Relacore Diet Review

Made by the Carter Reed Company, Relacore says it has sold more than 12.7 million bottles of “America’s #1 Selling ‘Belly Fat’ Pill.” You’ve seen it on TV and at Wal-Mart. Gina Daines, spokesperson for Carter-Reed, says its popularity soared in the fall of 2001 as the link between stress and belly fat became the focus of media attention around the globe. [1] 

Frankly, we were happy with the sales of Relacore when it was simply known as an all-natural, stress-reducing, ‘feel good’ pill. But as the press started talking more and more about the connection between stress and belly fat retention, sales skyrocketed and in less than one year, Relacore became (and still is) America’s number one selling “Belly Fat Pill.” [1] 

Wow.  

Relacore says it wouldn’t be the best “Belly Fat pill five years running if people didn’t love it.” They even say it sells out in Wal-Mart.  

Wow again. This is it. This is the magic diet pill. It must be. The problem is, if it is the secret to disappearing belly fat, why are Americans fatter than ever?  

Relacore Claims 

First, let’s look at Relacore Extra. Relacore says research has shown there’s a definite link between stress, tension, and excess belly fat. But its pill is the “breakthrough, high-performance, non-sedative, anti-anxiety, stress-reducing, mood-elevating pill that, in conjunction with any sensible diet and exercise program, helps reduce unsightly stress-related belly bulge.” [2] 

Relacore Extra is a more potent form of the proprietary Relacortin blend, a more intense concentration, designed to help minimize stress and balance hormone levels that cause stress-related belly fat. 

Combine it with the Relacore Accelerated Fat Burning Compound, and “…you won’t just lose weight; you lose inches of squishy, unattractive, figure-destroying fat from all over your body while it provides a powerful increase in energy, focus and helps you get lean, toned, and firm… fast!” [2] 

That’s the claim on the website. 

Relacore says it’s clinically proven to reduce stress and actually helps your body finally release this unwanted belly fat. Relacore Extra says it’s the natural, anti-stress, mood-elevating pill that can positively alter the underlying cause of excess belly fat. This potent, stress-relieving energizer is specifically designed to reduce the production of stress-induced cortisol, a hormone that can lead to belly fat accumulation. [2] 

On the company website, each bottle of Relacore Extra provides 72 capsules—an 18-day supply—and costs $29.99. The Relacore Ultimate Super Fat Burning Belly Bulge Kit includes a bottle of 15 Relacore Extra capsules and 20 capsules of the Relacore Accelerated Fat Burning Compound, all for $59.95. [3] [2] 

Listen, you don’t have to have a background in biological chemistry—though it would be helpful—to fully understand how the diet pill industry has marketed dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, a hormone produced by your body’s adrenal glands, which can increase the level of testosterone and estrogen) as a magic pill for targeted weight loss, the dreaded belly fat, the fat known as “stress fat.” It’s stunning really.  

I spent far too much time doing the research on this, and even then it’s best explained this way: DHEA is produced naturally in our bodies from puberty through young adulthood. The older we get, the less DHEA we produce. Cortisol is another stress hormone. The two together work to counterbalance each other and should be in balance. [4] [5] 

Got that? Now, let’s talk about stress. We’re all stressed to one degree or another. Some of that stress is unhealthy for us in not only psychological ways; it can also affect us in biological ways. The stress hormone cortisol is triggered even when the stress we feel isn’t life-threatening—but the hormones don’t know that, so cortisol is activated because the brain says to store energy just in case. Continuous stress increases cortisol levels, which increase appetite and store fat, especially in the tummy. The Mayo Clinic says too much cortisol can put you at risk for a host of health problems including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, even heart disease. [6] 

And, when your stress is ongoing (chronic), the body produces more cortisol and less DHEA; hence the reason for this review. Too much cortisol makes us want to eat, especially fat and sugar. So the idea is add DHEA and you will block that cortisol and lose weight.  

Like other weight loss supplements marketed as cortisol blockers, Relacore is a blend of herbs—the concentrations of which are unclear, since the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate that—which supposedly not only block all that excess cortisol, but help you chill out and, at the same time, helps to boost metabolism. So supposedly you’ll feel better, be less stressed, your appetite will be reduced and you’ll not eat as much, especially bad stuff, and you’ll lose abdominal weight.  

The Relacore claim that you’ll lose belly fat and be less stressed was challenged in a 2004 federal class-action lawsuit.  

“Defendants have sold more than 12.7 million bottles of Relacore and Relacore Extra as a result of that advertising message, which is false, deceptive, and unfair because Relacore and Relacore Extra are ineffective and do not help prevent or reduce stress-related abdominal fat or provide any of their other proclaimed benefits. One of the plaintiffs was responding to a Relacore TV commercial in 2009, which “showed a picture of an overweight abdomen as the narrator asked, “Does this look like you?” The narrator then said, “It’s not your fault—it’s the stress hormone that’s making you store weight in your belly.” The narrator claimed that Relacore was the answer because it stops the body from producing the stress hormone by reducing stress, causing users of the product to lose stress-related abdominal fat. “…no reasonable scientific basis for Defendants’ efficacy claims about Relacore and Relacore Extra and prevention and reduction of abdominal fat, stress and anxiety relief, mood elevating and energizing qualities, or reduction of cortisol levels.” [7] 

In 2006, the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) came after Relacore and its “parent” limited liability company, Basic Research, which paid a $3 million fine, ending a false advertising enforcement action. But in 2011, Relacore makers fought back, claiming the FTC kept changing its definitions of what was acceptable advertising claims language. Ultimately a court found that the FTC too narrowly defined what Relacore had to prove in its scientific claims, with “uncontroverted evidence” too high a bar, apparently, and a court found that Basic Research had presented reliable enough evidence to support its ad claims and granted its motion for summary judgment. Bottom line: Relacore could make the claims it wanted to. 

So it’s up to you to decide, then. Relacore says it relies on animal studies and the court said while those claims may or may not be proved, the company can make them. I don’t get this, but that’s the way the court ruled. [8] [7] 

Relacore Ingredients 

One would think that when you visit a weight loss supplement website, like the one for the Relacore belly fat pill, that before purchasing anything, you’d be able to find out what the ingredients are. You know, what you’re getting for your hard-earned money besides a bunch of claims about losing belly fat, being in a better mood, feeling less stressed, and having increased energy. But there are no ingredients posted. None. Just claim after claim of a clinically proven diet pill with no information about what’s in it. I mean we all know by now that supplements are not drugs and that there’s no official federal evaluation of any of these products or claims. But come on, no mention of what this stuff is at all is disturbing. It’s like the makers of Relacore assume people don’t care about what’s in the pill. But people do care. [9]  

Fortunately, Amazon.com sales pages either require pictures of Supplement Fact labels, or it’s just an unwritten rule that the seller posts it.  

Per 3 caplets: [10] 

Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid), 1000 mg 

Calcium (as Calcium Carbonate and d-Pantothenate), 100 mg 

Thiamin (Vitamin B1), 15 mg 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), 15 mg 

Niacin, (as Niacinamide), 50 mg 

Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCl), 10 mg 

Folate (as Folic Acid), 400 mcg 

Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin), 10 mcg 

Biotin, 150 mcg 

Pantothenic Acid (as Calcium d- Pantothenate), 23 mg 

Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide), 100 mg 

Zinc (as Zinc Oxide), 10 mg 

Relacortin-Plus, 240 mg, a Proprietary Blend of: Passionflower (aerial parts) Powder, Magnolia (bark) Powder, Chinese Skullcap (root) Powder, Asian Ginseng (root) Extract, Poria (scierotium) Extract, Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) (fruit) Extract, Perilla (leaf) Extract, Phosohatidylserine. 

Plus the stuff used to make the tablets themselves. So let’s check out the more exotic of these active ingredients. 

Magnolia bark claims to decrease cortisol, but I could find no definitive evidence. The flowering plant is in the genus dioscorea and it’s like wild yam—the best known of the dioscorea, which gives us DHEA—so, maybe? Magnolia when combined with a number of other herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is believed to help with anxiety, but the combination of herbs is not clear. [11] 

Passion flower is “possibly effective” for anxiety, so presumably, if you’re less anxious, cortisol levels may be reduced. It’s a stretch, but that’s the deal. [12] 

Why Chinese Skullcap is an ingredient is unclear. There’s no evidence for any of the claims made for its medicinal use for any number of ailments. It appears maybe it’s added here for anxiety or nervous tension, but who knows? [13] 

Asian Ginseng (aka Panax Ginseng), is not American ginseng; it’s from Asia. It’s been used for centuries in TCM as a tonic, and is in many supplements to:  

improve general well-being, physical stamina, and concentration; 

stimulate immune function; 

slow the aging process; and  

relieve various health problems such as respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, and menopausal hot flashes. [14] 

WebMD says it is possibly effective to increase mental function, possibly influenza and may help with sexual problems. All other conditions—and there are dozens and dozens that are supposedly well-served with Asian Ginseng—WebMD says there is no evidence. [15] 

Poria is a fungus—a mushroom of sorts—also used in TCM, as a diuretic and may lower blood sugar.  

But in what concentrations? Doses? And who knows how much is in the Relacore blend? As we learned they don’t tell us and don’t have to. Even the Supplement Facts label I found doesn’t specify how much of each is in that 240 mg of Proprietary Blend. 

I found one obscure study reference about jujube that claims jujuba fruits and seeds are used in TCM to alleviate stress. Perilla is an herb that’s also used in TCM to treat colds. [16] 

And finally, phosphatidylserine, a vital cellular ingredient that contains amino acids and fatty acids (omega-3s, found in some fish and other foods) and helps hormone secretion by the adrenal glands. Ah-ha! There we go! Hormone from adrenal gland? DHEA. Phosphatidylserine is affected by aging, stress and the way we eat in the modern world—especially all this processed food—so does it need to be augmented? Good question. 

The Accelerated Fat Burner Compound is a potpourri of herbal stimulants including coffee, guarana, and kola extracts—to blast your fat, I suppose.  

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Relacore  

As you’ve just read, there’s science—it’s just not proven. Anyone could argue Relacore works using some study; and conversely, one could argue it’s ineffective using another.  

One thing that does seem to be universally clear is there is no evidence that blocking cortisol sheds belly fat. Like the Mayo Clinic says,  

There is no solid evidence that cortisol blockers lead to weight loss. …the connection between stress hormones and weight gain is largely based on anecdotal evidence, with only a few studies supporting it. The role of hormones on weight gain remains unclear. [17] 

Side effects associated with Relacore include irregular periods, nausea, insomnia, or the opposite—sleepiness or drowsiness and up-and-down blood pressure. Also weight gain, because instead of calorie restriction and lots of exercise you think the pill is the panacea, but the weight creeps back on. Plus, it’s probably not the best idea to just casually take herbal medicines without talking to your doctor, especially if you’re on any medications. The best way to control cortisol levels in your body or, possibly increase your own DHEA? Science says endurance exercise may help, and long-term calorie restriction. [18] [19] 

Word on the Street About Relacore 

In a very recent Relacore review on Amazon for the kit (Relacore Extra and the Accelerated Fat Burning Compound) where 53 users gave it an average of 3 stars, “Rebekah” says, “These curb my appetite and help me to not snack throughout the day. they also give me a boost of energy when getting ready to work out.” [20] [21] 

There’s a number of different Relacore products on Amazon, but the one with the most reviews is the Relacore Extra, with more than 300 critiques.  

“T.V. Henson” (Jan 2017) says it’s a 5-star product, but not because of the loss of any belly fat.  

“I first started taking this for weight loss but have found to not have much success with that. However, I have had success with the mood improvement and stress relief aspect. This is why I use it and would highly recommend it.” [22] 

But 60 people gave it a 1-star rating and the reviews were scathing. “Does nothing.” “Don’t waste your money.” “Garbage.” “Gained weight!!” “So misleading.” And the like. [23] 

Relacore is everywhere: from CVS to Walgreens, GNC to Walmart.  

Speaking of Walmart, it’s cheaper to buy Relacore—if you’re thinking about it—there, where it’s about five dollars cheaper than on the Relacore website. Checking the Relacore reviews on Walmart.com, user reactions were mixed. One user, “Hautecouturehugs,” says,  

I love these pills…they make you feel fantastic and nothing bothers you at all. [22]  

I don’t know if that’s an endorsement or not. 

The Bottom Line: Is Relacore Worth a Try? 

Definitely not.  This is my simple reason why, and it comes directly from the company website itself about what it claims:  

Although we believe the content to be accurate, complete, and current, the Carter-Reed company does not represent or warrant that the information on this site is accurate, complete, or current. [23] 

Well, then. ‘Nuff said.

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