Before Anna Nicole Smith became the Trimspa spokesperson, Trimspa was just another diet pill. The original Trimspa formula contained the stimulant herb ephedra, but Trimspa was reformulated into an ephedra-free version after concerns about the safety of ephedra (ephedra is now banned in the United States).
Anna Nicole Smith became the face of Trimspa after trying Trimspa diet pills in April 2003. After a couple of months, she reportedly lost over 30 pounds and by fall of 2003, she reportedly shed a total of 69 pounds and attributed the weight loss to Trimspa diet pills. The Anna Nicole Smith Trimspa commercials and television appearances showing a much slimmer Smith immediately turned Trimspa into the latest diet pill craze. Trimspa can now be found in almost every drugstore across the country.
Anna Nicole Smith reportedly took six pills a day, which according to the label is the maximum recommended dose of Trimspa. But that wasn't all she took. She also told the press that she took a "colon cleanser" laxative that keep her "on the pot all the time" and modified her diet, basically admitting that it wasn't just the Trimspa diet pills that made her lose weight.
Potential Trimspa Side Effects and Concerns
Trimspa is expensive. If you take the recommended amount of four pills a day, one bottle will last 22 days. The retail price of a bottle of Trimspa is $34.95, which adds up to more than $48 per month.
Trimspa no longer individually lists the ingredients. There is no way of knowing how much of each ingredient is in a single Trimspa capsule. Trimspa used to list each ingredient separately, but now the label merely indicates that there is 75 micrograms of chromium and 667.5 milligrams of an "x32 proprietary blend" containing glucomannan, cocoa extract, green tea extract, hoodia gordonii, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, glucosamine HCL, citrus naringin, and vanadium. Companies do this to protect their formula, but it makes it impossible to properly evaluate it.
Trimspa side effects may include anxiety and insomnia. Most people's cravings occur in the late afternoon and evening, however taking Trimspa in the late afternoon and evening may be too stimulating for some people and may lead to insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, and restlessness.
Although Trimspa no longer lists ingredients and their amounts individually, previously, each pill contained 125 mg of green tea extract. The total daily intake of four pills a day would provide 500 milligrams of green tea extract and 200 mg of caffeine, which is roughly equivalent to two 8-ounce cups of coffee. The cocoa extract can also be stimulating.
Trimspa contains Hoodia gordonii. Hoodia is a plant native to South Africa. Hoodia has a long history of use as an appetite suppressant by the San indigenous peoples of South Africa. Although it is a tremendously popular diet pill ingredient, there are some concerns about liver toxicity and whether it's even possible to obtain pure versus fake hoodia in commercial products.
The arthritis supplement glucosamine in Trimspa. Trimspa says that glucosamine prolongs the amount of time glucose stays within the bloodstream after eating. So let me get this straight - glucosamine may increase blood glucose, potentially worsening glucose tolerance and this is good for weight loss? I don't think so. Read my article on glucosamine and insulin.
Trimspa may trigger migraines. The cocoa extract in Trimspa contains tyramine, which may trigger migraines in susceptible people, especially if taken in large amounts.
Trimspa shouldn't be taken with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant drugs. MAOI drugs include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), selegiline (Eldepryl), and isocarboxazid (Marplan). These drugs react with foods containing tyramine, such as cocoa, and may lead to a dangerous rise in blood pressure, as well as headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, possible confusion, psychotic symptoms, seizures, stroke and coma when combined with MAOI antidepressants.
Trimspa contains naringin, the compound in grapefruit that can interfere with the metabolism of many common prescription drugs. Naringin can increase blood levels of drugs that are metabolized by the intestinal cytochrome P450 3A4 system, raising the risk of toxicity. The label on the Trimspa bottle doesn't properly caution about potential drug interactions. Some of the drugs that interact with naringin include:
- Antiarrhythmics - Amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), quinidine
- Anticoagulants, e.g. Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Calcium channel blockers - Felodipine (Plendil), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular)
- Statins - Atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor)
- Immunosuppressants - Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral), tacrolimus (Prograf)
- Protease inhibitors - Saquinavir (Fortovase)
Trimspa shouldn't be taken by people with shellfish allergies. Trimspa contains glucosamine. The glucosamine in supplements is derived from shellfish shells.
Trimspa contains food dyes and additives. Trimspa contains the food dyes FD&C Red #40, and Aluminum lake (blue dye) and other additives. This isn't specific to Trimpsa - food dyes and additives are found in many prescription drugs and foods.
Continued on the next page: What's good about Trimspa?