The Scam of Skin Antioxidant Testing

A while back, a friend of mine asked me about this product:

It's a biophotonic scanner made by a company called Pharmanex.  This product measures carotenoid levels in the skin.  Carotenoids are antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables.  Beta-carotene is one carotenoid that you may be familiar with.  Other carotenoids include lutein and lycopene, to name just a few.  Many scientists believe that carotenoids may be partly responsible for the observed associations between increased fruit and vegetable intake and lower risk of many diseases.

 The company claims that this scanner can give you an "accurate and reliable biomarker of your overall antioxidant health status".  They further state that, "Getting your Skin Carotenoid Score makes you aware of the antioxidant levels in your body-and gives you the push you need to improve your overall antioxidant health."  To appear scientific, their website is complete with a scientific advisory board, a list of scientists, and even a list of studies that they claim supports their product.

Well, it's B.S.

OK, it's not complete B.S.  The product does do what it claims to do....it measures carotenoid levels in the skin using a technique called Raman Spectroscopy.

While that's fine and dandy, what is B.S. is their claim that it is a reliable biomarker of your overall antioxidant status.  There is simply no evidence that carotenoid skin levels reflect the overall antioxidant status of your body.

Carotenoid skin levels do correlate with fruit and vegetable intake, so the test can tell you if you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  But do you need an expensive scanner to tell you if you're eating a lot of fruits and vegetables?

And what do you think the company recommends you do if you have a low skin carotenoid score?  Buy their antioxidant supplements, of course.

This isn't the first time Pharmanex has spread outlandish claims.  In 1997, they were fined by the Federal Trade Commission over claims they made about two supplements they sold.

The fact is that this scanner is nothing more than a fancy way to take your money and to get you to buy things that you don't need.  There is no evidence that skin carotenoid status is a reflection of overall antioxidant status.  You do not need an expensive test to know if you're consuming a lot fruits and vegetables.  Also, there is little scientific evidence that supplemental antioxidants have any health benefits.  In fact, too many antioxidants can have a pro-oxidant effect, and may also reduce your own body's antioxidant defense systems.  We are a bit too antioxidant crazy in our society....a topic that I will get to in another blog post.


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edward
edward
9 years ago

Pharmanex Dr. Lester Parker and Antioxidant Research Home Skin Testing for the Level of Carotenoids to Demonstrate Oxidative Stress Dr. Lester Parker and Antioxidant Research Dr. Lester Packer, is the world’s foremost antioxidant research scientist. He is a senior scientist at the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and Head of the Packer Lab at the University of California, where he has been a professor for 35 years. Dr. Packer is the executive editor of Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and serves on the editorial advisory boards of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, The Journal of Applied Nutrition, and The Journal of… Read more »

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

Pharmanex is a unique company in that it has (at this time) 7 products listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR). The PDR is the main reference source for physicians who wish to learn about medications, their actions, interactions, side effects, etc… It is not common for a ‘supplement’ company to have products listed in the PDR unless there is ample evidence that the product has been studied. Although it is true that a company has to pay to be listed, the PDR does not allow just any product to be listed. In other words, I cannot just make some… Read more »

Redditor
Redditor
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg Waller

This is from a pharmanex blog that reviews pharmanex products.

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

Scanner fully validated with 50 peer reviewed studies. In Pdf file – enjoy Greg Waller https://www.nuskin.com/content/dam/office/n_america/shared/en/pharmanex_products/raman_measurement.PDF

Redditor
Redditor
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg Waller

404 error, page does not exist. Have you anymore lies to spread?

Marc
Marc
9 years ago
Reply to  Redditor
Redditor
Redditor
9 years ago
Reply to  Marc

Lester Packer, who works for pharmanex, is a no name doctor championing a disproven theory that someone much smarter than him thought up.

Marc
Marc
9 years ago
Reply to  Redditor

Redditor – Lester Packer doesn’t work for Pharmanex .. get your facts straight.

So, are you saying that Pharmanex is not a legitimate science R&D organization. Are you saying the same for Drs. Richard Weindruch & Tomas Prolla, founders of Lifegen Technologies?

What’s your background Redditor? What gives your opinions any credibility?

Why don’t you expose yourself so we all can see that you’re someone we should take seriously?

My money’s on you won’t.

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

Resonance Raman spectroscopy and the preterm infant carotenoid status. Authors Chan GM1, Chan MM, Gellermann W, Ermakov I, Ermakova M, Bhosale P, Bernstein P, Rau C. Author information 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of Utah Health Science Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84158, USA. [email protected] Journal J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 May;56(5):556-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318282a8fe. Affiliation Abstract OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to validate the noninvasive resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) method in infants in comparison with the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method, and to evaluate the carotenoid status in preterm infants fed with mother’s milk or formula.… Read more »

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23254446/?i=2&from=/24691400/related Resonance Raman spectroscopy and the preterm infant carotenoid status. Authors Chan GM1, Chan MM, Gellermann W, Ermakov I, Ermakova M, Bhosale P, Bernstein P, Rau C. Author information 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of Utah Health Science Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84158, USA. [email protected] Journal J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 May;56(5):556-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318282a8fe. Affiliation Abstract OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to validate the noninvasive resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) method in infants in comparison with the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method, and to evaluate the carotenoid status in preterm infants fed with mother’s milk or… Read more »

Carrie
9 years ago

If you read any of the thousands of clinical studies (on pubmed or any other legitimate medical website) you would know that antioxidants help us to prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and more — those who talk about this as if it is not vitally important usually have LOW scores; I’d bet your score is in the lower range. My sister tested in the negative range; one year later she was diagnosed with cancer. I’ll take the information from top scientists over what people like you think you know. In addition, there are hundreds of health care professionals around… Read more »

Redditor
Redditor
9 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

Do you have any qualifications? Degree or something? No? You just insult people based on things you heard at pharmanex seminars?

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

TED explains Ramon Technology. The same technology used in the Pharmanex BioPhonic Scanner. The Scanner uses Ramon technology to measure Anti-Oxidants in the skin non–invasive in 30 seconds. – Greg Waller​

http://www.sciencedump.com/content/first-ever-photo-light-particle-and-wave

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg Waller

TED explains Ramon Technology. The same technology used in the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner. The Scanner uses Ramon technology to measure Anti-Oxidants in the skin non–invasive in 30 seconds. – Greg Waller​

http://www.sciencedump.com/content/first-ever-photo-light-particle-and-wave

Naomi Teeter
9 years ago

I was just talking to a friend about this device. The chiropractor she works for has one of these machines. My friend tested herself before she changed her diet and then 3 months after. She did have far more antioxidants after she changed her eating. I was just curious if this really worked or not because I was interested in getting one. Thanks for the info on this page!

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago
Reply to  Naomi Teeter

Hi Naomi!

I encourage you to read some of my post above. Your friends score went up because weight/fat/obesity create physical oxidative stress in the body. Also nutrients flow in more concentration when the fat content is less. So the Scanner is telling her that she is moving in the right life -style directions. After you read the studies I’ve posted you’ll have the evidence you need to make your choice. Enjoy Your Journey. GW

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) January 22, 2015 Judges have deliberated and made their picks for the 2015 BIG Innovation Awards. These innovations are making major impacts in today’s world. The winning organizations have led the way to new advancements and dramatic accomplishments in a variety of fields. And the 2015 BIG Innovation Award winners are . . . Biophotonic scanner: Top 16 Innovations for 2015 Celebrated by the Business Intelligence Group2015 Winners of the Business Intelligence Group’s BIG Innovation Awards: Nu Skin Enterprises Pharmanex Biophotonic S3 Scanner empowers users to track improvements to their skin as they make changes to their… Read more »

Redditor
Redditor
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg Waller

Besides the fact that the vast majority of people have never heard of this award, this is a business award. This says nothing about the scientific validity of the scanner and pharmanex products.

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
9 years ago

Human Health, Carotenoids and the Pharmanex® BioPhotonic Scanner by Lester Packer, Ph.D. Professor Member Pharmanex® Scientific Advisory Board December 20, 2002 Carotenoids are a family of natural fat-soluble nutrients important for antioxidant defense (Packer, 1992, 1993; Cadenas and Packer, 2002) found throughout the plant kingdom. They are responsible for the red, orange or yellow color of many fruits and vegetables, such as pineapples, citrus fruits, peaches, nectarines, persimmons, tomatoes, papaya, apricots, carrots, watermelons, pumpkins, squashes and sweet potatoes. Sometimes their presence is masked by chlorophyll, especially in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, collard greens, and kale. These substances… Read more »

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