Looking for the complete story about LifeVantage Protandim? Read Lazy Man and Money's post about Protandim.

Eagle-eyed investigator Vogel has come up with a few startling pieces of information regarding the only study of Protandim in humans. The study titled "The induction of human superoxide dismutase and catalase in vivo: a fundamentally new approach to antioxidant therapy", was done by Nelson SK, Bose SK, Grunwald GK, Myhill P, McCord JM.

Specifically, it has been discovered that the study used subjects who were company insiders. Watch this outdated spot on PBS' Health Quest:

At the 5:05 mark, Sally Nelson, a LifeVantage employee, interviews two participants in that clinical study, Steve Ossello and Reed Madison. Steve Ossello calls it "a major breakthrough and a life-changing event for [him]." What the video doesn't tell you though is that Steve Ossello and Reed Madison are top-ranked LifeVantage distributors.

It gets worse... a lot worse. It turns out that both Steve and Reed are partners at the investment bank Aspenwood Capital in Denver, and Aspenwood provided a 3.5 million and a $5 million investment in Lifevantage.

Reed Madison's Linked-In page discloses that he was an investment banker for LifeVantage since 2004. Steve Ossello's Linked-In page shows that he worked with Reed Madison at Keating Investments prior to Aspenwood Capital. In fact, Steve Ossello with Keating gave Lifeline $8 Million in funding in June, 2005.

Another article, Colo. Doctor Invents 'Anti-Aging' Pill from ABC7 News in Colorado says that McCord invented Protandim which is a lie - as we know. However, it also quotes another participant of the study, Leigh Severance. The article makes Leigh Severance sound like just an enthusiastic support of Protandim when it reads: "... Leigh Severance swears by this new 'anti-aging' pill. He said he'll take it until the day he dies but jokes that if the pill really works, he'll be around for a long time."

Leigh Severance isn't a normal study participant - he held the title of Director and Member of the Executive Committee at LifeVantage. That filing says:

"H. Leigh Severance became a director of Lifeline Therapeutics in January 2005 as the designee of Keating Securities pursuant to Keating Securities contractual right to designate one member of our board of directors."

There's that Keating Securities again.

This filing seems to show that he certainly had a lot of stock in LifeVantage. I guess it is pretty easy to swear by something when they are paying you well and you likely get a lifetime supply of free product. ABC7 News never disclosed the relationship between Severance and LifeVantage.

Bottom-Line: LifeVantage chose at least 3 participants in the study who were clearly financially biased. If all the above information wasn't enough to establish this, all three are documented insiders with the SEC with Madison and Ossello having around 100,000 shares as of June 2005 and Severance having over a million. It is worth mentioning that these are the only three people in the study who I have the names of. For all we know, all the participants could have been company insiders like these three.

It is particularly important to note that when relying on test like TBARS diet can drastically alter the results. Is 16.5 million dollars motivation to alter a diet for a month to make the results look great? I don't know anyone who would turn down that offer.

Originally posted 2011-10-12 22:09:31.

This post involves:

Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:

Brandon Cunningham is a LifeVantage Elite Pro 9 Distributor. One would expect that someone so high in the company to be an upstanding member of the sales organization. After all, if the people at the top are dishonestly scamming people, it's going to spread through the whole organization. This website has found time and again that this is the case. It would take years to go through every distributor's videos and point out all the logical fallacies. Brandon Cunningham is lucky enough to be one of the select few to be featured here. Why, because he's openly trying to suppress critical thinking.

It's with that in mind that I do a little dissecting of this video. Yes it's a long video, but I'll be covering a subset of it... at least in the first publishing of this.

Update: Brandon Cunningham is running scared now that he's been exposed for scamming others. He had the original video set to private. When I put up another copy, he had it taken down with a copyright violation claim. I can submit a counter-claim based fair use for the purposes of criticism, commentary, news reporting, and teaching. If I do they'll have to sue me to get it taken off. I'm very sure I'm in the right and I don't think they would sue me over it, but I don't currently see the point of playing cat and mouse. Brandon Cunningham is already exposed in the article and his action of having the video taken down is tacit admission that he's misleading and scamming others.

Here are some points where Brandon Cunningham tries to mislead his audience:

I'm going to start at towards the end, because he is asked by the audience how to address the criticism from the Protandim article on Lazy Man.

At the 1:36:25 point, an audience member asks for a "quick comeback for Lazy Man." Before getting to Brandon Cunningham's response, it's worth noting that these salespeople are looking for "quick comebacks", not to legitimately address the legitimate concerns of people who have done their research.

Brandon Cunningham's response is to use questions or in other words use the loaded question logical fallacy. He then goes into a full fledged ad hominem logical fallacy, attacking the source of the information instead of the validity of it. That Wikipedia article shows that ad hominem is the second worst type of argument in a disagreement after name calling. Brandon Cunningham combines both with his loaded questions about the name "Lazy Man." He then uses another loaded question to put forth an appeal to authority fallacy, suggesting that only a doctor could be reputable. This is ignoring the fact that a doctor, Joe McCord himself admitted that he didn't invent Protandim in a signed document.

Brandon Cunningham says (1:38:10) that he chooses to believe Harvard over "Lazy Man." That would make sense if Harvard had any opinion about Protandim. Instead LifeVantage Lied to SEC, Investors, Consumers about 'Harvard' Study. Here's something to note, no research in the "Harvard" study was conducted at Harvard. Brandon Cunningham is apparently too lazy to do the research and see that he was lied to. Most likely he just doesn't care because to face the truth would cause great internal conflict (see cognitive dissonance) about how he makes a living scamming others.

Brandon Cunningham goes on to point out that "he's done it to 15 companies" and then agrees with an audience member that he gets paid to do it. It's interesting that earlier in the presentation he mentioned that the industry has a ton of snake oil products. The logical conclusion here is that it is to Lazy Man's credit to help consumers steer clear of these companies and snake oil products. The audience member is wrong that Lazy Man gets paid to write these articles. No one is funding the articles, they are like any other article on the site or millions of other websites that depend solely on advertising. However, let's put the cards on the table. On one hand you have an unbiased person exposing a snake oil company and their lies and making the information available to the consumer for free. On the other hand, you have a biased Brandon Cunningham misleading consumers with logical fallacies to sell them snake oil. Which do you want to put your faith in?

At the 1:38:50 mark, Brandon Cunningham continues to ask loaded questions like, "Does he have enzymes in your body that he named like Dr. McCord?" Note that Dr. McCord did not name any enzymes in your body. Not that it matters because McCord isn't responsible for Protandim and destroyed his credibility by lying about it.

Cunningham then continues with the lies. He asks the rhetorical question of "Why are McCord's names on all the studies?" and answers it with "Hello, they have to be!" He goes on to describe how if he was an author of a book and gets a quote from someone else to include in the book he has to include a credit or he would get sued. In scientific papers, appropriate credit for a quote is given in references section. If you read any of the studies on Protandim, you'll see numerous such references. McCord's name appears as an author of the study, which indicates his core participation in the study. Once again Brandon Cunningham is lying to scam the audience.

At 1:40:25, Cunningham says, "If someone makes you feel silly for getting involved in this because of a blog, they just gave you the green light to make them feel silly for saying something stupid to you." Brandon Cunningham, this video of you saying stupid things just gave everyone the green light to make LifeVantage look silly for trying to deflect criticism and not address it.

At 1:40:45, Cunningham responds to a statement of "Dr. McCord is not the inventor" by asking the question, "Really, who is? How do you know that? Prove it. Put it back on them."

The answer is very simple. We know that Paul Myhill is the inventor and not McCord because LifeVantage itself has proved it multiple times. You can read the patent application of Protandim and see that the company listed Paul Myhill and William Driscoll as inventors. You can read LifeVantage's own co-founder Paul Myhill admit that McCord didn't invent it: "Because the core composition came from a very unlikely source – me – we initially decided to hide that fact for marketing purposes and instead rely on the impeccable background of Dr. McCord." Finally, there is the signed admission from McCord that Myhill and Driscoll invented Protandim. That's three sources from LifeVantage, including McCord, itself.

Brandon Cunningham, it has been extensively proven. Your inability to acknowledge it only goes to further prove that you are extremely dim-witted and/or purposely trying to scam people.

At 1:41:05 Cunningham says, "Your job should be to ask them questions... why they haven't done this." Since when is it a product salesman's job to ask a prospective customer questions about what he's selling? That's backwards. Maybe people don't want to do this, because they have a soul and a conscience. Maybe they don't want to make a living scamming others out their money by spreading lies and misleading them as you have done, Brandon Cunningham.

Getting back to the beginning

There's a lot of information in the video (it's two hours long) and this article is long. Nonetheless, I'll jump in a little into the video and point out a few more choose scam quotes from Cunningham.

At 24:15 - "You should be skeptical, because the opposite is gullible. It's not good to be gullible. Ask yourself this... if this is a scam, I guess ABC News is in on the scam. Ever thought of that way? If there is dirt to find, don't you think ABC News has more resources than you with Google... to find dirt? That's their job... to find dirt. It's not what happened."

Much of this misleading talk is explained in The Truth Behind LifeVantage’s ABC Primetime Video. First, the ABC News created the video in 2005, when they had no way evidence that LifeVantage and Dr. Joe McCord were Lying about the Creation of Protandim. It wasn't until years later that LifeVantage employees Paul Myhill and Joe McCord admitted to it. ABC doesn't have the benefit of a time machine to go back and fix a video that they released in 2005. The fact that they haven't been interested in covering Protandim in any way in the last 8 years should tell you something.

Second, ABC's job is get ratings. That includes inspirational and hopeful news pieces. You can tell at the beginning of the ABC video where they are very careful about not saying that it works. They say it's "science possibility", "a potential breakthrough", "down the road"... and that's just in the first 20 seconds of the video.

There was no breakthrough. There's no other media coverage, which is why they are pushing this 8 year old video. To quote Brandon Cunningham, "it's not what happened."

Brandon Cunningham, your logical fallacy is appeal to authority: "You said that because an authority thinks something, it must therefore be true." In this case the authority (ABC) did not say something was true, was very careful about stating it wasn't true, and didn't have the benefit of information that was revealed at a later time."

You are busted for scamming the audience about ABC.

At the 24:52, Brandon Cunningham says, "We now have many, many, many universities studying this product and that would mean they are in on the scam."

The truth is that no university is studying Protandim. There's no press release or any communication from any university stating an interest in Protandim. Researchers who are affiliated with universities may have done research, but that is different from the universities themselves stating interest and approving such research. Additionally, Paul Myhill, Inventor of Protandim, Admits Science is for Marketing. Those who read the studies and understand them can tell that they are full of fluff. In fact, Dr. Harriet Hall breaks down the ridiculousness of one "study" in comical detail.

Brandon Cunningham then shows he's completely clueless by misstating pubmed.gov as govmed.gov and then crossing out govmed.gov and making it medmed.gov. This illustrates why MLM is a terrible means of selling health products... the top sales people know how to scam not the "science."

Once he figures out the Pubmed.gov site, he fails to mention that the FDA considers using such a source in selling the product to be illegal in marketing supplements. Specifically the FDA has sent this this warning letter to Nature's Pearl. It specifically states:

"When scientific publications are used commercially by the seller of a product to promote the product to consumers, such publications may become evidence of the product's intended use. For example, under 21 CFR 101.93(g)(2)(iv)(C), a citation of a publication or reference in the labeling of a product is considered a claim about disease treatment or prevention if the citation refers to a disease use, and if, in the context of the labeling as a whole, the citation implies treatment or prevention of a disease."

You can read the warning letter further, but it is clear that Brandon Cunningham is breaking the FDA Act in citing Pubmed in conjunction with marketing Protandim.

At the 26:40 mark, Brandon Cunningham displays his ignorance by citing that Cherry 7-Up has "antioxidant" on it because it contains a minor amount of cherry. The truth is that Cherry 7-Up has "antioxidant" on it because it is fortified with vitamin E, not because it has cherries in it. It took 10 seconds to Google that information form 7ups website. Maybe Cunningham should give researchers using Google and other tools a little more credit.

At the 28:40 mark, Brandon Cunningham makes the point that he hadn't previous heard of Pubmed.gov, because he's not a doctor. That's the point... the information there isn't for the average person to read. For those people, Pubmed gives a guide to what works . Specifically it point out that the best information is clinical trials, which Protandim fails on every account according to ClinicalTrials.gov, a site with the U.S. National Institute of Health. Why isn't Brandon Cunningham addressing this? Because he's trying to scam you.

At the 29:15 mark Brandon Cunningham asks why universities aren't studying his fish oil or multivitamin. He point out that he was typing in name-brands. This is clear lunacy. It's like suggesting that research on milk doesn't apply to Lucerne milk, Land O'Lakes milk, and Hood milk, because the search result didn't come up when looking for specific brands. He then falsely concludes that universities were studying Protandim (again they are not) because it reduces oxidation where his fish oil and multivitamin do not. Actually multivitamins are antioxidants... and are more well studied than Protandim.

Brandon Cunningham, your strawman logical fallacy is busted.

Around the 37:00 minute mark, Cunningham states that at GNC, Protandim was selling at one bottle every other month. That's proof-positive that there's no demand behind the product without people making illegal medical claims like those that Cunningham has done. Cunningham then goes on to say that LifeVantage is traded on the Nasdaq and that you don't get there if you are a scam. It's worth noting that Enron was a much, much, bigger company at something nearing $100 billion dollars... and it was a scam. It's worth noting that Bernie Madoff's $50 billion pyramid scheme was busted. Billionaire Bill Ackman has put a billion dollars of his own money, enough to buy LifeVantage four times over, into showing that Herbalife, another publicly traded MLM, is a scam.

Clearly Brandon Cunningham is mistaken in assuming that something on the Nasdaq can not be a scam.

I could go on and I may update this article with more coverage. However, as you can tell, I've covered about 15 minutes of the video and exposed numerous misleading information, including outright lies, from Brandon Cunningham. No one with even moderate intelligence should believe what Cunningham is saying in this presentation.

Originally posted 2013-09-05 18:06:33.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Protandim Distributors, Protandim Marketing

... and focuses on:

[Editor's Note: This article is written by Vogel, who has put extensive work in evaluating LifeVantage's Canine Health. I have done some minor cosmetic edits for readability. The title is mine and my opinion after evaluating information below.

With the launch of the new pet formulation of Protandim (Canine Health), LifeVantage continues its tradition of shoddy tainted science and fraudulent marketing, established previously with the human version of Protandim. The company and its distributors are claiming that the new canine supplement has been validated through research; the alleged research in question is referred to by the company as the "Canine Health Study." It appears that the company has taken measures to misrepresent and bury the results of the study.

The so-called Canine Health Study is unpublished, so the design, data, and conclusions cannot be properly scrutinized. Additionally, the study was not an independent study but rather was initiated by LifeVantage using a dubious looking contract research lab by the name of Animal Health Consulting, LLC (run by Craig Woods, DVM). AHC’s website went defunct at the beginning of this year; and it now redirects to a placeholder page with the message: "As of January 1, 2013, we are not accepting new clients." It is suspicious to say the least that this company appears to have gone defunct at almost the exact same time that they were being cited by LifeVantage as the source of the research on the Canine Health supplement.

Aside from a press release , the only discussion by the company of the alleged Canine Health Study has been in:

  1. a 30-minute audio recording of a February 2013 Science Call, hosted by LifeVantage sales VP Jon McGarity, in which former CSO Darlene Walley provides details about the alleged study...
  2. a printed promotional document from February 2013 – dubbed The Canine Health Study White Paper — which also features Darlene Walley. LifeVantage once had that document available on their media page but the link is no longer operative (see dead link); I was however, able to find a copy on the website of Nicole Rexing, a Protandim distributor/pet cremator.

It is remarkable that the webpage for Canine Health contains no information whatsoever about any supporting research. It seems that LifeVantage is deliberately burying details of the Canine Health Study out of view of the general public.

Note that Darlene Walley became the company’s CSO in October 2012 and then abruptly resigned in early 2013. Her sudden departure was only revealed when LifeVantage President/CEO Doug Robinson was pressed for details in a May 10, 2013 earnings call.

The details provided in the company’s 2 sources on the Canine Health Study and the inconsistencies between them raise unmistakable red flags and render the associated claims and conclusions highly suspect to say the least.

The white paper claims that the Canine Health Study was carried out at 2 sites — Prescott Animal Hospital in Prescott, AZ, and Animal Health Services in Cave Creek. AZ. There is no apparent evidence that either of these clinics is equipped for or experienced in the conduct of clinical research trials. The study bears the ID number V011413F and a date of January 14th, 2013, which is presumably when the report was issued.

The research, the stated aim of which was to measure oxidative stress, was described in the white paper as a 60-day study conducted in 80 dogs (including both arthritic and healthy animals) with a mean age of 8.6 years. Four dogs dropped out before completion leaving a total of 44 dogs in the arthritic group and 32 in the healthy group (the reason for the imbalanced group sizes was not given). According to the white paper, “veterinarians and owners assessed these dogs for clinical disability outcomes and for hematological and biochemical changes”.

The white paper claims that there was a 27% reduction in Overall Disability Scores, as assessed by the owners on a 33-point scale, in dogs with bilateral hip disability that received the active product (n = 13) versus a 2% reduction in the placebo group (n = 17). Note that there are several problems with this claim. First, the number of animals doesn’t add up. If there were 44 dogs in the arthritic group and 32 in the non-arthritic group, why are they reporting data for only 30 arthritic dogs (i.e., 13 that got the product and 17 that got the placebo). In the best case-scenario, one might assume that the data presented are from a subgroup analysis of only those dogs in the arthritic group that had bilateral hip involvement. However, using a post-hoc analysis of a subgroup of arthritic dogs with bilateral involvement while arbitrarily excluding those with unilateral involvement would be an example of cherry-picking. Presumably, the product did not have an appreciable effect on disability scores when all 44 arthritic animals were included in the analysis.

Another problem with the data is that it reflects only the disability scores as determined by the dog owners. However, upfront it was stated that disability was also assessed by veterinarians. Presumably, the failure to report that data and focus only on what would be considered less reliable data from pet owners (who are less experienced in the objective disability assessment), is because the vet scores showed no appreciable effect of the product. Thus, this is again suggestive of cherry-picking and negative data suppression.

Lastly, the document claims that “technicians at Prescott Animal Hospital affirmed that they were able to identify which dogs were receiving the active product based on these abovementioned responses [i.e., energy, alertness, playfulness]”. Thus, by the company’s own admission, the study was, in effect, not adequately blinded – a major flaw.

Regarding other data parameters, the white paper claims that at day 60, catalase was increased by 36% in the active group and decreased by 11% in the placebo group, and concludes that the active product may up-regulate the oxidative capacity of the dogs. There are numerous issues with this claim. First, it appears that the overlooked a typo when claiming that the product upregulated “oxidative capacity”; presumably they meant "antioxidative capacity" — that’s a major error. Second, the stated objective was to measure oxidative stress, but catalase is not a measure of oxidative stress, it is an endogenous antioxidant enzyme and whether it is up- or down-regulated provides no definitive evidence whatsoever regarding the degree of oxidative stress in an animal. Third, the data for catalase, unlike the disability data, inexplicably did not include the number of animals per group, which is indicative of either sloppiness or whitewashing, and it is not clear whether the data were from arthritic or normal animals or both combined. Fourth, the results are presented as percentage change from baseline rather than as absolute catalase levels (far preferable), which is a common trick used to gussy up bad data. Lastly, as with the disability data, no statistical analysis was described, so it’s not even clear whether any of the reported effects are statistically significant, let alone clinically relevant.

Despite all these glaring deficiencies and red flags, the summary of the "study" in the white paper is followed up with staggeringly obtuse and baseless conclusions from a vet named Maureen McMichael, presumably a shill for the company. She states:

"LifeVantage Canine Health meets all criteria for a safe, an easily administered, product that targets multiple oxidative stress pathways in canines... I believe this continuing study currently demonstrates the importance and utility of this supplement – for improving the health and quality of life of dogs as they age."

However, the study did not report on multiple oxidative stress pathways, or safety, or health, and what little data it did include was so flawed and poorly presented as to be worse than worthless.

The second company source in which the Canine Health Study is discussed is the February 2013 Science Call audio recording, again featuring Darlene Walley, which took place just a week or so prior to the release of the Canine Health Study white paper.

The first glaring red flag comes at the 10:25 mark, where Walley says: "We measured TBARs, we measured catalase, which are the top 2 indicators in humans for oxidative stress."

Two major problems here. First, these are not the top 2 indicators in humans for oxidative stress. In fact, as mentioned above, catalase is not even a measure of oxidative stress at all (it is an antioxidant enzyme) and the TBAR test is one of the worst indicators (it is an outdated test that has been supplanted by much better methods in the past decade or so). Secondly, recall that no TBAR data were presented in the company’s white paper (PDF), which purported to summarize all of the key results of the study. That’s the smoking gun. The company never released any TBAR data.

At the 14:45 mark, Wally claims that measuring the levels of 8-isoprostane (8-IP) is a better indicator of oxidative stress and that the company sent samples from the alleged dog study to an outside lab for analysis of 8-IP. Walley states that the results were expected later that month, which would have been roughly in late February. The obvious problem with that statement is that roughly 6 months have passed since then and the 8-IP data have never been mentioned again, and the only reasonable explanation for this, as in the case with the never-released TBAR data, is that (1) the results were negative and therefore suppressed or (2) the story was an outright fabrication.

At the 16:25 mark, Walley says that the company is producing a "white paper" about the study that will be on the website "very soon"; she mentions that they are still doing statistical analysis on the data; and that the white paper will include 8-IP data. It is now late July; the white paper was released in February and contained no data on 8-IP or TBARs.

At 10:30, Walley alleges that the study measured joint mobility and cognitive function. However, the white paper reported overall disability scores (not the same as joint mobility) and mentioned nothing at all about cognitive function. Nonetheless, at 14:20, Walley claims “the results were very exciting — we saw improvements in joint health; we saw improvements in cognitive function”?
Aside from the 2 company sources discussed above, I also found 2 audio recordings on a distributor website (operated by distributors Jennifer Smith, Susan Kuhlman and Nancy Leavitt) that discuss the alleged Canine Health Study. One of the recordings (titled “Personal Testimonials Using True Science, Protandim and Canine Health”) is rife with illegal promotional claims positioning the product as a panacea (e.g., it cures cancer, heals lame animals, etc...).

The other recording features an interview with veterinarian/LifeVantage distributor Lee Seward, who was hyping the alleged Canine Health Study (comments begin at roughly the 10:30 mark). Seward contends that the study proves that the product improves disability from arthritis. At the 32:00 mark, Seward directs listeners to Youtube to watch the “Cassie” video, which purports to show a dog’s seemingly miraculous recovery from lameness after being given Protandim.

In summary, the manner in which LifeVantage and its distributors are marketing Canine Health is extremely deceptive and irresponsible. The company made initial claims about the therapeutic efficacy of the product based on a study which by all appearances was so critically flawed as to be worthless and which the company has since attempted to hide from public view. The company CSO who was involved in the misrepresentation of the study abruptly resigned shortly thereafter, while the contract research lab that was allegedly responsible for conducting the study suddenly went defunct. Subsequently, the company’s high-level distributors held teleconferences to disseminate false claims about the product curing cancer and other diseases — a morally reprehensible act and a flagrant violation of US law.

Of course, all of the deception is necessary because LifeVantage is again using a horribly overpriced but essentially inert concoction of cheap mundane ingredients to lure desperate people into participating in a crooked pyramid scheme/cult.

Originally posted 2013-08-30 15:46:48.

This post involves:

Canine Health

... and focuses on:

[Update: It looks like Michelle Skaff has scrubbed her site clean. Seems like an admission of guilt.]

You would think that Michelle Skaff as a LifeVantage Pro 7 distributor and member of the LifeVantage Ownership Circle would know better, but then again this is one of the least surprising findings on this site. Michelle Skaff runs the website, Our Health and Abundance according to the GoDaddy Registry information.

Our Health and Abundance looks to be a repository of conflicting information. It's purpose is clearly to pitch Protandim with the tagline of "Featuring: Testimonials, Doctors, Vets and Pets for Protandim." It includes categories on the sidebar of diseases such as: Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, and Diabetes. However in small letters at the bottom of the page is the disclaimer, "*Products not intended to cure, treat or prevent disease*." This would seem to fall afoul of the FTC's endorsement guidelines where you can not suggest Protandim plays a role in disease and then in small letters negate the whole statement.

When you dig a little further you can see that there are a number of illegal claims on a Protandim testimonial page. There you can find Protandim distributor Don Wheat crediting Protandim helping his throat cancer and Protandim distributor Alithia Rutherford credit Protandim with helping with headaches (though the site categorizes the testimonial under Multiple Sclerosis as well as many other testimonies involving various diseases.

Michelle Skaff's own LinkedIn Page contains illegal claims about Protandim:

"Featured on ABC, NBC, PBS, and in Sanjay Gupta's book, Chasing Life, Protandim is proven to be a scientific breakthrough for our health based on it's ability to activate the powerful survival genes in our bodies that reduce aging, oxidation, inflammation and impact diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more. It has been researched by LSU, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Colorado and and other leading universities based on it's powerful ability to activate the survival genes within our cells, which are millions of times more powerful then what we might consume externally.. If you are serious about your health, learn about this product and science."

I bolded the parts where she illegally claims that Protandim does impact diseases. However it also worth pointing out that Harvard and MGH have not researched Protandim.

It is quite clear that Michelle Skaff is using testimonials to pitch Protandim as an aid to many, many diseases despite her own disclaimer and LifeVantage's that it isn't intended for such purposes. There's a word in the dictionary for this and it's called fraud.

Originally posted 2011-10-11 16:13:28.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Protandim Distributors

... and focuses on:

People in MLM like to make the claim, "anyone can do it." To prove that point, they trot out someone who has "done it." We already know that the LifeVantage Top Distributors Came From Zrii, they didn't actually make their money showing LifeVantage Protandim. They bought their downlines over.

However, one of the more interesting LifeVantage distributors is Burke Hedges. Never heard of him? Me neither. I guess he's famous in MLM circles and has written some books. When LifeVantage was just starting out as an MLM, they made an offer to Burke Hedges to use his clout in the industry. The offer was confidential and not disclosed to the public until the arrangement went bad and turned into an ugly lawsuit (PDF). That PDF has all the details to the secret contract that Burke Hedges, doing business under his Backbone Worldwide company, agreed to.

The extra amendment that Mr. Hedges got, that the average distributor didn't, included $150,000, options to buy 120,000 shares of LifeVantage at 70 cents (as of 9/17/2013 worth about $190,000), and top rank in the LifeVantage organization for 18 months, and travel expenses up to $5,000 a month. The lawsuit alleges that the deal is worth over $5 million in total compensation.

MLM proponents will say that there's nothing wrong with this. They'll point out that in any business, people are hired into high positions, even at the CEO level. However, this undermines another point that they always make, "MLM is what you make of it. You work your way up. Etc." This shows that people at the top are gifted that position through secret agreements. Burke Hedges didn't need to go around and call his friends to share Protandim.

If there's nothing wrong with this, there's no reason not to make these agreements open and transparent. The existence of this one situation shows that LifeVantage might have more of these secret amendments out there. What if all the people at the top that they've been profiling as successes were just gifted that position? It's been well-documented that over 99% of the MLM participants lose money and 92% of distributors leave LifeVantage every year.

It looks like these people are just being lured into the losses based on the illusion of success of a few. Seems like the kind of thing that the FTC should look into.

Originally posted 2013-09-17 17:17:42.

This post involves:

Protandim Marketing

... and focuses on:


The following is a comment from Vogel that was originally posted at Lazy Man's Protandim Article

Jeers to Michele Strang For Illegally Promoting Protandim as an MS Treatment

LifeVantage and distributors like Michele Strang (Mesa, AZ), who are promoting Protandim as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, need to be called out and dragged through the dirt daily in the hopes that it might shame them into no longer foisting their [poop] product on people and minimize the risk of someone being seriously harmed or killed as a result of the fraudulent promotion of Protandim as medicine.

"Protandim a dietary supplement consisting of herbal ingredients was the most potent inducer and therefore may be the most suited as a therapeutic strategy. Connect your own dots you will see that this is the real deal, The studies proves it!!… Three months ago a perfect stranger noticed that I was having trouble walking at a church function, Sharing from her heart she said “I have something I'd love to share with you!!!” I may have been a little skeptical at first so I did my research and I decided what do I have to lose this is a natural supplement that won’t interfere with any of my medication so I got the product and with in these past three months I have noticed I have tons more energy... I am sleeping better... I have better mental clarity and my walking is getting easier!!! But better yet I was able to dance with my partner for the first time in many years... I became a distributor because this product has given me a new purpose a new life and I am excited to share this with others.” (Source)

Originally posted 2013-09-16 15:26:37.

This post involves:


... and focuses on:

In a very interesting conference call discussing their fiscal fourth quarter 2013 results, LifeVantage CEO Doug Robinson spilled the beans on exactly how bad the business opportunity in LifeVantage is:

"A metric that we tracked is our 90-day retention rate which was 47% for preferred customers and 53% for distributors as of June 30. Our preferred customer retention increased in F2013 and our distributor retention rate slightly decreased in F2013."

I highlighted some of the major points there. We already know that the churn rate in many MLMs are somewhere between 60-90% a year. Here we have LifeVantage telling us it is around 92% a year. How do we know this? Let's take a 1000 person sample size. LifeVantage retains only 53% of that group every 90 days. So if were to start on January 1 and check back at the end of March (90 days) we'd find that only 530 of those people are left. If check back at the end of June (another 90 days) we have only 281 people left. At the end of September (90 days), the group has only 149 people left. Finally, just days before the end of the year (the last 90 days), the group is down to 79 people. That means 92% of the original 1000 have realized they need to move on.

And they keep even fewer preferred customers for a whole year. Over 95% deciding to move on. Take a minute and imagine if Costco had so many people deciding that it wasn't worth being a member. Do you think they'd be in business today?

So how does LifeVantage stay in business? That's a natural question to ask. In order to answer the question, let's get to another great quote from the CEO:

"As of June 30, 2013, we had approximately 67,000 active independent distributors. This is compared to 63,000 at the end of F3Q 2013 and a significant increase compared to approximately 46,000 active independent distributors as of June 30, 2012."

With the population of the United States over 300 million people, the 67,000 people in LifeVantage is the smallest drop in the bucket. If 53% of those (around 35,500 people) decide to quit this quarter, they have a very big pool of people to find replacements.

It's a treadmill, where disappointed are thrown off and new hopeful people are added on. The interesting thing is that Doug Robinson said that "our distributor retention rate slightly decreased in F2013", which means it's been like this for at least a couple of years (notice the use of the word "slightly").

Most MLMs have a sales pitch suggesting that if you invite 5 people, who invite 5 people, who invite 5 people, you'll have this team of 125 people. They'll say that you have these people working under you building a residual income. It sounds pretty easy when they say it like that. Sure just go out and build a team of 125 people. Meanwhile in the last quarter the 63,000 distributors grew to 67,000 distributors. If that group of 63,000 people could bring in just one person in the quarter, there would be 126,000 in LifeVantage. There aren't even close to 126,000 people in LifeVantage.

If the 46,000 people with LifeVantage on June 30, 2012 had each brought in one person in the entire year, there would be 92,000 people in LifeVantage today. There aren't 92,000 people in LifeVantage. There are only 67,000.

On average, the experienced distributors in LifeVantage couldn't bring a single person on average in the last quarter. The experienced distributors in LifeVantage couldn't bring a single person on average in the last YEAR.

You still think it's easy for a new person to build a team of 125 people? If it is, why can't the organization of experienced people build a team of two people in a whole year?

Maybe it's because so many people realize it's a scam within the first few months and get out there. It's near impossible to build a team, when nearly everyone is jumping ship each year.

Originally posted 2013-09-14 22:20:05.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Business

... and focuses on:

Remember the big press release about Darlene Walley being the New LifeVantage Chief Science Officer? Well that didn't last long. Seeking Alpha has their 3rd quarter, 2013 conference call with the following:

"Jim Galloway – Galloway Enterprises: Hi, Doug. You were just talking about new products and science and everything. There were enthusiastic comments about the new Chief Science Officer when she joined the company last fall, but no mention of the fact she departed after over – only several months. What transpired, and how is the lack of a Chief Science Officer affecting the company? And what’s the job description of the Chief Science Officer and the budget for that department?

Doug Robinson: Let me try to hit all of your questions, Jim. You’re absolutely right. We made an announcement last October for a start date in November of a new Chief Science Officer. And after only five months or so, it was determined, really, by our Chief Science Officer, that she’d like to go back and pursue consulting, which is the world that she came from before she joined us. And so we honored that resignation and we parted ways."

There are at least four interesting things about this:

1. LifeVantage didn't deem the Chief Science Officer important enough to talk about until they were asked about it specifically. With the press release about her showing up, why was there no official recognition that she left?

2. Would it surprise anyone if the requirements for the position required making misrepresentations about the product as it appears Joe McCord did such as LifeVantage and Dr. Joe McCord Lied about the Creation of Protandim! and Joe McCord Illegally Says that Protandim is about Cancer Prevention?

3. The LifeVantage Chief Science Officer pays very, very well as we know from Dr. Joe McCord’s Financial Interest In LifeVantage/Protandim. Seems like it must have been a pretty tough gig to throw all that money away.

4. Despite spending 5 months at the position according to LifeVantage, the gig wasn't important enough to her to make her LinkedIn page (as of this writing).

Originally posted 2013-07-02 22:57:55.

This post involves:

Darlene Walley

... and focuses on:

Many have noted that Dr. Dan Royal's past has been ugly. That ugly past is too long for me to recap there, so I suggest you click on the above link and read it.

Now Dan Royal is looking to pull off a new scam. A scam within a scam. How is he looking to do this? Through a LifeVantage Challenge. Let

Here's how it works. Let's see if you can spot the scam:

  1. Go to the website: www.royalmedicalclinic.com
  2. Fill out patient forms (below) and either fax to (702) 938-5844 or scan and email to [email protected]:

    a) LFVN Nutritional Assessment;
    b) Patient Information; and
    c) Patient History.

  3. Pay Administrative Fee of $100 for Nutritional Assessment or Homeopathic Consultation to Royal Medical Group (“RMG”) by credit card or PayPal, calling (702) 938-5055, faxing (702) 938-5844 or emailing: [email protected]
  4. Get blood test for MicroNutrient Test:

    a) Physician orders test from SpectraCell;
    b) Test kit is shipped to participant;
    c) Participant has blood drawn and sample shipped to SpectraCell;
    a. Insurance patients must include insurance information and/or copy of their insurance card, along with co-pay of $160;
    b. Cash patients must pay RMG $320 via credit card, PayPal, or check.
    d) Physician receives and reviews test results and provides a copy to participant.

    CIGNA, Medicaid, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield in TX, IL, OK, NM, SC and TN are not billable insurances and cash must be paid.

  5. Take Protandim as prescribed by physician.

    a) Participant should obtain Protandim from LFVN Distributor; but
    b) If Participant does not have Distributor, he/she may purchase Protandim at: www.mylifevantage.com/royal.

  6. Participant repeats blood test in 3-6 months or as recommended by Physician.

Here's the PDF outlining those instructions.

Did you catch it? Dan Royal collects the $100 administrative fee plus whatever commissions he gets from people buying the product in part 5b. That $100 doesn't sound like that much, does it? Well it also looks like those with insurance have to pay a $160 co-pay to Royal Medical Group and those without pay $320. If you read the summary of the his PowerPoint at LifeVantage Elite he's looking to get 1,000 people to take the test. That's $100,000 in his pocket in administrative fees, and around $160,000 in co-pays, plus the product commissions.

Who else wins in this? Well LifeVantage gets distributors to foot the bill for testing its product. If the test comes out good, they will certain trumpet it as a success. If it comes out to do nothing, it will likely never see the light of day and Dan Royal will quietly end the challenge. One thing is for sure, this test by using people who are likely distributors to begin with will be biased and subject to a very significant placebo effect.

Who is the loser in this? It is the poor victim of the scam, the distributors. It's unlikely that health insurance is going to consider one nutritional assessment a good use of their money, much less two in a 3-6 month span. They are much more likely to suggest that you buy a cheap multivitamin and kick you out of their office. So in reality, the distributor is looking at paying $640 for two tests, $100 for an administrative fee, $300 in 6 months - a total of over $1000. Why pay $1000 to prove that someone else's product works? LifeVantage should be footing the bill, not the distributors.

How else does the distributor lose in this? The distributor has to give up any claim to being a patient. Does your doctor make you do that? If so, I would hope you'd get a new doctor right away. Here's the agreement to participating in the program. It states:

"Guarantees: I acknowledge that RMG has not made any promises or guarantees to me regarding my medical condition(s) and that RMG’s assessment does not constitute a physician-patient relationship."

It doesn't end there. The agreement also requires that you go through binding arbitration instead of suing for damages:

"Arbitration: I agree that any claim or dispute arising out of this Agreement shall be subject to binding arbitration pursuant to the Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and conducted by a single AAA arbitrator in Henderson, Nevada. In no event shall either party be entitled to punitive damages."

Finally the non-patient (I don't know what else to call the distributor signing this) receives all care through telephone or email.

"ROYAL MEDICAL GROUP...will perform either a telemedicine nutritional assessment or homeopathic consult via email and/or phone."

An email consultation... that seems to be what the $100 administrative fee gets you.

It seems odd to trust Dan Royal's expertise. In both documents he mentions that Protandim is prescribed by a physician. Next time you visit your doctor ask him to write a prescription for a Protandim and see what he says. Or perhaps if you find yourself at a drug store ask the pharmacists how many prescriptions for Protandim they fill each day.

In seriousness, please don't bother your doctor and pharmacists about Protandim. They are busy enough without having to deal with pranks designed to prove Dan Royal's ignorance.

Originally posted 2011-10-11 01:24:46.

This post involves:

Dr. Dan Royal

... and focuses on:

This website has already covered Dr. Joe McCord’s Financial Interest In LifeVantage/Protandim, which was estimated to be worth dozens of millions of dollars picked up some extra money on the way out. However, it's the agreement that he signed that could raise some eyebrows.

According to the 8-K disclosure, the agreement will mean LifeVantage will give "twelve (12) equal monthly payments to Dr. McCord in the aggregate amount of $1,700,000." That's a lot of money, but the agreement that McCord made to get the money is perhaps more interesting:

"The Agreement contains provisions relating to, among other things, confidentiality, non-disparagement, return of company property, and a general release of claims in favor of our company."

What kind of confidentiality does LifeVantage need from McCord? It's not like Protandim has changed its formulation or that it is any kind of secret. If LifeVantage is running a strong organization that isn't a scam, why would they need to put McCord under a non-disparagement agreement?

One person close to me read this and suggested that this looks like hush money.

It was noted that in this 10-K filing with the SEC that McCord was making $10,000 a month ($120,000 a year) plus $0.50 for every bottle of Protandim sold as of June 2011 (his salary may have been updated since then). Getting $1.7 million is certainly a good amount of money compared to that base salary.

The other interesting thing in that 10-K is the termination clause:

"Termination. Either party may terminate the employment agreement without cause upon 180 days notice to the other party. If a party commits a breach of a material provision of the employment then the agreement can be terminated by the other party for cause. If the Company were to terminate the agreement for cause then Dr. McCord shall be not entitled to any further compensation after the date of termination."

LifeVantage was under no obligation to give McCord 1.7M on the way out. In my opinion, it is suspicious, especially considering Dr. Joe McCord’s Financial Interest In LifeVantage/Protandim. Is it possible that the heat from the lying about Protandim got to LifeVantage and they decided it was best to part ways with him? They had already tried to give the New LifeVantage Chief Science Officer job to Darlene Walley, but she didn't last long at the position. Maybe the money was some kind of golden parachute to get him out?

Originally posted 2013-07-02 01:31:42.

This post involves:

Joe McCord

... and focuses on: