I’m going to reveal the only medical problem I have (at least that I know of) other than the propensity toward obesity when I eat too many carbs. I’m going to explain how the direct response business works. I’m going to talk about the problems direct marketers have in dealing with our servants in Washington. And I’m going to tell you how you can get the best nutritional supplement I’ve ever seen in action absolutely free. How’s that for a pleiotropic post?
First the medical problem. I’ll reveal it in true AA fashion.
I am a GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) sufferer.
I don’t get it often, but when I do, it’s a nightmare. As long as I stick with my own diet, I never ever have a problem. But sometimes, what with traveling and all, I’ll stray from the straight and narrow for a bit. The first day or two or even three after I’ve fallen off the wagon, I don’t have symptoms. But starting about day three or four, it turns brutal. And like most everyone else, once the let’s-eat-carbs devil is on me, I want to keep on going. And I pay dearly. I actually become afraid to go to bed because I know what’s going to happen. Those of you who are fellow sufferers know what I mean.
I’ve taken to never going far without my team of GERD-preventative products, which, even though OTC, are really the only semi-sort of medicines I ever take. I always packed the duo shown below: Tums and Pepcid AC. Both are OTC, although Pepcid used to be prescription. I hated to take them, but I hated the symptoms of GERD even worse.
Now for the direct response business.
A direct response company (DR) is one that sells products direct to consumer through channels other than retail stores. Companies that sell through catalogs, online, direct mail, infomercials, Google ads, websites, etc are called DR companies. Anyone who sells this way is said to be in DR sales. Many companies have physical stores but still have a DR arm that sells through catalogs and online. The little product section of our website is a DR store.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog, or at least in the comments somewhere, MD and I are part owners of a couple of DR companies that produce and sell unique, patented nutritional products. I’ve avoided promoting any of those products on this blog because I didn’t want to contaminate it with commercial marketing. I want what I write to be accepted as my opinion based on my years of practice and my reading and understanding of the medical literature, not as an overt or even subtle effort to drive readers to buy products that I may have to sell. Any time I do post about a product, which I did once with Pentabosol, I am always clear that I am in the business of selling said product, and I expect anyone reading what I have to say about it as coming from someone who stands to gain financially by its sales.
I will never follow the loathsome practice used by a majority of the newsletters out there that recommend products in a seemingly unbiased fashion then offer a link for readers to purchase those products from what appears to be a third party, but which, in reality, is a company owned by the newsletter publisher. I believe such behavior is beneath contempt.
How does my GERD and my involvement in the DR business all come together in one post?
Because GERD is a problem that afflicts me, I do a fair amount of research on it. Through this research, I’ve discovered that I’m far from alone in suffering GERD’s debilitating effects. There are estimated to be anywhere from 25 million to 40 million fellow GERD sufferers in the US alone, numbers that get the attention of the DR marketer in me. (Not to mention the pharmaceutical companies, which is why the commercials for the little purple pill are all over TV.) For several years, I’ve been on the lookout for a natural supplement that works for GERD. If you google GERD or heartburn, you’ll find plenty of nutritional supplements, but based on my experience, none of them really work – at least not for me. Below is a photo I took of a part of an entire section at Costco devoted to OTC reflux meds.
A few years ago I was doing my morning cruise through the medical literature when I came upon a paper by a Brazilian scientist about a natural supplement he had developed and used successfully to treat severe GERD. I read his paper his paper (pdf file) and found a follow-up paper and was intrigued. He had compared his supplement head to head with omeprazole, the generic for the drug Prilosec (and the precursor to Nexium, the little purple pill), and his supplement had won. Moreover, he had a large number of subjects – almost 300, which is a pretty huge number for trials with natural supplements. Usually it’s something in the range of 10-20. He found that within 40 days ALL the subjects on his supplement had achieved complete relief from their GERD symptoms whereas only 67 percent of those on the drug had done so. As you might imagine, this paper got my attention.
When I looked at the ingredients, it didn’t look to me as if they would particularly work to relieve GERD, but, according to his study, not only did they work, they were shown by endoscopy to actually heal ulcerations. The follow-up paper (pdf file) had photos of the healing progression. In doing further research on the product and the ingredients, it looked as if this product worked in a different way than all the others on the market.
Since the beginning, when people first starting treating GERD and acid reflux, they’ve used a variation of the same treatment: reducing the amount of stomach acid. The theory is that acid from the stomach gets through a loosened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular ring that holds the bottom of the esophagus closed, and splashes onto the delicate tissues of the esophageal lining, burning them in the process. Although new theories are emerging as to what really causes GERD, the excess acid reflux theory has held sway for ages. According to the precepts of this theory, if you can reduce the degree of acidity of the stomach acid or cause the stomach to produce less of it, you can reduce the effects of the acid that makes its way through the LES to the vulnerable esophageal cells.
Antacids, the earliest approach developed, work by neutralizing stomach acid. The newer drugs such as Prilosec and Nexium work by making the stomach produce less acid. In both cases, the problem is solved by either getting rid of the acid or neutralizing it. Which, for the most part, works to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of GERD. But, and this is a big ‘but,’ maybe isn’t the best way to go. Stomach acid is there in the stomach for a reason.
It’s the first line of defense against microbe invasion. If you swallow germs, the acid works to destroy them. When you breath in germs, they get stuck to the mucus in your respiratory tract, then the little hairs (that haven’t been burned off due to smoking) move this mucus, filled with germs and particulate matter you don’t want in your lungs, upward and dumps it in the back of your throat (you never notice this happening, but it happens 24 hours per day) from where you swallow it. Those bugs then get killed when they hit the acid in the stomach.
When food reaches the stomach, the stomach acid acts upon it as the first phase of the digestive process. Protein starts to be broken down in the stomach. When the acidic stomach contents are released into the first part of the small intestine, their acidity stimulates the release of alkaline juices to neutralize them and do other work in the digestive process. Whenever stomach acid is gotten rid of or neutralized, the very first step in the digestive process is compromised and there is a domino effect from there on.
Studies are starting to demonstrate that those who take the newer anti-GERD drugs suffer a higher incidence of pneumonias and other infections (which makes sense since the first line of defense is knocked out) and more osteoporosis and hip fractures (which also makes sense since protein digestion and absorption is affected). As far as I know, antacids haven’t been implicated, but that’s probably because people don’t take them all the time as they do these other drugs. Most people only take antacids as they need them, so their acid isn’t affected 24 hours per day, day in and day out.
This Brazilian product appeared to work by strengthening the LES so that the acid didn’t get to where it wasn’t supposed to be. But the acid itself wasn’t effected, so the digestive process could perform unhindered.
I thought this could be a terrific product for DR, so I tracked the researcher down in Brazil. He told me he had used the supplement on many, many patients besides the ones in the study and that he was shipping it all over Brazil and to people in the US and Canada. Furthermore, he informed me that he had the worldwide patent rights on the product. I told him I would love to work an arrangement with him to get the exclusive license to make and sell his product. I (and my partners) flew him to the US where we put him up for a week and picked his brain on the product. Satisfied that it was legit and that his patents were in order, we executed a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with him.
We began to formulate a strategy to sell the product, which we named Protexid. We decided to start with a radio infomercial because they are much less expensive to produce and can be used to work out the bugs in the presentation before jumping into the much more expensive television infomercial market. At the same time we were in the planning stages for the radio infomercial we were working to come up with a name for the product (the name he was using in Brazil wouldn’t make any sense to an American consumer), designing the labels and accompanying literature and all the rest of the creative stuff that has to be done to bring a product to market.
Our Brazilian doctor had sent us names of clients he had in the US who had been using his product. We got in contact with a number of these folks and found them to have been tremendously satisfied and several were willing to be testimonials for us. Once we had all the parts of the promotion together, MD and I went to a studio and recorded the radio infomercial. We stayed in the booth for two days making a number of iterations of the program. Once finished we got the shows transcribed and sent the scripts to the attorney whose job it is to keep us out of trouble with all the government regulatory agencies. MD and I are old hands at this, so we pretty much know how to do these things on the fly and stay in the clear. Consequently, we were expecting a few little cuts here and there, but nothing that would substantively alter what we were trying to say. We’re we ever in for an eye opener.
Here comes the part about our friends in Washington.
When we spoke with the lawyer, we found that our show had been cut to the bone. GERD is a disease, and if you make disease claims – as in, it relieves the symptoms of GERD – you are making a disease treatment claim, which runs you afoul of the FDA. The only way you can make a so-called disease claim is to go through the same kind of extensive FDA-approved studies as drugs have to go through. If you try to make a disease claim without doing this, you get hammered by the FDA. Then there are all the FTC regs. About half the time you can’t say one thing because the FDA won’t let you and the other half you can’t something else because the FTC won’t let you. After our lawyer – who really is reasonable – got through with our show, it turned out that the only claim we could actually make was the following: Protexid may offer relief from occasional heartburn. Nothing about GERD, nothing about acid reflux, nothing about the long term problems with untreated GERD, and nothing about how our product stacked up against a prescription drug. All in all, our program had been totally emasculated.
We had no way to explain how phenomenal Protexid really is without risking serious problems from our government watchdogs. Which is extremely frustrating when you’ve got a product that works as well as this one and that so many people could benefit from.
And it works extremely well.
As we were fiddling with all the work necessary to get this project moving, I was going about my business doing all the things I normally do including tending to this blog. Over the first couple of months or so that we had the product I had an episode or two of GERD, but dealt with them with Tums and Pepcid AC as usual. I didn’t use our own product for a couple of reasons. First, the samples we had gotten from the Brazilian doc had been made in China and I wasn’t about to take them. Second, when I got GERD, I got it bad (for some reason, I never have a slight case or a touch of it; I always have the full-blown version), and I wanted to take something I knew worked, not something I had never taken before. So even when we had our own US manufactured product, I didn’t take it myself.
I’ve had tons of experience with natural supplements, and they all pretty much work the same. You take them for several weeks or a few months and you build up levels that actually start to work. Krill oil had been the perfect example. I took a krill oil/fish oil/curcumin combination to relieve my aches and pains from playing too much golf so I could quit taking all the ibuprofen I was taking. After about a month and a half I was pretty much ache and pain free. Now I take only a single krill oil softgel and one curcumin daily to keep myself that way. But it initially took almost two months for the natural supplement combo I was using to kick in and do its thing. Which, in my experience, is pretty much the standard course with natural supplements: many work, and work well, but it takes time.
When I have an episode of GERD, I don’t have time to wait. I want relief now. I don’t want to lay awake all night in agony and do so for two months while I’m waiting for the natural supplement to kick in. Thus I never used our own product the couple of times I needed something.
Until one time MD and I went on a several-day-long trip, and I forgot to take my Tums and Pepcid. A couple of days into the trip, I could tell I was going to get GERD that night. (Most of the time I can tell when it’s going to happen; occasionally it sneaks up on me.) I was desperate. I was getting ready to head off to find a drug store and get the stuff I needed, but MD brow beat me into taking a Protexid. I took one capsule (the standard dose) at bedtime and experienced no GERD. I wrote it off as a fluke. But then I tried it again the next night and, again, no symptoms. I tried to test it by eating a bunch of junk that I knew would normally do me in. One capsule at bedtime and nothing. This is what the Brazilian doctor had told me, but I simply hadn’t believed him. Once I saw how well it worked for me, I became almost a religious convert. I knew a few guys I played golf with who had GERD. Most took prescription drugs daily for the condition. I got them to try the product. In every case, they got complete relief with one capsule at bedtime. I was stunned that it worked so well.
I have had probably 30 people that I now know first hand who have taken this product with success equal to mine. One guy – a surgeon – ditched drugs he had been taking for years and got total relief. He feared he was going to have GERD one night, and so took one of his prescription drugs that night in addition to the product. He didn’t have symptoms and we don’t know if he would have on the product alone or not. But that’s as close as we’ve come to a treatment failure with his product.
In fact, in all my years of medical practice, I have never seen a natural supplement that works like this one. It works quickly and it takes only one capsule at bedtime, not the large doses throughout the day that are associated with most natural supplements. It is the only supplement I’ve ever seen that has truly drug-like effects in terms of speed of action and efficacy.
So we’ve got this great product and we can’t really tell people via paid advertising how it really works. We ran our emasculated radio infomercial, but, as expected, it didn’t do squat. The people who purchased the product were happy, but not nearly enough bought it to make continuing to run the show profitable. We cut our losses and shut down.
We were approached by another company that wanted to promote our product via television infomercial, so we negotiated a sub-licensing agreement with that company. This outfit went over the moon in making claims about Protexid (in our licensing agreement, of course, we made sure we were exempt from any liability for claims this company made), yet they, too, were unsuccessful in making the promotion a success. They spent even more money and tried again with even more aggressive claims and got very little return. They finally gave up and returned the rights back to us.
Why didn’t these shows work? We knew ours didn’t work because we couldn’t really describe how effective the product really is. But how about the other show? The one that took it over the moon in terms of claims? Why didn’t it sell there? I’ve got my suspicions as to why that I’ll talk about it a bit.
Right now we’re scratching our heads about what to do with this phenomenal product. I put it up on the catalog part of our website, but no one really knows what it is, so we haven’t really sold much Protexid that way.
Which brings me to the point of this meandering post. We’ve worked on this project for going on three years now and the Protexid we’ve got left is going to expire soon. It really isn’t going to expire in terms of efficacy, but it’s going to expire based on the dates the manufacturer printed on the bottles.
There are two versions. The first, pictured to the left, is the original that is the product used in the published study. It’s in a blue bottle and is called Protexid. (In case you’re wondering, Triparadol is what the name is in Brazil) The other is in an orange bottle and is called Protexid ND. The Protexid ND has lower doses of a couple of ingredients and seems to work as well as the regular strength product. I’ve used both – I use whichever I happen to have at hand when I need it – and haven’t seen a difference. The Brazilian doctor uses the lower dose all the time and in his follow-up paper he used the lower dose, but we made the higher dose so we thought we could use the first paper that compared Protexid to the prescription drug. Had we used the first published paper to support the claims for the product with the lesser dosage, we would have been hammered.
We have about 80 of so bottles of the blue, full-strength Protexid, but it expires at the end of November. We have more bottles of the Protexid ND, which expires at the end of December 2009. I don’t know off hand how many Protexid ND we have, but substantially more than the other. As I say, as far as I can tell, they both work the same.
NOTE: All the full-strength Protexid is gone. All that’s available now is the Protexid ND, which, as far as I can tell (from my own experience, anyway) works as well as the full-strength stuff.
Get it free!
NOTE: ALL OF THE PROTEXID IS GONE. WE NO LONGER HAVE EITHER THE REGULAR OR THE ND. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, YOU CAN TRY GASTRITONIN, WHICH IS THE SAME FORMULA AS PROTEXID.
Anyone who wants to try this product can get it absolutely free by ordering on our website. The price should be set at $0. All you will have to pay is the shipping and handling, which is minimal. Please, though, no more than two per person. That’s TWO per person. It can be one of each or two of one kind, but not two of both kinds. I want to make sure that everyone who wants to try Protexid gets a chance, and there really is a limited amount left. No obligations on your part. You don’t have to sign up for more. Just grab it and run. So, if you or someone you know has the problem, give it a try.
NOTE: OUR SHOPPING CART DOESN’T ALLOW US TO LIMIT QUANTITIES OF ANYTHING PURCHASED. SOME CLEVER PEOPLE HAVE FIGURED OUT THAT THEY CAN ENTER 4, 10, 20 or even, as in one case, 100 INTO THE AMOUNT WINDOW. DOING THIS AUTOMATICALLY CALCULATES SHIPPING CHARGES ON THE LARGER AMOUNT, WHICH KRISTI HAS TO GO BACK AND CHANGE TO THE AMOUNT FOR TWO BOTTLES, THEN REFUND THE CREDIT CARD FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN SHIPPING. I’VE INSTRUCTED KRISTI TO HENCEFORTH CANCEL THE ORDER AND REFUND FULL SHIPPING FOR ANYONE WHO ORDERS MORE THAN TWO BOTTLES OF PROTEXID ON THIS FREE OFFER.
I don’t think Protexid will ever be a good infomercial product because due to government regulations it can’t be promoted in a way that explains what its real benefits are. And without the explanation no one really wants to purchase a product that ‘may offer relief from occasional heartburn.’ And the obvious problem with GERD is that it hurts and that some people actually spit up acid and burn their throats. These problems can be solved with prescription medicines – or, as in my case, with OTC meds. But without the explanation as to why these aren’t the best solutions, why would anyone have the impetus to pay for Protexid when prescription drugs that relieve the symptoms can be had for the price of a co-pay.
So we are changing course to look at selling Protexid into the retail market and/or through health practitioner’s offices. I have a friend who is a naturopathic physician who works in an integrative pharmacy, which is one that does compounding and sells a lot of nutritional supplements along with prescription medicines. She tells me that almost 70 percent of people who come into the pharmacy (who aren’t coming in specifically to get a prescription filled) are looking for something for GI problems, and that most of those are having problems with GERD. The pharmacy in which she works is in an upscale part of Los Angeles, and she says most of the people coming in have a prescription for Nexium or one of the other similar drugs, but are looking for natural alternatives. This is the group we need to be marketing Protexid to, but our whole team are skilled only in the DR way of marketing. None of us have a clue as to how to get a product into a pharmacy. I’m constantly amazed at the collective wisdom of people who read this blog. Maybe someone out there is experienced in retail placement or other means of distribution that they could direct me to. If so, I would love to hear from you.
And if anyone has used this Protexid ( you know who you are) and wants to tell about the experience – good or bad – send it to the comments, and I’ll post for all to read.
Until we get our marketing strategy worked out, we’re probably not going to manufacture any more Protexid, so gets yours free while they last.
One last thing. I’ve given Kristi, our long suffering assistant who works for slave wages, time off for good behavior, so she is leaving tomorrow for Thanksgiving with relatives. She may not be able to get some of these orders out until Monday. Thanks in advance for your patience.
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