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Not only does this fat burner claim to be the "#1 Rated Weight Loss Product," but the manufacturers go even further by stating that Phenocal is the "Most Powerful All Natural Weight Loss Available Today."
Then, at the bottom of the Phenocal website, you see a disclaimer: "The FDA has not evaluated these statements."
The FDA - Food and Drug Administration - evaluates the safety and efficacy of food and drugs. Weight loss supplements are exempt from evaluation, so the manufacturers can at times be a bit looser with their claims.
This Phenocal review explores both of these claims to see whether they stand up, or whether to take them with a pinch of salt.
What is Phenocal?
Phenocal is a fat burner made by a company called Pharmaxa Labs.
As well as weight loss products, Pharmaxa Labs make supplements covering everything from body balance to bone and joint support.
The weight loss supplement marketplace is broad, with hundreds of companies competing for sales.
Phenocal clocks in at 2.7 out of 5 stars: Not the best score, by any measure. There are 96 Phenocal reviews on Amazon at the time of writing, and just 35% of those are 4 or 5 stars.
How does Phenocal work?
According to the website, Phenocal claims to do the following things:
These claims are similar to a lot of other fat burners on the market - nothing unexpected or unconventional here.
Phenocal also boasts maximum strength and an all-natural formula. The list of ingredients is all-natural and contains things we'd expect to see in an effective fat burner - B vitamins, chromium picolinate, glucomannan, and so on.
However, the quantities aren't as high as we've seen in other supplements, casting doubt on the claim of "maximum" strength.
Like any fat burner should, the Phenocal website explains that reducing caloric intake and doing a sufficient amount of exercise is necessary to see weight loss results from taking this supplement.
Phenocal is taken twice daily, once before breakfast and once in the early afternoon before lunch. The recommended dose is three capsules twice a day.
What are the ingredients? Vitamin D3
Deficiencies in vitamin D are linked to obesity, although it's unknown whether maintaining the correct levels supports weight loss.
One study found that participants experienced more significant weight loss improvements when supplementing D3 [1
Plugging potential vitamin deficiencies is a common goal of weight loss supplements.
Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 and B12
The B vitamins are often deficient in people with obesity, and fat burners include them as a way to prevent deficiencies associated with weight gain [2
Each is known to contribute to energy-yielding metabolism and the reduction of fatigue, both useful in energizing you for the exercise required to burn calories. Effective metabolism also positions your body to better metabolize fats [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
This mineral is thought to help with appetite suppression and is widely studied for its impact on weight loss. Although results are mixed, with some studies finding no impact at all [10
Phenocal contains chromium picolinate, a form of the mineral which is more readily absorbed by your body - it's thought that this will boost its effects.
It's thought that folic acid has the same effects as other B vitamins in this list - that is, contributing to energy-yielding metabolism and reducing tiredness and fatigue [11
Deficiencies in folic acid are linked to anemia, which may reduce your energy levels.
This ingredient is extracted from a type of seaweed and is gaining attention as a potential fat burner. A study found that fucoxanthin has "potential value in preventing and treating lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity [and] diabetes" [12
This ingredient is extracted from black pepper, and is a "bioavailability enhancer."
This means that it should help your body to absorb more of the other ingredients in Phenocal, enhancing their effects.
Bioperine® also has thermogenic effects, meaning it will raise your internal temperature slightly to help you burn more calories.
The proprietary blend
The blend contains several ingredients, including green tea leaf powder, l-tyrosine, hoodia, and glucomannan. There are 2230mg of the blend in each serving of Phenocal (reminder: That's 3 capsules).
Proprietary blends aren't our favourite thing to see on supplement labels. It's a way for a manufacturer to hide the actual amount of each ingredient, making it harder to gauge potential effectiveness.
Phenocal claims to use clinically proven ingredients, but including these ingredients in a blend makes us sceptical.
Glucomannan, for example, is proven to be effective in weight loss in daily doses of 3000mg. But because it's in a blend, it's difficult to tell whether you'll be ingesting this amount each day.
A lot of the ingredients are what we'd expect to see in fat burners. Many have clear links with weight management, either directly (like glucomannan) or indirectly (like the B vitamins, for example, which provide energy to fuel workouts).
We like the fact that bioavailability has been considered (chromium picolinate is used rather than straight chromium, and Bioperine® is included). We're not so impressed by the use of a proprietary blend.
As we said earlier, Phenocal claims to be the "#1 Rated Weight Loss Product" available today.
We think that is a bold claim, especially when considering how much of a personal decision choosing a fat burner is.
This supplement does have what it takes to deliver results, though. The formula contains ingredients with links to weight loss, and they claim to support that weight loss from different angles.
Some ingredients are linked with appetite suppression (chromium, glucomannan), others with higher energy levels (B vitamins), and even thermogenics to help you burn more calories at rest.
From what we've seen, people tend to prefer weight loss supplements that offer support from different angles. Phenocal ticks this box, at least.
Does Phenocal have any side effects?
When taken as directed, the ingredients in Phenocal are not likely to trigger side effects. The ingredients it contains are linked with side effects, however, so we've included a few of these below.
This list of side effects is not exhaustive, and please do not consider it to be medical advice. It is purely illustrative. We'd also like to reiterate that these side effects are unlikely to be encountered if you take Phenocal as directed.
If you do notice any side effects - either from the list above or otherwise - stop taking Phenocal and speak to a medical professional.
Also remember that if you take Phenocal alongside any other supplements, the combined levels of each ingredient may exceed the recommended daily amounts. Be careful if you plan to take more than one at a time.
Where can you buy Phenocal?
Does Phenocal have a money-back guarantee?
Is Phenocal gluten-free?
Is Phenocal all-natural?
Is Phenocal safe?
Does Phenocal give you energy? Should you buy Phenocal?
Phenocal looks like a solid fat burner, and despite not having the best reviews on Amazon or elsewhere, it is built around a formula that supports weight loss from various complementary angles.
To answer the question "should I buy Phenocal," we'll say this. It depends on your personal preferences, a desire to lose weight quickly, and of course, your budget.
If you're looking for a fat burner that's been around for a while, Phenocal could be a good place to start looking.
Saying this, however: There's nothing Phenocal offers that we haven't seen done better elsewhere.
This fat burner for women contains the clinically proven dose of glucomannan (3g per day), and is an incredibly popular weight loss supplement. Read our Leanbean review here.