Nutritional supplements are big business. The shelves in the "vitamin aisles" are packed with all kinds of things to help people feel better, live healthier and longer, and so on and so forth.
But are they doing what they are supposed to?
Pharmanex, a company that sells nutritional supplements over the Internet and through direct sales, has a scanning device it believes can tell you if what you use is working or not.
"The cool thing is it helps people have a solid understanding of how their diet is working for them," Pharmanex spokesman Bill Widener said.
The Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner uses a low-energy laser light on the hand to take a reading which indicates if supplements are reducing the free radicals in the client's system. The technology was introduced only last year and Pharmanex has exclusive worldwide rights to it for the next 17 years, according to Diane Stevens, a distributor for Pharmanex. Stevens, who lives in Scottsdale, will bring a Biophotonic Scanner to Payson May 3. The presentation on the equipment and scanning demonstrations will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside Rim Country Mall on E. Highway 260, Payson. Stevens will have Bas Nair, M.D., discuss nutrition in the 21st Century throughout the day. Nair is a Houston, Texas pediatrician and family practitioner, Stevens said. The cost of the scan is $5 and it takes about two minutes to get the reading. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Rim Country Literacy Program, Stevens said.
Reservations are required, so call Stevens at 800-497-9327.
There are only 39 of the scanners in the world and they read carotenoid antioxidant levels with a low-energy, blue light laser that changes colors when free radicals are encountered. Antioxidants fight the effects of free radicals, according to Widener.
Free radicals are believed to contribute to the aging process. They are highly reactive, short lived molecules that can damage proteins, fats and even DNA inside our bodies, according to information from Pharmanex.
Pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals, even the air, can create free radicals within our bodies. Every day our cells get about 75,000 free radical hits to their DNA, according the Pharmanex information.
Antioxidants can capture or neutralize free radicals, so Pharmanex emphasizes the American Medical Association recommendation that all adults take supplements to obtain the optimum amount of all vitamins to increase the number of antioxidants in the body.
Widener said it is believed that an antioxidant reading of 25,000 or more on the Biophotonic Scanner is optimal.
"Most people score between 17,000 and 18,000 and smokers only score at 10,000," Widener said.
Explaining how the scanner works, he said the laser light, a specific frequency, changes color to indicate the level of antioxidants in the client's system.
Stevens has been involved with Pharmanex since 1994 and its parent company, NuSkin Enterprises, since 1989. Dr. Nair has been associated with the products for about 13 years, Stevens said.
Stevens first used the NuSkin products and became a distributor, then with the acquisition of Pharmanex, she said, "I targeted the wellness and nutrition side."
She still uses the company's products, the company's Lifepak® product in particular. She said, "It's an incredible, comprehensive supplement has helped me maintain my overall health and wellness. I haven't been sick in years."
She said the supplements' "... have also received the highest score possible from the third-party watchdog supplementwatch.com."