I heard a commercial over the weekend that delivered all kind of promise for middle aged women whoâ€™ve been unsuccessful with weight loss. Of course this caught my attention because weight loss and body transformation for middle age men and women is my area of expertise. I decided to do a little research into this product called Amberen to see whatâ€™s behind the curtain.
Let me preface this discussion by making sure Iâ€™m clear that this is NOT a review of Amberen and how it relates to menopause symptoms. Iâ€™m going to be digging into the weight loss claims as thatâ€™s what the commercial was promoting.
Does Amberen help alleviate menopause symptoms? Your guess is as good as mine. During my research I found quite a few arguments on both sides. Some users report a distinct improvement in symptoms, while others cite the product did nothing for them.
I think itâ€™s very important to remember weâ€™re talking about symptoms resulting from hormonal imbalances related to menopause. Vitamins, minerals, and other compounds can certainly play a role in balancing out the endocrine system, but theyâ€™re never going to be a â€śmagic bullet.â€ť
If that were the case all hormonal imbalances would be treated with vitamins and â€śproprietary blends.â€ť
I say all of this because Amberen is not a pharmaceutical drug, itâ€™s a supplement. The ingredients of the â€śproprietary blendâ€ť are NOT disclosed but the other ingredients listed include the following:
Monosodium L Glutamate
Magnesium Discuccinate Hydrate
Zinc Difumarate Hydrate
Hereâ€™s something you should know about supplements. Just because the ingredients may be included in the FDAâ€™s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list, doesnâ€™t mean the product itself is FDA approved. Such is the case with Amberen. If you read the small print on their official website youâ€™ll find the following:
â€śThese statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.â€ť
In other words as long as the ingredients can pass the FDAâ€™s GRAS list, the product can hit the shelves without extensive clinical research studies and trials.
My main problem with undisclosed “proprietary ingredients” with supplements is you have no idea what you’re really putting in your body. What if there was an ingredient(s) included that you have a known allergy with? Sorry, we won’t tell you that because it’s proprietary. Good luck and hope for the best.
That’s not an acceptable “roll of the dice” in my opinion. Granted for some individuals the potential for rewards outweighs the possible risk and I get that. I’m just suspect when a full ingredient list isn’t provided.
In doing my research on the product I found some interesting little tid-bits of information. For starters I had to laugh when I found several of the research studies the company cited only referenced the interpretation of menopausal symptoms on mice. Really?
I didnâ€™t know a mouse went through menopause, interesting.
Bottom line is the citations are unclear and there wasnâ€™t a whole lot I could find on published peer reviewed studies involving actual women (mice with surgically removed ovaries aren’t adult women in menopause).
Conclusion from review of the published research studies on Amberen…
Here’s the reality. Personally, I searched high and low but couldn’t find a shred of credible, peer-reviewed research to back up the claims on Amberen helping menopausal women lose weight.
This is important because the radio commercials state that Amberen targets â€śstubborn belly fat.â€ť There is simply no proof of this statement and itâ€™s misleading to say the least in my opinion.
Thereâ€™s nothing in the product thatâ€™s going to have a spot reduction effect. A lot of this is hype and persuasive marketing to move product. Check out the following statement I pulled from their website:
â€śAmberen is not an ordinary supplement. Amberen contains patented â€śsmart moleculesâ€ť that support the bodyâ€™s hormonal function. These breakthrough ingredients are only available from Lunada Biomedical.â€ť
Ok, so now theyâ€™re â€śsmart molecules.â€ť What exactly does that mean? This sounds like hype to me. If their proprietary ingredients are patented why not disclose them? After all itâ€™s not a pharmaceutical, itâ€™s a supplement.
From what I can gather the active ingredient is succinic acid which could be purchased at a health store. It would be interesting to see how Amberen compared to taking a succinic acid supplement, but donâ€™t look for that study to come out any time soon.
Cost for a one month’s supply of Amberen
From what I gathered on several websites it looks like the approximate cost for a one month’s supply (60 capsules – taking 2 per day) is around $50.
If you wanted to experiment with the product to see how it worked on menopause symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, etc), that’s a consideration I guess, I just wouldn’t invest in the product with hopes of seeing much in terms of weight loss.
Alternative product for consideration with easing symptoms of menopause
Truth be told, there’s not any supplement(s) that will work as a fix-all for menopause symptoms. The hormonal shifts that occur prior to, during, and after menopause are simply too complex to be completely balanced with a handful of pills.
A holistic approach is needed to bring restored balanced with several factors such as exercise, dietary choices, and lifestyle merely at the foundation.
Organic medicine and bio-identical hormonal replacement therapies are worthy of investigation (more on that in a minute), but from my experience and research, the most effective natural supplements will typically include herbal adaptogens.
Advocare has a product called Formula W which includes several natural herbal adaptogens which have been shown to help ease menopausal symptoms and help restore balance.
I’ve had positive feedback from select menopausal female clients who have experimented with it and can attest to the high standards that Advocare sets for ingredient quality, safety, and testing. A 30 day supply is $37.95 so it’s somewhat less, but comparable to Amberen on cost.
Click here to read more about the Formula W product by Advocare.
Hereâ€™s the bottom lineâ€¦
Weight gain associated with menopause is a complex endocrine related issue. Itâ€™s not just isolated to falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. Itâ€™s important to remember the entire endocrine system works together as one unit. A shift in one area impacts other hormones and glands.
No single supplement regardless of â€śproprietary ingredientsâ€ť is going to balance everything out and stimulate weight loss.
From my experience and research I believe a big reason for the hot flashes and weight gain has to do with the pancreas struggling under the load of excess sugars. Cortisol levels can increase during menopause which has a direct impact on insulin sensitivity.
A diet that is low in sugars and complex carbohydrates is very beneficial for middle age women because of this.
Another reason why a Primal Blueprint type diet strategy just seems to work best for most adults as they get older. This is the strategy I use with my Charleston personal training clients who are approaching or in menopause.
From an exercise standpoint, burst training and other forms of high-intensity, short-duration routines will help to balance out hormonal levels. This is in stark contrast to what most middle-age women do with lots of aerobic cardio and things like yoga, and Pilates.
While yoga and Pilates certainly have their place in a fitness routine, they donâ€™t provide the same hormonal responses as burst training.
You see the thing is itâ€™s not all about eating healthy and burning a bunch of calories with cardio. That may work when youâ€™re in your twenties and early thirties, but not as you get older. Youâ€™ve got to factor in the hormonal changes and address it with diet and exercise strategies best suited for your specific needs.
Without getting into extensive detail there are also effective treatments for hormonal shifts that occur in menopause with using bioidentical hormones and organic medicine. Seek a physician who specializes in these types of treatments. Combined with the right diet and exercise program this will outperform any isolated pill or supplement.
Will the ingredients in Amberen help with weight loss?
Itâ€™s unclear in full disclosure, but doubtful in my professional opinion. All things considered you may elect to experiment with it for menopausal symptoms, but there are other products like “Formula W” you can try as well.
Just donâ€™t expect to see dramatic results on the weight loss side as hyped in the commercials and Amberen advertisements.
And finally if you’re looking for more education and information relating to menopausal symptoms, you may want to take a look at the following e-book series by Patty Lynn Marsh.
Click here to learn more about this product.
Last but not least, feel free to leave your comments or questions. This is an open forum blog and I’m happy to help in any way.
I encourage you to subscribe to receive updates from my blog at the top of this page as I’m in the process of compiling a FREE e-book of my own. In it I’ll be sharing the most successful strategies I’ve personally seen be effective for weight loss with menopausal personal training clients.
Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up today for a no obligations consultation.