Remedy or Rip Off: Relacor

No doubt, a lot of us are stressed out, and a lot of us have unwanted belly fat. But are the two linked? And can an over the counter supplement called relacore help battle both problems at the same time? The thinking is this: that stress causes a stress hormone called cortisol to be released, which in turn causes one to accumulate unwanted belly fat. So, if you reduce the stress, you reduce the belly fat. The question is, where’s the proof relacore can do any of that? The relacore ad says, “Relacore, the feel good pill that helps reduce belly fat. Relacore, its easy.” Sure, a pill is easy.

But the relacore website says, “In conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program, Relacore helps control stress-induced cortisol production, thereby helping to reduce belly fat.” Hold it right there! Diet and exercise that’s not so easy; but at least it’s the way to definitely lose belly fat.

Now, Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, says, yes, cortisol is linked to abdominal fat. But ..there’s a but here. “How much of a role it plays in the average person, ah who is overweight and who has mild increases of cortisol levels, I don’t think we have a good grasp on that. The whole belly fat story is related to multiple hormones, including insulin. This mild increase in cortisol levels can be improved upon with diet and exercise,” says Dr. Mezitis.

 And can relacore provide added benefit? When we called the maker of relacore, the Carter-Reed company, which is really Basic Research, L.L.C., and asked for an interview and clinical research proving relacore’s clinical effectiveness, a pr rep for the company said an interview wasn’t possible, that all the executives were traveling.

This summer, i asked basic research for the clinical data. They said it existed, and they could show it to me; but they said i couldn’t share it with anyone . So, no interview, no data. “I’d have to see scientific data showing that is really has this effect and I haven’t seen that,” says Dr. Thomas Cerabona, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Westchester Medical Center. And how do we know relacore, or anything in it, like the herbs, reduce stress?

Dr. Ashutosh Kaul, Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery at Westchester Medical Center, says, “If I give someone sugar pill and tell them this is the best pill in the world, people will find that there mood is getting better. But you have to do a double blind study with this and a sugar pill and see if the mood improved is due to the fact that someone is given the pill that is supposed to help them or is it because the pill actually is working.”

Dr. Cerabona adds, “You could reverse stress and inversely reduce obesity in the sense that if you’re stressed less than you eat less, if you’re a stress eater as I am myself, but I again see no data that relacore decreases stress and then inversely will decrease your weight. To me it is a marketing tool.” The ad exclaims, “You’ll love it!” But that’s for you, the consumer to decide. Actually, first, you have to decide if you want to buy it.

In 2002, the food and drug administration sent a letter to basic research, doing business as the carter-reed company, which read the claim that relacore helps prevent stress related abdominal obesity suggests relacore is intended to treat, prevent, or mitigate disease, namely obesity. Fda said to the company it can’t do that, unless it gets evaluated as a drug, which would mean, showing it’s clinical trials. Since then, the FDA told us it hasn’t yet followed up on the letter, and relacore keeps making the claim.

To view the letter from 2004 to another website, click on "Cyber Warning Lettter."


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