Does Hydroxycut Have Side Effects? (Should You Be Worried)

Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD
Published by Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD | Medical Doctor
Last updated: June 22, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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If you want to stir up a heated discussion at a dinner party full of dietitians, nutritionists, and personal trainers, then you just have to ask questions about Hydroxycut.

Of all the weight loss supplements that have come out over the past 20 years, Hydroxycut products are by far the most controversial.

It mainly comes down to the fact that Hydroxycut supplements certainly did seem to work well for weight loss. But that benefit came at quite a price with the original formula.

Since then, the makers have changed the formula to avoid liver failure risks that got it pulled off the market. Yet, there are still some risks to be aware of.

Quick Summary

  • Hydroxycut supplements are known for aiding weight loss, but they carry risks such as liver damage and other side effects.
  • All Hydroxycut products work through the combination of green coffee bean extract, or certain herbal extracts triggering fat burning.
  • The FDA has intervened in the past due to serious health concerns, leading to the reformulation of Hydroxycut products.
  • In my opinion, while Hydroxycut may offer weight loss benefits, the potential health risks suggest that safer alternatives should be considered

What Are The Known Side Effects?

man experiencing body pain

Over time, Hydroxycut products have changed a lot, and Iovate Health Sciences Inc. has reformulated it twice since the original version.

This came down to the fact that there were some serious health problems, and the Food and Drug Administration kind of forced the company to withdraw that product version.

Now, a lot of people say that because of the new formula, there is no longer a risk like a potential liver injury.

But, when you dig a bit deeper and get some professional medical advice, you’ll find there are still some risks associated with Hydroxycut products.

1 - Liver Damage - Based on research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a few people have had a significant reaction that caused liver failure after using Hydroxycut Hardcore [1]. People also reported jaundice and brown urine in several cases.

“According to the FDA, people taking Hydroxycut at its recommended doses run the risk of liver injury. Signs of liver injury include jaundice and elevated liver enzymes.”

- Mary Kelly, Writer at

2 - Muscle Damage - According to a 2013 article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there were also some rare incidences of muscle deterioration [2]. That’s not something you want to happen in a bodybuilding cutting phase.

3 - Restricted Blood Flow To The Brain - There were also some isolated reports of brain arteries narrowing temporarily.

4 - Abdominal Pain - Per a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while this wouldn’t be uncommon with some fat-burning supplements, it seemed like there were more reports of inflammatory bowel disease [3].

Due to the lack of controlled studies regarding the safety and efficacy of Hydroxycut and similar herbal supplements, it is up to the user to weigh the potential benefits against the risks of using such products [4].

How Does Hydroxycut Work?

coffee green beans in a bowl and a lot of green herbal leaves

In my clinical observations, Hydroxycut's combination of herbal extracts and green coffee bean extract does seem to stimulate fat burning. However, I always caution my patients about the potential risks associated with these ingredients, especially when used without medical supervision.

According to the company, it is achieved by delivering adenosine to trigger sleepiness and caffeine to block adenosine receptors.

In my practice, I've seen a correlation between the use of Hydroxycut and the onset of adverse events such as liver problems.

In theory, that should mean that taking Hydroxycut products would result in weight loss, and there were plenty of positive reports from Hydroxycut users about increased fat loss.

When considering weight loss benefits, Hydroxycut Hardcore has been recognized for its potential in aiding weight reduction. By stimulating fat burning and promoting thermogenesis, this product may contribute to increased calorie burn.

However, it is essential to exercise caution and prioritize your well-being. Some individuals have reported experiencing adverse effects, such as liver problems and other symptoms.

To ensure your safety, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any weight loss supplement into your routine.

Hydroxycut products we've reviewed:

Are There Ways To Limit The Negative Effects?

woman thinking while holding a pill

This is a question we saw asked in quite a few Facebook groups. It seems like there are still quite a few Hydroxycut Max users who had good weight results and are looking for ways to limit the adverse events.

Unfortunately, our dietitian and nutritionist were not aware of ways to limit the problems with Hydroxycut products.

The only thing that might help is significantly lowering the dose, but that would also impact the effectiveness.

The real solution would be to look at some other dietary supplements that achieve the same results without causing liver injury.


Is Hydroxycut Bad for Your Kidneys?

Yes, Hydroxycut might be bad for your kidneys. The FDA has reported several adverse reactions, including kidney problems and liver injury. If you have any such underlying health conditions, then this should not be a product to consider.

What Does Hydroxycut Do to Your Heart?

Hydroxycut may cause irregular heartbeat due to the high dose of caffeine. While there weren’t any reports of heart attacks, this is something to keep in mind if you have an underlying heart health condition.


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About The Author

Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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