Some of you reading this may see these “Lifestyle” posts in our Anointing Nations’ Facebook group every day. Do you ever stop to think what we mean when we call Young Living a lifestyle? One of the things I have learned about Young Living is their uncompromising stand on quality, purity, and whole, as-close-to-the-way-God-made-it products. In previous posts, I have mentioned ingredients in other products you should avoid, but I have never “named names” before. I have friends who use certain brands and these companies are supporting them and their families financially, so I didn’t want to upset anyone or compromise their chosen business.
Last night a dear, health-conscious friend was hospitalized, and as I spent my quiet time with God this morning, I felt the overwhelming urge to speak out and name names. I don’t know the under-lying cause of my friend’s hospitalization, (the doctors are stumped, too) but something she has put in her body over the years undoubtedly did something to cause it; it could be anything from the chemical-laden foods, cleaning supplies, medications, over-the-counter and/or prescribed, sport or energy drinks, etc. Whatever caused it served as a wake-up call to me that I cannot keep my mouth shut anymore. We are using and trusting companies without fully understanding what the products they sell us are actually doing to our bodies.
Most people want a quick fix to their health or weight problems, but, as I tell my clients daily at NWA Natural Living, “You did not get to bad health overnight, and you will not get back to good health overnight. If you want a “magic pill,” and will not put in the work, you are wasting my time and your money.” True, sustainable weight loss and health only comes when you make intentional choices every day. This includes removing the toxic “junk” from your life and replacing it with living, fresh foods, and quality supplements derived from real sources. This includes everything you put in or use on and around your body. This is educating yourself so you know ingredients to avoid and scrutinizing everything; and I mean EVERYTHING. I scrutinized Young Living products for over 4 years before I started sharing them with my friends. I still scrutinize every new product Young Living comes out with, just to make sure that as they grow in popularity, they do not skimp on quality, purity or integrity. Every store and company has products labeled “natural” and “safe and effective;” but, are they really? Does natural equal safe? This will be a multi-part series looking at some of the most popular companies and products on the market today. I will tell you why I, as a Doctor of Naturopathy student and registered nurse, have problems with these products. Please don’t take my word for it, though. I urge you to start researching products and ingredients yourself. I will list references to all my findings. Follow the links and read for yourself. Please become an educated consumer.
I am not trying to bash these companies or anyone who uses the products. I am speaking out because I care and I know what some of these ingredients do. I readily admit I am biased: biased towards ALL things healthy and natural and against ALL things synthetic and unnatural. I am truly concerned for the future health of individuals using these products. That is the only reason I am writing this series. Also, if I get too “science-y” for you, remember, you are created in God’s image and you are brilliant; read it over and over until you get it. Pray for understanding and He will give it to you. (I learned this from Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist whose work is fascinating, but that is another post entirely!) Let’s start with one of the companies I have been asked about most: Plexus.
“The Pink Drink” – Plexus
I researched Plexus two years ago and immediately saw two red flags. The first was “low-glycemic maltodextrin.” First of all, there is no such thing as a low-glycemic maltodextrin. Table sugar has a glycemic index of 65, maltodextrin is 85-105.(1) Eighty-five is as low as maltodextrin gets on the glycemic index, and it is not low. If you are familiar with the glycemic index, you know, just by looking at those numbers, maltodextrin will cause a huge spike in insulin levels. Maltodextrin is a low cost sugar substitute made from corn or wheat, most likely from genetically modified organisms that have been sprayed with the typical herbicides and pesticides used in large-scale farming operations. When I went to research Plexus today, I found they have since removed their “low-glycemic” maltodextrin. Kudos to Plexus for making the change; however, the touted “low-glycemic” maltodextrin was misleading, making me unable to trust this company.
The second red flag was the “green coffee bean extract (with chlorogenic acid and less than 2% natural caffeine).” I was a cardiac critical care nurse for some time and I remembered reading something about chlorogenic acid in coffee and its effects on homocysteine levels, so I did some research this morning. It only took a short PubMed search to find that chlorogenic acid, a compound in coffee, and black tea does raise total homocysteine concentrations in blood plasma.(2) “Higher concentration of this amino acid in blood is called hyperhomocysteinemia. Hyperhomocysteinemia is significantly correlated with cardiovascular disease and its complications: heart attacks and strokes. It is believed that hyperhomocysteinemia damages endothelial cells, reduces the flexibility of vessels, and adversely affects the process of hemostasis. In addition, hyperhomocysteinemia enhances the adverse effects of risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, and impaired glucose, lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, as well as promoting the development of inflammation.”(3) Studies show that folate and vitamins B12 and B6 can reduce homocysteine levels, but the majority of Americans do not have the gut flora needed to absorb these vitamins properly and over half have the MTHFR mutation that keeps us from converting and utilizing most B12 on the market. (Keep reading; I will go deeper into this later) I am very concerned of the long-term issues that will manifest when I hear of someone drinking the “Pink Drink.” I’ve seen many people have success and loose weight with the “Pink Drink;” however, I am curious and a bit worried to see where their health will be in 5-10 years, though.
First let’s look at the ingredients:
Vitamin A (as beta-carotene), Vitamin B-6 (as pyridoxine HCl), Vitamin B-12 (as cyanocobalamin), Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid), Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate), Thiamine (as HCl), Riboflavin, Niacin (as niacinamide), Pantothenic acid (as calcium pantothenate), Zinc (as zinc monomethionine), Copper (as copper glycinate), Chromium (as chromium citrate), Choline (as bitartrate and citrate), L-Tyrosine, Taurine, Caffeine , Glycine, Citrus flavonoids, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), L-Carnitine (as tartrate), Inositol, Maltodextrin, citric acid, sucralose, silicon dioxide.
Depending on the flavor of Spark, beet root extract, grapeskin extract, and natural and artificial flavorings are also added.
Wow…where do I even begin? Let’s start with the Vitamin B-12 (as cyanocobalamin). Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of B12 and is the most used and cheapest form of Vitamin B12 on the market. The body has to convert cyanocobalamin into the active form of B12, which is called methylcobalamin (companies can get the higher-quality, more-readily-absorbed methylcobalamin to put in their supplements, but most won’t because it costs more). Think back to chemistry for a second and let’s break those words down; cyanocobalamin becomes cyano and cobalamin and methylcobalamin becomes methyl and cobalamin. Cyano means there is a cyanide group attached to the cobalamin group, and methyl means there is a methyl group attached to the cobalamin group. Think about that for a second. Your body has to remove the cyanide group from the cobalamin and attach a methyl group to the cobalamin to make it ready to be utilized by your cells.(4) What happens to the cyanide group? Your liver and excretory organs have to work overtime to get those out of the body or they get stored in your fat cells. But, hey, it’s CYANIDE! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want little cyanide groups floating around my body that my liver has to deal with. Spark has 750% of your recommended daily allowance of this synthetic, cyanide-releasing substance. So let’s move past the cyanide for a moment and look at some more science behind converting the cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin. It requires healthy gut flora and a specific gene in your DNA to accomplish this. Over 50% of the population has the MTHFR gene mutation that prevents this conversion.(5) The majority of Americans have detectable levels of glyphosate (Roundup®) in their blood and it’s even being found in mother’s breast milk.(6) Glyphosate damages the microbiome in the gut, killing off the good bacteria that assist in the breakdown of many nutrients, including Vitamin B12.(7) What does all this mean? If you cannot convert the cyanocobalamin to it’s usable form, you have just ingested 650% more of your recommended daily allowance of a synthetic substance your body cannot use on a cellular level. If you can convert it, you now have lots of cyanide groups floating around your body that have to be dealt with. Either way, it is not healthy.
Now for the sucralose. Sucralose is the artificial sweetener with the brand name Splenda®. Sucralose is actually a sugar molecule with three chlorine molecules replacing hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sucrose molecule. It is a chlorocarbon and could be compared to ingesting tiny amounts of chlorinated pesticides. The chlorocarbons have been known for causing organ, genetic, and reproductive damage. It has been shown to cause up to 40% shrinkage of the thymus: the foundation of your immune system. Sucralose also causes swelling of the liver and kidneys, calcification of the kidney, fertility issues in male rats, and gastrointestinal problems in pregnant rats.(8) The Center for Science in Public Interest, a public safety watchdog, downgraded sucralose from “safe” to “caution” in 2013 due to new evidence linking sucralose to the development of leukemia in a life-long rat study.(9) What makes sucralose so harmful? Your body will break sucralose down into its separate molecules, the worst of which is chlorine. Chlorine in any form is toxic. Because it is in the halogen family like iodine (think back to chemistry, this means the outer shells or valence electrons are similar), it worsens iodine deficiency by attaching to the iodine receptors on the thyroid.(10) This prevents iodine from getting into the thyroid and being used to make the thyroid hormones. (Fluoride is another halide that does the same thing as chlorine) As noted above, these chlorine molecules wreak havoc on our organs.
Do I even need to go into “natural and artificial flavors?” The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, gives a long definition of what can be considered “natural” and “artificial” flavors.(11) Most artificial flavors have little to no long term tests to establish the safety of their use in food products. What’s worse, companies do not have to disclose specific ingredients they use under the guise of “natural and artificial” flavors. This is where trusting the company comes into play. Does the company use quality, whole-food derived components for its supplements and products that have a safety record backed by clinical studies? From my research, I can say that AdvoCare does not.
I hope I have inspired you to start doing your own research into what you are exposing yourself to. We are wonderfully made creations that can handle a whole lot of toxic abuse, but, trust me when I say, it will catch up to you one day.
*Our team of oilers, called Anointing Nations, made the resolution this year to commit to educating our team daily. “YL – It’s a Lifestyle” is a daily post that will be on our private Facebook group. I was asked to write weekly for this, so every Wednesday, I will focus on the YL Lifestyle and share how I live it daily with my family. If you are interested in joining my team, please message me or follow this link to my website for more information.
**All the statements, comments and photos on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All medical evaluations and decisions should be made by a licensed professional.