Protandim – Life Extender or Money Waster?

A friend of mine asked me the other day to offer my opinion on Protandim. A friend of hers markets the product, and she is interested in trying it. At the time, I had never heard of Protandim. While I am an immediate skeptic of any supplement that is marketed in multi-level fashion, I did not wish to render any opinion without researching the product. So I’ve spent some time reviewing the Protandim website and the peer-reviewed literature and would like to share my thoughts.

What is Protandim?

Protandim is a nutritional supplement that is comprised of five botanical excipients: Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop), Silybum marianum (milk thistle), Withania somnifera (ashwagandha), Camellia sinensis (green tea extract), and Curcuma longa (turmeric). This combination is suggested to increase the activity of a substance in the body called Nrf2, which regulates the expression of the majority of anti-oxidant genes in the body. Anti-oxidants have been long been promoted and researched as weapons against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging in general.

What is Protandim used for?

The makers of Protandim do not directly promote it for the treatment or prevention of any disease (law prohibits them from doing so since it has not gone through the FDA approval process). The proposed benefit of Protandim is the reduction of oxidative stress.  The following comment is stated on their website: “Protandim activates Nrf2, which communicates with cells, instructing them to do what they’re already designed to do: up-regulate “survival genes,” genes that enable cells to survive in the face of stress from free radicals and other oxidants, and down-regulates other genes to help the body function at an optimal level.”1

Given that Protandim is sold via a multi-level marketing process, I imagine direct salespersons of the product are likely to make more direct claims about its usefulness and effectiveness. These may include claims of it being an anti-aging product, or that it reduces the risk of cancers or other chronic diseases. This isn’t directly promoted by the company, but the salespeople have incentive to increase sales of the product and I doubt they are closely monitored by the company or regulatory agencies in terms of the content of their pitches.

Is Protandim effective?

Keeping in mind that it is being promoted purely for its anti-oxidant capabilities, let’s first address the broad issue of the clinical value of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are substances that help the body rid itself of toxins known as free radicals. There is a good amount of evidence suggesting that free radicals play a role in numerous disease processes. Accordingly, there has been much interest in studying anti-oxidants as a potential cure or preventive strategy against disease and aging. Broad observational studies have noted that people who eat diets high in fruits and vegetables (which are generally high in anti-oxidants) suffer from less cancer and cardiovascular disease. But well performed studies that aim to identify a direct correlation between anti-oxidants and disease prevention have not been positive. In some studies, anti-oxidants have actually been shown to increase the incidence of disease or death. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to identify substances or drugs in the lab that in theory would improve health but when tested rigorously in humans show no benefit or even show harm. That being said, let’s review the evidence on Protandim…

Is Protandim an effective anti-oxidant?

Several small studies in lab animals or test tubes have suggested that Protandim exerts anti-oxidant activity. Only two studies have actually tested this in living humans, however:

One study performed in 29 healthy adults showed an average 40% decrease in a marker of oxidative stress after 30 days of supplementation.2 The same study showed an increase in two anti-oxidant substances, and no change in a third. Also, the study examined the effect of Protandim on a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein and on cholesterol levels, but there was no difference noted in either.

The other study was performed in 30 adults with alcohol use disorder who were healthy otherwise. The results of this study did not show a statistically significant change in blood tests indicating oxidative stress after 7 days in the patients taking Protandim.3

So the actual human studies are mixed. This doesn’t mean that Protandim lacks significant anti-oxidant activity. It appears to stimulate anti-oxidant activity in test tubes and animal studies. Larger and longer studies in humans could very well show a more consistent effect. But it would be hard to conclude this as true with the available evidence.

Can Protandim help combat aging and prolong survival?

I suspect this is what the Protandim salespeople want you to believe. While not directly stated, I personally get the sense that this is also suggested on the Protandim website. The short answer to this question is that this is unknown, since it has not been studied. However, I think it is unreasonable to even suggest this given that no well conducted randomized-controlled trial has proven any anti-oxidant to prolong life. Not saying that anti-oxidants are bad, but there is not scientific justification to conclude that they improve health.

There is no direct evidence in humans that Protandim provides any health benefit. Proponents of Protandim are presuming that because laboratory studies suggest it increases anti-oxidant activity, that this conveys a health benefit. As previously stated, there is no direct evidence that this would be the case either.

I’m sure there are many personal testimonials about how this product has changed their life (I’ve gotten numerous emails about similar products). That’s all fine and dandy, but these reports often lack a clear cause and effect relationship and thus do not constitute reliable evidence. More importantly, they are often followed with a link to their affiliate page to purchase the product.

Is Protandim Safe?

Unfortunately, there are no large studies in humans that can shed some good light on the safety profile of Protandim. The prior mentioned study of 29 healthy patients stated that no side effects were noted in any patients after 120 days of supplementation. This is too small of a population to get information about serious side effects that may be less common or occur after longer periods of time.

The FAQ on the Protandim website states the following: “We do not expect there to be any side effects for the typical Protandim consumer. However, some individuals have natural allergic responses to one or another of the ingredients, just as some people are allergic to pine pollen or penicillin. These allergic responses to Protandim generally appear as gastrointestinal disturbances (i.e., stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting) or sometimes as a headache or rash on the hands or feet.”4

Some lots of the product were recalled in 2012 due to a possibility of metal fragments in the capsules. This was due to a contaminated turmeric batch that was used to create the product. These are risks with any product, including prescription drugs, but the risk is higher with dietary supplements given the less stringent oversight on manufacturing.

As far as drug interactions go, once again there are no studies to provide any guidance. All of the substances in Protandim have been reported to cause numerous drug interactions, so the potential is huge. Their website downplays this, which is ridiculous. This list of potential interactions is very long, so if you are curious about a drug you are taking click my contact link or just comment on this post.

There are no studies in pregnant or breast-feeding women. In the Protandim FAQ, the following statement is made: “if your obstetrician approves Protandim, there is no known reason for concern.”4 If your obstetrician approves Protandim, I would suggest that you find a new one. Since there is no evidence of any specific health benefit from this product, there is certainly no justification to expose a baby to it when the side effects are unknown. This is very inappropriate marketing material.

The Medicine Guy says:

I do not recommended the use of Protandim. There is no evidence that it provides a health benefit to humans. In addition, there is inadequate evidence on its safety, and there is always the concern of contamination and sub-standard manufacturing. There is potential for many drug interactions. And I can think of many things that you could spend $40 to $50 a month on that could positively affect your health without the unknown risk. More fruits and vegetables perhaps?

And a word to those that sell Protandim: remember that you are not selling ties, watches, or shoes. You are selling a product that could potentially affect the health of your customer. It could be good, or it could be bad (or neither). The fact is that there is no good evidence that it does or doesn’t work, that it is or isn’t safe. So please don’t mislead your consumers.

Any questions, or if you sell or take Protandim and are pissed off, please comment below!


The Medicine Guy


1. LifeVantage Corporation. (2013). What is Protandim? Retrieved November 24, 2013, from 2. Nelson, Sally K., et al. “The induction of human superoxide dismutase and catalase in vivo: a fundamentally new approach to antioxidant therapy.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 40.2 (2006): 341-347. 3. Burnham, Ellen L., et al. “Protandim does not influence alveolar epithelial permeability or intrapulmonary oxidative stress in human subjects with alcohol use disorders.” American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 302.7 (2012): L688-L699. 4. LifeVantage Corporation. (2013). Protandim FAQs. Retrieved November 24, 2013, from

Author: themedicineguy

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  1. Hi MedicineGuy, I really appreciated your comments about Protandim. Rather than hearing about it and saying it’s not worth my time (as many have done), you actually did some research. As did many practicing physicians who are currently taking the supplement themselves. But, that is neither here nor there and not the reason for my reply.

    Before getting into what may be considered a lengthy discussion, I always like to ask, will it make a difference? If not, and you have solidly made up your mind, then that’s great, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And please, I am not arguing anything, just asking the question. If anything appears to be argumentative, I apologize.

    I am certainly not the person, nor do I have a right to discuss in detail any part of what you blogged about as I do NOT have a PhD of any sort, nor am I a renown scientist. But, I know of people that have those credentials that would be more than happy to discuss your view of the supplement.

    If your concerns were put to rest, would you acknowledge it? Or, are you just dead set against it no matter what anyone says? Like, let’s say two, three, even 10 people came forward and told you that they were on High Blood Pressure pills, but after taking Protandim for 3mo. they either no longer had to take take the pills, or dosage was greatly reduced. Now, if I were you, I’d make every attempt to poke holes in that claim. Did they change their diet? Lose a lot of weight? Start exercising, etc… Perhaps all the above?! For arguments sake let’s just say that none of that is accurate, that you discovered that they all continued to live their lives as usual. Would that make a difference in your opinion of the supplement?

    What if you were invited to see the manufacturing plant, and you invited someone with you who knows about these things. And, when all was said and done after the tour your friend says, “state of the art and clean”. What if your friend said that the facility would pass any regulatory agency with flying colors. Would that make a difference?

    If any of these scenarios (plus possibly hundreds more) were to make a difference, how would it make a difference? What would you do? What wouldn’t you do?

    Looking forward to your response.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post and to submit a thoughtful reply.

      Let me first note that I have contacted LifeVantage through the email on the Protandim website. I stated my concerns about the marketing of the product, and requested that they revise their FAQ in terms of their comments on the supplement not being a problem in pregnant or lactating women. I have not heard back from them. In addition, I have contacted Dr. Joe McCord who was the “Chief Science Officer” and face behind Protandim. I asked him for further information about the research behind the product, seeing as he was a published author in nearly all of the studies published in the peer-reviewed literature, and noted my concerns about the misleading marketing. I have not heard back from him either.

      I believe all literature should be scrutinized for validity. I would certainly acknowledge any new studies that are valid and show a meaningful clinical benefit. You will see future reviews on my website of dietary supplements that have evidence suggesting benefit. Protandim, to date, is most certainly not one of them. There are 15 results in Pubmed when one searches for the term “Protandim.” Of these results, there are a handful of animal and in vitro studies that show statistically significant improvements of biomarkers that suggest anti-oxidant activity. There is no good data that improving these biomarkers improves survival, cancer rates, or other important health outcomes. In addition, as noted in the blog post, there is not good data that any anti-oxidant improves health outcomes. In fact, when well performed studies have been published, they have even proved harmful. There are two studies of Protandim in humans. Both measured outcomes that are not clinically meaningful (meaning that we actually have no idea what the health benefits of improving them are). One of the studies showed an improvement in some biomarkers, while the other showed no improvement from Protandim. A competent health professional could not possibly read these publications and conclude that this supplement is of benefit to his or her patients. A major differentiator in the marketing of Protandim is that it is backed by “science.” This tactic takes advantage of people with inadequate knowledge of literature evaluation.

      As far as people coming forward to provide their personal claims of benefit: this would not change my mind. For the specific example of blood pressure, there is no data that the mechanism of action of Protandim or modification of any of the biomarkers that were examined in studies has any effect on lowering blood pressure. There are many other personal claims out there about Protandim, including: curing diabetes, cancer, general well-being, weight loss, healing infections, curing baldness, etc. I repeat my statement made in reference to lowering blood pressure. In addition, this has been seen with nearly all unproven supplements marketed heavily to consumers, dating back to the original selling of snake oil for health benefit. Some are people trying to sell the product and some are people who genuinely believe their claims to be true. But it does not constitute reliable evidence. If the makers of Protandim really believed the product would improve outcomes for any of these disease states, they would study it. Positive studies for a real health outcome would be huge in terms of marketing and sales. The lack of said studies should provide a hint as to the veracity of these claims. Heck, if Nrf2 activation were believed to convey a benefit to a major health condition, big pharma would be all over it.

      I would hope that the manufacturing facility is clean and would pass any inspection. If the product had any benefit, this would take away from part of the risk side of the argument (as this is a concern with all dietary supplements).

      With any medication or supplement, a good risk/benefit evaluation needs to occur prior to concluding that a patient would be better off by taking the substance. For Protandim, there is no known benefit. In addition, the safety profile is unknown and there should be concern about drug interactions. It is a shame that this product is sold by people who have no idea how to properly evaluate these issues. And I would argue that health professionals recommending the use of this product are in violation of their duty to their patients. And I challenge any professional to make a valid scientific argument on the other side of the fence.


      Post a Reply
      • Hi TMG,
        I noticed your last post mentioning you haven’t seen pharmaceutical companies with interest of Nrf2 activators. As of now, I know of 1 major one for MS patients developed by Biogen. The compound is dimethyl fumarate and brand name is Tecfidera. I believe there is an abstract floating around of a Netherlands doc who compared several different activators. Hope this helps!

        Post a Reply
        • Ah, great catch Cory. I wasn’t familiar with that drug. Time to brush up on my MS pharmacotherapy. Read a bit about it, sounds like it does a lot of different things and it isn’t clear exactly what mechanism results in improved MS outcomes. Nrf activation might play a big role though.



          Post a Reply
          • Yeah man, anytime. It’s very interesting how certain compounds, whether individual or synergistic, come together to “communicate” with DNA. I think nutrigenomics is going to be more heavily studied rather soon

          • I have been taking Protandim for about five months. I have Secondary Progressive MS. Just to be clear, I only take the product. I am NOT A distributor, so I do not have a profit motive. Whatever tests or clinical trials that have or have not been done on this product does not matter to me, I am seeing results and what it is doing for me.
            When I started the product I was taking 2 – 20mg OxyContin per day and 3- 15mg oxycodone per day for my pain.
            I am now down to one OxyContin and one oxycodone per day. My incontinence has improved dramatically. I am in a wheelchair, and the last two months my transfers have been much easier and I am much more balanced and steady while making the transfers. In the past 19 years since my diagnosis, I have tried many, many alternative therapies to help with my MS. This is one that actually works for me!
            I do not have relapsing remitting MS so my improvement has nothing to do with exacerbations and improvements because that is not the type of MS that I have. Thanks. Just wanted to share…….Patty

      • What about the study done at LSU in regard to Nrf2 Synergizer. LSU is one the leading skin cancer research facilities and their study concluded that Protandim is a benefit to skin care. Also…University of Colorado, Ohio State, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., TextTech, 15 other Universities have conducted self-funded clinical studies…all concluding Protandim is a benefit to health.
        And as for the FDA…the FDA cannot approve ‘all natural’ products.

        Post a Reply
        • Bob,
          These studies do not provide any evidence of health benefit in humans. The LSU study you are referring to, if I have the correct one (, is a study done in rats that looked at cell and enzyme regulation (not a health outcome).

          Post a Reply
      • I must say great discussion, pros and cons. I’ll add the following bits that I came across. I have seen diabetic blood panels return to normal after the use of protandim. No large scale studies. In Canada, we are in the unique position of being told Health Canada loves studies yet they will not accept clinical trails on a product with more than one ingredient. Catch 22. As far as your comment about big pharma :
        “Heck if Big Pharma was interested….. ” They in fact are interested to the point that they have produced 3 drugs that move the NrF2 pathway. They manufactured them for MS patients. On Pub Med there are 4870 peer reviewed papers on NrF2. Is that a lot or not I don’t know? In one study I read in an MS Journal Protandim outperformed the 3 drugs for MS patients. Also I don’t see any mention of T Bars as a bench mark before and after.
        It is important to remember that whether a herb work for a person or not is directly dependant on the following factors: P450 enzyme system efficiency, mineral deficiencies, amino acid deficiencies. How is that you ask? When the body electrically identifies the actives in a herb there is a message sent out to call metabolic enzymes. If that enzymes does not have its trace mineral “antenna” it does not get the message to come and help. For that person the herb may be less than effective.

        Post a Reply
    • In reference to many comments about Protandim being an antioxidant. This is a common mistake. It is not an antioxidant but a pro oxidant. This is how the NrF2 is activated normally by the body every 2 hrs or so. Taking high levels of real antioxidants shut the NrF2 down because it responds to oxidants. Just thought I’d throw that out there as food for thought. The higher the dose of an antioxidant the less the NrF2 works and that’s bad.
      While I’m on the subject, it may be important to note that the biocides used in the fracking process are designed to specifically attack SOD, Catalase and Glutathione production in living organisms. Soooo when they shoot them into the air or burn them those gases travel in the air. Better be far away from fracking wells – which are popping up everywhere here in Alberta.

      Post a Reply
  2. The prescribing information sheet for Tecfidera states explicitly that the mechanism of action in MS is unknown, and that in addition to activating NRF2, it the drug acts as a nicotinic receptor antagonist.

    Protandim on the other hand is not known to have any effects on nicotinic receptors, and it activates NRF2 because it contains curcumin (turmeric extract), which was shown to activate NRF2 years before Protandim came into existence (c.f. Balogun et al. Biochem J. 2003 May 1;371(Pt 3):887-95, and Dickinson et al. FASEB J. 2003 Mar;17(3):473-5).

    The abstract that Cory alludes to (and which I suspect he is in fact well familiar with) is nothing more than that — an abstract. It is not a published study and therefore merits no serious consideration. It is, however, often bandied about by Protandim shills in an attempt to fool people into thinking that Protandim is a viable MS therapy. This is one of many shameful examples of the product’s deceptive and illegal snakeoil marketing.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for reading the post Vogel. You are correct: there is no viable evidence that Protandim has a benefit for MS (or any other health condition for that matter). The link you posted at the end of your comment highlights the inappropriate interpretation of the “evidence” supporting Protandim.

      Post a Reply
      • i have MS, i take protandim 1 year , now i am all right ! thanks protandim
        my sister has meniere, she takes protandim 5 months , now she is cured throughly

        Post a Reply
        • Liz,

          Thanks for checking out the blog. Your claims as they sit are unsubstantiated however. There is no reason to believe that Protandim would improve Meniere’s disease. I repeat my statement about the lack of evidence for MS. Same with an improvement in skin. And attestation to God does not substantiate any evidence to your claims. Stories like your’s are not uncommon when it comes to the support of unproven supplements. In terms of scientific validity, they are completely meaningless without evidence to corroborate them and some perspective on your motivation in making them.


          Post a Reply
          • In fact, it seems that the preponderance of wonky unverifiable snake-oily testimonials is greatest with these Utah-based multilevel marketing (aka pyramid) scams like LifeVantage. What becomes immediately obvious to anyone who learns even a little bit about these operations is that the MLM method is chosen because it incentivizes the company’s independent distributors to go out in the field and covertly target consumers with illegal marketing claims, while providing the company with some degree of plausible deniability. Ultimately though, the legal responsibility does fall back on the company, and eventually many of them go down in flames.

            If there was even a glint of promise that Protandim (launched in 2005) could benefit MS patients, we would have heard it about by now from reputable channels, not from anonymous semi-literate whisperers on the internet, and it wouldn’t be sold via MLM.

          • it is the fact. the fact is that i am all right now after takeing protandim for a year. one year ago , it is difficult for me to stand steadly
            the fact is the best proof

            another thing is my friends have the whole photo records of their skin huge change, huge change !! the whole photo record.
            it is the fact . no any doubt. the fact is the best proof
            if you wish, he can hand the whole photo records to any government insitution.

          • Liz, I deleted the rest of your comments as they are all similar and do not contain any additional meaningful information or evidence. I want to try to keep this post open to comments no matter the viewpoint but spam won’t be tolerated.

      • several my family members take protandim, their skin are improved too much too much
        you can not believe it is true, but it really happens

        i can promise to the GOD about what i said

        Post a Reply
    • Nicotinic agonist, Not antagonist

      Post a Reply
    • For Vogel: I would like to add one thingto your well thought out comments. Yes Tumeric is a slight NrF2 activator but the herb in the blend that activates the NrF2 the most out the 5 herbs is Milk Thistle. In fact all five herbs do activate NrF2 a little. It is when added together that they effect is more than the sum of the 5 activators put together. Have a look at at the 4870 Pub med papers on NrF2 and why the science community thinks it is worth studying.

      Post a Reply
  3. Great blog, and I agree with you completely on your assessment of Protandim. I would like your response to a comment made by a Protandim distributor on another website. He claimed that you (he read this blog) are confused about one thing when you pointed out that there are studies showing that antioxidants could be harmful. He contends that since Protandim stimulates the body to produce its own antioxidants, it would be far less likely to cause harm than antioxidants from an outside source. Therefore, he says, your concern is misplaced in this regard.

    I asked if he had any studies to back that up, but so far, no response. Any thoughts on the “direct antioxidant” vs “indirect antioxidant” discussion? Thanks in advance.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Lisa!

      I don’t know that there is any evidence to support those claims. And they are coming from a biased source. Could you share the link?


      Post a Reply
        • People keep saying that you can’t trust Protandim because it is sold via multi level marketing. So is Mary Kay and Avon, but their product still makes women beautiful. So is Tupperware, but it still keeps your food fresh.
          You talk about bias because of profit. OMG! The multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry is also driven by profit. The Doctors pushing their pills are wined and dined and get kickbacks for prescribing one type of drug over another. The peoples’ comments that you are so patronizingly dismissing ARE the evidence that Protandim is effective.

          Post a Reply
          • Patty, you want to compare Tupperware to Protandim? It’s pretty easy to tell if your food is kept fresh or not. There isn’t the same level of trust needed to buy Tupperware as is required to ingest a pill which is touted as a “medical breakthrough.”

            Lifevantage claims to be a “science based company” and that everything they do is rooted in science. Clearly that is not true. They have not done the required studies to claim that their product does anything (according to PubMed).

            FYI, Paul Myhill, the guy who “invented” this stuff, doesn’t even take it anymore. He takes some other combination of ingredients and is currently working on starting up another MLM scam. It’s on his Facebook page.

  4. Lisa, I checked in on the conversation going at Supplement Geek and it’s riddled with misinformation — it’s not coming from you though :)

    Incorrect assertion #1: The results of clinical trials showing no benefits or deleterious effects of antioxidant supplementation don’t apply to Protandim because unlike antioxidant vitamins (e.g., vitamins A, C, and E), Protandim is an indirect antioxidant that acts only by increasing the synthesis of endogenous antioxidant enzymes like SOD, via NRF activation.

    The reason this is demonstrably false is because research has already shown that curcumin (the principal ingredient in Protandim) acts as a direct antioxidant (free radical scavenger) just like antioxidant vitamins. We know that this is so because curcumin scavenges free radicals in the absence of biological tissues/cells, so in those conditions, it cannot upregulate NRF2 because there is no NRF2 in those systems to upregulate. Here is an example of one such study.

    Incorrect assertion #2: Side effects are a concern with “drugs” but not with Protandim.

    This is complete and utter nonsense. It is also dangerous. If a distributor is saying it, then it is also illegal to boot, because they are not legally allowed to make any claims about product safety, since it has never been adequately tested. If Protandim is capable of upregulating NRF2 therapeutically (which has not been proven and is extremely unlikely), then there is every reason to assume that it would cause side effects. Furthermore, if Protandim is used to treat or prevent medical consitions, ten it is by definition a “drug”. Any suggestion to the contrary is dead wrong and extremely deceptive.

    Final point – The Protandimites aren’t even aware (or perhaps they just aren’t willing to admit) that curcumin has been shown to activate NRF because it acts as a prooxidant (that’s not a typo – it can acts as both oxidant and an antioxidant) and oxidizes the antioxidant response element (ARE) of the NRF2 promoter region. In fact, NRF2 is unregulated by a diverse range of different compounds, and oxidation of the ARE is the mechanism by which many/all of them do it. If I’m not mistaken, even vitamin C (which like curcumin can act as an antioxidant or proxidant) activates NRF, as do hundreds of other common agents.

    The entire Protandim “scientific story”, and I say “scientific” with the utmost tongue in cheek, is sheer fantasy. Inaccurate, dishonest, and in many cases, illegal. It’s a disgraceful scam from front to back.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Vogel!

      Yes, the distributors are full of a false sense of confidence in their understanding of the “science” behind the product. It is very much like a cult, because even after being presented with facts to the contrary, they still hold fast to their beliefs.

      Post a Reply
    • Vogle,

      It saddens me to say, your thought process is faulty. My question is, was it deliberate?

      In your post, under the section Incorrect assertion #1, you state that Protandim’s claim to increase the endogenous antioxidant enzyme SOD is false because ONE of the principal ingredients is curcumin. You reason, incorrectly, that because curcumin acts as an antioxidant in one situation that it cannot act as something different in another situation. The list of drugs that act as both agonist and antagonist is rather lengthy. Saying that Protandim cannot up-regulate nrf2 because it scavenges free radicals in an environment that is devoid of biological tissue, is the same as saying that ethyl alcohol sitting in a jar does not kill brain cells, because there are none in the jar to kill.

      To my mind, the fact that curcumin serves a dual function, enhances its desirability.

      Your interpretation of the FDAs defininition of “drug” in SEC. 201. [21 U.S.C. 321] (g)(1)(B) articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals ( is somewhat juvenile. By strict interpretation, ALL foods would be categorized as drugs, as ALL foods can be/are used in the cure, mitigation, treatment, and prevention of disease. Although that would be the literal interpretation, it is not the intent or spirit of the definition. This would be evidenced by the fact that the FDA has not sanctioned the makers of Protandim or recalled the product. Until such time, I think it is safe to say that it is not illegal.

      As for not having any side effects, it is simple, if you are allergic to something don’t eat it. There would be no more likelihood of side effects for an individual (who does not have an allergy to any of the principal ingredients) than a person having a nice curry dish for dinner.

      Your (not so) final point, I’m sure you did not realize, conflicts with and contradicts your first point. From the literature that I have found, neither Dr. Joe McCord (, nor LiveVantage, the makers of Protandim, ever claimed that their product was the first thing to ever activate the nrf2 region. Rather, using the knowledge and drawing on the 2500 years of experience related to the use of curcumin in Eastern medicine, Dr. McCord was set on his path of discovery.

      I must admit to wondering what the motivation is behind your inaccurate, misleading and likely slanderous attack on the “scientific story” of Protandim.

      The only claim that LiveVantage makes of Protandim is that it is an nrf2 activator/synergizer. Since your “final” point agrees with this, why the argument?

      Bryan Davis

      Post a Reply
    • For Vogel, While I dislike MLM companies as well as the next guy, I find it hard to believe that ALL the scientists and universities involved in both the Peer reviewed PubMed and few Clinicals could be in on a scam of the proportions you suggest. While the studies seem to be sound, you are right, conclusions other than results found in the lab would be a mistake. However, using the results to extend further studies seems to be a standard in the science community. Not to mention the actual Peer reviewed process which involves at least 2 anonymous parties. False claims on the other hand, would be harmful. However, after reviewing all of Dr McCord’s lectures, some of Dr Perlmutters, and watching videos of various people using the product and 5 or 6 pets reactions, there is definitely something going on for some people and animals using the herbs.
      Granted the majority of the lectures are in-vitro only, isn’t that research starts? First there is an indication of results in the lab then groups of scientists begin further study.

      I ran into a few false claims by people other than scientists but the majority of what I found where actual results people were experiencing.

      Here is a list of Institutions who have indicated they are studying or are interested in doing further study.

      The end result of free radical biology seems at present to revolve around, among other parts of the genome project, NrF2 activation. I think this is only the beginning.

      This list seems to point to interest in studying substances that lower free radical oxidative stress which appears to be the underlying cause of many diseases:

      PRODUCT: Protandim
      CLAIM: Reduces Oxidative Stress by 40 to 50 % in 30 days or less – measurement used T Bars.
      Here’s what I discovered: This list was complied by a gentleman who was a skeptic and studied the product for a full year before taking it. He runs this health site:

      Institutions that have or are Currently Studying Protandim and or NrF2
      * Ohio State University
      * University of Minnesota
      * Vanderbilt University
      * University of Michigan
      * University of Colorado
      * University of Kentucky
      * Denver Health Medical Center
      * University of Florida
      * Glamorgan University, Wales
      * Sahigrenska Univerity Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden
      * University or Toronto/St. Michelle’s Hospital, Canada
      * University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic
      * Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico City

      The health topics currently under scientific investigation or in planning stages deal with the alleviation of oxidative stress linked to the following conditions:
      * Altitude sickness
      * Skin cancer
      * Throat cancer recovery
      * Cancer Treatment and NrF2 advantage
      * Photo-­‐aging of the skin
      * Renal failure
      * Osteoarthritis
      * HIV/AIDS-­‐associated lipodystrophy
      * Pulmonary hypertension
      * Periodontal disease
      * Heart disease
      * Coronary artery bypass graft failure
      * Asthma
      * Metabolic syndrome
      * Non-­‐alcoholic fatty liver disease
      * Optic neuropathy
      * Oxidative Stress in Muscular Dystrophy

      Co Formulator: Dr. Joe McCord
      Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunity at the University of Colorado at Denver
      Winner of the Elliott Cresson Medal for discovering the biology of free radical reactions in living
      Co-­‐discoverer of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase

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  5. Lisa, I saw that you had raised the following highly relevant question:

    “Who knows…..what if mopping up free radicals by activating Nrf2 ends up causing MORE people to get cancer?”

    In fact, this is a distinct possibility, as outlined in this article:

    Natural antioxidants could scupper tumour’s detox. New Scientist. 06 July 2011;2820:16.

    I summarized those findings previously on LazyMan’s site.

    I also pointed out that the first studies demonstrating that curcumin activates NRF2 predated the claims by LifeVantage that their product activates NRF2 by several years…

    …, and that curcumin activates NRF2 by acting as an oxidant:

    McNally SJ, Harrison EM, Ross JA, Garden OJ, Wigmore SJ. Curcumin induces heme oxygenase 1 through generation of reactive oxygen species, p38 activation and phosphatase inhibition. Int J Mol Med. 2007 Jan;19(1):165-72.

    You might also be interested to know that there are a plethora of studies showing that NRF2 is activated by a diverse variety of chemical compounds, including relatively benign agents like vitamins (e.g., vitamins C and E)…

    …green tea and cinnamon…

    …as well as zinc and heavy metals.

    To reiterate, there is no validity whatsoever to any of the claims made about Protandim’s alleged therapeutic effects on NRF2.

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    • Great info. Also consider in regards to anti oxidants savaging by products of cancer. Remember NrF2 activators are not anti oxidants. They are the opposite. They have to be in order to activate the NrF2.
      This is not how the body actually gets rid of cancer anyway. To consider the the model in the article, the person already has a tumor so that person’s natural anti cancer gene has not been activated. This pathway is called CYP1B1 (named after the gene that produces an enzyme (called cyp1b1 for lack of a better name. As soon as this gene is sent a signal that there is a malignant cell being produced even just one, it activates. Considering that we produce 10,000 +/- everyday this little gene is supposed to be very busy making and sending an enzyme that is only found in cancer cells. That little, but powerful enzyme is sitting in the cancer cell waiting for you to supply certain chemicals found in plants. These chemicals are found just under the skin of the fruit or vegetable and the plant makes them to protect itself when attacked by funguses or molds. They are the bitter substances that we routinely remove from our mass produced food supply. IF, however the plant is sprayed with fungicides it does not produce these chemicals at all and we don’t get them to finish the partnership with the little anti cancer enzyme system humans have developed over millions of years. If we do get them, the enzyme and the chemical join together and this signals cell death or apoptosis. What a great system. Kill the malignant cells BEFORE they become tumors and are harder to deal with, with all their tumor by products. Too bad we spray our plants so heavily. Are rising cancer rates (approaching 2 in every three people) a necessary evil of modern industrial food production? Have a look at the work from the British Cancer Research Center. They are in the business of creating Chemo drugs that target only cancer containing an array of enzymes peculiar to cancer cells only. Behold, they discovered natural molecules that do the same thing. They produced a natural product while they were waiting for the drug they manufactured to go the the lengthy process of trials etc which take years.

      The drug is out now: ZYTIGA it targets only cancer cells of the types found in the prostate.

      The natural molecules are called Salvestrols one of which is often studied Resveratrol. BUT it is the poorest molecule for this purpose and even the manufacturers of Salvestrols do not include it in their product for that reason because it interferes with the CYP1B1 pathway. Yet, as you will see, it is often held up by researchers as proof that Salvestrols don’t work. Go figure. Guess the got the answer they were looking for and stopped studying. Even Wiki would not let me correct the misinformation.

      For your own research, go deep. Try to find the lectures by these researchers, go the the actual facility site where they make the targeted chemo drugs and Salvestrols in Britain. Wonderful learning about how the body works.

      They’ve had success with even liver cancer – unheard of with regular chemo approaches.

      This CYP1B1 pathway is all but destroyed by chemicals we collect inside us from the environment as well as regular chemo drugs.

      Great sites like this one can expose useful information to the visitors.

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  6. Facts do not come from one’s blowhole but rather from the very studies that you were so quick to dismiss. Have you anything of value to bring to this discussion Li? Anything at all? Crickets…

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    • Again, I must express my regret that the moderator of this page does not admonish this juvenile bullying and name calling. There is no need for this behavior.

      If you have information to share, do so. If you are looking for a place to engage in flaming, I suggest looking elsewhere.

      Bryan Davis

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      • I would love to spend more on the site producing more content and reviewing these comments, but I’ve been quite busy with work, school, and family. Tons of spam comments coming through on this site too. When I logged in to review last night there were over 500 comments, mostly about Prada bags and AIr Jordans. I did remove the post with a picture of a Protandim distributors car that was inappropriate.

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    • It should be noted that Anecdotal Evidence is the seed from which many theories and more than a few hypotheses have grown.

      For instance, the first vaccine …Variolae Vaccinae (or, smallpox of the cow)… was introduced by Edward Jenner in 1798 because of a hypothesis formed based solely on his own anecdotes.

      Almost every Eureka! moment in the history of mankind was based on a personal observation. This is often followed by the collection of Anecdotal Evidence, followed by the formulation of a hypothesis, followed by the design and implementation of a controlled study or experiment, the results of which are published for peer review, study and ultimately validation or repudiation.

      So, these personal observations, are not just random facts spewing “from one’s blowhole” as you so eloquently put it, but rather, they are the very foundation of the Scientific Method.

      Bryan Davis

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      • You are correct. However, many hypothesis fail to pass the test of a controlled study. I don’t know if there is any data readily available on this thought, but I’d guess that this is true more often than not. We see it in medicine all the time: a sound scientific rationale exists on why a particular treatment or intervention would be beneficial, but the research fails to show this (or sometimes even shows harm).

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  7. liz…..or should I call you Wang……”Jamuswang” or “Protandimamazing” from the Yahoo group? No one in their right mind you give you their personal email after seeing all you post.

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  8. It’s been a very bad week for the $26 billion supplement industry.

    First there was this editorial published in the New York Times by physician Paul Offit and pharmacist Sarah Erush from Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, in which they pointed out the in the vast majority of cases, supplements cannot be trusted for quality, purity, and safety, and that it’s prudent to avoid them altogether.

    Today, a series of articles were published in Annals of Internal Medicine, including an editorial from physicians at Johns Hopkins, concluding that supplements studied to date are for the most part useless, if not downright harmful, and should be avoided. It was also concluded that antioxidant supplementation has been a dismal failure and that no additional clinical trails are needed at this point.

    Cue the outraged naturopaths, chiropractors, and supplement industry lobbyists in 5…4…3…2…1…

    Let the ant-scientific denials and whitewashing begin.

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    • I’ve been reading Offit’s, “Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine.” I highly recommend it. It’s just $1.99 on Kindle. Very well written and informative. It really spells out the history of the supplement industry; I wish I had read it much sooner.

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      • Thanks for the book recommendation Lisa. I’ll check it out.

        Oh, BTW, I posted the wrong link for the NYT article by Offit & Erush.

        Since then, another critical report on supplements came out; in this case, involving adulteration with an amphetamine-like compound. Here’s a summary of the study, as reported in USA Today, as well as the original research report.

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        • I love discussions like these that go back and forth between the poles…somewhere firing in the middle, like a heartbeat, is the truth. Only time will truly tell what effects this Protandim has on aging itself and the other processes rooted in or connected to oxidative stress. That’s the only real thing that this seems to be doing….lowering the concentration of TBARS in our cells. Other studies tell us what TBARS are. They are the substances created by the reaction of free radicals with the lipid membranes of our intracellular environment. These acids are part of the process that leads what many describe is “rusting from the inside out”. The evidence is strong for the interaction between this supplement and the reduction of those biochemical markers for oxidative stress. What remains to be seen are what diseases processes, if any, and what effects on aging if any, reducing oxidative stress has. At this point you can actually test for these TBARS yourself if you wanted to. That’s not the question after you weigh the research. The research simply states that those five substances (and not one less) are significantly related to the induction of the nrf2 biochemical pathway. Then you have loads of other research done out in left field just on Nrf2 alone. over 4500 studies published on research with that pathway. FDA recently approved a drug, Tecfidera, that passed numerous clinical trials in reducing symptoms of MS through nrf2 induction. Other research is unanimous in concluding at this present time that nrf2 binds to the “ARE” region of our DNA. Antioxidant Response Element. Here lie some few hundred to thousand genes out of the 25,000 genes in our genome responsbible for kicking up the production of those endogenous antioxidant enzymes. And then you have still other research, all of this now completely independent numbering in the hundreds of publications relating the antioxidant enzymes with things like lower tbars and other biochemical markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and others. There’s clearly enough research saying yes something is happening for sure, it appears to be this and these are the hypothesized benefits. Most of those benefits, with the exception of the Tecfidera drug, are mostly in the form of testimonials at this time. Only within the last three months did they publish another human clinical trial on protandim use in Japan. There they were forced to remove one of the five ingredients, Ashwagandha, due to local regulatory laws on that medicine. So they performed an experiment to find a good substitution. They found Pepperine (spelling might be off) that is the active ingredient of Black Pepper. They had three different groups in this study. One placebo, one who took the pill with four of the five ingredients and one who took the pill with the new formulation. Only the the subjects in the group with the new formulation lowered the TBARS. The rest of them, as expected, did not. All this showed was that they found an ingredient that could substitute one of the active five and still have the same effect. The case for synergistic effect is obvious.
          In the meantime Tecfidera is synthetic, has side effects, and costs the patient $50,000 per year per patient. It’s outrageous. Same pathway, nrf2. Not a little or a lot, it’s on or off, a light switch. How we get that switch to move, that’s the focus of the research now. I love research…one little step at a time, chiseling away at the mystery to reveal the truth. In the meantime I would like to see more human clinical trials with protandim on a longer, much longer case study done over decades. Only then can we know truly. But then again, how much do you know about the 99% other substances you put in your body every day. Probably not even a fraction as much. And yet we are scrutinizing to death one of the few things that comes along that weighs out the evidence and gives us more facts than we’ve ever had around what we put in our bodies. It’s the comedy…analyze to death that which I fear the most. If it survives my analysis I can let it in, all the way in, deeper than anything before and relax in having given myself that incredible gift. So I continue my investigation…in the meantime three months of this supplement has done nothing more than improve the baseline in my life. Just raises it a little bit every day, sometimes enough to notice, other times not. I’m running my own experiment!!

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          • Ray, thanks for your comment. Note that Tecdifera does not act solely through nrf modulation. Could you provide a link to this new study you mentioned?


          • TMG, here’s the link to the study I mentioned.


            It was funded in whole or in part by a grant from LifeVantage. Begs the question then, does the company have integrity, can we trust results from research conducted this way? It was done on a fairly small population of 33 overweight adults over a 30 day period. Their final conclusion sounds objective, “These preliminary data suggest, in countries where ashwagandha is considered medicinal, piperine may be an acceptable substitute ingredient in the Nrf2 activator, Protandim.” Of course you have to accept the other research that establishes Protandim as a valid Nrf2 activator. At this point, in my book, there’s plenty enough to show a valid unbiased and significant correlation. When I see research simply collecting data and making objective observations about what the data suggests, it gives them more validity in my book. I still want to see a study with a lot more people, across more diverse profiles, over a much longer period of time. In the meantime my own experience coupled with the testimonials I hear will allow me to spend the $40/month on something that may someday become an irrefutable fact in the case of reducing oxidative stress. If that’s all it does it’s worth it in my book. At the end of the day that’s all it comes down to. Protandim does have, unlike many other supplements, a lot of research being done around it. A lot more than would be expected from something that has no effect at all. If we can shoot down every single one of those studies, and then shoot down all the studies being done around Nrf2, then we can safely say it’s all hype and don’t waste your money. I just can’t shoot it all down. A couple maybe here and there, just not all of them. Too much data has been collected out there with and without LifeVantage providing the funds for the research. Hard to believe it’s all placebo, lies, marketing and bad science. I don’t buy it, not after all the research I’ve done on it. Something is going on here and I’m willing to pay attention long enough to see what that it is. I will scrutinize the hell out of the research, as I have done, and I will come to my own conclusions like we all do. Thanks TMG for this forum, hoping it can stay open and honest for all of us to enjoy.

          • Thanks for your most logical response. Everyday we eat recommended fruits, nuts, and vegetables covered in pesticides and insecticides and who knows what else and are still advised to eat more. There have been no clinical studies on the effect. I go by how I feel and what my blood tests say from what I feel are healthy foods and supplements. If I see no change I switch up. Or modify. As for protandim i have taken it for 2 mos. Being a skeptic I waited for blood test results. there was a considerable drop in bad cholesterol and tryglicerides with all other lipids normal with no change in lifestyle. With Thicker hair, stronger nails and better skin I.ll keep taking it for a while until I find a similar combination of tumeric, green tea, and barcopa from a well known vitamin company.

          • Barb, thanks for checking out the site. Just to clarify for the readers, there is no good evidence supporting a link between Protandim and the beneficial effects you have reported.

        • You have posted a lot of off-topic, anti-supplement propaganda here. I am curious how you may see this as relating to the initial topic thread? Are you, by chance, employed by a pharmaceutical company, or perhaps a Big Pharma lobby group?

          Part of a fair and balanced argument is discussing both sides of an argument. The group has discussed many cons of Protandim as a supplement. But how does that compare to the Big Pharma picture?

          FDA records show 1,734 drug recalls from 2004 to 2011; 91 of those recalls were tagged Class I recalls, meaning they had the greatest likelihood to cause patients serious harm, even death. (

          I am sure that the FDA’s web page showing the Class 1 recalls from 2012 to current would also be of interest to you. (

          The growing list of withdrawn drugs is impressive, to say the least. A partial list of some of the worst offenders is found here: The list is far from exhaustive.

          The key word there is WITHDRAWN. By definition, a drug can only be withdrawn, if it was first approved. In most cases, it was approved after completing Phase III clinical trials.

          Clinical trials can be bought. If you don’t believe that, I dare you to take some Vioxx. On second thought, don’t take that dare. Your ignorance could kill you, and I would feel responsible.

          I am a cardiac cath lab RN. I have worked at some of the best heart hospitals in the country. I have worked in the field on many clinical trials, both drug and appliance. I know from personal experience that when a patient is enrolled in a clinical trial then has an adverse outcome, some unscrupulous medical professionals will find ANY reason to exclude them from the trial.

          I have heard discussions where MDs would discuss placing a patient on a trial, knowing that they have met one or more of the exclusion criteria, with the idea that they could exclude the patient’s data if the patient’s condition went “South”, and keep the data if everything worked out well. Of course, this was usually done with the patient’s best interests at heart (please forgive the pun). Most medical professionals want to do everything they can for their patients.

          Bryan Davis

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    • Sorry, I just came across this blog and couldn’t help myself from answering. LOL!! I only know controlled and verified and tested and studied and proven medicine kill more people then supplements. Anything you overdue, whether food or supplements can have diverse affects in the body. I know of family and friends who are on medication, it’s a mess anyways. So, just because there are proven this or that does not mean medicine is more to be trusted as I’ve witnessed some family and friends struggle with that too. Medicine is poison in the body. Helps on one end and harms other organs. This is my intake on medicine. Best thing to do is to eat health, exercise and get enough sleep. Good for the body…. On the other hand we now have GMO foods that are destroying human health. I do take Protandim myself (not a distributor) but I also know I do have to make sure all in all I exercise and make good food choices. It is up to us. Good luck to all of you arguing both sides.

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    • Love your comments. They stimulate good discussions.
      I don’t know about the US but here in Canada they are a lot stricter on the contents of supplements.
      I visited 6 or so supplement facilities. To my utter amazement none of the facilities actually made any of the raw materials. The raw material powders came from 2 or 3 large factories around the world many of which are owned by BIG PHARMA.
      If a supplier’s powders fail the spectro graph and other analysis they are sent back. If a supplier sends a total of 3 products that fail, the supplier is dropped.
      Now the fun begins. These supplement facilities have decided on what ratios of each vitamin they want in their multivitamins for example. They have huge mixing rooms where the powders are mixed. Large encapsulating rooms, tableting rooms, bottling and labeling rooms. All along the way there are state of the art monitoring equipment run by computers. Products are tested and retested along the way. One sample of each product is put in the lab and tested throughout the year.

      To get the product on the market the company must send a sample including the lab results and those of a third party testing lab. They must also supply the research papers for each product. The research papers are drawn from places like PubMed etc.

      More than one herbal company grows, tests and harvest their own fresh herbs. One company in particular, has dozens of actual clinical trials with real people.

      Once again note that while Canada loves clinical trial they refuse to allow trials done in Canada. These companies have to go out of Country to complete clinicals then come back into Canada and submit the product to Health Canada for approval. Each product has to have an NPN from the Government before getting to sit on a shelf in a store.

      Great quality control. Now for the question of usefulness to the body.
      Well obviously those products with clinical double blind studies speak for themselves.

      When we first began manufacturing vitamins, the first one was vitamin C – Linus Pauling. They thought they had found the life force in food. Except for deficiencies such as demonstrated in scurvy or rickets, isolated vitamins in the long run take energy from the body as it tries to figure out what’s in the pill you just took. BUT some companies have been marketing vitamins made from food. The body knows what they are from their electric signature and does make use of them.

      As for do we need them well…. I remember reading nutrient assays from 50 or 60 years ago. Spinach, for example, used to contain 28 mg of iron per 100 gm. Assays now show spinach contains 2 or 3 at the most. What did we think was going to happen when we only supplied the 4 or 5 minerals to the soil in fertilizers. Well we didn’t think about nutrient levels we thought about how much money we could make for the least amount spent on production. We are left with food that is depleted of nutrients. So yes I think we better supply the missing nutrients.

      Heard a good quote: 1/4 of what you eat keeps you alive. 3/4 of what you eat keeps your doctor alive.

      I’m not supplying the research here. You’ll have to seek it out. Don’t stop at the first paper you like because it aligns with beliefs. Go deep.

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  9. It seems obvious to me that the whole Lazy man Scam and his links are connected and funded by Big Pharma. No objectivity, but plenty of resources available. Reminds me of the political two party only system. Sad for people that get sick and buy totally into conventional FDA approved drugs that slow kill or buy totally into promises from supplement manufacturers. There are many books out there with proven remedies that have been used for centuries to aid in healing the body and mind. Seek and ye shall find. I have never met a single person that has been “Cured” of a illness or disease by taking prescription drug or therapy which typically just masks the ongoing symptoms of the said ailment. On the other hand I have met for example people that were cured of cancer from taking laetrile along with an all natural diet. My Father is one example. A wise man once said “Seek and Ye Shall Find” He also said “Go thy way and as thou hast believed so shall it be done unto thee” I call this, the placebo effect. I reckon you guys are content with your truth and the way you make a buck it seems. Go thy way!

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    • Randy,

      Have you ever known of anyone to take an antibiotic? One simple and very common example of a cure. I am a harsh critic of the misuse of medications, which is quite abundant unfortunately. However, there is a lot of good that is accomplished through the rational use of medications.

      The concept of laetrile as a treatment for cancer is a poor argument in support of your view against FDA approved drugs. There is no evidence that it is an anti-tumor agent (and this has been studied). Those who continue to promote it as a treatment for cancer only endanger cancer patients.


      Post a Reply
      • I was put on antibiotics 20 somewhat years ago. I am allergic to one type, my Dr kept giving me other stuff to treat me only but it made me more sicker then I started. That’s why it’s called a practice, lol!! It took a specialist to get rid of my sickness. And who are we to judge or to know when one is healed by natural means? Not every body is the same and not all medications can be applied to every person. My dear friend nearly died by having a simple procedure done at the hospital under local anesthetic.. I’m not knocking down medicine but I am not going to say that only medicine can take credit here either. people can and have been treated by natural means successfully also. Nature has many wonders we have not yet discovered. I do know this…. pharmaceutical industry is not a charitable organization and it’s probably more money milking industry then supplements. Sad that comments are being made about the money making aspect of the supplement ind. but not the pharmaceutical .

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      • Yes laetrile B17 has been studied in the lab. They forgot I think to find away to get the stuff thru the fat and protein layer of a tumor before it will kill cancer cells.
        I believe we will come to the conclusion that there is NOT a CURE for cancers as there is prevention by utilizing our anti cancer pathways such as CYP1B1.

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  10. Well after becoming a distributor myself recently and reading all these and more about Protandim’s lack of human clinical studies I must concur with the general criticism. While there are promising possibilities of a health benefit, there is no evidence to support it. Nothing I have found anywhere suggests a positive health benefit in the realm of legitimate scientific research done on humans. At least none that I have been able to find. All I see is a bunch of well meaning and genuinely caring people feeling better about their lives. Makes me want to just bring down the whole scientific method and rewrite it from scratch. Are we missing something? I concur with the general consensus that while our system is flawed and may lead us to a dismal future, it’s what we’ve got and until something better comes along we have to do everything in our power everyday to make it better and insist on the truth.

    At this point I’m disillusioned. I let my hopes and the astounding body of personal testimonials get the better of me. But I can not honestly sell something that hinges all of its weight on scientific research that is simply still too young and inconclusive to promote an undeniable health benefit. I mean undeniable in the realm of medicine is pretty much non-existent. But at least something with valid statistically significant data over a larger population and a longer period of time.

    I’m sure the pharmacist sees it everyday with the drugs currently sold on the market either over or under the counter. Some of them help, some of them help while causing new problems, some of them get pulled for making too many people sick, some of them improve the quality of life for a while then taper off into a new sheet of symptoms for more medicine to stack up on. I do not doubt Western medicine’s ability to repair and cure damage and illness. It’s just so focused on the symptoms, it always seems to lose sight of the whole person. Equally disillusioning. Probably why I put my hopes on supplements like Protandim and the stories of its consumers.

    After doing a financial analysis of Protandim’s 5 main ingredients, I found that you could purchase those ingredients in bulk, Organic and of the highest quality, for a mere $1 per month. So I asked myself how would I justify the other $39? If Protandim’s company LifeVantage was investing more of their profit into R&D, conducting more human clinical trials with larger populations over longer periods of time and inspiring scientists around the world to independently do the same then maybe it would be worth it, I’d be paying for better science.

    If I arrived at the same conclusions that Paul Myhill (Protandim patent author) arrived at after researching all the known scientific evidence on any possible links between reducing oxidative stress and a natural herbal supplement, I would probably want to share it with everyone too. But that’s not enough. Some smart business man who’s great at research and writing patents doesn’t equal a product that passes the tests for real human health benefit. That’s the bottom line. The only people who are going to consume Protandim after having all of this information are people who put their confidence in the testimonials of thousands, some of them doctors and scientists themselves, and don’t mind allowing the scientific community to catch up with more conclusive data to substantiate those claims.

    We are on to something here. We are studying the possibility that what we eat can in some predictable way cause a reaction in our body that includes the turning on and off of genes. That by itself is amazing and scary! And its probably been happening for eons. Our DNA changes, there is no doubt about that. Can we influence those changes in a predictable and beneficial way? That remains to be seen.

    Anyways, falling off topic here. I thank you Medicine Guy and all the commentators and everyone pushing for deeper truth, higher quality of life and honest sharing. May we all someday see the biggest picture of all and marvel at its beauty.

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    • Surya,

      Thanks for posting your comment. I maintain the viewpoints apparent in my article. I’d be interested to hear of a Doctor or legitimate researcher without a financial or emotional stake in the product who actually recommends the use of it. And the testimonies of thousands of individuals, most probably with some financial or emotional interest in Protandim, is a poor reason to consider use of the product. We live in an age where information is vast and readily accessible, with acquisition of knowledge limited only by the capability of the individual to interpret it. Many years ago people relied on the statements of other individuals without the luxury of scientific research and readily available fact. Commonly held beliefs included that the world was flat, the earth was the center of the universe, bloodletting was a cure for disease, fire was an element, ….

      Best regards,


      Post a Reply
      • There’s one thing a lot of people don’t understand about this company and Protandim. For perhaps the first time in the history of network marketing, a company has a product with third party validation (whether you believe it or not) and most of the people who take the product are not involved in the business. Did I say that right? I’ll repeat, what incentive would someone who only buys the product and has no stake in being a distributor or network marketer have in lying or falsely representing their experience? The majority of the people who purchase Protandim are NOT distributors. They are customers. Regular people who heard it worked, tried it out, had positive results and kept buying it. Look at the company’s financials. There are more than 300,000 customers today. There are only about 70,000 distributors. So tell me, would the testimonials of 300,000 people across six countries hold any weight? Are they all being shammed, blinds pulled over their eyes month after month, lying to themselves and their friends?

        Now that I think of it, testimonials are really the only thing we ever really have. How many people who take Tylenol, and the host of other approved drugs actually do any research on the drug or its ingredients? More than 9 times out of 10 people are working off of hearsay. What they heard someone else experience or what the commercials on TV tell them will happen or what their doctor tells them to get or prescribes. Get FDA approval and a whole bunch of people think it’s ok until someone gets sick or dies, it gets pulled and something comes out to replace it. Does the FDA have questionable ties to the Big Pharma world? You bet it does. Is there corruption and lies and data manipulation going on? We know there is. So in the end, what makes someone try a new supplement out? Do you really think they do even a fraction of the research we are doing here? Testimonials of real people, have over the millennia, been the only real way for us to know if something works or might work. Before and and webmd and blogs and forums and cell phones and emails and all this access to information we have now, what did we have to go on? Testimonials. Our great grandparents walked down the street to Uncle John’s house and asked him about the raw milk he was drinking. Hey John, you like that stuff? John replies, yeah, it’s great, been drinking it for years. Now might John keel over the next day from clogged arteries? Of course, and what will our great grandparents do? They’ll stop drinking that milk!! Or so much of it at least.

        At some point the testimonials of hundreds of thousands of people are going to matter a little bit more than a few studies, or lack thereof, floating around on pubmed. This doesn’t mean the studies aren’t important or we stop watching every move the company makes (I know I do). It means we need to consider all of the information, not just a little slice of the pie. You don’t even need to advertise those testimonials, just point the curious person over to so and so and let them share their personal experience. There’s no harm in that, it’s not illegal and you just might learn something. Keep listening.

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        • Sooo….assuming your numbers are accurate, and that none of the 300,000 customers are distributors, that averages out to 4.28 customers per distributor. Not too impressive. I bet most of those customers are family members of the distributors who are trying to be supportive of their near- broke relative.

          The product has been out for 10 years. If it was a miracle pill, or a medical breakthrough, it would have been thoroughly studied by now (in humans) and sold EVERYWHERE.

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          • I appreciate your comment on how “not too impressive” those numbers are. That may change with time, for better or worse. However, that wasn’t really the point was it. The point is simple, lots of people taking the product with no financial stake in the company. What does that tell you?

            You also “bet” that most of those customers are family members. Since when does debating facts turn into bets? Why would you bet that most of those customers are family members? And why would you assume that they’d be supporting their near-broke relative? Do you assume that the relative goes on being broke? Do you think that people aren’t making money in this business? The company made $208 million last year. $92 million was paid out to distributors. With only 10 top ranking (PRO 10) level distributors, who got the majority of that money? The middle ranks did (PRO 3-6). These are facts, not assumptions or bets, clearly stated and available for everyone to see. People are making money in this business. And people who are not making money in the business continue to be customers. Are we going to assume that the near-broke relatives stay broke forever?

            Now you say the product has been out for 10yrs? Are there any other products or beliefs or inventions that took years to move from obscurity to popularity? Is Protandim the only one?

            I’m just looking at this as objectively as possible Lisa. It’s easy to get caught up in opinions and assumptions. There’s a lot of fraud and crap out there. It’s a lot of work just to stay objective and work with the facts. Now if you’re already convinced that LifeVantage is evil and Protandim is a scam, then there’s not much to debate here.

          • Why do I bet that most of a distributor’s customers are relatives?  Who do you think are the first people a new distributor convinces to buy the product?  They try their pitch on relatives and close friends first, of course!  Why wouldn’t they?  It’s usually a safe bet for them. I have a serial MLMer in my family, so I’ve seen it happen over and over. I think it’s a VERY safe assumption that this MO is the norm.

            I also think it’s a safe bet that new distributors are near-broke.  Who else has the desperation level to try MLM schemes?  Don’t be fooled, the upper level distributors didn’t work their way up there.  They were brought over from another MLM, Zrii.

            The people at the top of the pyramid get the lion’s share, but just for fun, let’s assume the money is distributed evenly.  $92,000,000 divided by 70,000 distributors comes to a whopping $1,314.29.  Wow.  We know the top dogs make WAY more than that (Jason Domingo made 2.6 million), so I hate to think what that leaves for the lower levels to survive on!


            The information below shows that the turnover rate for distributors and customers is quite high, so to say there are 300,000 customers is somewhat misleading since 53% of the customers stop buying it every 90 days:

            “In a very interesting conference call discussing their fiscal fourth quarter 2013 results, LifeVantage CEO Doug Robinson spilled the beans on exactly how bad the business opportunity in LifeVantage is:
            > “A metric that we tracked is our 90-day retention rate which was 47% for preferred customers and 53% for distributors as of June 30. Our preferred customer retention increased in F2013 and our distributor retention rate slightly decreased in F2013.”"


            Yes, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is a snake-oil scam.

          • Hi Lisa, sounds like maybe you had a bad personal experience with MLM? If you did I’m sorry to hear it, the truth is there are a lot of scams out there. Instead of argue over whether they are all scams or not, I want to point out a few points you made in your response. I am really not trying to convince you or anyone of anything here. I’m an educator, my primary motivation is to understand and make informed choices.

            The first thing that stood out to me from your comments was the assumption that people who become customers or distributors are being “convinced” to do so. What about the people that come into this informed and make the choices for themselves? I can understand how that might be hard for you to see given your stated position. Is it actually possible that millions of people are stooped, manipulated and deceived every time? What are the chances that everyone who gets sucked into mlm is a complete moron? There are some without question, but all?

            Another thing that got my attention is your assumption that the $92M is distributed evenly. It’s not of course, the compensation plan which is freely available for anyone to see clearly defines how the company distributes its income to distributors.

            Another point I saw you making was in regards to whether or not the top level distributors built their business from the ground up. You are correct, some of them were able to bring some of their previous organization with them. This doesn’t however make up the majority of them. I’ve met a few of them personally. Some of them are in this business for the first time! To add, my friends who introduced me to this business, who started just six months ago, are already making $2500 a month. They started at zero! And let me tell you Lisa, it’s not easy work. The truth is most of reason why an mlm fails outside of scam products is how distributors abandon the people they sponsor. The only way to make an mlm work is to find a way to share the message in a way that can be duplicated. This means you support the people you sponsor, show them what works for you and stay with them while they build confidence and discover what works for them. What peaked my interest outside of the product was the caliber of the people involved. It was shocking and didn’t fit at all with the perception I had of mlm in general. These are hard working people who made a choice to give this a real sincere effort. 12 to 24 months. If it doesn’t work, forget it and move on.

            That’s where I’m at, just collecting data, listening to understand and sharing what matters. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, I do value it. It’s people like you that keep company’s and industry like these in check, on point and alert. Without people like you others can become lazy, complacent and even corrupt.


          • Ray says: “The first thing that stood out to me from your comments was the assumption that people who become customers or distributors are being “convinced” to do so.”

            Yes, customers have to be convinced.  That is why this product failed when sold as a retail product on a shelf.  There weren’t any distributors to make false or misleading claims about the product, so it sat on the shelf.

            Ray says: ” What about the people that come into this informed and make the choices for themselves?”

            How did they become “informed”????  They were pointed to PubMed and fed testimonials by distributors.  Of course they made the choice themselves, no one is being forced at gunpoint to take this stuff, but saying they are making an informed choice is like saying that brainwashed cult members are “informed.”

            Ray says:  “What are the chances that everyone who gets sucked into mlm is a complete moron? There are some without question, but all?”

            I think there are many reasons people get involved in these ventures.  Some people are easily manipulated by cult tactics, even though I wouldn’t consider them to be morons.  They are naive and think they will make fortunes using the MLM model (pyramid scheme), and they truly believe in the product, based on what their leaders have told them. Then there are those who have no ethics and are very well aware that what they are pushing is a scam, but will lie to your face in order to make a buck.  The head honchos in this company have been caught lying many times!

            Ray says:  “Another thing that got my attention is your assumption that the $92M is distributed evenly. It’s not of course, the compensation plan which is freely available for anyone to see clearly defines how the company distributes its income to distributors.”

            I didn’t assume that at all.  I said:  The people at the top of the pyramid get the lion’s share, but just for fun, let’s assume the money is distributed evenly.  $92,000,000 divided by 70,000 distributors comes to a whopping $1,314.29.  Wow.  We know the top dogs make WAY more than that (Jason Domingo made 2.6 million), so I hate to think what that leaves for the lower levels to survive on!

            Of course the money isn’t distributed evenly…..I was just pointing out that even IF it were, without the top dogs getting MILLIONS out of that 92m, the numbers are terrible.

            This is from Lazyman (the first paragraph quotes you, Ray):

            ” The company made $208 million last year. $92 million was paid out to distributors. With only 10 top ranking (PRO 10) level distributors, who got the majority of that money? The middle ranks did (PRO 3-6).”

            Lazyman says:

            “Those ranks comprised a little more than 7% of the “active” salesforce and were paid a little a more than $41 million.  Ranks 7 through 10 consisted of 0.18% of the salesforce and were paid $27 million.  Then there is some 60+% of “active” salesforce who did not achieve rank of Pro 1 and presumably didn’t make the 10 cent monthly minimum pay out represented by the minimum…. these people are not represented in the chart, but should be because the percentage of “active” salesforce does not add up to 100%.

            And then you have to get into the salesforce that wasn’t “active”, which means the chart represents only a subset of the salesforce.”

            End quote.

            Ray says:  “Another point I saw you making was in regards to whether or not the top level distributors built their business from the ground up. You are correct, some of them were able to bring some of their previous organization with them. This doesn’t however make up the majority of them. I’ve met a few of them personally. Some of them are in this business for the first time!”

            Call me cynical, but I personally wouldn’t trust a word they say.   I’m generally a very trusting person, believe it or not, but I’ve seen too many lies coming from this company.

            Ray says:  “What peaked my interest outside of the product was the caliber of the people involved. It was shocking and didn’t fit at all with the perception I had of mlm in general. These are hard working people who made a choice to give this a real sincere effort. 12 to 24 months. If it doesn’t work, forget it and move on.”

            Anyone can be a distributor, there are no qualifications, so the “caliber” of the people involved is all over the map.  Lazyman even exposed one who had a record as a sex offender.  I haven’t been impressed with the vast majority of distributors I have interacted with on websites. Read some of the comments by distributors on Supplement Geek and Lazyman and you might see what I mean. 

          • You make some good points. And your doing a great job of citing some of the relevant data. Clearly this company, and it appears the MLM industry as a whole, has violated your personal code of ethics. They sound like pond scum to you, that about right? I don’t want to make assumptions. I get the feeling it doesn’t really matter what I say and I’m not here to convince you so I feel fine proceeding with an entertaining sharing of opinions.

            I believe Lazy Man in one of his articles alluded to the FTC’s guidelines for evaluating MLM companies. Based off of their guidelines, not all MLMs are pyramid schemes. Do you agree with this? I noticed when you write MLM in your comments you often follow it with (pyramid scheme). So I’m curious if there are any valid examples of MLMs that are not pyramid schemes to you?

            I understand your extreme skepticism makes it very hard to believe that anyone has built their organization from the ground up. The problem with this perception is that it can be proved to be false. We can investigate any given number of top ranking (PRO 7-10) level distributors and we will find that many of them started from zero. Some of them with no previous experience in MLM. You might have to hire a private investigator to get past your skepticism of what anyone tells you or what is published, however, there will return some valid data supporting this claim.

            Part of my confidence comes from watching my own friends, people I have known over the years, people with no prior experience, people who to the best of my knowledge have never lied to me nor manipulated me. None of them have attempted to convince me of anything. They are simply sharing what works for them. They entered this business and within a year start seeing income at the PRO 5 and 6 ranks. There were no magic tricks here or special connections, they just worked hard at what they believed in and started seeing results. It does happen. I suspect the vast majority of failures come from cases where the distributor gives up or has no support. That would explain the high drop out rate you cite. It’s a tough business, clearly not for anyone who just wants to make a buck and hopes they get lucky doping some innocent and gullible people.

            The compensation summary that we have been going back and forth on only summarizes active distributors. Active meaning the people who are actually working. You have to work in this business to get paid, just like any other business. The main difference is the residual income. No different than how the big movie stars and actors may their royalties. The result of their hard work and effort over any given period of time goes on rewarding them indefinitely into the future. This is not illegal, it’s not a pyramid scheme. These people are paying their taxes on this income (in some cases higher taxes) and life goes on.

            Even if the top distributors of this company came in with their downlines, already rich, ready to make more, how did they get there in the first place? Some of these people are MLM professionals. They started from zero at some point and generated that wealth. They haven’t been put in jail or assassinated yet, something is happening.

            You see how I’m looking at this, I’m not applying a generalized logic to an entire industry. I’m combing through each of them, searching for the flees and ticks, the leaches and liars. There will always, in any company of any industry of any part of this world be those who got to their tops by lying, cheating, deceiving and stepping on others. What industry doesn’t have this? What industry doesn’t have some sex offender working within them, either already acquitted or still hiding in their slime bag shadows?

            This whole conversation feels like the same one I have in my industry, the information technology world. I’m a network engineer. I’ve worked with Microsoft products since 1988. It’s amazing to me that the company is still in business with the crap they allow out their doors sometimes. Not to mention the sheer annihilation they face every single second of every single day whilst their enemies from every country on earth with an internet connection tries to infect, hack and otherwise exploit their operating system Windows. How has a company like that survived so long having so many holes in it? Every single month they release on average five to ten security patches to close up that bleeding box. Still it survives and moves on, providing millions upon millions of people with a platform for their productivity.

            The point I’m making is what doesn’t kill a company like LifeVantage will only make them stronger. I want to see more human clinical trials, less marketing, I want to see more research in the area of Nrf2 and the antioxidant response element. I want to know what the long term risks are, if any, of activating Nrf2 day in and day out (that is if you believe it’s being activated at all). There’s a lot more to do here. It’s far from perfect. Lots of things are. Lots of things I buy everyday for my body and for my life. Lots of things I don’t know a fraction as much about but still don’t mind parting some money with. The amount of scrutiny on this product by professionals and people like you and me is astounding. I don’t believe this is a miracle pill cure all. Like you said, if it was it be a lot more popular by now. I just can’t ignore thousands of testimonials and research, good or bad. Something is happening here. It’s way to soon to tell what it is. Not enough data. Nothing out there, FDA approved or not has enough data to be conclusive for the rest of eternity. All we have is what’s in front of us.

            I will let that change and evolve and fall and rise and make mistakes and get back up and do better. It’s life. In the meantime I will never tell anyone Protandim cures anything, or has without a doubt been proven to do anything. My job is to present what data there is and let people make up their own minds. To each their own right?

            Thanks again Lisa for this lively conversation. I know I moved off topic at least once. Hard not to with something so exciting and charged. I look forward to learning more from you and your research. Your an ally in my opinion, the kind that won’t settle for anything less than the truth.

          • Ray, I’m no expert in business practices or law, so I’ll go along with what the FTC says (but unfortunately, it doesn’t list any specific legitimate MLM’s):

            “The Federal Trade Commission agrees there are legitimate MLMs. The difference between a legitimate business and pyramid scheme comes down to products.

            If the company and its distributors make money primarily from the sale of products to end-users (and not boxes of product accumulating in a distributor’s garage), it’s OK.

            By contrast, a pyramid scheme compensates those at the top of the pyramid with participation fees paid by those recruited at the bottom. It eventually collapses when the scheme can’t recruit more people.

            But identifying a pyramid scheme can be difficult because MLMs typically have product sales, along with recruitment fees and recruitment incentives.

            “It gets cloudy when you have a situation where you have fees being paid for both,” said Monica Vaca, assistant director of the FTC’s division of marketing practices. “It’s very nuanced.”

            While prosecuting an MLM can seem somewhat of a judgment call, cases have a common factor: deceptive promises about how much money distributors will earn, Vaca said.

            In the Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing case filed last month, C. Steven Baker, director of the FTC’s Midwest region, said, “These defendants were promising people that if they worked hard they could make lots of money. But it was a rigged game, and the vast majority of people lost money.”"

            That came from the link below….a good look at MLM in general and worth a read:


            Do you think Jason Domingo sold enough actual product to earn 2.6 million dollars?  I don’t.

            My biggest objection to this company is not the MLM aspect, although I personally believe that business model is horrible.  What I find repugnant is that a few pennies of herbs is being marketed as a “medical breakthrough” and sold to gullible people for $1.50 a pill.  I object to all the lies the company has told.  If they have a great product, there is no reason to lie about anything. 

            The company has proven that they have zero integrity, and they want people to ingest something they make?  Sure, there are problems with other companies and their products, but when you are asking someone to take what amounts to an unproven medicine, that bumps the stakes up to a much higher level.  What are the long term effects of eating up free radicals (if in fact it actually does that)?  There very well could be negative consequences, as Vogel has pointed out.  There are studies showing negative side effects to activating Nrf2. 

            Lifevantage likes to say that they are a science based company, and that their science sets them apart.  They need to pony up some relevant human studies to back that up.  Anything else is just rainbows, wishes, and snake oil.  It’s unethical, and could prove to be dangerous.  If it does absolutely nothing, then it is safe to take, but people are just being fleeced. 

            You said: “My job is to present what data there is and let people make up their own minds. To each their own right?”

            What data will you be presenting? In order to be able to sell Protandim, you have to mislead people into thinking that the test tube and rodent studies apply to humans. You will have to downplay the human study where Protandim was bested by a placebo. You will have to convince people that there is a health benefit to taking Protandim…..which hasn’t been proven at all. You will have to tell them that the product is safe and won’t interfere with any medications they are on, but that hasn’t been tested for either. You will have to tell them that Protandim is being studied all over the world and that there are 25 or more studies going on right now….but even IF that were true, what does it matter until those studies are completed?

            I could go on and on, but you’ve made up your mind that none of that matters.

            Yes, to each their own…..until you are messing with other people’s health.

          • All valid points you make.

            To the claim that people consistently lose money by signing up to be a distributor with this company amazes me. Are you aware of the investment? $630. $550 of that is product. By sponsoring just THREE more distributors, each returning $210, that investment is paid for in full. For every distributor you sponsor past the first three you will get a one-time return of $260 for the rest of your life as a distributor with the company. That’s just one of the six ways to get paid by this company. I’m a network engineer. I have my own business for ten years now. It cost me thousands of dollars to start my business, never mind the monthly overhead ($2300 in my case). You know what the minimum monthly overhead is for being a LifeVantage distributor? $50. The cost of one bottle of Protandim. Which I believe, coincidentally, is the main reason why the FTC will have a hard time seeing this company as an illegal pyramid scheme. They are selling product to both customers and distributors.

            If people are having a hard time, from the business perspective, in paying for that initial investment there is something seriously wrong. How are people losing money when it is that easy to get out of the red? With all of the science, however unsubstantial, and all of the testimonials, however inconclusive, there will always be people at least willing to try it out. Even with the reported drop out rate of distributors and customers, you still only need to sponsor THREE people to pay for your investment. Boggles my mind that people lose money. However, as you have pointed out, there are some morons that get into this business, people who blindly enter and who’s sponsorship is abandoned by their uplines. That’s bad business, that’s poor leadership.

            Now you mention the integrity of the company. That they have lied so much, so many times. To date there is only one lie that I’m aware of. This doesn’t mean there aren’t more that you’re aware of, only in my personal research one that stands out. That is the attempt the company made to name Dr. McCord as the chief inventor of Protandim for marketing purposes. As your probably aware, Dr. McCord rejected that proposition stating clearly “I do not honestly feel that I have made contributions to the intellectual property, up to this point (March 29th, 2005), that would qualify me as an inventor. Again I must congratulate you (Bill Driscoll, CEO at the time) and Paul (Myhill, VP at the time) for having framed the concept of Protandim so close to its final embodiment, prior to the beginnings of our association.”

            Letter can be seen,

            The resulting drama (and possibly more lies) between Paul Myhill (principal author of the patents for Protandim) and the company all stemmed from that one attempt the company made to hide the real inventor, Paul Myhill. Are you aware of what Paul did when he stepped down from the VP position with the company Nov 2005? He wanted to work on his involvement with various charitable organizations, namely the stopping of human trafficking to which LifeVantage donated generously in April of 2012.

            Link to the SEC filing for Paul’s change in company role:


            Link to the Press Release for the charitable donation to Paul’s “Traffic Jam” organization:


            The press release link I believe, as many who make claims against the company’s integrity, also casts light on LifeVantage acknowledging the discord between them and Paul Myhill and hopefully laying it to rest. Did LifeVantage bribe Paul to shut up about this involvement with the invention of Protandim? Maybe. Did it work? It appears to have worked and in the process helped a bunch of other parties out that want to see an end to human trafficking. LifeVantage is far from perfect, but to say they have no integrity is also a bit harsh considering this and other charitable donations to all kinds of agencies promoting the welfare of children and families across the world. Does giving money out mean that we have integrity? Obviously not. The point I am making is that there’s more than one side to what creates integrity. Integrity, simply stated, is doing what you say you’re going to do. Integrity is aligning one’s actions with agreements they have made to themselves and the world. LifeVantage is far from a monster in this view. Again I am speaking from personal experience and from what I’m gathering from friends involved with the company.

            Regarding your question as to “what data will you be presenting?” when sharing the Protandim science message. I offer this. As you know, there are only three clinical trials on humans at this point. The only one in my mind that warrants even remote merit is the first one published back in August 2005. In this study, titled “The induction of human superoxide dismutase and catalase in vivo: A fundamentally new approach to antioxidant therapy” they had 29 test subjects. The biggest argument here is simply not enough people to warrant the claims their marketing has made since. We need more human clinical trials.

            Link to above mentioned study:

            (This link provides the full published study, I find them more useful than the simple Abstracts provided by The Methods that a study employs is of particular interest to me in addition to the Discussion. It’s where i get to see how much they may or may not be stretching their findings.)

            The second human study did not produce a statistically significant result for the use of Protandim. End of story here. (I would never have tested Protandim on an alcohol use disorder population. There’s plenty of research linking alcohol use with negative drug interactions, lowered or eliminated effectiveness). The third human study was published in May of 2014. It was done on 33 adults. It had a statistically significant result for the use of Protandim. This study, however, is only published as an abstract and as such does not represent a study design that can be replicated at this point. Remains to be seen what, if anything other than ingredient substitution, that study concludes.

            Everything else done with Protandim was done on animals either in-vivo or in-vitro. A lot of research is done this way, but from the clinical standpoint, they are really just setting the foundation, in my opinion, for the larger human studies. They help prepare the ground, the methods, the cross-references, the targets. The direct answer to your initial question is I will present the data as such: these are the studies that have been done to date. Draw your own conclusions. The company makes such and such conclusions. Here is the business opportunity around this product (and the other two). Here are the risks, here are the potential benefits. To each their own. No one is brainwashed, no one is convinced. To date no one has reported death or sickness due to consuming this product. Does this mean it’s completely safe? No, it just means a lot of people consume this product without problems. Does the product have a third party validating the safety of it’s ingredients, yes they do. Do you have to believe them, no you don’t. Simple.

            This brings me to the fourth and final human clinical study. This one has not been started yet. It’s scheduled to commence in August of this year. Here’s the link to the study statement initiating this study. I am eager to learn of the results. It will be one step closer to understanding the effects of supplementation with Protandim on oxidative stress. I’m particularly excited to see that they are focusing the study on persons at rest and persons before and after exercise.

            Link to this new clinical trial:


            That’s all for now. In the meantime, thanks again for your continued quest into the truths. They are many and we are few.


          • (Resubitting this comment, it is still in moderation for some reason):

            Ray, you want to chastise me for making an assumption or a bet, and claim that this discussion should be about facts. 

            You said:  “You also “bet” that most of those customers are family members. Since when does debating facts turn into bets?”

            Fair enough.  You also stated:

            “I love research…one little step at a time, chiseling away at the mystery to reveal the truth.”

            However, you seem to be willing to go with testimonials instead of facts:

            You said:  “Now that I think of it, testimonials are really the only thing we ever really have. ”

            “Before and and webmd and blogs and forums and cell phones and emails and all this access to information we have now, what did we have to go on? Testimonials. Our great grandparents walked down the street to Uncle John’s house and asked him about the raw milk he was drinking. Hey John, you like that stuff? John replies, yeah, it’s great, been drinking it for years. Now might John keel over the next day from clogged arteries? Of course, and what will our great grandparents do? They’ll stop drinking that milk!! Or so much of it at least.”

            There is a reason we shouldn’t trust testimonials, or ancient “wisdom”:


            “Don’t be tempted to believe that the longevity of a model justifies its acceptance. It might help to keep in mind that blood-letting (based on the four humors model) was an accepted practice for centuries before modern medicine showed how harmful it is. Always ask for evidence that’s been gathered from real-world tests. If there’s none, the model is worthless. You can also check whether there are any systematic reviews of the model – try the Cochrane Collaboration for medical issues.”

            You can also read what PubMed says about how to tell what “works”.  They spell it out because they realize that people who don’t know better are looking at the published studies and possibly coming to the wrong conclusions:


            So if you really want to stick to relevant facts, you need to look at the human studies.  The current human studies don’t prove any health benefit from taking Protandim.  We all would like a magic pill to cure our ills, and I will be happy to eat my words against this product as soon as credible studies on humans prove that  there is a benefit to taking it.  I’m not holding my breath, considering the track record of this company. Why would ANYONE trust this company after all the lies they have been caught spinning? 

  11. Hello Medicine Guy,

    I have enjoyed reading your honest review of this product. I am considering this product and am doing my own research, so I appreciated finding your educated opinion. The Protandim website and distributors state that his suppliment has been studied at Ohio State University, LSU, Univeristy of Colorado Denver, Virgina Commonwealth University, Colorado State University, and Texas Tech University with positive results. I’m not sure where to find these studies? Any ideas? The Protandim website also states that “The following medical journals have published the results of these studies: Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Enzyme Research, Circulation, and American Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.”

    I am going to look at these studies and also look at the authors of the studies and will post what I find. The fact that it is not FDA approved got my attention because my opinion of that process is very low – I apologize if that is offensive to you as I know it has much to do with your line of work. I have seen so many individuals hurt due to side effects of prescription medications that are FDA approved. I must say that I have personally had good pharmacists who have caught the mistakes of doctors before I have taken medications that I had no business taking.


    Post a Reply
    • Erica,

      Sorry for the late reply. It has been a while since I’ve updated the site. When I wrote this article, I contacted both LifeVantage and one of the authors of the majority of the published Protandim studies with a request for comment on the article and information about the unpublished research. I did not receive a reply from either.

      My assessment of the published studies is briefly noted in the article. Certainly nothing that can be utilized to provide a recommendation to consider using the product.

      Best regards,


      Post a Reply
  12. Hello
    My 88 year old father has been roped into taking Protandim. Can you please tell me if the product can interfere with any of the following medications? The first three he takes on a regular basis, the others, I’m not sure about:


    Thanks very much for any information.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Lisa,

      Sorry for the delayed response…it’s been a while since I’ve updated the site! Unfortunately, published data on interactions with Protandim or the individual ingredients is limited. Based on what is known about the capability of 5 herbs present in Protandim, there doesn’t appear to be any glaring interaction with the medications that you have listed.

      Best regards,


      Post a Reply
      • Hello TMG,

        I must say that I am a little disappointed in your reply. While, strictly speaking, you did answer her question, the responsible and objective thing to do would be to inform the questioner of all the interactions.

        By going to you can check food and drug interactions. I took the liberty of doing that for you.

        The following link will give you the interactions of all prescribed medications. I also included the separate ingredients that comprise Protandim.,2706-0,2721-0,1147-0,2375-0,1253-0,1633-0,1674-0,1790-0,2682-0,1488-899,728-13960,1146-676,1463-869&types=major&types=minor&types=moderate&types=food&professional=1

        The list of 9 medications, and 5 food supplements generates 7 drug interactions, 6 of them have potentially severe complications and/or life threatening complications.


        Post a Reply
        • Brian,

          Thank you for your contribution to this post. As an advocate of proper medication therapy, I can attest to the rampant problems with medication interactions, polypharmacy, and the phenomenon of add on drug therapy for problems that are being caused by other drugs.

          At a glance, it would be hard to make any conclusions about the medication list that Lisa shared without the context of the patients medical history and the doses and frequency of the medications listed. I purposely avoided commenting on that for that reason. A comprehensive medication review would be beneficial I’m sure, but this is not the forum for that. There is not a major red flag that would incite me to suggest urgent attention either. The only comment I would have for sure would be the use of nabumetone in a patient that requires Lasix and hydralazine, since it may increase fluid retention and worsen symptoms of heart failure. On the flip side, if the patient has severe gout that does not respond to single doses of colcrys then his provider may think the benefit outweighs the risk. I think this highlights the difficulty in noting problems simply from the list…I’d hate to raise concern for a problem here when I have no details about the case.

          Best regards,


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  13. .assuming your numbers are accurate, and that none of the 300,000 customers are distributors, that averages out to 4.28 customers per distributor. Not too impressive. I bet most of those customers are family members of the distributors who are trying to be supportive of their near- broke relative.
    The product has been out for 10 years. If it was a miracle pill, or a medical breakthrough, it would have been thoroughly studied by now (in humans) and sold EVERYWHERE.

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    • There’s only 65,000 distributors.

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  14. Curious if protandim ingredients interact with Tenuate?

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    • Hi Glenda,

      There is no obvious interaction based on the properties of both products, but this hasn’t been investigated so I can not give you a certain answer.


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      • Thank you. I tried researching it on the Internet by each ingredient, but didn’t have much luck. Thanks for taking the time to answer. :)

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  15. Would protandim interfere with my synthroid or dexilant

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    • Hi Shirley,

      There is no evidence of any interaction between Protandim and your two medications. However, this hasn’t been studied sufficiently to conclude for certainty that there is no interaction. If you decide to take Protandim, I would suggest that you get your thyroid level checked after a few weeks just to be on the safe side.

      On a side note, there is some evidence that people who take stomach acid lowering drugs like Dexilant require slightly higher doses of Synthroid. If you stop taking Dexilant, make sure to follow up with your physician to have your thyroid level checked.

      Thanks for checking out the site!

      Post a Reply
  16. Hey Medicine guy…I have a friend whose husband started taking Protandim for prostate cancer. His PSA was 5.3 and after 3 mo. dropped to 2.8 and 3 mo. later to 2.2, with no other changes in his daily habits. My husband also has prostate cancer and is currently being treated with proton beam therapy. They also wanted to do the proton beam therapy but could not afford it so they resorted to Protandim. My question is this: What is causing the drop in PSA? I don’t believe there is anything in Protandim that cures cancer but I am thinking it is being masked somehow. Help me understand what it could possibly be and what is actually happening. Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for visiting the site. There are no published studies on the effects of Protandim on PSA or prostate cancer. There are some reports that turmeric, ashwagandha, green tea, and milk thistle (alone or in combinations with other ingredients) have anti-tumor effects on prostate cancer cells and/or decrease PSA. Other reports conflict these findings though, so there is no high level evidence proving human benefit. Always possible, but not verifiable with evidence, that there could be a correlation with the decreased PSA and Protandim. I really doubt it though, especially at that magnitude in someone with prostate cancer who is purportedly not undergoing any other therapy. As you noted, it would not be recommended to use Protandim for the treatment of cancer.


      Post a Reply
  17. I appreciate your efforts to make the company as transparent as possible. I like that you avoid extreme cynicism while looking at ProTandim. Much of the debate on this and other health related products is the age old divide between anecdotal and statistical evidence. One of my favorite authors is Dr. Andrew Weil, an MD and ND (naturopathic doctor) who’s studied ethnobotany extensively, and who often speaks about this divide as being unnecessary. A person’s subjective experience with a substance is legitimate, the use of plants as medicine is known through the ages from cultures around the world. Do we simply ignore anecdote because there isn’t a volume of statistical evidence?

    I went through an MLM debacle in the 90′s at the hands of a now defunct company that was overly aggressive with it’s front loading and expensive training. They actually had quality products, but the “urgency” was ridiculous. Lifevantage, which I am new to, and was skeptical coming in, is completely different, is making efforts to address issue that concern me, like shipping costs and the soundness of their science. It is with “peer review” blogs like this that their case might actually be stronger.

    As for me, the only reason I even entertained becoming a distributor at all was it’s quick and profound effect on my entire body. I originally just wanted to try it as a gift to my kid’s mom, who has fibromyalgia and other elusive nervous and muscular system issues that “real science” and the “real medical world” can’t seem to offer anything more than addictive narcotics. My own experience was profound: my body, many areas overworked from being a musician and massage therapist (and father) felt it head to toe, as if my muscle attachments, the tendons and fascia were being released and oxygenated. I literally feel 15-20 years younger. Can I prove this? No, this is not “provable”. It is my intuition based on my professional experience and training and 30 years of being around natural medicine and healing arts, from the real deal to the froo froo BS.

    It is what I felt subjectively and what I am ready to take a risk that this might finally help my son’s mom gain some relief from often debilitating pain. In the meantime, I am offering it to friends who might like it. No hard sale, no toxic money worship. I could spend months in my kitchen trying to decode the formula, sure, and make my own. I could also neglect my kid and spend all my time at the computer being a cynical twerp about it because I had a bad experience in the past with direct marketing. We market ourselves and our gifts and abilities every day. This is not a “pyramid”, it’s human nature. I don’t see the “normal” way that conditions so many to be either minimum wage slaves or anarchistic hyper-capitalists hell bent on screwing humanity out of every last dime and resource like Halliburton or Monsanto as being much of a desirable model either.

    Marijuana is now legal in my home state of Colorado. There’s scant research on it because of the insane and inhuman “drug war”. Does this mean that any benefits from CBD on a little girl with severe brain damage or birth defects is to be ignored?

    The polarized bias toward statistical evidence is symptomatic of a broken health care system and a confused society, one that reveres war and dehumanizes and commodifies us all. I would greatly welcome even more clinical trials of this product, as these herbs are truly magical. I am more fully prepared to engage in this business with integrity and clarity with more honest discussions about it such as here, rather than either pie-in-the-sky MLM talk or the rampant, toxic, egoic cynicism in some other blogs. There is no guarantee of anything in life, except breathing until your last breath.

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  18. Lest not foget your a medicine guy protandim is not an anti-oxidant it is an activator as far as drug interactin I guess I can’t eat now it is FOOD. Hello FDA is code for F#*^ dumb asses lol

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  19. (I need to say…my English is not good, I hope you can understand what I write here)
    I am Japanese (and live in Japan), and one of my friends has been pushing me to buy protandium. The way Japanese sale persons (distributors) do to sell the product seems to be worse than your country…I do not care who Dr. Joe McCord is. It is obvious that he’s been hiding some significant evidence regarding the product. I do not trust what distributors say nor what they believe. Thank you for the information!!

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  20. I have been using Protandim for almost 2 years now & have decided to stop taking it to see if it was actually helping anything as I couldn’t tell…I am pretty healthy for the most part…it’s been two weeks now (I guess it stays in your system for about that long) and I can honestly say that I can tell that my joint & back pain have worsened…I realized that these pains had subsided since I was taking it….I’m going to give it more time just to make sure it isn’t something else, but I really think Protandim was making a big difference in my body…

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  21. With all due respect, I must say that I have a different opinion than the good Pharmacist. As a Sensei/Professional Martial Artist and a Structural Integrator/Rolfer with a strong celebrity/boot camp client base in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, I see it all: Old injuries, new ones, aches, pains, car accident victims, joint pain, scoliosis, et al. More, as I make my living with my body, I treat it like the temple that it is. I did a fair amount of research before putting Protandim into my “temple”.
    My experience in 45 days has included increased intensity in my workouts, less overall fatigue, my skin feels better, my sleep is great lately, and, I noticed what I believe was high levels of toxins leaving my body during the first few weeks of use via my urine. All good stuff! I have had some major injuries and trauma over my 56 years, and have been fortunate enough to have a relatively pain free life as I eat well and take care of myself, but, again, my performance, sleep, and overall feeling of just “BEING”, have improved in just 45 days…no other changes to my diet, training, etc., just the addition of one Protandim daily to my routine.
    This product is real, I have seen improvement in a person with sleep disorders and Parkinson’s, and for those with sleep disorders, Sleep Apnea, Anxiety and joint pain, I say to my clients, “Give this a try”.
    I am not a Distributor, just think that this can really help!
    Best to all.
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then we will have Peace”. Jimi Hendrix
    Don Ferreira, 3rd Dan, JKF Certified Sensei, GojuRyu, SeiwaKai
    Certified Structural Integrator

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  22. I recently came across your pretentious website when a client was doing her due diligence on Protandim. This is my reply to her:

    Here’s my take on the Pharmacist (not medical doctor) who he found on that website, who has only been practicing pharmacology since 2007. Naysayers have an opportunity to make a buck on their own products that they are pushing. They do not care who they try to step over in the process.

    Dr. Joe McCord won the Elliott Cresson medal for his research, which was also given to Graham Bell, Orville Wright, Henry Ford, and Madame Curie. So, who are you going to believe, an award winning research scientist who did 40 years of research on his specialty of Free Radical Biology to come up with a nrf2 activator, which is Protandim, or the new guy​ just trying to make a buck and discredit a validated scientific breakthrough?

    ​Furthermore, why not ask that Pharmacist to tell all the people who have benefited worldwide from Protandim and given numerous testimonials as to their improvement of symptoms, bloodwork and outright healing that their results weren’t real.​

    Let’s not forget, LifeVantage is a company formed around a breakthrough science, which needs people like you and I to tell the story. Not the other way around.

    If you want to know more about nrf2 science, go to

    Hope this helps!


    Michael Paul and Sheri

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    • Sheri,

      What is your background? My comments only pertain to a review of the peer reviewed published literature, which to date does not reveal any study that supports the notion that Protandim improves any actual health outcome. I do not make any money from this website. I work in a clinical setting, not in a retail setting. I have no financial interest in “pushing” any medication. In fact, in my work, more often than not I work to stop unnecessary medications.

      I contacted Dr. Joe McCord and asked him to respond to my questions about his research and any unpublished research prior to posting this article. He did not respond.


      Post a Reply
    • Sheri:

      What exactly are YOUR credentials…..since you dismiss the qualifications of the Medicine Guy? Also, I don’t see where he is selling any products of his own here.

      I see you didn’t dispute any of the facts presented on this site, but chose to try and discredit the author and make an appeal to authority by citing McCord’s credentials. That really doesn’t cut it, especially since McCord did not “invent” Protandim. He was hired specifically to try to add credibility to the product.

      If you go to that page, you will see why McCord was hired. There is a lengthy paragraph singing his praises and accomplishments, but astonishingly, no mention of him inventing Protandim. Here is part of the statement:

      “Dr. McCord is a highly-regarded expert in the field. His joining of Lifeline Nutraceuticals not only adds industry credibility for our technology, but it also sets the stage for the commercialization of numerous advances in SOD anti-oxidant therapies.”

      The good doctor then acted as the “celebrity” spokesman for the product and allowed Lifevantage to lie about him creating it for years. So much for his credibility. This is all well documented, including a letter written by McCord saying he did not invent or even significantly contribute to the formulation. He is not on the patent. For this, McCord was paid handsomely, way more than he ever earned in his career as a scientist.

      You say:

      “Let’s not forget, LifeVantage is a company formed around a breakthrough science, which needs people like you and I to tell the story. Not the other way around.”

      Are you serious? A product which claims to be a scientific breakthrough needs actual science to back it up. No tall tales from slack-jaw distributors are needed. There are no human clinical trials which show that Protandim provides a health benefit. You can not take rodent and test tube studies and claim them as proof of any kind. PubMed points that out very clearly if you read their site:

      Let’s not forget that Protandim was bested by a placebo in one of the few human trials conducted.

      One more note. The guy who actually invented Protandim, Paul Myhill, doesn’t even take it anymore. He admitted that on his Facebook page recently.

      “Hope this helps!”, as you say.

      Post a Reply
  23. I just heard of Protandin today because my new doctor recommended it as superior due to its synergistic blend.So I started reading. I have taken several of its 5 ingrediants over the years but probably never at the same time. However, these herbal ingrediants particularly Ashwaganda like Ginseng (eleuthero) is an Adaptogen which has long been known to support the whole body. Tumeric likewise has a long history of use in pain management. GREEN tea has many benefits as does Milk Thistle. So the question is their value synergistically.

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    • See my comments in the article.

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  24. Thank you. I went to a presentation on 11/20/14. I saw many of the things in their presentation you mention.

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  25. There are a lot of very intelligent and thought-provoking comments on this page regarding Protandim. I’ve been taking this supplement for 3 years and am not a distributor. I’ve suffered from a GI disorder for several years and Protandim was suggested by my nutritionist in hopes that it would help my body repair itself. After 3 years, I have seen vast improvement in my GI symptoms, but I can’t say if Protandim is the single root cause for the improvement as I’m taking several other supplements and prescriptions. I’ve never experienced any negative side-effects from taking this supplement.

    For what it’s worth, people frequently tell me I look incredibly young for my age. I’m 49, but am told I look like I’m no more than 35. Again, can’t say if it’s Protandim, but I’m rather reluctant to quit taking it! The biggest ‘con’ for me is the price. With processing and shipping, it’s $49.00 a month.

    What I do appreciate about the product is that it’s made of natural ingredients and not some chemically altered compound that can be patented by big pharmacy, to be sold for thousands of dollars per prescription. Additionally, Protandim’s Customer Service has been very helpful and cordial. I’ve suspended my shipments a couple of times in the past and they were always happy to assist.

    I have nothing bad to say about Protandim, and overall, my personal experience has been positive.

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  26. Liz….that is a perfect example of circular reasoning.

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  27. It’s simple giys. Go to type in Protandim. See 18 published studies. The last one published recently 2014 by the prestigious Mayo Clinic on ovarian cancer. Let me know if you can’t read the part where it states it Killed not beat up melanoma cells.

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  28. Unfortunately, none of the studies show any improved health outcome in humans. The study you are referring to is a laboratory study in mice.

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  1. Protandim Scam Exposed! - [...] A decorated pharmacist, Aaron Emmel, researched Protandim and came to this conclusion: [...]

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