Is Plexus Pink Drink Effective for Weight Loss?

plexus pink drink review
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"Plexus pink drink" is the popular name for a beverage used by consumers who hope to lose or maintain a healthy weight. The bright pink beverage has a sweet, fruity taste and is consumed before meals to help you eat less.

Plexus pink drink includes a combination of ingredients that are associated with weight loss and fat burning. But not all of the ingredients have been proven effective for fat loss or weight management.

What Is Plexus Pink Drink?

Plexus pink drink's actual name is "Plexus Slim Microbiome Activating." It is sold on the Plexus website, in some retail and online stores, or through brand ambassadors. Ambassadors can earn commissions through sales of the pink drink and other Plexus products.

Founded in 2006, Plexus Worldwide sells a range of products that claim to boost health and wellness. The products that are most popular are those aimed at weight loss. Plexus has gained widespread media attention for its pink drink, but it also made headlines in 2014 when the company was called out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for making health claims that were unsubstantiated. Since that time, the company has made changes to product labels.

To determine whether or not Plexus pink drink will help you safely and effectively lose weight it's helpful to examine the ingredients and the science behind the company's claims.

The company website mentions two studies that support the use of Plexus products for weight loss and improved health. However, no links to published research, no study title, study authors or other publication details are provided. Therefore, specifics regarding methodology, adverse effects, and effectiveness can not be evaluated.

It is also unclear whether or not their studies were performed on humans. While there is a brief mention of a study with 175 subjects, the only information about the company's research describes an in vitro study—which is a study performed in a test tube or laboratory dish, not on humans.

To determine safety and effectiveness, the next best alternative is to examine published research on the ingredients in Plexus pink drink and each of the related products.

There are several ingredients in the beverage and each provides different potential benefits and possible side effects. The drink may also be combined with other Plexus supplements. Consider each product's ingredients to determine if a Plexus system is right for you.

Nutrition

The Plexus Slim Microbiome Activating (Plexus pink drink) package provides a Supplement Facts label rather than a Nutrition Facts label. According to the package, it is not designed to be a meal replacement, but rather a supplemental beverage to be consumed prior to your regular meals.

Plexus pink drink powder is low in calories and also low in nutrients, providing just 5 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrate. Each serving of the powder is mixed with water, so you'll consume no additional nutrients when it is ready to drink.

  • Calories: 5
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2
  • Sodium: 60mg

The products listed below are those sold by the company for weight loss. The products are sold separately or combined in different bundles to help you "step up your weight loss or healthy weight management goals."

Plexus Slim Microbiome Activating Ingredients

According to reports by consumers, plexus pink drink tastes like pink lemonade, although some describe it as tasting more like a strawberry-flavored Tootsie Roll candy.

Plexus pink drink contains several ingredients that—according to the website—can help you to "feed your gut beneficial prebiotics, support a healthy glucose metabolism, and lose weight."

Amounts of certain ingredients can not be determined because they are included as part of a proprietary blend. The amount of the total proprietary blend is disclosed on the label (531mg), but there is no way to know how much of each individual ingredient is in each serving.

Xylooligosaccharide (1000mg)

This ingredient is a prebiotic fiber that is believed to boost intestinal health. The study provided on the website to support its effectiveness was a preliminary trial suggesting that a daily dose of the fiber (2g/day) may provide benefits during the development of diabetes.

Other studies in healthy adults show that a dose of 1.4–2.8g per day may provide benefits without gastrointestinal side effects. If you follow instructions provided on the label, you'd consume up to 2 grams per day.

Chromium Polynicotinate (200mcg)

This is a blend of chromium and niacin purported to help transport glucose. However, the study cited as evidence on the company website concluded that chromium provided no significant effect on lipid (fat) or glucose (sugar) metabolism in people without diabetes.

More recent studies have concluded that there is not enough evidence to establish the effectiveness of chromium supplementation, and even in patients with diabetes, there is little rationale to recommend its use for glycemic control.

The NIH reports that there are no safety concerns for recommended doses ranging from 20–45 mcg/day for adults. If you consume Plexus Slim according to the label, you'd consume up to 400mcg of chromium polynicotinate per day.

Reported adverse effects of chromium include:

  • Headache
  • Watery stools
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Urticaria (hives)

Chromium may also interact with certain medications including antacids, corticosteroids, insulin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and others.

Green Coffee Bean Extract (amount not disclosed)

This extract is derived from the unroasted seeds of the coffee plant which are believed to have higher levels of chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a substance found naturally in some foods (like coffee, some fruits, vegetables, and wine) that may have anti-inflammatory effects.

Limited rodent and small human studies have shown that the extract may have a modest effect on weight loss, but studies have also been widely criticized by medical experts and the Federal Trade Commission for poor study design.

Amounts used in studies (up to 200mg/day) have been well-tolerated. It is unknown how much you would consume in a Plexus pink drink. Possible side effects may include headaches and urinary tract infections.

Garcinia Cambogia (amount not disclosed)

Garcinia cambogia is a diet supplement made from the rind of the garcinia Cambogia fruit (Malabar tamarind), native to India and Southeast Asia.

The rind contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which is purported to aid in appetite suppression and weight loss. The NIH states that there is no convincing evidence to support the fact that garcinia cambogia has any effect on weight loss.

Reported adverse events include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Upper respiratory
  • Gastrointestinal tract symptoms

But many studies report that there is no difference in side effects as compared to placebo. There has been at least one report of serious liver damage attributed to garcinia cambogia supplementation.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (amount not disclosed)

This antioxidant supplement is being studied for its ability to promote weight loss. But a large meta-analysis published in 2018 concluded that ALA supplementation had no effect on waist circumference and only a very slight effect on weight and BMI.

Researchers concluded that ALA supplementation was not a cost-effective therapy for obesity management. ALA supplementation is generally well-tolerated with no serious side effects.

White Mulberry Fruit Extract (amount not disclosed)

This extract is an ingredient with a history of use in Chinese medicine. It is purported to provide a wide range of health benefits. But researchers have reported that strong clinical evidence in humans is lacking. There is also not enough information to know if supplementation could provide adverse effects.

Plexus Slim Hunger Control Ingredients

According to the company's website, Plexus Slim Hunger Control helps to control overeating so that you can lose weight. The powder comes in a blood orange, lemon, lime flavor and is designed to be blended with 12–20 ounces of water for consumption before meals.

The primary ingredient in Plexus Slim Hunger Control is a soluble fiber called polydextrose. This ingredient boosts the fiber content per serving to 6 grams or about 8% of your daily recommended intake.

Polydextrose (6.25g)

According to the Plexus website, this dietary fiber can help you to feel fuller and eat less. In fact, some published studies have this supplement can decrease the desire to eat and may help you to eat less at subsequent meals.

But one study found that the actual decrease in calories consumed may not be substantial. Researchers determined that study participants consumed about 50 calories less than usual at lunch when they consumed 12.5 grams of polydextrose 90 minutes before a meal.

Studies investigating the possible side effects of polydextrose are limited. One study funded by a polydextrose maker (DuPont) indicated that the doses of the functional fiber up to 4–12 g could be used without inducing adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, or diarrhea. When using Plexus Slim Hunger Control as indicated, you may consume up to 12.5 grams per day.

Plexus Slim Hunger Control also contains several ingredients that are also in the pink drink including:

  • Chromium polynicotinate (200mg)
  • Green coffee bean extract (amount not disclosed)
  • White mulberry fruit extract (amount not disclosed)
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (amount not disclosed)
  • Garcinia cambogia (amount not disclosed)

Plexus Metaburn Ingredients

This supplement is sold along with the pink drink and other products to enhance weight loss. The ingredients include:

N-acetyl L-Tyrosine (amount not disclosed)

This supplement (NACL) is a water-soluble form of the amino acid L-tyrosine. It is purported to relieve stress, but recent studies are lacking. Limited expert opinions suggest that it is not recommended for healthy patients for stress relief as efficacy and safety cannot be established.

Grains of Paradise (amount not disclosed)

Also known as alligator or Guinea pepper, this supplement is believed by some to increase fat loss. Limited studies have been performed. One small study showed an increase in energy expenditure in a small number of men after cold exposure.

Another study showed that the supplement increased energy expenditure in a small number of women. Researchers also found that belly fat increased in some and decreased in others.

Safety information in humans is lacking. However, one published rodent study concluded that while grains of paradise may be useful in the treatment of diabetes, liver toxicity may be of concern.

L-theanine and Caffeine (amount not disclosed)

These two ingredients are often combined to boost alertness. Caffeine—found in coffee and soft drinks—is a known stimulant. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea.

Limited, short-term studies have suggested that it may provide stress-reducing effects, but researchers have noted that further studies are required in order to investigate safety and effectiveness.

Rhodiola (amount not disclosed)

This herbal supplement is often used to increase energy, stamina, and to improve attention or mood. According to the NIH, there is not enough evidence to know for sure if it can provide any of these benefits. Additionally, when taken orally, rhodiola may cause dizziness and dry mouth.

Plexus Block Ingredients

According to the company's website, this dietary supplement helps to block the absorption of sugars and carbohydrates. Ingredients include:

Chromium Picolinate (200mcg)

Chromium is a mineral that is known to enhance the action of insulin— a hormone important for the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Chromium picolinate is often used for weight loss. Like chromium picolynate, there is not enough evidence to determine if it provides any benefit.

The NIH suggests that reports that there are no safety concerns for chromium doses ranging from 20–45 mcg/day. However, this product alone provides 200mcg. Chromium is also included in several other products that may be paired with Plexus Metaburn, so it is possible that you might consume more per day.

Brown Seaweed Blend (500mg)

Many types of algae, especially seaweeds, are being studied for their potential as a weight loss aid. Dried brown, red, and green seaweed may have potential as a mechanism to increase satiety and block fat absorption.

However, researchers acknowledge that long-term human studies are lacking and that stronger evidence is needed to substantiate health claims and to fully understand potential adverse effects.

White Kidney Bean Extract (200mg)

This supplement is often marketed as a carbohydrate or starch absorption blocker. Several studies have investigated the effectiveness of white kidney bean supplements with some showing improved weight loss and fat loss to varying degrees.

Safety concerns are limited for doses up to 3,000 mg/day for as long as 12 weeks. However, the quality of some trials has been questioned, making it impossible to draw firm conclusions.

Plexus Accelerator Ingredients

Plexus says that this dietary supplement helps jump-start your metabolic rate. The company recommends that you take it in combination with another one of its weight products or with any sensible diet and exercise program. The Supplement Facts label advises users to take two capsules with one stick of Plexus Slim each morning.

Ingredients include vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 (30mg), folic acid (400mcg), and calcium (mg). Like many of the other products, it also contains chromium (150mcg) and green tea leaf extract in an amount not disclosed. Additional ingredients include:

Niacin (20mg)

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps turn food into energy. While niacin Is important for the body to function, you don't need much of it. Adults need between 14–16mg per day. A serving of the Plexus Accelerator provides 20mg.

There are safety concerns regarding the overconsumption of niacin. According to the NIH, the tolerable upper intake of niacin is 35mg for adults. If you take this supplement, it is important to be sure that you are not taking other supplements that also contain niacin in amounts that may put you over the upper limit.

Yerba Mate (amount not disclosed)

Yerba mate is a plant-based supplement that is often used as a stimulant. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it contains caffeine and other chemicals which stimulate the brain, heart, muscles lining blood vessels, and other parts of the body.

The NIH states that although it may have a modest effect on body weight or decreased weight gain over time, there may be adverse effects especially if taken for a long period of time or during pregnancy.

Also, adverse events have been reported in studies evaluating weight loss supplements containing yerba mate combined with other ingredients. In one study, following acute ingestion of a weight loss supplement containing yerba mate, caffeine, yohimbine, hordenine, and other ingredients, young, healthy individuals experienced elevations in heart rate and blood pressure for three hours along with increased feelings of tension and confusion.

Higenamine HCL (amount not disclosed)

Higenamine is a substance found in plants that may act as a stimulant. According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the supplement industry has started using it as a substitute for dimethylamylamine (DMAA) and ephedrine, since those substances have been banned by the FDA. The USADA prohibits its use by athletes at all times both in and out-of-competition.

Hordenine HCL (amount not disclosed)

Hordenine is an alkaloid that occurs naturally in grains, sprouting barley and certain grasses. It is also used as a dietary supplement to increase energy expenditure. There are limited studies on the safety or effectiveness of the substance.

One small, industry-funded study found that a commercial weight loss product containing yerba mate, hordenine, and other substances did increase energy expenditure in 10 test subjects. However, study participants also experienced adverse effects and study authors acknowledged that more research needs to be conducted to establish long-term safety. 

Hawthorn Berry Extract (amount not disclosed)

This extract is also plant-based and is sometimes used for anxiety or for heart disease as well as for digestive and kidney problems. Studies on its effectiveness and safety are extremely limited.

The NIH reports that there is not enough evidence to know if the supplement can be effective for any condition. Side effects of hawthorn can include dizziness, nausea, and digestive symptoms.

5–HTP (amount not disclosed)

L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is derived from tryptophan and is converted to serotonin in your brain. Some use it for weight loss to reduce appetite but it is also used in the treatment of depression and a number of other serotonin-related diseases.

While there have been some studies suggesting that there may be some weight loss benefit, other studies suggest that it is not only ineffective but contraindicated in some people with depression.

Plexus Lean Ingredients

This product can be consumed as a meal replacement or as a snack. Since this product is sold as a food, a Nutrition Facts label is provided. Nutrient data is provided below for the powder. Mixing the product with milk (as recommended) will change the nutritional information.

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrate: 14g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sodium: 135mg
  • Protein:15g

The primary ingredients in Plexus Lean are whey protein, guar gum, sunflower oil, and coconut palm sugar. These ingredients are similar to ingredients included in some other commercial protein powders.

Serving Size and Preparation

According to the product label, a single packet of Plexus Slim (pink drink) should be combined with 12–20 ounces of water. The powder can be mixed with hot or cold water, but cold water is recommended.

If you buy a Plexus combo pack for weight loss, you'll consume several supplements each day. For example, the pink drink can be combined with Metaburn, so in addition to your two pre-meal beverages, you would also take two capsules that provide additional ingredients such as stimulants.

The company also suggests that other products such as Slim Hunger Control can be used with the pink drink. There is also a table provided that makes suggestions about combining Plexus Slim with products such as Plexus Lean, Accelerator, Boost, and other supplements so that you would be taking multiple supplements up to three times per day.

The company advises that the products listed "are just suggestions, and ultimately as everyone’s body is unique, you should do what works best for your body and lifestyle."

Keep in mind that combining multiple supplements several times each day may make it more difficult to determine which product or ingredient is causing an adverse effect should you experience one.

Recommended Timing

Some Plexus products are designed for long-term use while others are not.

Plexus Slim (pink drink) users are advised to continue the use of the products. Specifically, the company states that "if you stop drinking Slim Microbiome Activating every day, the improvements in your gut can start to disappear in as little as a week. So it’s best to take Slim every day."

Other products are designed for limited use. Plexus Accelerator is designed to be used with Plexus Slim, according to the label, but the label also states that it is not intended for long-term use.

A Word From Verywell

If you are trying to lose weight, it can be tempting to purchase products, like Plexus pink drink, that promise to help speed up the process.

Products that include complex ingredients may be especially appealing because they offer the added allure of science. But sometimes unfamiliar ingredients don't provide the benefits that you hope that they will provide. In some cases, they may even cause unwanted side effects.

If weight loss is a goal of yours and you're facing challenges, speak to your health care provider about this or any supplement that you are considering. Your provider can give you personalized information about how the ingredients may interact with any medications that you are taking or any health condition that you are managing.

Your provider may also be able to provide guidance or a referral to a registered dietitian or another health professional who can provide assistance in your weight loss journey.

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Article Sources
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