Manufactured By Pharmanex
Nu Skin is a huge and famous US based multi-national. Because it is a science based company it invests heavily in product research and development, and its skin care products are extremely popular. Pharmanex is a division of Nu Skin.
Because of the size of Pharmanex there is a lot of marketing hype surrounding Lifepak. Pharmanex certainly has the financial means to dazzle us with a tonne of scientific data and marketing literature.
Lifepak was even an "officially licensed product of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC)" in Salt Lake in 2002 and through to the 2004 Olympics. It is backed by tremendous resources and uses a tonne of scientific studies to support the ingredients it contains.
So, Let's take a closer look and see just how good Lifepak is!
This review examines Lifepak 'Regular' Version.
Firstly I can't write anywhere near as much for LifePak, as I did In my review of 'Total Balance' Xtend-Life for 3 reasons.
1) There aren’t as many strengths.
2) Pharmanex didn’t/wouldn't supply me with as much information as the Xtend-Life company did. There was a lot they wouldn’t reveal.
3) I have never taken Lifepak so I can’t comment from personal experience.
The main strength of Lifepak is that it too has a full spectrum formula which targets every organ and system in the body (although to a much lesser degree than Total Balance).
Lifepak contains 7 out of 8 of the most potent bone nutrients so it delivers excellent support for bone health.
The head scientist for Lifepak, Joseph Chang, Ph.D., has impressive credentials. Scientists with his experience are hard to find and few are working in the supplement industry. The use of every ingredient in Lifepak is backed by many clinical studies which have been studied extensively by Dr Chang's team of scientists.
Pharmanex’s manufacturing standards, although contracted out, are excellent but disappointingly not to pharmaceutical GMP - which I would have expected from a company of this size and fame. The company did advise me that three of their processes reached this level (safety testing, certificates of analysis, and microbial testing).
Pharmanex is one of the few companies to set their own specifications for manufacturing and essentially their contract manufacturers had to shape up and meet these specs if they wanted to work with Pharmanex in the beginning.
Pharmanex holds ‘NSF certification’ – getting this involved a complex set of procedures to certify conformance with the FDA’s cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices - for food) and the NSF/ANSI Standard, which includes in-depth manufacturing facility audits, and laboratory testing for nutrient levels, labeling standards, and absence of contaminants.
Raw ingredient quality is definitely Pharmanex’s key strength.
They apply what they call their 6 S Process (selection, sourcing, substantiation, standardization and safety) to ensure only the best, purest and safest raw ingredients are used.
You certainly won’t find any contaminants or adulterated ingredients in Lifepak.
Pharmanex has done 2 double-blind placebo-controlled studies to measure the antioxidant levels in healthy non- smokers. These tests prove that people using Lifepak experience increased antioxidant levels.
This is a key strength for Lifepak and although health needs to be assessed through a much wider set of health markers than just antioxidant levels, these tests none-the-less should hopefully spur other leading supplement companies into action to find ways measure or prove product claims.
Lifepak contains 4 all natural excipients (inactives) which is at the low end of the optimal range of 4 – 10.
Customer service is very good. They responded to 99% of my emails and usually within 24 hours. They gave detailed and often lengthy answers although it’s clear that most of these were pre-written. For a couple of tricky questions I posed where there was obviously no prepared responses, their answers were a little wishy washy and skirted around the main issue(s).
They wouldn't reveal quite a lot of the information I requested – info that hardly seems proprietary but which they think is (e.g. how many hours for blending, type of blender used, breakdown and potencies of citrus bioflavonoids, potency of tocotrienols etc).
All the processes around Lifepak are impressive and top notch but the product itself comes up short – at least in comparison to Total Balance. You can use this link to jump over to my Total Balance Review (opens a new tab/window)
Lifepak is the most expensive of the initial 4 elite supplements used in my reviews and comparisons and yet contains the smallest amount of active ingredients per tablet and the least number of ingredients. Worst still,
A whopping 87% of this total is just vitamins and minerals!! (LifePak 'Regular' Version).
Sorry folks but Lifepak appears to me to be more like an expensive multi vitamin and mineral supplement including some important extras. In comparison to Total Balance, Lifepak does not offer good value for money.
They do promote Lifepak essentially as an anti-aging product and so yes, many of the vitamins and minerals fulfill this role, but they also promote it as a nutritionally complete product!
It’s missing many of the expensive key herbals and phytonutrients which are so crucial to disease prevention and well-being, and has low amounts of most of the key ones it does contain (e.g. grape seed extract, quercetin and soy isoflavones).
Lifepak regular has no enzymes, no amino acids, no specific male or female support nutrients other than isoflavones (and cranberry powder for urinary tract infections in LifePak Women) and very few trace elements. If you move up to the ‘Prime’ version, aimed at 40 year old men and above and postmenopausal women, (and pay more) then you get a few valuable extras. (See below)
If you have already read my Total Balance review and/or a number of the pages at nutritional-supplement-truths.com, then you will already know my my stance on high vitamin/mineral levels in elite health supplements .....BUT if you still feel that vitamin and minerals are essentially what you are after, then you can get similar results with a far cheaper, quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement – you don’t need to pay the price of LifePak for this.
Half (55%) of an entire Lifepak tablet is composed of just two cheap micro-nutrients - vitamin C (buffered) and calcium!
If you add in magnesium then these 3 ingredients account for 68% of a Lifepak tablet!
With the typical diets of consumers who buy high quality supplements, and the synergistic effects of the correctly combined ingredients in Lifepak, I believe these overly generous doses of calcium and vitamin C are going to give you more than what you need (of these two nutrients). If that’s the case the excess will be lost straight down the toilet.
Sure - women need additional calcium. But as I said above, supplement consumers are health conscious people and have fairly good diets to begin with.
Most of them easily have adequate intake of calcium via their diet. I do not believe that they are part of the population segment shown in surveys that show large percentage of the US population do not consume enough calcium.
With respect to calcium the problem is not so much not getting enough but rather a leaching of calcium from the bones - caused by diet! Professional grade supplements should be formulated to address this specific issue.
Calcium is so cheap that if you feel you need additional calcium, or have been diagnosed with low levels, then you are best to purchase it separately.
Supplements should not be loaded up with calcium and other vitamins and minerals that may or may not be needed.
Ok - enough harping on the vitamin/mineral issue.
If you want more beneficial ingredients then Pharmanex makes you pay for it.
Take for example nutrients that address women’s specific needs.
For these you will have to move up to the ‘Lifepak Women’ version and pay an extra $6.60.
For this you get:
But none of the expensive and efficious hormone precursors (other than soy isoflavones) such as those contained in Total Balance. The additional 20 mg of isoflavones (over regular Lifepak) is a good move and is the best part of these extras in this Women's version.
The Lifepak ‘Prime’ version disappointingly does virtually nothing to address prostate health which a primary consideration for men over 40 – the male target market for ‘Prime’. The only prostate nutrient it contains is a tiny 5mg of lycopene which is already in Lifepak regular.
‘Prime’ gives you 7 extra ingredients for almost $13.00 more. These are good nutrients that should be in Lifepak regular to begin with (without any additional cost!):
NOTE: Co Q10 is an extremely expensive ingredient – there’s a worldwide shortage at present - and so Pharmanex seems unable to put enough in.
Studies have shown that the bioavailability of Co Q10 is 5 - 10 % so the 20 mg in LifePak Prime isn’t enough. Only 1 to 2 mg will be absorbed and this falls short of the 5 mg needed from our daily diet.
The Lifepak money back guarantee has too many conditions for my liking. Surely the amount of people who shop in the best vitamin supplement category and then decide shortly thereafter to send back the product must be insignificant to a company the size of Pharmanex. So why so many conditions??
It gives a negative, consumer-unfriendly feel!
I asked Xtend-Life about this since they have an unconditional 12 month money back guarantee on any unopened bottles, and they reported that the amount of customers who claim against the guarantee is negligible.
Customers who buy the best vitamin supplements are knowledgeable – they don’t spend that kind of money without researching products first. They also know these supplements time to work; that the results are often so subtle you can’t detect them at first; and that you should continue with the supplement for life, to properly address the health and wellness goals for which the product was initially purchased.
Lastly I'd like to mention the main classes of phytonutrients – carotenoids and flavonoids. These powerful plant based chemicals are constantly impressing scientists with their potent health promoting benefits which include the ability to fight disease.
The ‘LifePak Challenge’ - a set of criteria formulated on scientific studies to compare dose amounts of important ingredients in LifePak with its competitors - shows that LifePak has significant amounts of carotenoids and flavonoids for a quality product.
Phytonutrients are the ingredients that you want to see making up a significant amount of your multi ingredient supplement. (Sorry to repeat myself but its an important comment!).
Despite passing the LifePak Challenge criteria standards for carotenoid and flavonoid dose amounts, the overall phytonutrient total in Lifepak is low in comparison to 'Total Balance'. Here’s a repeat of the phytonutrient figures which were mentioned above in the Total Balance summary.
I have also mentioned the importance of standardized herbal extracts in multi nutrient supplements.
Unfortunately LifePak regular contains only 2 herbal extracts: Grape seed extract and catechins from Green Tea extract. This is low when compared against Total Balance Women’s Plus and Men’s Plus at 15 and 13 respectively.
Grape seed is a very strong antioxidant that has been well researched and has numerous health benefits. To its credit Pharmanex has used a very high 95% potency but disappointingly includes only 25 mg.
LifePak Prime has an additional two standardized extracts (milk thistle and Gingko) 50 mg of each.
My final take on Lifepak is this:
Pharmanex are a top notch, science-based company dedicated to making a difference and they certainly know how to scientifically formulate a professional supplement aimed at supporting overall good health.
The problem as I see it is that they are held back by too many costs: MLM marketing, huge company structure and shareholder pressure. This shows in the composition of Lifepak.
If these factors were reduced or eliminated (which they can’t be) I’m absolutely confident that Pharmanex would immediately churn out a much more efficious Lifepak and offer much greater value for money. Lifepak does belongs in the Best Vitamin Supplements group but poor value for money is most certainly its biggest downfall.