Posted 14 December 2013
StemEnhance came to South African consumers attention around the beginning of 2009. In fact, this product has been around 2007
We wrote: “A second critical point: In medicine, and in particular in stem cell research, when a very clinically worthwhile finding is published, a flood of researchers from around the world try to reproduce that finding, or at least get involved in furthering work around that finding. Since Drapeau publication in 2007, absolute silence! Yes, NO other stem cell researchers have paid ANY attention to StemEnhance or the published paper!“, and, “In plain language, there is insufficient evidence to confirm that StemEnhance has ANY effect on the body. These are facts and not suppositions. Any claims are purely hypothetical“.
We also pointed out that the product contains high levels of arsenic and microcystins (not a guess but we analysed the product).
At this page we made the important comments: “Here is a list of research articles published on StemEnhance to date: February 2012 Although the articles below may appear impressive, they are actually in scientific terms inadequate to confirm the claims for StemEnhance! (They have also never been independently reproduced)”
So what has happened since then till now, are there any clinical studies?
NOTHING. Not a single new study confirming that StemEnhance has any benefit to humans (healthy or otherwise). In scientific terms, this is a damning! Not a single researcher throughout the whole scientific community, and particularly those studying stem cells, have had any belief in StemEnhance to even consider researching this product. Not since 2007. Six years is a very long time in scientific terms in this context.
It is possible that many have but were not driven enough to try to publish negative findings (the best journals are pressed for space and are only able to accept between 10-30% of manuscripts submitted to them, and tend to favour research with positive findings rather than negative (yes, not acceptable but the reality)).
NOT EVEN StemEnhance, who have generated a lot of money, have even published studies confirming the claimed health benefits. This would suggest that either they know that there are none, hence not attempting to do these studies, or have done the studies but found zero effects.
There is however one further study conducted in Egypt to see if StemEnhance will release stem cells, but conducted in diabetic albino rats! (Int J Stem Cells. 2013 May;6(1):1-11. The Effect of In Vivo Mobilization of Bone Marrow Stem Cells on the Pancreas of Diabetic Albino Rats (A Histological & Immunohistochemical Study). Ismail ZM, Kamel AM, Yacoub MF, Aboulkhair AG.)
And what about safety?
StemEnhance contains Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, an algae.
Here are the most recent reviews/studies on this compound:
“Only Aph. flos-aquae products were tested positive for microcystins as well as the presence of mcyE. The contamination levels of the MC-positive samples were ≤ 1 μg MC-LR equivalents g(-1) dw. None of the other toxins were found in any of the products. However, extracts from all products were cytotoxic. In light of the findings, the distribution and commercial sale of Aph. flos-aquae products, whether pure or mixed formulations, for human consumption appear highly questionable.”
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012 Dec 1;265(2):263-71. Toxin content and cytotoxicity of algal dietary supplements. Heussner AH, Mazija L, Fastner J, Dietrich DR.
“The Aphanizomenon flos aquae-based samples were contaminated by highly variable levels of microcystins (MC-LR and MC-LA congeners), up to 5.2 μg MC-LR equivalents per gram product. The highest variability (up to 50 fold) was among batches of the same brand, although intra-batch differences were also evidenced. “
Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Dec;50(12):4493-9. Contamination by Microcystis and microcystins of blue-green algae food supplements (BGAS) on the Italian market and possible risk for the exposed population. Vichi S, Lavorini P, Funari E, Scardala S, Testai E.
Toxicity of A. flos-aquae has been reported in Canada, Germany and China. Microcystin toxin has been found in all 16 samples of A. flos-aquae products sold as food supplements in Germany and Switzerland, originating from Lake Klamath: 10 of 16 samples exceeded the safety value of 1 µg microcystin per gram. [“AFA-Algen – Giftcocktail oder Gesundheitsbrunnen?” [AFA algae – toxic cocktail fountain or health?] (in English, translated from German). Universität Konstanz. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008.]
Considering that StemEnhance (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) contains arsenic and microcystin, is it possible that the preliminary release of stem cells as shown in Jensen’s study (and the one mentioned above), is in fact the body’s response to being “poisoned”? (The question we are asking is not whether StemEnhance releases stem cells, but whether they have any clinical benefit, and the levels released are of any significance).
Here is an interesting study that shows that Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, the constituent of StemEnhance, is toxic to normal blood cells: “These data suggest that algae extracts may inhibit AML cell lines and leukemia blasts, but they may also have potential inhibitory effects on normal hematopoiesis.” Leuk Res Treatment. 2011;2011:373519. Cytotoxicity of algae extracts on normal and malignant cells. Bechelli J, Coppage M, Rosell K, Liesveld J.
The reason for this post was initially to share with readers another website’s posting on one of the “experts” who has joined StemEnhance, and who in fact, as the writer shows, is no expert at all. The article is aptly titled “Bad Argument: Appeal to Unverified Authority” and concludes “Basically, Stemtech named an advertising doctor with NO technical expertise in stem cell research, to their “technical advisory board“.
In the event that readers are not able to access this article, I am reproducing it below – but with images and layout, is better to read it on the author’s website.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Bad Argument: Appeal to Unverified Authority
One of the frequent mistakes committed by “defenders” of opportunities is “Appeal to unverified authority”, where they simply cited an expert / authority, without checking that expert’s credentials.
“Appeal to unverified authority” is a variant of “Appeal to Authority” and its relative, “Appeal to Inappropriate authority”.
[ Read why experts can fail, and often do ]
Here’s a perfect example:
We were discussing Stemtech on Behindmlm. Stemtech sells nutritional supplements that they claim will make your body produce more stem cells, thus improve your health. I checked major medical websites and medical research websites such as Mayo Clinic, and there is NOTHING, virtually NO research, much less any PROOF, that any sort of nutritional supplements can stimulate the human body into making more stem cells.
But that’s not the problem. As you can see, this “Sharma” guy just claimed that Dr. Somersall is a doctor, and he has good insights about StemTech products (and everybody else knows nothing).
So who’s this Dr. Somersall any way? Let’s do some fact-checking.
Checking a Press Release shows that Dr. Allan C. Somersall (M.D. and Ph.D) was appointed to StemTech’s scientific advisory board on October 5th, 2012.
Dr. Somersall does have an interesting resume, holding both a M.D. and a Ph.D in chemistry. However, his only practice seem to be a skin care clinic in Ontario Canada
The aforementioned PR also mentioned that “during more than 30 years of practicing family medicine with specialization in ophthalmology and dermatology…” Which confirms that Dr. Somersall is a general practitioner, with some emphasis on eyes and skin.
UPDATE 23-OCT-2012 Strangely, Ontario list of doctors shows Dr. Somersall having NO specialties at all, not even for dermatology.
So what does he know about stem cells? Good question. Dr. Somersall has long written about nutritional supplements, including glyconutrients, and Amazon lists multiple books written by him dating back many years, mostly about healthy living through nutritional supplements, with titles such as:
Breakthrough in Cell Defense (promotes Gsh / glutathione)
Healing Power of 8 Sugars (promotes glyconutrients)
Enzyme Diet Solution (self-explanatory)
Fresh Air for life (why you need air filtration systems)
Where did he get the knowledge about sugars, cell defense, and such? There’s no mention of this any where. Though several of these books were co-authored with another doctor.
Dr. Somersall has no documented research in PubMed, where EVERY medically related research is listed (the PR says he had written several peer-reviewed papers, but they’re not in PubMed)
For comparison, there are THREE PubMed results for StemEnhance research, a StemTech product, apparently conducted by real scientists. One of them seem to prove that StemEnhance doesn’t do harm in mice, and the other seem to show some improvement in mice heart.
Can we say that Dr. Somersall is an expert in stem cells? Not by his resume, his education, or his research.
Thus, citing Dr. Somersall as an expert to promote Stemtech products would seem to be an… odd choice.
Basically, Stemtech named an advertising doctor with NO technical expertise in stem cell research, to their “technical advisory board”.
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