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

I was just mentioning how LiveVantage’s Policies and Procedures contradicts itself to a friend. She made an additional point that I missed. As of September 13, 2011, Section 8.11.2 of LifeVantage's Policies and Procedures (PDF) reads:

"An Independent Distributor that provides a product experience testimonial in any medium should use care to disclose their affiliation with LifeVantage ('LifeVantage Independent Distributor'), be honest in their testimonial personal experience, and assert that they are not claiming that their experience is the typical result experienced by consumers."

On the surface this sounds pretty responsible. However, as was previously pointed out in the aforementioned article, is no typical result experienced by consumers so Independent Distributors can make no claims.

What I had missed, though, is that the Independent Distributor can't even make the claim WHILE disclosing that it is not typical. The FTC's Endorsement Guidelines read:

"Example 1: A brochure for a baldness treatment consists entirely of testimonials from satisfied customers who say that after using the product, they had amazing hair growth and their hair is as thick and strong as it was when they were teenagers. The advertiser must have competent and reliable scientific evidence that its product is effective in producing
new hair growth.

The ad will also likely communicate that the endorsers’ experiences are representative of what new users of the product can generally expect. Therefore, even if the advertiser includes a disclaimer such as, “Notice: These testimonials do not prove our product works. You should not expect to have similar results,” the ad is likely to be deceptive unless the advertiser has adequate substantiation that new users typically will experience results similar to those experienced by the testimonialists."

The FTC clarified this point in another FAQ about the Revised Guidelines with another example:

"In our ads we want to feature endorsements from consumers who achieved the best results with our product. Can we do that under the revised Guides?

Testimonials claiming specific results usually will be interpreted to mean that the endorser’s experience is what others can expect. Statements like “Results not typical” or “Individual results may vary” won’t change that interpretation. That leaves advertisers with two choices:

  • Have adequate proof to back up the claim that the results shown in the ad are typical, or
  • Clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the circumstances shown in the ad
  • How would this principle apply in a real ad?

    The revised Guides include a lot of examples with practical advice for marketers. Suppose an ad features an endorsement from 'Mary G.' who says, 'I lost 50 pounds in 6 months with WeightAway.' This ad likely conveys that Mary G.'s experience is typical of what consumers will achieve by using the product. If consumers can’t expect to get those results, the ad likely would mislead consumers unless it makes clear what consumers can expect to lose in similar circumstances – for example, 'Most women who use WeightAway for six months lose at least 15 pounds.'"

By suggesting that Independent Distributors disclose that the results aren't typical ignores the FTC Guidelines that they either need to be able to back up the claim with adequate proof (which doesn't exist for any Protandim claim on humans) or that they disclose the general expected performance (which is no expected change for the customer of the product).

In other words, it seems every conceivable testimony for Protandim would be considered deceptive by the FTC. LifeVantage, instead of recognizing this and making distributors aware of these guidelines, hides behind the inadequate and antiquated notion of telling distributors to say, "results not typical." That's no longer sufficient according to the FTC.

Originally posted 2011-09-13 23:01:41.

This post involves:

Protandim and FTC

... and focuses on:

[Editor's Note: The following is 99% the work of Vogel in a comment that you can read at the main Protandim Scams article. I've done a little clean up and fit the links in to flow like a traditional article on the web.]

The ability of curcumin to stimulate NRF2 (aka NFE2L2) has been known since at least as far back as 2003, when this property was reported by two different groups -- i.e., Dickinson et al. in FASEB Journal (see section entitled "Exposure to curcumin results in translocation of Nrf2 to the nucleus") and Balogun et al. in Biochemical Journal.

PubMed shows that between 2003 and 2008 there were 20 research articles published in which the effect of curcumin on NRF2 was described, and in that same timeframe, many articles have been published on the activation of NRF2 by a variety of other common compounds aside from curcumin, such as green tea polyphenols (such as this one and this one.

Curcumin and green tea extract (75 mg each) are 2 of the 5 ingredients in Protandim.

The effect of Protandim on NRF2 was first described in an article published in 2009 by Velmurugan et al. in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Joe McCord, a longstanding editorial board member for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, a non-physician journal, was one of the authors.

McCord is also an insider shareholder of LifeVantage, owning (or having owned) a 10% share of the company, and he receives a substantial amount of money (50 cents) from every bottle of Protandim sold. Here are details on his financial interest.

One of the other authors of the 2003 article on curcumin and NRF2 published in Biochemical Journal (Balogun et al. 2003) was Jawed Alam, PhD (from the Department of Molecular Genetics at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans), was also an author on the 2009 LifeVantage study on Protandim and NRF2 by Velmurugan and McCord et al.

In a nutshell, that's a smoking gun. LifeVantage’s 2009 report about Protandim simulating NRF2 in vitro was totally predictable, given that the product contains curcumin and green tea extract. They merely piggybacked on a pre-existing line of research, which presumably they had to have been aware of for years (prior to the creation of Protandim). It is also presumably no mere coincidence that the genesis of the Protandim/NRF2 article took place right around the time that the company announced the hiring of David Brown (former CEO of infamous Metabolife) as their new President/CEO – i.e., LifeVantage announced Brown’s hiring in a January 2008 press release and the Protandim/NRF2 manuscript (which included only in vitro experiments, which can be performed fairly quickly) was first submitted to the journal on July 8, 2008 (according to the publication details in the article).

LifeVantage’s first promotional claims about Protandim stimulating NRF2 didn’t appear until sometime around late 2010/early 2011. An archived version of the company’s FAQ from September 2010 mentions nothing about NRF2, but beginning around January 2011, a new section entitled “Is Protandim a Nrf2 Activator?” was added to the FAQ page. One of the statements in the new FAQ at that time was the following: “Protandim’s actions result from its ability to activate the transcription factor known as Nrf2. Protandim contains 5 ingredients that are known to scientists as Nrf2 activators.”

Also around that time, the company gave the Protandim bottle label an overhaul and added the tag line "The NRF2 Synergizer" to the bottle label. Notice that in December 2011, they were still showing the old bottle design on the website but by January 2012 the new bottle design was being featured.

LifeVantage's sleight of hand trick with respect to NRF2 reminds me of how other MLM supplement companies (e.g., Monavie, Juice Plus etc.) spike their products with vitamin C and then publish worthless studies showing that the products have antioxidant effects, which in reality is attributable simply to the added vitamin C (a cheap commonplace ingredient).

Originally posted 2013-06-10 16:26:29.

This post involves:

Protandim History, Protandim Marketing

... and focuses on:

[This article is intended to serve as a summary of other articles available on this site. Comments can be left on those other articles.]

LifeVantage makes a big deal about Dr. Joe McCord. However a little research shows this is unwarranted.

For example, LifeVantage lied about Joe McCord inventing Protandim. The true inventor of Protandim is Paul Myhill who has no background in science. Paul Myhill admits the following in an interview with Blogtalk radio:

"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."

Having said that, it's worth asking who much Dr. Joe McCord was paid to be part of the deception. A look into the company's SEC files shows that Dr. Joe McCord’s Financial Interest In LifeVantage/Protandim is significant which included a 10% ownership in the company when he signed on in 2004, worth millions. Since then he's been granted over a million stock options meaning that he can gain millions more if the company performs well.

In this sense, Dr. Joe McCord is acting as a celebrity endorser, which is best summed up in this Dave Chappelle short comedy bit (note: minor adult language):

Originally posted 2011-09-10 00:27:10.

This post involves:

Joe McCord

... and focuses on:

I just received an email from LifeVantage Protandim distributor Peter Davidson. It asked me to go to gotoabcnews.com to learn about something that "could make a significant difference" in my life.

In going to that website, it was big advertisement for Protandim. Clearly a LifeVantage distributor registered the domain with the intention capitalizing on ABC News' trademark for their own business purposes. Clearly this wasn't a website registered by ABC News for their own purposes. The website isn't used for the purpose of discussing ABC News or any other legit use. According to GoDaddy that seems to be Mike Garrard of Macy, Indiana.

It's disappointing, but hardly suprising, that LifeVantage can't keep its distributors from breaking spam law and trademark laws.

Originally posted 2011-09-06 02:08:08.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Protandim Distributors

... and focuses on:


[The following is a guest post from Vogel...]

Another knee-slapper regarding Protandim’s laughable research. Watch as the story unfolds…

Three of the published articles on Protandim (2 studies on skin cancer in mice, and one review article on the same topic) featured someone named Delira Robbins as an author.

  1. Robbins D, Zhao Y. The role of manganese superoxide dismutase in skin cancer. Enzyme Res. 2011;2011:409295. Epub 2011 Mar 23.
  2. Robbins D, Gu X, Shi R, Liu J, Wang F, Ponville J, McCord JM, Zhao Y. The chemopreventive effects of Protandim: modulation of p53 mitochondrial translocation and apoptosis during skin carcinogenesis. PLoS One. 2010 Jul 30;5(7):e11902.
  3. Liu J, Gu X, Robbins D, Li G, Shi R, McCord JM, Zhao Y. Protandim, a fundamentally new antioxidant approach in chemoprevention using mouse two-stage skin carcinogenesis as a model. PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5284.

[Note: Here’s a video of McCord hyping up 2 of these studies at a Protandim distributor meeting.]

The most recent Protandim publication, featuring Robbins as primary author, was a review article (not actual research) on skin cancer, in which the product was hyped as a potential remedy. This study was leveraged by LFVN, who used it as PR fodder, blasting the news about the study in a corporate press release earlier this year.

In September 2010, LFVN also sent out a corporate PR blast about one of Robbins’ other studies (the one published in the crap online pseudo-journal PLoSOne), in which the company claimed that the study was funded by Louisiana State University.

Now here’s the punch-line. Delira Robbins is a grad student whose highest degree certification to date is a Bachelors of Science.

So in other words, this so-called expert who wrote this allegedly epic review article on Protandim and skin cancer, and authored/executed those 2 allegedly earth-shattering studies in mice, is a non-expert; she’s a simple science grad student at Louisiana State U with no legitimate expert credentials.

My strong hunch is that Delira Robbins' doctoral research, which appears to be focused solely on Protandim, is being funded by LFVN, either directly from a stipend or indirectly through funds paid to her supervisor Yunfeng Zhao.

Interestingly, I saw a couple of job ads that Zhao had recently posted for postdoctoral research fellows. (Notice how poor the salary is - sad.)

I checked the NIH grant database and it shows that no grants were awarded to Zhao, so I wonder where he’s getting the money to hire a post-doc, and whether that post-doc will be relegated to conjuring up more BS to feed LFVN’s PR spin doctors.

[Editor's Conclusion: This seems to be sound research and backs up what Protandim Inventor Paul Myhill said about encouraging research]

Originally posted 2011-08-23 04:32:00.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Lies, Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:

I found it interesting that Nick Bello decided to put out a press release announcing his joining of LifeVantage. Considering that there is no barrier to joining LifeVantage, this is similar to someone putting out a press release that they ate a sandwich. It certainly isn't "Breaking News!" as he describes it.

In the press release he points to the ABC video attempting to let it speak for itself. He omits The Truth Behind LifeVantage’s ABC Primetime Video.

He's also quoted as saying:

“With a product like Protandim that has been proven by science through 15 different peer-reviewed studies, when people start taking the product, they keep taking it, and it is very affordable.”

Actually proven by science, according to the National Institute of Health requires clinical trials and systematic reviews. There's only been two clinical trials. The first had a done of procedural errors that are elsewhere explained on this site and the second showed negative results. There have been no systematic reviews.

And people don't continue taking the product. In a LifeVantage Conference Call, they revealed that 95% of preferred customers quit taking it every year. You can read more with the cited information here: LifeVantage Reveals How Terrible the Business Opportunity Is

As for it being "very affordable", it's is a terrible value with about $1.50 worth of ingredients in every bottle as shown in this Protandim article. It is much more affordable to buy the ingredients separately.

Bello then adds, “LifeVantage has grown at an amazing rate with no hype. It is the best kept secret in the industry.” That is further misleading as it one of the few publicly traded MLM companies. As such it's not a "secret" in any kind of way. As far as growing at an amazing rate with no hype, what do you call Donny Osmond breaking the FTC's celebrity endorsement guidelines on Dr. Phil? And then he followed it up with a repeated breaking of the FTC guidelines on another talk show.

Why must Nick Bello feel the need to spam the Internet with self-promotional press releases? It's yet another reason to hate MLM. You don't see other supplement company employees putting out press releases about them joining the company.

Final Thought: I really don't like to call out people personally, but these people deserve it. Why let them continue their scamming ways unchecked?

Originally posted 2013-09-20 16:58:27.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Protandim Distributors

... and focuses on:

It's come to my attention that Montel Williams appears to be breaking the law according to the FTC and the FDA. How so? Well I watched this video on YouTube:

Here are some of the points that I found interesting:

  • Montel mentions going Against Medical Advice (AMA) at around 2:20 and 3:25. The paid endorser for LifeVantage is suggesting that doctors, who have spent most of their lives studying how to help people with their medical conditions, shouldn't be listened to. This is extremely dangerous information to spread and it's irresponsible for Mr. Williams who claims at 3:33 that there are a lot of people who rely on him.
  • At the 4:10 point in the video, Montel Williams claims to have seen some of the best MS doctors and that he's still dealing with the same issues. Montel, this isn't rocket science, simply read what the NIH says about MS treatment. It's pretty straight-forward (and there's no mention of Protandim anywhere there).
  • At the 6:15 mark Montel Williams says, "This isn't a double-blind study, this isn't a clinical study" and then claims that Protandim helped him with symptoms of MS. This is explicitly against the LifeVantage Policy and Procedures (see third bullet point below) and LifeVantage is not only condoning it, but paying a celebrity endorser to do it.
  • From 8:30 to 8:50 Montel Williams he clearly credits Protandim as having a therapeutic effect that can only be claimed from drugs as defined by the FDA (see the 4th bullet point below).

Allow me to make a few points about the video that are not explicitly mentioned:

  • Montel Williams is a distributor of LifeVantage according to this LifeVantage press release. It's also likely that he was paid speaking fees for this appearance as most celebrities are, but neither party is discloses such information as best I can tell.
  • No claims of any LifeVantage products, including Protandim, may be made about its ability to aid in any disease according to LifeVantage's Policies and Procedures (PDF) set forth by their compliance department:

    "No claims, which include personal testimonials, as to therapeutic, curative or beneficial properties of any products offered by LifeVantage may be made except those contained in official LifeVantage materials. In particular, no Independent Distributor may make any claim that LifeVantage products are useful in the cure, treatment, diagnosis, mitigation or prevention of any diseases or signs or symptoms of disease. Not only are such claims violations of LifeVantage policies, but they potentially violate federal and state laws and regulations, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Federal Trade Commission Act."

  • The above quote by LifeVantage mentioned that such claims may violate the FDA's Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA is quite busy and very underfunded with the government deficient, but it does crack down on violations when it comes across them. One example is this letter to MonaVie distributor Kevin Vokes (PDF). A relevant portion of that is:

    "This is to advise you that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed your web site at the Internet address http://www.acai-berry.com and has determined that your products “MonaVie Original,” “MonaVie Active,” “MonaVie Combo,” and “MonaVie Gel” are promoted for conditions that cause the products to be drugs under section 201(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)]. The therapeutic claims on your web site establish that the products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The marketing of these products with these claims violates the Act."

  • The FTC has released it's own guidelines on endorsements, which clearly this is. According to the FTC:
    • Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading;
    • If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances; and
    • If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed."

    We have no way of determining the truth of Montel Williams' claims, but we do know that the FTC specifically mentions multiple sclerosis (MS) as one of those product that are targeted by miracle cures and that "Unfortunately, these products, devices, and treatments often are unproven and useless, making promises they can’t fulfill." In other words, the FTC indirectly has already claimed that it is not possible for Montel Williams to have told the truth.

    The advertiser, LifeVantage in this case, doesn't have proof that the endorser's (Montel Williams) experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product. This video does not disclose the generally expected results... such as the product doesn't aid with any medical condition.

    Finally the connection between the endorser (Montel Williams) and the marketer (LifeVantage) doesn't seem to be disclosed in the video. However, LifeVantage deserves some credit for having disclosed the connection in a press release more than two years ago.

It looks to me that clearly Montel Williams is not only breaking LifeVantage's Policy and Procedures, but he's also breaking the FTC endorsement guidelines, as well as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Update: It seems like he's willing to credit anything that is willing to put money in his product. Now he's crediting medical marijuana for his health:

“Prescription drugs nearly shut down my kidneys. Then a doctor suggested I try medical marijuana,” said Williams, who credits pot for improving his health and well-being.

Originally posted 2011-07-08 00:43:19.

This post involves:

FDA, Protandim and FTC

... and focuses on:

, , ,

One of the more interesting things about LifeVantage is its history. If you look at the LifeVantage website, the press releases start in 2008. What is interesting about this is that it whitewashes the company's history. LifeVantage doesn't mention that the company used to be called Lifeline.

Lifeline was famous for attempting to bring a product called CMX-1152 to market. It was developed by a company called CereMedix. Why is this notable? Well CMX-1152 was to be called Protandim and it just happens to do what Protandim claims to do today. Back in 2003 Lifeline issued a press release that it "attained the perpetual, exclusive, worldwide rights to an innovative oral supplement being heralded as the first real hope in the battle against oxidative stress."

I'm going to go out on a limb and presume perpetual, exclusive, worldwide licenses for innovative things are expensive, very expensive.

Everything was going well, except that years later the deal fell through. This article from The Scientist tells the story:

"According to a representative of Ceremedix who preferred to remain anonymous, Lifeline began calling CMX-1152 'Protandim,' although it is unclear who suggested the name. After the deal between the companies fell apart (for unknown reasons) Ceremedix dropped CMX-1152, and began concentrating on other therapeutic areas."


The Protandim that was introduced in February 2005 is a completely different formulation from 1152. Online searches bring up pages describing both. At one point, Lifeline filed a statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, saying that 'several erroneous and misleading statements' were made in a Denver network broadcast, and Protandim 'is in no way comprised of, or related to, Ceremedix's peptide.' Company representatives from Lifeline did not return requests for comment."

As the article points out, neither company has been forthcoming about the deal fell apart between the companies. It is worth noting that CMX-1152 isn't available today. Perhaps in further clinical testing it proved to be ineffective. That seems to be the only reason I can think of why it wouldn't be on the market in some capacity.

The educated reader probably has two thoughts at this point:

  • With what would appear to be a lot of money invested in the licensing of CMX-1152, a smart financial move for the company would be to find a product it can sell.
  • With years of mentioning Protandim in press releases building up the anticipation of the product, the company would benefit the most by producing a product to capitalize on the Protandim brand.

The ideal solution to this problem would be to create another product that has the same "innovative" and "break-through" benefits (words from the Lifeline press release mentioned above) of CMX-1152. The odds of being able to create such a product would clearly be astronomical since no one else has been able to do it previously. Based on the article in The Scientist, Lifeline was able to do it in just a few months. To make the odds even longer, Lifeline relied on Paul Myhill who had no medical background.

The history of Protandim should cause the wise consumer to wait until the company proves the product effective via clinical large scale, placebo-controlled, human trials and FDA approval.

Originally posted 2011-06-19 22:17:59.

This post involves:

Protandim History

... and focuses on:

It has come to my attention from Dr. Harriett Hall's article on Protandim (via Protandim Watch) that LifeVantage second patent application may break the FDA's law. The part that I'm looking at is the following quote on page 28 of the patent application:

"The compositions of the present invention are useful to prevent or treat the following disorders and diseases: memory loss; Parkinson’s disease; aging; toxin-induced hepatotoxicity, inflammation; liver cirrhosis; chronic hepatitis; and diabetes due to cirrhosis; indigestion; fatigue; stress; cough; infertility; tissue inflammation; cancer; anxiety disorders; panic attacks; rheumatism; pain; manic depression; alcoholic paranoia; schizophrenia; fever; insomnia; infertility; aging; skin inflammations and disorders; alcoholism; anemia; carbuncles; convalescence; emaciation; HIV; AIDS; immune system problems; lumbago; multiple sclerosis; muscle energy loss; paralysis; swollen glands; ulcers; breathing difficulties; inflammation; psoriasis; cancer (e.g.; prostate cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer); pain; cardiovascular disease (e.g.; arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis); ischemia/reperfusion injury; anxiety; attention deficit disorder; leprosy; arthritis (e.g., psoriatic arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; and rheumatoid arthritis); hemorrhoids; tuberculosis; high blood pressure; congestive heart failure; venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the veins; usually in the legs); sore throat; hepatitis; syphilis; stomach ulcers; epilepsy; diarrhea; asthma; burns; piles; sunburn; wrinkles; headache; insect bites; cuts; ulcers; sores; herpes; jaundice; bursitis; canker sores; sore gums; poison ivy; gastritis; high cholesterol; heart disease; bacterial infection; viral infection; acne; aging; immune disorders; dental caries; periodontitis; halitosis; dandruff; cardiovascular disease (e.g., hypertension; thrombosis; arteriosclerosis); migraine headaches; diabetes; elevated blood glucose; diseases of the alimentary canal and respiratory system; age-related physical and mental deterioration (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease and age-related dementia); cardiovascular disease; cerebral vascular insufficiency and impaired cerebral performance; congestive symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; allergies; age-related vision loss; depression; Raynaud’s disease; peripheral vascular disease; intermittent claudication; vertigo; equilibrium disorder; prevention of altitude sickness; tinnitus (ringing in the ear); liver fibrosis; macular degeneration; asthma; graft rejection; and immune disorders that induce toxic shock; bronchpulmonary disease as cystic fibrosis; chronic bronchitis; gastritis; heart attack; angina pectoris; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; kidney damage during coronary angiography; Unverricht-Lundborg disease; pseudoporphyria; pneumonia; and paracetamol hepatotoxicity."

This immediately reminds me of the quote from the FTC warning about scams that I referenced here: Protandim, Miracle Claims, Scientific Breakthroughs, and the FTC:

"Miracle products claim to cure serious conditions — often conditions that science has no cure for, like arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and HIV-AIDS. Some products even claim to be a ‘cure-all’ for several diseases and a host of symptoms. Often, the ads claim the products come with money-back guarantees. Unfortunately, these products, devices, and treatments often are unproven and useless, making promises they can’t fulfill."

It appears that every single one of the conditions that the FTC warns about is in the list. Even more interesting is that several conditions such as cancer, gastritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma, infertility, and diabetes are listed more than once. The patent lists "aging" three times (Fountain of Youth, anyone?).

It is interesting to read "The compositions of the present invention are useful to prevent or treat the following disorders and diseases:" and then find on LifeVantage's own FAQ: "Protandim is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." Clearly LifeVantage is confused about the intentions of its own product. One has to ask the question why should consumers have any trust in LifeVantage or Protandim when the company clearly doesn't know what their own product is intended to do?

Where does this patent perhaps break the law? Well section 201(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)(B) says that drug is defined as "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals." From the words in the patent, LifeVantage views Protandim to fit the FDA's definition of being a "drug."

However, for such claims to be made, the product itself must be approved by the FDA through a process called the New Drug Application (NDA). To the best of my knowledge (and any doubters feel free to prove otherwise), LifeVantage has NOT filed with the FDA to classify Protandim as drug.

It seems one could view this patent application as violating the FDA's laws regarding dietary supplements (which is what Protandim is classified as).

Originally posted 2011-06-18 21:22:03.

This post involves:

FDA, Protandim and FTC

... and focuses on:

Some say you can judge an organization by its leadership. If that's the case, those interested in LifeVantage Protandim should take a look at Pro 10 Distributor Nancy Leavitt's illegal testimonial about the product she sells and skin cancer. Here it is on YouTube:

[Note: Mrs. Leavitt's lawyer sent me a DMCA take-down notice for alleged copyright infringement for embedding this video from YouTube.com. I have sent a DMCA counter-notice that the lawyer must initiate legal action against me and settle this in a court of law. It is my understanding that the lawyer must file law suit against me within 10-14 days. That 10-14 day has expired and I have not been notified of any lawsuit. Thus, I'm going to restore the embedded video from YouTube as the feature was designed by Google for the ease of use of the reader.

I apologize for any past inconvenience caused by Mrs. Leavitt and her lawyer. Considering the video's content, I can understand why Nancy Leavitt would want to make it more difficult for you to view it.]

As with all YouTube videos they can be taken down by their respective owners. I suspect the above video will be taken down soon. In the event that happens I made a copy for my records. In fact, there's a note at the bottom of the comments from Matt Leavitt asking that it be removed 9 months ago. That alone should be a major red flag that this product is being marketed illegally. However as it stands on May 31, 2011, this video, that was submitted on February 9th, 2010, has over 4400 page views.

In the video you'll find Nancy Leavitt saying the following:

- 0:13 - "The most important thing to know is that this product works 100% of the time. It's proven, it's documented and it's measurable."
- 0:41 - "I had real achy joints from teaching aerobics for so many years and after just a few weeks of using Protandim that subsided immediately."
- 0:51 - "I was also using some anxiety medication and I noticed all of my symptoms from anxiety started going away..."
- 1:02 - "I no longer struggle with ADD and joint pain is gone."
- 1:10 - "The most profound thing that happened to me, besides having more energy and better sleep... what was really miraculous to me... I've suffered and struggle with skin cancer for years."
- 2:05 - "I was using Protandim and also TrueScience and I've been using the product for 6 weeks and I wanted to wait to have the surgery done because #1 it is obviously expensive and causes different scars and such... after 6 weeks the using Protandim and TrueScience the two spots on my forehead disappeared and the spot on my leg completely disappeared as well. The symptoms of skin cancer... totally gone... it was just a miraculous thing for me."

Nancy Leavitt doesn't waste much time stressing the "most important thing" that the "product works 100% of the time." She fails to define what working is in that statement, but says that it's "proven", "documented", and "measurable".... three things that are impossible to apply to something is only generally defined as "works."

Nancy Leavitt then goes into litany of medical conditions that Protandim has cured as I showed above. With those medical cure condition claims in mind, let's review LifeVantage distributor policies and procedures:

"8.11.2 – Product Claims

No claims, which include personal testimonials, as to therapeutic, curative or beneficial properties of any products offered by LifeVantage may be made except those contained in official LifeVantage materials. In particular, no Independent Distributor may make any claim that LifeVantage products are useful in the cure, treatment, diagnosis, mitigation or prevention of any diseases or signs or symptoms of disease. Not only are such claims violations of LifeVantage policies, but they potentially violate federal and state laws and regulations, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Federal Trade Commission Act."

So there is the evidence that the very top people in LifeVantage break LifeVantage's own rules. As LifeVantage mentions they potentially violate the FDA and FTC's policies. The FTC has released the following guidelines on such testimonies:

  • Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading;
  • If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances; and
  • If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed.

This video violates at least the two points. She didn't disclose that she is a paid LifeVantage distributor in the video. She also does not disclose that her results are different from the "generally expected results." It is hard to judge the first own without medical proof. In addition, we already covered how how the FTC feels about the claims Nancy Leavitt made. Specifically that article mentioned:

  • products that "claim to be a ‘cure-all’ for several diseases... often are unproven and useless, making promises they can’t fulfill."
  • "The reality is that phony miracle products can have dangerous interactions with medicines you’re already taking. They also might cause you to delay or stop medical treatment for your condition…"
  • products you should avoid “are promoted with phrases like 'scientific breakthrough,' 'ancient remedy,' or 'miraculous cure,' or scientific-sounding terms like 'thermogenesis'"

So we have Nancy Leavitt hitting all the major points of what the FTC is a scam and fraud. In regard to bullet point #1 above, she definitely calls it a cure-all (works 100%) for several conditions. In regard to bullet point #2 above, she admitted that it stopped her from treating her medical condition (skin cancer). Finally, In regard to bullet point #3 above, we have her claiming twice that Protandim was "miraculous."

A related article notes that MonaVie, another MLM, and their lawyers have made it a point to warn that these claims violate the FTC rules: MonaVie, FTC Guidelines, and Distributor Testimonies.

I haven't even touched the FDA violations here. I'll let someone in the comments get that ball rolling.

Originally posted 2011-05-31 22:13:03.

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