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PhenQ Review: Is It Safe and Effective for Weight Loss?

By Emily Hirsch, MS, RD

Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD

Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Dietitian Rating:

2.8

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:2.2
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:2.0
  • Brand Transparency:3.0

PhenQ is a weight loss supplement claiming to burn fat, suppress appetite, boost energy, and block fat production. While there is some evidence to support these claims, overall PhenQ falls short of its many promises.

Written by
Emily Hirsch, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Women's Health Specialist and GI Health
Emily Hirsch is a registered dietitian with over fifteen years of experience in the health and wellness space. She received her undergraduate degree in dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and her Masters of Science with distinction in nutrition education from California State University, Chico.
Medically Reviewed by
Anthony Dugarte, MD
Medical Reviewer
Anthony Dugarte, M.D., C.S.C.S. is a health and wellness writer and medical content reviewer. In addition to dedicating the last 7 years to medical research, Dr. Dugarte also has more than a decade of experience in strength and conditioning, nutrition, and rehabilitative exercise, as well as authoring and reviewing health and wellness-related content.

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PhenQ Review: Is It Safe and Effective for Weight Loss?
Photo credit: iStock.com/FatCamera

Pros

  • Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Limited side effects
  • May help increase energy levels

Cons

  • Steep price point
  • Very little scientific evidence backing their claims
  • May contain excess caffeine for some people

What Is PhenQ?

PhenQ is a weight loss supplement that promises to burn fat, suppress appetite, and block fat production while elevating mood and boosting energy levels.

PhenQ is claimed to have the power of multiple weight loss supplements combined into one pill.

PhenQ was brought to market about five years by Wolfson Berg Ltd., a company developing private label health and wellness products for over thirty years.

Evaluation of Ingredients

The ingredients in PhenQ include α-Lacys Reset (a proprietary blend of 2 amino acids), capsaicin (the chemical in chili peppers), chromium, caffeine, Nopal cactus fiber, L-Carnitine fumarate, and calcium.

α-Lacys Reset, 25 mg

α-Lacys Reset is PhenQ’s claimed specialized ingredient. This patented formula contains a combination of two amino acids: alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and cysteine.

PhenQ has completed their own clinical study on α-Lacys Reset, showing that study participants lost weight, reduced body fat, and increased muscle mass.

Their study is limited for various reasons. For example, it has no information regarding the number of participants, no information concerning variables like food intake and exercise, and no information on how the body fat was calculated.

Also, their study doesn’t appear in any scientific journal.

A separate study not sponsored by this company did find that supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) slightly decreased body weight and BMI. (1)

Summary

PhenQ contains α-Lacys Reset, a proprietary blend of 2 amino acids, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and cysteine. There is very limited research showing that these amino acids can promote weight loss.

Capsimax Powder, 50 mg

Capsimax powder is made from capsaicin, the chemical in chili peppers that makes them spicy.

One study found that capsaicin supplementation may help to promote body fat loss. (2)

Summary

Capsimax powder is derived from capsaicin, and some studies suggest that it may help with fat loss. However, more research is needed to confirm this link.

Chromium Picolinate, 80 mcg

Chromium Picolinate is an essential mineral naturally present in many foods such as meat, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables.

Chromium picolinate is a more easily absorbed form of chromium often found in dietary supplements.

Chromium plays a role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism and may help reduce body fat and body weight.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that chromium supplementation did reduce weight, BMI, and body fat percentage. (3)

However, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, chromium may help reduce body weight and body fat, but these effects have “little clinical significance.” (4)

Summary

Chromium picolinate is a more easily absorbed form of chromium that may help people lose minimal amounts of body weight and body fat.

Caffeine Anhydrous, 100 mg

Caffeine anhydrous is dehydrated caffeine in the form of crystallized powder.

Caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in the world, but can it act as a weight-loss tool?

A recent meta-analysis showed that caffeine intake might help promote weight loss, reduce BMI, and lower total body fat. (5)

Additionally, according to a new study from The Journal of Nutrition, women who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have been found to have a lower total body and abdominal fat than those who drink less. (6)

Summary

Caffeine intake may help promote weight loss, reduce BMI, and lower total body fat, but more research is needed to confirm this connection.

Nopal Cactus Fiber, 20 mg

The Nopal Cactus, also known as “prickly pears cactus,” is native to the Southwest United States, Spain, Italy, and South Africa.

Nopal contains fiber that may help promote weight loss by decreasing the amount of fat the body absorbs.

This fiber binds to dietary fat and enhances its excretion, reducing dietary fat available for absorption.

One study found that participants on a 35% fat diet showed an increased fecal fat excretion compared to the control group without Nopal cactus in their diet. (7)

It is unclear how this translates to actual pounds lost. Unfortunately, there is no further clinical research to support the claimed weight-loss benefits of nopal.

Summary

Nopal cactus fiber may help promote weight loss by limiting the amount of fat the body absorbs. However, more research is needed to understand how this fiber may serve as a weight-loss tool.

L-Carnitine Fumarate, 150 mg

L-carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in foods like red meat, nuts, whole grains, and green vegetables.

L-carnitine plays a role in heart and brain functioning, muscle movement and helps the body produce energy.

Unfortunately, there is no solid scientific evidence to support the use of L-carnitine for weight loss at this time.

Summary

L-carnitine is an amino acid that plays a vital role in the body, but there is no research supporting its use as a weight-loss aid.

Calcium Carbonate, 230 mg

Calcium is an important nutrient to maintain bone health, but no recent studies suggest that calcium supplementation can help promote weight loss.

Summary

There are no recent studies that supplemental calcium can promote weight loss.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of PhenQ based on the available research:

Weight lossLimited Evidence
Burns fatLimited Evidence
Suppresses appetiteLimited Evidence
Blocks fat productionNo Evidence
Improves moodNo Evidence
Increases energy levelsGold Star Evidence

There is some limited evidence suggesting that some of the ingredients in PhenQ may help promote weight loss.

For example, caffeine, capsaicin, and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) may help to decrease body weight slightly. However, more research is warranted to establish a stronger link.

There is limited evidence suggesting that Capsimax powder, made from capsaicin, may help “burn” or promote body fat loss. However, there is a need for further research on this connection.

Additionally, the caffeine in PhenQ may help suppress your appetite, and it can certainly increase your energy levels.

There is no evidence in any of the ingredients in PhenQ that shows the product can block fat production or improve your mood.

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The recommended dosage of PhenQ is two pills per day, one in the morning and a second one with your afternoon meal.

Because of PhenQ’s caffeine content, people with caffeine sensitivity should not take PhenQ.

Additionally, the FDA has cited that consuming 400 milligrams per day of caffeine is safe. (8)

However, consuming PhenQ (or any other caffeine-containing product) in addition to your regular caffeine intake from coffee, tea, or soda may place you at risk for caffeine overconsumption.

Excess caffeine intake can lead to insomnia, rapid heart rate, jitters, nausea, headache, and anxiousness. (8)

Moreover, according to the FDA, the rapid consumption of 1,200 mg of caffeine can cause seizures. (8)

Before taking any supplement, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe for you.

This is particularly important for those taking any prescription medication or people who have a medical condition.

Cost and Where to Buy

One bottle of PhenQ is $69.95 and contains 60 pills, which is a month’s supply.

You have the option of purchasing more bottles of PhenQ on their website at a discounted rate.

If you purchase two bottles at $139.90, you will get a free bottle, lowering the cost to $46.63 per bottle.

Three bottles of PhenQ cost $189.95, and you will receive two complimentary bottles plus a free bottle of another product called Advana Cleanse. If you choose this option, you will be paying $37.99 per bottle.

If you’re not satisfied with PhenQ, you can return any unopened bottles within 60 days for a full refund.

How PhenQ Compares to Alternatives

While there are many weight loss supplements on the market, many contain proprietary blends.

Proprietary blends, sometimes coined “secret ingredients,” are combinations of ingredients used exclusively by one supplement manufacturer.

It can be tricky to know the exact amounts of each ingredient in these specific blends, as is the case with PhenQ.

There are slightly less expensive alternatives to PhenQ. For example, Instant Knockout is a weight loss pill that contains similar ingredients to PhenQ. You can purchase a one-month supply directly through the website for $59.

Another weight loss supplement with a similar nutritional profile to PhenQ is Leanbean. A month’s supply of Leanbean is $59.

I would not recommend any of these products for sustainable weight loss. Instead, I would advise focusing on a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

Summary

There are less expensive products on the market that provide similar ingredients to PhenQ. However, no weight loss pill is going to be as effective as a lifestyle change.

The Bottom Line

PhenQ will not give you effortless results to help burn fat and shed weight.

While some of the ingredients in PhenQ have some evidence to help promote weight loss, the evidence is minimal.

Ironically, weight loss pills often have the unintended consequence of actually promoting weight gain.

People often treat weight loss pills as a green light to ditch tried and true methods like healthy eating and exercise, leading to the dreaded yo-yo dieting cycle.

Additionally, weight loss pills are a temporary solution to a problem that requires a lifestyle change to promote sustainability.

The reality of losing weight isn’t quick or easy – any company that claims otherwise will likely leave your wallet empty and your scale full.

A Word from Our RD

While ditching the weight loss diet pills is a good first step, you can take other simple steps to help your weight loss efforts.

Try aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Research suggests that people who get more sleep experience more weight loss, particularly in the abdominal region. (9)

Drink more water. Thirst is often disguised as hunger. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help minimize hunger-versus-thirst confusion and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

It is also wise to take inventory of your liquid calories coming from a coffee beverage or smoothie. If you dislike water, try flavored seltzer or an unsweetened tea.

Find creative ways to move your body more often throughout the day. For example, walk around while talking on the phone, or invest in a standing desk.

Moving your body doesn’t require a gym membership or even breaking a sweat. Even seemingly minor changes can add up to support you in reaching your weight loss goals.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a wide array of powerful antioxidants that provide far-reaching health benefits.

Additionally, they’re packed with water and fiber, both of which can help you feel fuller for longer to help you shed the pounds and keep them off for good.

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At WellnessVerge, we only use primary references for our articles, including peer reviewed medical journals or well-respected academic institutions.

  1. Alpha-lipoic acid supplement in obesity treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28629898/
  2. Capsaicinoids supplementation decreases percent body fat and fat mass: adjustment using covariates in a post hoc analysis:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088424/
  3. A meta-analysis of the effect of chromium supplementation on anthropometric indices of subjects with overweight or obesity:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31115179/
  4. Chromium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals:
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/
  5. The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dos-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30335479/
  6. Regular Coffee Consumption Is Associated with Lower Regional Adiposity Measured by DXA among US Women:
    https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/150/7/1909/5828319
  7. Effects of Cactus Fiber on the Excretion of Dietary Fat in Healthy Subjects: A Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Clinical Investigation:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109417/
  8. Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?:
    https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much
  9. Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22402738/