LCR Health Active-PK is a three-ingredient dietary supplement that promises to convert deep abdominal fat into energy, leading to less fatigue, increased energy, clearer thinking, and a slimmer waistline.
In fact, in the supplement’s promotional video, Dr. Rand McClain tells us that these ingredients can also help you stop—and even reverse—the damage caused by fat buildup around organs and allow you to lead a longer, healthier life.
By taking two capsules daily, Active-PK claims to activate AMPK, an enzyme that plays a key role in maintaining optimal energy inside cells, inhibiting fatty acid synthesis, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, and stimulating glucose uptake. And all of this without synthetic additives, dairy, or caffeine.
All of this certainly sounds great, but can you reasonably expect Active-PK to deliver real-world results? Let’s start answering this question by discussing the basics.
What’s the Difference Between Regular Fat & Deep Fat, and What’s the Role of AMPK?
Compared to subcutaneous fat, which lies just beneath the skin, visceral—or “deep”—fat wraps around inner organs and can lead to increased insulin resistance and resulting diabetes.
This is because abdominal fat cells are biologically active and produce hormones and other health-impacting substance. There’s even some evidence deep fat can lead to a greater risk of dementia later in life.
And while anyone with a too-big belly almost certainly has a combination of subcutaneous and visceral belly fat, Kristen Gill Hairston, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, notes that, "We don't have a perfect way yet to determine which [of belly fat] is subcutaneous or visceral, except by CT scan, but that's not cost-effective."
However, she brings the situation into perspective by adding, “figuring out how much is visceral and how much is subcutaneous isn't as important as recognizing a big belly is unhealthy,” something also alluded to in the Active-PK video. Specifically, you may be at an increased risk for these diseases if you’re a woman with a 35-inch waist or greater, or a man with a 40-inch waist or greater.
Despite the health risks increased visceral fat can potentially cause, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that more than 78 million adults and 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese. By 2030, reports project half of all U.S. adults will be obese.
Given this crisis, will the ingredients found in Active-PK help provide a real-world solution? Let’s find out what science says.
Are Active-PK’s Ingredients Effective?
Based on the Supplement Facts label listed on the LCR Health website, Active-PK contains the following three ingredients:
- Gynostemma Pentaphyllum leaf extract 450mg
- Quercetin dihydrate 100mg
- Berberine HCl 100mg
According to their summaries of the available clinical evidence, sites like the Natural Medicines Database and WebMD indicate that gynostemma pentaphyllum (also commonly known as jiaogulan) may be effective for reducing cholesterol when taken three times daily in 10mg doses.
Examine.com indicates the ingredient has two clinical studies showing it may help decrease blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics. However, they report this same level of evidence isn’t available for otherwise healthy individuals.
These sites also list quercetin as possibly effective for addressing prostate pain and inflammation (chronic, nonbacterial prostatitis). Examine.com reports the overall clinical evidence doesn’t seem to indicate it has a significant influence on metabolic rate, weight, or fat oxidation, related to AMPK activation or otherwise, though.
What about the berberine in Active-PK? Similar to jiaogulan, it’s reported this ingredient may help reduce blood glucose (about as well as the prescription medications Metformin or Glibenclamide), reduce fasting insulin levels (although not necessarily remarkably), and improve insulin levels (when added to lifestyle changes) in diabetics.
What about side effects?
Will Active-PK Cause Any Potential Side Effects?
The sites mentioned in the previous section report that these ingredients have been taken for anywhere between and four months in clinical studies, without any major side effects.
However, in rare instances (no specific circumstances were referenced), gynostemma can cause digestive upset (nausea and increased bowel movements), and quercetin may lead to a headache and tingling of the arms and legs.
NMD and WebMD also note that jiaogulan can have a moderate interaction with immunosuppressant and blood clotting medications.
How Much Does Active-PK Cost?
LCR Health has priced Active-PK as follows:
- 1 Bottle: $49.99, plus $4.95 S&H
- 3 Bottles: $117, plus free S&H
- 6 Bottles: $216, plus free S&H
Like all LCR Health products, Active-PK comes with a 90-day money back guarantee, less shipping charges. This is even the case if you’ve used the entire bottle. Customer support can be reached at 800-384-8308.
What’s the online reputation for Active-PK? Are customers reporting a solid value for the money?
What Can We Learn From Active-PK Customer Reviews?
The only online source where we encountered any direct feedback for Active-PK at the time of our research was on HighYa.com, where four customers had given the supplement an average rating of 3.5 stars.
Feedback seemed split down the middle: Two customers gave it five stars, one gave it two stars, and the final gave it one star. Compliments seemed to revolve around decreased A1C levels and reduced brain fog, while complaints related to no results. One claimed they also experienced nausea and painful leg cramps.
As far as the company, LCR Health (or Living Cell Research) has been in business since 2014 and manufactures another popular supplement named Active Stem. They held an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and six closed complaints as of 7/6/17. No additional details were available.
LCR Health is led by Dr. Rand McClain, who works as Chief Medical Officer to help affordably deliver “the most advanced health breakthroughs” to all people. He earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences, and specializes in treatments like bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and Botox and dermal fillers.
Are There Other AMPK Activating Supplements Like Active-PK?
We encountered several online supplements promoted as AMPK activators during our research, although most didn’t contain the same three-ingredient blend as Active-PK.
However, Live Cell Research (LCR Health’s parent company) manufactures a supplement named LA-3 that contains the exact same ingredients and dosages, although it’s priced slight lower than Active-PK at $46.99. Live Cell Research also offers a 90-day refund policy, less S&H.
Outside of this, the next closest option we found was Life Extension’s AMPK Activator ($40), which combines 150mg of gynostemma pentaphyllum with 373mg of rose hip. Finally, Swanson’s AMP-K Stimulator ($21) contains 225mg of ActivAMP gynostemma pentaphyllum extract.
How to choose the right one for you? Since each of us has a different biological makeup, what works fantastically for you might not work at all for someone else, the only way to know for sure is by giving them a try—after speaking with your doctor, of course.
Is there anything you can do before your appointment comes around?
Our Final Thoughts About LCR Health Active-PK
The HighYa team has spent thousands of hours researching a variety of dietary supplements over the years. During this time, one major lesson we’ve learned is that, when you’re in the market, the first question you should ask is: “Why am I seeking the help of a supplement?”
In other words, if you’re looking to lose weight, are you expecting to find a pill that magically helps you shed a meaningful number of pounds, without diet or exercise? Have you exhausted all your traditional options, with no results? Have you spoken with your doctor or other health professional about your goals, concerns, and any other health-related issues you’re experiencing?
Regardless of the supplement (Active-PK or otherwise) and its purpose, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your physician any time you’re thinking about taking a new one. They can help walk you through the process of determining the best approach based on your diagnosis—whether or not this should involve supplements.
In the meantime, LCR Health provides a 90-day refund policy on all their purchases, so if you order a bottle to take to your doctor but ultimately end up dissatisfied, you likely won’t be out more than a few bucks in return shipping charges.
Talk about your Active-PK experience by writing a review below.