Protandim is a patented dietary supplement
Dietary supplement
A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet...

 marketed by LifeVantage Corporation (OTCBB: LFVN; formerly LifeLine Therapeutics and Yaak River Resources, Inc), a Utah-based multilevel marketing company. The manufacturers of Protandim claim the product can indirectly increase antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

 activity by upregulating endogenous
Endogenous substances are those that originate from within an organism, tissue, or cell. Endogenous retroviruses are caused by ancient infections of germ cells in humans, mammals and other vertebrates...

 antioxidant factors such as the enzymes superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutases are a class of enzymes that catalyze the dismutation of superoxide into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. As such, they are an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen...

 (SOD) and catalase
Catalase is a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms that are exposed to oxygen, where it catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen...

, as well as the tripeptide glutathione
Glutathione is a tripeptide that contains an unusual peptide linkage between the amine group of cysteine and the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain...

, and by activation of Nrf2. Like all dietary supplements, Protandim has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA) and "is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

LifeVantage Management

  • Douglas C. Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • David W. Brown, President (Chief Executive Officer from 2008-2011)
  • Kirby Zenger, Chief Operating Officer
  • Carrie McQueen, Chief Financial Officer
  • Joe M. McCord
    Joe M. McCord
    Joe Milton McCord is an American biochemist and current Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is most famous for his discovery, along with Irwin Fridovich, of the enzyme superoxide dismutase. For this work, Dr. McCord has earned numerous awards and recognition...

    , Chief Science Officer

Protandim Composition

Protandim was invented by Paul R. Myhill and William J. Driscoll. and is produced under a manufacturing agreement with The Chemins Company of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The product consists mainly of a blend of 5 ingredients (amounts per caplet listed in parentheses):
  • Milk thistle
    Milk thistle
    The milk thistle is a thistle of the genus Silybum Adans., a flowering plant of the daisy family . They are native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East...

     (Silybum marianum) extract (225 mg)
  • Bacopa (Bacopa monniera) extract (150 mg)
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root (150 mg)
  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis
    Camellia sinensis
    Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce Chinese tea. It is of the genus Camellia , a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed...

    ) extract (75 mg)
  • Turmeric
    Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive...

     (Curcuma Ionga) extract (75 mg)

Additional ingredients include: calcium, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, modified cellulose, silica, and stearic acid.

Protandim Side Effects

According to the manufacturer, the side effects of Protandim may include allergic responses, gastrointestinal disturbances (stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting), headache, and rash of the hands and feet.


Eight research studies of Protandim have been published as of 2011; all but one were conducted in in vitro
In vitro
In vitro refers to studies in experimental biology that are conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological context in order to permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms. Colloquially, these experiments...

 or in vivo
In vivo
In vivo is experimentation using a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead organism, or an in vitro controlled environment. Animal testing and clinical trials are two forms of in vivo research...

 animal models. Five of the studies were conducted, written, and/or funded in whole or in part by LifeVantage and its predecessor Lifeline Therapeutics. One of these studies, a non-randomized, non-controlled trial in human subjects, reported that Protandim increased the levels of the antioxidant enzymes SOD and catalase while reducing TBAR levels. The second study, conducted in isolated cells in vitro, demonstrated that Protandim increased glutathione levels.

Subsequent research published by LifeVantage executive Joe McCord
Joe M. McCord
Joe Milton McCord is an American biochemist and current Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is most famous for his discovery, along with Irwin Fridovich, of the enzyme superoxide dismutase. For this work, Dr. McCord has earned numerous awards and recognition...

 and colleagues at Louisiana State University indicated that intraperitoneal injection of an alcohol-based extract of Protandim could suppress skin tumor incidence in an experimental model in mice and result in suppression of p53
p53 , is a tumor suppressor protein that in humans is encoded by the TP53 gene. p53 is crucial in multicellular organisms, where it regulates the cell cycle and, thus, functions as a tumor suppressor that is involved in preventing cancer...

 and induction of MnSOD
Superoxide dismutase 2, mitochondrial, also known as SOD2, is an enzyme which in humans is encoded by the SOD2 gene.- Function :This gene is a member of the iron/manganese superoxide dismutase family. It encodes a mitochondrial matrix protein that forms a homotetramer and binds one manganese ion...

 in isolated mouse epidermal cells in vitro.

Another study conducted by Dr. McCord and associates investigated the effect of intraperitoneal injection of an alcohol-based extract of Protandim
in an experimental model of pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension
In medicine, pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and other symptoms, all of which are exacerbated by exertion...

 in rats. It was reported that the extract induced myocardial nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 and heme oxygenase 1, prevented a loss of myocardial capillaries, minimized fibrosis and preserved RV function
Other studies by McCord and colleagues have examined the effects of Protandim on fibrosis in a rodent model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy, which results in muscle degeneration, difficulty walking, breathing, and death. The incidence is 1 in 3,000 boys. Females and males are affected, though females are rarely affected and are more often carriers...

 and the effects of an alcohol extract of Protandim in an in vitro
In vitro
In vitro refers to studies in experimental biology that are conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological context in order to permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms. Colloquially, these experiments...

 saphenous vein graft model. In a study investigating the effects of various agents on skeletal muscle tissue function in an in vitro model of DMD, compounds used clinically for DMD treatment, such as the glucocorticoids, were found to produce a potentially beneficial increase in muscular contractile force, while Protandim produced the opposite effect, significantly inhibiting contractile force.

Lifevantage advertises Protandim as a Nrf2 activator. A 2003 study showed that Nrf2 and heme oxygenase 1 are induced by low doses of curcumin (one of the principal ingredients in Protandim) in isolated kidney
The kidneys, organs with several functions, serve essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and...

 epithelial cells.

A 2008 review article noted that Protandim is one of many supplements that claim to act as antioxidants, but that changes in TBARS levels and increases in the levels of antioxidant enzymes in response to a treatment do not provide a reliable indication that the treatment has an antioxidant effect, since the same responses are produced by pro-oxidant
Pro-oxidants are chemicals that induce oxidative stress, through either creating reactive oxygen species or inhibiting antioxidant systems. The oxidative stress produced by these chemicals can damage cells and tissues...

 compounds that induce oxidative stress. The authors suggested that measurement of isoprostane
The isoprostanes are prostaglandin-like compounds formed in vivo from the free radical-catalyzed peroxidationof essential fatty acids without the direct action of cyclooxygenase enzyme....

s might be a better indication of lipid peroxidation
Lipid peroxidation
Lipid peroxidation refers to the oxidative degradation of lipids. It is the process in which free radicals "steal" electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. This process proceeds by a free radical chain reaction mechanism...

 and oxidative damage to DNA.

A review by Science-Based Medicine of eight peer-reviewed studies found insufficient evidence to support its usefulness. Dr. Harriet Hall
Harriet A. Hall
Harriet A. Hall is a retired family physician, former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and skeptic who writes about alternative medicine and quackery for Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer.-Career:...

 states, "We simply don’t know enough at this point to recommend Protandim for treatment or prevention of any disease, for anti-aging, for making people feel healthier or more energetic, or for anything else."

Legal Issues

In 2009, LifeVantage was sued by Utah-based Zrii LLC, a marketer of nutritional fruit drinks endorsed by Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an Indian medical doctor, public speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body medicine. Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on...

, based on allegations that LifeVantage had conspired with former Zrii executives to “ruin the company” and take it over “on the cheap” following a “mass exodus” of Zrii distributors to LifeVantage. The case was closed in December 2009 following LifeVantage’s settlement payment of $400,000 to Zrii.

On October 14, 2011, Burke Hedges, a former high-level LifeVantage distributor, filed a lawsuit with the Utah District Court against LifeVantage and its executives, seeking $3 million in punitive damages over allegations of wrongful termination and tortuous interference.

Advertising and Sponsorship

On September 15, 2011, LifeVantage entered into an agreement with entertainer Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond
Donald Clark "Donny" Osmond is an American singer, musician, actor, dancer, radio personality, and former teen idol. Osmond has also been a talk and game show host, record producer and author. In the mid 1960s, he and four of his elder brothers gained fame as the Osmond Brothers on the long...

to act as a spokesperson for the company’s products. The 2-year contract stipulates that the company will pay Osmond for various promotional appearances and video recordings and commissions for sales of LifeVantage products.

External links

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