Few products have generated as much interest as the Thrive Patch, also known as the “Thrive Premium Lifestyle DFT.” The patch is supposed to provide a time released steady stream of ingredients into the body that is said to be “greatly
superior to that of any consumable product.” Does the Thrive Patch work? I think this question hinges not only on the ingredients used in the product, but also can those ingredients actually pass through the skin and into the body? These is the big questions that I'll try to figure out in this review. See the DFT DUO Patch Review too.
Why A “Critical” Review?
While the title of this review includes the word “Critical” I want to make clear that I am not referring something bad, that is meant to bash the product. In the world of science, a “critical review” means a review that contains information that the author feels is critical for people to know about.
My hope is that this review will help you better understand the Thrive Patch, the DFT technology and ingredients used in the product.
What Does DFT Stand For?
DFT stands for Dermal Fusion Technology. It's a phrase used by Le-Vel (The Thrive company) to refer to the Thrive Patch. From the name, it sounds to me like the patch is supposed to fuse with the dermis and epidermis of the skin, and in doing so, allow the ingredients in the patch to pass into the body. From there, those ingredients are supposed to help with weight management, curb appetite and give people energy to workout better.
- Thrive Premium DFT
- DFT Ultra
- Black Label DFT
I'll first look at the Premium DFT Patch and then cover both DFT Ultra and Black Label DFT patches below.
Thrive Premium Patch Ingredients
According to a PDF on the Le-Vel.com website, there are 6 ingredients in the Premium DFT patch. They are:
- Green Coffee Bean Extract
- Garcina Cambogia
- White Willow Bark
I can't tell how much of each ingredient is in the Thrive Patch. If any Thrive Promoters can share that with me, I'll be glad to update this part of my review.
Either way, since the ingredients are listed in the order I've put them here, I believe this means that ingredients at the top make up most of the product, and those at the bottom make up the least.
At the heart of the DFT technology is the very last ingredient in this list – Cosmoperine. This is what Dermal Fusion Technology is based on. Let's take a look this ingredient now.
On the DFT patch pdf file that can be downloaded from Le-Vel.com, we see that cosmoperine is trademarked by the Sasbina corporation. Sasbina is a company that makes a very of supplements and holds patents on them too. Cosmoperine is the common name for a compound called Tetrahydropiperine (THP).
On the Cosmoperine.com website, we see that this is the name given to a metabolite of black pepper. The page I linked to also states that cosmoperine (THP) can enhance the absorption of various drugs (and supplements) when they are applied transdermally (on the skin).
From that page, I located the US Patent page for THP.
From the US Patent, we can see that the Sabinsa corporation (who owns the trademark on THP/cosmoperine) has provided evidence that THP can increase the absorption of Forskolin when both are applied to the skin (rat skin according to the patent).
Since it works in rat skin, I'll assume it also works when used on human skin
Forskolin (also called coleus forskohlii) is another name for ForsLean which is also in the Thrive Premium DFT patch. The Sabinsa corporation calls their preparation of forskolin, ForsLean.
So, to summarize all this, it appears that the driving force (the secret sauce, if you will) in the DFT patch is Cosmoperine. That ingredient allows other ingredients to be carried through the skin
But, just because those ingredients can get into the body from penetrating the skin, does that also mean they will work?
This is the BIG question.
Let's look at the research on the Thrive DFT Patch next
Thrive Patch Research
I searched the product website for research to show that the Thrive Patch caused people to lose weight. I didn't see any.
I then searched the web for:
- Thrive Patch Research
- Thrive DFT patch Research
- Le-Vel Thrive DFT Research
I didn't see any clinical studies showing up that way either.
This says to me that the Thrive patch might not have any published peer reviewed clinical studies showing it causes people to lose weight.
Remember, just because the ingredients in the Thrive DFT Patch might penetrate the skin does not mean that they will cause weight loss. They might or might not. These are 2 different issues.
So, this means we will have to look at each of its ingredients to see what might be going on. Let's do that now.
This is a trademarked version of a supplement called coleus forskohlii (say, cole-E-us-four-skoll-EE). Since it is listed first, I believe most of the Thrive Premium DFT patch is made up of this ingredient.
As I noted in my review of coleus forskohlii, there is weight loss research on this ingredient. Some of that research shows it might work and other studies shows it might not work.
In a study from 2005, that lasted 12 weeks and involved 19 moderately overweight women, researchers noted that coleus forskohlii might reduce gaining weight. In other words, it didn't cause the women to lose weight, but just reduced their odds of gaining weight. The women in this study used 500 mg of coleus forskohlii per day.
This study actually used ForsLean, the same brand of coleus forskholii that is in the DFT patch. That's good.
While this is interesting, I can't find a single weight management study that involved a transdermal patch of ForsLean or any coleus forskholii supplement. So, does using it in a patch, work the same way as taking it as an oral supplement?
I don't know.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
Another name for this is chlorogenic acid. In fact, I believe chlorogenic acid is the extract used in the TDF Patch. I believe this compound needs better research in people.
That's because, as I showed in my review of green coffee bean review, one of the very best studies on this compound was retracted by the authors because they could not verify the results of the study.
Here is the study. Look at it and see in big red letters “this article has been retracted” as well as and “Retracted” in red lettering scrolled across the study.
In 2014, a small study was published that involved 20 healthy people. For 2 weeks people drank 40 grams of green coffee (1.4 oz) and for another 2 weeks, they drank 40 grams (1.4 oz) of black coffee. They were told to not alter their eating patterns.
At the end of the study, researchers noted that when people drank green coffee, they had a lower body mass index (BMI), lower cortisol levels and had lost more abdominal fat, than when they drink black coffee. They also experienced lower blood pressure and their blood vessels were more elastic too.
This is an interesting study but I noticed they measured body fat with a hand held body fat device. While this method of body fat testing is convenient, it's often seen as less accurate than underwater weighting.
Regardless of our feelings about this study, the people in this investigation drank the coffee. I can't find any studies showing that transdermally applied green coffee extract helps people lose weight.
This is also called HCA or hydroxy-citric-acid. I'm on the fence when it comes to garcinia cambogia and weight loss. As I pointed out in my review of garcina cambogia weight loss research, I have seen research showing:
As well as research showing
Based on the research I've been able to find, I can't say conclusively if it works or doesn't work. I just think we need better research. That said, I have not found any studies looking at whether a transdermal patch of garcinia cambogia helps people lose weight.
Read the garcina cambogia review. I go into greater depth there and review the side effect controversy too.
CoQ10 is short for coenzyme Q10. It's also called ubiquinone because the molecule is ubiquitous, or everywhere, in the body. It's a molecule that helps us turn calories into energy.
I have never seen a study of CoQ10 and weight loss or weight management. When I looked for evidence online, I saw articles saying it did this, but none of them showed me proof – published clinical studies involving people.
White Willow Bark
White willow bark is a compound that looks like aspirin, and so it has some pain reducing effects. This is why you might see it show up in arthritis supplements such as Instaflex (click to read review). It's also an ingredient in Thrive W so see that review for more insights.
Weight loss and weight management supplements sometimes contain white willow bark. I think this is due to a reputation aspirin has for increasing the effects of caffeine and ephedra. In the fitness world, this combination is called the “ECA Stack” where ECA stands for:
I think this is the reason that I saw white willow back in these two weight loss supplements that I previously reviewed:
Regardless of your feelings on whether aspirin/white willow bark, really does enhance the effects of caffeine and ephedra, neither of these ingredients are in the Thrive DFT Patch. So, why is it in the product? I'm just not sure.
Thrive Black Label And Ultra Patches
There is more than one type of Thrive Patch. There is also
From what I am able to gather, the difference between them is not only in the ingredients used but also the size of the patches may be different too.
In the table below, I compare the ingredients in all 3 different types of Thrive Patches – in the order they are listed on the product pdfs- so you can compare them to each other.
|Thrive Premium Patch||Thrive Ultra Patch||Thrive Black Label Patch|
|Green Coffee Bean Extract||Green Coffee Bean Extract||Green Coffee Bean Extract|
|Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia|
|White Willow Bark||White Willow Bark||Cosmoperine|
|Cosmoperine||Cosmoperine||Satiereal Saffron Extract|
|Satiereal Saffron Extract (crocus)||Green Tea Extract|
|Green Tea Extract||White Willow Bark|
As I said previously, I don't know how much of each ingredient is present in the different DFT patches. We can only assume that the ingredients listed at the top are most plentiful while those at the end of the list are the least.
All versions of the Thrive Patch contains the cosmoperine ingredient. That's good. Remember this is the ingredient that appears to help carry other ingredients through the skin.
As you can see, the Black Label Patch has the most ingredients. But, does this mean it's better than the other two? We can't know which is best unless they are all pitted head to head against each other in a clinical study.
I can't locate any studies that did this.
That said, let's cover a few of the ingredients in the Ultra and Black Label patches and see what we can discover about them as far as weight management is concerned.
Satiereal Saffron Extract
This is an ingredient in both the Thrive Ultra and Black Label patches. Satieral is the name given to an extract from saffron. The extract is called Crocus Sativus. The company that makes the satiereal extract is a French company called InoReal.
The name satiereal, refers to satiety, the feeling of fullness and not wanting to eat anymore.
There is some research on Satiereal.
In a study, published in 2010,titled Satiereal, a Crocus sativus L extract, reduces snacking and increases satiety in a randomized placebo-controlled study of mildly overweight, healthy women, 60 overweight women were given either satiereal or a placebo for 8 weeks. The women consumed 176.5 mg of satiereal per day.
After the study, women who used satiereal were found to weigh less than women who got the placebo. Those woman also reported less snacking too.
People who are depressed, sometimes snack and overeat. Because of this, there have been some studies on saffron to help depression.
In a 2005 study of women who were depressed, 45 women were randomly given 30 mg of saffron or a placebo for 6 weeks. Women getting the saffron (Crocus sativus, which is what Satiereal comes from) scored better on depression questioners compared to women who got the placebo.
Several other studies exist, which also hint that saffron can help mild to moderate depression too.
But, does satiereal work when it's in a patch? I can't say because the research I've seen only involves taking it orally.
For more on Saffron see the CraveFix 96 review.
This is an ingredient in the Black Label Thrive Patch. Another name for this ingredient is 5 hydroxy-tryptophan. It's a variation on the amino acid, tryptophan. The 5 HTP molecule (like tryptophan) helps us make serotonin which plays a role in mood as well as appetite. As far as depression is concerned, studies are sometimes criticized for having issues.
As for reducing appetite and weight loss, this also has been studied. In one investigation, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 20 overweight women were randomly given either 900 mg of 5 HTP or a placebo for 6 weeks. The woman who received the 5 HTP lost more weight than women who took the placebo. How much weight did they lose? Somewhere between 3 to 5 pounds over the course of the study.
Given the research on 5 HTP, its use in a weight loss supplement/patch does make some theoretical sense. But, no study I can find uses a weight management patch. In all studies I can locate, 5 HTP was given orally.
This is an amino acid that is found in tea. Theanine sometimes finds its way into weight management supplements. My thoughts are because in the hopes it might help calm people down. The idea is that people who are less stressed are probably less likely to overeat. This 2008 study lends evidence that L-Theanine might have a calming effect on people. In this study, 50 mg was used in healthy people.
Don't worry about the “L” in the name. It's just science talk and meaningless to most people reading this.
In one study that involved 16 people, Theanine seemed to make people feel more calm when they were relaxed, but it didn't seem to have any anti-anxiety effects when they were stressed – in other words, when ya really need it to work.
Arginine helps us make nitric oxide which can help relax blood vessels and this is why it's sometimes used in exercise supplements – as way to drive more blood/oxygen to working muscles. For more on nitric oxide see my review of SuperBeets.
Arginine also helps us make human growth hormone (HGH). While growth hormone might play a role in muscle building and this in turn might lead to weight loss, I think one has to take a lot of it to increase HGH levels.
In one study of arginine and weight loss, 90 overweight men and women were given either 3 grams or 6 grams of arginine a day or a placebo. The study lasted 8 weeks.
This study noticed that those getting the arginine showed significant reductions in body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, body fat, triglycerides and total cholesterol. These changes were not seen in those getting the placebo.
With respect to body weight, those getting 6 grams of arginine a day lost about 8 pounds while those getting 3 grams a day lost about 3 pounds.
This is an interesting study. It's based on a Masters Thesis but there is nothing wrong with this. I will mention that this study was “single blinded” which means the researchers knew who was getting arginine and who was getting the placebo. Also, body fat was determined using skin fold calipers and the researchers only measured 2 sites (triceps and subscapularis regions). That might be an issue given that the more sites measured, could lead to more accurate results.
Regardless of ones thoughts on this study, it involves taking arginine orally.
This is an antioixdant found in different foods such as broccoli and blueberries. Does it effect appetite, weight loss or anxiety? I can't find any evidence for it.
A few of the products I've looked at that also had querecitn include:
- Life Shotz (click to read review)
- Ceraplex (click to read review)
- Tissue Rejuvinator (click to read review)
See those reviews for more information.
This is a source of caffeine. As most know, caffeine is popular in weight loss products and energy drinks. The idea likely being that the more awake you are, the more you will move and burn calories. Other products I've looked previously that also contained guarana include:
Interestingly, caffeine – alone – seems to have little weight loss research. In other words, caffeine is almost always used alongside something else.
As I mentioned in my review of the fat burner called Thermo Detonator, I located a study were people who got 1000 mg of yerba mate seemed to burn fat better than those who took a placebo. I don't think there is that much yerba mate in the Patch. I've also never seen a study where yerba mate was tested to see if it worked when used in a patch.
Other products reviewed here that also contained yerba mate include:
See those reviews for additional information.
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that we actually store in the body. While healthy people may not need this nutrient regularly, other people might.
Those who could be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency include older adults, vegans and those taking some medications.
Vitamin B12 is also popular in weight loss supplements. I think there are 2 reasons for this:
1 The vitamin might give us more energy
2 The vitamin might help weight loss
There really is not a lot of good evidence that vitamin B12 gives healthy people more pep/energy, if they already have enough of it. As for weight loss, I cannot find any good proof that vitamin B12 supplements – or injections – helps people lose weight.
For more on this, see my review Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss.
Thrive Patch Active Ingredients
When I review a product, I like to try to drill down to what I believe might be the active ingredients. I do this not only because I'm curious, but also because people ask me.
They want to save money.
After looking at all the ingredients these are the ingredients that might be most responsible for any weight loss effects that people might notice. Here they are:
|Thrive Premium Patch||Thrive Ultra Patch||Thrive Black Label Patch|
|Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia||Garcinia Cambogia|
|Satiereal Saffron Extract (crocus)||Satiereal Saffron Extract|
Notice the similarity between the different types of Thrive Patches. Of course ,cosmoperine is present in all of the DFT patches because, as reviewed above, this is the ingredient that's supposed to carry the other ingredients into the body.
Also notice that ForsLean (coleus forskholii) is the first ingredients in ALL of the DFT patches.
As for the other ingredients listed in the table above, I found human weight loss/ appetite suppression studies on them (which you can read above). That research though involves when they are taking orally. Whether they work the same way when used in a patch, I cannot say.
For those on a budget here are those ingredients to purchase individually:
Could I be completely wrong about what I think are the active ingredients? Of course. Anything is possible. I'll be glad to amend my opinions as future research is published.
Is The Patch For Weight Loss?
Distributors often say that the thrive patch is not a weight loss supplement but rather is for “weight management.”
But, what do the phrases “weight management” really mean? It's a vague term. Think about it. Just saying you are managing your weight doesn't say how you are managing your weight. Are you managing to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain weight.
Vague phrases aside, fact is that many of the ingredients in the patch weight loss compounds. Specifically, these 3 ingredients are in many weight loss supplements:
- ForsLean (Coleus forskohlii) click to read review
- Green Coffee Bean click to read review
- Garcina Cambogia click to read review
So, while people may say weight management, weight loss is the main reason researchers have looked at these ingredients.
Thrive Patch Side Effects
When I looked online, I didn't see anyone complaining of terrible things when they used the DFT Patch so that's good. When I looked up the Thrive Patch on Amazon, I didn't notice anyone saying bad things about it, although I did see mixed comments about whether it worked or not.
A few people, in the comments below, have mentioned that the Thrive Patch caused blisters and/or caused red/itchy skin. How prevalent this is effect might be I don't know.
I think the side effects would probably hinge on whether the ingredients really can get into the body in significant amounts. As I showed above, there is some evidence that cosmoperine can increase ForseLean absorption when both are places on the skin. As for the other ingredients, I can't say because I saw no evidence for or against it.
That said, let me make a blanket statement and say what I usually do when it comes to supplements:
- If you take any medications, (like blood thinners) or are breastfeeding or pregnant, show the ingredients to your doctor and pharmacist first.
- Stop using the patch at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- If you have any health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, psychological issues, or liver or kidney problems, show the ingredients to your doctor and pharmacist.
While I think the Thrive Patch is likely pretty safe in healthy people, since I can't find any good clinical research yet -in humans – I think it's always wise to be conservative and first speak to those who know your health best.
Who Makes Thrive Supplements?
Thrive supplements are a product of the Le-Vel LLC. They are also known as Le-Vel Brands LLC. Their website is Le-Vel.com. Their address is 9201 Warren Pkwy #200, Frisco, TX 75035. Their contact phone number is: 888-557-0005.
At the time of this review the company had a BBB rating of “C-.” Because ratings change from time to time, see the BBB file for updates and more information.
I cover more about the company in my review of Thrive W so see that also.
Does It Work?
Ok this was a pretty long review and I know I covered a lot, so for those who want me to cut to the chase, here are my opinions on the Thrive DFT Patch.
1. There is evidence that cosmoperine can penetrate the skin (of a rat) and increase the absorption of some drugs when applied to the skin. Presumably this means it also works on human skin too. I'll assume it does. The evidence I refer to is the US Patent on cosmoperine.
2. There is evidence that Cosmoperine can enhance the absorption of ForsLean (coleus forskhloii) when both applied to rat skin (I'll assume human skin too). ForsLean is the first ingredient listed in all of the Thrive Patches and for that reason I wonder if it might be the main active ingredient?
3. Right now I believe there is a lack of research showing the patch increases blood levels of the ingredients in the patch. Remember just because stuff might penetrate the skin, how far does it penetrate – and do those ingredients actually make it into the blood?
4. Other than ForsLean (coleus forskholii), I cannot locate any published, peer reviewed evidence showing that cosmoperine increases the absorption of the other ingredients in the DFT patch. I'll assume it does until research shows otherwise.
5. I'm not aware of any studies noting that the ingredients in the DFT Patch work -the same way as they do orally – when applied to the skin transdermally in a patch.
I'm genuinely intrigued that an ingredient placed on the skin appears to enhance the absorption of other ingredients. That said, even though the Patch is touted as being a better delivery system – and hence a more superior weight loss product, I want to see a few human weight loss studies before I give a final judgement. I'm really looking forward to published studies on this.