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.