and research prove that the best combination for successful long term weight loss is a modest calorie reduction, regular exercise and monitoring your eating with self analysis or a food diary.