Published on August 18, 2012
Yesterday Jennifer McKinney announced on Facebook:
This morning I started one of my children on the energy and mood capsule from my health supplement regimen. It’s the first time I’ve ever even dreamed of giving that one to one of my kids, but I keep hearing amazing testimonials about how it is helping other children with some mood and behavior stuff, so we are going to give it a try!
There are several serious concerns here. First of all, Jennifer is a mommy blogger and has a following, mostly of moms of younger children. Judging from some of the reader comments on Facebook, not everyone possesses adequate critical thinking skills. If MckMama is doing it, it must be okay, right? Jennifer has a responsibility to not lead her readers astray in search of a cure for their child’s mood or behavior problems; Jennifer is not a child psychologist or psychiatrist by any means.
Even more importantly, Jennifer is financially benefiting from the sale of these “energy and mood capsules” because she is a distributor for Xyngular. This is such an obvious conflict of interest that no one should even be taking her seriously with these claims. Think about it: Jennifer has never mentioned any mood or behavior issues with her children prior to this touting of Xyngular as a solution to these new mood and behavior issues.
Which product in the Xyngular line is she giving her children? The only product that mentions both mood and energy is Xyng, and Jennifer already confirmed this through e-mails to readers who have inquired about these amazing “energy and mood capsules:”
So yeah, we are just (today!) beginning our journey with adding Xyng (it’s one of Xyngular’s supplements…the serotonin booster) to the list of the vitamins I am trying with my children. I have a few friends who have issues themselves with ADD or ADHD and/or have children who also do. There have been quite a few who have noticed marked changes in their children since starting the products!
I am obviously far from an expert on this angle of these great supplements. I have something that will really be great, though: a recorded call with a testimony from a mother who has a son with behavioral, emotional and speech issues who started him on the supplements, too. Her story (and his!) is really great.
Jennifer admits that she is not an expert and then refers potential clients to a recorded testimonial from one parent (also not an expert) who thinks that the supplement helped her son.
Then she includes a link to the Xyngular product overview video.
Notice anything missing here? A recommendation by Jennifer to take the product information and the ingredient list to a medical professional, like a doctor or a pharmacist, who has training both in medicine and in pharmacology. Instead you should use these supplements for your child’s mood and behavior issues because another mom, who is not a medical diagnostician, recommends them. What’s even scarier is that some readers on Facebook think this is perfectly acceptable.
Jennifer herself nicely skirts the issue in the subsequent Facebook conversations. When a reader suggests that she should check with her pediatrician, Jennifer responds:
Yeah we were just at the ped recently. I wanted to wait until I was home from my trip and we had time before school before starting something new.
Never does she say that she talked to the pediatrician about Xyng OR that the pediatrician approved the use of Xyng in her child. She only says that she was at the pediatrician’s recently, which could have been for a yearly physical prior to school starting for all that anyone knows. It’s deceptive for her to imply (and it’s a weak implication at best) that she talked to the pediatrician and that the pediatrician approved.
So what is Xyng?
XYNG is an all-natural nutritional supplement bursting with a proprietary blend of herbal ingredients, vitamins and minerals uniquely formulated to assist in increasing energy, improving focus and making you feel more vibrant than ever, while helping to ramp up your metabolism and curb your appetite at the same time.
The natural energy produced by XYNG provides an unbelievable sustained and rock-steady energy. Even better, it lifts your mood and creates a thermogenic effect that will help you meet your weight loss goals quickly and feel amazing as you do it! Now you know why we call XYNG “FUEL FOR LIFE”.
But what is IN Xyng?
Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium and Chromium, which all sound fairly harmless.
It also contains a Proprietary Blend of jet black cocoa seed extract, barley grass, kelp, geranium flower extract (1, 3 dimethylpentylamine, trace mineral complex (AquaMin) and phenylethylamine HCl.
Finally it contains caffeine, Vanadium and a Metabolizing Blend of concentrated vegetarian amylase, protease and lipase.
Most of these ingredients sound fairly harmless but at least three should raise flags for anyone thinking these supplements are okay for children.
1) Geranium Flower Extract (1, 3 dimethylpentylamine)
Also known as methylhexanamine or DMAA, this is a vasoconstrictor and has been banned in a number of countries already. “The US military issued a massive recall of all methylhexanamine-containing products from all military exchange stores worldwide, after two soldiers suffered fatal heart attacks during training in 2010. Methylhexanamine was found in their blood.” The substance is also banned by the World Anti Doping Agency. Wikipedia has a good summary of information about it, but any Google search of “1, 3 dimethylpentylamine” should make any parent question the wisdom of giving this to an adult, let alone a child. There is also a dispute around whether geranium flower extract, which sounds harmless, really contains any methylhexanamine at all; one study from 2011 indicates that it does not, and that synthetic methylhexanamine would actually have to be added to geranium flower extract in order to test positive for it.
2) Phenylethylamine HCl.
Also known as PEA. Again, Wikipedia has a lot of information available about this substance. It is a stimulant, is psychoactive and is structurally similar to amphetamine. It is difficult to say how much effect this substance has on an individual taking it, as it is metabolized very quickly and little reaches the brain. This is why the hypothesis of chocolate containing PEA is not accurate; any PEA that might be in chocolate is metabolized too quickly to have a noticeable effect.
Xyng contains 90mg of caffeine. To put this in perspective:
Coffee has 133 mg avg / 8 oz
Red Bull has 80 mg / 8.3 oz
Soda varies, but the FDA limit is 70 mg / 12 oz drink
Starbucks espresso has 75 mg / 1 oz
Tea has 53 mg avg / 8 oz
Caffeine is a stimulant and an unregulated psychoactive drug; children do not need caffeine and in fact it is contraindicated in most. There is quite a bit of discussion and investigation right now into the use of caffeine in people with medically diagnosed ADD, but a final conclusion has not been reached in the medical community.
Finally, look at the warning printed on every box of Xyng:
WARNING: Not intended for use by persons 17 years or younger without the supervision of a health professional and parent/guardian. Not for use by persons who are pregnant/nursing, caffeine sensitive, suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, difficulty urinating, psychiatric condition, depression, recurrent headaches, a medical condition or any person taking MAO inhibitors, ADHD drugs, anti-depressant medication or has a heart condition. Consult a physician before taking this product. Do not take with cold medicine/drugs containing Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, PPA or caffeine-containing products. Consumption contrary to warning may cause adverse health effects. If unpleasant effects occur, discontinue use. May cause a positive result in drug screening requirements for competitive sports.
Why would anyone think it is okay, or even beneficial, to give this to a child?
E-mail from MckMama
Xyngular: Xyng Overview
Center for Science in the Public Interest: Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs