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What to Know About Weight Loss Programs; Reviews of Zenith, Found, and Red Mountain

Mar 18, 2024
What to Know About Weight Loss Programs; Reviews of Zenith, Found, and Red Mountain

In 2022, Americans spent approximately $2 billion on diet products in 2013, many of which have very little, if any, scientific evidence to prove that the products are safe or effective.1 Diet programs and products continue to be launched today, each promising safe and effective weight loss. But how do you know which brands to trust? This article aims to help you sort out the hype from the facts about a few popular weight loss programs and products.

Weight Loss Programs – Found Weight Loss 

The “Found Health” weight loss program is described as a medically supervised, holistic program offering an online membership. Found offers a variety of weight loss methods, including medication, a personalized diet, suggestions for weight loss and lifestyle changes, and a plan of care that incorporates an individual’s genetics, hormonal, and other factors.

Although Found claims its program is medically supervised, there are a few key points you should consider before signing up. 

Found Health’s Medications

While the medications offered at Found Health are all approved, the FDA does not consider all of these drugs safe or effective for weight loss.2

When a drug is prescribed for something other than its approved use, it’s called “off-label.”

One example of an off-label drug prescribed to Found members is metformin. Although metformin is known to help some people with diabetes lose weight, the drug is approved to treat type 2 diabetes rather than to be prescribed as a weight loss supplement.2

Lady sitting on steps going through Weight Loss Programs

Examples of off-label medications Found Health prescribes for weight loss include  

  • Metformin – a medication prescribed to lower blood sugar in diabetics
  • Bupropion – a generic antidepressant medication
  • Naltrexone – an opiate antagonist given to block the effects of heroin and other opiates
  • Topiramate – an anti-epileptic medicine given to prevent seizures

Risk of Found Health’s off-label weight loss drugs 

Although it’s legal to prescribe off-label drugs, often there is not enough study data to prove that using medications approved for other uses is safe or effective for weight loss.

According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology, major concerns about efficacy and safety have been raised by the inappropriate use of off-label drugs. Off-label use might be compared to a double-edged sword. They may be very useful for some patients. At the same time, it can also expose them to unrestricted experimentation, unknown health risks, or ineffective medicine.3  

Found Weight Loss Reviews

Found Health doesn’t show adequate clinical research data to back its claims of safety or effectiveness for its weight loss program.   Although some medications prescribed by Found’s medical specialists have evidence backing their effectiveness, the overall weight loss program is not associated with any studies showing its efficacy. 

We were unable to find evidence that the weight loss results touted by Found are any more effective than simply taking the prescribed weight loss supplements and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle on your own. and their statement that individual results may vary also makes us wonder why they don’t have more data showing their program’s effectiveness.

Middle aged woman holding a scale in blue workout clothes

Zenith Weight Loss Formula

Awakened Nation is a company that sells various health and wellness products, including one of its main products, Zenith, a weight loss supplement said to be proven to accelerate fat loss.

Zenith weight loss formula is said to work by acting on the body’s “leptin system.”

The company’s website says it’s proven to work by decreasing leptin levels to repair healthy communication between the brain and the body’s fat cells. 

What is leptin?

Leptin is a hormone that helps control appetite and metabolism. A person’s body fat percentage dictates how much leptin circulates through the bloodstream. They claim that too much leptin can result in leptin resistance.

Leptin resistance is an inability of the brain to respond normally to leptin, causing a lack of satiation (i.e., feeling full) after eating. This usually causes a person to eat more, even when the body has ample fat storage.4

Male waist measuring tape

What Is Zenith?

Awakened Nation reports on its website that an 8-week double-blind, placebo study backs its claims that people who took Zenith had positive weight loss results, including

  • A loss of 20.3 lbs and 21.4 lbs of fat
  • A decrease of 3.9 inches off their waist and 2.9 inches off their hips
  • A 43% reduction in leptin
  • No loss of muscle mass

However, keep reading to learn about concerns regarding the validity of these weight loss facts and figures.

Zenith Weight Loss Reviews

The truth and reliability of Zenith’s claims are subject to doubt and criticism by some experts.

Some nutritionists question the safety and effectiveness of the Zenith supplement and the transparency of the company’s products.   The original study, published in 2009, stated that Imagenetix, Inc.’s proprietary blend had favorable results on fat cell chemicals and body composition. The study did not mention the benefits that Zenith claimed.6

Dr. Brian Yeung, N.D., a naturopathic doctor, explains that there is no link on the company’s website to the original Zenith study. Yeung explains that the actual journal study, described on Awakened Nation’s website, is based on a medication called Trisynex, which is not disclosed as one of Zenith’s ingredients on the company’s website.7

Red Mountain Weight Loss 

Red Mountain Weight Loss is described as a “boutique medical spa” founded by Dr. Suzanne Benz in Arizona. The company’s weight loss services include guided weight loss, expert care, and branded weight loss supplements. The out-of-pocket expense for the program—insurance isn’t accepted— is between  $170 and $554 for the initial treatment month.8 

boutique medical spa

The website is not very transparent in describing what is included in the different program levels; however, there are primarily three options:

  • The RM3 flagship program – a medical weight loss program that includes prescription medication 
  • RM Lifestyle program – a weight loss program without medication
  • Flex with Revolex – a meal plan along with a prescription weight loss medication (semaglutide or tirzepatide)

All three programs offer diet tips, healthy recipes, and “living the Red Mountain Way” lifestyle suggestions.

Red Mountain Weight Loss Supplement/Medication 

For $239, you can purchase the “RM supplements.” Red Mountain claims that these supplements boost metabolism and help block carbohydrate absorption.9  

Although the founder of Red Mountain Weight Loss won’t provide the ingredients in the RM supplements, a Google search reveals that the US Patent Office issued two patents to Red Mountain Med Spa, LLC., including resveratrol and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).10  So, why the secrecy?  

Red Mountain Weight Loss Reviews 

Green leaves

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in plants; the most infamously well-known are the high levels of resveratrol in red wine and grape skins. 

Studies

Much of the early studies on resveratrol involved rats and mice. A more recent meta-analysis (i.e., comparing results from several studies) suggested that there may be a modest effect of resveratrol on body weight, BMI (body mass index), and waist circumference.11  But, in a 2022 study, weight loss-related outcomes from resveratrol were reportedly “difficult to interpret and cross-validate.”12 Much of the 2022 study data the researchers reviewed was inconsistent in proving that resveratrol supplementation resulted in weight loss.13 

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)

One of the most concerning ingredients in Red Mountain’s weight loss formula is HCG. What is HCG, and is it safe? 

HCG is a hormone naturally produced during pregnancy, but alarmingly, it’s been discovered in some cancerous tissues.14  But how and why is it being used in weight-loss products? 

HCG was once considered an appetite suppressant when combined with a very low-calorie diet (VCD). However, these claims were never fully backed by clinical research data. More alarmingly, in 1974, the FDA released a ruling that:14 

“Because of the widespread use of HCG in weight reduction programs, the labeling for this drug shall explicitly state that there is no substantial evidence of effectiveness for HCG in weight reduction, appetite suppression, or reduction of the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.” 

Even though some HCG weight-loss supplements are sold as homeopathic, they are still not safe, according to the FDA.14

Side effects of HCG Diet Supplements

Side effects reported from taking HCG diet supplements include:15 

  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression 
  • Edema (fluid build up on the tissues)
  • Gynecomastia (breast swelling in males) 
  • Risk of thromboembolism (blood clots) 
A woman falling asleep at her desk

Other than its patented supplement, Red Mountain weight loss doesn’t appear to offer any different services that a registered dietician who takes healthcare insurance may offer. Some of the products and supplements–such as resveratrol–could be purchased over-the-counter, most likely at much lower prices. 

A Word From Invigor Medical

Many online weight loss programs offer alluring services, such as working with a physician specializing in weight loss and accessing medications that may not be available elsewhere. But, it’s imperative to do your homework before signing up for one of these programs, particularly those that don’t disclose the ingredients in the supplements offered. 

For a safe and effective approach to a weight loss program, consider Invigor Medical. Our national wellness clinic is staffed by licensed physicians who partner with national registered pharmacies. Our primary focus is on longevity-related health issues, sexual health, and weight management. We provide evidence-based health information about our products to help empower you on your weight loss journey. 

Disclaimer
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

References

  • Austin SB, Yu K, Liu SH, Dong F, Tefft N. Household expenditures on dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and sexual function: Disproportionate burden by gender and income. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2017;6:236-241. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5377432/
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2017) FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA revises warnings regarding use of the diabetes medicine metformin in certain patients with reduced kidney function https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-fda-revises-warnings-regarding-use-diabetes-medicine-metformin-certain
  • Gupta SK, Nayak RP. Off-label use of medicine: Perspective of physicians, patients, pharmaceutical companies and regulatory authorities. Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics. 2014;5(2):88-92. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.130046 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008928/
  • Cleveland Clinic. Leptin & Leptin Resistance. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22446-leptin
  • Awakened Nation. https://awakendnation.com/fredsoll/zenith
  • Fragala MS, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Maresh CM, Puglisi MJ, Vingren JL, Ho JY, Hatfield DL, Spiering BA, Forsythe CE, Thomas GA, Quann EE, Anderson JM, Hesslink RL Jr. Influences of a dietary supplement in combination with an exercise and diet regimen on adipocytokines and adiposity in women who are overweight. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Mar;105(5):665-72. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0944-y. Epub 2008 Dec 2. PMID: 19048277.
  • Yeung, B. ND. A doctor reviews: Zenith by Awakened. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JPJ0LQ0yjc
  • Red Mountain Weight Loss. https://www.redmountainweightloss.com/
  • Red Mountain products page. https://shop.redmountainweightloss.com/products/sup-control-kit
  • Google patent search for Red Mountain Med Spa, LLC. https://patents.google.com/patent/US20140162946A1/en
  • Mousavi SM, Milajerdi A, Sheikhi A, Kord-Varkaneh H, Feinle-Bisset C, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Resveratrol supplementation significantly influences obesity measures: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2019 Mar;20(3):487-498. doi: 10.1111/obr.12775. Epub 2018 Dec 5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30515938/
  • Hillsley A, Chin V, Li A, McLachlan CS. Resveratrol for weight loss in obesity: an assessment of randomized control trial designs in clinical trials. Gov. Nutrients. 2022;14(7):1424. doi: 10.3390/nu14071424 https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/7/1424
  • Betz D, Fane K. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. 2023 Aug 14. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan–. PMID: 30422545 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30422545/
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). (2020). Avoid Dangerous HCG Diet Products. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/avoid-dangerous-hcg-diet-products
  • Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/hcg-diet/faq-20058164

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