It has been a well-known fact that many women begin to gain weight around menopause. Hormones, decreasing muscle mass, and maybe some lifestyle changes are largely responsible for this phenomenon, like it or not.
Naturally, the often-predatory supplement industry is onto women’s angst over gaining some midlife pounds, and is playing off of our anxiety about aging and our bodies to make a buck (or many bucks, unfortunately).
One of the most egregious examples of this is Provitalize, a supplement by the cringeworthy-named ‘Better Body Company.’ Thinner bodies are better, right?
Vile people, they are.
I was first alerted to the Better Body Company by one of my Instagram followers, who sent me this BBC ad:
The absolute unbelievable nerve of a garbage supplement company to post this: a woman CRYING because she has a ‘muffin-top,’ and saying that fat is like a frigging horrible disease that can jump up your butt with no warning, knocking you over, destroying your LIFE, and causing you to be *gasp* SPILLING OUT OF YOUR JEANS! OH MY GOD.
It’s NO JOKE. But wait! They have something to sell you to cure you of your fat!
Because of course they do.
What is Provitalize?
Provitalize is The Better Body Company’s anchor product, which they advertise as a ‘thermogenic probiotic.’ That simply means that Provitalize contains bacteria that can colonize your gut and help you burn fat, leading to weight loss.
But do those sorts of bacteria really exist? Is provitalize any good?
I mean, if thermogenic gut bacteria really existed, wouldn’t it be reallllly easy to solve everyone’s weight issues? It would be as easy as taking a capsule, or so The Better Body Company would like you to believe. Because as they say, “now it’s possible to turn up the heat on stubborn fat with thermogenic probiotics!”
Probiotics ARE being investigated for their role in weight loss, but nothing at all have been proven, confirmed, or even suggested by studies. It’s all very preliminary, so BBC making this sort of claim is very misleading.
Here is the label from a bottle of Provitalize:
As you can see, there’s a combination of three common probiotics, plus turmeric and other herbs.
Eh. Nothing to see here, people.
The Provitalize Instagram page is full of non-scientific claims like:
“Provitalize has helped over 70,000 ladies to combat weight gain for the first time since entering their 40-60s. They have taken back control of their lives, and transformed this otherwise “difficult time” into the perfect prime of their lives.”
Oh, so Provitalize can help me TAKE CONTROL OF MY LIFE….because being a woman of a certain age most definitely means we’re out of control. Like, any woman over 50 is going effing haywire. Hold my special hot flash pillow, I’m gonna go off. This whole thing is like a bad cliche, and it makes me so mad.
Sure, perimenopause and menopause can be challenging for many reasons, both physical and emotional. But to cut women down by telling them that their bodies are ugly and betraying them, and then offer them false empowerment through a cash-grabbing $50 a month supplement with false claims is disingenuous AF.
Does Provitalize Work? What are Provitalize’s claims?
The BBC makes the following claims about Provitalize:
“Multiple clinical studies indicate that “Thermogenic Probiotics” mimic the thermogenic effect of exercise in the body even before going to the gym. They have also been studied to:
✅Boost natural metabolism*
✅Manage calorie absorption*
✅Impact fat storage*
✅This is ideal for enhanced weight management support and control.
Oh, so wait: we can burn fat without going to the gym? WOW.
Of course, I’m not going to take their word for it. Why would I?
So, I reached out to The BBC and asked them for their ‘multiple clinical studies.’
I also asked them for proof that 70,000 women have ‘changed their life’ by using Provitalize, but of course they *conveniently* ignored that particular request.
They pointed me to their website for the studies, which OF COURSE I went through in full. It took me hours, so you’re welcome. Not that I came up with anything unexpected.
Let’s break it down like this:
There are 36 references that supposedly prove the efficacy of Provitalize as a thermogenic probiotic. But looking closer, I noticed something weird. 6 out of those 36 are not links at all. They’re short claims like, ‘Hip reduced by 1.5%,’ whatever that means.
Um, that’s one of their references? Yipes.
So now we have 30 actual references to look at.
Out of those 30, 11 have nothing at all to do with the product or the ingredients it contains. They’re about probiotics in general. Proves nothing. So scratch those.
Now we have 19.
Out of those 19, 9 are studies done on rodents. So get rid of those, because we aren’t rats.
Now we have 10.
Out of those 10:
One is a study on yogurt and bifidobacterium. Unrelated. We aren’t eating yogurt here.
Three are on Moringa and Curcumin, other ingredients in the product. Those don’t fulfill any of the claims above.
One is a sales fact sheet on the piperine product used in Provitalize. Weird and not applicable.
Now we have 6, and we haven’t even come close to proving anything about Provitalize’s fat-burning abilities yet.
Out of these 6 citations, one study was about how the bacteria L Gassieri can colonize the intestines, but otherwise unrelated to any of the claims for Provitalize. Pass.
Another study wasn’t a study at all, but an article about how excess calories are stored in fat cells. Uh, no kidding. Moving on.
So now we’re left with 4 actual studies, except that one of those studies is mentioned twice – once in a review, and once on its own. Cheating!! Why am I not surprised.
Now there are 3.
Hey, 3 out of 36 isn’t bad….
The first is a 2015 on L Gassieri in which the control group (ie the group NOT getting the probiotic) lost more weight, and body fat % at day 15 was exactly the same as at day 1 for both the active and control groups. So that proves nothing.
The second is a 2013 study showing weight loss with L Gassieri, which disappeared after the probiotic was discontinued. Boo.
The third is a 2010 study on L Gassieri finding a 1kg body weight reduction with fermented milk supplementation at 12th week, 1.5 cm reduction in waist and hip. The issue? The dose of L Gassieri in the fermented milk was 10 x 1010 a day. The dose of L Gassieri in Provitalize is undetermined, but their formula of all three probiotics is a total of 6.8 x 10 10. Also: Provitalize is not fermented milk, so what’s their point here?
All of this to say that there’s no research behind the Provitalize product.
None of the ingredients burn fat, curb cravings, and ‘manage calorie absorption.’
To burn fat, you need to be active. You can’t just take a supplement and sit on the couch. Metabolism is more complicated than that.
Cravings are a heckl of a lot more complex that just wanting to eat. Most often, cravings are a behavior change thing. And there aren’t supplements that decrease cravings.
As far as calorie absorption, none of these ingredients do that, either. Such a mess, Provitalize.
A big, waste-of-money mess.
It’s important for me to say that in the world of gut microbiota, there has never been any research that has isolated the exact combination of bacteria that burn fat or increase metabolic rate. We all have a different mix of gut bacteria in our bodies, and there just isn’t an ‘ideal’ mix that we know of yet.
And I shouldn’t have to say this, but here I go: it’s normal to struggle with shifting hormones and weight during perimenopause and menopause. Yes, it can be dreadful.
But you should never, ever feel like you’re failing because you’ve gained weight during this time. Your body is not bad. It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and there is NO SUCH THING as a ‘better body.’
So What’s My Provitalize Review? Is Provitalize a Scam?
To the untrained eye, it looks like Provitalize has a ton of research behind it! Because 36 citations!!!
Don’t be fooled. It’s all garbage. Not one out of the 36 studies proves any of The BBC’s claims. NONE.
Provitalize has a ton of anecdotes and positive reviews, but those mean nothing. Anyone can write a positive review for a product. But not every company can produce meaningful, well-done research proving its claims for a product. The BBC is no exception.
We don’t have science yet that indicates which bacteria, if any, increase the metabolic rate for better fat burning. So either the BBC knows something we don’t or…yeah, the BBC is just a scam.
The name ‘Better Body Company,” which insinuates that your body is somehow ‘better’ when it’s thinner, is an absolute disgrace.