The article that I wrote recently about USANA prompted quite a lot of response. However, there are still a few question marks surrounding certain aspects of their ingredients.
Michael, who was one of the commenter’s, seems to either be a USANA distributor or employee and he made a post responding to parts of my article of the 15th August, and also to another commenter. Because I think his post and my response will make interesting reading I have given it a new posting.
Now for those readers who are new to this subject you may wish to have a look at the article which you can see by clicking here. If you wish to have a look at the spreadsheet that is referred to that gives the comparison between Total Balance and USANA’s Health Pak 100 + Visionex you can see that by clicking here.
Here we go…
Comment: from Michael
A few more points to set the record straight about USANA products and nutritional ingredients....
1. They don't use higher levels of Vitamin C just to look impressive, it is there for therapeutic purposes and it is not a cheap filler in fact the polyC complex of 4 mineral ascorbates is much more costly than the cheaper ascorbic acid used by most other manufacturers. You get what you pay for, they are not overpriced.
2. Our therapeutic dosage of selenium at 150mcg to 200mcg is completely safe to take as shown by many long-term studies which show a benefit in halving cancer rates at that level of supplementation. Most people do not get enough from their diet because it has been depleted from our soils. Most of the selenium that enters the body quickly leaves the body, usually within 24 hours. Beyond what the body needs, selenium leaves mainly in the urine, but also in feces and breath. Selenium in the urine increases as the amount of the exposure goes up. Selenium can build up in the human body, however, if exposure levels are very high or if exposure occurs over a long time. The key words here are VERY HIGH and anything around 200mcg per day is well below the levels known to cause a health risk.
3. USANA tablets ARE enteric coated with Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose.
4. Mike Blunt is entitled to his view about supplement levels but Usana does not use higher levels unless they have been shown to provide a researched health benefit. Dr Wentz's own experience in medical research and human cell culture technology has gone into our formulas so our products show the correct balance and ratios of nutrients based on his knowledge of what our immune systems need to stay healthy in today's polluted environment. That research link that Mike provided relating to pigs from 2004 that showed an increase in osteoarthritis with higher levels of vitamin C should not be used to caution humans about what levels to take. Until we see evidence to the contrary we should use a therapeutic doseage of multiple vitamins and minerals together because taking high doses of single vitamins could lead to problems because it upsets the balance that we need. Unfortunately most researchers only use single vitamin doses in their research because they treat it like researching the effectiveness of single-action pharmaceutical drugs and they don't understand that nutrition does not work in the body like that.
August 23, 2007
Response: from Warren
Thank you for posting this Michael. I assume by your comment “Our therapeutic dosage of selenium at 150mcg to 200mcg is completely safe…” that you are either an employee of USANA or a distributor. That is great because you may be able to help me get to the bottom of some unanswered questions.
Firstly I will address some of the issues that you raised in the order that you raised them.
1. Vitamin C. I had previously made the comment that USANA use a lot of Vitamin C and are influenced in the use due to it being so cheap. Yes, I agree that the mineral ascorbates are more expensive than ascorbic acid but nonetheless they are still MUCH cheaper than most of the other ingredients. They are only 25% more expensive than ascorbic acid.
Let me illustrate just how cheap ascorbic acid and the mineral ascorbates are. In the comparisons that I did on the spreadsheet the total amount of Vitamin C that is used for the Health Pak and Visionex combined is 1,800mgs a day. Now, the actual ingredient cost for both the Health Pak 100 + the Visionex 28 day supply for the ascorbic acid would be around US$0.60 and about US$0.75 for the mineral ascorbates. No, that is not a typo, it is 60 and 75 cents respectively. So, in other words by upgrading to the mineral ascorbates it adds an additional cost of around 15 cents per 28 day supply
Now, given that Vitamin C makes up about 40% of the total formula of Health Pak and Visionex combined and the cost of the two products is US$168.83 do you still feel that your comment “You get what you pay for, they are not overpriced.” is a fair statement?
Enough said, I am sure!
2. Minerals: You mentioned the Selenium in the USANA product at 200mcgs per day. So, do I assume from that the USANA product has 500mcgs of L-Selenomethionine? Because that it how much you have to use to get the 200mcgs of Selenium. This is why you will note on the comparison that we use 224mcgs of L-Selenomethionine to get 90mcgs of Selenium
If the amounts are indeed elemental that USANA refers to then it would follow that the same principle would apply to the other minerals. For example, where magnesium is listed at 500mgs a day they would have actually have about 3,500mgs a day of magnesium citrate. For calcium they would have about 2,000 mgs a day. They would have to have about 2,400 mcgs of Chromium Nicotinate and so on.
It may well be Mike that this is what they have done. It would be great if you could clarify this issue for my readers and myself? Thanks
By the way with regard to selenium I realise that the 'safe' levels are thought to be higher than the 90mcgs that we use, but not everyone agrees. For example, a new clinical study suggests that intake of selenium at 200mcgs a day for an extended period can actually increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Remember also that we get selenium in our normal diet. Details of this study can be reviewed by clicking here
3. USANA’s tablets enteric coated?? Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose is sometimes used by manufacturers to put a glaze on the tablet and help protect them. We use a similar coating on our Male Rejuvenator and Viral-Protec which do not need to be enteric coated as they can be released in the stomach. This coating/glaze is quick and inexpensive but it is not enteric coating. Now, it is conceivable that USANA may add a further process to make their tablets ‘enteric’...in other words resistant to stomach acid, but I have not seen reference to this in any of their literature.
If they are enteric coated then they should be able to supply laboratory test results such as the ones that we do that prove that they are resistant to stomach acid but will release in the upper intestine. The standard that we work to is the British Pharmacopeia which is a tougher standard that the US Pharmacopeia. The BP protocol can be viewed by clicking here and a copy of a typical test result can be viewed by clicking here. Do you have a copy of similar results for USANA?
4. Actually Michael there is considerable evidence to suggest high doses of Vitamin C can be detrimental and 1,800 mgs a day with Health Pak 100 + Visionex certainly comes into that high dose category. Agreed that there are some that argue that high regular doses are OK, but often where there is ‘smoke there is fire’ and when it comes to high doses of individual nutrients it is best to err on the side of caution even if they are combined with other nutrients.
It would be great Michael if you are able to clarify the position re the minerals as that will help set the record straight on that issue. Thanks