VitaPulse, one such supplement manufactured by a California-based company, claims to promote heart health through a formula that has antioxidant benefits, particularly at the cellular level. While many other products that purport “advanced formulas” contain at least a dozen ingredients, the manufacturers of “VitaPulse” claim to achieve significant results with the help of just three – coenzyme Q10, N-acetylcysteine (abbreviated NAC), and pyrroloquinoline quinone (also known as PQQ).
The revolutionary change in the dissemination of information brought on by the Internet has had many unforeseen consequences. One of these consequences is the trend of self-medication which has opened the door for many a dietary supplement. On this semi-scientific note, we encounter the supplements meant for the improvement of cardiac function.
We do not have an ingrained bias against dietary supplements, irrespective of type, and therefore this comprehensive review will begin by attempting to assess the claims made by Princeton Nutrients, while also taking into account relevant information about the credibility of the manufacturing company itself. Afterward, we will present you with the necessary data regarding the scientifically proven (and potential, yet unproven) effects of the ingredients in “VitaPulse”. We will wrap up the review by summing up the current body of reviews from the most authoritative sources, and on that basis coupled with our arguments, deliver the verdict on whether you should pursue the gamble with Princeton Nutrient’s flagship product.
VitaPulse and Princeton Nutrients
The first thing that one observes when accessing the VitaPulse -dedicated page on Princeton Nutrients’ official website is the laconic presentation of the product. The page has the order form highlighted with the 90-day money back guarantee statement, followed by shipping and billing information, the supplement’s label, the recommended dosage (1 capsule per day), a paragraph’s worth of expected benefits, and an assurance of personal information security, all in a Q&A manner of presentation.
This strikes your typical dietary supplements reviewer as odd because most marketers go out of their way to fill the product description page with an endless flow of facts, pseudo-facts, and testimonials. This spartan approach is almost refreshing because one could expect that a supplement’s components should speak for themselves.
To get the pecuniary aspect sorted out, a bottle of VitaPulse containing 30 capsules (a month’s supply) costs $49 (with an additional $6.95 shipment cost), considering that the advised retail cost is $61. The customer can also opt for a three-month supply ($127 with no shipping costs) or a six month’s worth ($235).
As we have stated in the introductory section of this review, VitaPulse is the company’s flagship product, although it also produces five other supplements. All the products are vaguely described as being the result of advanced research undertaken by a team of scientists, made from ingredients of the utmost quality in facilities that conform with FDA Good Manufacturing Practices. Naturally, “all supplements get tested by independent third parties”. These assertions are never elaborated further, an aspect that is definitely a dent in Princeton Nutrients’ credibility, though far from an isolated situation in the landscape of dietary supplements manufacturers.
To counter this initial negative impression, we should specify that the official website states that for every bottle of product sold, a small percentage goes towards the education-oriented charitable organization Social Promise. Obviously, Princeton Nutrients is not the first (or last) possibly rapacious company which presents a community-minded dimension. However, a serious organization, like Social Promise certainly seems to be would definitely not want its good name tarnished by its association with an outright fraud. As a side note, the declared goal of this association, as presented on the official website, is providing the financing for a school by July 2016, a goal whose fate is yet to be revealed.
Other sections of the official website are dedicated to the overly long stating of the terms of service, an aspect that is common to all supplements’ manufacturers, which basically extricates them from all potential liability. An encouraging aspect has to do with the affiliate program, an “open secret” for most other similar companies, yet Princeton Nutrients is not afraid to publicly seek out online promoters for its products. The website also has an attractive blog section, which is nowadays updated regularly after a relatively long hiatus, with interesting and well-written posts on the subject of a healthy lifestyle.
VitaPulse is a relatively new addition to the supplement market, launched in mid-2016. Princeton Nutrients has its headquarters in Woodland Hills, California, and has been registered with the Better Business Bureau from August 2015, therefore a young company as well. According to the official website, the face of the scientific research behind their supplements is Dr. Arash Bereliani, a cardiologist with rather impressive credentials (Chicago’s Finch University of Health Sciences, UCLA’s School of Medicine, director of the Beverly Hills Institute of Cardiology, among others). At first glance, he seems to be a respected cardiologist in his community and is well on his way to becoming a YouTube personality.
Though not quite effortless inquiry, we have found out that Dr. Bereliani has no financial stake in Princeton Nutrients, a company which may have just recently have transferred its activity to California from another state, and probably just fulfills the designated role of scientific advisor.
As we have mentioned earlier, VitaPulse is just one of the supplements designed and sold by Princeton Nutrients, though it is far and away from their best-known product. The others are:
- UltraKrill – a supplement meant to provide the body with a healthy contribution of omega-3 fatty acids while also looking to improve the rate of their assimilation, for a better cardiac and brain function. It is mostly made up of krill (they are small marine arthropods, in case one is not already familiar) oil and traces of fish oil derived from several species. A little flavor has been added to counteract the usually repellent smell and taste. One month’s supply of UltraKrill costs $39 (plus $6.95 for shipping), or you can choose the 3-month ($102) or 6-month ($174) stock options, with free shipping.
- NovaLite – a weight loss supplement consisting of a formula that blends probiotics and digestive enzymes, complete with substances which act as appetite suppressants and mood enhancers. Three servings of NovaLite are recommended with each meal of the day, consisting of the following ingredients: three strains of the Lactobacillus and two strains of the bifidobacterium (amounting to 4 billion CFU’s per serving); amylase, bromelain, lipase (the enzyme complex); green tea extract; Caralluma Fimbriata extract under the registered trademark Slimaluma. NovaLite has a price that is almost identical to VitaPulse.
- OmegaStem – is an anti-aging dietary supplement which is supposed to stimulate the division of stem cells in adults. It is in powder form, and it is recommended to dissolve one scoop in water to be consumed in the morning, on an empty stomach. The list of ingredients is headlined by a mammoth dosage of 500% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D3, flanked by blueberry and green tea extracts, along with the amino acids leucine and l-carnosine. The supplement’s description states that this combination of ingredients has led to the proliferation of certain types of cells in human subjects, yet no references are provided to relevant scientific studies. The cost of OmegaStem is similar to VitaPulse and NovaLite.
- JointSupport – as the name suggests, this product boasts a formula with ingredients meant to provide additional, natural support for your joints. Two of these capsules a day on an empty stomach should do the trick, as they contain eggshell membrane (to improve flexibility); turmeric and black pepper (natural anti-inflammatories); Boswellia serrata (for preserving the health of cartilage); white willow (for the alleviation of chronic pain). The prices for JointSupport are the same as those for
- HeartBiotics – is a supplement that seems to be the latest addition to the revolutionary research team employed by Princeton Nutrients, as each capsule contains 4.5 billion CFU’s of the Lactobacillus Reuteri, a probiotic strain that improves the circulatory and heart functions, besides the traditional digestive benefits that probiotics entail. Its price is along the same lines as the majority of products listed above.
In this section, we have learned quite a bit about VitaPulse and, especially about Princeton Nutrients. Besides the lack of quotable scientific studies, the company seems legitimate, and the fact that they have a whole line of different dietary supplements adds to their credibility. The “face” of the manufacturer is their defining asset because there is not a trace of compromising information surrounding him.
Nevertheless, the cause of the laconic presentation of each product on the official website seems to be a recommendation made by the National Advertising Division (NAD) in November 2016. From this report, we deduce that in each product-dedicated sections within the website, the products’ presentations were realized in the form of testimonials. With the NAD requiring definitive proof as to the relevance of said testimonials, Princeton Nutrients simply have eliminated them. It should be said that NAD’s recommendations are not mandatory. Therefore the company’s willingness to remove the controversial information from the official website has to be applauded.
Let us now move on to the analysis of VitaPulse’s ingredients, to see if the cautiously optimistic impression created thus far can be maintained.
What to Expect from the Ingredients in Vitapulse?
As we have mentioned earlier in this review, it is a rare sight when a dietary supplement, especially one that presents itself as a “revolutionary formula”, to have so few ingredients as VitaPulse. This is also true for the majority of other supplements manufactured by Princeton Nutrients.
Furthermore, we have the added problem of claims of benefits before the action undertaken by the National Advertising Associaton, an issue discussed above. The only thing remaining to be clarified is the antioxidant potential of each component of VitaPulse.
N-ACETYL CYSTEINE (250 mg) or NAC
NAC is a commonly used ingredient in many dietary supplements, with claimed properties in liver protection as well as antioxidant effects. It has numerous other uses in mainstream medicine: as the solution against liver failure in cases of severe paracetamol overdose (hence the liver protection claims), for the alleviation of respiratory conditions (especially in the post-operative phase), and in the treatment of a handful of psychiatric disorders. Acetylcysteine has been deemed safe for use since the 1960’s and is an essential medicine in most parts of the world. It is administered orally, intravenously and, in particular cases, it is inhaled.
About heart health and cardiac conditions, NAC has been successful in the treatment of angina (alongside nitroglycerin). A significant segment of patients with (and susceptible of) coronary heart disease exhibit high levels of the amino acid homocysteine in their blood. In these cases, the oral administration of NAC has been effective in lowering those levels and, as a consequence, reducing the long-term risks associated with coronary heart conditions. The same is true in patients with dangerous levels of lipoprotein in their bloodstream. Regarding the reduction of homocysteine levels, however, folate is a much more effective supplement.
In the case of dietary supplements, NAC is essential because it plays a decisive role because it is involved in the production of glutathione, a substance that acts as a powerful antioxidant. That being said, there is no consensus regarding the ideal dosage and, as we all know, there is no deeper understanding of the relationship between oxidation and chronic diseases such as cancer or chronic cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore, there is considerable controversy concerning the actual amount of glutathione that is actually assimilated by the body from the metabolism.
As acetylcysteine is a legitimate medicine, approved by the World Health Organization, it is safe to use by the average healthy person, producing side effects (such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea) only in exceptional cases. For the diseases NAC is effective, the dosages vary widely, yet they are far more substantial than the 250 mg per day you get from a capsule of VitaPulse.
COENZYME Q10 (100 mg) or CoQ10
CoQ10 is ubiquitous in the world of skin-care products, as you certainly are familiar with. CoQ10 is an integral part of every animal ever since the first eukaryotic lifeform. It is involved in the biochemical process of cellular respiration through which most of the energy in the body is produced. Therefore, CoQ10 is naturally manufactured in the human body; it is not like vitamins which need to be harvested from the environment. It does act like certain vitamins, in the sense that it has a pronounced antioxidative effect, such as vitamin C for example.
That being said, the aging process gradually reduces the levels of CoQ10, hence the reduced energy that we have as we get older. Furthermore, a number of diseases (particularly heart disease and cancer) also diminish the capacity of the aforementioned biochemical process called (rather generically) biosynthesis.
This is the scientific fact from which dietary supplements manufacturers get their cue. However, addressing this particular problem is still a highly controversial issue in mainstream medicine. Therefore, coenzyme Q10 is not licensed medicine anywhere in the developed world.
As it is contained in almost every organism on Earth, most foods contain it, and most people get their necessary input the old-fashioned way.
There has been much hype around CoQ10 for a while, an aspect that is attested by the multitude of scientific (and less than scientific) studies undertaken in relation to a wide variety of conditions: a whole spectrum of genetically inherited conditions (like Huntington’s disease), high blood pressure, angina, heart failure, skin conditions, and especially cancer or cancer-related issues. The results are conflicting and CoQ10 is still a controversial subject, having many advocates and detractors with variable amounts of vehemence.
Some irrefutable aspects about coenzyme Q10 supplementation concern it’s almost unheard of risks or interactions. Patients with severe diabetes or liver damage do have a potential risk, although the vast majority of reported side effects have been limited to mild gastrointestinal bothers.
Uncertainty shrouds the issue of dosage, with supplements ranging from 50 mg to 1200 mg of CoQ10 per day, so the 100 mg contained in VitaPulse is not out of the ordinary.
PYRROLOQUINOLINE QUINONE (10 mg) or PQQ
PQQ is a substance that shares many similarities with CoQ10. It is also an integral part of almost every living thing, and healthy people get their necessary amount of PQQ from food. Causes of deficiency are the same as for CoQ10. PQQ is involved in the complex reactions of the metabolism as a redox factor, hence its antioxidative properties.
Unlike NAC and CoQ10, PQQ is a relatively recent discovery, which has two significant consequences for our situation – it is quite expensive to manufacture therefore few supplements are containing PQQ, the information concerning PQQ (which, in turn, means the claims supplements manufacturers can make) is largely based on animal testing. Important amounts of PQQ are to be found in many tropical fruits and, importantly, in breastmilk.
From the already extensive research performed on mice, PQQ has shown promise in the protection of mitochondria against oxidation at the cellular level, which is supposed to translate at the macro-level into cardio- and neuroprotection. Furthermore, recent studies have concluded that PQQ is effective against radiation poisoning and fatty liver disease.
A 2015 Japanese study has investigated the relationship between PQQ and metabolic changes. A dose of 20 mg per day for 12 weeks was administered to healthy adults garnering a minor reduction (about 7 percent) of cholesterol levels and a similar drop in uric acid levels. Abnormally high levels of uric acid are linked to several metabolic diseases such as gout or diabetes. This seems to be the only study performed on humans of any relevance regarding the effects of pyrroloquinoline quinone, positive or negative. The definitive scientific verdict on PQQ seems to be decades into the future.
Princeton Nutrients’ flagship supplement does not have scathing reviews. It has almost stellar testimonials from previous customers, even in the context of the (semi)official testimonials’ removal. What we found particularly noteworthy is a section on webmd.com “answers” where “VitaPulse”’s cholesterol-reducing properties are very prominent. The same applies to the comments sections of most serious dietary supplements’ reviewers.
Princeton Nutrients, though not bound by the same rules of academic probity as its namesake institution, does not obsessively try to oversell its products, which is surprisingly refreshing for a dietary supplements reviewer. Naturally, there are a few institutional and scientific inconsistencies, but compared with many other products and manufacturers, they could be considered deontological posters in a commercial segment littered with dubious practices. As we have discussed in the first section of this review, for such a young company and product, they both have a surprisingly undented credibility.
In the introductory section, we referred to taking this supplement, and indeed any supplement, as a gamble. The evidence, however, points out that “VitaPulse”, costing just around $50 for a month’s trial, is a promising gamble – an exciting, low-risk gamble. The best kind!
The matter at hand, however, does not afford us those decades. “VitaPulse” is a supplement that has already hit the market and has already been widely reviewed. The truth is that most trustworthy reviews give little attention to the manufacturer’s context, focusing on the pricing and the endless debate around the potential elixir that is CoQ10.
Regarding the recipe itself, dietary supplements are classified as foods for a reason. One can (and should) experiment with them, a luxury that medicine does not have. Acetylcysteine has been a certified drug for several decades now. Coenzyme Q10 has been forever controversial, though never deemed pernicious or completely irrelevant. Pyrroloquinoline quinone has encouraging preliminary results. The only doubt surrounds the dosages.