Enhanced Athlete – the supplement company behind the fat burner Code Red – used to be the darling of the bodybuilding fraternity.
Fans praised it for its efforts to push the envelope when it came to fitness, muscle building and weight loss. With some recommending it because it sold products you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
That latter claim has brought it trouble in recent years, however.
Its halo has been tarnished by FBI raids on its U.S. facilities, criminal investigations into its sale of SARMs and its CEO pleading guilty to felony charges of selling dangerous substances.
Most namely fertilizer DNP – knowing they were likely to be used for human consumption.
You may be surprised, therefore, to know that not only does the company still exist. But its products (with some modifications) are still sold on the likes of Amazon, eBay and numerous other websites in the Enhanced Athlete group.
Given that many bodybuilders still swear by the remaining products, we’ve decided to review Enhanced Athlete Code Red, its popular fat burner.
Only you can decide if you want to buy from a company like Enhanced Athlete, of course. But our review will let you know if there are any dangers (or benefits) to Code Red.
Given that we’ve alerted you to the potential issues with the company – and we suggest you also do your own research – we’re not going to dwell on it further within this review.
Instead we’ll look at the product on its own merits.
About Code Red
Enhanced Athlete Code Red is a self-titled fat burner that makes three key claims:
- Supports thermogenesis
- Metabolic support
- Promotes fat loss
Today we’re going to look at how it works along these three key claims.
By the end of this review you’ll know whether it makes good on these claims, to what extent, and have all the information you need to judge the product for yourself.
Code Red Supplement Facts
This is a capsule-based fat burner product that uses gelatine (thus not suitable for a plant-based diet).
Here’s a quick look at the official nutrition information, including the ingredients we’re going to be analysing in our review.
Directions for Use
Nice and simple: take 4 capsules with plenty of water. There’s no distinct benefit to taking these at any specific time of day, so we recommend mid-morning or splitting it into two capsules twice a day (morning/afternoon).
Obviously, don’t take them too late because they contain stimulants and they can interrupt sleep quality.
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What is in Enhanced Athlete Code Red?
A combination of vitamins and minerals is standard fare for a fat burner, because deficiency in vitamins and/or minerals is a real problem for healthy metabolism.
As a result, you see some of the classic ingredients here, as well as some you might not expect.
For example, the classic vitamin B5 is present, since this is a part of normal energy metabolism. However, we’d usually see more B6 and B12 from this kind of supplement, so it’s an interesting choice.
On the other hand, you’re going to get vitamin C, choline, and potassium from Enhanced Athlete Code Red.
This is interesting because these aren’t associated with improved energy metabolism: vitamin C is joint support, choline is a mood/mental performance supplement, and potassium is a useful essential mineral.
These are useful ingredient choices, though not specific to fat loss. Choline, for instance, is probably going to be useful for combatting the negative mental effects of fat loss, such as fatigue and low mood. This is an awesome adjunct.
Meanwhile, Vitamin C and Potassium are just great for all-round health. Vitamin C can support collagen synthesis – and thus joints – which is a risk on a fat loss diet.
Potassium helps bone density and keeps sodium levels in check, which is also great.
It’s not the classic fat burner vitamin/mineral profile, but this is still a good combination and we like to see these protective effects!
Tyrosine is a key mental performance and mood amino acid, and is often bunched in the three Ts of mental performance alongside theanine and tryptophan.
It is included here because it’s an anti-fatigue, pro-mood amine.
This means that you’re going to be able to support better endurance workouts and you’re also going to feel more prepared for workouts.
The fat burning effects come from this improved exercise performance; you’re able to perform better in the gym as a result, which brings better calorie-output.
The result is more fat loss without feeling like you’re killing yourself with fatigue-inducing exercise.
We also just like Tyrosine as a low-level anti-anxiety, pro-performance compound. It means better stress-protection and feeling more prepared for workouts even during a calorie deficit diet, when energy might be low.
This kind of protective effect – that improves other factors while you’re burning fat – is great to see. It’s a secondary ingredient for fat loss, but an effective one.
This is a common extract choice for fat burners because it seems to work. At the very least, the antioxidant effects of this ingredient are fantastic, with compounds like Caffeic and chlorogenic acids supporting better cellular health and blood pressure.
The caffeine is obviously going to be a positive influence on fat loss, with a long history of thermogenic effects.
The consensus is that standard caffeine intake produces around 16% more calorie use as thermogenesis and non-exercise activity (NEAT).
Between these two effects, you’re going to be increasing your calorie use and improving your overall fat loss.
The content here is a little low but is buoyed by other ingredients (namely theobromine and potentially controversial synephrine).
A great ingredient choice and one of the active ingredients that we’re glad to see. Combined with green tea extract, there’s a solid core of thermogenic/metabolic aids to fat loss in this product.
This is a low level xanthine alkaloid; it functions in ways that are similar to caffeine but without the standard caffeine-tolerance effects.
The result is a stimulant that you’re going to respond to regardless of how well-accustomed to caffeine you are.
If you’re very familiar with fat-burners and other caffeine-rich products like pre-workouts, this can be a strange change.
The same mental and physical effects will come – such as increased metabolism and mental focus – but they’ll side-step your tolerance.
Obviously, this does mean that the product isn’t suitable for those with concerns about stimulants.
There are great stimulant-free alternatives on the market – we recommend one such stim-free fat burner in particular, Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner. Theobromine tolerance is something you should be careful with when starting out.
The fat-burning effects and thermogenesis here are comparable to caffeine in every other way.
There are some modest effects on calorie-output, which will allow you to burn more fat if your diet remains the same.
Green Tea Extract
This is an awesome choice because the EGCG in green tea extract is one of the best metabolic support compounds you could put in a fat burner.
This is a fantastic benefit since the use of EGCG does seem to have a direct benefit to your fat loss process – and, if nothing else, will shift you towards burning more fat and less muscle.
These are well-studied effects and seem to be reliable, effective, and consistent. This makes for a solid active ingredient, which is something we’ve criticized other fat-burners for lacking!
A great choice and a solid ‘workhorse’ ingredient that will produce actual change!
Carnitine is an interesting choice here – it’s a useful metabolic support agent, but it doesn’t have the fat-loss effects many people take it for.
In this product, it’s not going to be the active ingredient that is doing the fat-burning.
There are some times when it has been seen to improve endurance exercise performance, but these are usually in older people with naturally-low levels of carnitine.
Carnitine supplementation has a lot of the same effects as tyrosine: it’s got some anti-fatigue effects that help other areas like fat loss.
Carnitine also has some mild protective effects over the muscles during exercise – reducing the amounts of muscle damage you incur.
It also has some mild effects on blood sugar levels and may be a positive influence on your insulin sensitivity.
These make Carnitine a useful addition if you’re trying to lose weight to help improve health markers and reduce diabetes risk, but otherwise it’s probably not a significant addition for most people.
Bitter Orange Synephrine
Like Theobromine, this is a stimulant. It’s a common ingredient in fat burners – albeit controversial – and will elevate your metabolic rate which can help you to lose weight without notably changing your diet.
Obviously, this comes with all the benefits and drawbacks of any stimulant ingredient.
The controversy over synephrine comes because of its similarity to ephedrine, a fat burner that was banned for working too well – in short, it raised thermogenesis significantly, but not without also raising blood pressure and increasing your risk of stroke.
Synephrine is the ‘safer’ version of ephedrine and isn’t as strong.
That said, while some experts argue it’s perfectly safe, others like WebMD describe it as ‘possibly unsafe’ when taken as a supplement.
It warns that it could increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, fainting and high blood pressure when taken alone or with other stimulants.
It also points out that other side effects include migraine and cluster headaches in some people and sensitivity to the sun.
At the same time, WebMD also notes that there is insufficient evidence to show that it helps exercise performance or weight loss.
Examine.com describes synephrine as a ‘less potent fat burner relative to ephedrine’ but warns it could cause ‘some minor health effects on digestion and circulation’.
The Code Red dose of 50mg is a frequently used ‘acute dose’.
Another relevant consideration is that this is an NCAA-prohibited substance and should be used with caution (or not at all if you’re a college athlete).
It also has a controversial use policy in many sporting organizations – especially those dealing with athletes.
This is another controversial ingredient that is prized in the bodybuilding community as a fat-burner.
It’s got some mild effectiveness for this, but it comes with an increased risk of anxiety – something that’s obviously also associated with stimulants.
This ingredient does seem to burn fat as well as positively effecting male potency, but also comes at the cost of increased anxiety, cravings for alcohol, and increased cortisol presence.
This results in increased stress, which is something we’re not fond of, since this can contribute to poor/disordered mood, reduced muscle sparing or growth, and generally feels unpleasant.
We don’t like Yohimbine as a result, but it’s an ingredient whose effects you’ll have to weigh up for yourself.
We’d recommend avoiding this product/ingredient if you’ve got a history of poor anxiety regulation or you’re dealing with a lot of stress, since it can exacerbate these problems.
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Code Red Formula Analysis
Unlike many of the fat burners we’ve discussed in the past – and many others on the market – this product does seem to have a positive effect on fat loss.
We don’t see this too often. It contains fat-burners, mental support compounds, and protective ingredients that help you resist some of the negatives of fat-loss, all at once.
It should be stressed, of course, that some of these effective ingredients are controversial – Yohimbine and Synephrine – and could potentially cause unwanted side effects.
Likewise, the overall stimulant content in Code Red might not be appropriate for everyone.
Looking at its three main claims again:
- Supports thermogenesis: this is true, with compounds like coffee extract, synephrine, and theobromine which increase your thermogenic/NEAT calorie-output.
- Metabolic support: green tea extract, vitamin B5, Carnitine, and Yohimbine all contribute to metabolic output – as well as the mechanisms for fat loss. A good combination (if you’re Yohimbine-tolerant).
- Promotes fat loss: this is pretty much the result of the previous two claims being true – you’re using more calories and you’re metabolizing fat better. It’s true, though obviously only in the context of good diet/exercise habits!
Here’s the catch: if it wasn’t for the yohimbine and synephrine in Code Red– and the company’s somewhat dubious reputation – we would categorically recommend Code Red.
We would much prefer it if neither of these substances were included in Code Red, but then… well, it wouldn’t work as well.
The stimulants in this product are what make the fat loss element/ thermogenesis work, alongside the green tea of course.
And to be fair, they might be ok for most people, though competitive athletes should beware.
Yohimbine is probably our least favourite ingredient – but it’s not all bad, it’s just very dependent on the individual.
The dose is obviously not huge, but we’re still skeptical and would prefer a Yohimbine-free alternative.
For these reasons, it’s good but not great, and probably not comparable to some of the premium fat-burners that don’t carry these drawbacks.
Benefits of Code Red
The benefits are simple but worthwhile: improved metabolic regularity, better fat-mobilization (albeit only slightly), and improved calorie-output.
On top of these, proper mood and energy level support, and protecting you from the worse aspects of fat loss like fatigue and joint stress.
These are universal, comprehensive, and they’re appropriate for everyone.
This product has very wide appeal, though it is obviously marred by the negative side-effects of Yohimbine and the controversial status of Synephrine.
Considering other examples on the market such as the Performance Lab Pre-Workout bring tons of benefits without unnecessary risk, we have to knock Code Red way down our rankings.
Who Takes It?
As mentioned above, anyone who isn’t concerned with the effect of stimulants or with pre-existing mood disorders can probably find some value in Code Red.
This is a pretty wide demographic, but this product has a strong handle on what it wants to do and how it’s going to do it.
The result is that this product is appropriate for most people losing weight. Even the caffeine-tolerant will find something effective in Theobromine, for example.
There’s a lot of exemplary factors here – from living up to their own claims to the design consistency of the product.
We like seeing these two things on the supplement market and the result is a wide appeal with legitimate effects but let down by the inclusion of unnecessary and controversial ingredients.
Any Potential Side Effects with Enhanced Athlete Code Red?
As we’ve mentioned a few times, there are two real risk factors with this product:
- Yohimbine and mood disorders
- Stimulants and the stimulant-sensitive population and concerns over Synephrine
You’re not going to develop an anxiety disorder because you’ve taken a small amount of yohimbine. But it may be a poor choice if you’ve got a history of mood disorders in recent times or you’re concerned with existing stress levels/muscle growth.
Concerns over Synephrine remain.
In a 2012 study, scientists working for the FDA declared: “Synephrine, either as the bitter orange extract or as pure synephrine, increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Animals treated with 95% synephrine showed minimal effects on heart rate and blood pressure; more significant effects were observed with the bitter orange extract suggesting that other components in the botanical can alter these physiological parameters.
The increases in heart rate and blood pressure were more pronounced when caffeine was added.
In theory, the doses and effects of these ingredients are within healthy ranges for the healthy population, but we’re reluctant to write them off as 100% safe for everyone.
It’s particularly when you’ve got individual medical circumstances that you should be careful with these ingredients.
We can’t tell you if that’s you – but your doctor can – contact them if you have any potential complicating factors like previous anxiety disorders, heart conditions, or similar.
Or play it safe and opt for a stimulant-free less controversial option.
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Code Red Summary
- Effective ingredient choice
- Strong design philosophy and consistency
- Will help to burn fat as promised
- Great protective effects for fat-loss risks like fatigue and poor mood
- Yohimbine is a controversial product with some mild risks for mood
- Synephrine remains controversial with NCAA bans and being inappropriate for some
- The company’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years
- It is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Pricing & Where to Buy
The cost of this product is pretty good for a mid-range product. It is usually billed around £30 for a standard 30 servings.
You’re taking 4 capsules at a time, which can be a pain. But it’s affordable and comes with a lot of the function and effect that you’d get from more-expensive products. Though it doesn’t compare to the dose or design (and potentially safety!) of the very best on the market.
Enhanced Athlete Code Red Conclusion
Enhanced Athlete may have run into trouble over the sale of some controversial products, but we can’t deny that Code Red is a clear, considered product.
It knows what it wants to do and sets out to achieve it.
The ingredient choice and synergies are pretty good, while the overall design includes both fat loss ingredients and protective compounds.
The choice of Yohimbine and Synephrine hold this product back – and we’d prefer safer options. We’ve had to mark it down because of this.
We’d recommend anyone with strong sensitivity to stimulants or with existing anxiety issues to avoid this product.
Otherwise, this is a decent mid-range product, but it’s not without its faults!