Defending Mannatech’s Sugar Pills

Last night, a poor, lost soul posted a comment on my post about the 20/20 expose on multi-level marketing company Mannatech. She’s posted her own lengthy analysis of the company at http://glycofamily.blogspot.com/2007/06/long-entry-about-mannatech-and-response.html. Sadly, she buys into all the hype and false logic that MLMs are so fond of repeating.

Mannatech sells sugar pills. Yes, sugar pills. They give them a fancy name, but they are nothing more than sugar. Yet independent distributors claim that they do things like cure cancer, cure multiple sclerosis, shrink tumors, and the like. There is no scientific evidence to back up these claims, but they’re made over and over at opportunity meetings.

Yet people like this woman still put their faith in Mannatech. One of the claims she makes:

Obviously, if Mannatech was a fly-by-night company that was truly guilty of anything sinnister, they’d be falling apart right now and those who have been duped would be running to hide their heads in shame. But since Mannatech actually IS a stand-up, scientifically sound wellness company that is truly making a difference in people’s lives, many people are stepping forward to help set the record straight. It’s a shame the entertainment/high ratings industry can cause such a scramble but it looks like good things are coming out in the end!

A common argument by MLM supporters is that if the company was doing anything wrong or breaking any laws, it would have been shut down. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for regulating MLMs and business opportunity schemes, but has a track record of inaction. That doesn’t make these MLMs right or legal.

The writer has lots things supposedly written by highly respected medical professionals, who say the sugar pills are a miracle (or something like that). Of course, Mannatech claims that 20/20 aired a totally biased piece and the doctors interviewed by 20/20 are know-nothings.

Sorry, after all the research I’ve done on MLMs, I’m inclined to believe 20/20.

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17 Comments

  • Linda says:
    23 June 2007

    Tracy you say … “Sorry, after all the research I’ve done on MLMs, I’m inclined to believe 20/20.” Perhaps you should direct SOME of your research time on the Science behind AMBROTOSE before you chose to believe 20/20. Just because Mannatech uses Networking as a form of ‘Advertising’ and ‘Marketing’ their product doesn’t make it a ‘non-scientifically validated, standardized, stabilized, efficacious product’ based on cutting edge CURRENT science. Consider that 92% of people who came into Mannatech came in because of a Health concern — so why are they still buying and supporting the product if it didn’t ‘benefit their quality of life’???? Also if you believe 20/20’s version, you’d better have a look at what Angie Rhoades’ blogspot says “ REALLY happen with regard to her MRI results”. Angie is not a money hungry ‘sales-person’ she is a true believer because of the joyful ‘Results of this Lovely little Sugar Supplement’ !! Perhaps a little more time spend investigating the science might someday truly benefit all those YOU love and care about!!! http://www.angie-rhoads.blogspot.com

  • Tracy says:
    24 June 2007

    You’ve been drinking the kool-aid!

  • Purple says:
    26 June 2007

    So, the body is requiring “SUGAR” as a necessary nutrient? I’m all for holistic medicine, but have nothing against medicine when necessary. If someone offers me medicine vs. sugar as a cure…let’s face it, we know which I would pick. False advertising for financial benefits, that’s all it is…a hoax, a fraud…period.

  • Tracy says:
    26 June 2007

    Well it is a fact that the body breaks down nutrients into sugars that are required to function. However, it is questionable whether these “sugar” pills actually do anything at all.

  • Purple says:
    28 June 2007

    Exactly my thoughts. I feel if it’s just another “placebo” pill, what real benefit is it providing? It’s very disturbing to me that companies (like Mannatech) make claims that they have “cure-all” pills (like Ambrotose) that cure diseases such as cancer and the like and get away with it. Linda asks Tracy “Consider that 92% of people who came into Mannatech came in because of a Health concern — so why are they still buying and supporting the product if it didn’t ‘benefit their quality of life’???? “. I would have to answer because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE that it’s working for them. When a person who is diagnosed with a debilitating health issue (or anyone for that matter) invests their time, effort and thoughts in believing that something works, they usually continue on regardless of any doubts or fears they have whether it will actually help. It’s natural to believe something is working when you are surrounded by people who are telling you it works, even if they know it doesn’t.(Gee has a resembling feel to another MLM that I am familiar with.) Now I’m going to tell you a brief story about my cousin who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her late teens. At that time she was given a placebo pill and just the thought of someone trying to ease her pain helped her feel better (even though years later she confided to me that the pill did nothing for her). Unfortunately, she was surrounded by people telling her how much better she looked and was moving around and even the doctor said she “seemed” better. That being said, she continued treatment on that “little wonderful pill” and ended up seriously worse. I will get to the point…after many trials with medications she has found one that is helping her now. Most medications do help individuals but each are thoroughly researched and even further so by doctors and individuals to make sure that any other supplements or medications they are taking are compatible (thus warning labels and listed side-effects). As I see it, even thoroughly researched medications ask us to take heed to their labels because they are not considered “cure-alls”. So now, tell me this…how can Mannatech state claims of a cure-all called Ambrotose that has not been backed by thorough research and the FDA? By thorough, I mean have these glorious little pills been tested on anyone other than Mannatech independent distributors? Ambrotose is NOT currently FDA approved, so it’s baffling how the FTC has not asked for concrete validation on Mannatech’s fraudlent claims.

  • Tabitha says:
    16 July 2007

    We first heard about Mannatech a couple of years ago, when my partner worked with someone who marketed the products in their spare time.

    We read the pamphlets, watched the DVD… were even given free samples from the work collegue.

    A mannatech marketer was sent around to our home one weekend (imagine how thrilled I was, being the skeptic I am… and firmly believeing that Mannatech’s promises were BS.)

    She immediately told us about people she sold the products to – cured of diabetes, no more depression, no more allergies, etc etc… Funnily enough, I don’t remember her using the “but they’re only food” disclaimer… hm.

    She was also quick to flant her new laptop and new car… profits were rolling her way rather nicely. I guess the first rule of deceptive marketing is to throw your conscience out the window!

    Anyway, I wasn’t willing to throw out the nasal spray and the prozac just yet. I was getting the “sugar pills” for free, so I took them. And just as I expected over the 3 months I experienced no difference. I was not about to bury my face in a stack of hay anytime soon.

    It seems to be scammers fortune in life that gullible people seem to be the ones with money.

    Our friendly neighbourhood Mannatech marketer even gave us a “radio” station you could listen into on your phone – which we did for a laugh – and heard many testimonials concerning cancer, etc being cured. It was sad really.

    Let’s face it “hope” is a very powerful thing. Many the psychological paper has been written on the topic. I could start selling ‘mircale cure’ gummi bears and perhaps eatting them would make you “feel” better and maybe even prolong your life – why? It’s not that the gummi bears are good for you or even are helping your infliction, you’re simply believing in something and keeping a positive attitude. Cancer patients are the same, if they have a positive attitude sometimes they get better. The mind is a powerful thing.

    Does that excuse scammers? Should we applaud their ‘noble efforts’ of giving the masses false hope at a price?

    Absolutely not.

    I’d rather buy a bag of gummi bears and give my money to my kids or a worthy charity that can actually make a REAL difference, instead of squandering my hard-earned dollars on snake oil.

    I wonder how the CEO of Mannatech sleeps at night in his 1.3 million dollar mansion?

  • Karen Seasly says:
    12 February 2008

    If these supplements are such a scam, how is it that a doctor can get continuing education certification from studying about them? And as far a placebos go…they don’t generally change the body in a way that can be recognized in lab results. But I can assure you that if the mind was powerful enough to do that and a sugar pill could trigger it to do it when nothing a doctor can do is able to, I take the placebo!

    New categories of vital nutrition are coming to the forefront, as well as new ways providing products that stabilize their vitality. It is not snake oil neither is it a silver bullet. It is no more ridiculous to give the body real nutrition a see impact than it is to pour water on a wilted flower and see it revive. It seems to me that you’ve got just enough of a picture of this to keep you in the dark ages. I hear they ate off of lead plates!
    There is freedom to nay say, as well as freedom to embrace.

  • Scipio says:
    12 February 2008

    Karen,

    I’ve developed some new products and you’d make the perfect salesperson. Will you help me out?

    First, I’ve developed something I call N-80. It’s roughly 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. Not only is it healthful, I’ve found it to be essential. A recent study at the Mayo Clinic found that fully 100% of cancer survivors were users of N-80. Even more astonishing was that 100% of the patients who didn’t utilize N-80 sadly passed away. At $1 per cubic foot*, it is a bargain yet has tremendous profit potential. I’ve already completed work on the production facility (code named “James Woods”) and it is fully functional.

    I also have developed something called Dihydrogen Oxide (brand name HoH). Participants in an HoH study lived an astonishing 5,000 times longer than those who did not use HoH! At 3 bucks a gallon, it is as cheap as gasoline (and has zero calories!). As soon as I figure out how to use this complicated divining rod, I’ll have a good idea where to build my HoH facility.

    I’m currently working on generic AMBROTOSE (brand name Sweet N’ High). This water-soluble form will have all the benefits of AMBROTOSE but you can also use it as a flavoring for coffee, cereal or even bake with it (blackberry pie being my favorite)!

    Karen, I’m counting on motivated sellers like yourself to promote these all natural, healthy (in reality, life giving!) products.

    *at STP

  • Laura James says:
    30 April 2008

    People can be real jerks when they don’t know Mannatech.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    30 April 2008

    Not much to know about Mannatech. Pyramid scheme selling bogus sugar pills. Simple.

  • Jim says:
    10 June 2008

    Pity these promoters of schemes (scams) like mannatech are still capturing people. My partner is searching for ‘freedom’ through all these scams, and just come across mannatech. These people prey on those who are attracted to psyco suggestive marketing promising financial freedom that you deserve, and you don’t even need to work at it. If it is too good to be true, then it probably is. Read all the stuff said before about mannatech, objective research shows it is a scam. I wish there was a way to get rid of them.

  • Tom says:
    28 January 2009

    The question I would be asking is can we see the double blind clinical research results for these products?

    But we all know there aren’t any.

    It is all based on conjecture. i.e. on the surface it seems plausable but has no factual basis. If there was any firm eveidence it would be being prescribed by health services and physicians.

    There are no independent clinical studies into these products, it is no more effective than a placebo.

  • Nick Milnor says:
    24 March 2009

    The FDA is owned by Big Pharma. Everyone knows this to be true. For the FDA to lean on the authorities in Texas to go after Mannatech there must be something that Big Pharma is worried about. Mannatech must have some product in their line that is a threat to the drug companies.

    This alone validates the Mannatech products. I do not take or will ever take any of these products. I just find it curious that so much is made out of nutritional products when Big Pharma is killing people everyday (but have the money to settle out of court with the families) and 20/20 is not going after them.

  • Jay says:
    25 March 2009

    LOL Wow Nick break out the tin foil hat. Reality is that Big Pharma and the legitimate medical world are saving people every day. Do bad products slip through the cracks? Sure, the system isn’t perfect. But it’s pretty damn good and the main reason why our life expectancy has increased.

  • Nick Milnor says:
    25 March 2009

    Legitimate medical world? What passes for mainstream medical care these days is questionable at best. Having said that I agree that the medical world does save lives everyday. The ER’s of the world are filled with great health care people doing great things.

    What I’m taking about is really our society. Free enterprise at work. The drug companies are selling and we are buying. We are over medicated. We eat too much and move too little. So along comes Mannatech with some nutritional products and they get sued for making false claims. Not killing people. False claims. By not telling people they can die, is that not a false claim as well? Again I have no interest in any multi level marketing products, just as I have no interest in receiving prilosec in the mail today which I did not ask for. Apparently Big Pharma has clearance to send drugs in the mail to anyone and make any claims they want to about the product. I guess they have really good lawyers.

  • Chi says:
    24 August 2010

    Good and bad things happen or slip thru cracks in both alternative and mainstream medicine.
    BOTH sides point fingers to discredit the other, ESPECIALLY when the Other is selling product/services that even hint at threatening market share of the other.
    Glyconutrients are not simply “sugar”. Calling them “sugar” is a misleading news-hype trick.
    Plant sugars and plant fats are nutrients bodies DO legitimately need to be healthy.
    However, most people in developed nations consume “S.A.D.” diets ["Standard American Diets" ], seriously deficient in fresh, healthily grown produce [or raw meats] necessary for optimal functioning of body chemistries.
    When overt ailments strike, mainstream medicine pays attention; of those, only fairly common ailments get treated: others get dismissively told it surely must be in their heads.
    Of those treated, some get great results, but, there is a high rate of failures, too: regular medicine consists largely of “bandaid therapies”, failing to address root causes.

    THERE IS ROOM for BOTH kinds of medicine.
    There is massive ROOM for Nutritional Supplements, particularly since mainstream medicine as it exists, cannot serve the world’s population as it needs. Also, People, as they are, largely refuse to eat, or do not have access to, adequate nutritional intake from appropriate foods .

    It is imperative, for people’s health and well-being, world economy and continued existence, that we seriously pay attention to the fine points of nutritional intake.
    People get sick mostly by what they eat [or don't] on a daily basis.

    One person, in a single day, pending intake, can make sweeping changes to their genetic expression, and thus make massive changes to their progeny, simply by what and how much they consume [ref.: epigenomic studies].
    Docs who dismiss patients because they say they cannot treat genetic defects, are simply ignorant.
    Newer science is rapidly catching up to show that we can and do change/impact our genetic expression–and it ain’t all for the improvement of the species, Darwin!

    We need to learn how to reverse some of those genetic impacts~we can do much of that by manipulating what and how much we put in our mouths.
    Will it put Docs and pharmaceutical companies out of business?
    NO. But they fear that.
    In today’s economy, market share is everything to industry.
    That is why Mannatech has worked so hard to prevent anyone from producing a competitive product, and why they MLM it~
    MLM profiteers in ways that make Medical/pharmaceutical industries look like chumps.
    Trouble is, MLM’s set very bad precedent.
    That is, Industries are taking note: if people, even poor ones, are willing to out-of-pocket blindingly huge prices for nutritional supplements, then why not Medico-pharmaceutical industry doing likewise? And they do.

    What happened to ethics?
    Cannot find ethics in news reporting, that’s for sure!
    Ethics seem missing from industries bent on marketing products to highest bidders.
    “Value” of product is set by P.T. Barnum parameters.
    “Truth” is determined by popularity contests.

    Bad products slip thru cracks in both systems.
    Really Great Results happen in BOTH systems [and NOT "all in their heads"].
    We need to recognizing and avoid the Snake-Oil Salesmen rampant in BOTH systems of medicine [not to mention in about every other marketing industry!].

    Glyconutrients have valid positive effects.
    Are they really as good as promoted? Probably not–please note: their stories are anecdotal, not lab results, for instance. Also, no single product can cure ailments caused by a collection of diverse root problems.
    But there is some good science at the root of Glyconutrients.
    It is up to modern science to separate Flagrant Hyperbole, on the part of both reporters and Mannatech, from Facts.
    Truth is somewhere in between.
    How about getting specific data, rather than global generalities, hyperbole and twisted sound-bites created by new agents scrabbling for market share??
    Keep in mind, most drugs listed / described in early PDR’s, were their on strength of Testimonials, not on scientific fact. Aspirin was one of those.
    In those days, people lacked adequate science to learn how things worked, so testimonials from people were very meaningful.
    Now, we have far better science, yet we still depend on testimonials, because science has been perverted too often–OR, has unnecessarily delayed getting a good product to people….ALL ways to get product to people have been sadly perverted for profit.
    With so much misdirection and hype, we need hard science in ways we never needed it before.

    Mannatech needs to both quote the hard science available to substantiate their product, and also show human trials results: don’t just start a story about how someone with dramatic condition started taking Ambrotose; show with hard data, how they beat that condition using Ambrotose!
    AND, Mannatech, if they are EVER to be ethical, should stop restricting their product to standard, MLM gross over-pricing.
    Let’s see them dosing it to appropriate patients in free clinics, who lack funds to get mainstream medical treatment [and Obama's health care plan, while laudable, has created whole new populations of non-covered people].
    Let’s see if some of those respond, let’s quantify and qualify responses.

  • matt says:
    19 July 2013

    There have been no conclusive research on any of the ingredients of AMBROTOSE complete and the “independent” study (the only one I could find on PUBMED, a search engine for peer-reviewed medical research) was a study funded by Mannatech and consisted of the CEO/CSO Robert Sinnott and another researcher Gabriella Luta from Mannatech among others not affiliated with the company. However, this does not make it an independent study and thus loses some of its credibility in the findings even if they are correct. (which they are not based on other peer-reviewed research on individual components of the product)

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