I’ve looked into many MLM Health products such as Nopalea, MonaVie, Zrii, Protandim, Xango, Xowii, and Vemma. One thing that is repeated time and again are the testimonials, which we know are pointless.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if any of these product helped with cancer or fibromyalgia like people on the web are claiming, these diseases would be a thing of the past. The companies would get the products approved as treatments for those diseases and make billions and billions from proving to be able to help many, many people. Even if it only helped a rare condition that few people had, such proof would be worth hundreds of millions in marketing and seriously knock the competing MLM health products for a loop.
Before we get to main article, I’m going to give you a quick example that should hopefully nip this in the bud saving us a lot of time. There is a great article about the history of cigarettes and how they were marketed as health products by the makers. When doctors came out to say that they were bad for your health, the companies came out with a marketing approach that you might recognize:
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a transition began to appear in these ads. Advertisements for Camels began to incorporate a ‘try it for yourself’ approach. Although the ads still pictured physicians proclaiming cigarettes to be less irritating, they also now encouraged consumers to test the cigarettes themselves: “The test was really fun! Every Camel tasted so good! And I didn’t need my doctor’s report to know Camels are mild!”
So there you go. The next time an MLM suggests you try the product yourself, keep in mind that cigarettes used the same pitch to get people to use products that are known to be unhealthy.
Perception and the Placebo Effect
Time and again, I see MLM distributors suggest that one should just try the product. It sounds harmless enough. I mean, you’d try an iPad before you bought one if given the chance, right? Unfortunately, health products aren’t like iPads or most other products out there. The feelings are subjective and rely on human perception. If you’ve ever seen a magic trick or looked at an optical illusion, you know perception is not necessarily reality.
It is the same with health products. There is something called the the placebo effect that has been documented for centuries. It means that people can think a product helped them even if it is known to have no possible beneficial effects. It’s a little like a mom kissing a child’s boo-boo and saying that it will fix the problem. The placebo effect is subconscious, meaning that you aren’t unintelligent if you “fall for it.” There is no connection between the placebo effect and intelligence. Einstein himself could have fallen for a placebo effect.
It turns out that around 1/3 of time people will claim a placebo helped them (Source: American Cancer Society). If you gave everyone in the United States an inert sugar pill, you’d have 100 million people claiming it helped them with a variety of conditions. Maybe 10 million of them would make claims that the sugar pill helped them with cancer.
To determine if a health product works, scientists have come up with placebo-controlled studies and clinical trials. This is a scientifically proven method that is used in every civilized country.
When an MLM distributor says, “Just try our [health MLM] product!” They are really saying, “I know if I can get you to listen to me, I will have a 33% chance that you’ll feel a placebo effect and spend thousands of dollars buying my product.” Often that product, like the many I cited at the start of this article, is vastly overpriced. It doesn’t take a genius to walk through your super-market aisle and compare the prices of juices to these. One thing you’ll never see is company put these products on a retail shelf at Wal-Mart. It just wouldn’t sell without people the illegal health testimonies.
You Can’t Try Everything!
Another thing to consider is that there are more than 5000 products in any VitaminWorld or GNC. Are you going to be fair and try all those products as well? How would you possibly do that? You’d have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, to buy them all. Also it would take hundreds of years to give each product a fair shake at “working.” Of course you couldn’t try multiple products at the same time, because then you wouldn’t be able to isolate which product “worked.” Of course I’m putting “work” in quotes because due to the placebo effect, all that testing wouldn’t actually tell you a thing about whether it worked.
Are Placebos Dangerous?
According to reputable doctors they can be. There’s a lot more information at that link and I don’t feel I need to add anything.
Bottom Line: At the end of the day, there really is no reason to fall for the “try our product” sales pitch. It isn’t going to result in any definitive answer as to whether the product works, because any positive result could be the placebo effect.
The only way to test is take the scientific proven methods for decades and put the product through those tests. If the company selling the product isn’t willing to do it, it should tell you all you need to know… even they don’t believe the product “works.”