Proactol has been present on the online diet pill scene for a while, but its newest version, Proactol XS, takes the gig to an entirely new level. Featuring a very simple and equally dubious ingredient profile, Proactol XS has its act together better than most other similarly shady supplements you will find out there. At first glance, they have all the angles one could think of covered well, in addition to a couple of pitches one could never think up unaided.
Let us take this one step at a time though: for $50 (which now includes a discount of $10, from the original price of $60), you get a compound which is allegedly able to lock up dietary fats from your digestive tract, and to eliminate them (I'll let your imagination fill in the gap as to how that happens).
Let us toss aside the fact that if this mechanism did indeed work as described, it would eliminate essential fats from your system too, and just focus on why science does not believe this works at all.
Those who purchase more bottles of the product, get rewarded with free gifts in the shape of training and nutrition guides as well as more bottles of course.
The price of $50 may seem a bit steep, but one has to remember that there's a generous affiliate scheme run on this product, offering marketers a 40% cut on the sale, so that has to be factored into the cost as well.
Besides making you wonder how much it really costs to make this supplement, when it can be sold for around $30 for a profit, the 40% affiliate cut also explains why there are so many people and websites looking to convince you to buy some.
In this regard, Proactol XS has raised the bar to dizzying heights, by securing the services of a celebrity shill.
The Mischa Barton Angle
When I first saw Mischa Barton featured on the Proactol XS homepage, I figured the angle - like everything else on the said page - was fake. As I did some research though, to my surprise, I found that Mischa Barton was indeed shilling for the diet pill, in-between breaths as she promoted her new Balance Sneakers. Apparently in a bit of financial squeeze, the ex OC star has begun cashing in on her fame in some let's just say: unconventional ways.
While some of the media mentions her affiliation with Proactol XS, without wading into just how awkward this whole thing is, some of the online tabloids do offer a more realistic take.
Wetpaint for instance, calls the gig a "questionable" one, and likens Miss Barton's promotional efforts to those of Snooki of Jersey Shore fame.
Perez Hilton on the other hand, hopes the claims won't get Miss Barton into any kind of trouble.
The Proactol XS Website
As said above, the face of the product, the website homepage, is one cobbled together from the usual selection of bold claims, hype-generating copy, fake user testimonials and stock images.
While the image of the "doctor" next to the little Q&A session is one found on the website of just about every supplement scammer out there, the image of the fit woman further down the page gave me a little run for my money. While I was certain it too was a stock picture, Google's image search could only locate it on Proactol-affiliated websites.
It turns out the creators of the site got sneaky and flipped the image horizontally, a touch apparently enough to fool Google's search algorithm.
The Proactol XS Background
Leaving aside the fact that Bauer Nutrition, the promoter of the Proactol XS brand, has been known to push various supplement scams, I wanted to know exactly who made the product, where, and under whose authority. As usual though, the support staff were unable to provide a proper answer in this regard.
The product label itself - which is available in full - gives out no relevant information in this regard either. It just fleetingly mentions that the supplement is "manufactured exclusively for Bauer Nutrition".
Proactol XS User Feedback
The Proactol user community does not seem to be particularly pleased with the effects of the product. While on the XS version there are only three user reviews at Amazon, the older Proactol brand has gathered a rather impressive collection of toxic clap-backs from the community.
Of the three featured reviews, the positive one is apparently from an unverified purchaser - according to reviewmeta.com.
These three reviews don't really tell us much about the supplement. On the Proactol page though, we gain a thorough insight into what seem to be some very serious side effects in some cases.
Despite the fact the ingredients of Proactol XS are considered safe, some people seem to have some rather hair-raising reactions to them.
This brings us to the:
Proactol XS Ingredient Profile
While most weight loss supplements aim to bedazzle and confuse users through lengthy and intricate ingredient profiles, with Proactol XS, things are relatively simple in this regard.
Besides the "filler" ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Magnesium Stearate, we have only one "main" ingredient, Chitosan, apparently derived from Aspergillus niger mycellum, which is a type of fungus.
Claiming that Proactol XS is "clinically" proven, the promoters of this supplement have done a good job in this regard as well: there are indeed a number of studies out there, which end up attributing positive effects to chitosan weight loss-wise, like this Indian study, but a systematic review of the available randomized controlled trials arrives to the conclusion that the effects of chitosan on weight loss are clinically insignificant.
To make a long story short, chitosan is somewhat controversial, but the overview of the various studies done on the compound claims that it does not work for weight loss.
Other than that, the makers of Proactol XS seem to have gotten the dosage right as well. Each one of their capsules contains some 500 mg of the active compound, and two have to be taken before each meal, for a total of 1g per meal.
Despite the celebrity endorsement, Proactol does not seem to work - and there are users out there claiming just that. Science is pretty certain that the weight loss triggered by chitosan is insignificant. The product may come with some dangerous side effects as well, so it is really not something one should play around with for the sake of experimentation.
Its promotion dubious at best, Proactol XS seems to make a solid case, which inevitably falls apart under proper scrutiny. Oh, and don't mind the Summer Sale pop-up at the bottom of the homepage...I'll let you in on a secret: it never really expires...