Protandim–Snake Oil Marketing at its Best (or Worst)

There are a seemingly infinite number of herbal remedies and dietary supplements marketed for pets, thanks largely to the inadequate regulation of such products and the inability of the government to enforce what rules there are. This creates an open field for unproven or outright quack remedies, which can be cheaply and profitably marketed to worried pet owners trying to prevent or treat serious illnesses. The resources spent in this way would be better used in rigorous scientific evaluation of such remedies to identify which have real value and which do not, but such is not the way of the medical marketplace.

It is impossible to look into even a small proportion of these nostrums and evaluate the evidence for the claims made by the individuals and companies selling them. However, when one of these products is brought to my attention, by a client, advertising literature, or an investigative review done elsewhere, I try to evaluate the claims and evidence for that product and make that information available to pet owners and veterinarians here. In this case, a previous review and a recent update at Science-Based Medicine, by Dr. Harriett Hall, drew my attention to a product called Protandim.

 What Is It
The reported ingredients are milk thistle, bacopa extract, ashwagandha, green tea extract, and turmeric extract, though the blend is “proprietary” and no details are given.

The marketing of Protandim [Note 7/25/2013-Link broken, original page has been removed] resembles that for the DogterRx I investigated recently, in that it has many of the classic warning signs of snake oil, including:

A mixture of multiple herbal ingredients with different proposed effects and mechanisms (though as always there is some overlap since most herbal products are claimed to be useful for a tremendous variety of problems).

Vague claims about treating “oxidative stress” and “inflammation” based on in vitro or lab animals studies, with the implication that “anti-oxidant” and “anti-inflammatory” agents must automatically be safe and beneficial.

Claims for benefits in a wide range of unrelated medical conditions, including

Better skin and coat
Increased energy & endurance
Healthier immune system
Better sleep
Better joint health and mobility
Reduced joint pain and inflammation
Stronger resistance to allergies
Stronger resistance to Valley Fever (Southwest)
Better tooth & gum health
Better cardiovascular health
Increased mental function and alertness
Reduction of age-related cognitive decline
Anti-aging effects at the cellular level
(The claims in the company patent are even more amazing.)

And apparently it is good for conditions which are exactly the opposite of each other:

If  your pet seems moody or lethargic, why not try giving them a dose of Protandim…

High energy dogs and service dogs are also excellent candidates for Protandim.

Claims of perfect universal effectiveness:

It’s been scientifically proven to work in 100% of the people, 100% of the time!

Just one caplet of Protandim per day is clinically proven to reduce oxidative stress an average of 40%, reducing the level of cell aging to that of a 20 year old or a very young child, regardless of your age!

Dramatic testimonials of miraculous effects.

An aggressive distributed, multilevel marketing structure that tries to recruit anyone who buys the product to be an “authorized distributer.”

And of course, “Protandim is all natural, and there are no known side effects except allergic reactions to one of the ingredients…” So it can reverse aging, prevent or treat almost any illness, and fundamentally alter your body’s chemistry without any possible side effects? Amazing!

The makers also make the ridiculous assumption that any benefits in humans (as poorly substantiated as they may be) can automatically be assumed to be seen in “all mammals.” They do not make a veterinary product but simply give this advice:

How to Share Protandim with Your Pet

Start by crushing a caplet and mixing it in a treat your pet enjoys or their usual food. Use less Protandim for smaller animals, more for larger dogs (try a pinch for a small animal or cat, to a  whole capsule for large animals). Observe closely for improvements in behavior, improved energy, pain reduction, sleep, etc. When administering Protandim to an animal, err on the side of using a smaller dose and increase gradually as needed.

The company will produce a special version of Protandim just for pets in the future. But for now, cut down the yellow caplets to create pet-size dosages.  This will work just fine.

Gee, who knew that the entire field of pharmacology was unnecessary and one can just pick what looks like a “pet-sized dose” of a human medicine and it will work just fine!

Does It Work?
The underlying theory used to promote this product, that anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects are beneficial for a wide range of unrelated diseases, is dubious. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, do have demonstrated benefits, but not surprisingly these come with demonstrated risks. Anything that suppresses inflammation, whether or not it comes from a plant originally, is tinkering with a core physiologic process, and it is simply impossible to do this without risk. the issue of whether the benefits outweigh the risk for particular patients with particular medical conditions, is one that can only be answered with the kind of research that has not been done for this product or its constituent ingredients.

Interestingly, there is also growing doubt about the benefits and safety of anti-oxidants. The hype about anti-oxidants has turned out to be unrealistic, and risks have been seen with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other known anti-oxidants. Free radicals and oxidative compounds do have the potential to cause damage and disease. but they are also responsible for some of the protective activities of our immune system, for the beneficial effects of some anti-cancer therapies, and other positive phenomena. As always, tinkering blindly with a common chemical or physiological process is likely to have more risks and fewer benefits than a targeted use of specific and well-researched medicines for specific problems.

There is a fair amount of in vitro and animal model research, a little bit of clinical trial research in humans, and even the occasional small clinical trial in veterinary species, looking at the activity and effects of the individual ingredients. None of them have well-demonstrated benefits or clear evidence that there is negligible risk in using them, but several have interesting properties that warrant further study. It would not at all surprise me if compounds derived from some of these ingredients turned out to have therapeutic value, but that is a far cry from justifying the kind of claims made for this product.

And naturally, the mixture in Protandim is claimed to be more effective than individual ingredients taken separately. The web site even states quite precisely (if meaninglessly) that the ingredients have “1500% greater synergy working in tandem (together) than what they are able to achieve on their own.” This is even more impressive given that isolated and purified compounds are usually safer and more effective than variable mixtures of many chemicals. Synergism in plant-derived remedies has been demonstrated in some cases, but it is not a general rule that can be relied on. Polypharmacy (the use of mutliple drugs and herbal remedies or supplements) significantly increases the risk of undesirable interactions between compounds.  Once again, apparently the rules of pharmacology don’t apply to this product. 

Dr. Hall has reviewed the few studies on the product itself.

My original article only mentioned the 3 studies available at that time. As of this writing (October 2011), a query to PubMed brings up 8 published, peer-reviewed studies:

1. A human studyshowing changes in TBARS, SOD, and catalase.(2006)

2. A cell culture studyshowing increases in glutathione. (2009)

3. A mouse studyshowing an effect on skin tumor carcinogenesis. (2009)

4. A study in a mechanical animal model showing that chronic pulmonary artery pressure elevation is insufficient to explain right heart failure. (2009)

5. Another mouse studyshowing that Protandim suppressed experimental carcinogenesis and suggesting that suppression of p53 and induction of MnSOD may play an important role. (2010)

6. A study of muscular dystrophy miceshowing that Protandim decreased plasma osteopontin and improved markers of oxidative stress. (2010)

7. An ex vivo (tissue culture) study of human saphenous veins, showing that Protandim attenuated intimal hyperplasia. (2011)

8. An evaluation of the role of manganese superoxide dismutase in decreasing tumor incidence in a two-stage skin carcinogenesis model in mice.(2011)

…If I were a mouse being artificially induced to develop skin cancer in a lab study, I might seriously consider taking Protandim. But so far, the only study in humans measured increased antioxidant levels by a blood test but did not even attempt to assess whether those increases corresponded to any measurable clinical benefit, for cancer or for anything else.

So there is no evidence of clinically meaningful effects in humans, limited evidence of physiologic effects in humans which may or may not have any relevance to health, and of course no clinical studies at all in veterinary patients. Clearly, this doesn’t even begin to approach a reasonable justification for the wild claims made by the marketers of this product.

Is It Safe?
Who knows? The individual ingredients have been associated with some adverse reactions, both allergies and others. But in the absence of formal study, we don’t even know how common and serious these are. Far more extensive research is done on pharmaceuticals before they are released into the market, and unexpected problems still show up in those products. Our ignorance about these compounds is much greater, and therefore so is the risk of using them blindly. There is no safety information at all about the combination product.

Bottom Line
The underlying theory used to promote this product, that anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects are always safe and beneficial, is highly doubtful. There is only weak in vitro and animal model research to indicate that the ingredients in Protandim, or the combination product, have potentially useful effects on cells or biochemical markers. There is absolutely no clinical trial evidence to indicate Protandim has any of the claimed benefits in humans or animals. While the absence of evidence is not proof the product is unsafe or ineffective, it is absolutely a reason to be skeptical of wild claims of miraculous benefits. At best, using this product is simply rolling the dice and hoping for the best. That seldom works out for gamblers in Vegas, and it is not an appropriate approach to healthcare except in the most dire of circumstances.

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47 Responses to Protandim–Snake Oil Marketing at its Best (or Worst)

  1. Janet Camp says:

    I will pass this on to the usual suspects in my circle of acquaintances. Sadly, they mostly prefer anecdote to evidence and carefully explain to me that they just are not “science-type people”! What’s a skeptic to do?

    It seems so cruel to just “try things out” on a pet (and the same is done with children).

  2. Rita says:

    from the article: “If I were a mouse being artificially induced to develop skin cancer in a lab study, I might seriously consider taking Protandim”…….
    from the comments: “It seems so cruel to just “try things out” on a pet ”

    is it me, or…………..?

  3. skeptvet says:

    Well, to be fair I think Dr. Hall’s point was just that the evidence from lab animal studies doesn’t translate into a good reason to use the remedy clinically. She didn’t directly address the question of the ethics of lab animal research, which is quite a different subject.

  4. Rita says:

    yes, I do realise that, it was just the ever-shifting human perspective on the matter which struck me….

  5. Anita says:

    Paul Myhill, the primary inventor and patent holder of Protandim and Co-founder of LifeVantage is now writing up the “Protandim Development History.” After each entry, he’s pasting the relevant link on his new “LifeVantage / Protandim Founder’s Page” on Facebook at

    It should provide some of the answers. Thanks!

  6. skeptvet says:

    Well, it provides some insight into this guy’s psyche, but I usally tthink of “answers” as implying some verifiable factual information rather than claims such as this:

    I already mentioned this in Entry #1: Motivations, but it bears repeating here. All the details you’re about to read concerning the development of Protandim mean nothing – absolutely nothing at all – without acknowledging that God used me as a vessel in brining Protandim to fruition. For almost 35 years scientists were looking for this tool after Dr. Joe McCord and Dr. Irwin Fridovich discovered Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) in 1969. For almost 35 years the pharmaceutical industry failed. For almost 35 years the nutraceutical industry failed.

    Then God intervened . . . and has taken us on this unlikely, exciting journey.

    So far, the first three entries haven’t provided any new reason to think this product is a legitimate healthcare product, much less the miracle the promoters claim. We’ll see where it goes, but nothing substantive so far.

  7. Greytdog says:

    Thanks for this posting! I’ve been approached by a local Protandim dealer and after reading through the studies, my skepticism remains. During the sales pitch, the dealer kept trying to differentiate between “natural” vs synthetic. Uh dude, Protandim is made in a lab…it’s synthetic. It’s not like they’re going out into the fields and stuffing each capsule right there.

  8. Jenny says:

    I have a family member that sells this product, and unfortunately recently purchased it before doing my research. I have a giant schnauzer with an unidentified illness that’s causing lameness. We’ve been to several specialists without any sort of answer. I’m afraid I was in a vulnerable state of mind when I agreed to try Protandim. Usually I’m a skeptical personal but I’m a little desperate. We’re only on week one and I figure now that I have it I might as well finish out the month. Has anyone out there used it for their dog? Even though I continue to find less than promising reviews, I can’t hope but hope it might work.

  9. Vogel says:

    It won’t work. It’s basically an inert product that has no therapeutic benefits whatsoever. This might dash your hopes but better that than your wasting time and money feeding a reprehensible snakeoil pyramid scheme run by degenerate con-artists.

  10. Stormy says:

    Thank God my parents didn’t give up on me and was willing to try and make my life comfortable. I am a 14 yr old border/shelty cross with aurthris and heart problems. I take pills for my Heart and water pills twice daily. Vets said I am maxed out on Meds and to try and keep me comfortable. Dad was having to carey me out to podie.
    They was going to record me as I was getting more and more sick. Mom had heard of a product that was made for canines and decided what can we loose. (if we are careful)
    I am walking on my own and can do things I couldn’t do 3 months ago. My life long partner, (that is 5 months younger than me), Has aurthritis in both front legs and Liver Problems. Her name is Rainie and she was having accidents all over. They put her on a none protein diet and said make her as comfy as you can. She is border Collie and got to where she could not get on the bed or chairs at all. Now she can do that all by herself and things are looking better for the both of us. Mom AND are not selling it (protandim) But I sure am glade they are buying it.

  11. Vogel says:

    Easily the stupidest Protandim advertorial in the history of stupid Protandim advertorials. Stop using a dog as a shield for your lunacy or we might have to call the ASPCA on you Hilary.

  12. Michael says:

    You know, if the medical profession could actually cure cancer, cure diabetes, cure heart disease, cure arthritis, then perhaps the “snake oil” products would not be in abundance out there.

    But the cure rate for cancer is the same as it was 100 years ago, even though hundreds of billions of dollars has been devoted to “research.” With epidemic heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer, people have to see real benefits from traditional medicine as it is practiced today. They are not. So, they look toward other options.

    I believe that many herbs and vitamin combinations are efficacious. Does that mean they work for everybody? No! Of course not. However, about 50% of all pharmaceuticals are derived from botanicals. So if, as many main stream medical doctors claim, herbs and other botanicals don’t work, why do they then prescribe drugs made from those herbs?

    When the medical profession can do more than boob jobs and face lifts and actually “cure” the chronic degenerative diseases that claim most of us, then perhaps people will avoid what you refer to as “snake oil” salesmen and just go to their doctors.

    By the way, MANY doctors (and vets) recommend things such as Fish Oil, Glucosamine and other natural products as an adjunct to allopathic medicine, as does MD Anderson in Houston and other noteworthy hospitals and clinics.

    Every time you turn on the boob tube, you see advertisements for drugs. They are designed to address, normally, one symptom. But then you see the multiple side effects (contraindications) and you say, “what the hell?” Especially when the side effects are “cancer,” elevated blood pressure, etc. Medicine developed by pharmacy giants and prescribed by doctors kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. This is factual!

    Now when is the last time you heard of someone dying from taking a vitamin or herb? Very, very few!

    So let’s see. The medical profession can’t cure the major things that kill us (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis). But they prescribe drugs that, due to their side effects, CAN kill us and DO! Now. WHO are the snake oil salesmen?

    Being skeptical is not a virtue. That means your mind is already closed or biased. Attacking others does not bring more credibility to you. What will bring you more credibility is providing us real results with your traditional medicine.

    Rather than competing against naturopaths and vitamin companies, why not “open” your mind and use a holistic approach. In other words, don’t limit your arsenal to drugs you get from a sales rep from a major pharmaceutical company. Be eclectic and use the best of what allopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine have to offer.

    And please understand that not everything needs a double blind study to determine its efficacy. I have never studies air, nor ever “seen” air, but I can breathe it pretty good. Yes, many supplements are not very effective. But the same is true of many medicines, yet they are still used (chemo, radiation, etc.) with, in the case of cancer, terrible results.

    You know, if you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones!


  13. skeptvet says:


    Your comment is filled with many cliches and so much nonsense, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    ” the medical profession could actually cure cancer, cure diabetes, cure heart disease, cure arthritis, then perhaps the “snake oil” products would not be in abundance out there.”
    Yes, if conventional medicine could cure everything, people wouldn’t fall for nonsense. But the fact that we can’t yet cure everything doesn’t change the fact that science-based medicine has reduced the burden of disease and improved the length and quality of human life dramatically. Thousands of years of folk medicine, much of which is now the basis for so-called “alternative” medicine, failed miserably to alleviate the suffering that scientific medicine has relieved in only a few centuries.

    “But the cure rate for cancer is the same as it was 100 years ago, even though hundreds of billions of dollars has been devoted to “research.” With epidemic heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer, people have to see real benefits from traditional medicine as it is practiced today. They are not. So, they look toward other options.”
    The length and quality of life for people with these serious diseases has dramatically improved, thanks to science. Just read up a little on what life with diabetes was like befor einsulin, or life with congestive heart failure (“dropsy”) without treatment. Or have a look at the graphs in this article which show the declining death rates for major cancers. If your standard of sucess is an absolute cure for everything, of course science can’t meet that. But it does a lot better than any of the alternatives!

    “about 50% of all pharmaceuticals are derived from botanicals. So if, as many main stream medical doctors claim, herbs and other botanicals don’t work, why do they then prescribe drugs made from those herbs?”
    Chemicals are chemicals, regardless of their source. If proper scientific research shows a medicine is safe and effective, it doesn’t matter if it comes from a plant, a rock, or a laboratory. And if there is no scientific evidence it is safe and effective, it doesn’t matter if it comes from a plant, a rock or a lab. “Herbal medicine” is form or irrational use of often unknown and usually untested chemicals to treat disease based, most of the time, on pre-scientific folk beliefs about which plants should help which medical problems. Pharmacognosy is the scientific investigation of plants for medicinal substances, which are then identified and studied the way all therapies should be. They are not the same thing, so you are making a bogus comparison.

    “When the medical profession can do more than boob jobs and face lifts and actually “cure” the chronic degenerative diseases that claim most of us, then perhaps people will avoid what you refer to as “snake oil” salesmen and just go to their doctors.”
    I imagine all the people who owe their lives and their health to doctors, those who’ve been saved in an emergency room or by a surgical team or in a neonatal intensive care unit or by a vaccine or medicine that prevented or treated a disease that used to kill, I imagine these people might take exception to your silly dismaissal of all of scientific medicine as “boob jobs and face lifts.”

    “MANY doctors (and vets) recommend things such as Fish Oil, Glucosamine and other natural products as an adjunct to allopathic medicine, as does MD Anderson in Houston and other noteworthy hospitals and clinics. ”
    Ok, so doctors are useless and only perform cosmetic surgery, bit these supplements must work because lots of doctors recommend them? That makes even less sense than the rest of your rant. The evidence for each and every therapy has to be thoughtfully evaluated on its merits, and sometiems people disagree about what it means. But you don’t choose a medical therapy by popularity contest. Millions of peopel swore by bloodletting for thousands of years, and it did far more harm than good. And people still kill witches in Nigeria for making them sick, so does that mean we should take witchcraft seriously as a cause of disease?

    “Being skeptical is not a virtue. That means your mind is already closed or biased. Attacking others does not bring more credibility to you. What will bring you more credibility is providing us real results with your traditional medicine”

    Skepticism means witholding judgment until there is evidence and then proportioning the confidence we have in our belief to the strength of the evidence. Believing something just because somebody says it’s true isn’t being open-minded, it’s not using your mind at all. If you have some evidence, feel free to share it. If you just have faith and want to rail at anybody who dares to question your beliefs, you’re not contributing anything useful.

  14. A believer says:

    I am living proof that Protandim is not just another”snake oil” i have been debilitated by vertigo for years my life surrounded upon the hope that i wouldnt wake up with a vertigo attack, when i did , I would be bed ridden for anywhere from 1to 5 days! It was horrible, nothing seemed to stop these attacks! I began taking Protandim and after about 1 month 1 pill a day, i have been free of vertigo now for @ 7 months!! It has saved my life, I hope it is able to help others as well! Step away from your negativity and disbelief in ‘natural’ supplements. Run as far away from all the poison the govt and the pharmaceutical companies are merely symptomatically” fixing “us with; in reality this is what is killing us and destroying our own God given immunities we already possess and need to maintain for homeostasis. – the Truth will set you free as it will also protect you from the lies and evil agenda of others ;may you find the Wisdom and Discernent while dealing withThese people we are supposed to “trust” ; those who are in the position and possess the knowledge” to guide us back to health; … Beware.. May you find The Truth Blessings.

  15. skeptvet says:

    Pure religious faith here, not “proof” of anything.

  16. purrlock holmes says:

    Michael—- My husband and I would both be dead without the healing services of the human medical profession. I suffered a horrible head injury from falling off a horse, and my husband had pulmonary emboli. We are both alive and healthy because of modern medical care. One of my dogs had hemangiosarcoma diagnosed one year ago, and she is now healthy because of surgery and chemotherapy. Cold steel and synthetic chemicals have kept her alive. So don’t tell me the medical profession can’t cure anything.

    As vets, our scientific education has taught us to trust scientific experimental evidence and treat anecdotal evidence with caution.

  17. RNDDUDE says:

    I am a healthy skeptic when it comes to these sort of products. I have tried various supplements over the years, always without harm, but usually without much benefit. So when Protandim came across my radar, I was skeptical. For me, it has always been “does it work for me?”. I initially heard some great first-hand testimonial for the canine product, and decided to give it a try, both the human version, and the canine version on both my standard poodles. One is in great health, but the other has Addison’s disease, and although we manage it effectively with daily Prednazone pills and monthly DOCP injections, we have always struggled to get him to eat well. Additionally, a side effect of the prednazone is excessive thirst and urination. After taking Protandim for several weeks, his appetite is the best it has ever been, his excessive thirst and urination has greatly improved, and BOTH dogs have become more energetic, alert, and playful. I WAS a skeptic, now I believe there is something good happening because of this product, at least with my dogs. As for my use of Protandim, I am acutely aware that it is very easy to convince oneself of beneficial changes from taking a product, but I do seem to have less chronic fatigue, and I am sleeping better. Is my situation and results aneddotal? Absolutely. Do I automatically assume that the lack of compelling positive evidence in clinical trials to mean a product is worthless? No, I don’t. If clinical trials showed a product to not only be ineffectual, but dangerous, would I continue to use it? Absolutely not. But I must say that there seems to be NO clinical trials so far that would scare me away from this product. That might change in the future, but for now, I give this product a thumps up. Healthy skepticism is a good thing, nasty cynicism is not.

  18. skeptvet says:

    I must say that there seems to be NO clinical trials so far that would scare me away from this product.

    How is this “healthy skepticism? This is simply a passionate belief engendered by personal experience. You are entitled to believe what you like, of course, but the idea that this kind of absolute conviction based on only anecdote is reasonable, and everything else is “nasty cynicism” is nonsense. It would be easy to find many, many others who have exactly the same confidence in every other remedy on the market, and in astrology or alien abduction for that matter, based entirely on their personal experiences. Either we accept the limitations of anecdote and retain some skepticism, or we must believe every single claim for every possible remedy because somebody somewhere will have had an experience with it that is just as convincing to them as your experience is to you.

  19. RNDDUDE says:

    I for one would much rather be swayed by my personal experience, than by what others may or not choose to believe, based on their experiences, either positive or negative. It has been my experience that EVERY product on the market, of any kind, will have people who enjoy it immensely, and others who will decry it as a disservice to humanity. That matters little to me, really. I choose to chart my own destiny as much as possible. You did not hear me expousing this product as a cure-all for all people for all ills, only that it has seemed effective for me personally. At least I have tried the product before passing judgment, I would ask this of you: have you?

  20. skeptvet says:

    I haven’t tried Protandim. I haven’t tried psychic surgery, bloodletting, or heroin either, yet I am comfortable having passed judgment on the likely effects of those to the point where I can reasonably choose not to try them. Do you really believe the only or the best way to understand the effects of something you do to your body is to try it and see? The history of medicine argues that this is, in fact, a dangerous and unreliable way to judge the effectiveness of medical treatments. Science has shown us, over and over again, that therapies which were widely used and trusted have been ineffective or even harmful. It is foolish to ignore that history and to imagine our personal experiences are more reliable than scientific evidence.

  21. RNDDUDE says:

    ” It is foolish to ignore that history and to imagine our personal experiences are more reliable than scientific evidence.”
    OK, no argument on that. What about scientific evidence? Her is a list of peer reviewed and published studies:

    Oh, and there are the 6 patents (to date):
    7241461, 7384655. 7579026, 7923045, 8221805, 8435574

  22. skeptvet says:

    Patents require no proof of efficacy, and so they aren’t evidence of efficacy. There are patents on file for all kinds of wierd products that don’t actually work.

    As for the clinical trials, they’ve been discussed in this post and the update from Dr. Harriett Hall, and they are not convincing. They are mostly in vitro or animal model studies or studies using surrogate markers for anti-oxidant effect. None show a clinically significant impact on a disease in real patients, human or animal.

  23. Angenella says:

    I tried Protandim when I was having liver problems and it certainly helped me. My dog was diagnosed with Cushings recently and two months after being on Protandim, she is acting like a very young dog again even though she is 11. I don’t know if it’s helping the Cushings but it’s helping her feel better overall. Don’t attack me for my opinions or observations, I don’t sell the stuff. If you want to try it – do, if not – don’t. If it’s too expensive, you CAN buy all the ingredients separately for cheaper. I really think it’s the Milk Thistle that makes it work. I’m thinking about trying Milk Thistle by itself.

  24. v.t. says:

    For pete’s sake, where did common sense go! Angenella, are you so blinded you’d actually try to mimic this unproven concoction where you don’t even know if the ingredients listed are safe or even contains what is claimed, and give your innocent pets?

  25. Adiol says:

    Whew, what a discussion! 2012 it was, when I got diagnosed with lung cancer stage III A. The doctor who diagnosed me was a”Harvard Graduate” and he said ( at the day I was diagnosed) that he is 99.9% sure that I have stage III-A lung cancer. It is so happened that I had a “supplemental coverage” which I thought at that time was a regular insurance, was I wrong! The doctor told me that I need $100,000 to get the operation going. Of course, I don’t have it. The nurse called almost everyday, telling me that If I don’t do the operation, by all means I will die.
    Well, it is hard to bleed when you do not have blood, with that said, I did not do the operation that was planned for I do not have $100,000. For the meantime, I did my research, started juicing, drinking fresh lemon juice, walking 30 minutes a day and stay in the sun as well before 10:00 am, also went to Mexico and took hoxey treatment, took SOD, to make the story short, after 2.5 months of doing the routine that I had started, I went back for another CScan. To everybody’s surprise, the tumor on my left lung was gone and, and that my Harvard graduate doctor told me, “oh you just had pneumonia” really!!!!!!! What I mean is, I might be the poorest and uneducated person in this discussion, but if each one of us at least use common sense and want to live, then do what you think is best for yourself. I am not saying that western medicine is unacceptable, because there are times when we need it, like for accidents, removing our appendicitis etc. but when it comes to medications that has more side effect than curing one disease, maybe we should think twice and be smart on how to treat ourselves. Maybe we can ask ourselves, should I let an imperfect person decide how I destroy my body by agreeing to them that what they read in a prescription book is what I take?

    Have a good night everyone! May each one of us, ( when we are in situation on deciding how to get treated for a certain disease like cancer ) be open enough to see what is good for us to prolong our god given life!

  26. skeptvet says:

    While it’s an awful thing that you were misdiagnosed, it has nothing to do with the issue of whether or not science-based medicine is better than the alternatives. Those folks are even more likely to misdiagnose and mistreat patients when they use completely made up ideas about health to guide their treatments.

    I’m glad you are well, but I hope when you do really need real medical care that you will get it.

  27. hunter4 says:

    I am a bit worried by the comments that are here. I am open minded about alternative medicine. I have managed to put my Hep C into remission on my own with herbal supplements. I have been tested several times and they just can’t find any evidence of it at this time. (They had tested me 2 or 3 times initially to verify that I did have it). I understand any misgivings that anyone might have about a product that is not considered ‘conventional’. I also have a skeptical nature. I do feel that anyone who is willing to sit down and do some research can make a more informed decision. I applaud the people that have tried the product and gotten good results from it. I do NOT find them to be idiots as some of the above comment insinuated. If it works for them then we have no right to rain on their parade and try to sway them to ‘our’ side. It is not about who is right or who is wrong. It IS about someone getting relief from problems and seeing results. I haven’t decided whether or not to take this just yet. But, I will gladly try anything that might improve the quality of life for myself and my family(which included my 4 leggeds).

  28. skeptvet says:

    No one is suggesting that believing the marketing for products like this makes you and “idiot.” It is clear, however, that trying something for yourself or doing a bit of research on the internet is not a reliable substitute for scientific research and the guidance of healthcare professionals. Miracle stories of the curative effects of alternative medicines are a dime a dozen. If all these therapies really worse so dramatically successful, it should be easy to demonstrate. Yet somehow when tested rigorously and scientifically, the reported dramatic results almost never materialize. It is risky to ignore the implications of this or the history of medicine, which pretty clearly demonstrates why relying on science rather than anecdote is the better choice.

  29. Don says:

    I have been taking Protandim for almost three years now I am 45 and feel 20 that is no stretch the benefits of protandim have only been scratched on the surface stay updated on things to come … In the future we are going to kick some ass against disease look at the study on MS
    BG12 vs protandim protandim works better but the main stream medical does a report on the drug instead of the natural answer. Be aware when the drug company’s start feeling the pressure the shit is going to hit the fan…
    Can’t wait… Just say no to OS …. Lol

  30. skeptvet says:

    Are you truly suggesting that because you feel better when taking it, it doesn’t matter if there is scientific evidence or not? Should we really accept the personal belief of everyone for every remedy in existence and give up on science altogether? A quick look at medical history suggests that doesn’t work very well.

  31. Badmarge says:

    Don, the reason the media is reporting on BG12 and not Protandim is because Protandim hasn’t been proven to have any health benefit, and this applies to MS patients as well. BG12 works in other pathways, not just the activation of Nrf2. To compare the two in terms of treating MS patients is beyond ludicrous.

  32. Remona says:

    It surprises me that someone in the medical field is so avidly against a product that actually DOES benefit animals and humans. As someone who takes Protandim, I have personally seen and felt the benefits first hand. I’m still very surprised that you are against a positive product. I am thrilled that my vet is not like you or my horse would not be in the great health she is in, thanks to Protandim. No, I’m sure you would have her system loaded with chemicals. Allopathic medicine is not ALWAYS the best route. Is that the problem? Does eliminating the chemical poisons that vets and doctors constantly subject their patients to threaten their bank account?

  33. skeptvet says:

    You’ve missed the point entirely. I’m not “for” or “against” anything. This isn’t a sports competition or a contest of belief. This is about evidence. I believe that claims made for healthcare products should be supported by scientific evidence because the record of history is clear that this leads to more effective treatment and less harm to patients. I wouldn’t be against something that “works,” but that is a claim you base on unreliable evidence. If you accept anecdotes alone as proof it works, than you need to accept every medical therapy every used, and stuff like alien abduction as well, because there are just as many people who claim “I’ve seen it for myself” about those things just as you do about this product. Either everything is true as long as someone believes in it or anecdotes aren’t reliable. You want to be able to choose which anecdotes to believe and which to discount arbitrarily, and that’s just using your own bias as if it were the definitive measure of what’s true.

  34. v.t. says:

    Remona said: I am thrilled that my vet is not like you or my horse would not be in the great health she is in, thanks to Protandim. No, I’m sure you would have her system loaded with chemicals. Allopathic medicine is not ALWAYS the best route. Is that the problem? Does eliminating the chemical poisons that vets and doctors constantly subject their patients to threaten their bank account?

    Fear-mongering and conspiracy-theorizing does not help your argument, and as skeptvet points out, neither do personal anecdotes.

  35. Dale says:

    What’s wrong with an anecdote that has a successful outcome? The patient just wants to be well. The patient does not care about statistics or research. An anecdote of a cured patient should be the objective of medical treatment whether that treatment is conventional or alternative. This war that you have started and seemed determined to be right about is pointless. I am an MD/PhD with 52 years of working experience. I am interested to see how you attack my statement as you have attacked everyone else who is not “on your side” of the battle.

  36. skeptvet says:

    I’m always happy when patients get better, I just understand that getting better isn’t proof that one particularly treatment they received is the cause.

    If you are really interested in why an anecdote doesn’t prove that the patient was cured by the treatment, as opposed to getting better due to some other cause or only appearing to get better, then I have posted links to many articles which explain this in detail and give examples. It should, of course, be impossible to get an MD or PhD without understanding why anecdotes do not validate treatment efficacy, but sadly it is not.

    Also, you are mistaken in believing that saying “you’re wrong” is attacking someone. This is just a way of trying to discourage others from disagreeing with you by characterizing such disagreement as a personal attack.

    Why We’re Often Wrong

    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine

    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough

    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

    Medical Miracles: Should We Believe?

    Testimonials Lie

  37. Dale says:

    What I perceive to be lacking is any humility on your part. That is what seems sad to me. Dale

  38. skeptvet says:

    Humility involves the recognition that one might be mistaken due to inherent fallibility. Science is all about humility because it acknowledges that individual observation and judgment are unreliable. Trust in personal experience regardless of, or even in preference to, controlled scientific research is the real manifestation of a lack of humility, an excessive confidence in what seems to be the obvious truth of our senses and reason.

    I understand that just because I give a patient a treatment and they recover, that alone is not reason to trust the treatment I used was the cause of their recovery, or to expect similar results in other patients. If it is the only evidence we have, sure we must rely on it. But when controlled research contradicts such experience, humility and a recognition of the power of science in the history of medicine requires we accept the relative inferiority of our unaided judgement. It is the proponents of Protandim in this thread who reject that argument and claim their narratives are sufficient proof of its effects.

    It is ironic that some champion the primacy of anecdote and personal experience as sufficient proof that others should accept your claims and yet question my humility.

  39. v.t. says:


    We’re talking about this “supplement” for animals and pets. Surely you understand that animals cannot give informed consent, nor can they tell us whether they feel better after their owner has given them a certain substance. At best, it is only subjective on the owner’s part, and at worst, the pet may have been given a useless and/or harmful substance (many herbs have not been properly tested for use in pets, and there are an equal amount determined every day to be harmful in humans).

    The suggestion to “just cut the dose” and telling pet owners “it will work just fine”, with NO evidence of efficacy or safety is quite telling, wouldn’t you say? Let’s not forget the long list of everything it will cure, so very typical of quacks selling their products. As an MD, you’d want to jump on that miracle product and help your own patients, right? Effectiveness and safety be damned!

  40. Michelle says:

    My experience is absolutely no proof of anything scientific. I don’t endorse or sell this stuff, nor do I believe all the claims. However, I was about to have my 14 year old Westie put down due to a long list of health problems when a friend told me about this product. With nothing to lose, I tried it. All his issues cleared up and he’s acting like he’s 5 years younger. So happy I was willing to be stupid enough to experiment. I get to keep my best buddy around for a while longer.

  41. Laz says:

    Is easy guys. Testimonials are not enough to prove that this supplements are doing something extraordinary for your dog. I’m glad to hear that in most cases people notice significant changes to their loved ones. All of what skeptvet is saying is that we should have all this studies and research that this companies claim to have done made public. This way we can understand their reasoning and foremost what animals were tested in the process. I just bought a year supply of Nuvet and it will be a gamble since it not backed anything. If it works great. But I will never be able to prove that in fact this will be making any major changes in my dog because the scientific testing is not publish to confirm this.

    Learned a lot reading all your comments.

  42. Steve G. says:

    I have nothing of substance to add to your findings and conclusions, Skeptvet. My research on this company and their products leads me to agree with you. What I think is interesting is that nowhere on the intertube can I find anyone denying that the Lifevantage experience is a cult. Everything I’ve read clearly shows its cult-like tactics.

    I know someone who recently drank the kool aid. Prior to Lifevantage, she had few friends on Facebook. Now, she has more than quadrupled her “friends” list…..with fellow travellers from all over the U.S. and even a few from the Pacific Rim. Fully 75% of her “friends” are Lifevantage distributors. That speaks volumes.

  43. I find it fascinating that when someone finds a product that works for them, there are people out there trying to discredit it. I have been taking Protandim for 30 days and the arthritis in my back, while still there, does not bother me anymore. I wasn’t even able to vacuum for 5 minutes without having to stop and rest and then resume. Now I can jump up out of a chair I’ve been sitting in and walk without having to stand up in pain, get my back to work and move like normally. Instead of looking like I’m 80 instead of 65. So skeptvet can espouse her opinions all over the Internet but relief is all the proof I need that Protandim works. I have a life again.

  44. skeptvet says:

    As I have pointed out many times, while it is always great to see someone feel better, it proves nothing. Anecdotes like this exist for every therapy ever tried, including things like bloodletting and ritual sacrifice which no one today would recommend. They are inherently misleading, and the unprecedented success of modern science in more than doubling our life expectancy and improving our quality of life tremendously has come about by specifically decreasing our trust in such anecdotes and placing it in controlled research instead. Science works and stories don’t, so the reason to challenge stories like yours is to help people avoid being misled, as we have for thousands of years, by such stories.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

  45. rosemary naples says:

    Do all disbelievers when I first found Protandim my daughter had arthritis that crippled her hands and she couldn’t work as a hairdresser, she also had a lump in her breast. When she started on Protandim the lumps on her finger on our way and so did the lump in her breast. I don’t think that’s snake oil period Protandim is the best product on the market.

  46. Tess says:

    I see 2 sides here….
    I tried it at a friends request. I did not believe it would help me, but its all natural & I am smart enough to stop it if I had a reaction, so I tried it for 1 month. 1 week in I DID have way more energy & my inflammation was down. I finished out the month happy.
    When I ask about buying more at the CRAZY price I was told I needed to be a distributor & I would have to buy its new sidekick because they are packaged together. So, DOUBLE the Crazy price. I believe in straight forward & honest. I DON’T like the business practices….. I won’t buy this product because its SO seriously over priced & having to shell out almost $100 a month for a 30 day supply is stupid…. I can respect the research, production, advertising, distribution costs, but I’m not single highhandedly paying for these people cars & kids colleges & I am NOT going to become a distribution junkie.

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