America’s best selling weight loss supplement is Hydroxycut Hardcore according to Muscletech. How does it work, what is in it and are there different versions for the United States, UK and Europe?
Well known brand
Contains some good ingredients
Not the best formula in our opinion
Some users complain of side effects
VERDICT – Look Elswhere
It’s hard to know what to make of this product. It’s overly reliant on stimulants and appears to be carrying a considerable amount of dead weight.
It is our opinion to look at another fat burner or weight loss pill.
We have our list of best fat burners here
What is Hydroxycut Hardcore
Part of a range of supplements made in the USA by Iovate Health Sciences International and distributed under the Hydroxycut brand name.
Hydroxycut is one of America’s best-selling weight loss supplement brands and its “Hardcore” fat burner is one of its most popular products. However, there is also a more advanced version called Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite.
There are also other supplements in the range such as SX-7 Revolution which is pre workout supplement.
Hydroxycut Hardcore is primarily aimed at men and women who like to workout and spend a lot of time in the gym. So, as is often the case with supplements of this nature, the Hardcore formulation is rich in stimulants to help boost energy and provide improvements in training capability.
Several competing manufacturers produce similar supplements designed for hard-training individuals, but the best ones don’t tend to deliver such a high level of stimulants in a single dose.
Unless you have a poor tolerance, there’s nothing wrong with using stimulants in moderation but overly high doses can cause problems. The higher the dose, the greater the chance of side effects.
The benefits stimulants provide also tend to diminish as you become used to them. That’s why so many athletes end up taking stronger and stronger products and build up an unusually high tolerance.
That’s not a good game to get into. The supplement you find “hardcore” today can become a waste of time a few months further down the line. When do you stop?
The manufacturers of many competing products get around this problem by resisting the temptation to up the stimulant content and add alternative energy providers, such as B Vitamins instead.
Hydroxycut is an established brand. It’s been around since 2002.
The original brand owner and creator, MuscleTech, sold Hydroxycut to Iovate Health Sciences International in 2003/2004.
Although the brand got off to a good start, there were a few teething problems. The first Hydroxycut products had Ephedra and/or other potentially harmful ingredients in them.
The side effects were unacceptable so there were calls for stricter regulation of the supplement industry.
Since then, Hydroxycut products have improved a lot. It’s a popular brand that readily available all over the world.
Hydroxycut Hardcore Benefits
The front of the bottle promises three main benefits:
- Extreme energy
- Hardcore weight loss
- Maximum intensity
How Hydroxycut Hardcore Works
Hydroxycut Hardcore is designed to be used alongside a sensible diet and training regimen. It uses stimulants to boost energy levels and make it easier to train. Because you can train harder you should burn extra calories and attain improvements in muscle growth.
The stimulants in Hydroxycut Hardcore also increase metabolism. When metabolism becomes faster, you burn more calories than normal.
Presuming your diet forces suitable restrictions in energy intake, a faster metabolism will help you to burn more calories than you could by dieting, training, or both. This increases your body’s need to burn fat.
How to Use Hydroxycut Hardcore
The standard dose is four capsules per day but new users are advised to begin with just one. It’s best to take the capsules 30-60 minutes before one of your largest meals of the day.
If no tolerance issues become evident, you increase the dose to two capsules per day on days two and three. Again, these should be taken together before one of your meals.
Presuming the higher dose causes no side effects or other issues, you can take the maximum dose of two capsules, two times per day, from day four onward.
The best times to take the capsules are before breakfast and lunch.
Hydroxycut Hardcore provides a high dose of caffeine, paired with an additional stimulant so it’s advisable to check with your doctor before incorporating this supplement into your normal fat loss regimen.
There are nine active ingredients in Hydroxycut Hardcore. They are spread across three proprietary blends, so in most cases, there is no way to know how much of each one is involved.
The formulation is encased in gelatin capsules. That makes Hydroxycut Hardcore unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Each two capsule serving provides:
Pyroxyclene Anhdraine Blend 370 mg
- Caffeine anhydrous (Supplying 270 mg of caffeine)
- Cayenne pepper
Yohimbacore Robusta Blend (256 mg)
- Green coffee bean extract
- Yohimbe extract
1,3 D-Norepidrol Blend (130 mg)
- Trans-ferulic acid
Hydroxycut Hardcore Ingredient Potential
There are a lot of gray areas with this fat-burning formulation. We know what the ingredients are but not the quantities involved. All we know for certain is the Pyroxyclene Anhdraine Blend provides 270 mg of caffeine.
However, although this situation is anything but ideal, let’s push forward and try to ascertain the possible value of the three Hydroxycut proprietary blends.
Pyroxyclene Anhdraine Blend
This blend is a little easier to evaluate than the two blends that follow.
Two capsules provide 370 mg of the proprietary blend and 270 mg of the blend is made up of caffeine. That means 100 mg of it is L-theanine and cayenne pepper. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be a 50-50 mix. It may be, of course, but there is no way to know.
For example, there may only be 8 mg of L-theanine and 92 mg of cayenne. Or, it could be the other way around. The possible combinations are too many to bear thinking about so let’s start with caffeine first.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. This increases mental focus and delivers a useful energy boost. However, if you get too much caffeine it can make you feel very hyper. Two hundred and seventy milligrams is enough to have some people bouncing around the room.
Research proves caffeine can also support improvements in fat loss by increasing metabolism. Lots of studies show this but some data suggests it may offer less value to the obese people who need its help most. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7369170/)
L-theanine is an amino acid. You can get it from several botanical sources but the most common one is green tea.
L-theanine is famous for its ability to relax the mind and produce an “alert calm.” It’s often paired with caffeine because it has a tempering effect that can reduce caffeine-related side effects such as jitters and nausea. The problem here is, we don’t know if the L-theanine content is high enough.
Cayenne is another good ingredient. Several studies, including one involving Japanese women, prove cayenne is a fat burner that works so it’s very aggravating that we don’t know if Hydroxycut Hardcore provides enough. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10211048/)
Yohimbacore Robusta Blend
Two capsules provide 256 mg of this blend. There are only two ingredients in it but the lack of inclusion rates is particularly worrying here because yohimbine is a stimulant and high doses can cause side effects.
Yohimbe is a tree bark extract. The stimulatory effects are due to a compound called yohimbine. It’s a key ingredient in many male enhancement products because one of the things it can do is help pump extra blood into the penis and alleviate erectile dysfunction.
It’s unclear if yohimbe can support weight loss but lots of manufacturers use it as a fat burner. (https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-759/yohimbe)
Green coffee bean extract is a more useful ingredient so let’s hope it makes up the majority of this proprietary blend.
Green coffee beans provide chlorogenic acid. The main thing it does is regulate blood sugar and insulin but one study suggests it may also lower BMI and waist circumference. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683100/)
1,3 D-Norepidrol Blend
Four ingredients here and, collectively, they account for 130 mg of the ingredients you get by swallowing a couple of Hydroxycut Hardcore fat burning pills.
L-tyrosine, L-methionine, and L-leucine are amino acids. Trans-ferulic acid is an organic compound you can get from various plants including bran, barley, and flaxseed.
L-tyrosine is unlikely to encourage fat loss but it supports healthy cognitive function. It may also have the potential to improve athletic capabilities by providing increases in stamina and strength.
It’s hard to say what role L-methionine is meant to play in the 1,3 D-Norepidrol Blend or the Hydroxycut Hardcore formulation as a whole. It’s a better fit for supplements that aim to provide healthy skin, nails, and hair.
Perhaps it’s included to help you look your best in the gym.
L-leucine is a more worthy inclusion. It plays a key role in protein synthesis and also supports fat loss. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446786/)
Trans-ferulic acid is an antioxidant that may help prevent premature aging of the skin and is sometimes added to skincare products. This is an unlikely inclusion that probably doesn’t contribute any value to a supplement that aims to boost energy levels and burn fat.
Hydroxycut Hardcore Customer Reviews
Some customer reviews are very positive,but others criticize the product for a lack of results. There are also some reports of side effects.
A few average customer comments read:
I have been Hardcore for several months and feel jittery. I can’t actually say for certain if I have lost weight or body fat but I can say it makes me a bit on edge.
Not for me unfortunately, I feel as though I have butterflies in my stomach and can’t seem to sleep at night
Known Side Effects
Some customer reviews mention the kind of side effects you would expect from any product that is high in caffeine:
- Feeling dizzy
The majority of users appear to be able to use Hydroxycut Hardcore without problems with side effects but two capsules provide 270 mg of caffeine. That’s a high dose. You’d get a similar blast of caffeine if you were to drink four shots of espresso in rapid succession.
However, Hydroxycut Hardcore also has L-theanine. Presuming the capsule provides an adequate dose, its presence should reduce the intensity of caffeine-related side effects. That’s the main reason the two are often paired.
The Yohimbacore Robusta Blend also provides yohimbe though. That’s a stimulant too. Unless you have built up a strong tolerance of stimulants, Hydroxycut Hardcore may not be the right fat burner to use.
Where to Buy Hydroxycut Hardcore
Hydroxycut is such a popular brand most people shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a supplier. Even if you can’t find a local supplier, you will be spoiled for choice if you check a few online supplement stores.
Some pharmacies and stores that sell Hydroxycut Hardcore in the United States include:
If you don’t like dealing with middlemen, it’s also possible to go direct to the source and buy Hydroxycut Hardcore via the Hydroxycut website.
At the time of this review, Hydroxycut Hardcore between $21.99 and $39.99 per bottle, when bought from the manufacturer’s site.
At first blush, that seems pretty cheap but there are only 60 capsules per bottle and the standard dose is four capsules per day. That means each bottle will only be good for 15 days. So, using Hydroxycut will cost around $44 per month plus additional shipping charges.
If you strike lucky you may be able to get three bottles for the price of two. That takes some of the sting out of using Hydroxycut Hardcore but you need to be aware Hydroxycut products don’t have a money-back guarantee.
NOTE: It may be a good idea to avoid buying Hydroxycut Hardcore via Amazon. Many customers report extreme side effects and the ones who are familiar with the original product point out the pills they got from Amazon were the wrong color. That could suggest a counterfeit version.
Is Hydroxycut Hardcore A Good Fat Burner?
It’s hard to know what to make of this product. It’s overly reliant on stimulants and appears to be carrying a considerable amount of dead weight.
The fact that it provides cayenne gives Hydroxycut Hardcore extra credibility but so many users report poor results it may not contain enough.
A lot of the positive reviews for this product focus on its ability to boost energy, not its ability to encourage fat loss. Again, this suggests Hydroxycut Hardcore may not contain sufficient cayenne.
Caffeine, on the other hand, it’s got loads of that but caffeine doesn’t do a lot for people who have a strong tolerance. Even if you don’t have this type of tolerance, it’s easy to build it up over time.
A supplement like this may work better in cycles, such as 8 weeks on, followed by four weeks off. This may help prevent an unduly high tolerance but there are plenty of other problems with this product.
We can’t help but look at the 1,3 D-Norepidrol Blend and wonder what the F@@k is that all about. We’d ditch the entire thing and replace it with 130 mg of green tea.
Some people will probably find Hydroxycut Hardcore delivers extra energy and improvements in weight loss. Others will find it does not and there is a strong probability of side effects so it’s important to follow the instructions a start with a low dose.
Hydroxycut Hardcore is somewhat of a hit-and-miss product. That’s the bottom line. The only way you can see if it will work for you is to buy it and see. That’s going to be a big gamble with a product that doesn’t have a money-back guarantee.
Other Versions of Hydroxycut Hardcore
Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen has two formulas. This is our review of the International formula.
There are also
- Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen
- Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite
Difference Between International and USA Versions?
Ingredients, mainly, plus some different tests and regulations each product is subjected to.
Wait…the ingredients are different!?
Yes. MuscleTech’s Hydroxycut product line is popular all over the world, but the product you’re reading about in a magazine might not be the one you can buy in your local supplement store, despite it having exactly the same name.
In the case of Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen, like many other products, its USA formula contains ingredients that are either controversial or outright banned in most other countries.
Yohimbe is the main one singled out here. You can see why in the USA HydroxyCut Hardcore Next Gen review by reading in the Side Effects section.
We’ll get on with the Internationally (non-US) available product.
How Does it Work?
Hydroxycut promise the following benefits from their fat burner:
- Advanced, Scientifically Tested Weight Management
- Extreme Energy and Mental Focus
The first one there refers to the scientific studies that have been carried out with Green Coffee extract, the main ingredients of Hardcore Next Gen.
Green coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which – amongst other things – might block some carbs from being absorbed when you eat them. Hence, the “weight management” aspect.
The studies do support this to some degree but green coffee is far from powerful, especially compared to some other ingredients available.
The second point about extreme energy and mental focus is in relation to the caffeine, skullcap, huperzine and coleus inclusions, all of which are known as nootropic (cognitive enhancing) or energy boosting.
The combination of the 2 effects is pretty much what 99.99% of fat burners are designed and marketed for. So, no shocking revelations there.
The following ingredients make up the formula:
- 400mg – Green Coffee extract
- 377mg – “Unparalleled Sensory Complex” including:
- 100mg – Choline Bitartrate
- 60mg – Coleus extract
- 25mg – Blue Skullcap
Green coffee extract is reported to reduce obesity by preventing the absorption of a portion of the carbohydrates consumed.
Realistically, it might do this, but not as powerfully as other ingredients.
The Unparalleled Sensory Complex is a group of ‘nootropic’ compounds – those which enhance cognitive function in some way. Focus and mental energy are the main benefits. The majority of this proprietary blend will be caffeine.
Choline Bitartrate is another cognitive booster. It increases levels of acetylcholine – a principal neurotransmitter, responsible for muscle signalling amongst other things.
Coleus has been found to act as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This means it acts as a blocker for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, keeping it active in the system for longer.
Blue Skullcap might be useful in preventing anxiety along with a host of other problems but it is early days yet and research is lacking.
We can quite confidently assume there is more than 200mg of caffeine in the “Unparalleled Sensory Complex” so there is potential for a few mild side effects there, especially if you are unused or unsuited to caffeine.
The irony is that you must be ‘off’ caffeine for a couple of weeks – i.e. not habitually drinking coffee – before using it for it to work as a fat burner.
Basically, don’t consume any other source of caffeine while using these pills, and take half the recommended dose for the first couple of days to get used to it.
The other ingredients are generally well tolerated by most people. The Blue Skullcap is an unknown to be honest. There isn’t much information on its effects, however, it is unlikely to cause problems from preliminary evidence.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, people with medical conditions and those using medication should avoid this product and other like it.
Hydroxycut Hardcore Review Conclusion and Recommendations
This is the internationally available Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen. We wouldn’t use either again, given the choice.
Green coffee is not good enough in our opinion to be used as a main ingredient. After that you are left with caffeine and some small doses of nootropic ingredients.
We’d rather stick to what we know works for us and has strong doses of the right ingredients.
If you want to see the reviews of our favourite fat burners are click here