scamThey offer a “brain drain solution” that fixes your memory and mental sluggishness.   Yes, the folks at BioTrust (based in Austin) are advertising “Brain Bright” – the pills that will help your brain function better.   Now, there is quite a bit of medical science dispute as to whether pills largely made up of ginkgo and some amino acids will result in any benefits — brain or any other part of your body.   Ginkgo is widely touted as a “brain herb” and while some studies show that it does help improve memory in people with dementia, there are no authoritative studies that link ginkgo to benefits in  healthy people who have normal, age-related memory loss.  In fact, an in-depth 2009 study published in JAMA found no benefits from ginkgo.

In actuality, this product is not likely to provide any of the benefits touted.  Like so many of the “brain boosting” products peddled on the Internet, you are treated to slick videos, slicker webpages full of scientific sounding terms and, in many cases, a medical doctor who is recommending the product.   But most of these kinds of products are rip-offs and infoscams that have infected the Web over the last three years.

BioTrust’s claim looks familiar, it probably is — it is almost identical to the questionable other brain health offerings also hawked on the Internet — and it was probably conjured up by the same marketers.  They almost all charge the mysterious $$40-50.   Here’s how it works:  you are treated to a videomercial that touts the “proven way to perfect improve your brain”.   Is it a scam?   Is it a rip-off?  Does it work?   You’ll never find out, largely because of an increasingly pernicious Internet industry that uses fake product review sites to hide customer reactions.   You’ll also never be able to find out about the credentials of “Dr. Ettinger” — none apparently exist on the Internet, nor are they provided at the BioTrust own alleged web site.    So, should you spend the $40-50 each month for Brain Bright?   We recommend not, for the following reasons:

1.  There’s a reason this sales pitch is slick — they spend a lot of marketing money to get it to you.   Who is paying for that?  You are.   And, like many scammers, they are using Clickbank to sell their ebook so don’t assume you’ll get a refund.  “Rock solid guarantee”…..don’t bet on it.

2.  If you look for a review of the product, you are deluged with lots of fake review or “scam” sites that simply direct you to the main sales site or offer some pablum talking about how the product is highly rated or recommended.   (such as abnewswire.com, memoryhealerpro.com, scamreviewsplace.com and ncsafeharbor.org)   The marketers for this service paid to have these fake sites thwart any customer looking for real reviews.   It is also a tactic to obscure any customers who have posted complaints or alerts about fraudulent claims.

3.  The medical doctor touting the Brain Bright product is unknown.  Yes, there are doctors named Mark Ettinger, but none of them specialize in brain health, none have published any studies or medical journal articles on brain health and, in fact, Dr. Ettinger isn’t even listed at the BioTrust website as a scientific advisor.

4. The price that BioTrust is charging for its Brain Bright pills is prohibitively high — 4 or 5 times what it would cost to buy the same supplements from well-regarded and safe supplement retailers, like Vitacost.   To provide it, we shopped for the primary ingredients list in Brain Bright.  BioTrust is offering 30 servings (60 pills) per bottle for $40-50 each month.   Compare this to the price table on the left culled from Vitacost.com.

VITACOST                                                                                                                                    BRAIN BRIGHT

Brainbright

Vitamin B-12 $  4.19 100 capsules
Ginkgo Biloba $14.75 300 capsules
Rhodiola Rosea $14.29 120 capsules
L-Tyrosine $  6.99 100 capsules
L-carnitine $11.99 120 capsules
L-Theanine $16.20 120 capsules
TOTAL PRICE $68.41 4-5 months supply

 

We’ve shown that you don’t have to spend $40-$50 each month for supplements that, at Vitacost or other on-line merchants, will cost to get information about $13-17 per month.  Moreover, for less than $30 per month, Vitacost sells its own NeuroPower  that contains over 43 brain-boosting supplements including the B6, B12, Ginkgo and L-carnitine found in Brain Bright — except the Vitacost product has higher doses and far more ingredients.   If you feel compelled to buy pills to help your brain, you can do it for 1/4 of the price charged by BioTrust.

Perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to spend any money at all. There is an abundance of free or low-cost brain health information on the Internet.    Amazon offers a number of ebooks that cost nothing and provide the kinds of well-established brain exercises that can help.  And very reputable medical institutions such as Harvard and the Mayo Clinic offer free and documented information.   Harvard, in particular, warns that excess weight,poor eating habits and lack of exercise are the major factors linked to brain disease.  The Mayo Clinic suggests use of brain exercises, such as those offered by a number of legitimate Internet companies who offer FREE interactive brain exercises: Neuronation,  Mind GamesBrain Matrix, as well as low-cost offerings by BrainHQ and Rosetta Stone.

As importantly,recent science suggests that some brain deterioration can be attenuated and, perhaps, reversed for far less than $50 per month. But the key steps needed are eliminating all simple carbohydrates from your diet, increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables and non-farmed fish, incorporation of yoga and meditation and daily supplements including vitamin D3, fish oil, coenzyme Q10, melatonin and for women to resume hormone therapy, if they had ended it.  While the supplement part of this recommendation is somewhat controversial, the lifestyle changes are not; they promote healthfulness, which is an essential element in keeping the brain healthy. There is a plethora of free and peer-reviewed analysis, like this, on the web and new studies that are revealing more light into the causes and treatment of brain deterioration.

One additional warning:  once you give them your money, you’ll be tagged as “meat”.  Once they know that you’ll fall for this pitch, the same marketers will be coming back to you over and over and over for other such pitches.  So understand that if you pay these marketers anything….let alone $50…..they’ll continue to hound you with more slick schemes designed to prey on your fears and concerns.  Our advice: don’t open your door or wallet to them.