Heavily-advertised Hydroxycut is a popular weight-loss supplement brand that claims to enhance metabolism, diminish hunger cravings, boost energy and burn fat. It rose to fame in the last decade with a formulation primarily based on aspirin (willow bark), caffeine (guarana) and ephedrine (ma huang). While these ingredients reportedly lead to dramatic weight loss in some consumers, ephedrine use has been linked with undesirable side effects such as heart attacks and death. Bad press and fear of lawsuits lead the makers of Hydroxycut to reformulate their product as ephedrine-free.

The new formulation of Hydroxycut includes ingredients like chromium, calcium, alpha lipoic acid, l-carnitine, willow bark extract, green tea leaf extract and guarana. Although studies are inconclusive, some of these substances may help moderate blood sugar levels, regulate insulin and block carbohydrates and elevate the metabolism. Despite the exaggerated testimonials of weight-loss wonders, new Hydroxycut should position itself more as a carb-blocker or glucose moderator than a thermogenic fat burner.

Side effects of taking Hydroxycut include insomnia, tremors, dizziness, nervousness, headache, heart palpitations and tingling sensations. Taking it without adequate fluids may cause swelling of the throat and esophagus; which can lead to choking. It is not recommended to take this caffeine-rich product within 5 hours of going to sleep.

Avoid Hydroxycut if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, liver problems, thyroid disease, psychiatric issues, diabetes, anemia, nervousness, anxiety, depression, seizure, stroke or prostate problems. Do not mix with prescription drugs. As always, consult with your health professional before taking Hydroxycut.

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