One of the reasons I started writing ERV was to help demystify viruses for the general public. To Average Joes/Janes, viruses are scary-ass little buggars– alien creatures that make you sick, kill you overnight in horrible scary ways, and you never see them coming.
I hope long-time readers of ERV are now aware that while some viruses are ‘scary’, the fact of the matter is, humans wouldnt exist without them. Hell, probably all life on Earth wouldnt exist without them. We can use them to study principles of evolution that would be impossible with other organisms. Theyve helped us learn about our immune system and how we can make better drugs and fight off non-viral diseases better. We can use viruses directly to treat cancer. We can use them to treat blindness, or fix other genetic abnormalities.
Viruses kinda kick ass!
Buuuuut most people arent long-time readers of ERV. So viruses are scary. And ‘fear’ makes a warm, snuggly nest for snake-oil salesmen. And I just found a good ‘un!
This crap is so sleazy and so pseudo-sciencey and Im so offended, as a virologist, Im going to give this bastard an Orac-length smackdown.
What I love about kooks is how goddamn ignorant they are of the topic they present themselves as experts in. Like how HIV-1 Denier Rebecca Culshaw didnt know the difference between an endogenous and exogenous retrovirus. Or how Billy Dembski thinks he ‘discovered’ functional ERV fragments. Likewise, the dude who invented this crap supplement, Hanan Polansky, thinks he discovered something in 2003:
Also, our founder and lead scientist is Hanan Polansky (PhD), who discovered the relationship between chronic viruses and chronic diseases.
Um, Im not sure who, exactly, gets the honor of ‘discovering’ that chronic viruses can cause a chronic disease, but I think a front-runner might be Peyton Rous, who discovered Rous Sarcoma Virus (a retrovirus that causes cancer in chickens) in 1911. Pretty sure Hanan wasnt alive in 1911. Kinda got beaten to the punch there by, oh, a hundred years, dude. LOL!
So what is this douche-bag peddling? Apparently, Gene-Eden is supposed to be an antiviral supplement, especially for chronic viruses:
- Hepatitis Virus (Hepatitis C Virus, Hep C, HCV, Hepatitis B Virus, Hep B, HBV, etc)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
- Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV)
NEWSFLASH: Most of you reading this have at least 4/6 on that list. Pretty much everyone gets HPV, EBV, HSV-1, CMV, and VSV. HepC and B are rarer, but not exactly rare. So while all of these viruses are drastically different (a physician physically couldnt prescribe a drug to treat all of these viruses) Gene-Eden has conveniently opened their market to basically every person on the planet. Hanan even encourages people to go get tested for EBV and CMV, cause he knows they will be positive. WE ALL ARE.
I think its neat to note that Hanan is careful not to say that this supplement will ‘cure’ anything. Thats pretty clever for a snake-oil salesman, as theyll usually just say it, and wont take the statement down until the FDA forces them to. But he does do the usual shimmy-shake to avoid saying what this supplement is actually supposed to do, and how patients can tell if its working.
You have to be patient. It might take a few weeks until you start to see results. Unlike drugs, the changes with the supplement are gradual, and sometimes are easily missed. Only after awhile you will look back and discover that you actually feel better, and that the supplement actually worked.
… It depends on the efficiency of your immune system, and its ability to recover. It’s hard to tell in advance. If your immune system recovers and becomes efficient enough in protecting your body against chronic viruses, than you will be able to stop using the supplement. After all, a strong immune system is able to control the chronic viruses and maintain their DNA at a very low concentration. In your case, we have to wait and see.
No idea when/how it works, and the usual snake-oil spin of ‘If it doesnt work for you, theres something wrong with you.’
Hanan gives patients a clever way to tell if their immune system is bouncing back, thanks to his supplement:
Please remember that the antibody based tests are very slow to react. Sometimes you might need to wait a few months to see results with these tests. You will feel better much faster than you see results with the antibody tests. These tests are slow to show changes in the antibodies concentration since our body tends to keep the level of antibodies high even after the viral DNA is down.
Youre supposed to go get more antibody tests. … Do you know what it means when you no longer have antibodies to viruses youve been exposed to? IT MEANS ALL YOUR MEMORY B-CELLS ARE DEAD. This is not a ‘good thing’ for any reason, EVER! You got chicken pox (VSV) when you were a little kid, but you still have antibodies to it, which is why you dont get chicken pox 6 times a year! Thus your antibody levels will never ‘go down’, so you ‘need’ to be on this supplement forever.
But I gotta hand it to Hanan. He has written, hands-down, the funniest shit I have read in a long time:
Think of the nucleus inside the cell as a field with many flowers. To bear fruit, the flowers need pollination by certain bees. Now think of a virus as another flower that migrated into the field. The viral flower also attracts the bees, however with much higher efficiency (stronger scent?). What happens to the production of fruit by the local flowers? It declines. And since many animals are dependent on this fruit, the entire ecosystem is affected. The “starved” human genes stop bearing their fruit, or proteins. They behave as if they’ve been mutated. (They were not, but to a puzzled scientist they look like they’ve been mutated!) And without the needed proteins, the cell stops functioning properly, a condition we call disease.
While hysterical, this is complete and utter bullshit. Lets say HIV-1 infects a cell, integrates into the genome, permanently. For all intents and purposes, youve added one viral gene (HIV-1 has one promoter) into a field of ~25,000 human genes. And technically, HIV-1 brings its own ‘bee’, tat. Transcription factors (not enough bees) are not a limiting reagent, here. I mean, some viruses purposefully down-regulate a few genes, cause they dont want to be ‘found out’ by the immune system… but they also try not to touch anything they dont have to adjust in their host cell, cause they dont want to be ‘found out’ by the immune system. Your immune system is like a gardener, making sure all the flowers are growing where they are supposed to. It pulls up infected flowers so they dont infect their neighbors. It pulls up weeds. Viruses want to look like everything else in the garden. There is simply no scientific basis for this stupid garden analogy.
Okay, enough about this douche-bag. Whats the deal with the supplement?
Gene-Eden is a ‘science based’ antiviral supplement. Its so super ‘science based’ they even encourage people to look up their research on PubMed!
As a proof to our scientific approach, just enter Gene-Eden into PUBMED, the database of scientific papers maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Well, I did that. I got one paper:
In all fairness to Gene-Eden, I didnt read this paper. I cant read this paper. Im at a major medical institution, and they dont have a subscription to this journal. But I can comment on the part of this article I can read: The Title.
“A broad range, natural antiviral supplement, may shrink tumors and strengthen the immune system” is a non-statement. While it contains words, it contains no information. Say you are driving home for your Moms birthday, and she says “Be careful on your way home! The weather is bad!” We all have a general idea of what ‘the weather is bad’ means, but it really doesnt contain any useful information. Is it 120 degrees outside, so you need to make sure your car is properly serviced and you have plenty of water? Does it mean there is a blizzard warning? Does it mean there is going to be dense fog? Lightning? Downpours? Hail? Hurricane? Tornadoes? Wind warning, and there are trees/power lines in the road?
If your mom said “The weather is going to be bad’, you would ask her for more information.
Scientific article titles sum up the entire paper in one sentence. Rather than being devoid of information, they are information dense. You know exactly what you are going to get. Examples taken from todays search of ‘HIV-1′:
- Purification of untagged HIV-1 reverse transcriptase by affinity chromatography.
- Functional properties of the HIV-1 subtype C envelope glycoprotein associated with mother-to-child transmission.
- Potent and broad neutralizing activity of a single chain antibody fragment against cell-free and cell-associated HIV-1.
- In vitro resistance development for RO-0335, a novel diphenylether nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor.
These are direct and to the point. No ‘may shrink tumors and strengthen the immune system’. What tumors? ‘Strengthen’ what part of the immune system? Increase the titer of neutralizing antibodies towards influenza A? Upregulate some transcription factor, thereby upregulating an siRNA that effects dendritic cell maturation? What? ‘Strengthen the immune system’ doesnt mean anything to a scientist.
Its a non-phrase a non-scientist would use to impress other non-scientists.
Okay, whatever, bitching about a really really bad title might be pedantic. So whats in this super-science based antiviral supplement?
- Camellia Sinensis Extract
- Licorice Extract
- Cinnamomum Extract
WOW! This is super-scientific! I dont know any HIV-1 researcher who isnt intimately familiar with using licorice in the lab as anti-retrovirals. Pop a black Twizzler into your infections to get data for single-cycle replication *nods* Standard lab protocol.
Look, you can pop over to those ingredients Wikipedia page to see what this stuff might do in tissue culture and small animal models. There is no reason to supplement with any of this stuff in humans. Hell, the selenium one even says that people shouldnt use it as a supplement because of its association with diabetes. heh.
What else do they have to back up their ‘science-based’ claims?
Do you have any evidence that Gene Eden targets the hepatitis/EBV/HPV/CMV … virus?
We have many customers with a chronic infection with these viruses who report positive results after taking Gene-Eden. Consider, for example, the customer reviews on the Amazon website.
*sigh* Like I said before, everyone is infected with these viruses. You already are. There is nothing you can do about it. Might as well make peace with this fact.
Sure, its scary to think that 20 years from now you will get some cancer from EBV, or you need a kidney transplant and CMV ramps up again making your life hell, or you know Hepatitis C is a ticking time-bomb in your liver. But if you really do have problems like these with one of these ubiquitous ‘chronic’ viruses, you dont need a supplement. You need to go to the doctor. We have ways of dealing with this stuff, and while it doesnt involve Twizzlers or flowers, these real treatments have a chance in hell of working.