It’s always exciting when you start a new weight loss journey or health kick; you imagine how your friends will look upon your new figure with envy, or how you’ll drop the competition like flies during your next race.
But invariably, you might not experience the benefits you expected, which quickly causes you to lose interest—and perhaps makes you feel like you wasted your money.
MitoXcell—a powdered, minimally processed blend of raw cacao and four other ingredients—claims to be different. Based on more than 15 years of research, this flavonoid-rich supplement promises to be clinically proven to strengthen and increase the amount of mitochondria in your cells. When used daily over the course of four weeks, the company claims this will lead to:
- Increased energy and metabolism (even if you don’t change your lifestyle). In fact, MitoXcell will mimic the effects of exercise at the cellular level, without having to lift a finger.
- Improved stamina and post-workout recovery
- A strengthened cardiovascular system
- Natural weight management
- An extra boost in mental and physical health. Or, as the company claims, “new levels of wellness”.
- Slowed aging process
- The ability to process carbs “like a teenager again.”
Whether you’re an athlete, on the sidelines due to an injury (or an aversion to working out), beginning to feel the effects of age, or need an extra boost due to a demanding job, is all of this for real? Can you really “lose weight, eat chocolate” as promised by MitoXcell’s manufacturer? Here’s what we learned during out research.
How Does MitoXcell Work?
Inside each cell, there are between 1,000 and 2,000 mitochondria, which are tiny organelles responsible for producing the energy required to sustain life. To do this, mitochondria break down the energy stored in food and oxygen and create a substance known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, through a process called cellular respiration. This ATP then goes on to power all basic physiological processes.
Now, although this subject could fill an article of its own, there is some evidence that as we age, the mitochondria in our cells may decrease in number and lose their efficiency; something that’s also reflected on the MitoXcell website.
To combat this, MitoXcell contains cacao and four other ingredients that are supposed to 1) support the health of existing mitochondria and 2) lead to the production of additional mitochondria.
Let’s break each of these ingredients down.
Are There Any Real Health Benefits To Cacao?
Although one of MitoXcell’s taglines is “lose weight, eat chocolate,” the reality is that there are some pretty substantial differences between the two. Why?
As we outline in Can Cacao Replace Your Morning Cup of Coffee?, cacao is the raw material that’s then turned into chocolate using a combination of heat, milk, and sugar. Cacao in its natural form contains high levels of theobromine (a natural stimulant with fewer side effects than caffeine), flavonoids, and epicatechins, which may stimulate serotonin production for improved mood, lower insulin resistance, protect nerve cells from damage, reduce blood pressure, and much more.
On the other hand, the chemical and physical processes used to make chocolate cause many of these potential health benefits to disappear (remember this point, because we’ll come back around to it shortly).
According to MitoXcell’s manufacturer, cacao can also “increases EPO (Erythropoietin) levels in the blood, which delivers oxygen to the cells’ mitochondria,” purportedly improving their energy creation. The company even claims it can replace “worn-out mitochondria with new, improved, high-functioning mitochondria.”
Let’s see if there’s any clinical evidence supporting the company’s claims.
Is There Any Clinical Evidence For MitoXcell’s Claims?
MitoXcell specifically claims that after 2-3 weeks of daily use, you will “notice improved energy and you may feel increased endurance.” Then, after 2 weeks, you’ll “notice other results such as, better sleep, faster recovery, and overall better health.” Where are they getting these figures?
Seven different clinical studies are listed on the MitoXcell website:
- A 2011 paper showing that epicatechin increased “the capacity for muscle aerobic metabolism, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue” in mice.
- A 2012 paper showing improved mitochondrial function in patients with diabetes and heart failure.
- A 2013 paper showing epicatechin regenerated heart muscle in those participants with heart failure.
- Another 2013 paper indicating that epicatechin improved muscle capillarity and mitochondrial biogenesis in the hindlimbs of rats selectively bred for low running capacity.
- A 2012 study on animals showing epicatechin may improve heart strength.
- A 2013 paper indicating that epicatechin may increase levels of certain antioxidants.
- Lastly, a 2014 paper showing that rats treated with epicatechin preserved their mitochondrial function after being subjected to a heart attack.
Now, we’re not medical or clinical professionals here at HighYa, but it seems that the epicatechin contained in raw cacao has some solid clinical evidence showing may provide some unique benefits. However, based on our experience reviewing hundreds of nutritional supplements, we think there are a couple things to mention here:
First, a handful of studies does not “prove” anything. It, along with the mounting epicatechin studies from other researchers, merely suggests that there may be some health-promoting benefits that aren’t yet fully understood. But to claim that these benefits are proven to occur in most humans who consume cacao may be—in our opinion—hasty.
Second, several of these studies were conducted on mice and other animals. Due to the vastly different biology involved, this doesn’t mean that humans will necessarily experience the same.
Now, let’s take a closer look at MitoXcell’s other four ingredients.
What Other Ingredients Does MitoXcell Contain?
Of these, it appears there isn’t enough evidence showing that Echinacea or resveratrol can reliably provide any benefits. Alpha lipoic acid, on the other hand, may have some benefits related to improving blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, relieving diabetic nerve pain, reducing body weight, and promoting wound healing.
L-carnitine may also help improve poor circulation, improve heart function in patients with moderate congestive heart failure, treating low testosterone as a result of aging, treating chest pain, and more.
However, we didn’t encounter any clinical evidence during our research showing these ingredients, on their own or in combination, can have any effect on mitochondrial function or cellular respiration. The good news is that you probably won’t experience side effects any worse than mild digestive upset, if anything at all.
Whew! That was some pretty dense material to cover. Let’s lighten things up by talking about MitoXcell’s price.
How Much Do MitoXcell Products Cost?
MitoXcell’s products are priced as follows:
- MitoXcell 8oz Package (30-day supply): $39.99
- MitoXcell 8oz Package + 28oz Blender Bottle: $49.99
- MITO-PRO w/Pea Protein 1lb: $49.99
- Subscription (Autoship Program): 35.99/mo
At the time of our research, the company offered free shipping on all domestic orders over $50. Outside of this, there is a flat rate of $5.
While there wasn’t a refund policy listed on the MitoXcell website, according to their Terms, all refund requests are handled on a case-by-case basis. Empty box refund requests will not be honored.
In order to request one, you’ll need to call customer service at 855-884-2224 to obtain an RMA.
Are There Other Products Like MitoXcell?
Type “cacao” into any search engine and visit their shopping section, and you’ll quickly find that there are literally hundreds of different products that claim to provide the same raw cacao found in MitoXcell. Granted, not all of these will come in powdered form, none (at least from what we could tell) will come with the same additional ingredients, and many don’t provide individualized clinical studies—but the point is that you’ve got a lot of similar options.
From a price perspective though, we found that most 8oz packages of raw cacao came in at roughly half the price of MitoXcell, with some priced as much as 75% lower.
Related: Nucific BIO X4 Review
Price aside, are customers happy with MitoXcell?
What Kinds of Customer Reviews Does MitoXcell Have?
Although the MitoXcell URL has been registered since early 2015, the company (based out of Carlsbad, CA) wasn’t listed with the Better Business Bureau and we found very few online customer reviews for the supplement.
In fact, the only feedback we found was on Amazon, where MitoXcell had 5 customer reviews with a 4.3-star average rating. Compliments referenced improved cycling and running endurance and great taste, while the single negative reviewed claimed it didn’t work. We think it’s important to note that two of these reviews came from accounts where this was the only post.
Who Is Dr. Guy Perkins?
Called “the foremost authority on mitochondria research” on the MitoXcell website, Dr. Guy Perkins is a Project Scientist in the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Research on Biological System department. Over the past two decades, he’s been awarded dozens of NIH research grants related to mitochondrial function.
Outside of his research, Dr. Perkins is an avid runner, having competed (and placed highly) in numerous marathons and competitive runs. According to the MitoXcell website, he credits much of his athletic success to taking MitoXcell.
It appears that Dr. Perkins was also involved with another supplement named MitoEndurance, which claimed to provide many of the same benefits as MitoXcell. However, it appears the supplement is no longer being manufactured, having “been sold to another entity.” Based on the fact that MitoEndurance is still mentioned on the MitoXcell website, we’d say it’s safe to say this is the other entity.
Speaking of which, it’s not quite clear what Dr. Perkins’ role is with MitoXcell. Did he develop the formula? Or, did he just provide the research on which the formula is based? Is he actually a member of the company? We’re simply not told.
Alright, we’ve covered a lot of territory here, so let’s wrap things up.
Should You Buy MitoXcell?
Compared to most of the other nutritional supplements we’ve reviewed, MitoXcell is definitely somewhere near the top as far as clinical support and backing from a high-level scientific professional. Does this necessarily mean that it’s right for you, or that it’ll provide a solid value for the money?
To answer this, it’s important to first outline that by definition, nutritional supplements cannot treat any disease. As such, they often cause little (if any) meaningful changes in the body; if they did, they’d been classified as drugs and subject to intense scrutiny from the FDA and other regulatory agencies. Instead, nutritional supplements are generally considered food and subject to zero oversight before making their way to consumers.
Here are some other thoughts we have about MitoXcell:
Triggers We’ve Come To Identify
Losing anything more than a couple pounds—and keeping it off for the long term—typically takes a lifestyle shift, complete with plenty of exercise and healthy eating. And in general, it’s been our experience that products claiming to help you accomplish the same without the hard work and dedication often end up with less-than-stellar customer reputations.
Adding to this, even if MitoXcell could boost your metabolism without changing your lifestyle, an increased metabolism doesn’t always translate into weight loss. Also, mimicking “the effects of exercise at the cellular level” doesn’t mean this will translate into any other visible benefits (bigger muscles, for example).
Another trigger is when a company claims their product was made based on some “ancient” secret or ingredient. In the case of MitoXcell, our ears perked up when reading that it’s based on an “ancient Kuna Indian secret elixir found to promote long life and good health.”
Important note: Keep in mind we’re not saying there’s anything underhanded going on with MitoXcell. We’re only passing along some of our experience researching hundreds of different supplements.
How Stable Is MitoXcell’s Formulation?
Remember the chemical and physical processes we talked about above? Here’s where we loop back around. According to MitoXcell’s FAQ:
“MitoXcell should be kept at room temperature. In order to maintain the benefits of all the ingredients, we recommend it be kept 100˚ Fahrenheit (38˚ Celsius) or less.”
We take this to mean that heating MitoXcell’s cacao powder above 100° could break down some of its ingredients, thereby reducing its effectiveness. This is interesting, since the supplement’s website features images of cacao sprinkled over coffee, melted and drizzled over bananas, and even included in bulletproof coffee.
Bottom line on MitoXcell
Compared to many other supplements, there seems to be a lot to like about MitoXcell. Does that mean it’ll work or provide a solid value? This remains to be seen, and the only way to find out for sure is by placing an order. Just keep in mind that refunds are taken on a case-by-case basis, and you’ll almost certainly lose at least a few dollars in S&H.
More on Losing Weight:
- Forget Diet Pills—Lose Weight by Changing Your Habits
- How Walking a Little Bit Every Day Can Boost Your Health in a Big Way
- What Diets Trended & Died in 2015 (and What To Expect Next Year)