LifeVantage Rides the Road from Notoriety to Obscurity with its Anti-Aging Pill, Protandim

Green tea. Cranberry juice. Red wine. Blueberries. Just say a food or drink has “antioxidants” in it and Baby Boomers are likely to gobble it up, eager to slow the ticking clock and defend against the age-related diseases that come with it. 


But in reality, according to the makers of the anti-aging supplement Protandim, you need a lot more than fruit juice to fend off Father Time. “The truth is, there is an antioxidant myth,” said David Brown, president and CEO of LifeVantage Corp. “It is virtually impossible to consume enough antioxidants through food or juice to offset the amount of free radicals you produce in a day. Some scientists say it’s like trying to increase the volume of the ocean by pouring a glass of water in it.”

Brown joined publicly traded, Englewood-based LifeVantage Corp. in January in hopes of turning around a two-year lull in sales that followed the company’s remarkably promising start. In 2005, LifeVantage Corp. unveiled its first and only product, an innovative supplement designed not to boost antioxidant consumption (like foods, juices and antioxidant supplements do) but rather to jump-start the body into making more of its own antioxidant enzymes and, thus, slow the cellular aging process. The product hit the market in early 2005, and later that year was featured in a lengthy segment of the TV news show ABC Primetime, which heralded Protandim as a “potential breakthrough … a way to erase years.”

By summer’s end, roughly 20,000 viewers had tracked down LifeVantage to place an order for Protandim and the small upstart company posted a promising $3 million in revenues for the quarter. “That one six-minute airing back in 2005 really put us on the map,” said Brown.

LifeVantage Corp.’s quick rise to fame was short lived, however, and its success story instead became a cautionary tale of the pitfalls that can accompany launching a new, scientifically complex product. Nutrition Business Journal provides an in-depth look at Protandim, why it failed to become the commercial success its founders had anticipated and what LifeVantage is doing to try to get the product back on the consumer map in our upcoming Condition-Specific Supplements and Functional Foods issue, which publishes in August. To order your copy of the issue or to subscribe to NBJ, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.

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