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NOTE:   All the studies we will review are tagged with citation numbers like this:   [2]
If you “click” on that red number, you will be transported to the actual study.
Many of the graphics can also be enlarged by clicking on them.

Shaklee Gems ~ Volume 3

In previous issues of HealthQuest we reviewed two other unique collections of Shaklee’s “Hidden Gem” products, by which I mean: amazing products that don’t always get all the attention they deserve. (HQ 31-1 and 30-4).

The products we will review in this issue were designed to protect brain function and immune and digestive competency. None of us are able to make a truly informed decision about WHAT products we personally need to take, unless we completely understand the benefits of each product.

So let’s start at the head, and then work our way south.

Lecithin   (product# 20182)

One of the first products that Dr. Shaklee created in 1956 was called Pro-Lecin Nibblers, and it was a combination of soy protein and soy lecithin in a tablet form. We already know about the health benefits of soy, but what the heck is lecithin? Let’s find out right now!

This text is directly from Shaklee: Their Lecithin is naturally sourced from organic and non-GMO soybeans and every serving provides:

3.1 grams of choline-rich lecithin, which includes

468 mg. of phosphatidylcholine and

282 mg of phosphatidylinositol.

The National Academy of Sciences has established that choline is important in our diet because it supports brain, liver, cardiovascular, and reproductive health. Choline is a component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in the transmission of information within the brain and nervous system.

Alzheimer's researchers have been studying the breakdown of beta-amyloid proteins (Aβ) into Aβ fibrils. [1,   2,   3]   Once these fibrils have been produced, these damaged proteins begin to form into senile plaques. When plaques form at the junctions between neurons, they become the basis for memory loss and personality disruption.

In a 2015 study [1], researchers examined whether compounds that could inhibit Aβ fibril formation, might reduce their neurotoxic impact on brain tissue, thus providing a therapeutic value in treating Alzheimer's.   Although this study tilts towards the use of a novel new drug treatment, the researchers also noted that this benefit was dependent upon “upregulation of choline acetyltransferase activity and downregulation of acetylcholinesterase activity”.

I won’t bore you with all the biochemistry involved, but this study certainly raises an important issue:   IF we are deficient in choline, how can we halt the formation of these senile plaques? [1]

Another group of researchers are exploring the use of choline-containing phospholipids (CCPLs) in
the treatment of cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders.

They state:

“In line with these potential practical applications in pharmacotherapy, the need of further research in the field of the synthesis of new choline derivatives, with possible activity in nervous system diseases characterized by cholinergic impairment is discussed.”   [3]

The esteemed WebMD website states that:

“because the body uses phosphatidylcholine to make a brain chemical called acetylcholine, there is some interest in using it for treating “brain-centered” conditions such as

memory loss,
Alzheimer’s disease,
anxiety, and
manic-depressive disorders, and
and a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia.”

They go on to say that:

“Phosphatidylcholine is also used for treating

gallbladder disease,
circulation problems,
high cholesterol, and
premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

and for improving the effectiveness of kidney dialysis;
for boosting the immune system; and
for preventing premature aging.”

Now that got my attention.   I like my brain just the way it is, and I also like my liver, gallbladder, and immune system to function at 100%.   I’m ALSO committed to slowing down the aging process.

So, consider this:   even at retail prices, a daily dose of Shaklee’s Lecithin is only 54 cents a day, and it’s only 47 cents at Member Price.   Need I say more?

Place Lecithin on your next member order for more complete brain protection.

Zinc Complex   (product# 20411)

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been doing periodic reviews of America’s food intake since the 1930s. [5]   By assessing the vitamins and minerals found in the foods eaten by Americans, they were able to determine that 73% of Americans are getting too little zinc in their diet.   [6]

According to WebMD, zinc is important for keeping our immune system strong, and it also helps to heal wounds, and supports normal growth in children.   [7]

Because zinc is closely associated with protein synthesis and collagen formation in your body, it’s also important for maintaining healthy skin.   [8]

Topical use of zinc oxide (ointment) is an effective treatment for diaper rash, and calamine lotion (a mixture of zinc and iron oxides) is used to treat poison ivy rash and other skin ailments.   Even so, it’s not as well known that taking an oral zinc supplement can also help maintain healthy skin from the inside out.

The European Food Safety Authority was asked to offer a scientific opinion on the health claims made about zinc supplementation. Their extensive literature review [8] sustained the conclusions that that

  • “cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake
    of zinc and maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails.”

  • “A claim on zinc and DNA synthesis and cell division has already been assessed
    with a favorable outcome.”

  • “The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established
    between the dietary intake of zinc and contribution to normal carbohydrate metabolism.”

  • “The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established
    between the dietary intake of zinc and contribution to normal macronutrient metabolism.”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine's Medline-PLUS search tool
reveals much more about the functions of zinc:

It plays an important role in cell division, cell growth,
and the breakdown of carbohydrates.

After digging a little deeper, I also discovered that zinc is required for the activity of more than 300 different enzymes in humans.   [10]


Enzymes are catalysts.   Catalysts act to reduce the amount of energy required for a particular chemical reaction to occur. [11]

That means that catalysts increase the speed at which chemical processes may occur within the body, so that life and our health can be sustained.

The easiest way to understand this concept is to think about the formation of rust.   It takes years for a car to develop rust out in Nature.   With the right catalyst, this could happen overnight.   Our body uses enzymes to accelerate otherwise slowly-occurring reactions in our body, to make energy transfer and life possible.   Enzyme catalysts make all the difference between being a slowly rusting car, and being a high-flying jet airplane, each and every day of your Life.

This European scientific review makes it quite apparent how important the mineral zinc is for maintaining robust health. That is why zinc is prominently listed as one of the 9 essential trace minerals.   [12]

Defend & Resist Complex   (product# 20613)

Shaklee’s Defend & Resist (D&R) is a unique combination of standardized extracts of echinacea, black elderberry, and larch tree extract, along with arabinogalactan to stimulate the body’s natural resistance during “seasonal challenges”.   I personally credit this product with keeping me absolutely free of colds and flu for the last 19 years, even though I am usually surrounded by virus-infected patients.

The echinacea plant originates from North America and was employed by the indigenous American Indians for centuries.   Since the beginning of the 20th century, echinacea has become the most frequently used herbal preparation in the USA.   [13]   Commercial cultivation started in Germany around 1939.   Chemists and pharmacologists became keenly interested in echinacea, and many of its constituent molecules are now identified.   Echinacea extracts exhibit immuno-stimulant properties and are mainly used in the prophylaxis and therapy of colds, flu and septic complaints.   [13]


A newly published study (2016) by researchers at Drexel University demonstrated that an echinacea preparation provided a significant reduction in the total number of cold episodes that were experienced, as well as a reduction in the number of days that participants suffered with any particular cold.   [14]

This Drexel study also reconfirms some of the results of a flawed JAMA study [15]   which exposed children to a cold virus, but waited until the children had full blown symptoms BEFORE providing them with an unstated volume of dried and pressed echinacea purpurea juice (whatever that is).

Although the children in this JAMA experienced minimal shortening of their first cold, the JAMA authors failed to report that the children in the echinacea group experienced significantly fewer second or third upper respiratory tract infections during the remainder of their 4-month trial.   [16]
This is a very important insight.

The chief author, while being interviewed about the study, grudgingly admitted:

“It is conceivable that Echinacea stimulated an immune response in study children that was too late to modify the URI for which it was given, but provided a window of protection against another URI in the child.”   [16]

Considering that the average American child experiences between three to six colds every year, this is really BIG NEWS.

    An electron microscope image of
    a macrophage dining on a light supper
    [Click to increase size, it's beautiful!]

Other recent studies demonstrate that echinacea fights infection by stimulating macrophage activity.   [17] It also suppresses the pro-inflammatory response of epithelial cells (those that line and protect our lungs and digestive tract) to viruses and bacteria, thus providing potent and selective antiviral and antimicrobial activities.   [18]

Defend & Resist also contains black elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra) a powerful antioxidant which has been used for centuries to treat and prevent colds and flu in Europe.   [19]

A recent lab study used a specialized form of mass spectrometry called Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry to determine which compounds in elderberry help to inhibit viral attack.

They discovered that certain flavonoids from the elderberry extract bind to human flu H1N1 virions, halting their ability to infect by blocking their entry to host cells.   [20]

D&R also contains larch tree arabinogalactan.   According to WebMD, larch arabinogalactans are used to treat infections, including the common cold, flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, ear infections in children, and HIV/AIDS.   [21]

The most extensive review of the potency and effectiveness of all the ingredients in D&R were published in the esteemed Alternative Medicine Review.   [22]

The Natural Medicine Cabinet

The traditional Shaklee cold or flu recommendation includes:

  • 6 tablets of Defend & Resist Complex (20613)
    (or make a delicious tea with it!)
  • 3 tablets of Garlic Complex (20084), and
  • 3 Sustained Release Vita C (20095)

every 4 hours for the first day,
or until your symptoms subside.

Remember, echinacea is like a natural antibiotic, and for that reason we only take it when we are challenged by infection.   I replace my bottle every September just before cold & flu season rolls around.   The Vita C and the Garlic can (and should) be used throughout the year.

Sustained Release Vita-C (20095) is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, and certain neurotransmitters;   vitamin C is also involved in protein metabolism.   Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, so it plays a vital role in wound healing.   Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, especially alpha-tocopherol (or vitamin E).   [23]

Garlic Complex (20084) is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory agent.   It helps reduce the symptoms of allergy, asthma, colds, flu, sinus infections, yeast infections, and diarrhea.   It also provides heart-protective benefits by lowering elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels.   [24]

Stomach Soothing Complex   (product# 20601)

Stomach Soothing Complex contains a unique formulation including peppermint, ginger, fennel, and anise, and is traditionally used to provide relief for unsettled stomachs.

This product is the safe alternative to upset stomach and heartburn medications like Prilosec, Tums or Maalox (Antacids) and Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (Nausea Remedies).   [25]

Occasionally, even a healthy gut might experience acid-indigestion, from eating a spicy food or from an emotional upset.   For those occasional experiences, Shaklee’s Stomach Soothing Complex provides a combination of ginger and peppermint oil, which is very soothing to the stomach.   It’s especially helpful (and safe!) for reducing the nausea associated with motion sickness and/or morning sickness.   [26,   27]  

Stomach Soothing Complex also contains anise, a member of the parsley family.   It has been used in European herbal medicine for centuries because of its carminative effect (gas reducer).   Anise is currently being studied as a treatment for gastric ulcers, because of its healing effect on the lining of the stomach. [28]

More research has revealed that anise blocks virus absorption, and may be an effective antiviral treatment for herpes simplex (types 1 and 2) and human cytomegalovirus (a serious threat during pregnancy).   [29]

A recently published study by Norwegian scientists reported on the outcomes of 68,522 pregnancies.   Although more than a thousand of those women had used ginger to halt their morning sickness during the first trimester, there were NO increases in premature births, stillbirths, low birth weights, or low Apgar scores at birth.

This study clearly signals that ginger use appears to be perfectly safe during early pregnancy.   [27]

Shaklee’s Chewable Cal Mag Plus (21216) can also provide relief for occasional acid-stomach upset because the calcium carbonate molecule neutralizes stomach acid.   It is not advisable to use Cal Mag regularly to neutralize your stomach acid, because that acidity is absolutely required to breakdown our foods, so that we can absorb our vitamins and minerals.

That’s why Stomach Soothing Complex should always be your first choice for stomach upset.

All four of the products we just reviewed are important additions to our household Shaklee collection, some for taking every day (like lecithin or zinc) and some for when we feel ill (like Defend & Resist and Stomach Soothing Complex).

I am always impressed with the brilliant insight that Shaklee scientists have applied to every ingredient decision they have made, while designing each and every product.   I am equally impressed by their commitment to guaranteeing that every ingredient in every product is 100% pure, safe and effective.

At a time when corporate greed and lack of ethics are running rampant in our Country, it’s a great relief to know that we can ALWAYS trust Shaklee to do the right thing while creating every new product.


Your Shaklee


Michael Tomberlin
Cedar Park, TX

(512) 944-6663

My Shaklee Website

Member ID:   LE63039

Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

Shaklee Life-Strip

– and –

Shaklee Vitalizer

Shaklee Protein

Shaklee Vivix

Your Shaklee


Michael Tomberlin
Cedar Park, TX

(512) 944-6663

My Shaklee Website

Member ID:   LE63039

Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

Shaklee 180

Brain Health

Shaklee Immunity

Your Shaklee


Michael Tomberlin
Cedar Park, TX

(512) 944-6663

My Shaklee Website

Member ID:   LE63039

Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

Shaklee Sports

Heart Health

Digestive Health

Your Shaklee


Michael Tomberlin
Cedar Park, TX

(512) 944-6663

My Shaklee Website

Member ID:   LE63039

Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

YOUTH Skin Care

Healthy Home

Healthy Kitchen

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* Although these statements may have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration,
they are all drawn directly from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and that's good enough for me!