[Editor's Note: The following is taken from a discussion about LifeVantage's Protandim. You can read the full comment in context here. Future verions of this article will be edited for readability and to stand as a more general source on TBARS.]
From LifeVantage’s FAQ
“Q: Where can I go to get a T-BARS test done?”
“A: To the best of our knowledge no commercial lab offers a T-BARS test. Why is this? First of all, because there is no “fix” for T-BARS other than Protandim and so it is not a priority. Next, it is a difficult test to perform outside of a research lab because the products are unstable and the samples have to be measured very quickly, a process that is difficult to do under commercial conditions. For these very reasons, the commercially offered T-BARS can be inconsistent and unreliable.”
I vaguely remember seeing this claim from the company. It’s really amazing. I’ve described here before how the TBARs test is horribly unreliable and non-specific (not to mention labor intensive…and I know because I’ve done it). The reason nobody offers it commercially is because it is basically useless. Virtually any antioxidant (or extraneous artefact) can produce positive results in a TBAR assay — that’s one of its drawbacks. Vitamin C or E will do it; a multivitamin will do it; a sip or two of tomato juice or just about any fruit/vegetable will do it. In fact, the research on the efficacy of such cheap interventions is absolutely mountainous in comparison with the one piddly TBAR test that LFVN did with Protandim. But don’t take my word for it, just check PubMed:
And the two studies above are just examples of the small subset of studies that have employed the TBAR assay to measure the antioxidant effects of inexpensive practical interventions. If one takes into consideration research using other more reliable and/or widely used assays (F2-isoprostanes, 8-oxo-dG, protein carbonyls, electron spin resonance, etc.), Protandim’s trivial results suddenly seem about as significant as a grain of sand. Also bear in mind that, other design flaws aside, the Protandim study reported TBAR data for only 10 subjects who had taken Protandim for 120 days (29 subjects were initially enrolled and no reason was given for the omission of the 120-day TBAR data for the other 19 subjects).
LifeVantage is basically boasting (on the basis of unreliable data from a mere 10 people) that Protandim is the only compound that will positively impact the results of an unreliable non-specific test that is seldom used and isn’t offered commercially. And it’s not even true because a penny’s worth of vitamin C would do the same thing.