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.
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 called “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?