Plexus Slim is billed as an “affordable weight management product” that boasts “no ill side effects” based on “extensive clinical research.” Impressive, but does PlexusSlim work or is it a scam? And does it really have no side effects? I was tipped off to Plexus Slim by one of the readers of this website. After looking at its ingredients, I wanted to write a review of Plexus Slim because of the words used to describe the product and because Plexus Slim seemed to have ingredients that I have never heard of before. Let’s see what we can discover about this weight loss drink.
Who makes Plexus Slim?
According to the Better Business Bureau, the company that makes Plexus Slim - Plexus Worldwide Inc. – was started in 2005 in Arizona. The address of the company is 7440 E. Karen Dr. #400, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. The area looks like a warehouse/ office facility.
The BBB gives Plexus Slim a rating of “A+” as of 9/14/12 and has only 1 complaint against the company which was resolved. That’s good. Plexus Slim World Wide is not a BBB accredited company as of 10/14/11.
To buy Plexus Slim it looks like you either have to buy it from the company or through a PlexusSlim distributor. They call Plexus Slim distributors “Ambassadors“. On the Plexus Slim website they have a calendar of Plexus Slim events. These events serve not only to sell Plexus Slim but also to recruit new Ambassadors. Plexus Slim has a multi level marketing aspect to it.
I’ve said before I have no problem with MLM. If the product is reputable, MLM allows people to make an income which can be significant.
Plexus Slim Ingredients
According to PlexusSlim.com the product has these ingredients. A proprietary blend of :
Citric acid. I can’t locate any weight loss evidence for citric acid.
Beet root. If Plexus Slim uses the entire beet root, the fiber content of the beetroot might help foster some weight loss because it adds bulk to the stomach contents. That said, I can’t locate any evidence that beetroot helps people lose weight.
Grape skin extract. Grape skin contains phytonutrients such as proanthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins which act as antioxidants. This is nice, but does grape skin extract help people lose weight? Other than having some fiber (which might act like a laxative) I can’t find any proof that it does. Update. I’m told Plexus Slim no longer contains grape skin extract
Lo Han extract. This is a sweetener. I tried to find evidence that Lo Han helps weight loss but could not find any.
One problem is that Plexus Slim uses “Low Han Extract”. Exactly what “extract” of Lo Han does Plexus Slim have? They don’t tell us.
Stevia. This is a sweetener. It’s added to many low calorie foods. Maybe it might help weight loss by helping people limit calories but I honestly don’t think so. Research suggests that drinking low calorie beverages does not send the signal to the brain that we are full. As such, we still feel hungry.
There are MANY low calorie foods and beverages on the US market, yet Americans are not slimmer than they were, say, in the 1980s.
Natural flavors. They don’t tell us what these natural flavors are. I doubt any of them play a role in weight loss.
Other ingredients listed
Chlorogenic acid . One study published in 2010 noted that chlorogenic acid helped weight loss and increased fat burning when in rats that were fed a high fat diet (37% of calories from fat).
This is interesting even though it’s a rat study. Another rat study also noted that mulberries (which contain chlorogenic acid) helped weight loss. But was it the chlorogenic acid – or all the other stuff mulberries?
In 2012, a small study was published titled: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. In this study 16 overweight people were given either a placebo or different amounts of green coffee extract (which contains chlorogenic acid) at either 700 mg or 1050 mg day for 6 weeks (each person was given each treatment for 6 weeks). People getting the green coffee extract (both dosage amounts) were shown to have significant reductions in body weight, body mass and percent body fat compared to placebo. The type of green coffee extract used in this study was supplied by Applied Food Sciences Inc.
Tip. Chlorogenic acid is also in green coffee bean so read my review on that for more information and research.
Rosmarinic Acid. This is a plant chemical found in many herbs, including rosemary. This is probably where Rosmarinic Acid gets its name from. Rosmarinic acid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I was unable to find any studies showing that Rosmarinic Acid helps weight loss in humans or animals.
Hydroxycinnamic acid. This is another plant chemical and I cant find any research specifically linking it to weight loss.
Citrin K (also known as garcinia cambogia). Garcinia cambogia is found in MANY weight loss supplements because of some research that it might reduce appetite and help weight loss. Right now, I think all anyone can say is maybe it works or maybe it doesn’t work.
Here is a study where 500 mg of garcinia cambogia did not help people lose weight. I mention this because if this study is correct, then it might take more than 500 mg of garcinia cambogia if its going to work.
I dont know how much garcinia cambogia is in Plexus Slim.
For more information see my review of Garcinia cambogia weight loss research.
Alpha lipoic acid. This is an antioxidant and it helps it turn carbs into energy. It can also help regenerate other antioxidants, which is pretty snazzy.
There are a few studies of alpha lipoic acid and weight loss. In one study, published in 2011, alpha lipoic acid was randomly given to 360 obese people for 20 weeks. Half got a placebo and half got alpha lipoic acid (either 1200 mg/day or 1800 mg per day). Those getting alpha lipoic acid lost more weight than those who got the placebo. Basically, over the 20 weeks, people lose about 2% of their body mass.
In another study, published in 2011, 1127 overweight people were given 800 mg of alpha lipoic acid a day for 4 months. This study noted that alpha lipoic acid, at the dosage given, helped people lose about 8% of their body weight over 4 months.
So if you were 200 pounds, alpha lipoic acid might help you lose about 200 x .08 = 16 pounds. That is a significant amount.
A possible problem with this study was that it doesn’t appear that there was a placebo group. I was also unable to determine (because I only read the summary of the study) if people combined alpha lipoic acid with eating fewer calories (I think they probably did).
A third study from 2010 noted that alpha lipoic acid increased metabolic rate in older, lab mice. In theory, this might help weight loss. It was also noted that alpha lipoic acid might reduce muscle loss in older mice as well.
I am not aware of any human studies of alpha lipoic acid helping metabolic rate or muscle loss. Still, if corroborated, the results of this mouse study are interesting .
Oxypregnane steroidal glycoside. This is a pretty fancy name but you have heard of this stuff before. Oxypregnane steroidal glycoside – is just a fancy way of saying Hoodia! Here is a study that proves that both names mean the same thing.
I think they call it Oxypregnane steroidal glycoside because they are trying to make the product sound different and special. In reality it’s just hoodia gordonii.
The other fancy name for hoodia is P57AS3 – you have probably seen this listed in other supplements as “P57“.
For at least 10 years, hoodia gordonii has been in more weight loss supplements than you can shake a stick at - but there is no good proof that hoodia supplements help people lose weight.
In 2011 researchers looked whether Hoodia gordonii would help people lose weight. They used 50 overweight people in this study. People were randomly given either hoodia or a placebo. The study lasted 2 weeks. The people in the study were allowed to eat as much as they wanted from a menu provided by the researchers. At the end of the study hoodia did not cause any weight loss.
While no serious side effects were reported, researchers did note that people who got hoodia had higher blood pressures and heart rates compared to people who got the placebo. Hoodia also seems to cause elevations in bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase. What caused these changes I do not know.
Chromium. Plexus slim contains a type of chromium they call “amino nicotinate”. This is fancy talk for “chromium nicotinate”.
You may have heard Dr. Oz talk about chromium polynicotinate on TV . I reviewed what Dr Oz had to say about this form of chromium and I am guessing that this is why Plexus Slim includes chromium nicotinate over chromium picolinate. Chromium may help lower blood sugar levels but as for its effects on weight loss, I am highly skeptical.
Update. Plexus Slim has been reformulated. See my review on the New Plexus Slim Formula for more info on how it has changed.
Blood sugar lowering ingredients
As a quick reference, the following ingredients might reduce blood sugar:
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Chromium nicotinate
As a quick reference, the following ingredients all might add fiber to Plexus Slim:
- Beet root
- Grape skin (no longer in plexus slim) See my review of the new PS formula.
- Hoodia (maybe)
Ingredients that have weight loss proof
As a quick reference, the following ingredients are those that I feel have the most weight loss evidence:
Note. Both links go to amazon so people can compare prices and read comments from others.
How much does Plexus Slim cost?
One of the slogans for Plexus Slim is “At last, an affordable weight management product.” I guess that depends on how you define “affordable”. On the Plexus Slim website they have different prices depending on whether you want to buy it just once or be billed each month automatically. If you want to buy Plexus Slim one time only, its $84.95. If you want to be billed automatically at the 15th of each month, Plexus Slim is $79.95/ month.
Here is Plexus Slim on Amazon for those who want to compare prices.
Is Plexus Slim OK When Breast Feeding?
A few women have written me to ask if they can take Plexus Slim while they are breast feeding? I don’t recommend women do this because if any of the ingredients in Plexus Slim pass into breast milk, then their baby will be getting those ingredients too. I dont know for sure if any of the ingredients do get absorbed into breast milk, so I do recommend that women take the ingredients in Plexus Slim to their doctor to see if they can get a better answer.
Does Plexus Slim have any side effects?
On the Q and A page of the Plexus Slim website (question 7) where it’s asked: “Will Plexus Slim interfere or react with any medications or other supplements?” the makers say: ” No. Extensive clinical research has demonstrated no ill side effects with any medications or other supplements.”
Where is all the “extensive clinical research” on Plexus Slim? As far as I can tell, Plexus Slim has NEVER been tested in published studies to see if it interacts with any medication or health condition.
The only study I’ve seen on Plexus Slim is a summary of a study they show on their website. This is a study from 2008 where they gave the product to 8 people with type II diabetes. Yes, improvements were seen in blood sugar, body weight and other things, but this is not a published, peer reviewed study. As such, there is a lot we are not told about this this study was conducted. It may be the best study in the world, but if we can’t see how it was conducted, then it can’t be duplicated by other scientists.
That said, in healthy people I think Plexus Slim is safe. Below are some theoretical side effects based on its ingredients.
Grape skin. Some components of grape skin might interfere with medications such as Coumadin (a blood thinner). I’m not aware of any human evidence of this, but because blood thinners can intact with many things, its best to talk to a doctor about this. Update. grape skin is no longer in plexus slim
Chlorogenic acid. This compound might raise homocysteine levels in humans. Homocysteine is a somewhat controversial molecule because some feel it might be linked to heart disease.
Citrin K/ Garcinia cambogia. There is some controversial evidence that garcinia cambogia may be linked to liver problems. For more info on this see my review of garcina cambogia.
Alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid, also appears to lower blood sugar. Because of this, alpha lipoic acid might interfere with insulin and other diabetes medications. Alpha lipoic acid seems to reduce thyroid hormone levels. This can be a problem for people who take synthroid for hypothyroidism (low thyroid).
Hoodia. As I reported in my book on supplements hoodia gordonii seems to share some chemical similarity to a class of heart drugs called cardiac glycosides. In fact, if you Google “Hoodia and cardiac glycosides.” I don’t know the clinical significance of this. That said, if you have heart or blood pressure issues please see your cardiologist before using any hoodia supplement, just to be safe.
Chromium may lower blood sugar levels. While this can be a good thing, it also means chromium might interact with blood sugar lowering medications. This might – in theory – make blood sugar levels to too low.
As a general blanket statement, I would be cautious if you have any problems with your heart, blood pressure, kidneys, liver, mental disorders, diabetes or digestive problems. I would not recommend Plexus Slim if you had bariatric surgery either. To their credit, the makers of Plexus Slim do say to see your doctor first if you are pregnant. I agree with this.
The Plexus Slim Accelerator
This is another product sold on the Plexus Slim website. The word “accelerator” is a tip off that this product is a stimulant. At $39.95 for a 30 day supply, I say it’s an overpriced stimulant too!
The Plexus Slim Accelerator contains trace minerals (they don’t say which minerals), calcium and magnesium from seaweed (both are useless for weight loss) and vitamin B6 (useless for weight loss). The accelerator also has a “proprietary blend” of:
- Dark Chocolate – won’t help weight loss, unless it has caffeine
- Natural Caffeine – natural or not, it’s caffeine!
- Green Tea Extract – probably has caffeine or EGCG
- Vanadium Chelate. Fancy name for Vanadium. It won’t help weight loss.
- B-Phenylethylamine HCl – might act as a neuro chemical. Avoid if you take antidepressants.
The Plexus Slim Accelerator also has an ingredient called GeranaX. GeranaX is reference to geranium oil. Geranium oil is controversial in some circles because it is thought by some to be a natural source of a stimulant called Dimethylamylamineor “DMAA. ” It’s scientific name is 1,3 Dimethylamylamine and its also called Methylhexaneamine.
The name “GeranaX” is a made-up word. In other words, the name GeranaX holds no scientific meaning.
Geranium has been the subject by scrutity by the military, whose research finds that geranium does not contain DMAA. Oddly, the supplement 411 website still lists “geranium” as an alternative name for DMAA in its listings. . Currently it is controversial if geranium is a source of DMAA or not.
As of July 2013, the Australian government warned people about the Plexus Slim Accelerator because they say it had DMAA. This link goes to the Australian government website that discusses the Plexus Slim Accelerator and DMAA.
In April of 2013 the FDA issued a warning letter about DMAA.
Here is an FDA question and answer sheet about DMAA.
Here is a New York Times article on DMAA for more information.
The ingredient DMAA seems to act like ephedra or bitter orange (synepherine) which are potent stimulants. As such, it may raise blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels. Here is a case report of a 21 year old man who suffered a stroke after taking 2 DMAA pills.
This does not mean plexus slim will do this. It would depend on whether DMAA really is in geranium and also which part of the plant was used (root, stems ect).
Di methy amyl amine “looks” like amphetamines (“speed”). This may be why question 6 of the Plexus Slim Q and A page mentions that this ingredient may cause a positive result on a drug test for amphetamines. Here is a study showing that dimethylamylamine causes false positive drug tests for amphetamines.
Plexus Slim Bio-Cleanse
This is a laxative. Always remember, the word “cleanse” means laxative. The Plexus Slim Bio Cleanse supplement lives up to its laxative name because it contains magnesium, which is indeed a laxative. Remember “Milk of Magnesia.” Either way, laxatives don’t cause any weight loss other than mostly water (and of course, poo). The Plexus Slim website lists 2 prices for this product – $29.95 or $39.95 -both of which are too pricey for me.
Plexus Slim Fast Relief
The Fast Relief product from Plexus Slim appears to be a relief formula that exists in both a cream and capsule form. I mention it because one of its ingredients is Lyprinol. This compound comes from the green-lipped mussel, hence the slogan “Full Body Relief, From the Sea-Naturally.” You may know this product by its other name – as Omega XL which is advertised. There is research on Lyprinol. See my review of Omega XL for more information.
Will Plexus Slim work?
Honestly, I’m not sure since Plexus Slim itself has no published proof that it works or is safe for everybody. If you read the comments, you’ll see some people do say it’s helped them lose weight. If it works, is it because of the unique blend of ingredients in Plexus Slim or is it because of just a few key ingredients alone? Again, until better research is done, it’s hard to say either way. Of all the ingredients in Plexus Slim, I believe alpha lipoic acid and maybe garcinia cambogia have most of the weight loss proof. I think they are the active ingredients in Plexus Slim. Here is Plexus Slim on Amazon and here are alpha lipoic acid and garcinia cambogia for those who want to compare prices.
What do you think?