Update 3/10/20. The maker of Vital Factors asks an interesting question: What if you could turn back the hands of time and regain the energy and vitality you had 20 years ago? This is one of the statements made for MDR Vital Factors, an antioxidant supplement touted to help slow the aging process and help give you more energy. On the infomercial for the product – called Health science Update they actually call Vital Factors “Your fountain of youth”. It’s been a while since I've seen the phrase “fountain of youth” used for a supplement on TV. So in case you were wondering if Vital Factors really could “turn back the hands of time”, I wanted to review it and hopefully answer some of your questions.
What Is MDR?
MDR is a company that makes Vital Factors. MDR stands for Medical Doctors Research group. It’s located in Sunrise Florida.
According to the Vital Factors website, the MDR group has been in existence for over 27 years. While this is good, is also interesting because the website does not list any clinical studies on the supplement.
The Vital Factors Infomercial
The infomercial for MDR Vital Factors I watched was called “Health Science Update. It was your basic talk show format and had 3 people:
1. John Early – the host of the infomercial. I couldn't turn up much on him.
2. Dr Art Jansik. He is called a “physician and athlete” in the infomercial. Dr Jansik is a chiropractor in Florida. He’s also a pretty fast race walker from the videos I saw of him on the web.
3. Pat Riley. In the infomercial, Pat is called “a scientist, nutritionist and founder of MDR”. According to her Linkedin profile, Pat has a BS degree “Food science / nutrition / chemistry” from the University of Florida in 1976. She is also the CEO and founder of a cosmetics company called Clientele.
Entertainer Pat Boone is also seen in the Infomercial. He says he is 12 years younger because of the nutrients he takes. Unfortunately Pat doesn't say how doctors determined he was 12 years younger. Several other celebrity testimonials are given as well.
Pat Riley says in the infomercial, “people feel rejuvenated and much younger”. But those are just testimonials. Has MDR tested people to see if taking Vital Factors helps people grow younger? I don’t know.
Pat also says at one point in the commercial that there is a “patient on one of the most important ingredients in the Vital Factors formula”- but she does not say which ingredient that is.
Vital Factors Ingredients
Vital Factors has 22 calories in 2 tablets as well as the following ingredients, according to its website
|Total carbs||0,284 g||<1%|
|Vitamin A||100 IU||2%|
|Vitamin C||100 mg||167%|
|Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)||10 IU||33%|
|Vitamin B 1||3 mg||200%|
|Vit B2 (riboflavin)||3.4 mg||200%|
|Vitamin B6||8 mg||400%|
|Folic acid||200 mcg||50%|
|Vitamin B12||200 mcg||3333%|
|Pantiothenic acid||2 mg||20%|
|Calcium (calcium carbonate)||50 mg||5%|
|Proprietary Blend||2.27 g|
|Grape skin extract||*|
|Green tea extract||*|
|Grape seed extract||*|
There is so much in Vital Factors, that I only want to speak on a few ingredients.
Why is there so much sodium in Vital Factors? It has 16% of the daily value for sodium. According to the FDA, anything that is 20% or more is considered “high” in a nutrient. Most people in America eat too much sodium. People with high blood pressure should consider this.
Mixed tocopherols mean it’s more broad-spectrum because in theory, it contains all of the types of vitamin E. I actually liked that vital factors has a variety of vitamin E types. Most supplements only contain one type –alpha-tocopherol.
As people age, cholesterol levels tend to go up. Niacin is a vitamin that can help lower cholesterol. Niacin is also one of the few things that can also raise good cholesterol (HDL). Remember, the effect of niacin on cholesterol varies from person to person. Niacin can be tricky because there is more than one type. Read my review of the types of niacin for more info.
Vitamin B 6, B12 and folic acid all have been shown to reduce homocysteine, which has been implicated to heart disease. These 3 vitamins show up frequently in supplements touted to support heart health.
That said, several studies have shown that reducing homocysteine with these vitamins do not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Heart disease is more complicated than homocysteine.
Many energy supplements contain vitamin B12. There is because of 2 reasons for this:
1. Vitamin B12 is needed for making red blood cells. Lack of red blood cells makes people feel tired from anemia.
2. People often think that B12 supplements give them extra pep or energy. This is why there is so much B12 in energy drinks.
Healthy people have 2-3 years' worth of B12 stockpiled in their bodies. Anyone who eats meat, poultry or fish regularly is eating B12.
Does vitamin B12 help weight loss? Many people think so. Read my review on B12 and weight loss for the facts. For additional info on vitamin B12, also see my review of TriVita B12.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that we get from foods like tomato sauce. Some research finds lycopene foods reduce prostate cancer . Lycopene supplements don't seem to.
One study from 2003 noted that lycopene made prostate cancer worse. Other research shows lycopene helps kill prostate cancer cells. Obviously, this is a complex issue. Those with prostate cancer should speak to their doctor about lycopene supplements.
Vital Factors Ingredients
Again, I only want to touch on a few of these ingredients:
99% of the people reading this do not need glutamine – because you already make it! Some research notes that glutamine might help very sick people (think cancer) but Vital Factors doesn't have enough. Read the glutamine review. There is a BIG secret about glutamine that nobody seems to want you to know.
As we age, men sometimes have erection problems. Arginine helps us make nitric oxide which expands blood vessels. In theory, this may help erectile dysfunction. This is why arginine is sometimes called “natural Viagra”. Read the report on natural male enhancement supplements for more information.
The bodybuilding supplement Force Factor has arginine.
Because arginine expands blood vessels, it might reduce blood pressure. Bad news for people taking high blood pressure medications. Vital Factors is marketed to people over the age of 40. Heck, even Dr Art he says in the commercial “as you age, you need to take them” – the antioxidants. Many of these same people could be taking drugs for high blood pressure.
Green Tea Extract
I'm guessing this “extract” may be caffeine. I have no proof that Vital Factors has caffeine. If you find out let me know.
Green tea shows up frequently in weight loss supplements. Just a few supplements that include green tea include
See those reviews for more information.
We need this to make energy. COQ10 has many effects in the body. For example, it might lower blood pressure. Some say we need more CoQ10 if we take cholesterol medications (statins). Whether more CoQ10 is needed if you take statins needs more research.
One study did note that CoQ10 reduced muscle pains in people who took statins. That doesn't mean Vital Factors would do the same thing. It might but it has never been tested for this to my knowledge.
What is fucoidan? This is a compound found in brown seaweed. Fucoidan is also an antioxidant. Some test tube research finds that fucoidan can kill colon cancer cells. Other lab animal research has shown that fucoidan has anti-cancer effects as well. This is intriguing.
Fucoidan contains iodine because of an ingredient in fucoidan called fucoxanthin. Iodine helps make thyroid hormone. I believe one of the ideas for why fucoidan is in Vital Factors is that the iodine in fucoidan might increase thyroid hormone, in theory, raising metabolism, giving you more energy and helping people lose weight.
I could not find any published clinical studies to prove that fucoidan helps weight loss or raises metabolism. Keep this in mind as fucoidan weight loss supplements are all over the web.
Fucoidan has anti-clotting effects on the blood. While this may be good for some, Fucoidan and blood thinner medications may be a bad combination.
FYI. Iodine is not a radiation antidote. Don't buy fucoidan supplements or brown seaweed supplements because of fears of radiation contamination from nuclear reactor meltdowns. This is off-topic but I wanted to mention it.
See my review of Limu Original for more on fucoidan research.
How To Test Your Iodine Levels
As was reported in the book, The Fatigue Solution, by endocrinologist, Dr. Eva Cwynar it's possible to see if you are low in iodine. Get some USP tincture of iodine (not the clear version) and paint a 3-inch circle on your skin. The skin will look red/orange when you apply the iodine tincture. If the color disappears in 1-3 hours, you may be lacking in iodine.
If, it takes 4-6 hours for the color to go away, your iodine levels are probably OK. Here is tincture of iodine on Amazon.com. Remember, do not drink this brand of iodine! If you feel you are deficient in iodine, go to your doctor for a more accurate test of your iodine levels.
SOD And Catalase
SOD stands for superoxide dismutase. Both SOD and catalase are enzymes that help mop up free radicals. Remember, every cell of your body has both SOD and catalase. You make both of them.
Enzymes are protein molecules. Since they are protein they would be digested quickly if taken by mouth. If the antioxidant properties of SOD and catalase are going to work, they would have to be injected. Some older research notes that SOD can help arthritis pain. Researchers, however, inject SOD. This is proof of the inadequacy of enzyme supplements.
Do we make less SOD and catalase as we get older? I don't know? Maybe. Regardless, I can't find any published clinical proof that oral SOD or catalase supplements help us stay healthy. If you have found this research please comment and leave the evidence.
For more on SOD see the review of Protandim.
For more on catalase see my review of gray hair supplements.
Resveratrol is probably the most famous anti-aging supplement today. In very high doses, resveratrol seems to extend the lifespans of lab mice. Vital Factors does not have enough resveratrol to slow aging in people – or mice.
When 60 minutes did a story on resveratrol a few years ago, the researchers said that it would take about 1000 glasses of wine a day to equal the levels of resveratrol lab mice were getting. Vital Factors doesn't have this much resveratrol.
Another name for lotus seed is Nelumbo nucifera. In the Vital Factors infomercial, Pat Riley says that the lotus seed can live for 1000 years. I don't know if that is true or not but even if it is, that doesn't mean eating lotus seed will extend the lifespan of humans.
Previously I reviewed a bodybuilding supplement alleged to raise testosterone called Pink Magic. One of the main ingredients in Pink Magic was Lotus seed (they called it Nelumbo nucifera). FYI, lotus leaf is found in several weight loss supplements including Beautiful Slim Body, Phentraburn and Zi Xiu Tang.
How Much Does Vital Factors Cost?
I had to call MDR to discover that vital factors will cost $79.95 per month – if you tell them you heard about it via their infomercial. Otherwise, the price of Vital Factors is $99.95. There is also a shipping and handling charge of $6.65.
If you order your “free sample” of Vital Factors you pay $6.65 only. The free sample is 10 days worth of Vital Factors. There is also an auto-ship program where they send you the product each month. If you choose this option, there is no shipping and handling fee.
The Vital Factors salesperson I spoke to seemed a little pushy and more concerned with getting me to buy Vital Factors, than answering my questions. I felt like I was annoying her – although I only asked 3 or 4 questions.
Does Vital Factors Work?
It would take research to know for sure so I can't give a definitive answer to “does it work?' I think we need more research. I say this because I don't see any research on Vital Factors itself and because it just looks like a fancy multi-vitamin to me.
Here it is on Amazon if you want to see what others are saying
I need help! I am diabetic I on a fix income. But I have no energy to get back to work. I am told to eat organic proteins to take this and that. All above cost a pretty penny. I want off the merry go round and just do it. In my head I am doing and moving everything but in reality I am still sitting. On a fix income.
It is a horrible feeling to watch people going on and on there daily life I can’t do anything without feeling exhausted. I wanted to do life I want to live. But how when you don’t have the funds to do it.
Know I don’t want to think I am un- great- full I just want to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren not just sitting by watching the world pass me by. I have a lot of hopes and dreams but having a hard time making it happen.
If you can point me in the right direction I would be so great full.!
God Bless You In All You Do!
Hi Mara, I have a lot I want to say to help, but may I ask you a few questions first:
1. Are you a type II diabetic or a type I diabetic? If you don’t know the difference, just let me know how long you’ve had diabetes.
2. Are you taking insulin injections or just pills to control it?
3. Are you overweight?
4. Do you know what your blood sugar level is?
5. Do you know what your “A1c” level is?
6. Are you doing any type of regular exercise, like walking?
Mara, let me know these answers, as best as you can, and I will see if I can help you.
James Winterbottom says
Well, I have been reading up on a number of topics that you have addressed at the Supplement Geek site. I am looking for something tried and proven to help with energy and stamina and slowing the aging process a bit.
I am 65 years old and in pretty good shape although I had a couple of surgeries last year, one for a total hip replacement and the other was for a total knee replacement. I am slowly trying to work myself back into the gym and I am in another physical therapy program. This is due to a problem I developed regarding illiopsoas tendonitis in my left leg/hip area.
Any advice/suggestion/recommendation you may have is really appreciated, thank you very much. I look forward to your reply.
James, Im usually a fan of the “simple answer” and based on what you said, I think the best thing for you is to eat a salad a day. If your not into salads, try drinking fruit/veggie smoothie. Here is an example of what I like to drink https://supplementclarity.com/quick-easy-smoothie-recipee/ I do like some extra protein because we might need more of it as we get older.
If you can do any type of exercise that will help slow aging also – and it might provide you with more energy too. Since you may be limited right now, consider swimming and upper body strength training. How about push ups against your kitchen sick?
Your physical therapist may be able to offer some home based exercise programs for you until you are able to do more.
If you need to lose weight, this will help your energy levels more than any supplement. If you are in pain and this reduces your sleep, once your pain gets better, you should sleep better – which can also help your energy.
I think this is best for you rather than any supplement.
Vincent V says
hello Joe,i was watching the TV commercial about vital factors and after reading the breakdown you did,i was wondering if been a diabetic will affect somehow when taking this product? I was just wondering,not that i,m going to take it or order it at all but just for cuirosity.thank you!
Hi Vincent, are you asking if vital factors would raise or lower blood sugar levels in a diabetic? I dont think so its best to ask a doctor/pharmacist about this who may be aware of info I’m not.
I took Vital Factors for about 2 years from 2001 to 2003 to the best of my recollection. I called them to see if it had HGH in the formula and was told that it did not. I was told that it did have an extract made from pig brain fluid. I noticed that I felt better after taking it and my sex drive was greatly improved. I began to be more muscular which is what made me wonder about MDR having HGH in it.
In late 2003 I began having heart palpitations on occasion. They got worse over time and in 2004 I had to have an atrial fib and flutter ablation. In 2005 I found out I had prostate cancer and ended up having surgery. I have always wondered if MDR was the cause of this. Two surgeries 9 months apart after taking this supplement.
I still wonder if it some kind of growth hormone in it. It did make me feel better and become more physically fit at the time, but was it at the price of my over all health? I don’t know until this day.
Wyman, I never read anything in my research of Vital Factors about it having an extract from pig brain fluid. That said, extract is vague and could mean almost anything. Even an amino acid could be considered an extract. If anyone else has heard anything about this, please leave a comment as Id like to know more.
Ornithine is an amino acid that some people used to say raised growth hormone levels but I doubt that the amount in Vital Factors would have any effect. I’ve never seen any research on Vital Factors and GH levels either so its hard to say what effect it might have.
Obviously its hard to show a relationship between Vital Factors and the problems you had. I’m sure 2004-2005 were not fun and caused great stress. I know it would if it were me. I glad that you are still with us 🙂
Kathleen McKeon says
Thank you for the information, I am always looking because my brother had an accident in 2010, resulting in glasgow 3, diagnosis just above a vegetable and never walk again. He is way beyond that and still improving, has not plataeued. I research all over the world and especially on pubmed.gov. Two products I have used are Protandim and Immolina. Protandim we have been able to measure and tell results for ourselves and Immolina, we think so, but could not say for positive.
If you are aware of anything that might help my brother, please send my way.
Sincerely Kathleen McKeon
Kathleen, I wish I knew of something to help your brother. I dont think I do. I do appreciate you passing those studies on to me. Protandum is something I will be looking at in the very near future. I have never heard of Immolina but Ill add that to my list of things to review.
Ill say a prayer for your brother – and you.
Jan Crisostomo says
I hope you do some research on Protandim. I have been taking it since September, 2011 (this is May 2013), and so help me, I have not been ill one day since – I can’t explain why – or if it’s even connected, but it’s true. Also, at age 56 I have no aches or pains, ballroom dance competitively, attend school, and take care of my grandson. My energy levels are the highest in years. My dry skin, due to lack of hormones, doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue. They do have an auto ship program and the cost is roughly $40 a month. I know there has been a lot of research done on this product (I am not a seller, I just use it) and hope you really do check into it for us.
Jan, I have a very long review of Protandim and focused mostly on their research. I broke all their research down. Here is my review
sterling felder says
thanks for the info. I’m going to start taking force factor this week. if you have any tips please inform me
Thanks Sterling. Ill keep you posted if I turn up anything new.
Thanks Heather. yes the fountain of youth card was played a lot by supplements in the 1990s. This was the first time I saw it mentioned in a long time (maybe I just didnt noticed from the 90s till now?).
thats a good point about marketing to younger people who are likely to be more reckless. They do say in the Vital Factors that “everybody” should be taking it – I guess they are marketing to them also.
Hi Joe, thanks for posting another reminder of how companies try to prey on the fear of people getting older….because after reading your breakdown….that’s all this seems to be…just a slickly marketed attempt to prey on fears….
oh and FYI to those who read this..chiropractors are NOT real doc’s. They do NOT go to medical school nor have the training a doctor has. They have some anatomy knowledge however that is NOT info in bio-genetics / pharmacology / nor any other courses of study needed to tell people how pills will interact with their bodies / medications…
Ok (off my rant now on chiro’s claiming to be doc’s)…just looking at the breakdown of what you posted…something jumped out at me…
this is marketed to 40+ as way to reverse, though certain damages life experience cause on body are not able to be reversed (at moment due to lack of tech. in genetic mapping areas to put it simply) ….this would be better served marketing to the 21-35 range to assist a healthier lifestyle and slow or delay effects of aging. I say this due to the upper level ingredients mainly though and that many ingredients can not be taken due to medications those over 40 tend to take.
Whether this helps or not? In theory, some of the vitamins / minerals listed do have advantages to being taken on regular basis as a boost however without checking info, but from past research seen, most supplements do not carry enough of the ingredients and half-life does not assist the buildup enough either…
Since most of the ingredients can be found within a normal healthy diet…I am passing on this “fountain of youth” and will just continue to watch my nutritional labels and healthy lifestyle 🙂