There's something about the word "metabolism" that never fails to entice me to click when I see it in a headline. And if the word is paired with verbs and adjectives like "increase," "fast," "reset," or "sluggish," it's over for me.
I'd love to say I'm not the kind of girl who cares about how fast or slow my metabolism is, but I'm not. I've always been extremely into wellness and nutrition—in fact, before I decided I wanted to be a beauty editor, I spent two years of college studying health and nutrition. (You can imagine my parents' reaction to THAT plot twist!)
I've always been fascinated by metabolism, and I've most certainly spent many collective hours over the years researching what I could do to make my metabolism faster, what I might be accidentally doing to make it slower, and how I could even restore a "broken" metabolism (aka the state my body was in after I began to recover from a years-long serious eating disorder).
At this point, I'm happy to say I've come to accept my body—and my metabolism–for what it is. To be honest, nothing I've ever manipulated diet- or exercise-wise have ever seemed to bear a huge impact on my metabolism one way or another anyway, so I've shifted my focus toward things that make my body feel good.
Sometimes that's a two-week spurt of veganism, sometimes that's consecutive nights of wine with dinner, sometimes that's exercising every day, and sometimes it's spending my entire Saturday glued to my couch binge-watching New Girl with a bowl of popcorn. Finding a non-restrictive equilibrium is what keeps me sane, and it's one of the many reasons I love Sakara Life.
Yes, the brand has important nutrition pillars, and yes, it's a plant-based way of living, but Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle, co-founders and co-CEOs of Sakara Life, are also adamant that pizza, cocktails, and cookie cravings are inevitably par for the course. Best of all, they embrace it. Wellness isn't—and should never be—prescribed.
That said, I admire Sakara's approach to wellness and nutrition. I'm a semi-regular recipient of its meal delivery offerings, and I obsess over its supplements and snacks. So when the brand launched a buzzy new product a few months ago (centered around metabolism improvement, no less), I knew I had to try it. Enter Sakara Life Metabolism Super Powder ($45).
Below, I'll be explaining what it is and what the claims are, offering up some ingredient dissection from non-affiliated nutrition experts, and, of course, sharing my own experience and review. Keep scrolling!
The Claims & Ingredients
As Sakara Life points out, issues like bloating, puffiness, weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, and even anxiety can all be side effects of a sluggish or injured metabolism. And its new powder—which is meant to be taken daily for at least 14 days—was created to help. The chocolaty powder utilizes a strategic combination of superfood ingredients like celery seed, Gymnema sylvestre, L-glutamine, fucoxanthin, and black pepper piperine to increase metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, and decrease (or even eliminate) bloating.
"Your metabolism is what keeps that digestive fire going, and optimal digestion has cascading effects on how we feel overall. The healthier our digestion functions, the more efficient our system is, so we feel less tired, less bloated, and satiated after meals instead of stuffed," Duboise shares with me.
"The key ingredients in Metabolism Super Powder work on deep hydration, healing persistent gut issues, and stabilizing glucose," adds Tingle. "A diet based on organic, diverse, unprocessed plants (and lots of them!) will create a body that you can listen to—one that is wholly nourished and able to live in flow with life's busy, high-octane, be-everywhere-at-once demands. Once you’ve addressed the foundation of diet, movement, sleep, and stress management, that’s when Metabolism Super Powder can be fully effective. It helps to get to the root causes, aka the symptoms of a lagging metabolism, by addressing bloat, fatigue, imbalanced appetite, and roller-coaster blood sugar spikes."
As a consumer who's always looking to feel more energetic, less anxious, and all-around more Wonder Woman–esque, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely enticed by the product's lofty claims, but I was also pretty skeptical. The brand does have an important disclaimer that the statements haven't been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and that Metabolism Super Powder is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor is it intended to be used in the management of diabetes.
Before I tried the product out myself, I reached out to some unaffiliated nutrition experts to weigh in on the ingredients (and their alleged benefits) from an objective standpoint. Enter: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, and L.A.-based holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman.
What Nutrition Experts Think
Below, I asked both Koszyk and Goodman to break down each of the buzzy superfood ingredients, explain any potential benefits, and share their objective opinions regarding how effective these ingredients could be for metabolism makeover.
CELERY SEED: As Goodman explains, this ingredient is exactly what it sounds like—a seed that comes from the celery plant. "Celery seed has been used in Ayurveda as a natural method for treating common ailments like the flu, digestion issues, arthritis, the common cold, gout, high blood pressure, and menstrual cramps."
Koszyk points out that while there haven't been any studies thus far conducted with humans, the ingredient has been used for a long time in holistic medicine as a natural diuretic; thus, it's also important to note anyone taking medications for their thyroid, people who are on blood-thinning drugs, and/or people who take sedatives should not take celery seeds as it may interact with their medications.
"With limited research involving humans, it’s hard to make a strong claim that celery seed will definitely eliminate bloating, and more research is needed involving humans to determine validity," she concludes.
GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE: Another staple in Ayurveda, this ingredient (a shrub native to Australia, Africa, and India) has historically been used to treat things like malaria and snakebites, and in Western medicine, it's used as a method for lowering blood sugar and lessening how sweet a food tastes (thus reducing cravings), Goodman shares. There are also claims that Gymnema sylvestre may reduce the risk of heart disease and help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels.
"Research does suggest Gymnema can assist with regulating blood sugars, so people on diabetic medications should proceed with caution and consult their physician," confirms Koszyk. "There's evidence suggesting the benefits of Gymnema, but more research is needed in order to make specific claims regarding optimal dosages needed in order to see those benefits."
L-GLUTAMINE: "I'm a big supporter of L-glutamine," says Goodman. "It's an amino acid and a building block for protein, and it was originally used primarily for muscle building and weight loss. However, it can also help restore the microflora within the gut, which helps strengthen the gut barrier, decrease inflammation, and create a stronger defense against everyday toxins." Because of this, adds Koszyk, the ingredient might also assist with digestion-related issues like irritable bowel syndrome and associated symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
"L-glutamine can support immune function and aid in digestion in the sense that it boosts immune cell activity in the gut and helps prevent intestinal inflammation, reducing the symptoms caused from stress-related IBS," she explains. "I wouldn’t state it controls cravings, but it does have many other benefits as noted above that are good for you, and it definitely doesn't hurt to take this ingredient as a supplement."
FUCOXANTHIN: According to Koszyk, fucoxanthin is an allenic carotenoid (aka major antioxidant) naturally found in brown seaweeds and has been linked to antidiabetic properties, weight management assistance, anti-inflammation, and overall chronic disease prevention thanks to its high levels of healthy antioxidants. However, there are some important stipulations to be aware of.
"The bioavailability of fucoxanthin is closely related to its absorption and metabolism within the body, and it is very sensitive to heat, aerial exposure, and light," she explains. "So, how one prepares the product in regards to extraction, purification, and storage can affect the antioxidant properties of the carotenoid and how much of the benefit the body gets when ingested.
"Research has suggested that fucoxanthin may improve lipid and cholesterol metabolism and assist with stimulating white adipose tissue, which can assist with reducing body fat, and there are studies suggesting fucoxanthin has antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-preventing properties."
Black Pepper Piperine: Considered the king of spices, this ingredient offers multiple helpful functions for the body, the main one being activating the primary compound in turmeric: curcumin. "Curcumin is responsible for most of turmeric’s health benefits such as inflammation reduction," says Goodman. "We do not absorb curcumin very easily, which is where piperine comes into play: it helps prevent the metabolic breakdown of turmeric compounds, allowing more to be available for our body to utilize and can also have positive impacts on digestion, headaches, and nausea symptoms."
"Animal and in-vitro studies have suggested black pepper piperine assists in cognitive brain function, boosts nutrient absorption, acts as an antioxidant, and improves gastrointestinal functions," Koszyk confirms.
"One study including 86 overweight people had participants take a black pepper piperine supplement for eight weeks, and participants showed improvements in blood sugar regulation." However, she tells us claims regarding piperine’s effect on reducing appetite have had mixed results in human studies.
"The studies had small sample populations—two of the studies showed no effect on piperine supplementation and appetite reduction whereas one study did show positive results. The jury is still out on the appetite reduction claim. There seems to be a lot of benefits proven from animal studies, but with the lack of human studies, future studies are needed. Regardless, there are antioxidants found within black pepper piperine and antioxidants have been suggested to have beneficial properties."
I can count on my hand the number of supplements—be it capsules, powders, or gummies—I've noticed legitimate results from. And I'm not going to waste time here; this powder is one of them. Everyone is different and will likely have different reactions and experiences with certain ingredients, but I noticed pretty significant changes in my body during my 20 days of taking this powder every morning. Just because it worked for me doesn't necessarily mean it will work the same for you (and it's always a good idea to consult a doctor before adding something new), but I'm most definitely impressed with the product as a whole—and I was skeptical!
In addition to the amazing taste (superfoods like cacao, coconut milk, and a little bit of coconut sugar make anything you add it to taste like a gloriously less saccharine chocolate milkshake), I most notably experienced improvements with my digestion, energy levels, and bloat. Considering that some of the ingredients (celery seed in particular) are natural diuretics, it's no surprise that this powder kept me, um VERY regular. In fact, I would test your first few days trying the product over the weekend or where you can comfortably and easily reach a bathroom fast if necessary—you're going to be getting TMI here, so bear with me.
My first day, I underestimated the powder's potency and claims and made the colossal mistake of tipping a packet into a late afternoon smoothie BEFORE a night out with my friends. Yeah, I would not recommend. As if alcohol consumption doesn't speed things along enough on its own the next morning, this powder really kicked things into overdrive, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. (Lesson learned.) After that, I tread more carefully and dumped a packet of powder into my daily morning smoothie, and it kept me the most regular, and in turn the flattest, I'd been in a long time.
In addition to feeling less bloated and constipated (just being 100% honest here), I also noticed a definite shift in my overall energy and brain fog—exactly as the brand predicts on the packaging. I'm a one to two cups of coffee per morning type of gal, and by the time I get to the office around 8:30 each morning, my body is practically screaming for its first dose of caffeine, and I usually top up again around 10 or 11. However, by adding to the powder to the smoothie I drink during the commute, I noticed a definite perky calmness that was very unfamiliar (usually I'm anxious and feel like I've been hit by a bus despite the fact I just woke up and haven't even gotten to work yet), and coffee, strangely, wasn't the first thing on my mind after setting foot in the office. Eventually, I would get my daily morning fix, but it was a less desperate craving, and I never felt the need to go back for seconds. Nothing else changed regarding sleep, diet, or exercise, so my only choice is to attribute to Sakara's new powder.
Last, but certainly not least, I noticed a significant decrease in the intensity of my sweet tooth and the associated cravings. I never really want salty or crispy things like chips or fries, but I crave desserts, chocolate, etc., on a daily basis. It's annoying and frustrating because while I think imbibing every so often is a healthy part of a balanced diet, I know I don't feel good when I'm having those things too routinely—mentally or physically. Thus, the constant temptation had been wearing me down and stressing me out. However, after taking the supplement for a few days, I noticed I was having fewer cravings and wasn't as impatient for lunch as I normally am. I hadn't changed the other contents of my smoothie (almond milk, plant-based protein powder, half of a banana, cinnamon, ice, and spinach), so I had no other choice than to happily blame it on Sakara's Metabolism Super Powder.
Overall, I had a lot of luck with this supplement. And while you should definitely talk to your doctor before adding it into your routine and maybe incorporate it every other day to start to let your system acclimate to the ingredients, I do think it does a great job of living up to its impressive claims. I've noticed a difference since running out of my 20-day supply, and I plan on adding it to my normal Sakara shopping list so I can get back to reaping its benefits. Keep scrolling for even more Sakara products that I take every day to feel like my best self!
Spiked with Cermamosides Phytoceramides (plant-based ceramides clinically proven to boost your glow!), antioxidant-rich dark cacao, and low-glycemic sweetener coconut sugar, these are my anytime answer to rampant sugar cravings. They taste amazing and make my skin radiant—win-win!
Truth be told, these are the only probiotics I've ever taken that haven't left me feeling bloating or lethargic. I love that they have both enzymes and probiotics (essential for nutrient breakdown), plus the added benefits of prebiotic fiber to make sure my gut has everything it needs.
Before bed every night, I drop three droppers-full of this chlorophyll concentrate into my water bottle and chug. Chlorophyll is an amazing detoxifier, and I'm convinced it's helped clear my skin and also makes me feel less bloated when I wake up in the morning. It's an essential part of my nighttime routine!
I'm a little bit addicted to these clean protein bars, but I don't even care because of how amazing the ingredients are. The Energy Bars are filled with cacao to give you a bump of energy during those stubborn mid-afternoon slumps, and the Detox Bars (vanilla and cashew flavored) are the perfect antidotes for sweet tooth cravings or when I need a filling, low-sugar snack to tide me over in between meals or after a workout. You can buy each of the bars in separate packs, but since I love them both, I always go with this healthy combination delivery.
My favorite tea on earth! Since I do drink at least one cup of coffee each morning, I don't ever want anything else with too much caffeine during the rest of the day. This lovely mix of red rooibos, rose, and lemongrass aids digestion, helps detoxify, staves off cravings, and supports the adrenals—all things I'm after! Plus, it tastes dreamy. I love having it after lunch and dinner as a healthier nightcap.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.