Update 9/29/23. 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 and MDR Fitness Corp. The company is located at 14101 NW. 4th St., sunrise, FL 33325. According to the Vital Factors website, the MDR group has been in existence for over 27 years. While this is good, it is also interesting because the website does not list any clinical studies on the Vital Factors 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 racewalker 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.
|Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
|Vitamin B 1
|Vit B2 (riboflavin)
|Calcium (calcium carbonate)
|Grape skin extract
|Green tea extract
|Grape seed extract
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 8 types of vitamin E. I 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 one of the few things that can 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 B6, 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.
Watch on my youtube channel.
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.
Watch on my youtube channel.
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.
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. Even Dr. Art 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. One of the reasons why fucoidan is in Vital Factors may be that the iodine in fucoidan might increase thyroid hormone, 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?
The MDR website lists the price as $99 per month; however, if you opt for a subscription, the price drops to $89 per month. Shipping is free.
Vital Factors Free Sample
From the information I saw, 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. Your experiences with customer service may be different.
Does Vital Factors Work?
It would take research to know for sure, so I can't give a definitive answer to “Does it work?' Personal opinion: Vital Factors looks like a fancy multi-vitamin.