Shocking Results from USANA’s Supplement Comparisions!!

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

Over the last seven years I have often been asked to comment on how USANA’s products compare with ours, particularly our Total Balance. Over that period I have given some brief comparisons and have always intended to follow this up with a comprehensive review.

I have let it ‘slide’ over the last few months as USANA have been having more than their fair share of problems as a result of a report by the Fraud Discovery Institute. I won’t go into details about this but if you are interested you can find out what is going on by clicking here.

OK…now to the comparison!

A few comments first.

1. The principles that I used when doing this comparison are the same that I use with other product comparisons. They are fair and transparent.

2. I am not ‘rubbishing’ USANA in this report. I am simply keeping to the facts. It is just unfortunate for them that it reveals that their products are quite ordinary and very much overpriced.

This is what I did.

Step 1.

I selected their Health Pak 100 which is their foundation product and combined it with one of their optimizers Visonex. I did this because eye health should really be combined into any foundation supplement.

Based on their ingredient lists as published on their website (for their US version) I entered the ingredients into a spreadsheet which I prepared. This spreadsheet included all the ingredients present in our Unisex version of Total Balance plus any ingredients that USANA had that we did not have in our Total Balance Unisex.

I had some difficulty comparing the minerals in the USANA products. This is because they are not specific about stating whether or not the amount that they are using is for the elemental mineral or the ingredient used.

Let me explain:

If we refer to say Zinc (as zinc citrate) and then give an amount such as we do in TB Unisex at 3.21mgs, this means that this is the amount of elemental mineral. However, to get the 3.21mgs of elemental zinc we have had to use 10mgs of Zinc Citrate. USANA is using 40mgs of Zinc which is very high even in the citrate form…but, is it elemental? I don’t know!

The same principle applies for all minerals. Selenium is another example. We have to use 224mcgs of L-Selenomethionine to get 90mcgs of elemental selenium.

However, USANA say that they use 200mcgs of Selenium which would be dangerous if this was correct. The same principle applies to manganese in which USANA uses 5mgs. We use 6mgs of Manganese Citrate to get 1.68mgs of elemental Manganese.

I suspect that they even though they refer to Magnesium or, whatever mineral is listed that they really mean the ‘salt’ of the mineral such as Magnesium citrate. Otherwise, that would mean in the case of Magnesium that they would have to use 3,500mgs of Magnesium Citrate. The same principle would apply to Calcium. I don’t think that for one minute that they are doing that. And…if they did it means that their customers would be overdosing on some minerals…and I doubt that this is the case!

So, this would mean that they do not have 500mgs of Magnesium but only about 70mgs of elemental. I think that USANA need to review their ingredient data and clarify this issue as it is potentially very misleading.

Step 2.

I then totaled the amount of active ingredients in both a 30 day supply of Total Balance Unisex and a 28 day supply of Health Pak 100 + Visionex.

Step 3.

I did the same as in step 2 but deducted the Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin C. Why did I do this? Well, the main reason is that many companies put a lot of these ingredients in their products as they are so cheap. For example the are only 1/80th of the price of some of the ingredients that we use in Total Balance. In other words these three ingredients can be used as fillers.

There is no doubt that calcium and magnesium is important but if you feel that you need extra it is better not to try and get all of it in a product such as Total Balance. This is why we developed Bone-Protec. However, I will be showing you the results with and without Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin C included.

Another reason why I have showed it with and without is that the figures with it included may be distorted. To explain: The total of active ingredients for Total Balance Unisex which came to 3,935mgs per day including calcium, magnesium and vitamin C. On the other hand USANA’s total came to 4349mgs.

BUT…if my assumption above about the mineral figures being the ‘gross’ salts and not the elemental then the total active ingredients for USANA per daily dose drop back to just 3,419mgs which is more than 500mgs per day less than Total Balance.

Then to make it more interesting if you drop out the Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin C the amount of daily active ingredients in only 1379mgs! Just a little over 1/3rd of the active ingredients in a daily dose of Total Balance Unisex.


1. The daily cost for Total Balance Unisex is US$2.38 per day.

The daily cost for the USANA Health Pak 100 + Visionex is US$6.00 per day which is approximately 250% more expensive.

2. The active ingredients for the USANA package amount to 3,419mgs per day including calcium, magnesium and vitamin C.

The active ingredients for Total Balance including calcium, magnesium and vitamin C amount to 3,935mgs. Approximately 15% more.

3. The active ingredients less calcium, magnesium and vitamin C are:

* For USANA – 1379mgs.
* For Total Balance – 3827mgs. Approximately 275% more.

4. USANA includes soy isoflavones which are good for mature adults but should not be taken by young adults or teenagers. This is why we do NOT have it in our Unisex version of Total Balance but do include it in both our Mens Plus and Womens Plus versions but at a rate of 50mgs. The 10mgs included is inadequate to get much benefit from.

5. They do include Resveratrol which is good…BUT, they do not specify if it is synthetic or natural. We use only the natural version at 50% potency. Most companies use the cheaper low potency version of 10%. However, the 2mgs that USANA uses is of no benefit even if they were using the higher potency. The dose is far to low. We use 32mgs.

In addition, Resveratrol is one of the ingredients that is very sensitive and is damaged by stomach acid. To preserve its activity it MUST be released in the upper intestine NOT the stomach. To achieve this, the tablet must be enteric coated. This is an expensive process and none of USANA’s products are enteric coated. All Total Balance versions are enteric coated.

6. Very few amino acids are included in the USANA formula. These are essential for promoting good cell health, particularly L-Carnosine and L-Glutathione. USANA only has one amino acid and less than 1/6th of the quantity of amino acids in Total Balance. L-Glutathione in the form that we use is very rare in a supplement because of its cost (80 times more than Vitamin C), also because it will only work if the tablet is enteric coated.

7. The olive leaf extract which is a highlight of some USANA products is nothing special. The active ingredient in olive leaf is Oleuropein. We have this in Total Balance. In fact we have 100mgs of it in a daily dose versus just 30mgs in the USANA product.

8. Adding the two USANA products together they have a total of 45 ingredients. In contrast Total Balance Unisex has a total of 75 ingredients. This is important as many of these ingredients are required as co-factors for others, or, form part of the overall synergy to ensure that the whole is much more effective than the sum of the parts.

The Mens Plus and Womens Plus versions of Total Balance contain around 85 active ingredients with each of them have ingredients specific for men or women. This means that both women and men using their respective version of Total Balance would not need to add an additional USANA optimizer which would in the case of USANA customers add even further costs.

9. All USANA products are released in the stomach and as such many of the ingredients are affected by acid. CoQ10 is a case in point. 12mgs would be virtually useless because of the delivery system. Our research indicates that 40mg is needed IF it bypasses the stomach. We do not include CoQ10 in Total Balance because it provides all the precursors in the correct quantity to enable the body to make its own.

So, delivery systems are important. This is why we use enteric coating technology for all Total Balance versions.

I could continue with more points but I think that I have said enough! No doubt this report will upset some USANA distributors. I am sorry about that but as I said I am just relaying the facts.

I do appreciate that the price comparison is based on their internet retail price, but then so is ours. Many customer of Xtend-Life enjoy a 10% discount due to their membership of our loyalty program. Of course I recognize that most people do not pay retail for their USANA products as they buy at distributor prices. But, even at distributor prices USANA products still represents very poor value for money.

As I said earlier there is nothing special about USANA products. I think that they are good basic supplements albeit extremely overpriced.

I hope that you find this article enlightening and even apply the principles when comparing other supplements. You can find the spreadsheet that I prepared on this by clicking here:

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