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

When you join an MLM, they often tout the successful distributors. LifeVantage is no different. I was able to obtain a copy of Prosper Magazine Volume 3, issue 6, which is a magazine that companies like LifeVantage commissions for marketing purposes.

The magazine features 30 pages of distributor profiles. Here are some of the people mentioned in the first 8 pages (each getting a two page spread): Marcell Niederhauser, Tyler Daniels, Jason Domingo, and Marc Shinsato. Out of curiosity, I did a search on one of them and I found something really interesting at MLM Watchdog about Zrii:

"From: Zrii Corporate [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 4:21 PM
To:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Call Anouncement From Mr. Farley
Dear Zrii Independent Executives, Bill will be hosting a nationwide call tonight with all Zrii Distributors.
7pm Pacific Time Call in number: 507 726-3444 Access Code: 45259#

24/7 Recorded Playback <<<<<<<<< 712-432-7690
Access Code 98765#
Recording No. 020509#

Please join us for this most important call. This call will be recorded and available for playback.
I want you to know that Kirby Zenger and several of our executives have resigned. I have also terminated as Distributors: Jason Domingo, Tyler Daniels, Marcell Niederhouser, Seth Mulder, Marc Shinsato, Dr. Robert Gonzales, and Dr. Andreas Boettcher. These individuals no longer can speak for Zrii. I will update you on the call tonight."

I highlighted the relevant names (including the previously mentioned Kirby Zenger)

In fact, you can see a number of them pushing Zrii in this video.

What's the point of highlighting these people? It is pretty clear to me that they didn't become successful at LifeVantage through hard work of showing the compensation plan. It seems to me that they've just moved their downline over after getting fired by Zrii.

It gets even more interesting.

From this court document:

"On March 2, LifeVantage opened a new Utah office staffed overwhelmingly with former Zrii employees. Indeed, all of the forty-five to fifty LifeVantage corporate employees, except one, are former Zrii employees."

Why do I point this out? There are a couple of reasons.

  • LifeVantage doesn't mention that these people created their downlines by showing the Zrii compensation plan. If you are a distributor looking to join LifeVantage and emulate the success of these people, you best have a time machine so that you can get the invite to be brought in during the pre-release phase of LifeVantage back in early February 2009.
  • A couple of years ago, the same set of people were full believers in Zrii and pitching how great that product was. They got upset with how it was run (according to the court documents) and moved to LifeVantage. The juice salesmen became pill salesmen, because it paid better. Who is to say in another two years they won't move on to a weight-loss product or back to juice? There's no allegiance to the product as long as they can make a convincing argument to sell it.

Originally posted 2011-12-30 00:52:09.

This post involves:

LifeVantage and Zrii

... and focuses on:



LifeVantage and its Protandim distributors make a big mention about searching PubMed.gov for Protandim. Why? Well, because that is the system that they've chosen to exploit. And that's why Paul Myhill, Inventor of Protandim, admitted that it was for marketing purposes.

It is worth asking the question of, "Where are the clinical studies?" The product has been around 6 years and the studies aren't there. Using LifeVantage's own logic go to ClinicalTrials.gov and search for Protandim (or just click that link).

Two of the studies were on alcoholism, which is something that unrelated to any of the thousand of claims I've seen on Protandim. Both of them are appear to be from Dr. McCord's home-base of University of Colorado, which has clear ties to Joe McCord. One of the studies has a status of "Enrolling by invitation", but it was supposed to have been completed earlier this year. The other one on this topic is a status of unknown and it was supposed to have been completed a year and a half ago (summer of 2010).

other clinical trial attempted was on "Protandim and the Metabolic Syndrome" and that has been withdrawn. Seems like the results weren't what LifeVantage, listed as a collaborator, was looking for.

This speaks volumes about how irrelevant Protandim is with scientists. The three "current" clinical trials have/had ties to LifeVantage. More importantly none of them seem active.

Update: There are some great comments and clarifications in the comments by Vogel.

Originally posted 2011-12-22 01:30:02.

This post involves:

Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:



I've often read about LifeVantage distributors claim that Protandim was featured in the Today Show. This turns out to be another case of a somewhat misleading claim. It turns out that the Today Show itself didn't endorse Protandim in any way... in fact, they went out of their way to take the mention of the product out of their website. I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Here's the clip from the Today Show:

If you don't want to watch the whole video, you can skip ahead to the 1:50 mark.

It sounds like a pretty ringing endorsement from nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, right? What she doesn't mention is that she was a paid spokesperson for Protandim. You can see it listed in a list of clients on page 16 of CV (Microsoft Word Document). The timing is also noteworthy. Elizabeth Somer was a spokesperson in 2006 (according to that CV). The accompanying article of the video is from July 26th, 2006. This seems to be at a minimum a violation of the FTC's truth in endorsement guidelines.

In any case, we know that there was only one study at that point and that not only did LifeVantage appear to rig the data in the Protandim human clinical trial, but they used biased subjects of company insiders and investors in it.

It seems like the Today realized after the after fact that they had been had and Elizabeth Somer used the segment to market her client for her own financial gain. If you go back to the accompanying article, you'll notice that they purposely left out any mention of Protandim.

It is clear that the Today Show doesn't support Protandim.

Originally posted 2011-12-21 02:35:56.

This post involves:

Protandim Marketing

... and focuses on:

,



[Editor's Note: The following article is from a series of comments left by Vogel starting here. Some minor editing has taken place for readability.]

Lifevantage issued a press release today announcing that they had released a research abstract on the Protandim formula sold in Japan (which substitutes piperine for ashwaganda). First, it must be pointed out that this is only a meeting abstract; it is not a full published study and the full study may never be published in its entirety; we’ll have to wait and see to find out. It is not possible to conduct a proper review until and unless the full study is published. That’s why abstracts of this type are considered to be basically worthless.

The company has chosen to continue using the unreliable and inexact TBARS test to measure oxidative stress (why after all this time they have not used more accurate methods remains a mystery). The basic experimental paradigm was a before-and-after comparison of the effects of (1) placebo (2) Protandim without ashwaganda (a 4-ingredient version), and (3) Protandim with piperine substituted for ashwaganda (the Japan version). Oddly (and conspicuously), they did not include (or decided not to report the effects of) the original Protandim formulation. The report does not indicate that the study was randomized or blinded (essential features of a properly designed study).

TBARS in plasma were measured prior to taking the supplements and again after 30 days post-ingestion. The results were as follows:
Placebo (13 subjects): Baseline = 4.70 nmol/mL (uM) / Post-treatment = 6.09 nmol/mL (uM)
PT minus ashwaganda (7 subjects): Baseline = 5.44 / Post-treatment = 7.79
PT minus ashwaganda + piperine (13 subjects): Baseline = 6.31 / post-treatment = 4.90

So what to make of this data. Several things are striking. First, the group sizes are lopsided; there’s no logical reason why the group that received the no-ashwaganda version of PT would include nearly half as many subjects as the other two groups; this is suggestive of either a poor design from the outset or a high subject dropout rate in the no-ashwaganda group). Secondly a group size of 7 is very small (i.e., the study is underpowered).

Moving on, notice that the baseline TBARS values are also badly mismatched. The placebo group had baseline values of 4.7 uM compared with 5.44 and 6.31 uM in the other groups (i.e. relative to placebo the values in those groups were 16% and 34% higher, respectively, at baseline) This is indicative of a poorly designed study since the groups should all have comparable TBARS values at baseline. This alone is enough to negate the study’s findings. Bear in mind also that because the baseline value was low in the placebo group but high in the PT groups, it would be easier to show a TBARS reduction in the latter groups (i.e., they were already low to begin with in the placebo group).

Also remarkable was the fact that TBARS increased in the placebo group (by 30%), whereas logic would dictate that they should have stayed at the same level after 30 days. Similarly, it is also odd that TBARS increased (by 43%) in the group treated with the no-ashwaganda version. The logical inference from this finding would be that without ashwaganda, the concoction increases oxidative stress (a weird and not reassuring finding). The TBARS levels went down (by 22%) in the group that received the piperine (Japan) version of Protandim — but the values were decreased to the same level as the placebo group had at baseline. The logical conclusion then is that if you take the piperine version of Protandim, you can decrease your TBARS to the same levels that you would have had normally without taking anything.

It’s also noteworthy that while the company had previously claimed that the product reduced TBARS by 40% (based on the 2006 study by Nelson et al.), this study using the piperine version showed only a 22% reduction. But where things get really interesting is when we compare these new data with the data from the Nelson study.

Lifevantage had claimed that Protandim prevents age-related increases in TBARS and that the product decreases TBARS to the levels of a “newborn baby”. However, if we look at the TBARS data in the Nelson study we can see that they had baseline values in the range of 1 um (in the youngest subjects, approximately 20 years old) to 3.5 uM (in the oldest subjects, approximately 80 years old). Yet remarkably, in this newly released abstract, the data show that the 3 groups started with TBARS levels higher than that of the oldest subjects in the Nelson study (which is odd because the subjects in the latest study were only 45-69 years old), increased off the charts following ingestion of the placebo or the no ashwaganda version, and were reduced by treatment with the piperine version to levels higher than that of the untreated 80-year old subject in the Nelson study. This really kills their previous marketing story about Protandim eliminating age-related oxidative stress.

It should be pointed out that the subjects in this study were described as overweight/obese, and this could have had some impact on baseline TBARS levels (i.e., they might be slightly higher in overweight/obsese vs normal-weight people), but this would have no bearing on most of the design flaws and shoddy data that I described above. Incidentally, I think their angle in enrolling overweight subjects is to support the company’s most recent marketing realignment towards becoming a diet products vendor rather than simply a peddler of fraudulent snake oil wonder cures.

It should also be pointed out that several of the authors of this abstract (Benjamin Miller, Karyn Hamilton, and Christopher Bell) are people we have discussed in the past in connection with meeting abstracts published on Protandim by students at Colorado State University. My guess is that Lifevantage has been compensating these individuals, who are in turn putting students to work generating shoddy scientific propaganda for Lifevantage. This is similar to how we found out that McCord had used U Colorado students on some of the previously published Protandim studies. [Editor's Note: It looks like this organization has admitted to being paid by LifeVantage]

A few other claims from the study abstract and press release warrant further comment. For example, the abstract states:

“Compared with baseline, circulating plasma TBARS were unaffected by placebo or Protandim minus ashwaganda”

How is it possible that they could report that TBARS were “unaffected” in these two groups? TBARS were increased by 30% in the placebo group and by 43% in the group that received the 4-ingredient (no-ashwaganda) version of Protandim. The magnitudes of those increases are far greater than the magnitude of the decrease (22%) reported for the version with piperine added. I can’t imagine any statistical scenario where this would be possible, so it looks like the statistical analysis was fudged or the results misstated. The abstract then went on to conclude the following:

“These preliminary data suggest, in countries where ashwagandha is considered medicinal, piperine may be an acceptable substitute ingredient in the Nrf2 activator, Protandim.”

It’s odd to say the least that they while they suggest that NRF2 activation is the primary mechanism by which Protandim acts, they didn’t bother to assess the effects of the Japan version of Protandim on NRF2. There’s no reason to assume that the in vitro NRF2-activating properties of the Japan version are similar to that of the original formulation. Nor is there any reason to assume that any reductions in TBARS that the product(s) produce are related to NRF2 activation, when the effect can be explained by a simple direct antioxidant/radical scavenging effect independent of NRF2. They have never produced any clinical data showing that Protandim affects NRF2 in people who ingest the product. Now let’s look at what was claimed in the company’s press release, quoting the company’s Chief Science Officer (and supplement scammer extraordinaire) Shawn Talbott:

“In addition, this study demonstrates that both of our formulations of Protandim are potent oxidative stress reducers. This allows us to offer people a powerful Nrf2 activator and oxidative stress reduction product in most jurisdictions."

No it doesn’t demonstrate anything about both formulations. That’s a straight up lie. The study in question did not test “both formulations” of Protandim; the original Protandim formulation was not studied. The lie is even expressed in the abstract’s title:

“Oxidative Stress is Decreased With Short-Term Protandim Use When Piperine is Substituted for Ashwagandha”

Again, the study did not look at “substitution” of piperine for ashwaganda. It looked at “addition” of piperine to a formulation that consisted of 4 ingredients (milk thistle, bacopa, green tea, curcumin), which is not one of the two formulations marketed by the company, and the Japan version of Protandim which contained 5 ingredients (the 4 above + piperine). What the study showed is that 4 of the 5 ingredients in the U.S. version of Protandim do not lower TBARS but that when piperine is added as the fifth ingredient, it does. This would suggest that all of the antioxidant effect of the Japan formulation is dependent on the presence of piperine and nothing else. So a more accurate title for the study would have been:

“Piperine Mediates the Antioxidant Effect of the Japan Formulation of Protandim” or better still...

“The Japan Formulation of Protandim Increases Oxidative Stress in the Absence of Piperine”

Actually, the most interesting title, supported by the data, would be: “Protandim Without Ashwagandha Increases Oxidative Stress by 43% in Overweight Subjects

This post involves:

Protandim Studies, Shawn Talbott

... and focuses on:



Christi Baus suggested I take a look at here website about Protandim at Christ Baus. I think she expected it to be a compelling reason to buy the product, but it turns out that there is a lot of misleading information there - some of it seems like outright lies. In case here website has changed, you can see a screenshot of it here.

Let's go into a few of the problems that I found on the site.

Myth: Trump, Kiyosaki, and Buffett support Network Marketing

For one you say that Trump, Kiyosaki, and Buffett support Network Marketing (i.e. the name that MLMers use for MLM because it sounds better, Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, MLMs, and MonaVie

Christi also suggests that people "Get the facts as featured in Wall Street Journal." This is misleading as the link is to an advertisement by the Direct Selling Association that is a lobbyist group for MLM. It is nothing more than informercial in print. It clearly doesn't represent the opinions of any WSJ editors.

Christi Baus' distorted view on illegal pyramid schemes

She had some interesting points about illegal pyramid schemes:

"You must be able to join the business without having to purchase any products what so ever. You can join LifeVantage for only $50."

That $50 option (the starter kit) says that "Note: When ordering a Starter Kit, you must also place an initial product order of 100 PV or more in order to qualify for commissions."

In other words you can not join the business (qualify for commissions) without purchasing product. Also, while it is not stated here, you must continue to purchase product or you will lose the ability to qualify for commissions (i.e. be in the business).

Cristi also said about legit opportunities vs. illegal pyramid schemes,

"You can only be paid when product is purchased by a downline distributor or your own customers."

I did not see this in anything the FTC has written. In fact, the FTC has shut down pyramid schemes when this is the case (JewelWay for example). The FTC wouldn't care if people were paid a bonus of $10,000 for making no sales to any distributors or customers. Of course, businesses don't typically give away $10,000, so this point is never tested, but it is irrelevant.

The third claim Christi makes about MLMs and illegal pyramid schemes is:

"You can not be paid for enrolling people into the business."

This is true, but it extends to further than that. The quote from the FTC is:

"Another sign of a pyramid scheme is if the money you make depends more on recruiting — getting new distributors to pay for the right to participate in the plan — than on sales to the public."

So if the money one makes from one's downline is greater than the amount of product that one makes from sales of the product oneself, it is likely a pyramid scheme.

As it was earlier established, to be in the business one must buy product and thus if one is paid based on that person's initial purchase, one is being paid for enrolling people in the business. The two are interlinked and are one in the same.

Protandim and Pharmaceutical Companies

Christi makes the point that pharmaceutical companies are trying to do what Protandim already does. Ask yourself that if Protandim actually worked, why wouldn't they just buy LifeVantage - it's a publicly traded company penny stock company. It doesn't make sense until you realize that Protandim actually creates free radicals: Cheap Curcumin in Protandim Activates Nrf2 by Stimulating Free Radical Production.

Perhaps the pharmaceutical companies are trying to activate Nrf2 without creating free radicals.

Christi Baus makes the claim of:

"Did you know that the specific combination of herbs, the exact ratio of each one is the reason it works, 1800% more effective than the sum of the parts."

What Christi doesn't mention is that this statement has no scientific proof to it. There is no untainted, unfudged data that Protandim does anything for humans to begin with. There's no data that the exact ratio plays any part. It is worth mentioning that it is illogical as this is not the case with any other natural product. We don't suggest that there's a magic ratio that cake becomes extra healthy.

Christi Baus' "Who to BELIEVE?" section

The first quote that is interesting is:

"Look at the studies that are being released by Harvard, Ohio State U, LSU and the American Heart Association. Go to Pubmed.gov and search for Protandim, all the studies will pop up."

I've been to Pubmed.gov and none of these organizations have released any studies that support Protandim. In the case of Harvard, Ohio State U, and LSU none of these schools endorse Protandim in any way. Go ahead and search Harvard's website for Protandim - there's nothing there. For more about the "Harvard" lie: read: LifeVantage Lies to SEC, Investors, Consumers about “Harvard” Study.

The truth about these schools is that they have one person who may or may not have been paid by LifeVantage to conduct a test and publish a paper. In almost every case LifeVantage's Joe McCord was involved in the study making it anything but biased.

As for the American Heart Association, they published a paper "Chronic Pulmonary Artery Pressure Elevation Is Insufficient to Explain Right Heart Failure", which if you read the conclusion had absolutely nothing to do with Protandim.

Final Thoughts

Christi didn't have much to offer on her website that wasn't already addressed here. Though it is clear that she's trying to throw out big names such as Harvard, Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett, and Donald Trump to make it seem like they support Protandim. However, just like LifeVantage itself, when you dig a little deeper you find that none of these people or organizations support LifeVantage or Protandim, nor do they stand by the product doing anything at all for the consumer.

Originally posted 2011-12-16 20:06:46.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Protandim Distributors

... and focuses on:



[The following is another guest post by frequent commenter and researcher, Vogel.]

I just stumbled on a research article that mentions Protandim. It was published in FASEB J (a pretty good journal) in 2009. The study used an in vitro skeletal muscle model to identify factors that might improve muscle function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. A variety of drugs and supplements, including Protandim, were tested. An increase in muscle contraction (tetanic force) was used as the benchmark for potentially useful compounds. While some of the compounds tested produced a significant increase in tetanic force (e.g., glucoocorticoids, which are used currently in the treatment of DMD), Protandim not only failed to increase tetanic force, it actually decreased it, suggesting that, if anything, Protandim would have negative effects in DMD patients. This is what the study reported:

"The glucocorticoids methylprednisolone, deflazacort, and prednisone increased tetanic forces at low doses, indicating a direct muscle mechanism by which they may be benefitting DMD patients" (p. 3325)

"At high concentrations, 6 of the compounds (Protandim, Haelan 951, coenzyme Q10, alanine, losartan, and ursodeoxycholate) significantly inhibited mdx mBAM tetanic force." (p. 3326)

"...the antioxidative compounds Protandim, coenzyme Q10, and Vital Detox, as well as the membrane stabilizer poloxamer, were ineffective in increasing mdx mBAM tetanic force..." (p. 3332)

The key author of the study was Brian Tseng, who also coauthored the 2010 Protandim study in DMD mice, funded in part by LFVN [Qureshi et al. J Diet Suppl. 2010 Jun 1;7(2):159-178]

So, isn't it interesting to see how Protandim succeeds in research trials only when McCord’s name is on the paper, and fails when it's not. Isn't also interesting that LFVN never mentioned the existence of this study on their website, instead displaying only studies that they believe shows their product in the best light.

We’ve seen evidence of data rigging; now we have evidence of negative data suppression as well.

Originally posted 2011-11-23 02:10:44.

This post involves:

Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:



The following is a guest post from Vogel. In the interest of getting this out there as quickly as possible we'll keep it in its raw/unformatted form and make it more reader friendly soon.

I just came across a video that can rightly be called a smoking gun. The following video was posted to YouTube by LifeVantage distributor Christi Baus from Daily Life Source on October 3, 2011, accompanied by the following caption:

“A young boy with a failing heart, gets a second chance thanks to Protandim.”

[Editor's Note: The video has been taken private by Christi Baus. However, it serves the public interest to have this illegal act available for consumers to witness.]

The video, shot on the first day (April 14, 2011) of the LifeVantage Convention held at Salt Lake City’s Convention Center, opens with company president and former CEO David Brown passing a microphone to a distributor from South Dakota named Randy Antonsen, who proceeded to tell a 6-minute story about the ongoing medical treatment of his 7-year old son’s heart condition and alleges that it was Protandim that somehow miraculously cured him. The damning (i.e. illegal) portion of Antonsen’s “testimony” came at the 4 minute mark, as follows (the disjointed syntax is not a transcription error):

Antonsen: “We started him (Paul) on Protandim, and I’ll let my wife explain how I got to that, but we started him on Protandim in December of this (sic) year. Without the cardiologist knowing about it, because we researched about it and they did not know the knowledge of it, so we researched it quickly and basically uh, found out the information, started him on Protandim, went in January of this year and they gave us records of July of last year – his function was 31% — his function, and from what we can gather from our best of knowledge – he was supposed to have an appointment, hadn’t made it – best of our knowledge is that his function – we’re going to have an appointment soon, so we’re hoping it continues that way –his function went to 45 [CROWD CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And the left side of his heart in July of last year was 51 centimeters and at his last appointment it dropped down to 41…When we were there in Iowa City, we decided — I asked the doctor; I asked the transplant doctor — I told him, I says, I says ‘can you explain him to me’. He looked me in the eye and he says ‘we have no medical explanation for him’. He, by the doctor’s explanation, he should not have been running around; he should not have been active. Matter of fact you put him in a room with perfectly healthy kids and you can’t tell the difference between him and anyone else.

More background details on Antonsen and the LifeVantage conference can be found here and here

At the very least, what we’re witnessing here is the President of the company, David Brown, giving his tacit blessing to the use of disease-cure testimonials in the training of LifeVantage distributors and the marketing of Protandim. Not only did Brown do nothing to stop this illegality from taking place (i.e. Brown aided and abetted this illegal activity), it is a fairly safe assumption that Antonsen’s illegal testimonial was pre-arranged and orchestrated by LifeVantage senior staff with prior knowledge that distributor would be violating US law.

LifeVantage can never again argue that they are not directly complicit in the use of illegal medical claims in the marketing of Protandim.

Now let’s consider some of the broader implications. LFVN is a publicly-traded company, and in their annual filings to the SEC, they have identified various risk factors that can impact the company’s business and the shareholders investment. The risk factors discussed pertain directly to the claims that Antonsen made with Brown’s oversight and blessing. The following risk factors are included in LifeVantage's 10K filing:

“Adverse publicity could also increase our product liability exposure, result in increased regulatory scrutiny and lead to the initiation of private lawsuits.”

We are subject to the risk of investigatory and enforcement action by the FTC: We will always be subject to the risk of investigatory and enforcement action by the FTC based on our advertising claims and marketing practices. The FTC routinely reviews product advertising, including websites, to identify significant questionable advertising claims and practices. The FTC has brought many actions against dietary supplement companies based upon allegations that applicable advertising claims or practices were deceptive or not substantiated. If the FTC initiates an investigation, the FTC can initiate pre-complaint discovery that may be nonpublic in nature. Any investigation may be very expensive to defend and may result in an adverse ruling or in a consent decree."

The FDA may determine that a particular dietary supplement or ingredient is adulterated or misbranded or both, and may determine that a particular claim or statement of nutritional value that we make to support the marketing of a dietary supplement is an impermissible drug claim, is not substantiated, or is an unauthorized version of a “health claim.” Any of these actions could prevent us from marketing that particular dietary supplement product, or making certain claims for that product. The FDA could also require us to remove a particular product from the market. Any future recall or removal would result in additional costs to us, including lost revenues from any product that we are required to remove from the market, which could be material. Any product recalls or removals could also lead to liability, substantial costs, and reduced growth prospects.

LifeVantage’s form 10-K filed with the SEC acknowledges directly that the use of medical claims could result in censure by the FTC and/or FDA leading to investigations and regulatory actions that substantially harm the value of the company’s stock.

Based on what we saw from the David Brown video, he is failing, as the company President, in his responsibilities to the company’s shareholders by placing the company at risk for regulatory action by the FDA and FTC.

Editor's Addition

I'd like to add that the not only is this video proof of criminal activity, but it also shows that LifeVantage Policies and Procedures are simply window-dressing for the FTC and FTC. Here's a reminder of one section of it:

"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."

As you can see LifeVantage only includes this clause so that they can protect themselves in the case that a LifeVantage distributors makes an illegal medical claim. They have the signed document that effectively says, "It isn't our fault that our distributors break the law. We have it in writing that we told them not to." However, at every opportunity they get, they are pushing information at distributors that leads them to believe that they can make these claims.

In addition, this article mentioned that they flew the boy to the event and surprised him on the stage. Imagine putting a boy on stage in front of hundreds of people and then surprising him. That sounds like a checklist of things NOT TO DO to a person with a heart condition. Then again, if you are LifeVantage, why do you care about the welfare of the boy, when you can use him to convince distributors that the product helps with medical conditions that it simply hasn't been shown to do.

LFVN has nowhere to hide now. No more plausible deniability or trying to blame this on low-ranking distributors. The cat is out of the bag. Illegal marketing is at the core of the marketing strategy for Protandim. This is unlikely to end well for LifeVantage.

Originally posted 2011-11-21 22:34:03.

This post involves:

Illegal LifeVantage Actions

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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:



[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

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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: