MonaVie is a company that sells vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Like many young companies, they make some outrageous claims and occasionally run afoul of bloggers, FTC guidelines, and Oprah. But now they’re taking a bold step in releasing a device – you might even call it a medgadget. The MonaVie View is a compact finger scanner that purportedly provides a quick analysis of antioxidant levels in the body. It’s being marketed as a tool to help assess the effectiveness of the company’s core products to affect antioxidant levels in its customers.
The system uses reflection spectroscopy technology developed by scientists from University of Utah and provides a simple “Life Score” that is based on the scan. The technology behind the device derives from work of Dr. Werner Gellerman, who is faculty at the University of Utah and has researched and patented noninvasive carotenoid measurements.
There is some evidence that high levels of antioxidants are generally good for long term health (though high levels of some antioxidants, like uric acid, have shown an increased association with mortality). But from our perspective, it’s unclear if MonaVie products actually have high levels of antioxidants, and if the consumption of these foods actually raises serum levels. It’s also unclear which antioxidants are responsible for the effects, which antioxidants are being measured by this device, and whether the measurement is accurate.
We look forward to learning more about the device during its launch this week. But so far we’re pretty skeptical, given the tactics of its manufacturer. It does seem likely that customers who use this scanner will buy more MonaVie products, and that may be all the clinical data the company needed to bring this to market.
From the product page
White light is used to detect and measure antioxidants in human skin. When that white light hits antioxidants in your skin, it is reflected back. A spectrometer is used to measure that backscattered light, creating a score of the antioxidants present. The more antioxidants present, the higher the score.
The MonaVie VIEW Antioxidant Scanner uses pressure-mediated reflection spectroscopy to create your Life Score. The VIEW scanner gently squeezes (pressure mediation) the finger of the person being tested to temporarily express out blood from the test area. Pressure mediation helps provide a more accurate reading.
Product page: MonaVie VIEW Antioxidant Scanner…