Protandim: An Update from Science-Based Medicine

Last year I wrote a review of a dubious herbal combination product called Protandim. At that time, my bottom line conclusion was:

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.

Dr. Harriett Hall at the Science-Based Medicine Blog has recently provided an update on this product and a recent clinical study investigating it. The study was bizarre and it is amazing any ethics committee would approve it. It is also not prominently featured on the Protanidim web site, no doubt because no effect was seen. Here are a couple of highlights from Dr. Hall’s summary:

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

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

They assessed alveolar epithelial permeability by measuring the total protein in bronchoalveolar washings. Total protein levels did not change in either experimental group. They also found no change in oxidative stress indices, epithelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, interleukin-1?, interleukin-10, liver function tests, or other blood chemistry tests. The one finding that was statistically significant was a significant decrease in plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), a marker of lipid peroxidation — but that was only in the placebo group!

In short, Protandim was significantly (p<0.01) worse than placebo. No wonder they’re not bragging about this study!

Big Pharma gets a lot of criticism, but aren’t Big Supplement and Big Multi-Level Marketing every bit as guilty of self-interest, distortions, and profit motives? At least Big Pharma can’t make its big bucks without first demonstrating effectiveness and safety to the FDA with clinical trials.

Does Protandim provide any real benefit to its customers? I don’t know, and they can’t hope to know unless they do proper clinical studies.

 

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46 Responses to Protandim: An Update from Science-Based Medicine

  1. Laura Craig says:

    My cocker spaniel has been taking Protandim since May 2010. My husband first started taking Protandim. He has a terminal lung disease called Silicosis. There is no cure, the medical field only offers him steroids and oxygen. When the steroids quit working, he will have to have lung transplants or I bury him. He could only get a shot every 3 months and in May 2010, the shots were lasting 1 1/2 months. He would call the Dr begging for something. For 9 years I searched for anything that might would help him breath. Nothing ever helped him. When our son brought this to us…I read it…it was herbs…I had been there done that. I was not interested. Our Dr said he could take it…it was JUST herbs…probably wouldn’t do a thing for him but it would not hurt him to take it. After NINE (9) pills we rolled up the oxygen tubing and put it away and when it was time for the steroid shot…he did not go in to get it. This GAVE my husband his LIFE back. I started my dog on Protandim when I watched what it was doing for my husband. After 5 weeks on it, I called my Vet and he tested his blood. Scotty’s blood that was earlier taken in Feb, 2010 showed his liver and kidneys were showing signs of shutting down and his glucose level was high. In August Dr Pollard was going to put Scotty on Insulin. After just 5 short weeks….his blood work is PERFECT! I have copies of it to prove what Protandim has done. PROTANDIM has given my Scotty his LIFE back also. You can’t tell me there is no science behind this product. You need to do some research on Protandim. You can start with http://www.pubmed.gov
    That is the National Institute of Health. Our tax dollars pay for this. There are over 29 Medical Schools testing Protandim on their own dollar. There is no way that would happen if there wasn’t positive studies being completed.
    We all have oxidative stress in our bodies. Our dogs have 7 times more free radicals in their bodies than we do. The first study shows that taking 1 Protandim a day reduces oxidative stress by 40% in 30 days. Oxidative stress is linked to over 200 of our diseases. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

  2. Laura Craig says:

    I do need to add that I’m not saying Protandim cured, healed or fixed my families problems. But I will say that this is the only thing that both of them changed, and their life is so much better.

  3. skeptvet says:

    Unfortunately, the same kinds of stories have supported every medical intervention ever tried: bloodletting, magnetic rods, electric shock, and every other. People will always look for associations, I did X and then Y happened, and see them as indicating a causal relationship. All too often they don’t. Disease is so complex that while the only chnage you are aware of is taking the Protandim, in reality hundreds of things about the body and the environment are changing every day. I’m glad both your husband and dog are doing well. But this tells us nothing at all about the value, if any, of protandim.

  4. skeptvet says:

    And you need tpo read the articles I and Dr. Hall have written before you suggest we haven’t looked at the research. If you have particular studies you would like to discuss in detail, I am happy to do so. You do not seem aware of the limitations of in vitro research. These chemicals may reduce proxy markers of oxidation in vitro, but that has little to do with whether or not they make disease better. Bleach kills cancer cells in vitro too, but it doesn’t make a very good medicine for cancer patients.

  5. The comments I’ve read here and elsewhere have ratcheted up my coefficient of skepticism, but I also perceive in much of what I’ve read, an almost rabid anti-MLM bias as well, a bias that by virtue of some unfortunate experiences I partly share irrespective of my decades’ long and continuing consumption of other products from the industry. I really, really need to know, to more than a good first approximation, what the “truth” is here. While on the one hand, a financial vested interest arouses suspicion, ad hominem attacks on the researcher in question discredit the critic. My reading suggests that TBAR serum levels are a credible measure of oxidative stress and correlate well to cardiac events. Is that completely untrue? Is it partially untrue? Is it a matter of substantive controversy? Who disagrees?
    I just read a compelling critique on the paper published in Circulation that inclines me to get Dr. McCord’s email and see how he responds to it.
    I believe I’m going to be referring back to this blog on a semi-regular basis to follow the discussion. If I’ve been in error by recommending this product, I MUST return to those I’ve influenced and correct that error.

  6. Mary says:

    I was sceptical of Protandim at first as well, so, I decided to try it for myself. I found that after the second pill I was sleeping most of the night, unlike prior to using Protandim I would wake up at least every hour, as we do the older we get.
    The next thing I noticed after the fourth pill is that the arthritis in my hip,knee, and back was gone. Whereas I couldn’t walk halfway around the block, I can now exercise on my treadmill for over 30 min. without any pain, and I can walk the entire track at the park. Hallelujah !!!!!!
    Secondly, my girlfriend’s father has a cancerous lump on his pancreas along with a large spot on his liver. Three weeks ago his doctor called the house and told him the lump was no longer there and the spot on his liver was hardly visible. No, protandim doesn’t heal, it just causes your body to produce the cells that it stops producing around the age of 20yrs. old (the ones that normally destroy the free radicals) causing body to function the way God created it to, by destroying the extra free radicals that destroy your cells daily.
    Yes, when I started taking Protandim I did have detox effects. I had a rash that looked like chicken pox and a small rash on my feet. If my body hadn’t detoxed I would probably get the shingles from the underlying chicken pox that had never come out from childhood.
    So for all you sceptics, the only thing I have to say is don’t allow other peoples opinions to dictate to you how you live your lives or make your choices. Don’t knock things until you try it. I am 58yrs. old and I feel better then I have in years…..

  7. skeptvet says:

    Yet another anecdote. And how is this different from the thousands of similar stories told by people claiming to be healed by bloodletting, faith-healing, ritual sacrifice, or every single other quack method every invented? Oh right, it isn’t. So either everything works, or maybe, just maybe, testimonials aren’t reliable? Nah! You have faith, and with faith who needs evidence?

  8. Robert Adams says:

    I appreciate your critical mind and willingness to share your opinions. I do not believe your reputation or your readers are well served by your dismissals of personal results by these types of broad classifications: “Yet another anecdote. And how is this different from the thousands of similar stories told by people claiming to be healed by bloodletting, faith-healing, ritual sacrifice, or every single other quack method every invented? Oh right, it isn’t. So either everything works, or maybe, just maybe, testimonials aren’t reliable? Nah! You have faith, and with faith who needs evidence?” Then, when some research does look promising your dismiss it with a statement that goes to the extreme, “These chemicals may reduce proxy markers of oxidation in vitro, but that has little to do with whether or not they make disease better. Bleach kills cancer cells in vitro too, but it doesn’t make a very good medicine for cancer patients.” You should know that increasing alkalinity in humans improves immune system function. We have six systems to maintain our alkalinity. The Protandim case reports were shared sincerely, A good mind will seek for reasonable and fair applications. I think readers deserve a reasonable explanation for the success of a procedure, practice, or substance intervention. I have read the experiences of your readers and am compelled to consider along with others, that along with clinical trials, single subject case studies have merit. Surely, you will agree that with the number drug recalls these clinical trials have not held up to the tests of time. I applaud the efforts of good applications of science. Your writings do not suggest that you are as objective in practice as your words might suggest. I would hope you will use your talents for the greater good. Sincerely, Robert

  9. skeptvet says:

    You mistake believing that anecdotes and testimonials are reliable guides to whether or not a therapy is effective for “open-mindedness.” And you seem to confuse believing the truth matters in medicine and science is the best way to find it with closed-mindedness or a mean spirit. A few calrifications:

    1. Case reports are only useful in generating hypotheses, not confirming or disproving them. And a million case reports are no more reliable than one. Hence the popularity over centuries and even millenia of many therapies now recognized as useless or even actively harmful.

    2. Clinical trials are imperfect and often wrong, They are simply better and less often wrong than anecdotes. The limitations of the first do not constitute a strength of the second. This is known as the tu quoque fallacy.

    All you are doing here is insisting that if I do not accept these stories as meaningful evidence supporting the claims for Protandim than I am simply closed minded. It would be more accurate to say that I am skeptical and you are, I fear, too credulous.

  10. Laura Craig says:

    Update on my husband with silicosis. In June 2012, Dr Erica Hughes/Pulmonologist did another ct scan on my husband. He has been taking Protandim since May 2010. This past June, she told him he was GETTING WELL! I asked her if this has ever happened before…her words “NO ONE EVER lives through this disease, and you are getting well”
    The only thing he has changed in his diet is taking Protandim every day. My husband is going to LIVE!!

  11. skeptvet says:

    As always, I’m glad things are going well for you. Unfortunately, I’ve writtten extensively before about what such miraculous stories prove nothing about the claim that a treatment is effective. And since this article shows that 25% of silicosis patients survive greater than 30 years, the claim that “no one ever lives through this disease” isn’t accurate. If we still relied on such stories to decide how to treat the sick, we’d still be relying on bloodletting, leeches, and faith healing and we wouldn’t have vaccines, antibiotics, blood transfusions, or any of the other therapies developed and proven through controlled scientific research.

  12. Laura Craig says:

    Not only is he surving, but he is getting well (in her words.) This has never happened in her practice. I encourage you and everyone to get educated on this product. Pubmed.gov is the US National Library of Medicine as there are 13 published studies and over 20 still in the works by prestigious universities. Do you know more than LSU, Colorado State University, Ohio State University, Virginia Common Wealth, Vanderbilt University, University of Kentucky, Denver Health Medical Center. Do you know more than they do? Doctors have told me this is where they get much of their education and continue to stay up to date.

  13. skeptvet says:

    The articles on Science-Based Medicine discuss the published research and why it doesn’t much evidence for the claims the company makes for this product. If you are aware of other studies, please provide he references and I’m happy to look at them.
    It’s not a case of my belief vs your beief, because the evidence is out there for everyone to look at.

    As for the univrsities you mention, none of them endorse the product as institutions. There may be individual doctors at those places who believe in the product, but that just means that different doctors have different opinions. The way to figure out who’s right isn’t to simply defer to one source or another but, again, to look at the evidence in detail. If there are specific studies you want to discuss, or specific points that contradict what Dr. Hall has written, feel free. But miracle stories and the opinion of individual doctors isn’t th same thing as proof.

  14. I believe there are skeletons in the LifeVantage company’s closet – some veiling of truths as well as corporate shenanigans.
    However, here’s my “anecdote” about the effectiveness of the product. My cloudy vision in the morning is gone, I wake up and do not feel the need to go back to sleep, I am able to juggle multiple businesses and accounts without stress and forgetfulness.
    I have heard of many “anecdotes” from other Protandim users. Evidently you are not one who has had any positive results from this product.
    Regarding their TrueScience cream, I have not had visible results, though others have.
    So, my question is, what product would you suggest or promote?

  15. skeptvet says:

    The whole point of my blog is that we should make our decisions on the basis of the best evidence available, and that we shouldn’t rely on anecdote at all unless there is simply nothing else to go on and the need is dire. I’ve written extensively about why anecdotes can’t be trusted and why science is more reliable. Our confidence in any belief has to be proportional to the evidence. Whether I’ve had a good or bad personal experience with a product, I recognize that experience to be deeply unreliable, and I give a low confidence rating to any conclusion based on it. If there is strong scientific evidence supporting a product claim, then I give that a high confidence rating regardless of my own experiences. That’s how science-based medicine is supposed to work.

  16. My son is a skeptic – maybe of the same order as you. He discounts Protandim as a rip-off because the herbs can be bought by the bushel for pennies per day. He thinks that there are other products that can benefit me just as much or more. Maybe there is something better out there, but since I get good results, I take Protandim.

    So, not to change the subject (but then, I am), you sound like a brilliant young man who believes in science as the truth.

    I, on the other hand, am an older woman who is more in tune with instinct, feelings, intuition.

    I believe that we both make decisions on the basis of the best evidence available. Yours is scientific data, mine is 1st party testimonies and/or my own results.

    What I find fascinating is that you give more weight to scientific evidence regardless of your own personal experience. Young man, don’t discount your feelings and results. If they are true for you, regardless of what anyone or any study says, then it is right for you.

    So now, back to the subject again, what single product science based medicine do you know of that can ease stress, clear brain fog, remove pain and stiffness in hands, maintain energy throughout the day, and allow for a good night’s sleep with no drowsiness upon waking?

    Apologies in advance if you are not a young man, and also mahalo in advance for being gentle in your response.

    Aunty

  17. skeptvet says:

    Well, “young” and “old” are relative. I’m still young to my mother, but not many others! 🙂

    I think what we have here is a fundamental philosophical difference. I’m perfectly content to follow feelings, instincts, and other subjective sources of information in areas where there is no objective, absolute right or wrong that can be proven empirically anyway: art, religion, morality, etc. Things that center on human values and feelings only have the meaning we give them, so relativism works fine for me in those areas. (Oddly, however, the same people who argue that the only “truth” is what is “true for you,” and that subjective observations should be taken seriously in medicine are often the same people who argue that their “truth” about God or right and wrong or other such matters of faith and belief is actually True and everyone else’s is wrong. A bit of inconsistency, in my opinion.)

    But what you are suggesting is the same kind of relativism in matters that pertain to the physical world, to the ways we understand and influence health and disease. The problem is that, in my view, the physical world actually exists independent of human feelings and beliefs about it, unlike art, religion, and so on. So there is an objective, right or wrong answer about how the physical world works. The idea that disease is caused by an imbalance of humors, too much Yin and not enough Yang, or unhappy ancestors instead of infectious organisms, genetic defects, and so on can actually be said to be wrong in a meaningful sense. Some explanations are true and others are false. Some therapies work and others don’t.

    So then the issue becomes how we figure out what is true about the world. And I think it is clear that science, while imperfect, is incomparably better than unaided observation, history and tradition, intuition, revelation, or any of the other sources of subjective information we can use. For thousands of years we did ineffective things (for example, bloodletting, ritual sacrifice, etc.) based on mistaken theories, and we failed to change the state of our health significantly. Then we discovered methods that correct for the flaws, limitations, and weaknesses of our individual perception, memory, and thinking, and these methods have led us to discover ways of improving our health and extending our life that have far surpassed, in only a couple of centuries, all the rest of human history. I think that’s a pretty strong reason to doubt oneself and trust in science.

  18. Skeptvet,

    Me thinks that you are not so young, by the sageness, grammar, and broadness of your response. My mistake. (This is not to say that young people aren’t smart – it is that they tend to respond differently – a bit more impulsively, if you will.)

    I had a bit of a chuckle about your observation on those that believe “your truth is true for you” will argue (or silently think) that others that don’t believe that are wrong. Put me in that camp – I have been found out!

    I am inclined to be more an alternative medicine type of gal. Some of my friends who are more scientific/drugs/doctor inclined warn me about someone they knew who died because they were doing the holistic route of finding solutions. Funny how they failed to mention how many people they knew who died following doctor’s orders.

    Yes, our philosophies are very different. All I can say in response to your excellent reasoning is that your truth is your truth, and my truth is mine.

    Thank you for a very nice conversation. I can hope that my brilliant skeptic of a son grows up to be as fine a researcher, writer, and sharer such as you.

    Mahalo for your time,

    Aunty

  19. Greg Glendening says:

    I would be interested in your comments on the following:

    Link to website with abstract

    http://registration.akm.ch/einsicht.php?XNABSTRACT_ID=137548&XNSPRACHE_ID=2&XNKONGRESS_ID=150&XNMASKEN_ID=900

    Nrf2 activators: a novel strategy to promote oligodendrocyte survival in multiple sclerosis?

    J. Lim, S. van der Pol, J. Drexhage, E. de Vries, J. van Horssen (Amsterdam, NL)
    Objectives: To investigate the potential of different Nrf2 activators to boost antioxidant enzyme expression in oligodendrocytes and protect them from reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated cell death.
    Background: Oligodendrocyte damage and loss are key features of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) pathology and oligodendrocytes are particularly vulnerable to ROS-induced oxidative damage and cell death. Hence, a potential therapeutic strategy to protect these cells from ROS-mediated damage is urgently needed. To date, several compounds, including fumurate derivative BG-12, tert-Butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), sulforaphane (SFN) and protandim have potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. These compounds are thought to exert their protective function via activation of the nuclear-factor-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) transcriptional pathway, which is involved in the production of antioxidant enzymes necessary for oxidative stress defense. We postulate that distinct Nrf2 activators boost antioxidant enzyme production in oligodendrocytes and limit ROS-mediated oligodendrocyte cell death.
    Methods: Primary rat oligodendrocytes and rat and human oligodendrocyte cell lines were treated with different concentrations of BG-12, tBHQ, SFN and protandim. Next, we analyzed the expression of Nrf2-mediated antioxidant enzymes by PCR and Western blot techniques. To study the beneficial effects of the different Nrf2 activators, we first incubated the oligodendrocytes with Nrf2 activators and subsequently exposed them to various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and measured oligodendrocyte cell survival.
    Results:
    1. BG-12, tBHQ, SFN and protandim are well-tolerated and strongly induce Nrf2-driven antioxidant enzyme production in oligodendrocytes, with protandim showing the most potent induction.
    2. Nrf2 activators are able to protect oligodendrocytes against ROS-induced cytotoxicity.
    Conclusions: Our findings indicate that several Nrf2 activators are able to significantly increase antioxidant enzyme production in oligodendrocytes. Interestingly, protandim, a dietary supplement consisting of herbal ingredients, was the most potent inducer and therefore may be the most suited as a therapeutic strategy. Importantly, Nrf2-mediated antioxidant enzyme expression in oligodendrocytes resulted in enhanced oligodendrocyte survival during an oxidative attack.
    Dr. J. van Horssen received research grants from BiogenIdec

    Thank you for furthering the discussion.

    G

  20. skeptvet says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    This is the sort of preclinical study that is necessary to provide a plausible foundation for clinical evaluation of any therapy. What it appears to show (and I can’t evealuate it in detail wince it appears only to be an abstract of a conference presentation, not a full paper published after peer review) is that protandim has effects on antioxidant mechanisms in vitro and that these effects may protect cells in culture from the effects of oxidative toxins added to the culture sample. That is all well and good so far as it goes, but it is years away from demonstrating clinically beneficial effects in living organisms. There is growing evidence that antioxidants which have such effects in vitro may not only not have clinical benefits but may actually cause harm in some real patients. And, as is often pointed out as an example of the problem of translating from pre-clinical studies to clinical use, bleach makes a very effective chemotherapy drug in the lab, where it reliably kills cancer cells, but that does not make intravenous bleach injections a good idea in real cancer patients.

    So while studies such as this suggest a possible mechanism by which protandim might work, as I have acknowledged all along, they don’t show that it actually is safe and effective in real patients. There are significant risks to wide use of new helathcare interventions based on extrapolation from rat and human cells in culture, so leap-frogging the research process, as agents like protandim do, is not in the best interests of patients.

  21. Vogel says:

    I have a few comments on the abstract that Glen posted. First, it is merely a symposium abstract. It is not a proper research report but rather a simple summary of a study that has never been published in a journal and apparently never will be. The fact that this is not a published study means that it has not undergone peer review and it is impossible to judge whether the design, execution, and interpretation of results were conducted properly.

    Secondly, this is an in vitro study and so far removed from the reality of clinical experience as to be useless for predicting anything about how Protandim will act in humans (to date LifeVantage has no data showing that their product affects NFR2 in people who take the product).

    Second, the study shows nothing novel. It has been known for more than a decade that curcumin (the principal active ingredient in Protandim) stimulates NRF2. This effect was initially demonstrated in these two studies (which predated the launch of Protandim by many years):

    Balogun E, Hoque M, Gong P, Killeen E, Green CJ, Foresti R, Alam J, Motterlini R. Curcumin activates the haem oxygenase-1 gene via regulation of Nrf2 and the antioxidant-responsive element. Biochem J. 2003 May 1;371(Pt 3):887-95.

    Dickinson DA, Iles KE, Zhang H, Blank V, Forman HJ. Curcumin alters EpRE and AP-1 binding complexes and elevates glutamate-cysteine ligase gene expression. FASEB J. 2003 Mar;17(3):473-5. Epub 2003 Jan 2.

    In other words, for years now, LifeVantage has been publishing useless window-dressing studies that have repeatedly shown that curcumin does what curcumin was already known to do (i.e., stimulate NRF). Studies like these have may have some limited marketing value but virtually no scientific value whatsoever.

    Lastly, and most importantly, LifeVantage and its agents (distributors) have been using this worthless abstract to market the product as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, which is obviously illegal, not to mention scientifically dishonest to the nth degree. This is one of many examples of how the company is perverting science to mislead the public, illegally market Protandim as medicine, and propagate a shameful pyramid scheme.

  22. Bonnie says:

    There are some people that could stand in front of the Son of God and call him a heretic. There are some that would prefer taking drugs and pretend that they are making people better. Yet we all know drugs to not cure, they only remove the symptom and usually cause other symptoms. Case in point, I took pain relievers to get rid on my chronic, arthritic, repetitious stress syndrome. I was on the verge of disability. After 10 different medications to control the pain, I was then taking pills for my stomach and anti-depressants for what the chemicals were doing to my brain. My skin was covered in sores and I was then diagnosed with Granuloma Annulare. The only thing I could think of how I got this was all those pain pills, and stomach relievers and anti-depressants. So NOTHING was allowing me to live pain free. Then one day someone told be about Protandim and gave me a bottle. Now mind you, I did not sleep because of the aching, I was tired and run down from lack of solid sleep. By 4pm everyday I was exhausted and was ready for bed. Within three days my energy level picked up. Within three weeks the arthritis was gone. Within six months the pain from the damage to my wrists was gone as well. I sleep sound and wake up refreshed. I am no longer taking anti depressants and it took about 9 months for my mind to become normally happy again. I no longer have to take stuff for my stomach and I can see that my skin is clearing up (I was told there was no cure) Science or no science, all your skepticism can sit in your head and convince yourself that Protandim does not help people get better. God made our bodies to heal itself. Even Hippocrates once said, “Let food be your healer” So with that said, Protandim does what it says: It reduces the free radical damage that is caused by oxygen which caused the oxidative stress, which causes the diseases. In my book if 4-2=2 then if Protandim – oxidative stress = your body healing itself. WE DON’T NEED YOUR DRUGS that are formulated to kill the body in the end. If we really had the statistics on how many people that died from drug interaction, over medicated patients, and stupid doctors just looking for a buck and have no idea how to cure anyone any more, Marcus Welby where are you? Americans would be in a better place. Quit making us your profit! I am not your lab rat!

  23. skeptvet says:

    There’s no point in debating with someone with such blind faith in their own infallibility here. However, fortunately most people have the sense to see this sort of wild delusion for what it is, and to rely on science and reason to protect their health.

  24. open minded says:

    I started taking protandim one month ago when a friend gave a bottle to me because of my bad asthma, lung issues, pericarditis and sinus problems. The Drs have been trying to get me well for almost three years. I am open minded and try to do everything possible to be heathlier and stay that way!! Well the end of my first month on it is right now and I feel a big “nothing”! I actually feel worse….more tired, skin is acting up…..no improvements! I do however notice improvements when I stay disciplined with exercise and natural foods. I do believe I will overcome the health issues I have but I won’t wasted my money on protandim or true science skin cream…..

  25. Tim Cunningham says:

    Open Minded. I would say this to you. Some people see results sooner than others. Everyone’s body is different. The guy that turned me onto Protandim has a daughter that had a brain tumor and after the surgery, she had massive headaches. She tried Protandim for 4 weeks and didn’t get any results just like you did, but after the 5th week the headaches started to disappear and are now gone. On average, you should try the product for 3 to 4 months before writing it off. Some people have much more oxidative stress and it takes longer to kill the free radicals. Thank you.

  26. skeptvet says:

    Of course, you have no way of knowing whether the headaches would have gone away on their own in 5 weeks. That’s the whole point of controlled trials, that the associations we think we seen between things so oftn aren’t really there. Maybe the Protandim helped, maybe it didn’t, but this anecdote, like every other, isn’t useful in telling us.

  27. ohno says:

    At the urging of a friend who sells this stuff my wife and I started taking Protandim. We went through the whole sales pitch, I commented it sounds like the am way scam that my first wife got me into and I would not be interested in selling the stuff. But we did buy 2 bottles from him had to wait 4 days to get it we were also put on a auto refill so it would be shipped every month and if we wanted to stop the shipments we would have to have my friend stop it we couldn’t do it ourselves that seemed odd to me. But did it anyway.
    After the first few days my wife was having panic attacks and lets just say she spent a lot of more time in the bathroom. She quit taking it and was back to normal in a few days.
    As for me I didn’t notice anything right away I wasn’t sleeping better or anything, however after about a week I started having pain in my feet hurt to walk or stand. I stopped taking Protandim and after 2 days the pain was all but gone. Still not sure I started taking Protandim again 2 days later pain is back. Now I don’t claim to be smart man but I think the problems all came from taking Protandim. So I have stopped taking it again. Protandim and other products like it has to love the true believers in the world cause without them who would buy this crap.
    I told my friend of the problems we were having and he said he was sorry to here of this and had talked his Protandim upper and they had never heard of anyone having problems. I didn’t have the heart to tell him of this blog.

  28. Holly says:

    Sir (skeptvet), not to sound obnoxious, but have you tried it? There are no side effects other than a normal (possible) detox process. You might give it a shot. You do realize “Supplements” cannot claim to cure or prevent diseases legally right? You do realize this “Supplement” is nothing more than an NrF2 activator, right? Surely, You do realize that this “Supplement” has had a 100% success rate (yes, 100%) of decreasing Oxidative stress by an average of 40% in 30 days? My personal experience with this “Supplement” has been wonderful. Again, give it a shot. You might surprise yourself.

  29. skeptvet says:

    Clearly you haven’t paid any attention to any of the previous discussion. “Try it for yourself” is not a compelling argument because personal experience is not a reliable guide to the safety and efficacy of medical therapies (if they were, we’d still be using bloodletting for infections). Your anecdote adds nothing to the absence of controlled clinical research supporting for this product, and neither does the claims about it’s antioxidant effects. There actually is an established and pretty effective scientific system for evaluating medical therapies. I’m not making this up. But the Protandim folks have chosen not to follow this method but instead rely on marketing hype and testimonials. Caveat emptor.

  30. Kania says:

    If a person has electrolyte insufficiency, impaired detox pathways, and a lot of toxin build up and fungal overgrowth, could taking Protandim cause too much of a detox reaction at first? It seems every time I take it I actually feel worse after a few days with a headache, upper and lower backache, and symptoms of electrolye insufficiency increase. I would love to take it for inflammation but the pain gets so bad I end up taking pain killers.

    Thank you.

  31. skeptvet says:

    Sorry, but the whole premise of “detox” is nonsense, so there’s no way to answer this question. Without proper testing, it is quite possible that it has adverse effects we don’t know about. Some kind of reaction to one of the ingredients is a lot more likely than “too much detox.”

  32. v.t. says:

    Kania asked: If a person has electrolyte insufficiency, impaired detox pathways, and a lot of toxin build up and fungal overgrowth, could taking Protandim cause too much of a detox reaction at first?

    My question would be, what sort of physician would tell you that you had “impaired detox pathways” and “a lot of toxin buildup”?

    Answer: only a quack doctor.

    On the other hand, in med speak, you might have liver and kidney disease. Might want to get that checked. I’m not trying to be rude here, but you might want to rethink where you’re getting your medical advice.

  33. Matt says:

    I’m sure, especially since your a vet you could afford to buy a bottle for yourself and possible disprove your opinion. There is always “doubt”in homeopathy. It isn’t prepped up by FDA which by the way lets tons of harmful drugs kill thousands a year then “recalls”. Protandims recall was a mechanical issue so don’t debate that one. Anyhow what studies have you preformed to disprove outside of a somewhat self fulfilling prophesy. It’s a 1.50 a day less than a sports drink or protein shake. Virtually zero side effects, as usual the doctors assume they know more than the patients that type of medicine is not useful anymore.

  34. skeptvet says:

    It’s not my job to prove the claims made by this company are wrong. It is their job to prove they are true. And just trying it out in an uncontrolled personal experiment doesn’t prove anything. If it did, we’d have to believe in astrology, bloodletting, and everything else, because there isn’t anything that hasn’t been tried and found to work by somebody. Sorry, but just because you believe it doesn’t change the facts.

  35. Matt sullivan says:

    Ok so I have a sneaking suspicion that your are not who you say you are but in fact are part of “lazy man” you reference many pseudonyms and your links direct us to his multiple sites. He or possibly you are actually an internet scam artist who makes money by posting critiques and then making money every time there’s a hit. Vogel is lazy man. By denying the publication if this post you affirm this fact since that is lazy mans routine response when he is exposed.
    Too many eggs in one basket makes you lose credibility, I guess we will see.

  36. skeptvet says:

    Really, that’s the best you can do? Vacuous nonsense.

  37. As a veterinarian who tries hard to practice evidence-based medicine, I commend you for the amount of time and effort you put into this blog. Having spent countless hours trying to explain to people why homeopathy doesn’t work or why aromatherapy is not going to cure flea allergy dermatitis or (my personal favorite) why they can’t “pray away the heart worms,” I am continually impressed by how well you stay on task and provide me with good information. Thank you.

  38. skeptvet says:

    Thank you for the kind words. The blog generates a good bit of hate mail, so it’s always nice to hear that it is useful to someone! 🙂

  39. Jasper says:

    I certainly appreciate finding this blog! One of my dearest friends has been talking to me about Protandim. It sounds very interesting; however, I’m of the same mind-set that any claim (especially if it’s for profit) needs to be given proper research on both ends…proving and disproving. It is nearly impossible to prove something as “fact,” which is why facts are much more rare than the general public (and even the “highly educated”) are aware.

    If I’m going to use anything on or in my body, I want to know: 1) what is it and where does it come from, 2) was it ethically farmed and harvested (non-GMO, organic), and 3) has true exhaustive research been done on its claims. I applaud your ability to avoid derailment from your position and whole-heartedly support the notion that personal, uncontrolled, non-scientific, undocumented testimonies bear absolutely no credit other than “warm-fuzzies.”

    A good laugh….thank you…regarding the apples/oranges perspective of bleach vs. herbs getting injected in our bodies; I find it funny, though, because it is simply confronting ridiculousness with nonsense and I think you meant it that way =P

    And not really of this topic…but since it was mentioned, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it — you stated above, “The problem is that, in my view, the physical world actually exists independent of human feelings and beliefs about it, unlike art, religion, and so on.” What do you think, then, of the research and findings done by Dr. Emoto?

    Thank you for your attention to and for posting such an informative blog!

    ~Jasper

  40. skeptvet says:

    Thanks for the supportive comments. Always helps to counter the hate mail!

    What do you think, then, of the research and findings done by Dr. Emoto?

    I imagine no one will be surprised that I find the idea highly implausible. It wouldn’t be too difficult to prove if it were true, but doing so would overturn an awful lot of established science which has been pretty successful at leading to the development of technologies that work, so I’m not holding my breath.

  41. The Truth says:

    Why is everyone overpaying for Ashwaghanda, Bacopa, Green Tea, Turmeric, and Milk Thistle extract?

    You realize that you can buy all of those seperately and in much larger quanitity then protandim provides? You people are not only wasting your money, but you’re being duped by a company looking to make profits. LifeVantage is no better than any large pharmaceutical company. They are just selling something without strong scientific evidence.

    I would also like to add that each of those extracts have already been studied individually so Protandim isn’t some revolution. There is moderate evidence for Bacopa extract on memory, Green Tea extract has been shown to increase metabolism in some studies, Turmeric has minor evidence in reducing inflammation, Ashwaghanda may be a good anti-oxidant, and Milk thistle has weak evidence in liver protection.

    Why doesn’t anyone look at what the product is made of before they consume it? You could of bought all the extracts for SUBSTANTIALLY less money. Let’s not be stupid people.

    P.S Have any of you protandim devotees realized they may even have metal shreds in your pill?

    Cheers

  42. Collins Bradford says:

    You will probably know the author of a quote that goes something like this, so I won’t mention it, but he seems to be proven here:

    “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”

    if Protandim seems to work for you, keep taking it. If it doesn’t, then don’t. It’s not complicated. It’s only herbs.

    And for the one who says that you are being ripped off….. it’s only $40 per month. If that’s too expensive, stop buying morning mochas?

    Love you all. 🙂

  43. skeptvet says:

    Here are a couple of other quotes for you:

    For what a man more likes to be true, he more readily believes. Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true. Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

    Belief means not wanting to know what is true.
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
    Deep is the well of truth and long does it take to know what has fallen into its depths.
    One’s belief in truth begins with doubt of all truths one has believed hitherto. (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, German philosopher, 1844 – 1900)

    Be very careful what you put in that head, because you will never, ever get it out. Cardinal Wolsey (1475-1530)

    Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. (Andre Gide, 1869-1951)

    As usual the greatest assurance goes hand in hand with the greatest ignorance. (Feyerabend, 1978)

    The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you actually don’t know. Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively not by the false appearance of things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice. – Schopenhauer

    It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so. “Artemus Ward” (Charles Farrar Browne, 1834-1867

    Science . . . warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. Thomas Huxley, 1860 (Science 281:898)

  44. Wendy says:

    Hello I have been researching Protandim also and have read all the comments here. I understand that you are looking for the science to back up what they claim as I am too. I am wondering what is the purpose of pubmed.gov in their referencing and why would universities want to study Protandim if it is only a bunch of herbs? because if that is all it is I’m assuming they wouldn’t be testing Protandim? Also they reference a peer reviewed study, I believe for the oxidative stress levels, what do you make of that? I feel that there is something “wonky” about the company but wonder why so many dr. ‘s (that my friend has met) have been so amazed…. And have been trying to understand the studies referenced on pubmed and why it is so wonderful that there are studies even listed. I have attempted also to search on pubmed for other “natural cures” that are being sold now, and haven’t been able to find any. Hopefully my questions makes sense. I have MS and things don’t quite function like they used to

  45. skeptvet says:

    If you look at Dr. Hall’s articles, for example, they explain why the studies claimed to prove Protandim works are not reliable. Unfortunately, all kinds of worthless nonsense gets published, and pubmed is simple a library database, so anything published can be listed their regardless of whether it is true or not. As for “so many doctors are amazed” that’s nonsense straight out of the company marketing materials. There are plenty of anecdotes, of course, as there are for every treatment ever invented, but until there is real scientific evidence, this product is going to continue to be an unproven alternative, not a mainstream, legitimate medication.

  46. Mrs Josey says:

    So here’s my experience with Protandim:
    I was talked into it by a friend who told me of his great experience. I have many issues with my stomach (think Celiac/UC) and nothing has helped. Not diet, vitamins, exercise, nothing. I had tried Thrive because someone told me it “cured” their UC. Three months and way too much money later, I stopped that.
    Protandim is pretty cheap so, I figured what the heck. I’ve been taking it for about 5 months. I’ve not felt any better. I can’t sleep through the night any more. My stomach issues have gotten extremely worse in the last few days. So much that I couldn’t work. That hasn’t happened in a couple years. I was told about that whole detox thing…..and pretended that must be it. But, as of today, I’m not taking it any more. I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I hate going to the Dr because they have not been able to make me feel better in 6 years and I almost went today because of just how much pain I was in. I’ve given it enough time, I’m done. At least I’m not out all that money I spent on Thrive, lol

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