Sunday, August 12, 2007


Suppression of Negative Findings in Company-Funded Juice Plus Research Studies

Information uncovered by the JPRB indicates that National Safety Associates (NSA), the company that markets Juice Plus products, may have attempted to suppress the release of negative findings from a research study conducted by investigators in Utah.

NSA and Natural Alternatives International (NAI; the manufacturer of Juice Plus), have funded several research studies on Juice Plus, which NSA uses to promote the products in the consumer marketplace. In many cases, NSA and Juice Plus distributors have misrepresented the published studies, used them as the basis for exaggerated claims, and have selectively touted positive findings while ignoring negative and contradictory results. A news report indicates that NSA may also have inappropriately suppressed negative research results from a study which they had paid for.

According to a news article published in 2000, NSA approached researchers at the University of Utah's Division of Foods and Nutrition with the idea for a study on the effects of Juice Plus gummies in children, along with $30,000 to pay for the research.[1] NSA hoped the supplement would reduce the level of oxidative stress in children, but the results showed otherwise.

The study, which was published in the November 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association,[2] showed that Juice Plus gummies failed to improve the antioxidant status of children, which led the authors to conclude that the gummies may have been lacking in antioxidants or that the antioxidants added to the products were not absorbed. The authors also reported the results of a chemical analysis which showed that the gummies contained very high doses of beta-carotene and were deficient in many other nutrients.

Reporters covering the story, two years prior to the publication of the gummies study, noted that “the results disappointed the company that sponsored the study” and that “Juice Plus (NSA) decided to remove its name from the research”. Much to NSAs chagrin, the University of Utah researchers went ahead and published their findings anyway, and, curiously, the published study never specifically identified the product as “Juice Plus” or NSA/NAI as the product’s source.

Remarkably, in the 5 years since the gummies study was published, NSA has never publicly commented on the results or even acknowledged the existence of the study, and makes no mention of the research on the Juice Plus website or in any of the company’s other promotional materials.

The research conducted at the University of Utah serves as a cautionary tale as to why company-funded nutritional supplement research is to be approached with a great deal of skepticism, particularly in the case of NSAs multilevel-marketed Juice Plus products, which are essentially unregulated and receive very little scrutiny from Federal regulatory agencies.


  1. Canham M. University of Utah student uses gummy bears in research. University Wire; March 24, 2000.
  2. Stewart RJ, Askew EW, McDonald CM, Metos J, Jackson WD, Balon TW, Prior RL. Antioxidant status of young children: response to an antioxidant supplement. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102 (11):1652-7.

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