Thrive/Cheers vs. Intox-Detox
How is Cheers Different From Intox-Detox?
Competition is a natural part of life. We at Intox-Detox welcome it. You might have heard of a newer product in our market called Thrive. They were on Shark Tank.
I actually regret that I never auditioned for the show. I was advised against it for a few reasons. All of which still hold true. Thrive kind of got their asses handed to them, but then again that's one of the most memorable things you can have happen on the show. People love a train wreck. I guess any publicity can be good press, depending on what you are into.
Reality TV and Mark Cuban aside, I thought I' would analyze their formula to see what's really going on with Thrive.
What's Really Going On?
A couple of key things stick out like a sore thumb right away: Three capsules per serving means dosing of the active ingredients is probably insufficient. That's without even looking further. As a veteran of the supplement game, and having a developed Intox-Detox, I know about the difference between a marketing story and a truly functionally dosed product.
Let's start with the vitamin blend. I have nothing against B and C vitamins. They help. Personally, I wouldn't waste space in my capsules on them because you can literally get them anywhere. Unless you are suffering from malnutrition (in which case you probably shouldn't be drinking, much less heavy enough to need a hangover remedy), you don't need extra vitamins. Just eat healthy food before and after drinking.
Next, Vitamin C is an awesome antioxidant. Dirt cheap ascorbic acid is nowhere near as effective or absorptive as 4 to 8 ounces of orange juice. Guessing you already have that or can get it easily. Throw out the cheap C. While you're at it, grab a handful of almonds or any other nut and you have your tiny amount of Vitamin E and some potassium.
Speaking of elecrolytes, why add just these two, sodium and potassium? Of course they are importnat, but... You would be much better off using a complete product like Ultima. Or you can just eat half an avocado or a whole banana. At the very least, they could have added some cheap magnesium.
The Rules Don't Apply...?
On to the "actives". The most science-based and effective ingredient in Thrive is one that is probably not entirely legal. That is not to say that it is harmful in any way. What they are calling "Vine Tea Extract" is a 98% standardized form of DHM, also known as Dihydromyricetin.
Don't get me wrong; the stuff is great. It's in our main active Japanese Raisin Extract, although in much lower concentrations. The problem with their pure DHM is that to my knowledge it is still "NDI" or a new dietary ingredient. That just means that the FDA really has not cleared it to be used in supplement products. Japanese Raisin Extract is ODI or old dietary ingredient, meaning it's traditional usage gives it a "grandfathered" status in the supplement industry.
We spent a lot of money researching before we launched Intox-Detox 5 years ago. We were told we were not allowed to use pure DHM. According to my best industry contacts, you still aren't. Hasn't stopped Thrive and a bunch of others from doing it.
My bigger problem is that the stuff is cheaper. There are other antioxidant components of Japanese Raisin that make it amazing for liver detox and recovery. The stuff is literally a super food. And the extra expense is worth it in our opinion. Also, most of the human research done on DHM used the Japanese Raisin material. So if you want to make claims, you better be honest about what material was actually studied.
Other small issues I have... Milk thistle is great and very promising. And this is a pretty nice dose of a standardized extract. However, it doesn't do a ton for making you feel better the next day. It helps donate electrons to neutralize toxins like all antioxidants do. And it does seem to promote liver health and maybe even regeneration. This is a win, but I would take it daily and not just before bed when you drink. The whole world is toxic and our livers need all the help they can get.
Love the ginger. The stuff is amazing. And acts as an anti-inflammatory at very small doses. Alcohol is very inflammatory to every cell in your body. Not sure how much this dose is actually doing, but I'm good with it.
The Prickly Pear is nonsense. Yes, there are some studies about its ability to activate what are called Heat Shock Proteins. These are like a defense mechanism in your body for fighting acute stress. Drinking alcohol like it's going out of style does put a lot of stress on the whole body. And the science is real. That's why we looked into using Prickly Pear. Further analysis shows that it's one specific extract called Tex-OE that truly activates this effect.
You can get it on Amazon in a product called Hangover Prevention (this name is also not FDA-compliant by the way). No one in our industry is allowed to claim a "hangover cure, treatment or prevention". At least Thrive did their homework there. Haven't seen any non-compliant claims. Problem with Tex-OE is that any dietary fiber in your system binds it and it cannot do its job. You have to take it on an empty stomach. Since I don't encourage drinking alcohol with nothing in your gut, it's not really an option.
A great way to use Tex-OE is to take it every morning when you first wake up or on an empty stomach before bed. For anyone who works out fasted like me, it seems to work wonders as a pre-workout supplement as well.
The tiny dose of mint leaf is pretty insulting. While it is a good story that this will combat stomach issues -- the reason it's in here no doubt, for the "marketing story" -- you would probably be better off popping an Altoid. A higher dose of Peppermint oil, DGL from licorice or holy basil would be a more believable option. But once again, that's expensive stuff, so you won't find it here.
More likely though, the mint is just to cover up how terrible the next ingredient tastes and smells...
NAC or L-Glutathione?
The dose of NAC or N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is far too low. It is a precursor to the body manufacturing L-Glutathione, which basically acts as an antidote to alcohol. And even more so, to alcohol's evil cousin and metabolite ACETALDEHYDE. However, a truly effective dose would be closer to 1200 to 1500 milligrams, preferably taken before or during drinking, rather than when itis too late at bedtime. The latter tip was suggested by Shaugnessy Bishop-Stall in his new book Hungover: The Morning After and One Man's Quest for the Cure.
Of course, 1 to 1.5 grams of NAC will bulk up your serving size by at least a few capsules more. The upside of which would be that it might really work. Instead, for Intox-Detox we went with clinically-proven Setria L-Glutatione. This is an orally active "reduced" Glutathione supplement that delivers the building blocks for the body's master antioxidant. Setria has proven that your body actually rebuilds it when it gets into the blood stream to counteract negative effects of the alcohol.
Setria is a relatively costly raw material to work with. Noticing a trend? However, we use it because they have studies showing it can raise your alcohol-crushing L-Glutathione levels by as much as 30%, which is certainly not nothing. Truthfully, it's recommended to take Setria every day for best results.
In addition, Intox-Detox is formulated to be all-natural, FDA-compliant, cGMP manufactured, clinically formulated, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan. They are not.That's just the way we do things. The right way. Not the cheap way.
In summary, most of what is in their product is unnecessary. Other than milk thistle, the things that do work are under-dosed or just non-compliant. It's awesome they got a patent, though I'm not sure what for exactly. Is there some novel extraction process they invented that I don't know about? Or did they just buy cheap ingredients and have them mixed up by a manufacturer like all our other competitors?
And as for marketing, I think it's awesome that the founders went to Princeton. It's a great credibility piece that they use quite a bit. I just wonder why they didn't use their education to formulate the product better.
Intox-Detox is founded by me and one of the best award-winning science-based supplement formulators in the world. The owners are a small family, none of whom went to Princeton. What we did do was spend the time, money and effort to make sure everything in our product is FDA-compliant, safe, clinically proven and effective. Right ingredients in the right amounts at the right time. That's what makes a great product. Not marketing fairy tales or patents.
Of course I am biased and this is an opinion. However, some of the glaring issues here are factual and not editorial. Check out the label below and compare for yourself.