Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Is Relacore Ruining My Muscle Tone?

Thursday, 01 Jul 2010 03:06 PM

Question: Since my wife took Relacore, she says that she can't get her muscle tone back. Why is this, and what can be done?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Relacore is a non-FDA approved "dietary supplement" whose components have not been studied in controlled circumstances for safety or purity. It is said to contain magnolia, and advertises itself as a non-sedating mood enhancer with weight loss properties, none of which has been yet shown to be either safe or effective. Health Canada has banned the importation or use of magnolia bark preparations and has a Health Alert on this substance.

Relacore is similar to products such as Cortislim and Cortistress that the FDA removed from the market due to unsubstantiated claims. It seems the marketers have become "savvy” to FDA regulation.

In my opinion, any product that claims to reduce the production of stress cortisol as a method for weight loss is immediately suspicious. Cortisol is an essential stress hormone whose absence or reduced excretion is associated with increased sudden death, especially under stress circumstances. Excessive cortisol production requires specific medical and often surgical management, and has extreme adverse consequences when untreated. The marketer claims this product is stimulant free, but I have found no proof of this either.

In 1998, Health Canada issued a health alert warning that magnolia bark (a popular Chinese herb) contains curare-like substances (specifically magnocurarine and tubocurarine related substances) and warned against its use. Curare is a muscle paralytic agent used to induce paralysis in hospital surgical patients during procedures performed under deep anesthesia. It has no other use, and it is certainly not safe to use.

You are on your own when it comes to side effects of diet supplements, and I advise avoiding products that have not sufficient safety and purity testing to pass FDA approval. Consult your medical doctor to address the weakness and loss of tone you have noted.

For those who wish further information on the FDA stance on these products, go to

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