Saturday, June 02, 2007


Readers Respond (June 2, 2007): Mitra Ray

From Sara Bibbins, McClellan, CA (May 31, 2007)
Last night I heard Dr. Mitra Ray speak in Sacramento at the request of a coworker who sells Juice Plus. Dr. Ray spoke primarily about a vegan diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grain, no meat or meat products), but she also spoke about Juice Plus. I've searched the internet for information on Juice Plus and have read many negative reports about the product (costly, questionable research, etc.). I was very taken with Dr. Ray and was wondering about her background and association with Juice Plus. Do you have any information on her? Thank you.

Reply From The JPRB Team
Mitra Ray is a major Juice Plus distributor and, along with her husband Doug Barlow (also a JP distributor[1]), operates a Juice Plus product distribution and marketing support company that goes by the name of Shining Star International.[2]

Ray is a major Juice Plus promoter and spokesperson. Her Juice Plus testimonials are prominently featured on the Juice Plus consumer website[3] and other Juice Plus promotional materials.

Ray also appears on the website “Science & Health News”[4] which is actually just another Juice Plus promotional site run by National Safety Associates (NSA), the company that co-manufactures and distributes Juice Plus products and provides distributor franchising and training.

She tours around the U.S. delivering health lectures, which are little more than Juice Plus promotional pitches blended with regurgitated bits of obvious commonsense information combined with other transparently self-serving advice. She is also a regular speaker at Juice Plus distributor training events[5] and is the narrator on several product promotional and distributor training audio seminars.[6][7]

Ray has made a variety of questionable comments about Juice Plus, the most absurd of which was:

“When Juice Plus first came out I thought it was more important than the discovery of antibiotics, and I still stand by that statement today.”[8]

She has also recommended Juice Plus as a replacement for prenatal vitamins, even though it fails to meet the recommended daily intake for most nutrients (e.g. calcium, potassium, several B-vitamins, most minerals). Although one extremely poorly designed retrospective study conducted by Juice Plus distributor Doug Odom looked at Juice Plus in combination with prenatal vitamins, no research has ever studied Juice Plus as a replacement for prenatal vitamins. Ray has also recommended that users should take double, triple, or more of the daily 4-capsule Juice Plus regimen. While this would benefit product sales, it contradicts widely accepted nutritional guidelines which discourage such supplemental beta-carotene/folate/vitamin E/vitamin C mega-dosing.

Ray earned a PhD in cell biology from Stanford University. She seems to have had a very brief research career at the University of Washington (Department of Biochemistry) after obtaining her PhD and has not been actively involved in research for well over a decade. Given her training, she is clearly not an expert in nutrition or medicine.

Her most touted accomplishment as a graduate student was serving as a tertiary investigator in research that reportedly identified the gene sequence and physiological role of a protein known as recoverin, which was published in 1991 [Dizhoor et al. Science. 1991;251:915]. Remarkably, the conclusions of that study were withdrawn by its authors in a letter to the editor published in 1993 [Hurley et al. Science. 1993;260:740]. A retraction like this is highly unusual and it in effect largely discounts the significance of Ray’s previous research. Her research career seems to have fizzled out shortly after the retraction was issued.

Ray is an author of a "new-age" health book. We have not read it, but judging from what we have seen so far, we suspect that it would be garbage. This book, as well as Ray's Juice Plus CDs, are promoted and sold by NSA.

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