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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Charles Weinacker
7 years ago

…earth to idiots….we all will die of old age. Excercise, good food, water and laughter is better than any supplements and mooochines. However, you can neither create, nor destroy matter only alter its state…thus put your ass/ashes in a bottle, or scatter across the sea…come back as an amenable. Flys eat a lot of fruit, but die in 3 days!…dah!!

Daisy Jimenez
Daisy Jimenez
7 years ago

My nutritionist scanned me 3 yrs ago and though I thought I was eating enough vegetables and fruits….I was not….I scored low. I’m a true believer that we can get adequate nutrients from food and not from supplements. The scanner encouraged me to eat what I’m suppose to eat more often. I believe most humans need visual aides to improve our health behavior. I’m all for this kind of technology.

Mindy
7 years ago

I just got scanned today and had very low numbers. I eat a ton of veggies and fruits and take vitamins. I fell into this blog because I was curious how accurate this machine was. My hunch is that while I do eat very healthy, I have a few gut problems and I suspect I’m not absorbing the nutrients properly. I haven’t felt well, and have been trying to figure out why I eat so well, and still don’t feel well. There are many aspects to health, such as sleep, absorption, and stress. I firmly believe you can eat the… Read more »

Vic
Vic
7 years ago
Reply to  Mindy

Excellent Point. It’s not what you eat, but what You absorb. Do Research on Earthing / Grounding. This technique pulls electrons from the earth while walking barefoot on the ground. Your body cells become Free Radicals because they lose an Electron, and this will cause the body cell to become unstable and become self destructive. These Free Radicals are stabilized by gaining additional electrons. Antioxidants are nothing but additional electrons. You can absorb them from the earth by Grounding. You can Ground yourself by touching a Tree or placing your bare foot on the Ground. It’s totally FREE. Good Luck.

Taty
Taty
6 years ago
Reply to  Mindy

Try Fitline by Pm International. It’s German supplements that are absorbed directly by your cells and within 5 to 20 min time frame

David Malitz, MD
7 years ago

The scanner is real. The vitamins are high quality. The business opportunity is real as well. The science is real. The National Eye Institute has performed well designed studies that prove a benefit for a specific mix of nutriceuticals (AREDS2 formula) in a select group of individuals with Macular Degeneration (a leading cause of blindness). If you don’t believe vitamins are of any benefit, don’t take them. For those that want to focus on health and nutrition, at least pick a supplement that has objective evidence of an improvement in some measure of health, your carotenoid level/antioxidant level. Pharmanex GUARANTEES… Read more »

Bapcha
Bapcha
5 years ago

Vitamins have repeatedly been shown to be very expensive urine

Beau
Beau
7 years ago

My whole family get’s scanned quarterly. Kids know it’s coming and they start eating more fruits n veges. We’re motivated as a family to make healthier choices because of the “scam”. The science and studies are real. I did my vetting and some of us take the Lifepak nano (I’m older, I don’t have time to eat 8 servings of fruits and vegetables) and some don’t. Either way, we are motivated to raise our antioxidants to support good health. I have decided to not be a diabetic or have high cholesterol and take matters into my own hands. My kids… Read more »

Jen
Jen
7 years ago

I got scanned few days back by Nu Skins scanner. A few people before me had low numbers ranging from 20k to 40k.
On my turn I got 61k, it’s the top of their scale. They couldn’t sell me their supplements )))

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
8 years ago

My response: These statements fall into 4 areas : 1) Carnies trying to either sell you their system or add you to their data base to sell you as a lead to someone that thinks buying a list is the way our business works. 2) A disgruntled distributor that thought their way of doing the business was better than ours. 3) A stock short seller trying to capitalize on spreading rumors about our company. 4) A blogger that gets paid for driving hits from advertisers to their site. If I pulled up pretty much any major company I would find… Read more »

Dave Edmiston, MD
Dave Edmiston, MD
8 years ago

What’s your real agenda? Obviously, there is something else going on…

Irresponsible!

Greg Waller
Greg Waller
8 years ago

The majority of comments on this thread were done on the scanner when it first started hitting the market. That are based on opinions, skepticism and ignorance. Then as the clinicals started coming out and posted you don’t see stupidity as much. So I encourage everyone to see all the published clinicals & peer reviews I’ve posted above.
Thank you! This will help you be more intelligent about the subject next time you decide to share your opinions. GW

Dave Edmiston, MD
Dave Edmiston, MD
8 years ago

Read the published, peer reviewed studies before you start slamming something.

You should be embarrassed…

Ginger Howell
Ginger Howell
8 years ago

Then Kreiger needs to update this site. Why have this online at all? He should take the time to remove it. It is irresponsible.

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