Thinking About Isagenix? Get The Facts First…Please 23


 

Have you heard of Isagenix?

 

Chances are you have – you’ve probably had a friend, family member or acquaintance (even a distant one!) try to reel you in at some stage.

 

I’ve been asked about this multi-level marketing (direct-selling) company’s products from time to time.  I’ve even had a few people try to get me on board with selling the products through the clinic.  And this is where I thank my lucky stars that my naturopathic training and university studies help me to be able to look past hype and work out whether a product actually meets the claims it is making.  And if you’ve come across it before, you’ll know that Isagenix certainly go hell-for-leather with their marketing approach!

 

As a qualified practitioner, I am extremely fussy about the herbs and supplements I use in my clinic.  And I am passionate about helping people get the best possible results, finding and sharing good-quality no-nonsense information and only using top-notch herbal medicines and supplements.

 

After giving the Isagenix products a thorough, unbiased assessment, my decision was a firm N-O-W-A-Y.

 

No way would I ever use these products for myself, my family, my dog, my cat, my goldfish - nor would I recommend a patient use them.  If you keep reading, you’ll understand why.

 

The first product I looked at was the Ionix Supreme’.  The Isagenix website states that this product ‘contains essential vitamins, minerals and natural extracts to help support the body’s energy, stamina and health.’   Click here to see the ingredients for yourself.

 

A 946g bottle retail price, according to their website is $59.00, which is enough for 32 servings.

 

And here’s what you get for that:

 

  • 23g of sugar/100ml of the product. That is nearly 5 teaspoons of sugar/100ml (which, incidentally, works out to be nearly double the sugar content of soft drink, which averages around 7-10g sugar/100ml).  This is NOT a great place to start if you are looking to improve your health!

 

  • The product also lists zinc in supplementary form, however the form that it is in is ‘zinc oxide’. You may or may not be aware that the ‘form’ a mineral is in influences how well your body is able to absorb, and therefore, utilize, that particular mineral.  For optimal absorption, zinc needs to be in a form that is soluble – and the zinc oxide molecule is practically insoluble.  In other words, much of this is going to go straight through your body without being absorbed.  Supplement companies use this form because it is cheap, and they can then market the product as ‘containing zinc’ – however they don’t care whether or not you get a benefit from it, as they have made their $$ through slick marketing to the consumer who does not realize that the form of the mineral is crucially important.

 

  • Further down the list of ingredients, you will notice the preservatives 202 and 211 listed. It is a good idea to avoid preservatives as much as possible, but in particular the preservative number 211 is Sodium Benzoate, which is particularly nasty.

 

  • The herbs that are contained in the product, in my opinion, are in ridiculously tiny amounts. To give you an idea of what I mean, I regularly use the herb Ashwagandha (also called Withania, or Indian Ginseng) in my clinical practice.  Assuming that the ingredients in the Ionix formula would be listed in descending order according to the quantities (as is the labelling law in Australia), the last quantity listed is ‘watermelon juice’ at 0.24% (1/4 of a percent).  Therefore, AT MOST, the quantity of Ashwgandha in 1 serve of Ionix would be 0.07ml.  To put this into perspective, what I would class as a ‘therapeutic dose’ of this herb that I would prescribe for an adult would typically be around 4ml/day – or roughly 57x the dosage that is in the Ionix.   If you are taking (and paying for) a herbal product, I’d imagine you would want it to be in a decent quantity, not a miniscule amount.

 

So, in a nutshell, my verdict of this particular product is this – it's expensive cordial!

 

I also looked at the ’30 Day Nutritional Cleanse’ system, which has been designed as a weight-loss program.  This consists of a weight-loss shake (complete with 19g of sugar/100g in the Strawberry shake – that is one-fifth sugar!), the Ionix product discussed above, and a few other products to help ‘cleanse’ and ‘accelerate’ your weight-loss.  Without going into a detailed assessment of each individual product, suffice it to say that none of these products impressed me either, mostly due to (again) what I would regard as teeny amounts of herbs and nutrients contained in each.   However, according to the website the pack will set you back $490.60 if you pay recommended retail price.

 

The 30 Day program also refers to some research that has been done, that proves their system superior to other weight-loss methods.

 

However, when I examined the actual study itself (there were 2 papers quoted, but only 1 actual research activity performed), I found quite a few holes, and these were things that the average Joe (who, unlike me, probably has better things to do than sift through umpteen pages worth of research papers) would probably miss if they weren't looking for them.  When it comes to good-quality research, there are always steps taken to ensure that the study is not biased – in other words, to make sure that you are being given the proper information and not results that have been skewed to look favourable on paper (and consequently, sell more product).  The first problem I found was that the research itself was funded by Isagenix – they have paid for the research to be done in the first place.  How convenient!  Secondly, one of the researchers involved in the project is a consultant (presumably paid) to the company.  Extra convenient!  As you can imagine, both of these are not ideal situations when it comes to searching for the truth, and are a big ‘red flag’ to apply at least some skepticism to the results.  Thirdly, the study itself didn’t just look at the Isagenix program – the women participating in the study were actually also fasting intermittently (which is well-known to speed up weight loss).  So this made the ‘end result’ of using the Isagenix system look extra good on paper (but are probably not typical when it comes to the ordinary person, who is most likely going to follow the system without starving themselves one day out of every seven).  Finally, buried in the middle of the paper, in the middle of a page, in the middle of a paragraph, I found the admission that the ladies using the Isagenix shakes were actually consuming fewer calories than the other ladies they were being compared with, who were just eating food.  So in other words, those who ate less lost more weight.  Wow, what a revelation!

 

Unfortunately, in my opinion, these products fail to meet (or even come anywhere near) my high standards, and I certainly think that people deserve to be made aware of the facts, before trusting their health (and hard-earned money) to these kinds of marketing approaches.

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23 thoughts on “Thinking About Isagenix? Get The Facts First…Please

  • Helene Dukes

    I love this article Linda. I have also had people ask for my opinion about Isagenix. I tell them the exact same thing – No Way.

  • Mark Snell

    You failed quite a bit in your “research” if you didn’t know Isagenix is based on Intermittent Fasting. Of course they were intermittent fasting, that’s how the program works.
    As for sugar content, you might notice that sugar (in various forms) absolutely essential for your body’s survival.
    I call extreme bias!

    • Linda Back Post author

      Hi Mark,

      I actually fail to see how it is biased, if I have simply taken the information freely available on the Isagenix website and looked into it in detail. These were my findings, I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but I feel it is important that people are able to make an educated and informed decision.

      I would like to reply to the 2 points you’ve made here – you state that the program is based on Intermittent Fasting. I am a fan of Intermittent Fasting myself (in fact, I have another blog post on the topic that you can read here) My question, however, would be – why does someone need to spend $500/month to buy Isagenix products to fast, when they can do it for free and use real food?

      The second point you’ve made is that ‘sugar in various forms is absolutely essential for your body’s survival’. I’m afraid this is not the case – if you never ate a single gram of sugar (particularly refined sugar) again in your life, what do you think would happen? You’d probably be in excellent health! There are many nutrients that are essential for our survival (protein, fats, vitamins & minerals) but sugar is not on the list I’m afraid! If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, you might be interested in this article, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a very well-known nutrition journal. Our high intake of sugar and other refined carbohydrates are increasingly being linked to some of the chronic health conditions that we are experiencing in Western society today – including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. So the last thing that is needed is for extra sugar to be included in a so-called ‘health product’. It is not in any of the products I use in my clinic, I can assure you!

      • Mark Snell

        It is a natural bias. You are a professional Naturopath, and if you weren’t biased towards your own business, you wouldn’t be in business. You are also a promoter of the Shake It Practitioner Weight Management Program which could be said to be a competitor to Isagenix. I fully agree about an informed decision. 🙂

        Most people will not do intermittent fasting, because it is hard, often really really hard. The Isagenix cleansing products make it much easier to get through a fast day while still getting enough nutrients to keep the brain going bug giving the digestive system a rest and a cleanse. On the flip side, if you are going to fast for a couple of days, it behooves you to make sure the predominance of the other days you are flooding your body with the best that nature can provide. Most people do not have the time and the resources to source and prepare “real food” that contains all the nutrients that their body desperately requires.

        Glucose (a sugar) is the energy burnt by your cells. It comes in many forms. If you never ate a single gram of sugar, you would miss out on so much. Pretty much all fruits and a decent portion of vegetables contain sugar. That’s not a lifestyle, that’s a diet. 🙁 There is also a great article here http://www.isagenixhealth.net/sugar-smarts-how-sugar-is-used-purposefully-in-isagenix-products/ on the deliberate use of sugar in the products.

        In my (2nd hand) experience with naturopaths, people love the results from what they produce, but stop taking it because it tastes so bad. there may be an ounce of truth in a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down.

        • Linda Back Post author

          You guys seem to use the word ‘bias’ quite a lot, I don’t think you know exactly what it means. Assessing a product or brand for it’s merits or otherwise is allowed – and you might be interested to know just how many people have actually read this article and given feedback that they found it useful. People have a right to hear what a qualified healthcare practitioner thinks of these products, and because I am often asked about them, I decided to put it on my website. Which is also allowed.

          Yes, I use the Shake It Program in the clinic – I find it works very effectively, and my patients know that they are getting good-quality information, as well as being looked after one-on-one by someone who has actually studied health. By the way, the Shake It program is not the only system I use to help people reach their weight-loss goals, as I also work with people to simply make some simple adjustments to their current eating habits. It depends what the patient feels would work best for them as to which approach we take. The Shake It program is completely different from the Isagenix program, as it puts the body into a natural fat-burning state, whereas the Isagenix program works on the ‘calories in, calories out’ equation, which is somewhat outdated science. This style of eating followed as part of the Shake It program (low-carbohydrate) has been shown to improve a range of cardiovascular risk factors as well as be effective for fat loss – including triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, glucose, insulin, inflammatory proteins and fat around the waist. And incidentally, none of the Shake It shakes (if patients choose to use them at all) contain any added sugar.

          If I was wanting to ‘flood my body with the best that nature can provide’ I would use nutritious food, not a supplement.

          I would prefer to stay away from any products that try to justify a ‘deliberate use of sugar’ I’m sorry.

          Yes, herbs don’t taste the best. Um…big deal? My patients I’m sure would rather have a uniquely blended mixture made just for them than a mass-produced product.

  • Fin Mackenzie

    Hi Linda
    Great Article. As a fellow Naturopath I have come into contact with Isagenix many times. I found your article well researched (and obviously better than most people who would not even bother to look further than marketing shpiel.)
    I am happy to pass this info onto my clients. I did not know for example that the shakes have so much sugar!! No wonder they taste so sweet.
    My main gripe with Isagenix though is that it is sold by people with absolutely no nutritional training whatsoever. The fasting days have made patients of mine dizzy, weak, faint and unable to work. A couple of them actually became quite unwell. I would urge anyone who wants to complete a detox or weight loss program to see a fully qualified Naturopath or Nutritionist who has studied for many years to gain their qualification. Who can recommend safe products of high quality.
    Thank you for taking the time to research and write this!

      • Anthony Nguyen

        Here’s why this article is bias,

        FACT: There are 4 grams of sugar per 1 oz serving of ionix supreme. There are 32 ounces to a bottle which totals 128 grams of sugar which is understandably a lot.

        FACT: Fruits have sugar.

        This bottle is practically filled to the brim with nothing but fruit. Thats a lot of sugar if you drank the whole bottle of course. But this is not a “soda” so the comparison is misleading. You’re implying that the sugar found in the bottle is refined sugar. If anything you should really be comparing this to a juice. Lets take apple juice for example. Apple juice contains 3 grams of sugar per 1 oz (Thanks Google). Ionic supreme is 4 grams. Is that really so much of a no-no?

        FACT: John Anderson aka The Mineral Man and the master formulator of Isagenix, was the first person to create liquid minerals. (Look it up)

        Your argument about zinc not being absorbable is invalid

        “Supplement companies use this form because it is cheap”

        Here you imply the zinc in the bottle is inferior because your biased to the belief that all supplement companies use cheap ingredients to cut costs.

        FACT: Sodium Benzoate is GRAS. The International Programme on Chemical Safety found no adverse effects in humans at doses of 647–825 mg/kg of body weight per day. It has only been shown to be “nasty” when mixed with artificial coloring.

        But please, lets not bother your readers with ALL the facts.

        Just one more, FACT: You have absolutely no clue how much of each ingredient is actually in this product and how they were designed to work together. Where else could you find a product what contains everything that ionic has to offer? Better yet, if you could put all of those ingredients together and sell it cheaper than 60 bucks than I’ll be your first customer.

        This article is a joke. You clearly did not do enough research to give a review of Isagenix. You’re riding the bias train because you’d rather believe that theres no way a private company would be able to make a holistic product that would blow your mind. I bet you never even bothered to try a sip.

        • Linda Back Post author

          Hi Anthony,

          How is it biased to simply assess a product? As a qualified healthcare practitioner, I would say I have an obligation to do so, just as I assess every single other product that I come across, and use in my clinic. Some meet my standards, many don’t. I’m sorry if it offends you that this one doesn’t, but I stand by what I said in my article, which I did take a lot of time to write, to ensure I had given it a fair assessment.

          To address the points you have made:

          – The second ingredient in the list of ingredients in the Ionix is molasses – which is derived from sugar and not fruit sugar, as you argue.

          – Different chemical forms of minerals have been shown to have differing bioavailability (how well they are absorbed, and therefore, can be used by the body). For instance, with zinc there is the form zinc oxide, zinc sulphate, zinc picolinate etc – these are all forms with a differing chemical structure. These have been compared with one another as to how well they can be absorbed. One particular scientific study looked at how much zinc people had in their bloodstream after taking a zinc oxide supplement vs zinc sulphate (which has higher bioavailability) – the researchers found that the difference was significant between the two forms. In fact, up to 5.5 hours later those taking the zinc sulphate still had far more zinc in their blood. I’m happy to pass on details of this research for you to examine yourself if you don’t believe me.

          – Sodium Benzoate – if you are happy to put that into your body, go right ahead, but I will steer clear of it, and continue to recommend to my patients that they do so as well. ‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ is not good enough for me, I like completely safe!

          – Lastly, I totally believe you re the not having a clue how much of each ingredient is in the product. By the look of the label, probably not much.

          You are correct, I have never tried a sip and do not intend to either.

          • Anthony Nguyen

            You don’t see how comparing ionix to soda is a bit misleading? Why don’t you just post up the nutritional fact so your readers could actual get the facts for themselves.

            Molases is derived from a plant. And yes, it is the second listed “other” ingredient. You’re assuming that next to water, molasses is the primary ingredient to the bottle.

            Yes, i understand there are different forms of zinc and their bioavailability will differ. But again, you’re making the assumption that the zinc oxide found in Ionix is the same as the ones found in other traditional supplements. What i’m trying to explain to you is that you’re actually wrong about the bioavailability of the zinc from Isagenix. If you take the time to understand why the master formulator is known in the mineral man, you would understand that Isagenix is on a different level than what you’re used to bashing.

            Sodium Benzoate… why? Whats so wrong about GRAS that has you all high and mighty? Is there an alternative preservative you think would work better?

            Yes I do agree with you that I too have no clue how much of each ingredient is in the bottle. I’m not the one claiming that I do know. You’re putting out information regarding the quantity of ingredients as if it’s fact.

            You’re biased because you believe that Isagenix is just another supplement company making a dollar by selling fake magical potions so you’re taking bits and pieces of the ingredient list to bash it.

            And yes, the women in those studies consumed less calories, why? Because the meal replacement shake is low caloric while dense in nutrition. You’re a health practitioner, not a scientific researcher. You’re assuming your readers won’t take the time to read the studies, which by the way has been awarded for the quality of their research. Yes Isagenix paid for the research, but that does not mean the study should tossed out as unreliable of unbiased. Studies take a lot of time and money, who else would spend that much to see if the products work other than the company itself?

            I’m sorry, normally i would spend more time writing all of this more elegantly but I simply do not have the time to enlighten you.

          • Linda Back Post author

            Thank you for your responses Anthony. I have previously addressed your arguments in the article itself and the replies.

            You are entitled to your own opinion of course. If you love using Isagenix (which you obviously do) – go right ahead. I honestly have no problem at all with anybody using Isagenix PROVIDED they are getting balanced, unbiased and real information. In my opinion, this is not what happens when only sales & marketing materials are relied on to provide information (as you have done in your responses). I find this particularly concerning when the people who are selling and promoting products in most cases don’t have training in health, natural medicine, herbal medicine, nutrition or how the human body works. And incidentally, have a financial interest in recruiting people into the multi-level marketing system.

            I can assure you that my assessment of the Isagenix product and its systems comes from years of study and my own clinical experience using herbs, nutrients and dietary changes to help people improve their health. People are welcome to take it or leave it as they see fit.

  • Brittney

    If you really knew how the program worked, you would know that intermittent fasting is in fact part of the program, which is why it was used during the study. 4 days of the 30 day system are spent intermittently fasting.

    • Linda Back Post author

      Hi Jaime,

      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂 There are plenty of great products out there, but it depends on what your individual needs are, so I never recommend a one-size-fits-all approach.

  • Ben

    Well this post certainly threatened some of the sellers of this stuff. Their ignorance is revealed by what they say in reply:

    it’s basically fruit juice (which it isn’t it’s sugar drink with a bit of fruit flavouring)
    that 20% sugar is fine because it’s a meal replacement (IT’S NOT A MEAL REPLACEMENT IT HAS NO PROTEIN OR FAT IN IT)
    that sugar’s an essential nutrient (pop quiz, what is a complex carbohydrate, 1st page of any book on GI will tell you that let alone the 1st minute of any real nutrition education, also try googling gluconeogenesis – that’s how the body makes glucose from a whole range of source molecules)
    that it’s an IF program (which it isn’t because you’re somehow “fasting” on sugary drinks?)
    that YOU’RE biased (um, you sell retail supplements at $500/month with shonky dressed up as slick marketing? you hop on someone’s blog and say the nutritional biochemistry equivalent of that black is white and the earth is flat?)
    that it’s ok because some (store-bought reconstituted?) apple juice has more sugar (irrelevant straw-man argument – it also has less sewage in it than a full toilet and less water than a swimming pool…. so what?)
    ……

    $59 for a kilo of this stuff when it’s basically molasses … buy a tin of organic black strap molasses and crush a bit of ginger for $10 from the supermarket and make your own. Photocopy a isagenix label onto it if you want to make it truly convincing. You won’t need to put any of the other stuff in it, just carrying it past plants in the street will give you more of a dose of the ‘herbs’.

    If I wanted to pocket the profit margin on a product like this… I’d prostitute my ethics and opinion and every shred of logic I could and go everywhere and tell everyone it was great too!

      • Lilyanne

        Thank you so much for the research you have done on this! I am surrounded by people (several family members) selling this stuff, shoving it in my face at every turn. The first red flag for me is it being mlm and people begging others to buy and then sell under them! I’ve done my own research, (not nearly as deep as you) enough to realize that the nutrition in Isagenix is absolute junk. The amount people pay for it is ridiculous! Of course, you can’t argue with the distributors, they’ll fight you tooth and nail with all the copy&paste product marketing information they can find.

  • Ruth Fazey

    Interesting article. But if you truly say noway wo u ld you use it then how can you give a true option with out trying it. Also i dont believe you don’t need to starve your body for any diet.
    I have two family members who use isagenix for themselves and their child. Interesting to see how healthy and fit they are since using it. Myself yes I started to use and have been much healthier since use ping isagenix. I don’t starve myself and don’t do the full program as only wanted to feel healthy and it has worked for me. As for sugar there is natural sugar in all fruits…

    • Linda Back Post author

      Hi Ruth,
      I come into contact with all sorts of nutritional supplements and herbal products every day, as well as doing my own continual study and independent research. This allows me to assess each product accordingly. The reason I wouldn’t use Isagenix is because I have looked beyond the sales material to what is in the actual product itself – and it is because I have done this that I would not consider using it or recommending it (and certainly not for children!). I also believe the products are incredibly overpriced for what people are actually getting out of it, and that there are far better options available if someone wants to improve their health using nutritional and/or herbal support.
      You are right – there is sugar in fruits. There are also vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants etc – all naturally present in their unrefined state. Unfortunately, any product that includes high amounts of refined sugar and then calls itself a ‘health product’ is going to leave me pretty unimpressed.

  • Irenka Farmilo

    Agree. I tried these products many years ago and had what I would call a sugar reaction and no weight loss. Tried them again this week and had to leave an exercise class from dizziness on a “cleanse” day when in four years I’d never had to leave a barre class dizzy. I was suspicious at the sugary taste of the supplements and the high sugar/carb content of the protein drinks. I do better with the occasional protein supplement after exercise where the carbs are close to 0 and with real food in between. I’ll probably ask for my money back, which they do guarantee and I know they respect, because that’s what I did 10-15 years ago.