Deepak Chopra Endorphinate®: The Doctor has a Pill Problem

 
As many of you know, I have a little fun on The Twitters at Deepak Chopra’s expense. I started my alter-ego @DBagChopra last fall to shine a light on the quantum mysticism and overall new-age gooiness he peddles. My hope was that, through humour, I might cause a few people to realize just how silly his ideas really are.

As a side effect of these activities, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what Dr. Chopra says and shills. Much of this is related to his own product – his 100+ books and DVD’s, the offerings of the Chopra Center, his Xbox video game – but he often shills for other products as well. So last year, for example, when he showed up in an ad for 50 Cent’s new energy drink, @DBagChopra had a few choice tweets on the subject.

Still, while I’m no fan of energy drinks, I haven’t seen much from Dr. Chopra that I would call overtly dangerous. For example, although he dresses his medical advice up in a lot of obfuscating nonsense that I think is unhelpful to patients, when you peel back the guru-speak much of it boils down to health and wellness best practices + meditation. He certainly makes non-scientific claims about how this benefits us, enables us to heal and slows the aging process — and to the extent that a patient chooses, say, meditation over conventional treatment it could certainly do harm — but I haven’t seen Dr. Chopra himself advocate for this. He just weaves his sticky web and cashes the cheques.

Until last week, that is, when I saw the following:

Dr. Chopra is lending his name to a line of OTC pills that promises to unleash “the healing power of endorphins” to relieve “emotional and physical distress”, increase “energy and alertness”, boost the immune system, and promote, “calm, comfort, well‑being and positive mood.” Better, it’s all natural and has “no negative side effects.”

All of which has my skeptical alarm bells ringing, since it’s the type of language we typically see promoting non-scientific treatments. There are other things drawing my attention as well, such as a reliance on case studies and testimonials, as well as the page telling potential investors what a great business opportunity this is. I’m also suspicious of the attempt to identify and patent a new disorder – Distress Dysfunction – that’s not recognized by the psychiatric community (i.e. it’s not listed as a diagnosis in the DSM-IV).

Bring the Evidence

But these are just warning signs — if the science is solid, none of it matters. So let’s take a look at the three documents presented as evidence on the Endorphinate website:

1. Endorphinate® Case Studies

This one pager summarizes the results of 203 case studies of patients that have used the product, tabulating the percent of patients that have “experienced a substantial reduction in symptoms” for 22 complaints. As such, it’s uncontrolled and unblinded. Additionally, no indication of methodology is indicated, and it’s impossible to say what diagnostic criteria were used to assess the reduction, what qualifies as substantial, or indeed whether the complaints had any diagnostic validity in the first place (they’re all just listed as “concerns”). My assumption is that both the complaints and the reductions are simply patient reported, but I’d welcome a clarification from Pondera, the pill’s makers, if this is incorrect.

The first thing I note is that the response rate is astoundingly high across a very wide range of complaints. There are no pharmaceutical solutions on that market that this would be true of, so either this is indeed a miracle cure for everything, or there’s something more at play here. The second thing I note is that the vast majority of these conditions are ones that traditionally respond well to placebo effects – general complaints that can have a variety of causes and often come and go regardless of any specific treatment. Combine that with the lack of controls, lack of blinding, and apparently patient-reported nature of the data, and it certainly appears to be a typical placebo-response scenario.

But what about the “harder” complaints like tobacco and recreational drug use? First off, their use of the term “concerns” makes it impossible to tell whether this relates to actual addiction or something else entirely; and second, the sample size for these is simply too small for these results to be meaningful even if the methodology weren’t so weak. It may not be coincidental that Alcohol has both a larger sample size than tobacco or recreational drugs, and also the worst results of any complaint in the list.

All in all, I’m rating the case studies ‘unpersuasive’.

2. Summary of Endorphinate® Induced Clinical Pain Trial Results

Ahh, clinical trials — that sounds promising. If only. The summary is comprised of 3 graphs showing how much better various Endorphinate® formulae do in relieving pain than a placebo. So yes, it’s at least single-blinded, but there’s no detail on methodology other than in the headers of the graphs. It’s also extremely low powered – n=12 on the first trial and n=8 on the other two. And of course, it only tests for pain relief, not the other 21 complaints covered by the case studies above.

Since this was a summary, I did attempt to find the original research on PubMed. If it has been published, I wasn’t able to find it. A search for “Endorphinate” came up empty. A search for “Stanley Crain”, the Chief Scientific Officer of Pondera’s Pharmaceutical division, upon whose work the product is based, returned only three results, none of which were human clinical trials. [See Update below]

3. Endorphinate® Science

Those three results were, rather, basic research into opoid receptors in mice. Pondera positions Endorphinate® as based on Dr. Crain’s research in this area, and the Endorphinate® Science document provides a 12 page overview of this.

I don’t have the science background to critique this research – for all I know Dr. Crain may indeed be the leading light in the field and his research a major leap forward in scientific knowledge. But even if this were the case, it wouldn’t matter, because as any pharmaceutical executive will tell you, there’s a long way between basic research and a safe, efficacious drug. This paper does nothing to bridge that gap.

Why Deepak, Why?

Simply put, this product has presented no credible evidentiary base to support its clinical claims, and if one exists outside of its website, I certainly can’t find it. Yet Dr. Chopra is so taken with this supplement that he not only endorses it online, but on TV as well – check this video (at 1:50) of him pimping the product on the Dr. Oz Show.

What’s in it for Dr. Chopra isn’t clear, but it’s lucky for Pondera he’s agreed to lend his name to the cause. In a market with dozens of cure-all supplements, Dr. Chopra’s endorsement has the potential to be worth millions of dollars. Of course, that’s still a fraction of what an FDA-approved version of such a side-effect free wonder drug might bring.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why Pondera has chosen the more expeditious path to market.

® Endorphinate is a registered trademark of Pondera Biotechnologies LLC.
 
 
[UPDATE 2/27/12 - Thanks to commenter Paul for pointing me to Dr. Crain's full list of citations. My author search didn't capture the papers published as "Crain SM", which is the bulk of them. I have not yet been through all of them, but none appear on first blush to be clinical trials of Endorphinate.]

37 Responses to “Deepak Chopra Endorphinate®: The Doctor has a Pill Problem”

  1. DR says:

    What’s in it for Deepak? Deepak cares about only one thing in life. MONEY, MONEY, AND MORE MONEY. Everything about the man is elucidated by the simple word: “MONEY”.

    It’s really not that mysterious.

  2. Windygirl says:

    I’m willing to bet that as the economy has tanked, so has participation in his seminars, lectures and other ventures. As a result, he is trying to make $$$ off of vitamin B supplements (where you may find research to support claims of such benefits), making a little profit off of a million sales. So to speak. Just my opinion.

  3. Dingc says:

    Another great study confirming the placebo effect! That’s what they were testing right?

  4. Paul says:

    CV (link below) indicates Stanley has not 3, but 143 publications, all of which are available on PubMed.

    http://ponderapharma.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/CV-Stanley-M.-Crain-CV-with-Patents-and-Publications.pdf

    • Erik Davis says:

      Thanks. Looks like he publishes under “Crain SM” instead of “Stanley Crain”, which is why my search came up short. I’ve updated the article to reflect this.

      I’ve just glanced the list of publications, but I don’t see anything that looks like a clinical trial of Endorphinate. Are you aware whether any of these papers provide any evidence that this product works?

  5. Dear Eric,

    I can understand your skepticism. We have heard others suggest “too good to be true”. (I was skeptical of these statistics myself until I read the actual data submitted by the 203 people in the study). I also agree that The placebo effect is always a potential confounding problem in informal studies. Our patent application (on our web site) presents the factual and theoretical background of our endorphin science. However, as they say, at the end of the day, the “proof is in the pudding”. Dr. Chopra was only willing to endorse our product after he and colleagues tried it themselves. I fully believe that skepticism is an important part of science, and would be delighted to send you, free of charge, a one month supply of Endorphinate to try.

    • Erik Davis says:

      Thanks for your reply, and I do appreciate the offer. I’ll pass on the pills, but I’d take a well-powered, properly controlled clinical trial if you’ve got one. Without these, there is no meaningful data — your case studies are just anecdotes put into graph form.

      As I said in the article, I don’t know enough about the basic science to debate its merits — I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s all groundbreaking — but that’s still not evidence that Endorphinate is safe or effective. Can you imagine if Pfizer or Merck tried to market a new drug based on basic research and a couple hundred case studies?

      • The studies of which you speak are, first and foremost, aimed to ensure that a new product is safe. Since our products use only natural ingredients that have been used safely for decades, their safety has been proven by a much stronger set of facts than a clinical trial with a few thousand participants: millions of people have safely used these ingredients for decades. Regarding efficacy, you are correct that the only “definitive proof” would be a series of formal clinical trials. Unfortunately, such studies typically cost millions of dollars, resulting is very costly products. We have decided, based upon our positive case studies and reports,to offer these products to the public at reasonable prices, and let each consumer make his or her own informed judgment as to whether it makes sense to them try our product. (We offer an unconditional money back guarantee if they are not satisfied).

      • irina says:

        Sorry I’d rather pay dollars for something that works than pennies for something that doesn’t. If I want safe medicine with no effect I’ll just go make my own homeopathic medicine.

    • Ted Wood says:

      I would love to take you up on your offer of a months supply to try- I am very interested in the product- please respond if you would like me to try the product- regards, Ted Wood

    • kELLY MCGRATH says:

      I would like to receive a free one month sample.

  6. It does work. In fact, it works exceptionally well. The issue is how do we prove to you and others that what we say is, in fact, true. Before thalidomide and other “test tube” drug scandals, for thousands of years people used plants that they found in nature, that through their experience were safe and effective, to treat and cure or improve countless conditions. Since the advent of modern drug companies, these principles were abandoned for the laboratory approach to drugs, and, in turn, government came in (during the last few decades) to make sure that nothing “cooked up in the lab” was going to hurt people. Voila! Now some people believe the only way to “prove” something works is the “drug company/government” process. But in most of the world, where most people live, natural remedies are still accepted and successfully used. However, if you feel that the only agents that “work” are made by drug companies and studied by the government, then Endorphinate in not right for you.

    • Erik Davis says:

      The problem is, most of those remedies didn’t work, as $1.4B of research by NCCAM has shown. Even those that do tend to work less well than the equivalent pharmaceutical or, like St. John’s Wort, have a list of adverse reactions and contraindications that will make your head spin.

      Natural does not mean safe and old does not mean effective. And invoking thalidomide as the poster child for modern pharmaceuticals is simple fear-mongering — it’s been 50 years (!) since the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments were enacted to ensure another thalidomide doesn’t happen. Today, 100+ countries collaborate with the WHO to pool reporting of adverse reactions and other signals of drug harms. Without this post-approval reporting and monitoring, the adverse effects of Vioxx, for example, would have faded into the background noise, but instead through this process we caught it and removed it from the market.

      Where’s your equivalent protection? Why should we take you at your word that it’s safe and effective?

    • Scott Gavura says:

      Ah, the thalidomide gambit. That didn’t take long.

    • There is so much wrong in what you say.

      One could look at the story of Thalidomide and claim it as a success for the scientific method. A product went through the approval process as it stood at the time and went to market. After the negative effects were identified, the product was removed. The same goes for Vioxx. The system we have is flawed, but it does work.

      Other products are removed, or their use decreased as newer studies find lack of efficacy. This is how medicine moves forward. Thus, the appeal to antiquity is totally flawed and probably one of the worst arguments in favour of a treatment.

      To suggest that a product will not ‘pass’ a rigorously designed study because such a study design is not appropriate, is an obvious attempt to bypass any examination of that product.

      You denigration of products ‘cooked up in a lab’ are disingenuous as shown by a quick look at your patent application.

      POLYMERIZATION CATALYSTS FOR PRODUCING POLYMERS WITH HIGH COMONOMER INCORPORATION

      Abstract
      The present techniques relate to catalyst compositions, methods, and polymers encompassing a Group 4 metallocene compound comprising bridged .eta..sup.5-cyclopentadienyl-type ligands, typically in combination with a cocatalyst, and an activator. The bridged .eta..sup.5-cyclopentadienyl-type ligands are connected by a cyclic substituent.

      You arguments are weak and getting weaker.

    • Dianne Sousa says:

      Mr. Crain,

      Your comments above include the following statements:

      “I also agree that The placebo effect is always a potential confounding problem in informal studies.”

      “Since our products use only natural ingredients that have been used safely for decades, their safety has been proven by a much stronger set of facts than a clinical trial with a few thousand participants…”

      “Regarding efficacy, you are correct that the only “definitive proof” would be a series of formal clinical trials.”

      “The issue is how do we prove to you and others that what we say is, in fact, true.”

      In other words, you’ve never tested Endorphinate for safety, and you lack sufficent proof of its effectiveness (since you’ve never conducted a proper clinical trial and admit that the results of your case studies may be affected by the placebo effect). Yet, you’re confused about how to prove that Endorphinate is safe and effective?

      Pro tip: the only way to prove something is safe and effective is by providing rigorous scientific evidence for it, which you admit you do not have.

      It’s clear from your comments here that your company would rather keep money in its bank account, rather than ensuring that a product with the potential to do harm does what it claims to do without inordinate risk.

      Also, you can’t do science by filing a patent.

    • Mr. Crain,

      As someone with just half a dozen research articles and 5 years in the lab studying the health effects of “plants found in nature”, I am utterly appalled that you would denigrate the field by suggesting that it is impossible to validate actual biological effects using appropriate scientific methods. Your brother (?) has well over a hundred papers and clearly understand how to design a trial – he probably has decades of experience over me – and yet you refuse not to do one. As a scientist, he must KNOW that case studies and some weak single blinded, underpowered trial would get you torn apart at any scientific conference. I know first year graduate students who have managed to pull of better clinical trials than the ones that “support” Endorphinate and certainly for less than millions of dollars. There is no excuse for this sort of ignorance except for greed and dishonesty.

      I’d appreciate if you didn’t associate my field where we do actual research with your commercialized, unsupported tripe. Thanks.

    • Moderation says:

      Sorry, Mr. Crain but a nebulous claim that everyone has been using it for years is not evidence of safety or efficacy. Blood letting was thought to be safe and effective and was very popular, but this did not make it so. Perhaps you have found the “one” miracle cure or perhaps you are selling 21st century blood letting. Only quality research will show. In the mean time you leave yourself open to being viewed as a snake oil salesman … only worse, you seem to have the scientific background to know better.

    • Brian says:

      Mr. Crain. Thank you very much for your product. It has helped me to overcome many significant issues in my life by giving me an edge over my stresses. I am no stranger to very strong drugs and when I first tried Endorphinate I was not immediately impressed. However, over a period of several weeks and at regular intervals (I take up to the maximum dose per day spread throughout the day, it seems to work the best) it has in fact made a difference. I had a short hiatus because of sickness and the results were not good. People can say what they will. I was a hardened skeptic, and to be honest grow and experiment with many plants. To be honest most of these types of plants have very minimal impact/influence on the human body and in most cases not nearly enough to be recognizable. One of the few that I have had significant results with is Valerian and in quite high doses.

      People should understand that Endorphinate is not something that is like having a drink or even a cup of coffee for that matter. If you look very closely at the synergy between what he has included (even the Lemon Balm, there is a reason for this…I expect to do with GABA function) in the blend. I am at a place where I almost never in a place where I feel like I “need a drink”/etc. Endorphinate is a low level effect and if you keep it constant it’s quite good. In fact I took 3 yesterday and it was very similar to Opioid response.

      So take away from it what you will, but again go buy 2 or 3 bottles and use as directed. You certainly won’t see much of a benefit in the first 10 days. 20-30 most definitely and like I said, it’s low level.

      • Erik Davis says:

        Brian,

        Based on your post, you’re clearly someone who’s comfortable being a walking lab rat. Most patients aren’t, and shouldn’t need to be.

        It’s reasonable to ask for some assurance that the product works and is safe. Pondera and Dr. Chopra have provided neither.

      • Brian says:

        On a regular basis, I think people are exposed to far worse, and choose to do so.

        It’s completely reasonable to ask these questions, however in the world of supplements we most likely won’t see the answers in any near frame of time. We’re not talking Merck with tons of financial backing. That coupled with the relative harmlessness of what is in the product (long term usage aside…that comes with long term study which ALL these types of things are subject to through usage), I fail to see how this is being elevated to the level of a prescription pharmaceutical.

        I also would contend that the concept of a “walking lab rat” is borne out on a regular basis long term in front of our eyes every day. This is exactly why, over time many prescriptions have been pulled from circulation. In fact, I would argue that there are possibly items on the market that are far more dangerous and far less understood. As for trials and data, well it’s only as good and as honest as it has been reported.

        There is an effect (either placebo or otherwise) and we each must weigh the risk with the benefit. In terms of what is on the label I have certainly evaluated, for myself, the relative risk associated with the product and given the benefit I am personally receiving I have chosen to accept that risk. I consider the most riskiest ingredient on the list to be caffeine of which mankind has a very long history with and what conclusions have we actually come to with it?

  7. Skeptics about unproven and dubious treatments are perpetually being accused of financial vested interests they do not actually have — such as the accusation that they are shills for the pharmaceutical industry, which is always good for a rueful laugh and some “if only!” wisecracking.

    And yet here we have Mr. Crain, an entrepreneur with a financial motive more glaring than a second head. Just how much is an endorsement like Chopra’s worth to a company like? The mind boggles!

  8. Daniel Fortin says:

    Hey Erik Davis, 3 things:

    1. You seem to have a lot of free time on your hands to devote so much time to something that is, in the worst case, harmless.
    2. You should probably take a course on Epistemology before claiming that science is the absolute truth…
    3. Lastly, did anyone stop to think that, if have a healthy balanced diet, you are already taking endorphinate…? And, that, when you dont have a healthy diet, you usually dont feel “good”…….

    • Erik Davis says:

      Hey Daniel Fortin,

      1. How do you know it’s harmless?
      2. Where did I say science is absolute truth?
      3. [This response intentionally left blank, because there simply are no words...]

    • Moderation says:

      Hey Daniel,

      1. Harmless, in your opinion … which is all it is. Even Mr. Crain admits he does not have evidence to back up his claim.
      2. Or perhaps you should take a course in logic, or better yet chemistry, biology or physics. In the mean time I can suggest the following, so that you might have some inkling of how to read a research paper:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0781745764/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1330635552&sr=8-1
      3. Ahhh, what? If you would like you can point me to the place where Mr. Davis or anyone else on this blog has advocated not eatIng a healthy diet.

    • DMG says:

      Erik and Moderation have already provided excellent responses to your points, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the answers to 2 or 3 for explaining where you made your errors:

      “2. You should probably take a course on Epistemology before claiming that science is the absolute truth…”

      As Erik pointed out, no one here has made the claim that science gives absolute truth.

      However, scientific evidence can give us reasonable confidence in a conclusion, with the strength of that confidence proportionate to the quality and consistency of the evidence collected to date.

      In the absence of quality evidence, it is not reasonable to make a claim of fact regarding safety or efficacy. At most we can say, “we have a hunch…” – which is not enough to base medical advice upon.

      “3. Lastly, did anyone stop to think that, if have a healthy balanced diet, you are already taking endorphinate…? And, that, when you dont have a healthy diet, you usually dont feel “good”…….”

      This is very poor logic.

      If you have a healthy, balanced diet, you are also consuming a measurable quantity of all sorts of chemicals, including lovely elements like arsenic and heavy metals that occur naturally in trace quantities in anything that grows from soil. That does not imply that these items are healthy supplements.

      The same applies to any of the other billions of chemical compounds that can be found in a varied, healthy diet. Just because it’s found in something good does not mean that the ingredient is, itself, good.

  9. Brian says:

    I have been using Endorphinate for a few months now. It’s quite powerful. You can be a skeptic all you want, but until you’ve tried it at significant rates for a significant period of time I’d caution you not to pass judgement.

  10. Composer99 says:

    Brian: For centuries, bloodletting was a common “remedy” applied for all manner of health conditions, supported largely on the basis of anecdotes such as yours.

    When subjected to more rigorous testing and analysis, bloodletting was found to be ineffective for pretty much every condition it had previously been used to treat.

    Long story short: There’s a good reason why skeptics are unconvinced by “it worked for me” in the absence of robust clinical trials.

  11. Brian says:

    I find it quite glancing that you would resort to attacking me openly but I’ll respond.

    Let’s take a moment and think about this instead of rushing in to defend these positions that are so painfully being clung to.

    A product comes on the market. Said product is endorsed by a persona whom it would seem from the nature of this site, is already undermining the credibility of said product even before anyone can say anything wrt this site. The function of the site is to root out and confront ideas/issues/etc that are seemingly illogical, improper or just plain wrong. I have zero issues with that and I understand your (all inclusive) point of view. I respect that. I just stumbled on here from doing a search to purchase some of the product for some others who I feel would benefit from it.

    If anyone would take the time to read the label and just do a few internet searches you’d most likely, very easily be able to come to the conclusion that for the most part the things contained in the product are very benign on their own right and have been used for mankind for a very long time without ill effect, save in the case of dangerous levels…obviously caffeine will kill you at high enough doses. Now your demanding results from “rigorous clinical trials”. It’s not like any of it is new. Granted, in combination we might not know, but the man working with this is an expert in neuroscience. Therefore I find the argument of safety to be nothing more than a Red Herring.

    I get it, I do. What you all fail to see is that even though Mr. Crain stands to make substantial money from this work, you must do some digging of your own and hopefully realize that he has been studying this for years. They made a decision and by some sequence of events the product which he has developed has been thrust into the spotlight. Now it stands naked before the skeptics and it is what it is.

    My sole point in all of this is, yes I would love to see rigorous clinical trials and I like any other rational human being wants to feel relatively safe with things that are available to consumers. I have no issues with this. I am not trying to convince you of anything other than to pause for a moment from your inability to see the obvious.

    When I first started using Endorphinate I was like sure “I’ll try your Placebo effect”. Literally. Why do I defend it? Merely because I think there is something there of merit, that at least for me, right now appears very real. I would love nothing more than to see more research and rigorous clinical trials, because most likely this man is onto something and I would hate to see it lost because those that are skeptical killed the dream before it even got off the ground. In fact, based on the experience that I have had, that this supplement should be taken very seriously. It’s not a joke and it’s not a Placebo. As I mentioned before I have self titrated many herbals that people have been claiming for years to have certain effects. The only one that I can even vaguely say could have potential is Valerian but I’m not going to try to convince anyone to use it or believe me.

    I don’t go around defending anybody and their ideas typically and I side with the scientific community and sound practices in research. This is a different product. I would love to see an independent lab do an unbiased study. I think it’s actually a revolutionary product and perhaps that is what is nagging people so much. Those independent reports listed are quite exemplary of my own experience. And at the end of the day how could you believe results like that?

    At some point in time I want to discontinue use because my view on anything that I do in life is that I should be in control of it. Right now I feel that this product is playing a large role in stress management in my own life and am convinced it is helpful. You are convinced it is not helpful and haven’t even tried it.

  12. Composer99 says:

    Brian:

    Pointing out that anecdotes are meaningless in the absence of evidence is not, in and of itself, a personal attack. As the bloodletting example shows, we humans have been very good at fooling ourselves and others with regards to the safety and efficacy of medical procedures and products, on the basis of anecdotes and personal testimonials (“It worked for me!”), for a very long time – and this tendency continues well down to the present day.

    Without solid basic science research, rigorous and robust clinical trials, and extensive post-licensure surveillance, how could we have transformed an extract from the Pacific yew tree into Taxol, a chemotherapeutic agent? How could we have determined that botulism toxin could have beneficial therapeutic and cosmetic effects when applied at sufficiently low doses? How could we have discovered that Vioxx had an unwelcome adverse effect profile and had it yanked from the market? Vioxx could be marketed for years or decades, justified by “It works for me.”

    Anecdotes and personal stories are useful for humanizing and contextualizing evidence, but they are not an effective substitute.

    Look at the list of symptoms allegedly resolved by Endorphinate in the 203-person set of case studies (it was all I could do not to put quote marks denoting irony around the term). Look at Erik’s concerns with them:
    - no placebo or other controls
    - no blinding
    - no quantified measurements of clinical outcome

    Look at the vagueness of the symptom clusters. Can a clinically meaningful description of “weight and body image concerns” be discerned? Look at the sheer number of different “concerns” which are supposedly addressed.

    I think your final characterization of the situation is incorrect. Skeptics are not convinced that Endorphinate is helpful, rather than “convinced it is not helpful [emphasis mine]“.

    When you consider that:
    (1) contemporary skepticism entails the provisional acceptance of empirical claims (e.g. Endorphinate is an effective medical product for [insert clinical condition of your choice here]) based on the evidence that can be marshalled to support them
    (2) the evidence currently marshalled in favour of Endorphinate is scanty and subpar

    You must see that skeptics with intellectual integrity will not find Endorphinate’s claims convincing – but will (a) be receptive to more and better evidence and (b) be willing to revise their acceptance of empirical claims regarding Endorphinate if such evidence is forthcoming.

    What is seen, time and again, and what I suspect will occur with Endorphinate, is that more and better evidence will not come in. Not due to any ability of organized skeptics to “[kill] the dream before it even got off the ground” – I suggest the endorsement of Chopra will ensure that never happens – but rather due to the kind of attitudes expressed by Mr Crain (as a producer of Endorphinate) and yourself (as a consumer). Thus skeptics will continue to remain not convinced.

    A final word on your point:
    [Y]ou [skeptics] must do some digging of your own and hopefully realize that he has been studying this for years.

    In and of itself, that claim has little value. For example, Vera Schrieber has ostensibly been studying and researching vaccines for around 30 years – yet this has not prevented her from coming to completely false conclusions regarding their safety and efficacy (of which she alleges they posses no amount of either quality). Obviously, there is more to the story than simply studying or researching some medical procedure or product for an arbitrary amount of time.

  13. gmcevoy says:

    “If anyone would take the time to read the label and just do a few internet searches you’d most likely, very easily be able to come to the conclusion that for the most part the things contained in the product are very benign on their own right and have been used for mankind for a very long time without” ill any “effect, save in the case of dangerous levels…” and emptying of wallets” obviously caffeine will kill you at high enough doses.”

    emphasis mine – there fixed it for you

    h2o is natural and will kill you in a couple of ways

    “Pointing out that anecdotes are meaningless in the absence of evidence is not, in and of itself, a personal attack.”

    People think you mean they’re lying not that anecdotes are not evidence, so…

  14. Burma says:

    I was interested in this product because I too saw Mr Chopra on the Dr Oz show advocating it, which, in my infinite lack of wisdom, I considered a double blessing from popularly thought to be trustworthy people. Oprah, the American queen of others’ truths exposed, loves Dr Oz! I was led to trust their personal and professional opinions by my lazy belief in the “how can so many Americans that trust them be wrong?” theory, which relies on the homework and research being done by others en masse (I ASSume). I also have an extremely simple life philosophy of always having a pure, honest heart which tends to make me a bit too trusting and a bit naive about people having ulterior motives. I was actually going to buy this product, due to the dual endorsements, until I saw the daily recommended dose of B12 being multiplied by over 1600% in EACH pill, and the recommended dose was FOUR pills per DAY. That set off the alarms for me! I came upon this website when researching Endorphinate and encountered the dialogue exchange- which made me run from buying it! I was actually surprised though, to see people with many more professional initials after their names than I (I have zilch) not question the daily dose amount, especially when Dr Crain attempted to justify its safety by simply stating (in a nutshell) that B12 has been safely taken for decades (not in 7000% of a recommended dose!!). Is the US government’s reommended daily dose utterly wrong, and we should truly be taking 7000% of what they advise, or is this product in desperate need of documented clinical research to show that 7000% of a recommended daily dose won’t harm you, short- or longterm? I’m actually quite frightened now, to think what people can peddle on us lazy consumers simply looking for a better lived life. This is one rare case where I wish there were MORE government involvement in a multi billion dollar industry that refuses to self police. You can debate me all you want on that comment, but that’s how I feel. Thanks very much for having this open and educational forum on Endorphinate, and another heartfelt thank you to the well educated people on this site that contributed their facts and opinions. You helped me make up my mind in an educated fashion, not on one of popular endorsement. Thanks again!!

  15. Paul says:

    Burma,

    1) The following excerpt regarding excess vitamin B12 comes from the National Institutes of Health (linked below):

    “The IOM did not establish a UL for vitamin B12 because of its low potential for toxicity. In Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, the IOM states that “no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals” [5].
    Findings from intervention trials support these conclusions. In the NORVIT and HOPE 2 trials, vitamin B12 supplementation (in combination with folic acid and vitamin B6) did not cause any serious adverse events when administered at doses of 0.4 mg for 40 months (NORVIT trial) and 1.0 mg for 5 years (HOPE 2 trial) [62,63].”

    Link: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12/

    2) The following excerpt regarding B12 supplementation appears on webmd.com (linked below):

    “Supplementation of 25-100 mcg per day has been used to maintain vitamin B12 levels in older people.” Two capsules contain 100 mcg, so the recommended dose of four capsules daily is only 200 mcg.

    3) Also, you indicate that there is “1600% in EACH pill.” This is incorrect: there is 1666% in TWO pills. The serving size is two capsules.

  16. Mattchew says:

    With all this debate I can’t wait to try this stuff. Seems to be the real deal Holyfield.

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  • Erik Davis

    Erik is a technology professional based in Toronto, focused on the intersection of the internet and the traditional media and telecommunications sectors. A reluctant blogger, he was inspired by the great work Skeptic North has done to combat misinformation and shoddy science reporting in the Canadian media, and in the public at large. Erik has a particular interest in critical reasoning, and in understanding why there’s so little of it in the public discourse. You can follow Erik's occasional 140 character musings @erikjdavis