Stimulife 750

Is It Really All Good and Nothing Bad?

                                 

Hillary Warner

 

        Recently, another weight loss supplement has stepped into the ever-increasing market.  This drug, called Stimulife 750, is a supposedly all-natural herbal supplement that promotes weight loss without any effort from the client.  Both the parent company – Stimulife International – and various distributors of Stimulife 750 make bold blanket statements such as “Stimulife 750 has everything good and nothing bad,” which set the success of the pill far higher than is possible.  Furthermore, these individuals attempting to sell the product use a variety of marketing techniques to encourage purchasing the supplement; however, they provide no scientific evidence to support the claims they make regarding the safety and effectiveness of the product.  By appealing to the clients’ desire for a natural and easy way to lose weight, providing pseudo-scientific statements to convey a sense of authenticity to the product, and befriending the client by seeming to care for their best interests, the distributers attempt to woo more clients.  However, Stimulife 750 contains many ingredients included in other “unsafe” weight loss supplements and scientific research shows no clear evidence that Stimulife 750 is any more effective or safe as other diet pills.                                  

                       

            The primary source of information about Stimulife 750 online can be obtained from the official website for the product.   Perhaps the first noticeable aspect of the page is the colorful borders and the bright pictures of happy, thin people.  These images convey the message to the viewer that Stimulife 750 is a supplement that will make you happy and thin and ready to run down the beach hand in hand with your new-found romance.  The pictures are not coincidental but, rather, are visual stimuli meant to attract people who desire such happiness and thinness in their life. 

            Following the link to “The Stimulife Story,” one can read of the founder and origins of Stimulife 750.  (Again, it is interesting to note that the main image on this page is a thin, exuberant woman standing on a scale – assuring the viewer that s/he, too, could be so happy and thin if s/he were to purchase Stimulife.)   The company first assures the viewer that the product is a safe and healthy “herbal” alternative as compared to the other weight supplements on the market.  The company supports this statement by describing Stimulife’s founder, John Fike, as a hard-working, knowledgeable fitness-expert who wanted to deliver both his parents and the world from weight problems and from the evils of weight-loss supplements.  Fike supposedly applied computer technology, fitness expertise, case studies, knowledge of herbal medicine, advice from numerous chemists, and a true compassion for those suffering from weight problems to create Stimulife.  One must really wonder how one man, who was not a doctor or scientist but a man with a career in “weight training and kickboxing” could accomplish such a staggering financial and scientific feat.  Surely, there is more to this story than the company tells.

            The website continues on to say, “Two Stimulife 750TM caplets provide the nutritional equivalent of four servings of fresh vegetables.”  This statement leaves a critical reader asking many questions: Does “equal” mean that half of one tablet has the exact same components, in the exact same amounts, as one vegetable?  To which vegetable is the comparison made?  Each vegetable is composed of different nutrients – does that mean that each tablet has every single nutrient that any given vegetable might have?  Futhermore, does this statement mean that a client taking Stimulife 750 need not eat any vegetables while taking the product?

            To answer these questions, one need only look at the ingredients of Stimulife 750 to see that the product does not have all the nutrients that various vegetables provide.  While the supplement contains several herbs that are portrayed as being beneficial, it is obvious that it does not provide the client with all the vitamins and minerals that vegetables do.  In fact, this ingredient list further emphasizes the point that Stimulife 750 is a supplement, not a substitute for a main food group as the above statement seems to convey.                                             

            Another significant aspect to the website is the semi-scientific support offered to demonstrate Stimulife’s efficacy.  For example, within “The Story of Stimulife 750,” the company states:

            “Mr. Fike commissioned an Independent Testing Laboratory to institute a Dietary Quality Assurance program of pharmacology, clinical data, good manufacturing practice (GMP) and labeling. Mr. Fike's advisory panelists for this quality and safety assurance included leading toxicologists, physicians, botanists and pharmacoligists and chemists. These U.S. board certified specialists concluded that Stimulife 750TM is safe when used as directed.”

 

            While, on first reading, this statement might sound quite impressive, on closer examination it holds little evidence that Stimulife is a reliable product.  A large part of the quotation is a list of the different types of tests that Mr. Fike had “commissioned.”  However, the company makes no effort to explain what these tests are for the viewer or how they demonstrate the reliability of Stimulife.  Rather, this list serves as a way of impressing the clients without providing them with true scientific information.  Likewise, the “leading” scientists with whom Fike consulted are not referenced, nor is any report offered that shows the results of the studies.  Overall, it appears that this entire paragraph is a means of providing pseudo-scientific support for the benefits of Stimulife – support that laypersons are likely to accept as fact.

 

            One final tactic used by Stimulife International is that of  appearing to be a company concerned for the well-being of all members of society, especially those victimized.  The website tells under the heading “Belief Structure” how the company is very concerned for the welfare of the underprivileged and the youth and works to help them through various programs. However, once again, the company is vague concerning exactly how Stimulife helps these needy individual.  Likely, this paragraph was written to give the client the impression that the company truly cares for people – thus, their product must work because they wouldn’t try to deceive or victimize the people they care for. 

 

            Distributers of Stimulife 750 have also constructed many websites describing the benefits of the product.  One such distributer website uses common market techniques to sway possible clients in favor of Stimulife 750, even more so than the company’s website.  For example, the distributer makes the claim, “Herbal diet pills in the form of all natural dietary supplements are what most people are searching for to achieve their weight loss goals.”  Such a claim is a clear example of the bandwagon approach, by which a company or advertiser says everyone is buying a product in order to make that product more attractive.  Such a claim is misleading in two ways, in that the seller provides no evidence that most people are searching for such natural supplements and in that they do not prove that searching for natural supplements is a wise and favorable action. 

            The distributer then follows this false claim with the statement, “Savvy people know that dieting with drugs is dangerous. So choosing a natural alternative to drugs makes good sense.”  This is an informal deductive approach to the situation; that is, the company conveys, “If you are savvy, you will not buy dangerous diet drugs.  You are savvy; therefore you will not buy the dangerous diet drugs.”  However, the company makes the error of equating “not buying dangerous diet drugs” with “buying natural diet methods.”  Such an equivalence is not logically valid, however, because those people who avoid dangerous diet drugs might not be the same people who buy natural diet methods, and vice versa.   Furthermore, the argument is not only invalid but also untrue because the assumed premises are not necessarily true.  The company assumes that Stimulife 750 is a not a “dangerous diet drug” and also assumes that the client is “savvy” when neither may be the case.  Because the argument relies on premises that might not be true, the entire argument is not reliable. However, it is likely that only critical readers will realize this logical fact; other clients are likely to fall prey to the “savvy” customer compliments, as the distributer hopes will happen.                                                      

           

 

 

 

                                               

                       

 

A final marketing strategy employed by the distributer was that of attempting to become one with the client.  They does this by trying to get the customer to disregard that a profit is being sought.  The seller states, “We don't just push this product just to make sales. We take this product ourselves.”  Thus, the sellers try to communicate that the product is very reliable and safe (since they take it themselves) and that they really just want to share this miracle drug with the world and not make a profit.  Yet, one must notice that the distibuter (and Stimulife International webpage) points out that the customers can become distributers themselves and make money from it, thus meaning that both the distributer and the parent company will profit.  Furthermore, the seller has an entire link devoted to an explanation of how to become a Stimulife 750 distributor.  If the seller were not interested in profit, one must wonder why they charge for the product and why they encourage others to sell the product for them.  Thus, to a critical reader, it is obvious that this statement is yet another tactic to attract the client to Stimulife so that the parent company and the distributer will profit.

            Most of the other websites for independent distributers of Stimulife 750 employ the same market techniques as those used by the seller as described above and the parent company. However, some distributers use additional techniques to add to the product’s appeal.  For

example, the page for independent distributers Akiko and Dick Dukleth takes a futuristic approach to Stimulife, describing it as “the next generation weight loss supplement.”  This approach, combined with the contemporary metallic background, convey a sense that Stimulife 750 is a state-of-the-art product that is more advanced than other weight loss supplements.  Such an approach might appeal to younger people who might find this view of Stimulife to be very age-appropriate for them.  Furthermore, these distributers compare diets to a three-ring circus with magical tricks that keeps people losing and then regaining weight.  While the analogy of a magician in a circus provides no evidence that Stimulife 750 is a good diet drug, it may attract people who have had difficulties with regaining weight.  Meanwhile, at a different distributer website   a bottle of Stimulife 750 is given away each month as an incentive to register with the site.  This technique is merely another way sellers attempt to gain customers without explaining exactly what Stimulife is or how it works.

 

            Having established that the Stimulife webpages provide no real evidence for the product’s efficacy and merely use marketing techniques to attract clients, one must wonder just how natural, safe, and effective Stimulife 750 really is.  The first step in an analysis of Stimulife is to take a look at the ingredients.  Naturally, Stimulife International gives glowing descriptions of every ingredient contained in Stimulife; however, the company fails to describe all the potential side effects of the ingredients.

           

            Two different ingredients in Stimulife 750, white willow and uva ursi, are diuretics.  The website idealizes these diuretics by saying that each  “aids in elimination of toxins through the kidneys,” making the effects sound beneficial to the client.  However, the true story behind these two ingredients is that, as diuretics, they will cause the clients’ bodies to lose water and become dehydrated, leading to a sudden loss of a few pounds.  Such an initial weight loss gives the clients hope that they are losing fat when, in fact, they are only losing water weight by being dehydrated.  For example,  George M. of Arizona says, “After only 7 days of taking Stimulife, I have lost 4 pounds, and I feel great, and I'm not starving myself." Likely, this client is experiencing the effects of the diuretics rather than actual weight loss.                 

 

                                   

           

 

           

            According to Stimulife International, another benefit of the product is that it is “all natural” and does not contain caffeine, ephedrine, or other “controversial elements and catalysts currently found in most weight loss supplements.”  However, one of the ingredients of Stimulife 750 is guarana, which is described by the company as an “energy and nutrient source.”  Guarana is a powder made from the dried seeds of the Paullina cupana plant indigenous to South and Central America.  Despite the natural, “herbal” appearance of this ingredient, however, it is a chief alkaloid caffeine like that in coffee, tea, and other weight loss supplements (PDR for Herbal Medicines, 1017).

            One might wonder how guarana compares to other forms of caffeine in terms of safety.  According to the Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines, a healthy adult “habituated to caffeine” could take up to 7-11 grams of guarana (equivalent to 400 mg of caffeine) over the course of the day without experiencing any harmful consequences.  However, the person must be used to caffeine for this to be true. Furthermore, the maximum limit of 400 mg of caffeine per day includes other forms of caffeine intakes such as coffee or tea.  Thus, if a person were to be a coffee drinker, s/he should increase the amount of guarana taken to avoid negative side effects.  Furthermore, individuals with “sensitive cardiovascular system[s], renal diseases, hyperthyroidism, increased tendency to spasms and certain psychotic disorders such as panic attacks” should not take guarana.  Also, guarana – as with all caffeine products – should not be taken by pregnant women and may cause sleeping disorders in nursing women (PDR 1018). 

            Further evidence for the possible danger of guarana was investigated by Maria Santa, who injected aqueous guarana extracts into Chinese hamster ovary cells and bacterial cells.  The cytotoxic effects were studied using three different systems; however, results were the same across the systems.  While the lowest level of guarana tested was not toxic, Santa still writes that the results of the analysis “suggests that the concentration of guarana is of critical importance in its cytotoxic activity and high doses could be harmful to human health” (Santa 164-7).

            In addition, studies have been done to test the authenticity of guarana in various commercial products.  The pharmacological effects of guarana are due to methylxanthine alkaloids, which, along with catechins and other polyphenol compounds, can be extracted and measured to determine authenticity of the guarana.  In this study, twenty-four products containing guarana were assayed and subjected to liquid chromatography.  The results from the chromatographic profiles of 14 of the commercial products indicated that several of these might not contain active guarana as they claim or might contain less than the advertised amount of guarana they claim.  While this might seem to counterbalance the danger issues guarana might pose, the study also demonstrates that the efficacy of guarana products might be compromised by a lack of true guarana or lower levels of guarana than claimed (Carlson 691-701).

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

            However, not all scientific studies of guarana have generated evidence to suggest it is dangerous or toxic.  In a study performed in 1997, mice ingested guarana in various dosages – some ingesting only one dose of either 3.0 mg/kg or 30 mg/kg while others ingested smaller doses of guarana (0.3 mg/ml) on a regular basis.  Not only did guarana affect memory positively in passive avoidance tests and certain maze path tests, all the mice had the same average lifespan of normal mice not treated with guarana.  This finding was true for both the single-time users and the chronic guarana users of 23 months within the mice.  This evidence seems to indicate that guarana has low toxicity, as opposed to the findings of Santa as described above (Espinola 223-9).  However, since it is still in doubt whether guarana has harmful effects on its users, Stimulife should not claim that its product that contains guarana is harmless.  Furthermore, as guarana is another form of caffeine with known negative side effects on various individuals such as pregnant women and people with cardiovascular disorders, Stimulife International is deceiving clients by falsely claiming that its product contains “nothing bad”and can have no potentially harmful side effects.

 

            A final ingredient to consider critically in Stimulife 750 is chromium picolinate.  According to the ingredients website page for Stimulife International, chromium picolinate is a component that “helps metabolize stored fat and helps stabalize [sic]  sugar in the bloodstream.” However, this ingredient is common in many weight-loss supplements and “fat burning pills,” and its safety is debated and much researched.  Multitudes of scientific studies have discovered evidence both for and against the safety of chromium picolinate.  For example, Anderson et. al. investigated the effects of both Cr chloride and chromium picolinate in rats who ingested different amounts of each component.  Blood samples were taken at 11, 17, and 24 weeks to measure glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, lactic acid dehydrogenase, transaminases, blood urea nitrogen, total protein, and creatinine.   Results showed no significant differences in any of the blood variables measured nor in body weight or organ weight over the three different time periods.  This finding led Anderson et. al.  to conclude that chromium picolinate is not toxic at levels on a per kilogram basis even at several times the upper limit of estimated safe intake for humans (Anderson 273-9).  On the other hand, a more recent study conducted by Speetjens et. al. in 1999 showed the chromium picolinate cleaves DNA.  Chromium picolinate, if it is incorporated directly into a cell,  is reduced by ascorbate and thiols into a hydroxyl radical that quite readily cleaves DNA – indicating that further research on the dangerous side effects of chromium picolinate are necessary to ensure its safe usage (Speetjens 483-7).  Once again, it is evident that Stimulife 750 is not as harmless as it purports to be based on its ingredients. 

 

 

 

            However, one must give credit to the known beneficial herbs contained in Stimulife 750.  For examples, numerous studies have shown the potential benefits of gingko on memory and of ginger on digestive disorders.  However, although Stimulife does contain herbs that are known to be beneficial, its parent company still is being unethical in saying that its product is “all good and nothing bad.”  The diuretics it contains dehydrates the clients while giving them a false sense of hope that they are truly losing weight.  Guarana, while being as effective other caffeine products in terms of weight loss when used in proper amounts, can also cause all the same negative side effects as caffeine and ephedrine.  While studies have shown chromium picolinate to be both safe and dangerous, a very recent project has showed that the chemical can seriously damage DNA.  By not sharing this scientific information with their consumers while providing them with pseudo-scientific nonsense about their product, Stimulife International is being dishonest with and manipulative of the consumers.  Perhaps the worst manipulation performed by Stimulife International is encouraging so many clients in their false belief that weight loss can be done with no effort rather than pointing consumers toward a healthier way of life.  Only when consumers realize that weight-loss is less a miracle and more a goal to reach a healthy weight will they learn to recognize Stimulife 750 and other weight-loss supplements for what they are :

 

 

             

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

         Anderson, R.A. et al.  “Lack of Toxicity of Chromium Chloride and Chromium Picolinate in Rats.” J Am Coll Nutr, Vol. 16, Issue 3, 1997: p273-9.

 

            Carlson, M. and R.D. Thompson. “Liquid Chromatographic Determination of Methylxanthines and Catechins in Herbal Preparations Containing Guarana.”  J AOAC Int; Vol. 81, Issue 4, 1998: p691-701.

           

            Espinola, E.B. et. al.  “Pharmacological activity of Guarana (Paullinia cupana Mart.) In Laboratory Animals.”  J Ethnopharmacology; Vol. 55, Issue 3, 1997: p223-9.    

 

            “Herb Connection: Stimulife 750.” http://www.stimulife-ind-dist.com/stimulife-750.htm  Available online.

 

            “Independent Distributers Akiko and Dick Dukleth.” http://www.aztecwin.com/index3.html   Available online. 

 

            “Official Website for Stimulife 750.”  http://www.stimulife.com . Available online.

 

            Physician Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines.  1st ed. Montvale, N.J. : Medical Economics, 1998.

 

            Santa, Maria A. et. al.  “Evaluation of the toxicity of guarana with in vitro biassays.”  Ecotoxicol Environ Saf; Vol. 39, Issue 3, 1998: p164-7.

 

            Speetjens, J.K.  “The Nutritional Supplement Chromium (III) Tris(picolinate) Cleaves DNA.”  Chem Res Toxicol; Vol. 12, Issue 6, 1999: p483-7.

           

            “Thinner You.”  http://www.athinneru.org Available online.

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

Psychology Department

The Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
  


Vanderbilt Homepage | Introduction to Vanderbilt | Admissions | Colleges & Schools | Research Centers | News & Media Information | People at Vanderbilt | Libraries | Administrative Departments | Medical 

  Return to the Health Psychology Home Page
  Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt

Search

Search: Vanderbilt University
the Internet

  Help  Advanced

Tip: You can refine your last query by searching only the results by clicking on the tab above the search box

Having Trouble Reading this Page?  Download Microsoft Internet Explorer.