Backdraft XP is a thermogenic fat burner in a market that’s very crowded, but there’s some things about it that we like and that stand out to us, and we definitely think you’re going to feel the heat on this one.
Despite no longer having the venerable Evan Centopani on board, Prime Nutrition continues to move forward, especially after the glowing success of their intra-workout supplement, Intra-MD.
We always like as much detailed information as we can get about the ingredients, and Prime comes through on this one – a fully-open, non-proprietary label that takes things further than any other fat burner we’ve seen.
But before we get into the overview and ingredient analysis (let’s just say this should be hot!), you can compare prices using PricePlow, and sign up for price drop alerts below:
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The one thing that makes this one special is that we know the exact capsicum content – something nobody else has displayed. Capsaicin (from red pepper extract) is a primary thermogenic agent, and Prime Nutrition’s label lists the exact amount of heat that Backdraft XP is going to bring!
And while it’s not the most stim-heavy of your thermogenic products, it’s dosed well with acetyl-L-carnitine, which is excellent for focus and overall well-being.
The Backdraft XP Ingredients
Let’s take a closer look at the full Backdraft XP package and see exactly how well it stacks up to the rest of the field.
Capsicum 35,000 SHU (20mg)
Capsicum is actually the genus of plants that contains capsaicin, which is what gives hot peppers their fire and also has been shown in studies to improve fat oxidation.[1,2]
So what’s the SHU? It’s short for “Scoville Heat Unit”, or the formal unit of measurement that tells you exactly how hot you can expect a pepper to be before you bite in. It’s usually used more by gardeners and chile aficionados, but supplement manufacturers are just beginning to adopt it on labels to give you some idea of the efficacy of the dosage.
So how does Prime’s Backdraft XP capsicum content stack up?
Well, the scale’s highest point is 16 million, which indicates completely pure (and completely inedible) capsicum. 35,000 is actually toward the high end of your edible plants; it’s roughly the same rating as tabasco peppers (not tabasco sauce, which has a lower heat rating due to dilution with other stuff).
‘Atsa spicy meatball! Thankfully, Backdraft XP is in capsule form… we wouldn’t want to imagine pouring this stuff into a shaker!
Carnitine is such a flexible and beneficial amino acid, and each version brings something different to the table. In the ALCAR formulation, it’s a mild stimulant in its own right, but also a powerful focus enhancer.
Standard L-carnitine does have some fat-burning properties when supplemented, but so far those results have only been seen in those who are chronically deficient (such as the elderly or vegetarians, who don’t get much carnitine due to lack of meat in their diets).
In acetyl form, it’s all about adding razor-sharp focus to the mix, and possibly getting the fat-burning benefits for those that don’t eat much meat, as cited above.
Caffeine Anhydrous (250mg) and Theobromine (150mg)
We all know what caffeine does, and theobromine is increasingly being paired with it in all types of stimulant products as it’s shown a lot of promise in synergizing with caffeine for improved effects.
This is a solid dose for newcomers, but if you’re already stim-tolerant, you’re likely looking for more like 400mg in your daily dosage.
The 90 capsule bottle states that you should take a total of 3 capsules on an empty stomach in the morning, and that’s it. This means that some people will either start feeling “flat” in the afternoon, or will want to add an extra cap later on… which will not only lower the value of this bottle, but it’s against the label guidelines as well.
What about the theobromine?
Theobromine may enhance the effect, but the science on it is still in the preliminary stages. It’s in the same family as caffeine, and works similarly, but definitely much weaker.
The main purpose of including it alongside caffeine is because it may lengthen your energy-high and eliminate any crash. Reason being, theobromine has a 7-12 hour half-life (it depends on your metabolism), whereas caffeine’s is less, at 2.5 – 5 hours.
Devil’s Horsewhip (Achyranthes Aspera Root) (225mg)
We rarely see Devil’s Horsewhip, but what a great name for a fat burner ingredient!
It’s relatively new, though, and thus far completely untested in humans. It’s included as a fat mobilizer thanks to the results of two rat studies, both of which showed weight loss in obese rats.[6,7]
As we know from long experience with other products, the results of rat studies can’t automatically be equated to humans. So until we see some actual patient studies, we’re going to have to regard this as just a cool name to slap on the label.
But for those of you who are looking for something new that’s not in other products… here it is! We look forward to any forthcoming human-based research on the Devil’s Horsewhip.
Paradoxine is a patented form of Grains of Paradise extract. Like Devil’s Horsewhip, this is another new and ingredient for next-generation fat incinerators, and has a bit more human-based research to go along with it.
This one at least has two patient studies to date — a 2013 study showed that it did in fact activate brown adipose tissue and increase whole-body energy expenditure in a group of men, but the catch is that it was in conjunction with cold exposure.
There’s also a newer study stating that grains of paradise (aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans.
Prime Nutrition advertises it as being superior to capsaicin as it doesn’t build tolerance, but we’re really not sure what results they’re basing that claim on.
Anecdotally, however, other products with grains of paradise have definitely been more thermogenic than your average fat burner. We have no doubt that you’re going to feel this one — especially since it’s paired with capsaicin here!
An aptly named fat burner
Do you remember the movie Backdraft? It’s about “Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don’t get along have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose,” and stars Kurt Russell and William Baldwin as they’re about to enter their primes (pun not intended!)
We imagine that this movie (which gets a 6.7 over on IMDB) was the inspiration. A backdraft is “a phenomenon in which a fire that has consumed all available oxygen suddenly explodes when more oxygen is made available, typically because a door or window has been opened.”
To conclude our pre-review
Backdraft XP turns out to be a “basic” fat burner in the sense that it’s low on the number of ingredients. But we’re very pleased with the open label and the selection of ingredients. You have a standard range of ingredients and a couple of neat-sounding but less-tested throw-ins that could easily make the difference – especially in bodyheat, just as marketed.
The question for you, as a consumer, is going to come down to caffeine. If you need more than say 300mg of caffeine in a given day, this is not going to cover your overall ‘energy requirements’ like many other fat burners would.
So the value proposition is really going to come down to your caffeine tolerance. But if you’re a low-to-moderate caffeine user, this definitely gets our thumbs up.
If that’s you, it’ll likely work well and make you feel good just on the power of the ALCAR, and the caffeine-theobromine tandem. And then comes the heat from the grains and capsaicin. The big question mark here is Devil’s Horsewhip – if it works as theorized, you’re in for a serious diet run.
Too bad BackDraft XP wasn’t released during the dead of winter, because it’s gonna be hot!
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- Lejeune, MP, et. al; “Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects“; The British Journal of Nutrition; September 2003
- Janssens, P, et. al; “Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance“; July 2013
- Vermeulen, RC, et. al; “Exploratory open label, randomized study of acetyl- and propionylcarnitine in chronic fatigue syndrome“; Psychosomatic Medicine; March-April 2004
- Mumford, GK, et. al; “Discriminative stimulus and subjective effects of theobromine and caffeine in humans“; Psychopharmacology; June 1994
- Rani, N, et. al.; “Assessment of Antiobesity Potential of Achyranthes aspera Linn. Seed“; Evidence-based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine; June 2012
- Latha, BP, et. al.; “Therapeutic efficacy of Achyranthes aspera saponin extract in high fat diet induced hyperlipidaemia in male wistar rats“; African Journal of Biotechnology; 2011
- Sugita, J, et. al.; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men“; The British Journal of Nutrition; August 2013
- Sugita, J, et. al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans“; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014