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

Dr. Harriet Hall has written about Protandim again. I had covered her last writing here: Dr. Harriet Hall on LifeVantage Protandim. That article covered how there were a lack of clinical trials and that there is POEMS: Patient Oriented Evidence that Matters.

So what does Harriet Hall have to say now? She analyzes the second human trial... making note that it doesn't qualify as a clinical trial. She points out that it isn't listed on LifeVantage's website and "coincidentally" the research shows that Protandim didn't work.

Dr. Hall covers a lot of technical detail, but the important details are summed up in these paragraphs:

"To recap their chain of reasoning: alcoholics might develop lung disease, that lung disease might be correlated with abnormal epithelial permeability, protein levels measured by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) might be a valid measure of permeability, permeability might be affected by underlying oxidative stress, and Protandim might reduce oxidative stress by stimulating the body to produce its own antioxidants. Do they perhaps think that lots of “mights” add up to a “mighty” argument?

Why would they want to study this particular mixture of 5 herbs? The second listed author, Joe McCord, has a vested interest: he is an officer of the LifeVantage company, the manufacturer of Protandim. They explain that Protandim is “a nutraceutical with a lengthy history of use in homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and traditional Chinese medicine.” An interesting statement, since Protandim was invented only a few years ago by a person with no medical background and it was patented in 2007. Doubly interesting since it belies the common myth that natural medicines are not profitable because they can’t be patented.

How many Protandim customers are alcoholics taking it for lung injury due to alcohol abuse? I would guess not many. Why on earth would they pick an esoteric detail like this to study and why would they look at Protandim’s influence on lab tests instead of looking for a useful clinical benefit?"

...

I really don’t get it. Why did they do this study? Why did they use twice the recommended dose? What was the IRB thinking? Why didn’t they study something with a useful clinical endpoint? As an e-mail correspondent said, 'They make claims about diabetics being able to go off of insulin or reduce insulin... why not do a trial on that?' That’s an excellent point: a diabetes trial would not involve invasive procedures and would be far easier to carry out and far more meaningful. When advocates do esoteric, convoluted laboratory studies instead of straightforward simple clinical trials, it raises the suspicion that they believe at some level that such clinical trials wouldn’t help their case.

No, on second thought, I think I do get it: they want to prove, by any means possible, no matter how circuitous or far-fetched, that Protandim does something, anything, antioxidantish (not a word? Well it is now!).

One thing that I like about Dr. Hall is that she boils it down to a level that the average person can understand. You don't need to understand the study. She explained it in enough detail that you can see that it doesn't make sense. The conclusion supports what this website, and Protandim inventor Paul Myhill has claimed long ago: Paul Myhill, Inventor of Protandim, Admits Protandim's Science is for Marketing.

When will LifeVantage answer Dr. Harriet Hall's questions? My guess is that they never will. Why? They have no answers and Dr. Harriet Hall is right.

Originally posted 2012-04-10 04:48:52.

This post involves:

Protandim Marketing, Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:



When the inventor of Protandim, Paul Myhill calls out LifeVantage for perpetuating an ongoing fraud - one that the SEC and FTC should be made aware of, who are we to argue? This site has published evidence that this has been going for years.

So here's a screenshot from Paul Myhill's Facebook Page along with the full text:

OPEN LETTER TO MY DEAR LIFEVANTAGE FAMILY

Needless to say, the company and I are not on good terms right now. Quite frankly, Doug Robinson's email to the LifeVantage distributors is fraught with error and misrepresentation. In fact, he gave very little attention to me personally on this matter, hardly exchanging a word with me concerning it. He simply didn't have the time for me.

It is very well documented that the company was founded on a pledge to give shares, and a percentage of profits, to the charitable cause that it helped to start - rescuing orphaned and abandoned children from being abused, exploited, trafficked and enslaved. This was my "Why?" for joining Bill Driscoll in starting LifeVantage in the first place . . . and it is a cause that he graciously took on as his own and championed also. I'm sure he's getting many hugs in Heaven as a result of the 15,000 children who are free from slavery today because of our work together.

I will be more-than-willing to make public all that documentation, especially since it was all public information to begin with. This charitable pledge was also the basis for which I assigned my invention (not Dr. McCord's invention!) to LifeVantage. As soon as Bill and I assigned the patent to LifeVantage the pledge was sadly taken out of company materials, almost immediately. I naturally felt quite betrayed. Again, I can provide full documentation supporting this and it can be easily verified in the public record - through company press releases, investor presentation materials, SEC filings, etc. My resignation letter was also a matter of public record and alludes to the fact that this pledge - which was foundational to the company and my very involvement in it - needed to be kept, otherwise it would represent a promise broken to the original founders and all of LifeVantage's stakeholders. The erasing of the pledge from company materials was the main reason for my departure, which the original Board and transition management team can certainly attest to. I was quite the thorn in their sides, constantly verbalizing the need to keep the pledge. As such, there is no disputing the existence of the original commitment. It's simply undeniable.

I have been quite clear in my communications with LifeVantage management that the company still owes the charity now known as Traffic Jam 100,000 shares as part of its original pledge to match the Founders' donation of shares to that same charitable vehicle. This amount was supposed to match Bill Driscoll's gracious donation of 100,000 shares that came in a couple of months late. I'm sure if he were alive today he'd be greatly disappointed that the company never followed through on that commitment . . . and other commitments. Bill and I had our differences, but I also owe it to him as my brother-in-arms to get his shares matched, as he fully expected would be done when he made his generous gift in the first place. I owe it to his memory and legacy. And I owe it to his family - to see more children rescued because of his gift and defense of the pledge.

Despite the implication made in Doug's letter, I never approached the company to ask anything for myself. In fact, it was David Brown who suggested that I become a "Goodwill Ambassador" for the company with a job role that would give me a greater platform to share the "correct" company history and bring attention to the fine work of the Traffic Jam Campaign. It was through that process that compensation (as with any job) was sought to channel to Traffic Jam. I have quite a few emails that show that this compensation was for the purpose of supporting the work of Traffic Jam. I'm on record multiple times stating that I gave everything away . . . and would give it away again.

It is with great sadness that I write this on the eve of my Birthday - not exactly the "gift" I was hoping for . . . or hoping to give. Since 2008, I have been pleading with the company to correct its marketing materials - to reflect that Joe is not the "Inventor" or "Creator" or "Scientist behind" Protandim; that Protandim wasn't "developed after 40 years of research;" and that it didn't consist of a "laundry list" of 40 ingredients that Joe whittled down to the current formula. This is all simply untrue. I'm sure the company will try to put some sort of further spin on this now and try to convince people otherwise, but the truth is the truth and will always come out in the end. Darkness can't hide from the light.

The CORE botanical formula I forwarded to Joe included the current five botanicals, plus one additional one - all in the EXACT same proportions/weights as the current formula (all 1/3 of the original to get it into one pill), but with Milk Thistle subsequently bumped up at my suggestion. The other ingredients were part of an "all-in-one" (multi-formula) addition to that CORE botanical formula that I developed. Given such indisputable facts (and that the initial patent was filed one month before we even met Joe), how am I NOT the creator? How is Joe THE creator? The simple email record, and even a letter from Joe himself, clearly show that the current company communications are downright false and misleading . . . and, in the eyes of many, perpetuate an ongoing fraud - one that the SEC and FTC should be made aware of.

I initially stated that "nobody lied," desiring to give this current management team the benefit of the doubt and chalking it to human error and the discontinuity of company management in general. But then, month after month went by with the same erroneous materials still being widely distributed by the company, despite their own admission to me that Joe isn't the creator. These same materials are on the company website TODAY. I just don't get how a company can keep doing that, with full knowledge that the materials are sending the wrong message to current and new distributors. Many times I wrote emails (which I'd be happy to share with you) and each time nothing was done to take down the offending materials.

I'll be glad to once again share that whole "Protandim Development History" with you, which is backed up by meticulous documentation, the full email record, plus personal notes and commentaries. It spanned over 20 blog entries. I'm an "open book." I had nothing to hide. I shared it all.

I'm sure, though, that if I were to re-post Protandim's development history, the company would claim that I was then "giving away company secrets" and would once again try to silence the true history of the product's creation - MY creation of Protandim - that occurred for almost ten months before I even met Joe. The reality is that the company misrepresentations have gone on for so long now that they have no choice but to try to silence the truth. Just you wait and see. I can almost hear the "cease and desist" letter being typed up right now. And I can almost picture the new "watered-down" version of the history that the company will now come up with.

Doug mentioned in his letter that I found the company response unacceptable. Well, one of those unacceptable conditions was that I sign a new set of releases (to silence me telling the true Protandim story again) and that I pull down my "LifeVantage / Protandim Founder's Page" on Facebook which, of course, would be in addition to my blog that was already pulled down. Do you see the common theme here? Silence. Silence. And more Silence. I'm a high-justice person who stands for truth and integrity and, despite the company trying to buy that silence by offering for Traffic Jam to be featured at convention, I told them that I couldn't in good conscience do that. I'm not signing away my voice. My "Founder's Page" stays. My voice stays. And my appeal to get the company to meet its commitments . . . stays.

Do you want a company of integrity? Well, then, don't let them silence the truth any more. Protandim wasn't an "idea" that Bill and I took to Joe. It was a full formula that even Joe stated in a letter was almost at its "final embodiment." And the company's charitable pledges to Traffic Jam wasn't an "idea" that I just came up with. It was represented in multiple press releases and SEC filings and collateral materials. If you don't believe me, go to EDGAR and check yourself for at least the SEC part of it.

Ever wonder why the company took down all the archived press releases? Because it backs up what I'm saying and what I've been asking, not for myself, but on behalf of trafficked and enslaved children.

Given the erroneous wording in Doug's email, I can only assume now that the company has chosen the issue of the 100,000 shares to try to discredit me - making it sound like I've been making selfish and unreasonable demands of the company - while at the same time trying to discredit the true history of Protandim's development. Doug, of course, fails to mention in his email that the "great deal of material" that I posted on the Internet concerning "my view" of that development was 1.) Taken down by me as a sign of "good faith" and 2.) Was only posted in the first place after I reached out to the company multiple times beforehand - with no response.

I'm not sure how Doug can call it "my view" of Protandim's development anyway, considering that it included hundreds of emails (that were copied or sent to dozens upon dozens of people) as well as a number of other source documents that were widely circulated. It's not just "my view," as demonstrated by the substantiated, well-documented evidence. Of course, if the company has its way, you probably won't see any of that document and you'll just have to accept Doug's words that it was simply "my view" of events. Where was Doug during the development of Protandim? Who is he to challenge the clear evidence? Can he not see the patent was initially filed a full month before Joe even came into the picture? Does he not see whose name is on the patent?

For months, I've taken steps of "good faith" and have expected the company to do the same - to act in "good faith" to take down the erroneous marketing materials that were propagating that Joe was the inventor/creator of Protandim. Sadly, the company never reciprocated. The 100,000 share issue, unfortunately, has now become the easy point of contention that allows LifeVantage to not have to give credit to me for my invention. By making it so public and contentious, LifeVantage now has a convenient excuse to not have to include Bill and me in our rightful place in the company history. Something that should have been celebrated can now be easily swept under the rug because I'm the "bad guy" with "unreasonable" expectations who asked the company to honor its commitments. It now allows them to feel better about themselves somehow - for so long being negligent in getting the real story about Protandim's development out there; for so long casting me in a "false light" by commission and omission; for so long keeping up the erroneous materials to the point of malice and great hurt.

Company of integrity, Doug says? How about keeping its original promises to match the founders' shares to rescue children? How about keeping its original promises to give 10% of pre-tax net profits away for children and related humanitarian causes? How about filing an 8-K correction notice with the SEC every time the erroneous message of Joe being the "creator" went out? How about the promise to correct the development history while at the same time keeping up the offending materials that lead people to believe Joe was the inventor? How about David's promise to "make it happen" for me to have a "Goodwill Ambassador" role with the company, to help further the purposes of Traffic Jam? How about the company's constant encouragement for distributors to use the copyrighted material of ABC News for commercial purposes? How about all those big distributors who came over with down-lines allegedly "stolen" from Zrii? How about ALL the mentions of diseases when it's clearly not permitted in the marketing of a supplement?

Integrity? Company of integrity? Actions speak louder than words.

This is a very sad day for me folks. The "petition" that Doug mentioned in his letter was merely me throwing up my arms in bewilderment and wondering why on earth the Board wasn't fulfilling the matching pledge with a measly 100,000 shares when the evidence was so clear that 100,000 shares were missing (Believe me, I was asking for these shares long before the recent run-up in price). Even a math flunkey could see that the numbers didn't add up and 100,000 shares were still owed. Instead of bringing the match to completion, with an amount of shares that pales in comparison to the fat stock options the executives are getting, they chose to make this big issue out of it. It could have been a cause for celebration. Instead, the company has chosen to create yet another public relations nightmare. I didn't ask for that. They did it. And I'm baffled by it.

I started off with 5 million shares. Why on earth would I make all this fuss about 100,000 shares if it were not true? I'm a man of principle and the principle-of-the-matter is the shares are still owed. Gosh, by their reaction, you'd think I asked for the moon.

I merely responded by saying that I would put out the public information and ask distributors to let their voices be heard - for integrity and common sense. But somehow that's now something portrayed as me being devious and destructive. Hello? Why would I try to destroy the stock of the company I'm trying to get shares from? Hello?

Conversely, I don't believe the LifeVantage Board has acted in its fiduciary duty in this matter. I believe they are acting in a destructive manner. Why on earth would they bring about such a disruptive episode in the midst of such growth and promise? The missing shares are soooooooo obvious that they are missing from the match. I gave 200,000 shares. Bill gave 100,000 shares. the company gave 200,000 (matching mine) and, hello again, Bill's shares didn't get matched. 100,000 shares missing. You don't need a mathematics degree to figure that one out. Why would the Board put so much at risk - the airing out of this laundry - instead of just issuing the shares to help rescue kids?! And celebrating it!

. . . Unless, of course, they were needing something to make me look "bad" or "unreasonable" so they don't feel so bad about the incorrect company communications about who invented the product. And to release themselves from an obligation to correct that history in a way that celebrates Bill's and my involvement.

. . . Now they can just quietly remove the "creator" tag from Joe and hope that nobody notices. Just like they did when they removed the "inventor" tag from him.

Doug's letter concludes by asking distributors to not get involved in anything that "disparages" the company. Wow. I asked the company to honor its commitment with a measly 100,000 shares to stop 11 year-olds from getting raped 20 times per day; to stop 7 year-olds from having to shoot their parents before being forcibly conscripted into a child militia. Now, if any distributor goes along with supporting what is clearly in the public record, and honoring their own conscience to see the pledge fulfilled for children such as these, they are in violation of their distributor's agreement. Seriously?

Looks like the strong arm of silence rearing up again.

My apologies for rambling on in this open letter. Obviously I'm a passionate person - the same passion that brought Protandim into being in the first place. And, obviously, I'm quite upset right now - not just by these events, but how they've now been represented in Doug's email.

Unfortunately, it's the distributors and the children who lose out because of the Board's baffling conclusion and Doug's irrational choice to send out his email. Quite wreckless, if you ask me. Certainly not acting in the best interests of the shareholders. They turned a public relations celebration into a public relations nightmare.

I apologize to all of you that it has come to this. It certainly wasn't my intention.

I want you all to know that I love you all and do indeed wish you the best. I will STILL use my "Founder's Page" on Facebook as a place of encouragement and, given this recent turn of events, as a place of clarity and truth.

Blessings,
Paul

I really don't think there's much to add. We tend to agree with what Paul said about the ongoing fraud and we've had LifeVantage already attempt to try to silence the truth with legal threats.

Originally posted 2012-04-20 19:15:04.

This post involves:

LifeVantage Lies

... and focuses on:

, , ,



Recently, Donny Osmond was a guest on Dr. Phil. I was watching this closely as those with connections to LifeVantage said that the company promoted this appearance at their annual get-together. I was prepared for a mention of Protandim. Here's how it went down with the YouTube Video to follow:

Donny Osmond: Non-stop energy.
Dr. Phil: I can not even imagine. For example last night, you did a show last night, that was 90 minutes starting at 7:30, then you went through that, then you came here, you're here this morning.

Donny Osmond: That's right...
Dr. Phil: Doing all this...

Donny Osmond: It's non-stop. I don't sleep anymore. (Laughs)
Dr. Phil: So where do you get the energy. Seriously, I mean look at you. We've known each other a long time. You don't ever get older.

Donny Osmond: Well thank you. It's quick funny because people are kind of shocked when they hear that I'm 54 years old and they say, "How do you keep your youth?" I have found something Dr. Phil that I think is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth.

Dr. Phil: Oh you do have a secret?
Donny Osmond: I have a secret and I've never really talked about it. I've been doing this for the last two years. It's called Protandim and it works and I'm telling everybody about this.

Dr. Phil: You feel differently.
Donny Osmond: I do.

Dr. Phil: Because you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

The video goes on from there, but it isn't relevant to Protandim in any way. It's worth watching just to get the full context of the exchange:

There are several concerning things by this video. If you read the title, you know the one that I'm most concerned about. However, before I get to that one, I'd like to address the others.

  • Protandim Being Compared to a Fountain of Youth - This is completely irresponsible, especially coming from a paid company spokesman like Donny Osmond.
  • "It Works" - This is the kind of marketing that MonaVie distributors have been making for years in the comments here. In the case of Protandim which isn't intended to make someone be younger, look younger, nor treat, prevent, or cure any disease... these companies can only make vague statements like these in hopes of misleading consumers to think, "Hey, I've got [fill in the blank condition] and could use anything that "works."
  • Dr. Phil's "We've known each other a long time." - Now we know why he let Donny Osmond endorse a product he's paid to endorse without adhering to the FTC guidelines (see below).
  • Donny's "I've been doing this for the last two years." - This is proof positive that Protandim hasn't made him any younger. Even according to Dr. Phil, "You don't ever get older." It is classic question, which came first the chicken or the egg. In this case we know what came first. Donny Osmond has looked young for a long time (my wife notes his obvious plastic surgery) and he got a contract with LifeVantage because of it. The cause of the LifeVantage contract was that Donny Osmond, it was not a case where he looks young due to Protandim. This is another case where LifeVantage misleads consumers.
  • Donny's statement of "I have a secret and I've never really talked about it." - Really? Since he became the spokesman for Protandim he's talked about several times. The only thing that's a secret is that he's a paid spokesman and isn't disclosing it.

And that last point segues to the biggest point Donny Osmond and LifeVantage are not heading to the FTC guidelines for celebrity endorsements. Here's a quote from the FTC:

Celebrity endorsers also are addressed in the revised Guides. While the 1980 Guides did not explicitly state that endorsers as well as advertisers could be liable under the FTC Act for statements they make in an endorsement, the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

I've bolded the last sentence for effect. It specifically addresses this case of Donny Osmond not disclosing his relationship with LifeVantage on a talk show. The average Dr. Phil viewer would not be aware of LifeVantage hiring Donny Osmond to be its spokesman and this is clearly a deceptive advertisement as defined by the FTC.

The FTC goes into it more detail, in their official guidelines... specifically in section 255.5 under Example 3:

"Example 3: During an appearance by a well-known professional tennis player on a television talk show, the host comments that the past few months have been the best of her career and during this time she has risen to her highest level ever in the rankings. She responds by attributing the improvement in her game to the fact that she is seeing the ball better than she used to, ever since having laser vision correction surgery at a clinic that she identifies by name. She continues talking about the ease of the procedure, the kindness of the clinic’s doctors, her speedy recovery, and how she can now engage in a variety of activities without glasses, including driving at night. The athlete does not disclose that, even though she does not appear in commercials for the clinic, she has a contractual relationship with it, and her contract pays her for speaking publicly about her surgery when she can do so. Consumers might not realize that a celebrity discussing a medical procedure in a television interview has been paid for doing so, and knowledge of such payments would likely affect the weight or credibility consumers give to the celebrity’s endorsement. Without a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the athlete has been engaged as a spokesperson for the clinic, this endorsement is likely to be deceptive. Furthermore, if consumers are likely to take away from her story that her experience was typical of those who undergo the same procedure at the clinic, the advertiser must have substantiation for
that claim."

I wish my crystal ball was as functional as the FTC's because they saw this coming a mile away. It is similar in many ways. The big difference is that laser vision correction surgery is FDA approved and "Protandim as a Fountain of Youth" is, well, the exact opposite. We still have the celebrity endorser not disclosing the paid relationship with the company. As the FTC points out this endorsement is likely to be deceptive (the FTC was erring on the side of caution, it IS deceptive.)

I think one could make a case that consumers are likely to take away that Donny Osmond is a typical example of a Protandim taker and clearly the advertiser, LifeVantage, can not substantiate the "closest thing to the Fountain of Youth" claim.

Originally posted 2012-02-09 05:17:46.

This post involves:

Donny Osmond

... and focuses on:



Many Protandim distributors point to a study published in American Heart Association's Circulation as proof that the American Heart Association (AHA) says that Protandim works.

If you don't read the study and just see the words "Protandim", "American Heart Association", and "Circulation journal" it would be easy to come to that conclusion. However, if you read the study, you are likely to come up with a lot more questions than answers. I've put them in a FAQ form:

Q: Did they study Protandim?

A: No, the study was Right Heart Failure and Chronic Pulmonary Artery Pressure Elevation. The background and the conclusion of the study do not mention Protandim in any way.

Q: The study was done on humans, right?

A: Not it was done on rats, kind of. The quote that got my attention was "A mechanical animal model..."

Q: Was Protandim used in the study

A: Not entirely. If you read the study, an "alcohol-based extract of Protandim" was used. LifeVantage does not sell an alcohol-based extract of Protandim.

Q: The rats ate the Protandim just like a human would, right?
A: No, they had it injected in them (see intraperitoneally). LifeVantage does not seem to sell an injectable form of Protandim. I can find nothing on LifeVantage's website this being a typical delivery method of the product.

Q: The amount of Protandim that was used was similar to what a human would consume, right?
A: Nope. Friend of ProtandimScams, Vogel, explains it best here:

"The rats in the study weighed 200 grams. Protandim was first extracted in ethanol and then 25 mg of the ethanol extract was injected into the abdomen. In medicine, dosing calculations for humans are based on a presumed average body weight of 70 kg. The normal 'dose' of Protandim for humans is one 675 mg capsule (so the dose is 675 mg per 70 kg body weight or roughly 9.64 mg/kg). The rats in the Protandim study received 25 mg per 200 g bodyweight -- this corresponds to a dose of 125 mg/kg.

In other words, the dose that the rats received in this study was roughly 13 times higher than what humans would take. Compounding the dosage problem is the fact that (a) an ethanol extract was used, which would be more potent than taking it in non-extracted form, and (b) it was directly injected into the abdomen which would greatly increase bioavailability as compared to oral ingestion and would result in an even greater dosage inequity. Thus, this study was poorly conceived and is utterly irrelevant to humans. In order to ingest a comparable dose to what the rats in this study received, a person would have to consume about a full bottle (30 capsules at $50) of Protandim per day."

Recap: The study's purpose was unrelated to Protandim. It didn't involve Protandim's intended audience. The form of Protandim wasn't delivered how the intended audience is supposed to use it. The amount of Protandim was many, many times the suggested amount for its intended audience.

The only conclusion one can make is that this study has zero relevance to its intended audience - humans. It is much more important to focus on the clinical trials of Protandim, which are very disappointing.

Originally posted 2012-03-10 18:44:53.

This post involves:

Protandim Studies

... and focuses on:

, ,



I recently came across a magazine in which LifeVantage's leading scientific advisor Joe McCord is pitching Protandim as a product that helps prevent cancer.

The magazine, Prosper, is essentially an infomercial for hire. The business model is to create a publication for MLMs, so that distributors have something to give prospective distributors. There is a clear partnership between LifeVantage and the producers of the magazine. One of the things that stands out about the magazine are profiles of something like 50 distributors, where we learn the top LifeVantage distributor came from Zrii which lead to a lawsuit between Zrii and LifeVantage.

Back to the magazine. In it, there is an article that quotes Joe McCord:

Author Natalie Hollingshead: "While several of the seven peer-reviewed studies done on Protandim show the supplement’s potential to reverse age-related conditions, the main focus is on prevention."

McCord: "It’s all about prevention. All of those diseases I named are very difficult to treat. For instance, every cancer has multiple mutations that are in any of thousands of different sites. Every cancer is very unique and that is why it is very hard to cure. Prevention is much easier to bring about than a cure."

Here is the whole article, but you can see the illegal claim on page 2:

Page 1
Page 2

This is a clear violation of the FDA laws regarding the marketing of dietary supplements as drugs. See Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). DSHEA is quite clear that you can't get away claims that even imply such things.

Later on in the magazine (page 11) there is a disclaimer that says, "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." This is requirement for dietary supplements. However, those exact words contradict what McCord is claiming in the article.

It looks like LifeVantage has decided that it will gamble with the fact that FDA won't ever look at the magazine since it is only intended to be being distributed to prospective LifeVantage distributors.

Originally posted 2012-02-25 01:56:25.

This post involves:

Illegal LifeVantage Actions, Joe McCord

... and focuses on:



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:

,



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

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[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: