''Hello again out there! This week I’m investigating the product that convinced me to start taking Isagenix products: Ionix Supreme. This herbal tonic is marketed by Isagenix as “Nature’s answer to stress and optimum performance”, by providing vitamins, minerals and natural extracts that support energy and physical performance under stress. They say Ionix Supreme helps normalize the body’s functions and also helps your body better cope with stress, while supporting mental and physical performance. 
Ionix Supreme: a powerful herbal tonic

Obviously this was intriguing to me, as I was suffering sloth-like energy levels and dealing with a pretty significant level of stress in both my personal and academic worlds… but so many products claim the same thing, so what makes Isagenix different? As per usual, I set out to investigate the ingredients highlighted in the Isagenix literature through my University’s database. What I found was pretty impressive, and definitely influenced my decision to put this stuff into my body!
Isagenix pushes two primary concepts in the marketing of this product : Adaptogens and Antioxidants. In case you’re not familiar with either of these terms, here’s a quick run-down.
Adaptogens are basically metabolic regulators, which increase our bodies’ abilities to avoid damage from harmful environmental stimuli (physical, such as risk of injury or psychological, such as anxiety). To be considered an adaptogen, an element must have neutralizing qualities and produce no harmful side effects.
Antioxidants are molecules which inhibit the oxidation of other  molecules. The process of oxidation produces free radicals, which can begin harmful chain reactions in the body. When these reactions occur within cells, it can damage or even kill them. Antioxidants prevent this from happening by actually oxidizing themselves, saving other cells from damage.
Isagenix claims that their blend of plant-based adaptogens and antioxidants, along with the other concentrated nutrients and minerals included in the Ionix Supreme will give you an energy boost, improve your body’s reaction to stress, and protect you from the damaging effects of free radicals (such as premature aging and cancer)
Well this is all fine and dandy, but what sort of empirical evidence exists for the ingredients in the Ionix Supreme? I set out to find real scientific support for them and was impressed with what I found, so let’s get into it. For each one I’ve included the traditional uses, and then I’ve also tried to find empirical support in the form of clinical trials whenever possible.''


Rhodiola Rosea (aka golden root, Arctic root)

This herb has long been used in traditional Russian medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, including:
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • poor attention span
  • poor memory
  • cardiovascular disease
1) Stress-related fatigue
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, participants suffering from stress-related fatigue took either Rhodiola rosea extract or a placebo for 28 days. Those in the experimental condition (vs placebo) reported significant improvement in energy level, mental performance and concentration
(Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. “A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue.”Planta Medica. 2009 75(2):105-12.)
2) DepressionIn this study, participants with mild to moderate depression took varying doses of Rhodiola or a placebo for 6 weeks. Both groups ingesting Rhodiola showed significant improvement in overall depression insomnia and emotional instability. Moreover, no serious side effects were reported by any of the participants.
(Darbinyan V, Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, Malmström C, Panossian A. “Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.” Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):343-8.)
3) Arrythmia
Preliminary research suggests Rhodiola may help to prevent arrhythmias (disorders of the regular rhythmic beating of the heart).
(Maslov LN, Lishmanov IuB. “Cardioprotective and antiarrhythmic properties of Rhodiolae roseae preparations.” Eksperimental’naia i klinicheskaia farmakologiia. 2007 70(5):59-67.)


This herb, which has been compared to ginseng (although unrelated), has a long history in traditional Indian medicine. Often administered to boost the immune system after illness, it is also used to treat a number of conditions, including:
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • skin infections
  • epilepsy
1) Osteoarthritis
Researchers investigating the effects of Ashwagandha on human cartilage found it may help to protect against both inflammation and cartilage damage associated with osteoarthritis.
(Sumantran VN, Chandwaskar R, Joshi AK, Boddul S, Patwardhan B, Chopra A, Wagh UV. “The relationship between chondroprotective and anti inflammatory effects of Withania somnifera root and glucosamine sulphate on human osteoarthritic cartilage in vitro.” Phytotherapy Research 2008 22(10):1342-8.)
2) Type II Diabetes
Preliminary animal research has indicated that Ashwagandha may help to normalize high blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.
(Anwer T, Sharma M, Pillai KK, Iqbal M. “Effect of Withania somnifera on insulin sensitivity in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus rats.” Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2008 102(6):498-503.)
3) Cancer
One study found that Ashwagandha may slow the growth of lung, breast and colon cancer cells. In another study, results indicated that it may also inhibit tumor growth without harming normal cells.
(Jayaprakasam B, Zhang Y, Seeram NP, Nair MG. “Growth inhibition of human tumor cell lines by withanolides from Withania somnifera leaves.” Life Sciences2003 21;74(1):125-32.)
(Widodo N, Kaur K, Shrestha BG, Takagi Y, Ishii T, Wadhwa R, Kaul SC. “Selective killing of cancer cells by leaf extract of Ashwagandha: identification of a tumor-inhibitory factor and the first molecular insights to its effect.” Clinical Cancer Research 2007 1;13(7):2298-306.)


This herb is often referred to as ‘Peruvian ginseng’, although it is not actually a member of the ginseng family. It has been said to aid in the treatment of cancer, but it is most widely used as a folk remedy to increase:
  • stamina
  • energy
  • sexual function
1) Sexual FunctionIn a recent meta-analysis of 4 studies involving Maca found limited evidence for effectiveness in improving sexual function in men and women. Two studies found significant results, while 2 did not. Possible methodological issues may be responsible for the differences and the authors concluded that more research is necessary.
(Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E. “Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review.” BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.)
I did manage to find a specific study with good results also however:
In a double-blind, randomized study, participants experiencing reduced sex drive due to the use of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (medication used to treat depression and anxiety) took Maca for 8 weeks. Compared to placebo, those receiving Maca reported significant improvement of libido.
(Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. “A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.” CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91.)
2) FertilityIn a study examining the effects of 4 months of treatment with Maca tablets on semen quality in adult men, participants demonstrated a significant increase in sperm volume, count and motility.
(Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Gonzales C, Chung A, Vega K, Villena A. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian Journal of Andology. 3.4 (2001):301-3.)
3) Mood in MenopauseA study focusing on post-menopausal women found significant improvement in psychological symptoms associated with menopause including anxiety, depression and sexual function when participants were administered Maca (vs placebo)
(Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. “Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content.” Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62.)


These berries are native to China, Korea and Russia and have a long history in the traditional medicine from these areas. In China, they are used to increase:
  • the body’s resistance to stress
  • liver protection
  • immune system effects
In Russia, they use these berries to increase:
  • attention
  • concentration
  • coordination
  • endurance
  • strength
1) Fatigue
Research on Schizandra alone is difficult to locate, however there are studies grouping it with other adaptogens for analysis. I found a recent review in which the aim of the researchers was to assess the level of scientific evidence presented by clinical trials of adaptogens in fatigue. In this review, researchers concluded that good evidence has been documented in trials in which Schizandra increased endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness.
(Panossian A, Wikman G. “Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity.” Current Clinical Pharmacology, 2009, Sep 4(3): 198-219 Epub 2009 Sep 1)



These berries are not only delicious, they pack quite a healthy punch as well! They have a long history of use in folk medicine as a:
  • preventative measure
  • cure for flux/other abdominal issues
  • laxative
They are also prized for their antioxidant health benefits, and recent studies have linked them to improved vision.
1)Oxidative Stress (antioxidant properties)
A recent study involving 18 male volunteers with cardiovascular risk factors revealed promising results for the use of blueberries to protect against oxidative stress. Participants consumed a concentrated blueberry drink for 6 weeks and researchers measured their levels of oxidized DNA bases and resistance to oxidatively induced DNA damage. Compared to placebo, those drinking the blueberry concentrate demonstrated significant improvement in both areas. It seems the protective antioxidant qualities of blueberries are legitimate.
Riso P, Klimis-Zacas D, Del Bo’ C, Martini D, Campolo J, Vendrame S, Møller P, Loft S, De Maria R, Porrini M. “Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors” European Journal of Nutrition, 2012, Epub Jun 26.
2)Improved vision (neuroprotection)
Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, which have been linked to producing neuro-protective effects in the eye. A recent animal study involving rats found that those receiving fortified blueberry juice (vs placebo) demonstrated marked protection of their retinas when exposed to otherwise damaging light. Rats in the placebo condition exhibited severe damage to their retinas.
(Tremblay F, Waterhouse J, Nason J, Kalt W. “Prophylactic neuroprotection by blueberry-enriched diet in a rat model of light-induced retinopathy.” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2012, Epub Jul 23)

Wolfberries (aka Goji berries, Lycium barbarum)

These berries from the nightshade family grow on an evergreen shrub in the temperate and sub-tropical regions of China, Mongolia and the Himalayas. They have been used for over 6000 years in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to:
  • protect the liver
  • help eyesight
  • improve sexual function and fertility
  • strengthen the legs
  • boost immune function
  • improve circulation
  • promote longevity
They are also rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeazanthin, which have been shown to protect the retina as well.
In preliminary animal research, Lycium barbarum was found to inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells (xenograft mouse model)
(Luo Q, Li Z, Yan J, Zhu F, Xu R, Cai YZ. “Lycium barbarum polysaccharides induce apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells and inhibits prostate cancer growth in a xenograft mouse model of human prostate cancer.” Journal of Medicinal Food 2009, 12, 695-703.)
2)Immune system function
In this study, 60 older healthy Chinese adults (ages 55-72) were administered concentrated Wolfberry juice or placebo for 30 days. The experimental group (vs placebo) demonstrated a statistically significant increase in a number of cells involved in immune system functioning. They also reported significant increases in general feelings of well-being (such as fatigue and sleep) and showed a tendency for increased short-term memory and focus, whereas the placebo group had no significant improvement in any of these areas. No adverse reactions or abnormal reactions were seen in either group.
(Amagase H, Sun B, Nance DM. “Immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum fruit juice in Chinese older healthy human subjects.” Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009, 12, 1159-65.)

Ginger Root

This root has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine around the world to relieve stomach trouble, including:
  • post-surgery nausea and vomiting
  • morning sickness
  • motion sickness
Its natural anti-inflammatory effects also make it useful for treating conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis.
A study involving cancer patients receiving chemotherapy found that regular supplementation with ginger decreased post-chemo nausea by 40%.
(L. Ryan, C. Heckler, S. R. Dakhil, J. Kirshner, P. J. Flynn, J. T. Hickok, G. R. Morrow. “Ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients: A URCC CCOP randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 644 cancer patients.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009 27:15s.)
2)Chronic pain/Inflammation
Ginger may help to alleviate chronic pain, possibly by lowering levels of hormones that induce inflammation. Research has found ginger to be more effective in lessening pain than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
(Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. “Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions.” Journal of Medicinal Food 2005 8(2):125-32.)
Preliminary research suggests that ginger may slow the growth of both colorectal and ovarian cancers.
(Lee SH, Cekanova M, Baek SJ. “Multiple mechanisms are involved in 6-gingerol-induced cell growth arrest and apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells.” Molecular Carcinogenesis 2008 47(3):197-208.)
(Rhode J, Fogoros S, Zick S, Wahl H, Griffith KA, Huang J, Liu JR. “Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells.”BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007 20;7:44.)

MSM (aka methyl sulfonyl methane)

Although the name may throw you off, this is actually a compound that is found naturally in foods such as cow’s milk, meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables. It is thought to work by contributing sulfur to the body. It is used to treat:
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • snoring
  • And it is currently being explored for its use in:
  • cancer prevention
  • scleroderma
  • allergies
  • constipation
In recent research, treatment with MSM resulted in significant improvement in pain and physical function in patients with Osteoarthritis of the knee.
(Debbi EM, Agar G, Fichman G, Ziv YB, Kardosh R, Halperin N, Elbaz A, Beer Y, Debi R. “Efficacy of methylsulfonmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:50.)
2)Allergies, Pain syndromes, Athletic injuries, Bladder disorders
An in-depth articlsue in a peer-reviewed journal on the health benefits of sulphur in the body found that MSM may be effective in the treatment of allergies, pain syndromes, athletic injuries and bladder issues. Further human studies are necessary, but preliminary evidence supports strong anti-inflammatory qualities of MSM.
(Parcell S. “Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine.” Alternative Medicine Review: a Journal of Clinical Therapeutics. 2002, 7, 22-44.)
3)Breast Cancer
A recent investigation into the effects of MSM supplementation on the growth of breast cancer cells revealed promising results. Breast cancer is infamous for being aggressive and hard to treat. In a mouse xenograft study, supplementation with MSM effectively regulated the major molecules involved in tumor development, progression and metastasis (turning cancerous). The results were so significant that researchers strongly recommend that use of MSM as a trial drug for treating all types of breast cancers.
(Lim EJ, Hong DY, Park JH, Joung YH, Darvin P, Kim SY, Na YM, Hwang TS, Ye SK, Moon ES, Cho BW, Do Park K, Lee HK, Park T, Yang YM. “Methylsulfonylmethane suppresses breast cancer growth by down-regulating STAT3 and STAT5 pathways.” PLoS One, 2012, Epub Apr 2.)

Nepali Shilajit

Now this stuff was pretty interesting to research! Shilajit is basically concentrated historic plant life from the iron-rich mountains in Nepal. This stuff has been formed for centuries by the decomposition of certain plants (by the actions of microorganisms). Over thousands of years, changes in the Earth’s plates have created the opportunity to harvest this mineral-rich substance as it oozes out from the rocks. Shilajit is used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for a wide variety of ailments, including:
  • fatigue
  • diabetes
  • gallstones
  • jaundice
  • digestive disorders
  • enlarged spleen
  • epilepsy
  • nervous diseases
  • amenorrhrea (menstruation)
  • dysmenorrhea (menopause)
  • eczema
  • bone fracture
  • anaemia
It is also touted as an aphrodisiac and used to treat infertility in both men and women.
1)Cognitive stimulation/Prevention of Cognitive disorders
The main active principle in Shilajit is fulvic acid, which is currently being investigated in the prevention of cognitive degeneration associated with Alzheimers disease.  The efficacy of fulvic acid has been demonstrated in blocking tau self-aggregation – a process integral to the development of Alzheimers.
(Carrasco-Gallardo C, Guzman L, Maccioni RB. “Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential precognitive activity.” International Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 2012, Epub Feb 23.)
In a recent animal study, Shilajit was shown to mitigate the symptoms of chronic fatigue by modulating how the body deals with stress. It was also shown to decrease anxiety associated with the induction of stress.
(Surapaneni DK, Adapa SR, Preeti K, Teja GR, Veeraragavan M, Krishnamurthy S. “Shilajit attenuated behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2012, Epub Jul 6)
A recent study involving infertile male participants revealed interesting results. Shilajit was administered to participants with total sperm counts below 20 million ml(-1) for 90 days. Compared to placebo, the experimental group demonstrated significant improvement in both total sperm count and motility.
(Biswas TK, Pandit S, Mondal S, Biswas SK, Jana U, Ghosh T, Tripathi PC, Debnath PK, Auddy RG, Auddy B.“Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia.” Andrologia. 2010, 42, 48-56.)

Amla (aka Indian Gooseberry)

This berry comes from the Amalaki tree, of which all parts are used in various herbal preparations. It is arguably the most important medicinal plant in traditional Indian medicine and is revered for a wide range of health benefits such as:
  • excellent source of vitamin C
  • enhances food absorption
  • balances stomach acid
  • fortifies the liver
  • nourishes the brain and mental functioning
  • supports the heart
  • strengthens the lungs
  • regulates elimination
  • enhances fertility
  • helps the urinary system
  • good for the skin/hair
  • acts as body coolant
  • flushes out toxins
1)Cancer, vital organ protection
A recent meta-analysis and clinical review of all existing studies on Amla touts it as a ‘wonder berry’. Preclinical studies have found it to have many useful medicinal properties, including:
  • Antipyretic (reduces fever)
  • Analgesic (relieves pain)
  • Antitussive (cough suppressant)
  • Antiatherogenic (protects against formation of plaques in arteries)
  • Adaptogenic (increases body’s resistance to stress)
  • Cardioprotective (protects the heart)
  • Gastroprotective (protects the intestines)
  • Antianemia (prevents anemia)
  • Antihyperchloesterolemia (prevents or controls increases of cholesterol in the blood)
  • wound healing
  • anti-diarrheal
  • antiatherosclerotic (anti-inflammatory)
  • hepatoprotective (prevents damage to liver)
  • nephroprotective (prevents damage to kidneys)
  • neuroprotective (prevents damage to the brain)
  • antineoplastic (prevents/inhibits growth of tumors)
Researchers conducting this analysis also found many useful qualities in the prevention of cancer.
(Baliga MS, Dsouza JJ. “Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer.” European Journal of Cancer Prevention: the Official Journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP), 2011, 20, 225-39.)
2)Diabetes and high Cholesterol
This study investigated the effects of administering amla powder to normal and diabetic human participants. Compared to placebo, those taking amla demonstrated significant decreases in fasting and 2-hour post-meal blood glucose levels, total cholesterol and triglycerides in both groups (diabetic or not!).
(Akhtar MS, Ramzan A, Ali A, Ahmad M. “Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2011, 62, Epub 
April 18.)


Testimony from the Skeptic:

''Ok, so this stuff obviously stands the test of scientific investigation. After researching these ingredients myself and seeing all of this support, I decided I needed to try it. Aside from the main selling points of increased energy and performance, what really stood out to me were all of the antioxidants and their links to preventing cancer. As you may or may not know, I had a malignant melanoma when I was 19, and since then have also had pre-cancerous cells found on my cervix. Cancer runs in my family, and it’s long been a fear of mine that it will lead to my eventual demise. So, given all the support for the various cancer-fighting agents in the Ionix supreme, it seems like something I will want to take for the rest of my life.
Now I must warn you though, this stuff tastes terrible! I’ve only tried the liquid version (comes powdered as well) and I do it as a shot first thing in the morning, followed by a large glass of water. It basically tastes like pureed tree bark, but the nastiness is so worth it in my opinion. Minutes after taking it each morning I can feel myself growing more alert and ready to face the day. Such a refreshing change from my previous zombie-like state in the mornings. If you have ever been inclined to try Isagenix, I definitely recommend starting with the Ionix Supreme in whatever you do!''