Cortislim is a diet pill marketed by Window Rock Enterprises. The weight loss pill contains vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts, and is promoted as a diet pill that helps you lose weight by reducing levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortislim also markets several additional Cortislim products including Cortislim Burn, Cortislim Control, and Cortislim Energy Punch.
In October 2004, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged Cortislim made false and unsubstantiated claims in their advertising regarding the weight loss effects of the diet pill. More on the FTC allegations later. First, let's take a look at the ingredients in Cortislim, and try to understand the connection between the stress hormone cortisol and weight loss. After all, diet pills like Cortislim, Cortistress, and Relacore all promote their products based on the idea that it's stress that makes us fat!
While it's true that stress and cortisol can lead to excess body fat and obesity - as we'll see in a bit - whatever happened to any mention of sedentary, inactive lifestyles, over eating, unhealthy eating, lack of exercises, as more primary causes of american obesity? Placing the blame of our weight problems on the stress hormone cortisol is just additional way of scapegoating the fundamental issues of obesity on something else - taking our focus away from what really matters: making small, positive changes towards an active life style, choosing to eat healthy, and choosing to live healthy. If you have used Cortislim, please share your feedback here.
Does Cortislim Work - The Connection Between Cortisol & Weight Gain
It is well documented in various studies that stress can lead to metabolic complications where "chronic stress is associated to derangement of metabolic homeostasis that contributes to the clinical presentation of visceral obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome... Notably, indices of stress in the modern western societies correlate with the increasing incidence of both obesity and the metabolic syndrome which have reached epidemic proportions over the past decades."1
Stress is a state of disharmony caused by internal or external forces that threatens your state of homeostasis. This stress is counteracted by a series of physiological and behavioral responses that aim to re-establish homeostasis within your body.
A study conducted at the Endocrinology & Metabolism Unit of Evgenidion Hospital in Greece states that "The incidence of both obesity and the metabolic syndrome in modern Western societies has taken epidemic proportions over the past decades and often correlates with indices of stress in the affected populations. Stress, primarily through hyperactivation of the HPA axis, appears to contribute to the accumulation of fat tissue, and vice versa, obesity itself seems to constitute a chronic stressful state and may cause HPA axis dysfunction."2
Another study from University of California (dept. of psychiatry) performed research on psychological stress and eating patterns based on a model of "reward based stress eating." Their study focused on the role of cortisol on motivating intake of caloric dense foods. They stated that stress and food can stimulate release of opiod in the body (a chemical substance with morphine like action ie. pain relief), which appears to be a powerful defense mechanism protecting the individual from detrimental effects of stress.
When an individual faces stress, opiod is released in the body, which is a defense mechanism that decrease activity of the HPA axis, thus weakening the stress response. And repeated stimulation of this "reward based stress eating" can lead to neurobiological adaptations that promote the compulsive nature of overeating. Hence it is clear that cortisol can lead to this type of behavioral patterns. 3
Cortislim Diet Supplement Ingredients
Now that we have an understanding on how stress and the stress hormone cortisol can affect our weight patterns, let's take a look at the active ingredients in Cortislim.
Magnolia (bark) - is a traditional Chinese medicine also known as Hou Po used for treating low qi (energy). It is used in Chinese medicine to promote Qi movement. In more general uses, magnolia bark is used as an anti-stress and anti anxiety product. In one study involving rats, the researchers found that "administration of Banxia-houpu decoction and fluoxetine produced beneficial effects on the stressed rats by improving sucrose consumption."4
In another study involving overweight human subjects who eat more in stressful situations, researchers studied the effects of Magnolia on weight control. The subjects were treated with extracts of Magnolia and Phellodendron or a placebo for 6 weeks. Measurements for cortisol levels, weight change, and psychological measures of stress were taken. They found that there was significant weight gain for the placebo group, but no significant weight gain in the magnolia group.
The study also found that the treatment group tended to have lower levels of cortisol in the evening compared to the placebo group. Bedtime cortisol levels decreased in the treated group and increased in the placebo group. The results of this study lead to the conclusion that obese subjects who eat in response to stress may benefit from taking a diet supplement containing extracts of Magnolia and Phellodendron, where the mechanism of action is through the reduction of cortisol levels and possibly perceived level of stress, helping the subjects maintain body weight. 5
Green tea extract - is a powerful
antioxidant. (Antioxidants control all the free radicals in
your body, which can be harmful.) It helps block the
cancer-promoting actions of carcinogens, ultraviolet light from
the skin, stomach, small intestine, liver or lung. The polyphenols in
green tea extract shows promising results supporting weight
loss through increasing energy expenditure.
Citrus aurantium - also known as bitter orange, Citrus has been used
in Chinese medicine to treat chest congestion. Citrus
aurantium has a rare combination of 5 amines: synephrine,
N-methyltyramine, hordenine, octopamine, and tyramine,
which "stimulates beta-3 cell receptors"
that could lead to increase in your metabolic rate
without affecting heart rate or blood pressure.
The added benefit of
Citrus aurantium is this ability to stimulate beta-3
cell receptors, which helps breakdown fat, increase
energy, and increase metabolic rate, hence making
thermogenesis more effective. Studies show that Citrus
aurantium may also act to suppress appetite. There are several studies done on Citrus aurantium, and I had no problems finding quite a few studies done on this ingredient that demonstrated positive weight loss effects on human subjects. 6
Cortislim FDA FTC Allegations
In this release dated October, 2004 by the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC alleged that the marketers of Cortislim made false and unsubstantiated weight loss claims. "According to the FTC’s complaint, Los Angeles-area marketers Window Rock Enterprises, Inc. and Infinity Advertising, Inc., their principals, Stephen Cheng and Gregory Cynaumon, and business partner and product formulator Shawn Talbott have sold “CortiSlim” and “CortiStress” through a number of widely aired infomercials and short TV commercials, as well as radio and print advertisements and Internet Web sites.
The FTC’s complaint alleges that the Window Rock defendants violated the FTC Act by making deceptive efficacy claims for CortiSlim and CortiStress. In addition, the complaint alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act by using a deceptive format in at least two of their infomercials to suggest falsely that the infomercials were independent television programs, rather than paid commercial advertising."
Since the FTC investigations, the company has changed their marketing claims. In January 2007, the FTC fined the marketers of 4 weight loss pills a total of $25 million for making false advertising claims. These included the marketers of Xenadrine EFX, One A Day Weight Smart, CortiSlim and TrimSpa. See the release from MSNBC here.
According to the release, "A $12 million fine was assessed against seven marketers of CortiSlim and CortiStress. The marketers were identified as Window Rock Health Laboratories, based in Brea, Calif."
1. Horm Metab Res. 2007 Jun;39(6):430-8.
Stress mechanisms and metabolic complications.Kyrou I, Tsigos C.
Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Unit, Evgenidion Hospital, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.
2. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1083:77-110.
Stress, visceral obesity, and metabolic complications.Kyrou I, Chrousos GP, Tsigos C.
Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Unit, Evgenidion Hospital, Athens University Medical School, Athens, 115 28, Greece.
3. Physiol Behav. 2007 Apr 14;
Stress, eating and the reward system.Adam TC, Epel ES.
University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry, United States.
4. Life Sci. 2003 Nov 21;74(1):55-73.
Behavioral and biochemical studies on chronic mild stress models in rats treated with a Chinese traditional prescription Banxia-houpu decoction.Li JM, Kong LD, Wang YM, Cheng CH, Zhang WY, Tan WZ.
Institute of Functional Biomolecule, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.
5. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):50-4.
Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on weight management: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.Garrison R, Chambliss WG.
Next Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Irvine, CA, USA.
6. Preuss HG, DiFerdinando D, Bagchi M, Bagchi D.
Department of Physiology, Medicine and Pathology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA. email@example.com