If the furnace in my house was not working, and I called an HVAC professional, I would expect them to come to my house with tools. Granted, tools aren’t always “necessary,” but they can certainly make the job go more smoothly and quickly. What’s more, I would hope the professionals would bring the correct tools—a pipe wrench, leak detector, digital thermometer, those types of things. It wouldn’t be very beneficial if they came with hedge trimmers or a stump grinder.
It’s the same when you’re considering tools for the temple fueling system. They aren’t “necessary” in most cases, but they can certainly make the rebuilding process go more smoothly and quickly. That is, if you have the correct tools.
In this chapter, I will describe five products that I personally think are the most state of the art “fuel tools” on the market today: Plexus Slim®, Plexus Block™, Plexus Balance™, Plexus Active™, and Plexus Edge®. Again, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking any supplements to ensure they are safe for you. These are not approved by the FDA.
Plexus Slim® is known to many as the “pink drink.” It comes in individual packets which you can open and pour directly into a bottle or glass of water. You then shake or stir vigorously for a delicious fruity-flavored drink. This pink, low-calorie drink should be consumed in the morning 30-60 minutes before breakfast. (Though it can also be taken later in the day before another meal if need be.) The ingredients in Plexus Slim® are known for their beneficial effects on glucose metabolism, as well as many other things. Let’s go over a few of these key ingredients now.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
Green coffee bean extract (extracted from unroasted coffee beans) contains a substantial amount of chlorogenic acid, which is a naturally-occurring substance also found (to a lesser degree) in foods such as apples, plums, and cherries. Chlorogenic acid is not as prevalent in a roasted or ground coffee that you’d purchase in the supermarket, because the high heat involved in roasting the coffee beans breaks down much of the chlorogenic acid, thereby making it less available.
What makes chlorogenic acid beneficial as a “fuel tool” is that it can help decrease the absorption of sugar in the body. In fact, research shows it has a positive effect on blood sugar balance like some medications. For example, chlorogenic acid has been said to be an insulin sensitizer similar to metformin, with potency to stimulate the uptake of glucose molecules comparable to the antidiabetic drug rosiglitazone. (1)
The same research notes that high contents of chlorogenic acid can significantly reduce the risk for Type 2 Diabetes by 30%. It also reported that rats who were treated with chlorogenic acid had a decrease in cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels by 44% and 58%, and a decrease in liver triacylglycerols by 24%. In fact, in other studies, chlorogenic acid not only lowered cholesterol, but also significantly lowered body weight, visceral fat mass, plasma leptin, and insulin levels compared to the control group. (1)
Plexus Slim® also contains Chromium Polynicotinate.Chromium is referred to as an “essential trace mineral” because we need a small amount of it to maintain optimal health. One of the jobs of chromium is to help transport glucose into cells. Therefore, it plays a key role in balancing blood sugar and giving us steady energy. Chromium is not only needed to metabolize carbohydrates, but also protein and fat (including cholesterol). In fact, human studies show chromium supplementation can help lower levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (2)
It’s been estimated by some, that up to 50% of the U.S. population is mildly deficient in chromium. I believe there are many possible reasons for this. First, the soil on many American crops is overused. Therefore, the soil itself often lacks nutrients like chromium. That means the produce grown in this deficient soil is often lacking nutrients also.
Additionally, several common medications such as H2 blockers, antacids, certain steroids, and proton-pump inhibitors can reduce chromium absorption or cause the body to flush it. What’s more, wheat products are a major source of chromium, but there is a rising number of people developing wheat allergies and sensitivities who are adopting wheat-free diets, which can increase the risk of chromium deficiency.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Plexus Slim® also contains an antioxidant called Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). ALA is present in every cell in the body. It is manufactured in small amounts in the mitochondria, where it is needed for a chain of reactions that create the ATP energy I mentioned at the beginning of this book. The problem is, the body produces less and less ALA as we age, and also when the immune system is weakened. So, the need for ALA increases in these instances.
In my opinion, ALA is one of the most underestimated antioxidants around. It does all your typical antioxidant type stuff (it searches out free radicals, fights inflammation, slows the aging process) but it also helps turn glucose into fuel. In fact, it is a proven tool for various blood sugar related issues, as studies have shown that ALA can help reduce fasting blood glucose (3), assist with diabetic neuropathy (4), and increase insulin sensitivity (5).
Keto and Slim
Clearly Plexus Slim contains many key ingredients that are known to help with glucose regulation. But that does not mean that Slim is only beneficial for those continuing to use glucose as fuel. It can also be beneficial for those transitioning into ketosis.
Just because you stop eating carbs doesn’t mean blood sugar and insulin will just “go away.” Glucose will still fluctuate while you are in ketosis. In fact, some people may notice that their fasting glucose levels rise in ketosis instead of fall.
This is because your muscles are typically the holding tank for stored glucose. When the body needs more fuel, it breaks down muscle to release this stored fuel. However, when you enter ketosis and start using fat for fuel (instead of glucose), your body “spares” the muscle. It doesn’t break it down like it does when using glucose. It goes after fat stores instead. Therefore, after a while, the muscles stop taking in as much glucose because it’s not needed. Because of this, the glucose from your veggies and other low carb foods is circulating in the blood, so is the glucose that the liver produces from protein via gluconeogenesis. This is why it’s important to also look at insulin levels. The real “big picture” is glucose and insulin, not just glucose.
But I digress. My point is, glucose balance is still important in ketosis. This is especially true for people who are just starting the keto diet, who are pre-diabetic, or who have a history of erratic blood sugars, insulin resistance, or glucose intolerance. In these instances, Plexus Slim can be a beneficial tool to help you transition safely.
Garcinia Cambogia is a bitter fruit from South Asia with high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA blocks an enzyme that the body uses to make fat. This could prove beneficial for those in fat-burning ketosis. (Burning fat, but not making it, could equate to quicker weight loss.) HCA can also help raise serotonin, a neurotransmitter known to cause feelings of happiness and relaxation, as well as curb appetite and cravings.
Two Versions of Plexus Slim®
Plexus Slim® is available in two versions. There is the Plexus Slim® Microbiome Activating formula and the Plexus Slim® Hunger Control formula. Both have the same fuel-benefitting ingredients mentioned above, but each have different “extra” ingredients.
The Plexus Slim® Microbiome Activating formula also contains clinically studied xylooligosaccharides (XOS), which are prebiotic fibers that feed good microbes in the gut. I will talk extensively about the importance of gut microbes in the next phase.
The Plexus Slim® Hunger Control formula has polydextrose, which is a low-calorie soluble fiber that takes up space in the stomach and leaves slowly, helping you feel full longer. Some research suggests polydextrose may also have prebiotic potential, as well as contribute to increased energy and nutrient absorption, with positive effects on inflammatory bowel disease. (6) Also, studies have shown that polydextrose reduced bowel transit time (90%) and increased total weekly bowel frequency (from 3 times to 7 times a week) without inducing adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain or bloating or induction of diarrhea. (6)
Plexus Block is a capsule packed full of ingredients that work to immediately block the absorption of up to 48% of the sugars and carbohydrates that you eat. This can be enormously beneficial for those of you who cannot adopt a ketogenic diet but who are trying to maintain stable glucose levels. It can also help those of you who are following a keto diet if you find yourself in a position where carbs are simply unavoidable (for example a work meeting, a wedding, etc.) Even if you consume carbohydrates and are kicked out of ketosis, there likely won’t be as much glucose stored. Therefore, the transition back into ketosis could be quicker without as many keto flu symptoms.
Here’s how Block™ works.
Plexus Block™ contains a proprietary brown seaweed blend, which helps reduce the glycemic index of carbs and sugars. If you remember from chapter two, the GI index illustrates how fast and how dramatically glucose is released (the rollercoaster versus a Sunday drive). Studies have shown that fasting blood glucose levels, and 2-hour blood glucose measurements were decreased significantly in those ingesting brown seaweed. (7)
Seaweeds are rich in dietary fibers, unsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenolic compounds. These bioactive compounds can inhibit various enzymes (like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase) that turn carbs and sugars into glucose. (8)
Plexus Block™ also contains white kidney bean extract. Like brown seaweed, the white bean also produces an alpha-amylase inhibitor, which has been characterized and tested in numerous clinical studies. (9)
The beauty, though, is that while Plexus Block™ can block the absorption of some carbs and sugars, it does not block the absorption of nutrients. So, you get the best of both worlds.
In addition to these, Plexus Block™ also contains Chromium Picolinate which we’ve already discussed at length, as well as naturally occurring iodine that is in the seaweed. Iodine not only plays a role in maintaining insulin sensitivity (10), but animal studies have shown it can reduce glucose levels also. (11) What’s more, iodine can be very beneficial for those with a low functioning thyroid, as thyroid cells take iodine, combine it with the amino acid tyrosine, and produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
Similar to Plexus Block™, there is also Plexus Balance™. As the name suggests, Balance works to help balance blood sugar levels. It, too, can be taken before the largest meal of the day but works best when taken 20-30 minutes before the meal. Like Plexus Block™, Plexus Balance™ also contains White Kidney Bean Extract (Phaseolus vulgaris) which prevents the pancreas from secreting the enzyme amylase and helps manage the breakdown of carbohydrates and sugars.
Instead of chromium and brown seaweed, though, Balance has Common Bean Extract (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) that helps manage the breakdown of carbohydrates and sugars. It also has Cinnamon Bark Extract (Cinnamomum cassia) which also helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels. And it has Mulberry Leaf Extract (Morus alba L.) which helps to inhibit the breakdown of simple carbohydrates.
Each serving of Plexus Balance™ contains 1150 mg of this proprietary blend, compared to Block which has 500 mg of the seaweed blend, 200 mg of chromium, and 200 mg of white kidney bean extract per serving.
Both Plexus Block™ and Plexus Balance™ help to steady rollercoaster blood sugar levels but they accomplish this with different ingredients and concentrations. Plexus Block™ contains chromium as well as iodine (from seaweed) while Plexus Balance™ contains higher amounts of food extracts (cinnamon, cranberry, and mulberry). Those who cannot take chromium because of possible medication interaction might benefit more from Plexus Balance™. Discuss these possibilities with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Excerpt from Rebuilding Your Temple: Blueprints for True and Lasting Health by Stacy Mal
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the information on this site is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor. Stacy Mal is not a doctor and does not give medical advice, prescribe medication, or diagnose illness. Stacy is a certified health coach, journalist, and independent Plexus ambassador. These are her personal beliefs and are not the beliefs of Plexus Worldwide or any other named professional. If you have a medical condition or health concern, it is advised that you see your physician immediately. It is also recommended that you consult your doctor before implementing any new health strategy or taking any new supplements. Results may vary.
Küpper, Frithjof & Schweigert, Nina & Ar Gall, E & Legendre, J.-M & Vilter, Hans & Kloareg, B. (1998). Iodine uptake in Laminariales involves extracellular, haloperoxidase-mediated oxidation of iodide. Planta. 207. 163-171. 10.1007/s004250050469.
Rajendran D, Pattanaik AK, Khan SA, et al. Iodine Supplementation of Leucaena leucocephala Diet for Goats. II. Effects on Blood Metabolites and Thyroid Hormones. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2001;14(6):791-6