One of the several health claims made my "Dr." Mindell (Mindell holds a Ph.D from Pacific Western, an uaccredited unversity) is the cancer-fighting properties of goji juice. He claims that a study out of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre shows that goji berry extract inhibits growth of hormone-responsive breast cancer cells - a claim that Sloan-Kettering has distanced itself from. The berry extract has show this property in vitro, but safety and efficacy hasn't been tested in humans. Even the author of the study being used to promote the product says his research does not show that goji juice has anti-cancer properties. If goji extract is able to inhibit cancer growth, it certainly hasn't been demonstrated beyond a tissue culture dish or using Mindell's vitamin-depleted version.
On top of the dubious health claims made about Himalayan Goji Juice, the whole company reeks of a pyramid scheme. New customers must be referred by a 'Freelife Marketing Executive' for the privilege of shelling out $500 a month on goji. You can become a 'marketing executive' for just a small fee ($40 US) and earn money for recruiting new customers to the goji craze. In addition, you get a small percentage for each successive level of recruitment in their multi-level marketing system.
So lets review:
1) stands to make a large amount of money from sick/desperate people
2) exaggerated medical claims
3) claims based on single, non-comprehensive, in vitro studies
4) reliance on testimonials, rather than scientific evidence to back claims
5) pyramid-scheme like marketing system
How does the saying go? If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck.... quack, quack, quack.
Watch the CBC Marketplace report on Mindell and Himalayan Goji Juice here.