MonaVie Supplement Review
Recently one of my clients told me about a new supplement he was taking. He claimed it was giving him all sorts of energy; drinking it had helped him quit smoking and he was convinced it would help him lose weight. Intrigued, I asked him what this supplement was.
"MonaVie," he said. "It's a powerful antioxidant drink that has some amazing abilities." I purchased a bottle from him to look more closely into it. The first thing I wanted to know is, what is it?
MonaVie is a drink that's a blend of 19 fruit juices, including acai berry, passion fruit, prune and lychee. MonaVie is sold in various formulations through a Multi-Level Marketing company.
My next step was to find out what MonaVie could do for me. I found that varies greatly and depends on who you're getting your information from. If you rely on the MonaVie website (MonaVie.com), there are three formulations and three claims the MonaVie company makes.
What immediately struck me is how cleverly the claims are worded. Most people will read them and believe that MonaVie can help slow down the aging process, cure or prevent joint pain, improve your cardiovascular health and reduce cholesterol. In fact, the sales literature produced by MonaVie doesn't say any of those things.
When a supplement company talks about their product, there are three things the government regulates. Health claims, structure function claims and nutrient content claims. Here's how MonaVie approaches each one.
To make a health claim, you must describe a relationship between a food substance and a disease or health-related condition.
MonaVie and MonaVie Active make NO health claims; they only want you to THINK they do. According to the MonaVie marketing material, MonaVie "support(s) your body's antioxidant and nutritional needs."
The reality is that statement applies to ANY fruit juice sold today. All fruit juices have calories (giving your body nutrition), and they all provide some level of antioxidants. In fact, many domestic fruits like apples and blueberries have between 2 and 3.5 times the antioxidants of exotic fruits like the acai found in MonaVie. If you bought MonaVie for its antioxidants or nutritional value, you would do much better eating an apple or a cup of blueberries.
The marketing people at MonaVie also say MonaVie Active will "Enhance your body's joint health," and it's "Designed to support joint performance and recovery..." Read those sentences carefully.
They do NOT say MonaVie Active will stop joint damage, reverse joint damage or ease the pain of aching joints. The words "enhance" and "support" are used because they are medically worthless terms and, according to the government, mean nothing. The makers of MonaVie don't claim they can "treat, prevent or cure" anything. You're just misled to believe they can.
MonaVie Pulse DOES make a health claim. The literature starts with the medically worthless phrase, "support your cardiovascular system." But then they say, "With added heart health benefits derived from plant sterols (which studies suggest play a key factor in lowering cholesterol)..."
Aha! So the plant sterols found in MonaVie Pulse may help with lowering cholesterol. Unfortunately, there are no studies showing how much of a reduction you can expect by drinking MonaVie or how MonaVie compares to any other fruit juice blend. That's left up to your imagination.
Structure Function Claims can be made by companies that can show a benefit related to a nutrient deficiency disease (like vitamin C and scurvy). The supplement companies just have to tell the consumer how widespread such a disease is in the United States.
MonaVie makes NO structure or function claims.
Nutrient Content Claims describe the level of a nutrient or dietary substance in the product, using terms such as "good source," "high," or "free."
MonaVie does not claim to be a "good source" of anything. They would have to tell you how much of a particular ingredient they used to make that claim. Unfortunately, that information is not available. Here's why MonaVie keeps it a secret, in their own words.
"The exact amount of açai, or of the other fruits, contained in our blend is not disclosed. This is considered one of the company's greatest intellectual assets."
If I were selling a simple bottle of blended fruit juices for $30-$45, I probably wouldn't disclose the exact amount of each ingredient either. By keeping it a mystery, the people who sell MonaVie can tell you whatever they think will convince you to buy. That's where the real problems begin.
To sell MonaVie, you have to sign up as an independent distributor. Each month you are required to purchase a minimum level of product. With so little concrete information available about what's actually in MonaVie and the misleading claims being made by MonaVie, many of those distributors start making stuff up to sell their product.
The statements are outrageous. This is an actual list of claims made on just ONE of the websites promoting MonaVie.
"Prevention and treatment of alzheimers, better sleep, prevent arteriosclerosis, improved vision, normalizing of blood pressure and blood sugar, more firm and youthful skin, relief from itching, faster healing of wounds and help with arthritis, diabetes and cancer!"
None of those things are true, but because it's being said by someone who should know (those independent distributors), people BELIEVE those claims are being made by or endorsed by MonaVie.
It's a clever deception that keeps MonaVie from being sued by the federal government for false advertising and millions of victims believing a fruit juice is a miracle cure-all.
The dangers of this product can be significant if you buy into the lies. Anyone who has a medical condition and relies on a fruit juice to treat or cure it could be putting their health in serious jeopardy.
The bottom line is this. If you think MonaVie is a tasty fruit juice and don't mind spending $30 or more per bottle, go ahead and buy some. You should NOT buy MonaVie thinking it will prevent, treat or cure any disease. MonaVie is simply a juice, not a medicine.
Because the MonaVie company uses ambiguous and misleading language to promote their product; and because they do not aggressively go after independent distributors who circulate fraudulent information about what they're selling, the best thing you can do is save your money and avoid MonaVie.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you're reading this and you're a MonaVie distributor, it's probably going to make you angry. Unfortunately, most of you won't be angry at MonaVie; you'll be mad at WeBeFit for pointing out the product you're trying to sell is nothing more than overpriced fruit juice. You're going to want to send us letters talking about your personal experiences or the miraculous things MonaVie has done for you or your customers.
Personal experiences and testimonies are NOT medical proof. The MonaVie company is earning millions of dollars a year. They have the financial resources to hold simple clinical trials to demonstrate any specific benefits of their product. Instead of conducting those trials, MonaVie relies on ambiguous and misleading claims on their website and they have chosen to ignore the outright lies made by their distributors.
Don't be mad at us for pointing out the truth, be mad at MonaVie for taking your money and leading you to believe something that's false.
We will re-evaluate our article on MonaVie the same as we do with any supplement. When new information or studies become available, we will review them and update our recommendations based on the best science of the time.
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