Facts About Metabolife Ultra

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 6:56am

By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

Metabolife International, a #1 seller in the world of diet supplements, claims their products speed up weight loss in people who integrate their pills into a healthy diet plan, accompanied by a regular exercise routine. In 2004, the company ceased production of its popular, ephedra-containing product, “Metabolife 356” because ephedra was banned by the FDA for being linked to many serious adverse effects, including stroke, arrhythmia, heart attack, and death. Metabolife’s latest product, “Metabolife Ultra” (which replaced Metabolife 356), contains vitamins, minerals, and two herbs called supercitrimax garcinia and guarana seed extract. According to the company, their product is a proprietary blend that enhances metabolism and speeds weight loss.

Dietary supplements are not necessarily backed by solid research

Many consumers and proponents claim that Metabolife Ultra has been beneficial in their quests towards weight loss. However, it remains unclear whether Metabolife Ultra alone is their key to weight loss, or the recommended dieting and exercise that generally accompanies the product’s use. It is important to also note that because Metabolife Ultra is a dietary supplement and is available over the counter, none of Metabolife International’s claims about the product’s safety or effectiveness have been scrutinized in independent research studies or by the FDA. In short, the makers of dietary supplements can generally claim anything they want to sell their products.

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

Metabolife Ultra’s ingredients

When taking any over-the-counter supplement it’s important to be a savvy consumer and ensure you understand exactly what you’re putting in your body. Keep in mind that “natural” does not always mean safe. (“Natural” products include cocaine, arsenic, and even the recently-banned ephedra.) So, let’s examine Metabolife Ultra’s ingredients as displayed on their website to help you better inform your decision about whether or not to purchase it:

Serving size: 2 caplets

  • Thiamin (as thiamin mononitrate) 1.5mg. A naturally occurring vitamin found in everyday foods.
  • Riboflavin 1.7mg, Niacin (as niacinamide) 20mg. A naturally occurring vitamin found in everyday foods.
  • Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride) 5mg. A naturally occurring vitamin found in everyday foods.
  • Pantothenic acid (as d-calcium pantothenate) 10mg. A naturally occurring vitamin found in everyday foods.
  • Calcium (as hydroxycitrate and dicalcium phosphate) 115mg. A naturally occurring mineral found in everyday foods.
  • Chromium (as chromium polynicotinate) 133mcg. A naturally occurring mineral found in everyday foods.
  • Sodium 60mg. A naturally occurring mineral found in everyday foods.
  • Potassium 150mg. A naturally occurring mineral found in everyday foods
  • SuperCitrimax® garcinia extract (fruit) (standardized for hydroxycitric acid). Derived from the rind of the Indian garicinia cambogia fruit, this popular supplement has become a standard ingredient in many weight loss products. There is no research to indicate that Metabolife’s “SuperCitrimax” brand is more effective than any other product containing hydroxycitric acid (HCA). A 1998 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that a group which took HCA supplements showed no additional weight loss than those who took a placebo. A later study in the journal Physiology and Behavior showed no benefit of HCA in reducing hunger. A study in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology suggested that intake of HCA at levels up to 2800 mg/day is safe for human consumption.
  • Guarana extract (seed) (standardized for caffeine). Guarana is a berry-producing plant found in the Amazon. Many weight loss products contain Guarana because it is high in caffeine, which is a stimulant. Almost no studies have been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of guarana alone in weight loss. Other than increased heart rate from sensitivity to caffeine, the FDA has not found any major negative effects from using the latter two ingredients. However, there is no data supporting long term use to verify this claim.
  • Other ingredients: maltodextrin, modified cellulose, caffeine, dicalcium phosphate, stearic acid, silica, dextrin, dextrose, lecithin, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, sodium citrate. Food additives, binding agents, anticaking agents, thickening agents, and more caffeine.

What’s the bottom line on Metabolife Ultra?

At an average cost of $50 per month, your money would probably be better spent on a gym membership. However, if you still really want to give it a shot, purchase HCA (also called citrimax) and guarana separately to save money. The other Metabolife Ultra ingredients are just vitamins, minerals, and food additives—and none are related to weight loss.