I'm down with anything that says "Bodyfat Inhibitor"

I'm down with anything that says "Bodyfat Inhibitor" on the box

CYTOLEAN V2 HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED BY GASPARI NUTRITION – THEIR NEXT GENERATION SUPPLEMENT IS SPIRODEX

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I am on a mission to banish every ounce of fat from my midsection in preparation for Chicago’s beach season. I want to walk the shores of Lake Michigan with a paramedic in tow to resuscitate the droves of swooning women. I want sweet, grandmotherly old ladies to heatedly fan themselves and have flashbacks of doing laundry on a washboard while ogling my abs and crooning, “Oh, dear” to one another. Okay, I’m not that vain. I do, however, enjoy the discipline and sense of accomplishment that comes with attaining the level of conditioning my coworker John (here’s his blog post if you’re tired of reading me) refers to as “prison-ripped”.

Did anyone actually buy that “discipline and sense of accomplishment” nonsense? Maybe that’s the attitude I had on day two of the diet, but certainly not now. Six weeks in with no cheat meals and no “adult sodas” and I am utterly dragging ass. My inner masochist dictates that I refuse to stop watching Iron Chef America on Food Network or put down last month’s issue of GQ (let me preempt the naysayers now by saying that I don’t subscribe to that magazine, but my gym does and I read it when I do cardio) when I turn the page to unveil the Top 25 Pizzas in America complete with full-color pictures. Yup, I’m there; those pizzas were talking to me. Somewhere in the midst of the mouth-watering array of my favorite food, in a moment of cardio-induced clarity, I had a realization. I need some stimulants. When beautifully photographed pizzas in a magazine start making me promises, I need some stimulants badly. I had been saving myself for a certain product that I had high hopes for: Cytolean V2 from Gaspari Nutrition. Salvation arrived on Monday in the form of a brown box from Rich Gaspari himself, and soon our warehouse was stocked with the 90 “CytoTAB” bottles.

You had me at the shiny holographic sticker

You had me at the shiny holographic sticker

It’s official; Cytolean V2 is now available for purchase. I was eager to see the ingredients:

I moonlight as a hand model

I moonlight as a hand model

Lipolytic Drive Complex TM 565mg

Green Tea Extract, Proprietary Extract of Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae, B­-Phenylethylamine HCL, Proprietary Extract of Paulinia Cupana

Psycho-Corticoid Optimization Matrix TM 420mg

Caffeine, Lactium® (aS1-casein tryptic decapeptide), 7b-OH (7b-hydroxy-dehydroepiandrosterone), Chinese Boxthorn Extract (Lycium Chinense), Bioperine®, Huperzine A

First Impressions

There are ten ingredients total. I am a bit more partial to products with fewer ingredients because it seems to lend itself less to “pixie dusting”, a practice I described here. That being said, this product isn’t a horrible offender. I think that sometimes these products’ ingredients can produce a synergistic effect, too, so it can be a double-edged sword. With “fat burners” or stimulant products in general, there is an amazing array of different feelings they can confer on the user. I’ll examine this more later; suffice it to say, ten total ingredients is just about where a product like this should be. Pixie dusting is a worse offense when the product in question is a powder-based product. Finally, there is also an ingredient I’ve never seen before: Lactium ®. We’ll check that one out later in the post.

Image courtesy of lactiumusa.com

Image courtesy of lactiumusa.com

What these ingredients are… really

There are three “creatively” labeled ingredients, and by that I mean that they are somewhat well-known ingredients that are labeled with more obscure names. I’m referring to Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae, Paulinia Cupana, and Lycium Chinense (all three are also labeled as extracts). Allow me to translate, although I wish they would’ve labeled it so I wouldn’t have to:

Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae ­- This is tangerine peel. Its possible uses, especially from traditional Chinese medicine (its most common application), are incredibly diverse. It is most commonly touted as a digestive aid or tonic.

Paulinia Cupana­ – This is just Guarana, shame on them. I mean really, was it necessary to hide the fact that your product contains Guarana by deliberately using its botanical name? Guarana is a natural source of caffeine. It’s not the demon ingredient the energy drink decriers make it out to be. At the end of the day, it’s no different chemically than any other source of caffeine.

Lycium ChinenseThis is wolfberry/goji berry. It is often lauded for its antioxidant properties and purported anti-aging/longevity effect.

The presence of tangerine peel and goji berry in a fat burner are curious to me. They’re novel ingredients, to be certain, but I’m not sure if they’re really contributing that much to the total effect of the product. Even further, if they were using them as “buzzword ingredients”, why are they named in a misleading manner? You shouldn’t lose faith, however, because it gets a lot better. Read on.

The other, better ingredients

B-Phenylethylamine HCL – You will often see this ingredient abbreviated as PEA or β-PEA. This is a monoamine (an aromatic group connected to an amino acid by two carbon chains). This one happens to be derived from the aromatic amino acid phenylalanine, as you can probably infer from the name. Phenylethylamines and their substitutions are a very broad class of compounds that include the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine; ephedrine; and the (meth)amphetamines and their salts (e.g., Adderall). Please don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not likening β-PEA to methamphetamines. I’m just pointing out that this is a very interesting compound that is part of a family which contains stimulants and hallucinogens, among other things. It is perfectly safe, however, and most users report increased focus and increased body temperature/feelings of warmth, and even mild euphoric feelings at times. The most commonly reported side effects are mild nausea and mild tightness of the throat, but Cytolean V2 probably does not contain enough β-PEA to cause these side effects.

Lactium ® – This is a decapeptide (10 amino acids bonded together) that is isolated from casein (milk) protein. It is hydrolyzed (basically, broken down) by the enzyme trypsin, which is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine.

Get Trypsinized! (Yes, it's a real word)

Get trypsinized! (Yes, it's a real word) Image courtesy of lactiumusa.com

Apparently, the impetus for the discovery of this peptide was to determine the calming ingredient in milk that soothed infants after breastfeeding. Five clinical studies on women only showed significant reduction in stress markers (as compared to placebo) in the following areas: digestive (+ 29.5%), cardiovascular (+ 12.5%), intellectual (+ 28.1%), emotional (+20.3%) and social (+ 14.2%).You can read more about this here. This is an interesting concept, and certainly a unique ingredient. I will go so far as to say that this is the first time, to my knowledge, that this angle has been taken with a fat burner product.

7b-OH (7b-hydroxy-dehydroepiandrosterone) – This is a downstream metabolite of DHEA and is very similar to 7-keto DHEA. 7b-OH-DHEA has the strongest anti-cortisol/anti-glucocorticoid activity of the supplemental DHEA metabolites, and has shown the greatest propensity to increase resting metabolic rate. This product, Lean Extreme, made the 7b-OH-DHEA ingredient popular in the supplement industry. My personal experience with this ingredient is that it works acutely and rapidly for the first few weeks or so and then tails off in effect, and it specifically targets abdominal fat. Lean Extreme didn’t have any stimulants in it (sigh), but Cytolean V2 has both stimulants and 7b-OH-DHEA (yay!). I do think it is a nice ingredient overall, and worth trying (preferably with stimulants) if you haven’t before.

Huperzine A – This is a plant alkaloid. It has been shown to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). This inhibitory action increases acetylcholine levels in exactly the same way some prescription Alzheimer’s drugs (e.g., Donepezil) do. Without getting too technical, acetylcholine is the primary contractile neurotransmitter of muscle tissue, and in the brain it is involved in plasticity (memory) and excitability (neurotransmitters are chemicals that help your nervous system communicate with other cells). Huperzine A is currently undergoing clinical trials as an Alzheimer’s treatment. This is an interesting ingredient to be in a fat burner as well, and it is also in Gaspari’s other recent product: Mitotropin. It appears that the product formulators at Gaspari Nutrition are fond of this ingredient, and so am I.

 

Effect

The directions are curious with this product; they indicate that you should take all three tablets in the morning. Most products adopt the opposite approach and request that you take some tablets in the morning, and then additional tablets later that day. Anyway, I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge so I threw three pills down the hatch and waited… (While we’re waiting, let me just point out that the pills receive high marks in badassery for having freakin’ daggers on ‘em)

...They'll (ahem) cut you up?

They'll *ahem* cut you up? (Hopefully) And more gratuitous hand modeling. Calluses are fashionable.

And we’re back. Okay, so they legitimately are not kidding. I was wired, but not in the wild, headachy way that a typical caffeine overdose would yield. I was actually processing everything faster than normal, at least in my own mind. My co-workers did point out that I was talking way too fast as I was frantically trying to communicate to them that I was having hot flashes like a perimenopausal woman.

"My first day as a woman and I'm already having hot flashes..."

"My first day as a woman and I'm already having hot flashes…"

Seriously, I loved original Cytolean and was sad to see it go, but this product was worth the wait. I didn’t start taking an energy product right away because my personal dieting philosophy is to always have tricks up your sleeve to add at a later date; if you throw everything you have at your body all at once, then what happens when you stop progressing? Cytolean V2 delivered everything I needed at a critical juncture in my diet: energy, appetite suppression, focus/concentration, and increased lipolysis. Granted, increased lipolysis is hard to quantify, but I attribute the “heat waves” feeling to increased oxidation of fatty acids which is an exothermic (i.e., heat-releasing) reaction. I would highly recommend this product to anyone who has hit a wall in their dieting pursuits, or just someone looking for more energy in general. If I had to guess, it’s the Lactium ® ingredient that really changes the “feel” of the product; you don’t feel haywire at all. I’m really impressed with this ingredient if it is indeed the culprit. I even felt that the product put me into a “get things done” frame of mind at work; this, again, earns it high praise in my book. Anyone who has ever dieted for a substantial length of time knows the accompanying lethargy and irritability and hunger can be productivity killers. For me, the mental fog was lifted and I was able to concentrate entirely on the task at hand.

Final Thoughts

I always tell our customers that fat burners and stimulants are “feel” products. They don’t do much in terms of increasing caloric expenditure directly. Instead, they make you feel certain ways that may be beneficial to your energy or hunger levels, or even your sheer willpower to adhere to the diet. In this way, they increase caloric expenditure indirectly by causing you to eat less and move more. It really is that simple. Furthermore, I am particularly fond of products that impart clarity of focus or improve concentration, and Cytolean V2 did just that. My criticisms would be the deliberate misdirection with the labeling of the ingredients, and the curious dosing instructions. I do plan to experiment with my own dosing protocol: two tablets in the AM and one capsule mid-afternoon. I am not going to exceed three tablets per day, however, because I would like my bottle to last a whole month. Cytolean V2 is also designed to neatly stack with Mitotropin, and they are perfect complements to one another because Mitotropin is not “stimulant-y” at all. I am not inherently biased towards Gaspari; they did an excellent job on these products. My recommendation would be to pit this product against any run-of-the-mill hyper-caffeinated fat burner you may be currently taking. The innovation and effect of this product will not disappoint.

As always, please leave a comment or question on the blog or a product review on the product page!