Health Food Scams: XanGo Juice

Made with the fruit mangosteen – not to be confused with mangos, which are a different plant- and other juices, it is marketed by the corporation XanGo, LLC which is a multi-level marketing company founded in 2002 and based in Lehi, Utah. They are the current leader in marketing products made from mangosteen juice.

Mangostten is part of a group known as the Guttiferae, a family of mainly tropical trees and shrubs that secrete an acrid yellow resinous juice. Mangosteen’s scientific designation is Garcinia mangostana, named after a French explorer, Jacques Garcin.

Marketing materials for XanGo Juice claim numerous health benefits for humans. These include:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-microbial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-viral
  • anti-cancer
  • anti-ulcer
  • anti-hepatotoxic
  • anti-rhinoviral
  • anti-allergic effects

Promotional literature for the product claims that antioxidants from the inedible rind of the fruit provide health benefits. But, none of these claims has scientific proof established by peer-reviewed research and human clinical trials.

The company’s website states that “research shows xanthones (an alleged component of XanGo juice) possess potent antioxidant properties that may help maintain intestinal health, strengthen the immune system, neutralize free radicals, help support cartilage and joint function, and promote a healthy seasonal respiratory system”; however, they also add a footnote with the following disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Notice how they add the disclaimer at the bottom of the label, likely knowing that the majority of people who even glance at it won’t read it all the way through to the end.

A scientific advisor for the company, David A. Morton, PhD , said in 2006 there is “emerging evidence that mangosteen has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties”, yet acknowledged the only study of humans consuming mangosteen juice was conducted as a test of dysentery therapy in Singapore in 1932.

By the way, Dr Morton’s brothers, Joe and Gordon, helped found the company in the first place. It’s just a coincidence, right?

Yeah, right.

In 2007, the Mayo Clinic stated there was laboratory evidence that the xanthones in mangosteen had anti-inflammatory activity, but there was no evidence demonstrating such anti-inflammatory effects in humans. Quoting Mayo Clinic, “”there are no published clinical trials showing evidence that either the fruit or its juice — marketed under the name XanGo juice — is an effective treatment for arthritis, cancer or any other disorder in humans.”.

But, they said it had anti-inflammatory properties, didn’t they? Or maybe they just think it has anti-inflammatory properties?

Well, multi-level marketing companies seldom let inconvenient facts get in the way of profits, don’t they?

As far as XanGo’s effectiveness against cancer, the American Cancer Society’s profile of mangosteen juice states there is no reliable evidence that mangosteen juice, puree, or bark is effective as a treatment for cancer in humans.

And wouldn’t you just know that the government would have to step in at some point and not in a small way either. On September 20, 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to XanGo LLC in response to the company’s promotion of Xango juice as a drug (meaning that it could treat or prevent a disease, such a cancer or arthritis), in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)]. The agency’s letter further warned that Xango juice had not been properly tested for safety and efficacy, and as a proposed new drug it could not be legally sold in the US without prior approval of the FDA, and that the company could face enforcement action including seizure and/or injunction of products or suspension of business. Under FDA drug labeling rules, XanGo LLC, as manufacturer, is responsible for satisfying scientific criteria to make health claims on its product labels and all marketing materials. As far as I know, the case remains open.

Dr. Ralph Moss, author of several natural remedy books, said this in reference to XanGo Juice, “In my opinion, what we have here is simply an overpriced fruit drink.”

On visiting the XanGo website, he heard various claims of the anti-cancer benefits of XanGo given by Dr. J. Frederic Templeman, a Georgia family practitioner who has written a small book on mangosteen.

Dr Templeman mentioned that there are 44 scientific publications on this topic. But, as Dr Morton discovered, there are just 29 articles on the topic of Garcinia mangostana in PubMed, the US National Library of Medicine database which contains over 14 million citations. A total of four of these studies relate to cancer.

An over-priced fruit drink. That pretty much sums it up for me, too.

Look, I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to eat and drink something. Neither am I saying that people and businesses don’t have the right to make money.

But, I draw the line when a company or an individual makes health claims about their product that are either untrue or unverified by science.

As I’ve said in previous entries on health, you can do pretty well for yourself by eating and drinking foods that you can find in your local supermarket. For the cost, you can’t beat sweet potatos, blueberries, strawberries, yams and other foods which have been proven to be good for you. They are less expensive than these fad health foods and do the job that these “alternatives” can only claim to do for you. That is: to keep you healthy and help you live a long life.

You might wonder if there could possibly be any harm in drinking XanGo. You may actually like the taste and don’t mind spending the money. Consider the case of a patient with severe acidosis (acidity of the blood plasma) possibly attributable to a year of daily use of mangosteen juice. The amount the patient drank everyday is not specified and neither is the brand. The drink he consumed was infused with xanthones, as occurs in the manufacture of XanGo juice. The authors of the case report proposed that chronic exposure to alpha-mangostin, a xanthone, could be toxic to mitochondrial function, leading to impairment of cellular respiration and production of lactic acidosis.

And you thought it was just another brand of juice, didn’t you?

No, it’s not a juice. It’s a business and a business exists for the sole purpose of making money.

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14 Responses to “Health Food Scams: XanGo Juice”

  1. Jason Says:

    Don’t be fooled with online scams, they really sucks! I got a lot of e-mails every now and then telling me some sort of winning but actually will scam you if you’ll attentively reply to them with your personal information.

  2. fortunato Says:

    Test the mangosteen juice aka Xango’s efficacy in order for you to stop claiming it’s a scam. Next time you get burned with oil or sunburn, instead of applying first aid remedies, apply the juice generously to the affected skin and watch it works! Test the product first before making claims or disputing its validity! Got it? I hope so!

  3. Alonzo Kaupfmann Says:

    Now, did I step on your poor, little toes? Aww!

    So, now XanGo is a treatment for burns?

    You got any scientific evidence to back that up?

    I didn’t think so.

    Here’s your problem: you’ve falled for that old MLM trick that says that testimonials have value when evaluating a product for medicinal usage by humans.

    They don’t. Zero.

    For any product to be aproved for medicinal use, it has to be evaluated in a lab under strict conditions. Double-blind tests, etc.

    I’m guessing that you’re one of those vultures that peddles this crap to the gullible. Am I right?

  4. Traci Says:

    I appreciate your wanting to uncover a potential scam, I truly do. Because when there really is one, it is important to get the word out.

    I would like to mention to you that FDA does not approve any natural health product. They do evaluate them though. They have to…it’s the law. They evaluate truth in labeling, among other things. Xango juice is not a drug. The FDA does not promote any natural product, as far as what health benefits it holds, no matter what company it comes from…but do you understand why? It is not a drug, and the FDA works with drugs companies and food products. Think of what would happen if no one bought drugs. Do you see any bottle of juice at Wal-Mart that contains vitamin C and states “This will cure your cold!” Or any product on the shelf that contains cholesterol that states “This will clog your arteries!”. The FDA absolutely DOES evaluate all statements about Xango products, and products of all other companies, as well as their labeling and ingredients. It’s the law, so you can’t claim that they aren’t involved when you clearly aren’t aware of how it works, can you? Look at any natural product from any other company, and you will see the FDA warning in the exact same place, in the same size font, etc. This is NOT exclusive to Xango, so you cannot possibly expect anyone to believe that Xango is sneaky or trying to deceive their market. This is just how it works, plain and simple. You will see this everywhere if you’d take the time to look and find out why. It would be silly for any company to slap that FDA warning label in big bold font and color across their package front and center, wouldn’t it? Again, this is not exclusive to Xango. Check around for that.

    The Mayo Clinic IS currently working with cancer patients and Xango Juice. Look around and read about it. Better yet, call Mayo and find out for yourself. They are doing extensive research on the product as I type this. I also happen to know one person in particular who is undergoing treatment at Mayo for brain cancer. They have instructed him to work his way up to one full bottle of the Xango Juice per day. Keep your eyes on this….you really need to do more research before making such claims about this company or any other. You appear to have not done much in that regard before typing up your concerns. That is unfortunate.

    As far as the government stepping in due to Xango making claims about the benefits of the juice, you have to understand a key point in that situation. It is not the company itself that is making these claims. Certain independent distributors had created their own “websites”, their own “brochures” and such, rather than using the material provided by the company. And that is where those claims were made. By independent distributors, NOT by Xango. Xango has a strict policy for putting out this type of material. And unfortunately because certain distributors choose to save money and make their own materials, it falls on the shoulders of the company itself. Xango can’t possibly track the thousands and thousands of distributors across the world to ensure that they are not making claims on their own. The only legal way to make a claim about a product such as this is to give your own personal testimonial, or to get the permission of someone else to share theirs. Can you see how this can be a problem? And can you see how it could be a problem with any company besides just Xango? Xango is all over the world. Not everyone plays by the rules, and this is why Xango has a strict policy regarding the materials that distributors are allowed to use, and if they fail to use the materials provided, it is their neck on the line, not Xango’s. It was a difficult education, but Xango has made every effort to ensure that this doesn’t occur. Aside from having policies, it’s the distributors themselves that have to follow them. Make sense?

    And finally, I am really shocked at the claims you make regarding Xango just being a business for monetary purposes only. Are you aware that since their doors opened in 2002, a portion of every product sold has gone to charity? Do you know what those charities are? Do you know how much money has gone to them in the last 7 years? This is what Xango founders set out to do from it’s inception. To not only provide the world with a health product that was a category creator, but to also help the less fortunate people around the world. Charities like Operation Smile, The Children’s Organ Transplant Foundation, The Forever Young Foundation, The Christmas Box House, Best Buddies, The National McGruff House Network, and many others. Millions and millions of dollars have been contributed to children and families around the world who can’t afford to pay for a life-saving transplant, or surgery.

    By the way, because Xango has seen so many amazing results with their product, and because they are #4 in the world in the industry in just 7 y ears – bypassing all other MLM’s that have been around for decades, other companies have implemented the mangosteen into their products attempting to catch up with the momentum that Xango has experienced. It will never happen, because Xango has the only patented formula, never to be duplicated by any other company. But that speaks volumes for the company, and for the products themselves. (Assuming you have any business acumen, you’ll understand how relevant that is.)

    I mean no disrespect, however if you have never used the products in the manner they were meant for, you can’t possibly make these claims. You are one of the people that you speak of….those who make claims that are false, or with no long-term research behind them. If you purchased the juice and had no response to it, it’s because you didn’t use it daily or you didn’t use it for more than a day or two, or maybe a week. Maybe you used it for three months, but only drank it once every three days. How can that constitue a claim either for or against any product? We must be realistic here. There are always going to be people who will complain about a company or a product, but what is really behind those complaints, especially when it pertains to an MLM? Usually it is the fact the the person making them was not successful in their business, or didn’t get the results they were looking for with the product. But why weren’t they successful? Why didn’t they get the results they were looking for? They didn’t do what was needed to be done to make it happen. You can’t sit outside your garden and watch it grow without watering it or pulling the weeds, and then be upset because nothing came up. That would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

    I wish you the best, and the best to all those who read this. Just pleaese folks, be sure to do the research before you make comments about something you aren’t fully educated on. You run the risk of someone who DOES know the facts catching you in a silly comment that is unwarranted and embarassingly inaccurate. Especially in the age of the internet.

  5. me Says:

    Amen! TRACI

  6. bubba Says:

    All MLMs suffer from having a non-sustainable growth model in addition to playing on the fears of people. It is a tough job that some people can succeed in. I would like to comment on cancer-fighting abilities with how that person got sick by using it. The most common way to fight cancer is through chemotherapy. Chemo is poison, it kills cancer cells as well as all the other cells it comes in contact with. I can see how anything that is anti-cancerous would make you sick, there is no way a juice with xanthones will go into a cell and repair the faulty DNA which causes cancer.

  7. Schultzy Says:

    Bubba,

    ALL businesses have a non-sustainable GROWTH model if you look at a big enough picture. For example, Coca-Cola’s mission is to have a can of coke within arm’s reach of every person on the planet (they obviously aim high). What happens when they reach that goal? There’s not really any way for them to grow from there. And the most recently hired sales guy who closed that last contract for them, he’s going to have a tough time recommending his out of work friend work for Coke as a sales guy because the market is completely saturated. The important question for a potential sales person to ask, in whatever business model (traditional or direct selling), is “is the market saturated?” If it’s not, then there is good reason to believe that the company can sustain GROWTH for awhile before transitioning to RETENTION. It’s how ALL businesses work.

    And spyder,

    You distorted what the Mayo Clinic said and I don’t believe the sarcasm helps your credibility.

    “there are no published clinical trials”

    Notice they didn’t say ANYTHING about the efficacy of the fruit/product, they simply stated that there are no published clinical trials that either verify or invalidate the claims. And btw, I know Traci brought it up, but that will be changing very soon.

  8. Al Says:

    Hello. I have to share this factual information with you. I purchased several cases of Xango. In fact I did sign up as a Distributor which goes to prove the point that most people who “buy” the product are Distributors and not retail customers. I, like most other Distributors was interested in earning the $$, and the product was secondary. I am fit and healthy, without any significant health concerns. I do sometimes get headaches for which I take a supermarket supplied pharmaceutical which works fine. Listening to the “wonderful health benefits…anti-inflammatory etc) of Xango, I was pleased to have the juice on hand when I got a severe headache. I drank it like there was no tomorrow to try to reduce the “inflammation” in my head to reduce my head ache but to NO AVAIL. It did nothing. Sweet nudda. Then a few weeeks later when I got a fever again I drank the juice, in fact I went through 5 bottles in 3 days. Nothing. No relief. Nudda. Does it “work”? OF COURSE NOT! Can you make $$ from it? YES! You could do the same with any fruit or veggie juice. The moral of the sad story in MLM is that the business comes first, the product is just by the way. I feel so sorry for the poor victims of serious illness who try Xango because they are lead to believe that they have a chance for a benefit.

  9. Believer Says:

    To Al maybe your headaches come from guilt for ripping people off it doesn’t say it gets rid of guilt any where does it?

  10. carl Says:

    I like to call fanatic Xango supporters Xombies, because they all seem to have the same lines about Xango’s miracle healing powers and how evil conventional medicine and the FDA is.
    They will defend Xango till they day they find a brain somewhere along the way to Xango meeting.
    It has been 10 years since Xango has been around, lets see what great medical and scientific results have come about since Xango’s inception.
    1 clinicle study done by Xango.
    Just one from a huge international billion dollar company in the last 10 years!
    Where is Xango’s research facility?
    Any one know?
    The 2 so called 3rd party doctors, Morton and Templemen, SURPRISE! David morton is founders Joe and Gordons brother.
    SURPRISE! Dr Templemen is David Mortons father in law.
    HOW CONVIENIENT!
    Instead of giving food to starving children around the world in thier profit for charity program, why don’t they just give out free bottles of Xango to sick and dying people so they can live?
    No! that would be too charitable, better to charge sick people $40 a bottle for fruit juice.
    People in Xango are like snake oil predators who only try to hook you in to buying a case of Xango every month for $100.00 plus shipping.
    They will say anything to get your money.
    By the way Xango’s huge clinicle study conclusion?
    There needs to be more human clinicle studies done.

  11. Kathy Says:

    Just because the product didn’t work for one doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. I was a distributor who failed miserably in selling the product because yes it is a bit pricy… however in the short time that I was involved with the juice product I had seen many miracles with it working for many people in many ways. I even had a close friend who was on blood pressure meds and after drinking the juice it had gone down a lot… the doctor naturally says stop drinking the juice, nevermind its a natural juice, just keep taking your meds that have all those side effects… I have not been involved with the company for years but I still purchase and have on hand juice for emergency situations. I was involved before the adding of the new products and Iam sure they work wonders as well but the price is just not in my budget. I would highly recommend the juice for people with high blood pressure, inflammation, lack of energy.. I have used and consumed the juice personally and applied to skin, I have given it to my pets and applied to their skin as well. I have seen miracles with this juice and it bothers me that people doubt it before even trying it or seeing for themselves what it could do for them. I have seen this juice save lives and it did save the life of one of my pets.

  12. carl Says:

    Kathy, I’m sorry you have been brainwashed by a juice that is made at a billion dollar bottling plant with no nutrional value since the pasturization process eliminates most all of the nutritional values,

    And add some preservative to the juice and you got just expensive liquid colored water.

    Go eat some fresh Blueberries from your local farmers market.
    You will get more antioxidents and you will be supportinb your local farmer.
    The reason for this juice is to make you believe it’s a miracle and make a bunch of Mormons rich.
    I have’nt seen this miraculous juice on “60 minutes” and in the ten years it’s been around there has been nothing of scientific or medical value.

    Please go to Xango Confidential facebook to get all the facts on the phony juice scam.

  13. FC Says:

    It’s amazing how Xango people play with people’s ego and hope just to get some money, and then claim to “help” by sending a small amount of food to compensate the poorness they leave on their way. Once you’re in you become a true believer even without any prove of the “magic” of the product. It’s amazing how expectation and money can change the way people see life… It’s a shame the lack of ethics, charity and humanity of this company. “For a few to be immortal, many must die” – In Time (2011)

  14. Ellen Dynum Says:

    its not like its a matter of opinion. these guys are professional con artist. their top salesman sherman unkefer spen 8 years in prison for Fraud. Dr Talbott, who is the spokesperson for Xango’s Eleviv product, was forced by the FTC to give up $1.12 million in assets for making “false or unsubstantiated product claims and used deceptively formatted infomercials in pitching the dietary supplements”. dr templeman and dr morton who write all the bullshit literature about the mangosteen are both related to the founders. its so pathetic that people cant figure this out for themselves. are folks seriously so naive ?

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