Normally I don’t look to review diet products and definitely not diet pills, but the focus of Active PK got me intrigued and decided to take a look. This supplement has so much ‘science’ involved, that I couldn’t resist reviewing the product.
Active PK is a capsule supplement that claims to essentially help with metabolism to keep you slim and / or aid weight loss. I’m always a little uncertain about any product that makes these claims, so I’m going to do a bit of digging around to see whether there can be any basis for these product claims.
There are literally thousands of products, methods, approaches, lifestyle changes, diets that claim to help you shed the pounds. How is this product different from everything else in the market?
First and foremost Active PK wants you to believe it is backed by science. Everything about the website for LCR Health (and, for that matter, the brand itself) is leading you to believe it is founded in science, from the brand logo (which resembles a building block) to the pages dedicated to the ‘research’ undertaken in the formulation of their products.
The formula used in Active PK is supposed to work by using ‘natural compounds to help activate AMPK — your metabolic “master switch” — which tells your body to stop storing fat and start converting it into clean, usable fuel. This can lead to more energy, fewer cravings, and a slimmer waistline’.
AMPK (Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) is an enzyme. It has a long name like lots of other enzymes. It has a complicated job like lots of enzymes. It is important because it is involved in energy pathways, helping your body navigate between energy needs and energy production.
Without going too far into the biology (I believe you really don’t need to be bamboozled on science with this one, in order to make up your own mind about whether to take Active PK), a few simple google searches tell me that people are already interested in increasing their AMPK. Search suggestions include ‘How can I increase my AMPK naturally’ and ‘AMPK foods’ – oh and ‘Active PK’ itself.
I can tell from this that there are people out there who are on board with the idea that this enzyme is useful in terms of metabolism and therefore the notion that taking more of it or making it more available would somehow improve your chances of either getting fit or losing weight. But is there really any truth to this?
Background on LCR Health
I already gave an overview of LCR Health in my Active Stem review here, but just to recap:
The company has as its Chief Medical Officer Dr Rand McClain, a doctor of ‘Regenerative Medicine’ who has committed his life’s work to the study of optimizing human performance through scientific approaches. The website promotes the scientific basis for their products and quotes research studies to add to their claims.
The modus operandi of LCR Health seems to me to very simply be taking one basic metabolic principle and creating a product which they can then promote as a health-enhancer.
I’m not 100% sold on this idea, as I prefer to look at the quality of ingredients and the evidence behind using or taking them before deciding whether this is something I can put my name behind (hence my reviewing of these products and summarising of their effectiveness).
Another quick look at an article on the website of popular health-product pusher Dr Axe quotes that what actually activates AMPK is energy deficiency. So when you feel tired, stressed, hungry (you get the idea)… it’s a simple supply-and-demand cycle which the human body does so well. This causes the activated protein kinase (AMP) – a protein – to be produced, which is then used alongside AMPK in the pathway.
So if some of the best AMPK activators are things we think of as stressful (fasting or calorie restriction and intense exercise) why do we need to take a supplement that actively gives us more AMPK?
Active-PK is a ‘revolutionary formula designed to help fight fatigue and abdominal fat so you can enjoy a stronger, slimmer-feeling body’.
Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Leaf Extract (ActivAMP) 450 mg: This is also called Jiaogulan, or Southern Ginseng.
Quercetin Dihydrate 100 mg. Berberine 100 mg.
The promotional material says: ‘This formula contains 2 of the most powerful AMPK-boosting compounds ever discovered — Berberine and Gynostemma. These plant extracts are proven to help your body trim abdominal fat, boost your endurance, and “crank up” your metabolism by maintaining healthy AMPK production’.
Firstly, is this formula ‘revolutionary’ because it’s the first time these two ingredients have been put together?
Is it a revolution in weight loss (if so, where is the evidence or studies to back this up)?
How can we possibly test the truth of these statements if no actual research has been done on the product (or the ingredients in combination) for example in a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial.
How Does Active-PK Taste?
The product is sold in capsule form so there should be no discernable flavor or taste.
I looked at Examine.com so much to see what the truth is behind these ingredients that I came across the following side effect of Berberine:
Gastrointestinal upset can occur when high doses are used, and due to its ability to reduce blood sugar, it may increase the risk for hypoglycemia in high doses, though this isn’t a common occurance.
However the dose is not particularly high at only 100mg so this may not result in any side effect.
Does Active-PK Actually Work?
First and foremost, how would we know? How can you actually tell whether you are increasing AMPK by taking this product? Is the outcome – and the measurable result – actual, tangible physical weight loss?
There are so few ingredients in the product.
The research on the actual ingredients says:
- Gynostemma: may help treat obesity. There have been some recent studies on the effect of this southern-Asian herb on obese individuals, with a dosage in the range of 40-450mg per day. However, and more importantly, this study is not being cited broadly.
- Quercetin: on Examine they say of this “it is the most well researched of all bioflavonoids. It is not actually that good of a supplement on its own, but is an interesting research topic. Tons of interactions, and synergistic with other bioflavonoids and increases absorption of Resveratrol and Green Tea Catechins.” Some research has shown that Quercetin increases human endurance through improved exercise capacity. The effect is however not very significant with only a 2% improvement. Daily doses are in the range of 1000-2000mg. Notably there is no reported increase in metabolic rate with Quercetin supplementation.
- Berberine: used in Chinese medicine for many years, it is supposed to have health benefits including helping weight loss and even treating diabetes. I’ve again looked at Examine to see what science is actually behind the claims and it says:
“Berberine can activate an enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) while inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), thus increasing insulin sensitivity”. The dose used was 1500mg (three daily doses of 500mg).
I will reiterate that there has been no research on the ingredients in this particular dosage in Active-PK being used together in a clinical trial, with measurable outcomes.
Active-PK Customer Reviews
The only reviews I could find on the LCR Health site were of course good ones.
This has been my first month on Active-PK. Within the first two weeks I began to feel more energetic, involved in life, leading to a feeling of improved wellbeing. I will continue this course for another month and see where we lie then. Thanks for the boost.
It’s been two months and I noticed less appetite after a few days.
Initially I felt almost immediately lighter, energized and even lost a few pounds, now it is stuck, I suppose I must learn to eat less. I am finishing the first month.
Money Back Guarantee / Returns Policy
All LCR Health products come with a 90-day “Ironclad” Guarantee, which means that if you are unhappy with your product you can call their hotline for a return number and return the goods for your money back.
Where to Buy Active-PK?
You can buy Active-PK at the official website.
Is It Worth the Price?
A 30-day supply of 60 caplets costs $69 (USD) through the LCR Health online shop. You can buy 3 tubs for $186.30 (a saving of $18), or 6 for $330.15 (saving $84).
My short answer to this question is no. There is hardly anything in this product. Capsules only offer a tiny amount of ingredients, even if you do take two per day.
My long answer, which is a repeat of the above arguments is that I don’t think you should spend this sort of money on a product which has not been studied and the clinical evidence quoted does not add up. They do state that their products are tested in their lab – but this could just be for safety of the ingredients used.
Don’t be bamboozled by science!
The Bottom Line
In summary I will have to use the often quoted phrase ‘hard work pays off’.
If you want to see results in terms of weight loss I don’t believe you are going to experience any change through taking a daily supplement of two capsules of herbal extracts that are yet to be scientifically studied together for the results you want to see.
There are so many problems in using herbal extracts (or even whole herbs) in medicine, that without standardised trials I don’t believe you can see the full picture. We need more than just cherry-picked science results to know whether something (at this price) is really worth taking.
So, I am not a fan of Active-PK and won’t be reaching into my pocket for this supplement anytime soon.