12 July, 2011
Fitrum is a dietary supplement which according to the labeling contains 25 mg of Teavigo, a green tea extract which is said to be concentrated and contain 90 percent epigallocatechin-3-gallate, and 25 mg of L-carnitine, an amino acid. While the manufacturers and distributors of Fitrum claim a primary health benefit of weight loss, it may have some other effects as well. As with all dietary supplements, seek the advice of a medical professional before using Fitrum.
One of the primary sales claims of those selling Fitrum supplements is weight loss and while some believe that green tea may promote insulin sensitivity in some individuals and lead to weight loss, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center states that these effects were not shown in obese men or in those with type II diabetes who are often overweight. The University of Maryland Medical Center does state that some weight loss attributes have been shown, likely due to the fat-burning presence of polyphenols and possible caffeine content, which may also act as an appetite suppressant.
Green tea is high in ECGC and the contents of Fitrum state that a highly concentrated form of green tea extract, known as Teavigo is used. According to the labeling, Teavigo may contain as much as 90 percent ECGC, which is known to be a potent anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants may help to prevent diseases of aging and oxidative stress from the environment. The Mayo Clinic published results from a 2010 study of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) which showed that ECGC, extracted from green tea may have some benefit in fighting certain types of cancer, however more studies are needed. In addition, some constituents of green tea may interact with some chemotherapy medications and should not be taken together. Talk to your doctor about all of your medical conditions and medicines, including dietary supplements that you may be taking.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that green tea has been shown to be beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. In addition, the other ingredient in Fitrum, L-carnitine is an amino acid analog that is partly responsible for the transport and utilization of fats as an energy source for the muscles. Increased utilization of these fats may help to lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the blood vessels which may decrease the risk for diseases such as heart attack and stroke, though it is not clear whether the dose of 25 mg of L-carnitine is high enough to show results.
As the green tea extract in Fitrum is concentrated, it may be difficult to determine exactly how much caffeine may be contained within each pill. Some users of Fitrum may experience nervousness, anxiety and insomnia if unused to caffeine consumption. In addition, though rare, green tea may cause an allergic reaction in some users. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of allergy such as hives, rash, swelling of the tongue or lips or difficulty breathing as an allergic reaction may become life-threatening.
- Kabayan Central: Fitrum
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Green Tea
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Mayo Clinic: “Green Tea Extract Appears to Keep Cancer in Check in Majority of CLL Patients”
- “The Prescription for Nutritional Healing”; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2005
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images