Supplements and Herbs (IX)

On Natural & Commercial Glyconutrients (such as Mannatech’s Ambrotose®), Cancer, & the Need for Supplements

plus Mannatech Critiques

Thoughts by Ulla, webmaster of Healing Cancer Naturally, © 2005 & 2006

Is there a need for supplementation?

Many nutrients seem to be missing in today’s foods. The reasons are manifold, and could be “forced into a nutshell” as being the following:

Simultaneously, our baseline need for nutrients may actually have increased due to the ubiquitous onslaught of environmental toxins and stress factors few in the Western world may be able to escape. So while a raw- and/or fresh-food based organic diet & healthy lifestyle, optimized and adjusted according to personal needs and coupled with proper detoxification (such as proposed for instance in the Budwig diet & protocol), sunlight and spiritual, mental and emotional harmony will likely prevent most deficiences, these health measures may not invariably forestall them all.

Is there a best supplement?

Due to bioavailability considerations (i.e. our body's evolutionary adaptation to assimilating elements from natural unprocessed foodstuffs only) as well as for reasons of balance of elements I feel that it may be safest and most effective (as well as cheapest) to rely on raw seaweed as a natural and bioavailable source for minerals & trace elements, and on fresh organic vegetables, juices and sprouts (incl. wheatgrass) for minerals plus the various vitamins, rather than on man-made products (at least for health maintenance). See The importance of minerals & trace elements for health & cancer prevention, Seaweed, On supplements, intestinal flora, cancer and immune system: It’s not what you ingest, but what you usefully absorb and Nutrition.

There are likely some exceptions: a severely depleted body (or those who for various reasons may be unable to implement the above-described regimen) may require an additional jump start in the form of supplements. The seemingly best ones I have come across so far are spirulina and chlorella as well as similar dried algae, barley green (barley grass), Lifestar Living Food Concentrates (see Reviewing Nutritional Supplements: Are All Dietary Supplements the Same?), plant-derived colloidal minerals and supplemental glyconutrients.

Introduction: glyconutrients in nature

Glyconutrients are age-old natural substances (naturally occurring plant compounds) which only quite recently became the subject of intense scientific exploration (in the field of glycobiology) as well as commercial exploitation. Large parts of the population have thus been made aware of the importance of these natural glyconutrients and the deleterious consequences of a diet lacking in them.

Supplemental glyconutrients & cancer

Supplemental glyconutrients produced by the Mannatech corporation and marketed by Mannatech under the name of Ambrotose® et al. have anecdotally been reported to be cancer-healing. But there are also cancer patients who did not benefit from Mannatech glyconutritional supplementation, testifying to their inefficiency in other cases.

Personally I feel that a very important factor in any cancer healings achieved by taking glyconutrients (as well as similar products or approaches) alone is the placebo effect: it is well known that when we fervently believe in any particular substance or procedure to have a healing effect (and when this belief is strongly nurtured through pertinent healing testimonials or similar means), that our belief alone can suffice to bring about the desired cure (compare Cancer: The Power of Belief to Heal or Kill and Lourdes malignant sarcoma cancer healing).

One of the main appeals of neutraceuticals such as supplemental glyconutrients and many others may consist in the fact that any such products - comparable to other easily consumable substances - meet the common and culturally ingrained belief in a magic bullet or pill which will cure our health challenges without requiring any further efforts towards achieving greater health on the part of the afflicted patient.

For more details and views on the question “Do commercially produced glyconutrients such as those marketed by Mannatech under the name of Ambrotose® et al. reliably help cancer patients as previously claimed or implied by testimonials found on the internet?”, see Dr. Ralph Moss’ sobering look at glyconutrients and Ambrotose’s history, pricing and scientific credentials: Glyconutrients & Mannatech’s Ambrotose®: A Cure for Cancer?.

Commercially produced glyconutrients: my personal introduction to them

I originally learned about glyconutrients from a kind online friend who is a reseller of Mannatech’s nutraceutical products. Due to her I trusted the products enough to research them. She kindly provided me with numerous testimonials and the book “The Miracle Sugars” which introduces the reader to the relatively new science of glyconutrition. After perusing it and the amazing healing success stories provided (each sounding highly encouraging and positive detailing dramatic health improvements), I was considering becoming a reseller to share what seemed like a purely natural and urgently needed product with those who would greatly benefit from it, while making an income. As I thought and enquired more deeply about it, however, I had second thoughts and eventually abandoned the idea altogether. Here are the reasons:

Mannatech marketing & recruiting techniques: my personal impressions

1. From what I observed, Mannatech (from what I was told, "the only company that holds the technology to bring these missing nutrients into our bodies. They extract these nutrients from different sources in nature and stabilize them to give 5 year shelf") normally didn't tell the full picture, but solely focused on success stories. Only once (in a privately sent message) did I come across a concrete number detailing success vs failure statistics of Mannatech glyconutrients. This observation was given by Dr. Goen, MD (who became a strong proponent of Mannatech glyconutritional supplementation after he experienced dramatic health improvements in both himself and some of his patients). Dr. Goen states that from his clinical observation, “We are noting that one-third of those taking glyco-supplements show striking improvement; one-third require longer, or larger amounts, and one-third may not respond”.

(In my view, the above should be followed up to see if the failure could be related to faulty diet, stress and/or other reasons. Personally I suspect that those already on an excellent organic fresh food diet may not feel added benefit from glyconutrient supplementation, see Testimonials.)

2. My personal impression of Mannatech’s recruiting techniques wasn’t favorable: When I tried to learn about how to become a reseller, I found many rather convoluted pages on how much money one can make if one sells that much and more and then some more. Many technical terms were introduced without easy access to a glossary that would clarify their meaning. And I didn't easily find anything on what I gather is a basic requirement to become a reseller: to buy a certain amount yourself every month (I think it's in the order of 100 dollars)!

3. From what I understand, Mannatech have currently set up the company in a way that cuts out competition so prices and profits can stay high. In my eyes, this is somewhat at odds with a company purportedly working for the benefit of humanity.

(It seems that those who are truly committed to helping others have to do it at their own expense. As my friend who resells glyconutrients wrote to me, many of the sellers give away half of their income by sharing the glycos for free with those who are financially less endowed. Also "It will cost the patient around $200 per month, if he/she doesnt have the finances available, I and my upline are helping people supplying some products. If they are willing to pay retail, there is always money back guarantee.")

Conclusion

I continue to consider Mannatech’s glyconutritionals good products (as far as I know them) although I think it may often be as good or better to go for other solutions. The way I have seen them marketed, however, does not meet my personal standards of ethics and honesty (both essential qualities to my mind).

In my view, Mannatech (and for that matter any company selling successful [for some] supplements) should prominently publish detailed success vs. failure statistics on all persons using them. I think it's paramount to honestly report the entire results achieved or not achieved, both to establish and further honesty in business and to advance medical knowledge.

So my personal decision is to not support companies displaying a lack of such openness in order to sell or incite people to buy more, i.e. for reasons of profit.

To end these personal impressions and thoughts on a more positive note: the great service I see Mannatech rendering the public is the fact that they make large parts of the population aware of the importance of natural glyconutrients and the deleterious consequences of a diet lacking in them.

This raised awareness regarding the importance of natural glyconutrients will hopefully allow many to find a way to step up their intake of these essential natural nutrients, such as through wiser/fresher food choices and/or taking (self-made or other) glyconutrient supplements, juicing/buying aloe vera or arborescens, (partially) growing their own food (such as sprouts which can be grown at home) etc.

I encourage everyone to aim for an optimal natural glyconutrient-rich diet and/or to make their own inexpensive glyconutrient substitute.

Mannatech critiques

found at www.programcritique.com/subcategories/NetworkMarketingMLM/:

Review, March 29, 2005, Reviewer: J. Rensch from Canada.
Review Title: Mannatech, much too agressive!
Rating: 1 Star (or Unacceptable).

Review
Whether the product (Ambrotose®) is effective or not, remains to be proven by some independent studies. Testimonials seems to be all that they have to verify the effectiveness.
Needless to say, there exist testimonials for just about everything, from snake oils to peroxide. I have found the home office to be very agressive to deal with. Sales seem to be paramount. Care and service to customers, secondary.
Be sure to keep everything in writing, verbal agreements might prove very difficult to resolve.

From www.mlmsurvivor.com/posts/post81.htm:

Re Mannatech
There's so little on this site on Mannatech and believe me it is just as much of a cult as anything out there. I have a family member who has been doing this for 3 years. He is in the same boat as many others, brainwashed to the hilt, trying to live the good life while borrowing from family members to live. He continues to claim he will be a millonaire soon (although that was suppossed to happen 2 1/2 years ago!) There is no arguing with him as he has an answer for everything - company propaganda as far as I'm concerned. I could go on and on as to what is has done to his and spouses social life, financial life, etc. But the thing that annoys me the MOST about Mannatech is the fact that make claims that they have no business making, such as it will cure everything that ails you. The fact that they claim the product will cure cancer amazes me! When I asked him how that can be possible, if there is a legit product that can cure cancer don't you think that this would be a global issue? Of course his answer is that it's so new the doctors don't know about it yet!!!! He really believes this! I'd love to find more sites slamming Mannatech so I could pass this info on to family member and his spouse. Although I doubt anything negative would sink in as he is SO brainwashed!!

At www.mlmwatch.org/04C/Mannatech/complaint.html:

Mannatech Sued for Fraud and Invasion of Privacy (Mannatech ended up paying US$ 750,000 to settle the lawsuit).

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