Posted 9 March 2014
|USN was founded in South Africa by Albe Geldenhuys. Meet a great salesman – and also one of South Africa’s biggest scam artists.|
Why are we making such a bold claim?
Firstly, there is no robust proof that the majority of USN products, bar a few, are able to benefit consumers as USN claims – above that of a placebo response.
Secondly, the proof for the claims for the individual ingredients have mostly been shown to not be possible, i.e., they have been studied and found to not have the effects USN claims – yet USN claims that they do work!
And many of the products are ingredients mixed together and never tested in human studies, simply a guess: for example, USN VO2 Max Red Blood Cell & Oxygen Booster. The claim already, if was true, would make this a miracle product and used by every athlete on earth. However, the physiology of red cell and oxygen makes the claims for this product a very far stretch. Notice the careful words: “the content may help to buffer lactic acid” – yes, “we do not know, cannot guarantee this, have no idea, but sure as hell will take your money in the process”.
When the ASA rules against a USN product, USN simply changes the claims and makes other unsubstantiated claims. In other words, “you caught us lying, we remove these lies and replace them with others”.
And since November 2013, with the new CAM regulations having been published, these products are illegal.
But the main reason we focus on Albe, is for how he and USN conduct business.
USN marketed a product called USN Cellu-Firm which contained Centella asiatica, (also known as Gotu kola) an ingredient that has NO history of use, EVER, for cellulite or weight-loss – simply sucked out of someones thumb! Even after the ASA ruling, i.e., pointing out that USN had been caught making claims for an ingredient that is not even recognised for this use, USN continued advertisling this product until a number of ASA breach rulings resulted in the withdrawal of this product from the market. How much money did they make from this scam?
Remember the USN Oxygen Enriched water product? Well oxygen is not absorbed through the stomach. Full stop. Big, big scam! As Marty stated – “Oxygen goes through the lungs …. to the blood stream, into the red blood corpuscles … any kids who did biology should know that …”
USN Carb binder Starch Intake Inhibitor claims “White Kidney Bean extract . . . RAPID WEIGHT CONTROL – has been shown to decrease enzymatic activity involved in the digestion of starches, potentially assisting in a reduced level of carbohydrate uptake”. What does Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database have to say about this ingredient? “INSUFFICIENT RELIABLE EVIDENCE to RATE” – “. . in a different preliminary clinical study in obese patients taking this same extract in a high dose of 1500 mg twice daily, it did not significantly reduce weight when used for 8 weeks” and “. . .no firm conclusions are possible about the effectiveness of bean pod for weight or fat loss”. USN suggests using their product at 1,000 mg before a carbohydrate-rich meal. (See context at the end of this posting). Furthermore, it is illegal to be selling unregistered carb blockers, as per Medicines Control regulations!
So why this post?
A reader has brought to my attention USN Waterslim, “rapid water loss drink for a toned physique”. It contains the ingredient Cacti-Nea™ (Opuntia ficus indica). What is the evidence that Opuntia ficus indica can result in water loss? NIL. Absolutely no proof in humans at all. But wait, that is not all! This ingredient was marketed by USN as USN Fat Block until the ASA ruled against the product as USN could not prove that this product could result in weight loss (or block fat)! In other words, Albe Geldenhuys is responsible for the decision by USN to simply repackage the product as USN Waterslim and to make another set of false claims for this ingredient!
Now that is a master scam artist!
The (moslty) nonsense claims made for USN Waterslim include:
- Rapid Water Loss Drink For A Toned Physique
- Scientifically formulated to eliminate water retention under the skin to amplify weight control.
- Cacti-Nea™ is an original nutraceutical ingredient developed from Opuntia ficus indica cactus fruit or prickly pear (containing betalaïns & indicaxanthins).
- Cacti-Nea™’s diuretic and weight management properties have been tested in animal and human studies. It has been shown to reduce water mass (resulting in significant weight control) and to limit fat mass gain when taken at levels equivalent to that found in USN WaterSlim. This cactus fruit ingredient, which is also a potent antioxidant, will naturally help to refine the silhouette & regain the body’s tone, which makes it the perfect product to use in combination with other weight management formulations. Furthermore, contrary to other diuretic substances, Cacti-Nea™ does not show any side-effect on blood pressure or on mineral & uric acid balance.
- Exceptional diuretic properties
- Anti-fat mass effect
- Allows significant weight loss (mainly as temporary water loss)
- Helps to refine the silhouette
- No side-effects or adverse effects shown in studies
Research on PubMed and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, both accepted as reputable sources of information, the latter in particular regarding alternative ingredients, lists no effectiveness for diuretic ability for this ingredient, i.e., there is no proof that it has this effect.
Worse, the claim is made that “No side-effects or adverse effects shown in studies“ when in fact there are two reports of adverse effects to Opuntia ficus in the medical literature, one in 2009 and the other in 2010.[i, ii] Therefore USN has deliberately lied to the consumer in their advertising.
NMCD on White Kidney Bean:
Obesity. There is contradictory evidence about the effectivenss of bean pod extract for weight loss. Preliminary clinical evidence shows that taking a specific bean pod extract (Phase 2, Pharmachem Labs) 445 mg/day might modestly increase weight loss when taken by slightly overweight patients on a calorie-restricted diet. These patients averaged weight loss of 6.6 lbs over 30 days of treatment, compared with 0.8 lbs lost by patients on placebo (15518). However, in a different preliminary clinical study in obese patients taking this same extract in a high dose of 1500 mg twice daily, it did not significantly reduce weight when used for 8 weeks (12186). In a meta-analysis of 6 trials, bean pod was no more effective than placebo for weight loss.