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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 Is Better Than Organic

It’s been 8 years since I first stumbled upon a class of protective nutrients called phytoalexins, while I was researching the benefits of organic produce. [1]   These unique compounds rarely appear in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables; they are only found at appreciable levels in organic produce.   [2]

This is because plants only produce these powerful phytochemicals as a defensive “immune response” to an assault by bugs, bacteria, viruses, molds, or mildews.   [3]   (NOTE: User Name and Password are both shaklee )   Without some external threat stimulus, the plant has no need to produce them.

They are also referred to as secondary metabolites, because they are “organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development, or reproduction of the plant”.

Biologists have named this defensive plant mechanism “Induced Systemic Resistance”, and this response has recognized for more than 60 years. However, it is only recently that the health-promotional effects of these nutrients have been seriously considered.   [4,   5]

Since the publication of the first (2009) HealthQuest Newsletter on this topic, there has been considerable additional research into the amazing properties of different phytoalexins. Although they are manufactured to protect the plant, or to help the plant recover, they appear to provide enhanced antioxidant protection for humans who consume them.

Numerous studies have shown that they also provide anti-inflammatory protection, unique anti-aging properties, and appear to inhibit the development of various forms of cancer.   These interesting compounds have been identified in about 75 different plant species, including cruciferous vegetables, soybeans, garlic, tomatoes, rice, and certain types of beans.   [6]

Seventy percent of shoppers, interviewed at Whole Foods, state that their #1 reason for purchasing organic products is to avoid exposure to pesticide residue. [7]   That is an extremely rational decision, even if the vitamin levels were relatively similar to their conventional (or sprayed) counterparts.

But, now we know that these organically grown raw materials actually contain other unique phytonutrients that provide additional health benefits, far beyond those usually provided by our old friends, vitamins and minerals.   I believe it is their presence in Shaklee supplements that make then so remarkable.

Organic IS better!

There are thousands of articles about phytoalexins available through the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed search tool. [8]   Most of these articles are devoted to designing or testing synthetic versions of these substances, so that they can be patented as new and expensive “wonder drugs”.   Many others are devoted to the creation of “greener” pesticides.   There appear to be no classic reviews of them as a group, and there is no compiled list of phytoalexins anywhere, outside of a few dated and out-of-print textbooks.

As an example of how frustrating a review of this topic can be, one full-text article, reviewing a single phytoalexin class called terpenoids mentioned that “40,000 individual terpenoids are known to exist in nature”.   [9]

To investigate (and integrate) all the materials written about phytoalexins would require PhDs in organic chemistry, genetics, physiology, cell chemistry, biology and pharmacology.   Fortunately, there are some fascinating reviews of human and animal trials, detailing the effects of phytoalexins on the protection and/or recovery of health.   Amusingly, most of these authors appear to be unaware that the nutrient under their study are actually a phytoalexin.

The Phytoalexins

Resveratrol is found in Shaklee’s
Vivix Liquid Dietary Supplement
(21500 or 22911 Kosher version) and in smaller quantities in Shaklee’s new and improved CoQHeart (22076), is the most researched of all the phytoalexins.

By 2009 there were already 2,000 peer-reviewed articles discussing the various properties of resveratrol.   Today (7-24-2019) there are more than nine thousand (12,073) scientific articles devoted to resveratrol:   [10]

  • 3,332 of them are devoted to its impact on cancer,

  • another 882 on diabetes,

  • 1,439 on cardiovascular disease,

  • 1,425 on inflammation, and

  • 1,602 devoted to resveratrol's antioxidant properties.

Naturally, there is some overlap in these articles, because so many of them review
multiple characteristics of this powerful polyphenol.

Resveratrol was first credited with the heart-protecting benefits of red wine (referred to as the “French Paradox”) in 1992.   [11]   The “paradox” refers to the fact that coronary heart disease is relatively low in France, despite a high daily intake of saturated (or “bad”) fats.   The following year (1993), epidemiologists demonstrated a direct relationship between the amount of resveratrol in the wine, and the lower incidence of heart disease.   [12]   Interest in this powerful polyphenol intensified in 1997, with the discovery that resveratrol helps to prevent cancer, by inducing preventive activities at three different major phases of carcinogenesis (or cancer development).   [13]

Then in 2003, researchers at Harvard University discovered that resveratrol is a key longevity molecule, with the ability to activate the sirtuin (or Sir2) gene.   In a series of studies, resveratrol enhanced the vitality, and extended the life span of every species that they tested, even with mice being fed a high fat, high calorie diet!   [14,   15,   16,   17,   18]

The most important take-away from this research is not just about life extension.   The resveratrol-fed mice in this study   [17]   also showed a marked reduction in many of the worst signs of aging. These included

reduced kidney disease,
lowered apoptosis (or cell death) within blood vessels,
increased elasticity of major arteries,
decreased inflammation,
improved motor coordination,
reductions in cataract formation, and the
preservation of bone mineral density in older mice.

That one single molecule can interrupt so many of the underlying causes of disease is simply astounding!

The other 12 phytoalexin polyphenols found in Vivix also provide
amazing protective properties of their own:

  • Ellagic acid has been shown to block carcinogenic compounds from binding with cellular DNA   [20]   and appears to reduce the onset and development of Metabolic Syndrome and adult-onset of diabetes.   [21,   22]

  • Proantocyanidins have been shown to kill cancer cells, as well as inhibiting the growth of cancerous human breast, lung, stomach, and leukemia cells by up to 73 percent.   [23,   24]   It also appears to be protective against arthritis, suppresses tumor growth, and appears to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease, by suppressing the formation of advanced glycation end products, better known as AGE proteins.   [25]     [26]   This is very important, because the buildup of AGE Proteins in cells compromises cell integrity and longevity, and is now considered to be one of the 4 primary mechanisms that cause cellular aging and the onset of disease.   [27]

  • Anthocyanins have been found to be the strongest of 150 different flavonoid antioxidants.   [28]   They have been shown to be protective against the formation of cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)   [29]   They also appear to be protective of various neurodegenerative diseases, including both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.   [30,   31]

  • Ellagitannins provide powerful antibacterial, antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory effects.   [32]   These combined properties make this phenolic very protective against inflammatory diseases, from arthritis to colitis, and against various forms of cancer.

The next set of phytoalexins are:

Genistein, Daidzein and Glyceollins I, II, and III. They are members of the isoflavones class of phytonutrients, and are found in all Shaklee Soy Products, including:


These isoflavones appear to be responsible for many of soy’s reported health benefits.   Soy isoflavones function as estrogen agonists, and this is why people who eat diets rich in soy have the lowest incidence of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. [33]   This is great news for peri- and post-menopausal women [34]   Similar reductions in the incidence of uterine and breast cancers indicate that these phytoestrogens also exhibit powerful anti-estrogenic activity. [35]   This is especially important for peri-menopausal women who want to avoid the use of hormone replacement therapies.   [36]

A recent study at the Oncology unit at Tulane University examined the anti-estrogenic effects of soy phytoalexins, by taking breast and ovarian cancer cells from sick mice and implanting them into a group of healthy mice who already had their ovaries removed.   By using the same techniques that demonstrated that Tamoxifen stimulated uterine cancer, they were able to show that soy isoflavones suppressed the negative effects of estrogen on uterine tissues, and concluded that they were useful for the prevention and/or treatment of breast and ovarian cancers.   [37]

Medicarpin is one of the most interesting of the phytoalexins.   It is found at high levels in Shaklee’s Alfalfa Complex (20160), which is naturally made from pure and natural organic alfalfa.   This compound has been found to be so powerful that Merck Pharmaceutical Company patented a synthetic version of it as a therapeutic agent to treat allergic conditions, asthma, cardiovascular disorders, and inflammation. [38]   This helps explain why Alfalfa Complex has always been very popular in the Shaklee Field for managing respiratory and allergic disorders.   [39]

Allicin is found in Shaklee’s premium Garlic Complex (20084).   It is the first such compound discovered in garlic, onions and leeks, and provides a broad spectrum of benefits, including being anti-microbial, anti-oxidative, anti-tumor promoting, cholesterol lowering, anti-thrombotic (inhibits the formation of clots in blood vessels), and even blocks damage to cellular DNA. [40]   This Shaklee product is a profound addition to your medicine cabinet, and is the perfect partner with Defend and Resist Complex (20613) and Sustained Release Vita-C (20095) for helping prevent and combat bacterial AND viral infections.

Terpenoids and Carotenoids are another group of phytoalexins that include zeaxanthin, sulforaphane, lycopene, and lutein.   All 4 of these are found in Shaklee’s CarotoMax (20652) and the Vitalizer System (in 4 different packs, for Women, Men, and for everyone over 50 years (with or without vitamin K).

These 4 phytoalexins provide broad-spectrum protection against cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, cataract development, memory loss, and even improves the detoxification of the liver.   You can learn much more about these substances at the Carotenoids Page. [41]

Flavonoids are another class of phytoalexins, and they are found in Shaklee’s FlavoMax (20654) and are also found in Shaklee's Life Strip and in Vitalizer.

UCLA cancer researchers found that people who ate foods containing certain flavonoids appeared to be protected from developing lung cancer.   Their research also indicated that only small amounts of flavonoids are necessary to provide these protective benefits.   [42]

Many manufacturers are now rushing to add some these substances to foods, drinks, and supplements, referring to them as “functional foods”.

In almost every case, these manufacturers are using inexpensive synthetic versions of these molecules, even though these synthetic versions have never been clinically tested for their safety or effectiveness.

This is most unfortunate, because previous studies with synthetic duplicates of natural vitamins have failed to reproduce the favorable health outcomes experienced by people who eat diets rich in fruits and vegetables.

Why Is Shaklee Better?

Simply put, it’s because Shaklee supplements have always been sourced from organically grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and grains.   Because of Shaklee’s careful scientific product development and manufacturing stanbdards, they have ALWAYS contained the beneficial organic nutrients we just discussed.   Shaklee is also unique in the supplement industry because they use an advanced laboratory technique called chromatography to help identify the presence and concentration of the chosen molecules in all raw materials.   These same techniques help determine which manufacturing procedures can provide the most protection for these delicate molecules during the production of powders, gels, tablets, and capsules.

A perfect example of Shaklee’s approach in developing unique products is the story behind the creation of their Vivix Liquid Dietary Supplement.   During their usual and ongoing research into the properties of various nutrients, they discovered that there was a very high concentration of 12 different polyphenols in a “super grape” grown right here in America, called the Muscadine grape.

However, no one had developed a natural method for safely harvesting these delicate compounds.   Shaklee teamed up with scientists at the University of Georgia, and spent more than a year developing a low-temperature extraction process that both protected and concentrated these amazing compounds.   Because their care and dedication always leads to producing superior products, Vivix rapidly became one of their leading products.

The Shaklee Difference

The Shaklee Difference has never been more profoundly expressed than by the way they create their soy isolate protein drinks.   First and foremost, Shaklee does not use genetically modified (GM) soybeans.   This is very fortunate, because recent animal studies indicate numerous health risks associated with GM food consumption, including infertility, immune disruption, accelerated aging, and bizarre changes in organs like the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal tracts of tested animals.   The American Academy of Environmental Medicine’s scathing review of the health threats posed by GM consumption is most revealing. [43]   Shaklee developed an expensive genetic certification process called the Identity Preserved Program to guarantee that the soybeans they use are not genetically modified.

Shaklee also avoids using the industry-standard alcohol and hexane extraction method for soy processing, because it was found to eliminate the most important isoflavones, as weall as created cross-contamination with the other chemicals used in this process. [44]   Shaklee uses a slower, and more expensive water-washed method, which retains high levels of genistein and daidzein.   This is why Shaklee soy products can deliver all the health benefits of soy.

You can always rely upon the fact that Shaklee products are superior.

After learning about these unique phytoalexin compounds, it makes it even more evident why Shaklee products are so effective.   Shaklee’s commitment to excellence starts with the conception of the new product, accelerates through review of the peer-reviewed literature on the raw materials, and concludes with clinical trials that demonstrate they are well absorbed, and deliver on their promise.

The Shaklee Ingredient Philosophy

When Selecting Ingredients, We Look to Nature First

Founded on the philosophy of offering products in harmony with nature and good health®, Shaklee adheres to the principles that were established by our founder, Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee. When we select ingredients for our products, we hold to two important principles. These principles set us apart as a company and are the basis for our advanced approach to product development and production.

First of all, our ingredients must be as natural as possible. Secondly, those ingredients must reflect the most recent scientific and technological advances. The superior quality of Shaklee products is a result of our respect for nature’s wisdom and our use of state-of-the-art research and production methods.

The Nutritional and Herbal Ingredient Glossary that follows (see below) is a testament to the principles and philosophy established by Dr. Shaklee. Information is the key to understanding. In our ingredient glossary, you will find a description of every ingredient found in Shaklee nutritional products. We’ve included information about ingredient sourcing and processing, as well as the roles the ingredients perform in our products and in our bodies.

The Shaklee Difference — The Highest Standards

Shaklee's Nutritional and Herbal Products Ingredient Glossary is a reflection of the Shaklee philosophy and principles at work. Each ingredient is as natural as can be and illustrates the leading advances in science and technology. That’s the approach to making products that Dr. Shaklee pioneered, exacting the highest ingredient standards possible.

The ingredients, though, are only one part of the Shaklee Difference. Our unique blend of ingredients, ingredient delivery systems, and product forms, coupled with the cumulative power of the ongoing science behind our products, make Shaklee unique. Furthermore, as we constantly strive to make exceptionally high quality products, we place great value in being ecologically and socially responsible.

The Shaklee Difference is reflected in our research, in our product development, in the care we take to adhere to strict clinical testing and in our meeting the highest manufacturing standards in the industry, while minimizing our impact on the environment. That’s the combination that sets Shaklee products apart from all others. That’s the Shaklee Difference — demanding and providing the best and the purest — by setting the highest standards.

Natural Ingredients

Our number one priority is to use natural ingredients in our products whenever possible.   In fact, when you look through the glossary, you will notice that the vast majority of our ingredients are naturally sourced and are categorized as natural. Ingredients in this category are primarily obtained directly from a natural source, or they may be obtained through simple chemical reactions such as acidification, basification, hydrolysis and fermentation. Such reactions do not significantly alter the chemical structure of the original natural ingredient. For example, beta carotene is harvested from specially grown algae, and vitamin E is obtained from soybean oil. We also include many plant-derived ingredients in our products as potential sources of other plant compounds that may be important to health but have yet to be identified by scientists.

The mineral ingredients that we use are also categorized as natural ingredients. Minerals are natural elements of the earth, and some are dietary essentials for good health. Sometimes, essential minerals can be sourced directly as they are found within the earth — for example, calcium from limestone. But more commonly, minerals must be purified and bound to specific carriers to enhance their bioavailability and digestibility. When a mineral source has a carrier, it is noted in the Ingredient Glossary. Mineral carriers include natural compounds like mineral salts, organic acids, and protein/amino acids.

Naturally Derived Ingredients

Although an ingredient may be found in nature, it may not occur in a concentration that is high enough for our high-potency formulations.   Fortunately, such ingredients can often be derived from natural sources through a series of chemical processes, including many of those described for natural ingredients (e.g. fermentation). Vitamin C is a good example. Rose hips and acerola are two of nature’s most concentrated sources of vitamin C, but they are not concentrated enough for high-potency vitamin C–containing formulations. Fortunately, vitamin C can be derived from the carbohydrate that is present naturally in corn through a multistep process that includes fermentation. Ingredients like these are categorized as naturally derived.

Naturally derived also includes ingredients originating from natural sources which undergo significant modifications so that their final form is structurally and functionally different from the starting material. Although properties of such ingredients have been changed, they are extensively tested for safety and efficacy. This subcategory of “naturally sourced” ingredients includes the ingredient hydroxypropyl methylcellulose. Cellulose is a natural plant fiber, originating from wood pulp. In this case it is custom tailored by a series of chemical modifications so that it takes on different properties that make it functionally advantageous to certain products.

Scientifically Formulated Ingredients

Sometimes, a sufficiently concentrated source of an ingredient cannot be found in nature, nor can it be derived from natural sources.   Because Shaklee does NOT use synthetic nutrients, they use advanced technology to craft bioavailable ingredients, formulated from biochemical building blocks.   Whenever we use these types of ingredients, they are tested thoroughly to ensure bioavailability, purity, and potency.   The B vitamin, folic acid, is an example of a nutrient that is formulated from biochemical building blocks, and in clinical studies has been proven to be more bioavailable than folate found in our foods.

You can download "The Shaklee Nutritional Ingredient Glossary" (PDF) from here.

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Michael Tomberlin
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Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

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(512) 944-6663

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Member ID:   LE63039

Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!

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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!