A little over two years ago I wrote a post on Pentabosol, a weight-loss supplement we and our research partner developed and made available for a number of years. In that post I mentioned that MD and I were contemplating actively marketing Pentabosol again. We reformulated the product and changed its name to Metabosol, but our timing was all wrong because at about the same time, we wound up launching our SousVide Supreme project as well. Never having been in the appliance business, we had not even the most minimal idea as to how much time that venture was going to take. As a consequence, the weight-loss product project took a back seat and more or less fell between the cracks. Now that things on the sous vide front requiring our direct attention have slowed down a bit (for us, not for the company) we decided to turn our attention to the nutritional supplement and made an annoying (to us) discovery that may benefit you. (More about which later.) In case you don’t go back and read the old post, let me quickly review the Pentabosol (Metabosol) story.
NOTE: DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND, WE RAN OUT OF ALL OF OUR SUPPLIES OF METABOSOL IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES. THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST.
MD and I have taken care of overweight patients using low-carb diets in our medical practice for decades. Our patients had pretty spectacular results with their low-carb diets, but like dieters everywhere, they all wanted to lose weight faster. For years we had been searching for some kind of nutritional product that could give a boost to our patients’ weight loss without their paying the price of unpleasant side effects. As a consequence, we ruled out anything with phenylpropanolamine, ephedra, and all the stimulant type products. Although we used prescription medicines occasionally, we weren’t really sold on them because of the side-effect issue and because we didn’t know what, if any, would be the long-term effects. We were seeking something that was a natural supplement that had no stimulant effects and that actually worked.
As is my wont, I trawled through the medical literature looking for solutions. It soon became obvious that although there were a number of natural substances (non stimulants) promoted as weigh loss supplements, these products were not particularly effective. We looked at all these different supplements and, along with our partner, laid out all the mechanisms by which these products worked. We then teased out those that drove pathways congruent with the pathways through which the low-carb diet worked. And we came up with a couple of hypotheses. First, we thought that these products individually might work a lot better than their study results had shown if used along with a low-carbohydrate diet (virtually all had been studied using low-calorie, high-carb diets), and, second, that these few substances taken in combination might have a synergistic effect not present when taken individually. We came up with a supplement mixture that we thought might help people following low-carb diets lose weight more quickly.
We decided to make these supplements available to patients in our practice who wanted to boost their weight loss. We provided them with a written list of supplements that they could gather at most health food stores (since we didn’t carry any of these supplements in the clinic). The patients who elected to try the regimen did well, but we really had no control group, so we didn’t know with certainty whether our supplement conglomeration worked or not. We had some difficulty getting a lot of patients to both try the regimen and stick with it once they started, because of the expense and the inconvenience. The bag of supplements would set them back about $150 a month and required their taking multiple pills multiple times daily.
We felt that our little pilot study, such as it was, justified spending the money to both develop an actual product and to have it clinically tested. We found a manufacturer to produce a product that was less expensive and more convenient than the handful of pills our patients had been taking daily. We also sought out and found a facility that did contract clinical testing of products. And we discovered what the drug companies have known for a long time – randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, the gold standard of clinical trials, are not inexpensive. After giving the idea a lot of study, we sucked up and invested the money.
We established the protocols and launched the study. Subjects were randomized into two groups, both of which went on moderately low-carb diets and both of which were instructed to perform the same type and amount of exercise. One group went on the supplement that we ultimately named Pentabosol, while the other went on a placebo that looked and tasted the same as Pentabosol. (As an aside, I can tell you that we must have been brain dead when we contracted for this study because by the time all the subjects were recruited and randomized, the actual trial ended up taking place through the Thanksgiving holiday – for sure not the best time to be doing a weight loss study. I have no way of know, of course, but I suspect that had we waited until the first of the following year to do this study, we would have had even better results.) After the last subjects completed the six week study, the testing facility broke the double-blind codes, analyzed the data, and the director of the lab gave me a call.
It was a memorable call. He started out by saying: “Well, I’ve got some good news for you and some bad news for you. Which do you want first?”
Being the eternal optimist, I said, give me the good news.
He said: “You have got a phenomenal product. It works like nothing we’ve ever seen. It works better than some drugs we’ve tested.”
The people on the supplement had lost almost double the weight (71 percent more, to be exact) than those taking the placebo.
As you might imagine, I was thrilled. But not all that surprised based on our reports from our own patients.
“So what’s the bad news?,” I asked.
The bad news, he told me, was that we didn’t have what he thought was a commercial product. He said that he had to practically horsewhip some people to keep them on it. He said he thought it didn’t matter how efficacious a supplement was if people wouldn’t take it.
He had a point. And, admittedly, the first primitive version of our product was pretty rough. The product … is a powder that you dissolve in water (cold or hot like a tea) and drink. The early study version mixed about like sand mixes with water. You had to put it in the water, then swirl the water in the glass while you drank the stuff. And it didn’t taste all that great.
After badgering our manufacturer to make the product better but obtaining only marginal improvements, we began seeking other manufacturers. We finally found one that specialized in powders and finally had a product manufactured that was tasty and mixed well.
NOTE: DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND, WE ARE OUT OF OUR SUPPLY OF METABOSOL.
A couple of years ago MD and I decided we needed to give Pentabosol a makeover. A complaint we had heard over and over was that Pentabosol contained sucralose, an artificial sweetener. At the time we first made the product, we had no choice. We did have a choice, I suppose, in aspartame, but we elected to go with sucralose. The product required a sweetener because one of the components is extremely tart, and without sweetening the product would have been unpalatable.
We spent some time with the manufacturer and discovered that we could freshen the taste, improve mix-ability, add another flavor and use a natural sweetener instead of sucralose.
We decided to name the new and improved product Metabosol. It contains all the same active ingredients in the same proportions as Pentabosol, but is naturally sweetened, giving it (to my palate, at least) a cleaner taste. Those who have tried both products like the taste and consistency of Metabosol better. And like the fact that there are a couple of flavors: berry and citrus.
How you can take advantage of our lack of attention.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, we did all the improvement work and got Metabosol all ready to launch but put it on the back burner because of our commitment to the sous vide project. We just got a call from our able assistant, Kristi, who said, guess what? all the Metabosol is going out of date as of the end of May. This May. As in about two weeks.
So, if any readers out there would like to give Metabosol a try, it can be ordered through the Products section of our website absolutely free. With absolutely no strings attached. All we ask is that you pay for UPS shipping. And because we don’t have all that many containers left, please only two per person. Let’s make sure that anyone who wants to can give it a try.
I want to end with a few caveats.
First, we did only one study on Pentabosol / Metabosol. That study showed significantly increased weight loss in the subjects using the product. But I’ll be the first to tell anyone that it takes more than one study to prove anything. We (or someone else) might do a second study and find less or more weight loss. As far as I know, there is no other study out there evaluating the efficacy of the exact combinations contained in Metabosol. There is one other study – a pilot study – showing a significant weight loss in subjects following a similar, but much more expensive supplement regimen. We’ve had over 250,000 people use Pentabosol with a substantial reorder rate, which would indicate that it works. But we have only the one study.
Second, the Metabosol you will receive is almost out of date. It shouldn’t be a problem, but the manufacturer is required to put a two year expiration on supplements. We will ship only while the product is still in date, so once the end of May comes, we will take the product off our website until we have a new batch, which will then be at the regular price.
Third, as studied, Metabosol was shown to work only when combined with a low-carb diet and moderate exercise. (We had to control for diet and exercise.) It was designed to enhance the rate of weight loss in those following low-carbohydrate diets and who exercised moderately, and the study indicated that it did. We have no idea if Metabosol would work without diet and exercise and we don’t recommend that you use it in that way. It is not a magic bullet. As we all know, weight loss is a difficult proposition at best – Metabosol is simply designed to help you get to your goal a little faster.
Now, if I haven’t scared you off with all the disclaimers, give it a try on us. And we would love to learn how it works for you, so don’t hesitate to let us know.
Note: We try to get all of our products shipped the same day the orders come in. But Kristi, our able assistant, is leaving for a long weekend (it’s her birthday today, so we’ve let her escape the asylum for a bit) and won’t be able to get these Metabosol orders shipped until Monday morning, May 23.
THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST. WE HAVE RUN OUT OF OUR SUPPLIES OF METABOSOL.