Lean PhD: Man Sports’ Focus & Mood-Enhancing Fat Burner

Lean PhD

Ready to feel like a PhD? MAN Sports has a new focus-enhancing thermogenic fat burner

Lean PhD is a new nootropic-thermogenic weight loss blend from Metabolic Augmenting Nutrition (MAN) Sports that emphasizes enhanced focus with your fat burn.

After a major rebrand, some new hired talent, and ridiculous candy flavors in their new ISO AMINO supplement, MAN has been exploding on the supplement scene the past year or so.

They’ve already got a pretty robust product lineup, ranging from muscle-building pre-workouts to sleep aids, but it was time for something new after their fat burner, Scorch, has been out for a while.

They’re touting a micro-batch manufacturing process, but haven’t yet gotten on board with the open-label movement, so we have to guess at dosages in places.

At a glance, the label looks pretty good, with a lot of stuff that has at least something of a scientific track record backing it for both focus and fat burning. And with our review bottle, it’s coming through as promised – we get into our pre-review at the end.

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Ingredients

Unfortunately, we’ve only got firm dosage amounts on the vitamin B6 and caffeine, with everything else wrapped up in a 690mg proprietary blend.

Lean PhD Ingredients

The Lean PhD Ingredients / Supplement Facts Label

Let’s take a closer look at each of these ingredients and analyze their effectiveness as best we can given the prop blend:

  • Caffeine anhydrous (100mg)

    Roughly the caffeine content of one cup of coffee, which seems to have become the industry standard for “lighter-stimmed” thermogenics.

    Caffeine is the most thoroughly studied and safest energy ingredient, and provides a very small thermogenic effect of its own, though it’s more effective at accelerating the other fat-burning ingredients.[1,2]

    After the 100mg caffeine, we have a 690mg prop blend:

  • ALCAR (Acetyl-L-Carnitine)

    ALCAR is a compound of the conditionally essential amino acid L-carnitine. Carnitine is usually included in supplements more for muscle growth and power output, but the ALCAR compound actually works as a focus-enhancing nootropic and as a mild stimulant.

    These effects have been much more pronounced in the elderly and those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, however; the effect on healthy adults and high-level athletes is not yet well-studied yet is clearly noticed by most users.[3,4]

    It’s also important to note that in at least one study, non-responders to carnitine supplementation were found, so the effect may also be individualized.[5]

    At PricePlow, we’re all universally in love with ALCAR. It’s our favorite form of L-Carnitine, even more so than standard L-Carnitine itself (which only has fat-burning effects if you’re carnitine deficient, such as in the elderly or vegetarians).

    Types of Carnitine

    The L-Carnitine Family. We love the ALCAR that leads the formula in Man Lean PhD

  • NALT (N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine)

    Like ALCAR, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is simply a compound of a conditionally essential amino acid commonly found in meats and dairy products. Tyrosine is included in fat burners and pre-workout products as a cognitive and memory enhancer to help fight the dreaded “brain fog” commonly induced when you’re restricting your calories.[6]

    While l-tyrosine’s effects as a supplement are pretty well studied, the NALT formulation isn’t. It’s used because it’s been shown to be more heat-stable when in a mix with other ingredients, but some patient studies have seen large amounts of it excreted with very limited bodily uptake.[7]

  • Lean Green Green Tea SE (EGCg)

    Some of the Green Tea Catechins

    Some of the Catechins from green tea: Epicatechin, EGC, ECG, and the well-known EGCg (our interest here)

    Now we get into some of the fat burning ingredients, since the above two are for focus.

    EGCG is the most potent of the extracts of the four green tea catechins. The catechins are primarily responsible for the wide range of health benefits of green tea, and EGCG has become the industry standard as it’s the most thoroughly studied extract and has consistently shown the best results.[8]

    With regards to fat oxidation, there have been good results, but so far they’ve been markedly better in people who don’t regularly take in caffeine. The studies thus far have also leaned strongly toward using overweight and obese participants.[9]

  • Nelumbo nucifera seed extract (Higenamine)

    Higenamine vs. Synephrine

    Higenamine works very similarly to synephrine… but is much safer!

    Higenamine appears to have similar fat oxidation effects as ephedrine (which is not allowed in dietary supplements), except much weaker.[10] It’s a beta-2 adrenergic agonist, which means that it gets your body to kick in a touch of noradrenaline, which then releases fat stores for energy use.

    This reaction is also known as the “flight or fight” response, and while higenamine causes a more mild reaction than ephedrine, it’s enough to setup fat loss. It works similarly to synephrine as well, but there’s a lot more safety research behind it.[11]

    There’s a ton of anecdotal evidence out there in forums and reviews from users of other products that contain higenamine, who will tell you it is quite thermogenic and has a great energy feeling and fat-burning results.

  • Hordeum vulgare seed extract (Hordenine)

    This oddly-named plant extract may have a fat-burning effect and may keep noradrenaline circulating in your system longer (like higenamine above). This is relying almost entirely on horse and rat studies at this point, however.[12]  As of right now, human studies are very thin, yet its popularity is largely coming from anecdotal reports of effectiveness.

    One very important note for those who are drug-tested: hordenine is capable of triggering false positives for morphine.[13]

  • “Cocoa plant extract”

    Cocoa extract is likely being included for theobromine content, which can interact with caffeine to enhance its effects on energy and mental clarity.[14] We have to make that assumption, though, because the label doesn’t specify anything further about it.

    It’s likely that there’s also a little “something else” going on here – similar to the EGCG catechin in green tea, cocoa provides its own potent extracts beyond theobromine.

  • Sceletium tortuosum extract

    A psychoactive herb common to folk medicine in a number of countries, sceletium tortuosum is appearing in more and more supplements as a mood and focus enhancer. The evidence for it as an extract in supplements is still pretty thin, though, with only one patient study thus far finding an improvement in memory tasks in healthy subjects.[15]

    Anecdotally, we’ve found that we’re big fans of practically anything that contains this herb. Good feels inside.

  • Grains of Paradise extract

    Grains of Paradise is a spice that’s biologically very similar to ginger and may have a similar thermogenic effect. A second great study came out showing its promise in safely burning the “stubborn” types of fat.[16] This seems to be the next-generation beyond red pepper extract (capsaicin).

  • Bovine Serum Albumin (BioBumin)

    This is a form of whey protein that’s thought to aid in general nutrient uptake.[17] Why is this in a fat burner? Great question, since BioBumin manufacturer Proliant Health hasn’t even got around to updating their page on it yet![18]

    But our best guess is that it ties into a 2012 study suggesting that it may play a role in uncoupling brown fat tissue for burning.[19]

    We’re thinking this is the replacement to the popular PF3 that’s been removed from the MAN lineup due to it going purely prescription-based.

  • Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin)

    Forskolin Benefits - Mild regional fat loss for most users, even without a workout routine

    This chart shows that even without a workout routine, forskolin provides mild regional fat loss for most users.

    Forskolin is one of our favorite stimulant-free fat burning ingredients. A few studies have shown it to provide regional fat loss.[20,21,22]

    This herb may even dual as a natural testosterone booster in men, but that’s the case of one study. It was done on overweight and obese men, and the testosterone increase across the board was pretty minimal.[23]

    The issue is that this is the last ingredient of a proprietary blend, so we have next to no clue how much is in there, or if it will be enough to make a difference.

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Our pre-review

As we write this, Lean PhD isn’t in stores, but we have our hands on a bottle and it definitely does what it sets out to do – work as a focus-enhancing, moderate-stimmed fat burner that won’t put you over the edge. It’s smooth, clean, and feels fantastic.

Lean PhD

Verdict: Despite the prop blend, it’s still as good as advertised at 2 capsules!

We’re disappointed in the proprietary formula, but it’s not the first time we’ve approved of a product with one. We do appreciate the fact that we at least know how much caffeine is in it, so we can dose the capsules appropriately.

If you’re looking for a fat burner that’s not too high in caffeine, this is definitely worth considering. If you need 400mg or more throughout the day, you’re either going to need to add in a cup of coffee somewhere, or look at higher-energy options.

At this point, the product is well on our way to joining our Best Fat Burner Buyer’s Guide – but let us finish this bottle up first.

Worth Checking Out?

In one word: yes!

MAN Sports expanded their ever-growing lineup with a solid product here. It’s not for everyone, but for those who want the focus and a safe, mild stim, this is one to look into.

It does have some ingredients that aren’t as well-studied as we’d like them to be, but they’re also some of our favorite new ingredients from the past few years. From the ones we do have solid science on, the results are definitely showing success for overweight/obese users.

So if you’re cool with ~300mg of caffeine per day, and the price is right (compare prices and sign up for alerts below), then we’re all in. This stuff feels good.

MAN Lean PhD

“The Smart Choice in Feel-Good Weight Loss”… we actually agree with the marketing here

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References

  1. Astrup, A, et. al; “Caffeine: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers“; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; May 1990
  2. Dulloo, AG, et. al; “Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity“; International Journal of Obesity; February 2000
  3. Malaguarnera, M, et. al; “Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) treatment in elderly patients with fatigue“; Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics; March-April 2008
  4. Vermeulen, RC, et. al; “Exploratory open label, randomized study of acetyl- and propionylcarnitine in chronic fatigue syndrome“; Psychosomatic Medicine; March-April 2004
  5. Kraemer, WJ, et. al; “L-carnitine supplementation: influence upon physiological function“; Current Sports Medicine Reports; July-August 2008
  6. Deijen, JB, et. al; “Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course“; Brain Research Bulletin; January 1999
  7. Magnusson, I, et. al; “N-acetyl-L-tyrosine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine as tyrosine and cysteine precursors during intravenous infusion in humans“; Metabolism; October 1989
  8. Park, YS, et. al; “Comparison of the nutrient and chemical contents of traditional Korean Chungtaejeon and green teas“; Plant Foods for Human Nutrition; June 2010
  9. Hursel, R, et. al; “The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis“; Obesity Reviews; July 2011
  10. Lee, S; “Acute oral intake of a higenamine-based dietary supplement increases circulating free fatty acids and energy expenditure in human subjects.“; Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Cardiorespiratory/Metabolic Laboratory, University of Memphis; 2013
  11. Kunanusom, P, et. al; “Acute and subchronic oral toxicity studies of Nelumbo nucifera stamens extract in rats“; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; April 2011
  12. Frank, M, et. al; “Hordenine: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and behavioural effects in the horse“; Equine Veterinary Journal; November 1990
  13. Singh, AK, et. al; “Screening and confirmation of drugs in urine: interference of hordenine with the immunoassays and thin layer chromatography methods“; Forensic Science International; April 1992
  14. Mumford, GK, et. al; “Discriminative stimulus and subjective effects of theobromine and caffeine in humans“; Psychopharmacology; June 1994
  15. Chiu, S, et. al; “Proof-of-Concept Randomized Controlled Study of Cognition Effects of the Proprietary Extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin) Targeting Phosphodiesterase-4 in Cognitively Healthy Subjects: Implications for Alzheimer’s Dementia“; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; October 2014
  16. 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
  17. Sousa, GT, et. al; “Dietary whey protein lessens several risk factors for metabolic diseases: a review“; Lipids in Health and Disease; July 2012
  18. http://www.prolianthealth.com/biological-proteins/bio-bumin/
  19. Fedorenko, A, et. al; “Mechanism of Fatty-Acid-Dependent UCP1 Uncoupling in Brown Fat Mitochondria“; PMC; October 2012
  20. Godard, MP, et. al; “Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men“; Obesity Research; August 2005
  21. Jagtap M, Chandola HM, Ravishankar B. Clinical efficacy of Coleus forskohlii (Willd.) Briq. (Makandi) in hypertension of geriatric population. Ayu. (2011)
  22. Greenway FL, Bray GA. Regional fat loss from the thigh in obese women after adrenergic modulation. Clin Ther. (1987)
  23. Henderson S, et al. Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2005)
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