Reliv Supplements – Junk Science and Junk Products?

Reliv is a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements.

The company claims to have an edge over competitors due to their products’ ability to play a role in “epigenetics.” Reliv products contain a soy based ingredient that they claim is the key ingredient behind these special health benefits: “the soy peptide lunasin is the first dietary ingredient identified to affect gene expression and promote optimal health at the epigenetic level.”

On the company website, they pose the question –

“What’s epigenetics?

Their answer:

“Think of it this way: who you are is written in both pen and pencil. Things written in pen you can’t change. That’s DNA. But things written in pencil you can. That’s epigenetics.”

That explanation does not really clear up the question. Websters has a definition for epigenics: “the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence.” There is a Wikipedia page devoted to epigenetics.

The Reliv website has video called “How Lunasin Works” and “Lunasin and Nutriotional Epigenics.”

It starts with a discussion by Dr. Alfredo Galvex, Nutritional Genomics, UC Davis, of the the human genome. He says “the genome is the blueprint of life,” and using a computer analogy, the genome is liked to “hardware,” and the “software is the epigenome.”

Then, he makes the following claims about lunasin:

“Lunasin is the first dietary ingredient identified to affect gene expression through an epigenetic mechanism of action. Now Lunasin can come in – it can actually bind to the histones and when it does that it allows the cellular machinery to recognize that it needs to turn on that gene. It has been shown to have numerous health benefits and that included immune response, some anti oxidant effects, inflammation, and general cellular health. Lunarich maximizes the amount of the bio active lunasin found in Reliv products. You can’t control the DNA you have but you can control the genes through lifestyle choices.”

Does this video contain a scientifically reasoned explanation for the product claims?

One Reliv product of particular interest is “ReversAge,” which is supposedly “Anti-Aging Nutrition.”

Product claims:

“Now you can get better with age. With three proprietary complexes that address aging at every level, ReversAge delivers the most complete array of youth-promoting ingredients available anywhere — at a fraction of the cost of alternative anti-aging treatments.”

Is this false advertising, or does ReversAge actually “address aging at every level?”

Reliv’s headquarters are at 136 Chesterfield Ind. Blvd., Chesterfield, MO 63005. It was founded by Robert L. and Sandy Montgomery.

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