FBCX and Weight Loss: Review of Research and Side Effects

Have you heard of FBCX? How about Calorease or Alpha Fibe FBCX or Alpha Cyclodextrin? All of these words refer to the same thing: a weight loss supplement that contains a certain type of fiber that’s supposed to help people lose weight. FBCX is becoming so popular that Dr. Oz even called it a “fat-eating fiber” when he featured it on his TV show. Unlike other fat and carb blocker supplements you may be aware of, FBCX is different, with some even saying it can help remove up to 500 calories of fat per day from the food we eat. Talk like that gets people interested fast, so in this review, I will look at the research on FBCX and try to give people an idea of whether it works or not, and if so, how much might help.

 

What is FBCX?

FBCX supplements contain a water-soluble, non-digestible fiber made from corn that is called Alpha Cyclodextrin (pronounced al-fa sigh-klo-dex-trin).

In supplements, FBCX might also be listed as “FBCx” and “α-Cyclodextrin.”

The way it’s supposed to work is that the FBCX fiber coats fat molecules in the food we eat, making them incapable of being absorbed. If we can’t absorb the fat, we can’t absorb the calories in the fat either. As a result, fat is excreted from the body and weight loss occurs.

FBCX literally stands for “Fat Binding Complexer”, a reference to how the fiber complexes/coats fat molecules. Some sellers of FBCX claim that each serving of FBCX (a serving is 2 grams or 2,000 mg) can bind up to 18 grams of fat (just under 1 ounce)—although I have not seen studies to confirm this.

 

FBCX Weight Loss Research

I searched the National Library of Medicine for these terms:

  • FBCX weight loss
  • FBCX body mass index
  • FBCX obesity
  • Alpha Cyclodextrin weight loss
  • Alpha Cyclodextrin  body mass index
  • Alpha Cyclodextrin obesity
  • Calorease weight loss

I located the following relevant investigations:

 

A 2013 study titled, The effect of α-cyclodextrin on postprandial lipid and glycemic responses to a fat-containing meal, which noted that 2 grams of FBCX taken after a high-fat breakfast (Sausage McMuffin with Egg containing 26 grams of fat) reduced triglyceride levels (by as much as 50% three hours after eating) in 34 healthy adults, compared to a placebo. This study showed no changes in blood sugar or cholesterol levels.

 

A 2011 study titled, The beneficial effects of α-cyclodextrin on blood lipids and weight loss in healthy humans that involved 41 healthy overweight/non-diabetic people (only 28 people completed the study). The study lasted 2 months. This investigation noted that when the subjects used FBCX (2 grams per day taken after a high-fat meal), there was a significant reduction in body weight (about a pound), as well as reductions in cholesterol, LDL, and insulin levels. Blood sugar levels, however, did not change.

 

A 2008 study titled, Dietary alpha-cyclodextrin lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alters plasma fatty acid profile in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice on a high-fat diet. In this investigation, 20 mice that were prone to get heart disease were fed a high fat, high cholesterol “western diet” for 14 weeks. Some mice were just fed the high fat diet while other mice were also given FBCX. After the study, the mice getting FBCX has significantly lowered cholesterol and other markers for heart disease compared to mice which did not get FBCX. Interestingly, mice getting FBCX did not lose weight.

 

In a 2007 study titled, The benefits of early intervention in obese diabetic patients with FBCx: a new dietary fibre, 66 people were followed for 3 months and given either a placebo or 1 gram (1000 mg) of FBCX per day and told to eat as they normally do.

Those getting FBCX maintained their weight during the study while those getting the placebo gained weight. FBCX also appeared to reduce cholesterol levels and increase the fat cell hormone, adiponectin.

Adiponectin gets a lot of attention in the weight loss world because higher levels may be linked to weight loss. While this hormone does appear to play a role in weight loss, I don’t think all the answers are in yet. For example, there appears to be some odd association between elevated adiponectin levels and Alzeheimer’s disease. Bottom line: adiponnectin is complicated. Don’t worry about raising your adiponectin levels with supplements. Let your body do it on its own.

 

In a 2006 study titled, The effects of a new soluble dietary fiber on weight gain and selected blood parameters in rats, FBCX promoted more weight loss in rats that were fed a high fat diet for 6 weeks. Researchers also noted more fat in the feces of the rats (an indication that less fat was absorbed) as well as reductions in triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

 

As an aside, it’s reported that FBCX was developed by Dr. Joseph Artiss and Dr. K-L Catherine Jen of Wayne State University, who acquired the rights to market FBCX from WSU. I mention this because their names appear on all the studies summarized above.

 

What’s Calorease?

Calorease (whose original name appears to be Mirafit FBCX) is probably one of the best known FBCX supplements out there.  If you were searching online for this supplement, you probably saw a website caloreasecalled “FBCX.com” which mentions the benefits of Calorease. I did some digging and discovered that the FBCX website is operated by Soho Flordis International, a natural medicines company that markets various supplements― including the FBCX supplement, Calorease.

Calorease has no gluten, lactose, stimulants or soy. It’s vegan and for those who are curious, is also Kosher and Halal certified.

On the Calorease.com website they list 4 studies on FBCX. These are the same studies as I reviewed above ,except that their titles have been changed a little bit on the Calorease website.

For those who trying to make sense of the research on the Calorease website, here is a list of the studies they show on their website along with real study titles:

Study 1 : The Beneficial Effects of FBCx on Blood Lipids & Weight Loss

Its real title is: The beneficial effects of α-cyclodextrin on blood lipids and weight loss in healthy humans.

 

Study 2. Dietary FBCx lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alters plasma fatty acid profile in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice on a high-fat diet

It’s real title is:  Dietary alpha-cyclodextrin lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alters plasma fatty acid profile in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice on a high-fat diet.

 

Study 3. The effects of a new soluble dietary fiber on weight gain and selected blood parameters

Its real title is: The effects of a new soluble dietary fiber on weight gain and selected blood parameters in rats.

 

Study 4. Healthy adults consume a Sausage McMuffin®, then have blood tests with and without FBCx

Its real title is: The effect of α-cyclodextrin on postprandial lipid and glycemic responses to a fat-containing meal.

 

Here is Calorease on Amazon for those who want to check it out.

 

FBCX Study Summary of Results

I know research can be kind of boring to read sometimes ―even when I try to summarize it ―so let me try to give you a quick reference of the research so far, with an emphasis on weight loss. Without commenting, I’ll just list it “works” or “doesn’t work.” according to the results. I’ve linked to the actual research studies above so you can see those for more info if you like.

 

  • The 2013 study: People study. Weight loss not measured but FBCX reduces triglycerides. 2 grams used in study.
  • The 2011 study: People study. FBCX works (reduced body weight, cholesterol, LDL and insulin). 2 grams used in study.
  • The 2008 study: Mouse study. FBCX doesn’t work for weight loss.
  • The 2007 study: People study. FBCX works at helping people maintain weight. 1 gram used in study.
  • The 2006 study: Rat study. FBCX works for weight loss.

 

FBCX vs. PGX?

For those who are curious, FBCX is not the same thing as PGX, which is another type of supplement. PGX―which also goes by the names glucomannan and konjac root―is a different type of fiber than FBCX. The PGX fiber, which also has research studies on its effectiveness, is not said to bind fat but rather expand in the stomach to help people feel full. PGX (glucomannan/konjac root) is an ingredient in several weight loss supplements I’ve looked at previously including:

 

Here is PGX powdered single packets on Amazon for those who want to know more.

 

FBCX Side Effects

I’m not aware of any serious side effects from FBCX supplements at this time. If you have had any, I hope you will leave a comment to help others. Some websites do caution against taking FBCX if your meal does not contain fat, as this might case gas. So, if your meal has no fat – or not a significant amount of fat – you don’t need to take FBCX. This makes sense because if there is no fat in the food, there is nothing for the FBCX to bind to.

Theoretically, FBCX might decrease absorption of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, K), but how significant this might be, I don’t know.  I’m not aware of any studies looking at fat soluble vitamin absorption with FBCX.  If it does happen, separating vitamin use from FBCX by several hours should decrease this from occurring.

One point that needs to be remembered is that FBCX is not an excuse to eat more fat or over-indulge on fatty, high calorie foods. I feel this should should be said just in case some might be tempted to think “I can eat that cheese cake if I take FBCX.” This is a mistake and will lead to failure to lose weight.

How Much to Take?

As with any new supplement, my thoughts would be to take less than is recommended at first. The Calorease website says that a serving is 2 tablets with each meal (that’s 6 tablets per day if you eat 3 meals). Because we are all different,I feel starting with one tablet total per day for the first week is better. After that, slowly increase what you take over the next several weeks to what you feel is right for you. By taking less at first and increasing slowly, my hope is to cut down on any side effects that might arise.

See my resource page for more information on supplements and several other issues.

On my personal website, I have a review of wt loss supplement with evidence, along with many other things that can help too.

Does FBCX Work?

FBCX does have some published studies to show it might help some people lose weight; that’s interesting, although the geek in me would like to see published studies that are not associated with the makers of the product. That said, the studies are interesting and make me think it’s possible that by reducing fat absorption, FBCX might help some people lose weight, especially in those who are also reducing their calories and exercising.

I want to point to the fact that it’s not the reduced fat absorption that is causing weight loss in the FBCX studies, but the corresponding reduction in calories. Every gram of fat has 9 calories. So, as FBCX reduces fat absorption, it’s also reducing calorie absorption. This is important because all this talk about removing fat takes people’s eyes off the real culprit of being overweight―excess calories. To their credit, even the name “Calor-ease” puts the emphasis on calories and not fat.

Here is Calorease on Amazon for those who want to see what others are saying about it.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Kim says

    HI Joe, I have had a few Juice Plus+ Clients take PGX and FBCX and the results were not great.

    I mentioned that they go to the Dr. and find out if this product is depleting them of other nutrients and of course they were. I wrote into Dr. Oz, about this and have not received a response. None of my clients were feeling very good when I started counseling them on their nutrition.

    They all had the same response on this stuff, they felt nauseated, when they got off this stuff, they felt better. One gal said she felt like a new women after getting off the stuff. This stuff is dangerous in my opinion. There are no studies showing that this fiber just binds to fat and nothing else.

    The majority of my clients are all on some kind of med, I know that this must effect their meds in some way. This stuff is only popular when Dr Oz promotes it. I always suggest, eat less, and eat your fruits and veggies of course to get the fiber, I know it’s not easy, that is why I take and sell Juice Plus+. It’s just scary how many pills people take and then wonder why they don’t feel great. The body can only digest so much, as you know Joe, everyone’s body digests differently.

    If you are not hydrated, sleeping well, working out, and eating well, a fiber pill isn’t going to make a huge difference in the long run. Fiber pills won’t change your diet.

    Changing your diet is what helps you look great and feel great.
    I recommend to all my clients that they check their hormone levels and adrenals as well.

    oh, Love your books Joe! Gave your books to my clients for Christmas this past year. :-)
    Blessed are we, Kim :-)

    • Joe says

      Kim So far the studies didn’t show any side effects and I didn’t see much when I looked online so its interesting what you said about people not feeling nauseated when they stopped taking it. Is that for both FBCX and PGX?

      Glad you enjoyed my books :)

  2. Rebekah says

    I wonder about the blood sugar levels not changing. THAT would be more interesting. It certainly doesn’t sound like any “miracle” pill. (and aside from this comment, I wrote months ago asking your review of a company – any chance that might be in the queue?) Thanks!!

  3. Cindy Eubank says

    I purchased FBCx a while back and took it exactly as directed. It made me nauseated, gassy, had diarrhea, and literally made me feel like crap. And to boot it was a waste of $50.00. Not happy with this product. DON’T USE THIS!!!!!!!

  4. marilyn schaus says

    I am really tired of running to the health food store for yet another herb that dr. oz recommends . I am a sucker as of today I have stopped !!!! Every day he has a new fat buster , or belly fat buster

    • Joe says

      Marilyn, I completely understand your frustration. I know Dr. Oz means well. I also think his people are under pressure to give simple answers to complex questions. If FBCX works, I think its best used with eating fewer calories. Here’s a link to my personal site where I discuss what causes us to burn calories, along with several things that can help (supplements and non-supplements)
      http://www.joe-cannon.com/what-weight-loss-supplements-work/

      I hope some of this helps.

  5. JJ Hackett says

    Hello I got a question can you take the fbcx with garcinia cambogia ? I was just wanting to take one pill of the fbcx a day at dinner because I feel thats my heaviest meal.

    • Joe says

      JJ, Ive never seen any research that combined FBCX and garcinia cambogia. That said, if you have not taken either of these supplements before, I recommend you start with only one of them – and use less than is recommended for the first week. Slowly increase to what they say to use. Then, when you know you have no side effects, do the same thing with the other supplement. I think this is wise advice for any new supplement and especialy true if you are combining new supplements together.

      I have a very big review of garcinia cambogia which will provide additional information

      http://supplement-geek.com/garcinia-cambigoa-hca-review-weight-loss-research/

      JJ, I’m curious, how did you hear about FBCX? was it Dr Oz?

  6. Joe romano says

    Do you think this is safe for someone who has sugar. I am quite overweight having a big stomach and wonder if this would be beneficial to me or should I ask my doctor first. Reading the responses I wonder about the product. Please Advise

    • Joe says

      Joe, when you say you have “sugar” I assume you mean you have type II diabetes yes? While I’m not aware of any side effects with FBCX, I always think people with health issues should run supplements past their doctor first especially if you take any medications (are you taking diabetes medications – insulin or pills like metformin?), if yes, then definitely run it past your doctor. As I looked over the research I noticed that the people in the studies did not appear to have diabetes. That is another reason I’d say run it past your doctor just to be on the safe side.

      I think the thing to remember is that while FBCX might help you absorb fewer calories from the fat in foods, its best used along side eating a few less calories every day. Don’t just rely on FBCX alone but rather use it along side other things you are doing.

      If you have any other questions, just ask.

  7. rgronnie says

    I was a supplement sucker like Marilyn and I almost went searching the web for this one but decided to check you out first. Because it’s fiber, and I’m always looking to get more fiber, I figured this might be a good thing (although the fat soluble vitamin issue gave me pause). Thank you so much Joe. You have saved me from myself yet again! I’ve learned never to think about a supplement until I see what you and your followers have to say. Thank you.

    • Joe says

      rgronnie, you are very welcome. about the fat soluble vitamin issue. This is something that might occur with anything that reduces fat intake but how much of an impact it might have, I dont know. To be honest, I’ve never seen anything about FBCX reducing fat soluble vitamins either. We do store vitamin A E D and K for a long time so if FBCX did do this, how long would it be significant? I’m not sure. If this does occur, I’d think separating when we take both should take care of this.

  8. Theresa Gonzalez says

    At 57 weight is a lot harder to lose than when I was 27 or even 37. October 2013 I weighed 210lbs, I am 5′almost 3″. I went to a weight loss clinic and was put on phentermine 37.5mg, 1/2 tablet a day. I was also put on a no carb diet and asked to check my ketones. It was very difficult at first, going on a cruise, and the holidays to go thru. I also go to dinner seminars once to twice a week.

    I love meat so that helped me stay off the carbs, though I never went completely carb free I did reduce the amount of carbs I ate and my portion size, thanks to the phentermine. I also on my own started taking Alli with my meals. I rarely had any leaks, maybe 1 or 2 but it was if I had a HIGH fat meal.

    I now weigh 160lbs and have 20lbs to go to my goal. Now that Alli is no longer available I will be looking into FBCx. My taste buds have changed, I still enjoy a hot buttered dinner roll but I’m ok with half. My stomach has shrunk so I get full faster.

    My A1C went from 6.5 to 6.1 and my lipid panel HDL went from 52 to 57, LDL from 119 to 122, cholesterol 232 to 217, Cholesterol/High Density Lipoprotien 4.5 to 3.8 and my triglicerides from 305 to 189.

    It’s no perfect but something to keep an eye on. I had my thyroid removed about 6 months prior to my heaviest so I do take extra vitamin and calcium supplements and see or contact my PMG and Endo MD at least every 6 months. I work full time as an RN which leaves little time for exercise. I know I would have lost more and quicker if I had. Do you think I’m on the right track?

    • Joe says

      Theresa, I do think you are definitely on the right track and your A1C proves it. your A1C dropped from 6.5 to 6.1. As an RN you know how significant that is! This, plus your weight loss and decreases in your triglycerides and total cholesterol are reasons to stay the course. I’d bet there are other improvements in things you have not measured also.

      I can imagine how hard it is to “exercise” while working as an RN, so instead, just try to work more physical activity into your daily routine. When you can, take the steps rather than the elevator for example. Use something like the Fitbit to track steps taken and flights of stairs walked. you can even track your food with it too.

      Focus on being healthy, not just losing weight. Keep doing what you are doing because its obviously working Teresa. Keep me posted on your progress and also if you ever need more motivation :)

  9. Jenny Bock says

    I watch what I eat most of the time, I don’t think I eat more than 25-30 grams of fat a day. But I do have my days I “fall off the wagon” & eat a lot of fat!! I do eat a healthy portion of fruits & vegetables daily. What I am concerned about is if I eat enough fat in my diet to take this FBCX? Do you have to eat a certain amount of fat in your diet daily to take this product without getting bloated & gassy?

    • Joe says

      Hi Jenny, Im not aware of a certain threshold of fat to use with FBCX. Id say look at the foods you eat and if you think the meal contains fat, then that would be the meal to use it with. you dont need to use FBCX with fruits and veggies as these have no significant amounts of fat. On the meals where you “fall off the wagon” then that would be time to use it also.

  10. Maria Gutiérrez says

    Hi Joe…i just bought calorease fbcx and i been taking slimquick….it it bad to take both?

    • Joe says

      Maria, While I’m not aware of any interactions when taking them together, between them both, I feel more comfortable with just Calorease FBCX. It has the research while slimquick has none. Here is my review of SlimQuick.

      If you are going to take them together, I’d say start the first week with only one of them. this should cut back on any side effects. Id also start slimquick with less than is recommended.

      Any other questions, just ask.

  11. Sue says

    I have been taking PGX for a little over four weeks now. It does make me feel full. I added FBCx after 2 weeks and the results have been great.

    My serving size has decreased significantly without much effort. If I eat a salad and/or fruit, I don’t take it as there is very little fat in that meal. When I have a serving of red meat or pork, I take it. I always combine my meat with a veggie. In 4.5 weeks, I have lost 12.6 lbs. with no additional exercise.

    The only time I felt nausea was when I took one pill against only 4 or 5 grams of fat and it passed quickly.

    My energy level has improved tremendously and I no longer get that mid-afternoon drag. I attribute that to the weight loss and smaller portions.

    IMO, if someone is struggling to monitor portions just to get their diet started, I highly recommend this fiber. I think if nothing else, it helps to retrain your body into eating less with each meal and making better choices. Hope this helps. BTW, you can get it at an online store for $33. Not sure why everyone is paying $50 for the 180 count.

    • marilyn schaus says

      I am not taking anyting Dr Oz suggests anymore, I have spend wayyyyy too much money and no results expect real depression !!! I took a suppliment he suggested for food cravings and I almost commited suicide no kidding. I had to see my dr.

      • Joe says

        Marilyn, what was the name of the supplement hr recommended that made you feel that way? Do you remember?

        • marilyn schaus says

          I through it out it was H- and a few numbers it was supposed to boast your seretonon levels and stop craving for sweats . well one chemical raised and the other one dropped causing depression
          I can look it up and the health food store if you want

          • Joe says

            Oh ok 5HTP has been in several supplements I’ve reviewed here. It can have an impact on mood. It gave you suicidal thoughts? How long after taking it did you feel this way? Do you remember how many milligrams you took per day? How long after stopping did you feel back to normal?

          • marilyn schaus says

            I took whatever it said on the bottle, I wouldnt have taken more. But, I do take Cyprolex for anxiety ,needless to say my doctor was not happy. I got really depressed into about the 3rd week, it took awhile to go away after I stopped maybe a week or two . It was bad !!

          • Joe says

            5HTP does have the potential to interact with medications and I’m always especially leery of it when taking antidepressants drugs. It’s not a supplement I feel people should be taking. I do see it showing up in some weight loss. Products too which concerns me.

            I’m really glad you are doing ok now Marilyn. Toss the product in the trash.

  12. Joyce says

    There was mention of this being derived from corn, I hear a lot about staying away from any GMO corn and was wondering if this Calorease company is using non-GMO corn to make their product?

    • Joe says

      Joyce, I checked the Calorease website and it says on the FAQ page “Calorease contains no genetically modified components.” I take that to mean no GMO corn. Good question and thanks for asking :)

      • Joyce says

        Thank you and I so appreciate learning about you and your book, which I ordered on Amazon! Thanks for being a safe and UN-bias place to get important information.

  13. Adrian says

    Would this fiber reduce the ‘fat storing/converting’ effect from eating food with processed carbs/sugars? Because that’s one of the things that causes the most weight gain.

    • Joe says

      Adrian, I’m not aware of any evidence that FBCX differentiates between processed carbs vs unprocessed carbs. While there has been some interesting preliminary research on HFCS and weight gain I think the biggest reason it occurs is eating too many calories – processed or unprocessed.

    • Joe says

      Lee thanks for that. I noticed foods that have fructose can now also make beneficial claims. I wonder what this means for high fructose corn syrup foods?

  14. carla60626 says

    I just found out about this product and wondered if it would help me. I don’t follow a weight loss diet (though I should) but almost every day my breakfast consists of chocolate chip cookies and skim milk. I also have snacks of cheese puffs. I don’t need/want advice to cut this out.

    But would taking calorease with these foods help me reduce my fat intake? I do have meals of lean protein and vegetables and would not take calorease with them.

    • Joe says

      carla60626, based on what you said, I’m sorry, but I don’t feel Calorease will help you lose weight. I wont offer advice since you said you did not want it, but if you ever do, just ask.

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