Having tried various fat burners without feeling like I was having much success, I decided to try the PAGG Stack combined with Cissus Quadrangularis, designed by Tim Ferriss. A stack is a collection of supplements that you combine to use at once. The PAGG part refers to the four ingredients.
Tim Ferriss, if you haven’t heard of him, is the author of the Four Hour Body [affiliate link]. The book looks at all of his body experimentation over many years, including fat loss, and has proved extremely popular.
PAGG Stack Ingredients
The four ingredients are Policosanol, Allicin (garlic extract), green tea flavanols and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid). Barring the Policosanol which I hadn’t heard of before, these all look reasonable. Garlic is noted for its health properties, and I have taken both green tea extracts and ALA before, although in much smaller quantities.
- Policosanol 20-25 mg
- ALA 100-300 mg
- Green Tea Flavinols, decaf with at least 325 mg of EGCG
- Garlic Extract 200 mg
Four times per day
The protocol requires taking the pills before eating each of your three main meals per day, and then once before bed:
- Before Breakfast: AGG
- Before Lunch: AGG
- Before Dinner: AGG
- Before Bed: PAGG
AGG is just PAGG without the Policosanol.
I found it a challenge remembering to take them before each meal and ended up taking them immediately after a few times.
PAGG Stack = pills, pills, pills
While you can buy pre-made PAGG Stack pills, I opted to save a bit of money and buy the ingredients separately. This probably didn’t save much; I bought the wrong green tea that wasn’t decaffeinated and had to order some more. Having the separate pills also meant that I was taking three pills prior to every meal and four before bed.
That’s 13 pills on top of my pile of normal supplement pills.
ALA (Alpha-lipoic acid)
There are dozens of manufacturers of ALA and it can be bought pretty cheaply. I opted for the maximum 300 mg, giving me a total daily intake of 1200 mg.
Green Tea Flavinols
I ended up buying Mega Green Tea Extract [affiliate link] from the Life Extension Foundation. It gives 326 mg of ECGC per pill.
Allicin Max (garlic extract)
In the Four Hour Body, Tim suggests using and aged-garlic extract providing S-Allyl cysteine (alliin) because at the time of writing there wasn’t a stable form of Allicin around. However, while hunting around I found a product called Allicin Max [affiliate link] that apparently is stabilised Allicin, so I thought that I would give that a go. Each pill has 180 mg of Allicin, slightly lower than the recommended 200 mg of alliin.
That provided 720 mg of Allicin per day.
Tim also suggests taking a B vitamin complex at the same time as the using this stack. I already take the Complete B-Complex [affiliate link] from Life Extension.
I have tried to move closer to the slow carb diet suggested by Tim Ferris, but I do include porridge for breakfast (along with protein powder and flax oil). I also eat a reasonable amount of fruit. My main meals are ‘slow carb’ though, featuring lots of quorn, beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus etc.
NotesIn hindsight I would probably have gone with one of the premade pill kits. If you buy them separately, you are left with an odd number of pills at the end of a month because they don’t necessarily give you 120 of each.
I weighed myself every morning immediately after waking (post-pee!). The scales are a cheap set that also do body fat measurements. I don’t expect them to be accurate, but they are at least consistent. Therefore, don’t pay too much attention to the body fat percentage, just the changes in lean body mass and fat mass.
Adding Cissus Quadrangularis and Chromemate
Update: 25th June 2014
After about two weeks my weight and body fat values had plateaued, despite an impressive initial downward plunge. I wasn’t getting any better results than I should have got from a calorie deficit diet in the second week.
I strongly suspect that the PAGG stack would work well for anyone who is overweight to begin with. However, given that I am pretty lean already, I think that its effect is limited. I also exercise excessively.
Therefore I opted to move on to stage 2 of the PAGG stack described by Tim Ferriss, under his Occam’s Protocol section. This is essentially running the PAGG stack, but combined with 2400mg Cissus Quandrangularis and 200mg Chromemate each three times per day with food.
This advanced stack is intended to be used for muscle gain, whilst eating a high number of clean calories per day, without gaining fat – much closer to what I am aiming to achieve. I kept to my slight calorie deficit to see the effect.
Started: 10th June 2014
- Weight: 68.1 kg
- Body Fat: 20.2 %
- Fat Mass: 13.7 kg
- Lean Body Mass: 54.4 kg
CQ start (switching to CQ + Chromemate): 25th June 2014
- Weight: 66.4kg
- Body Fat: 18.9 %
- Fat Mass: 12.5 kg
- Lean Body Mass: 53.9 kg
Mid point (9th July 2014):
- Weight: 66.0 kg
- Body Fat: 18.2 %
- Fat Mass: 12.0 kg
- Lean Body Mass: 54.0 kg
The experiment is due to finish on the 19th July, so I will update then. However, it is going reasonably well with 3.7 pounds of fat lost in the first month. I lost a bit of muscle in the first two weeks, but that has halted since adding CS.
I had a bit of a shock on my first day weigh-in; my body fat had apparently dropped 1.4% and I had lost 1.6kg. I can only put that down to a loss of water weight caused by the stack. They bounced back up slightly the following day, but still remained far lower than they were.
One of the main problems I had was remembering to take the PAGG stack pills 15-30 minutes before each meal. I would say that for one in three meals, I was already eating, or had just served up by the time I remembered. I did find, in a completely subjective way, that 30 minutes seemed to be more effective than 15 minutes for me… when I did remember to take them!