What Makes Youngevity Different?
(Excerpt from an informal talk given by Steve Wallach, CEO of Youngevity and Dr. Wallach's son.)
What makes Youngevity different from all other companies? Dr. Wallach's passion for the benefits of good nutrition! That's easy to say, but how can we back that up?
Dr. Wallach has been involved in bio-medical research and treating animals and people for more than 40 years. Dr. Wallach and Youngevity have filed several health claim petitions with the FDA and obtained two qualified health claims. This is an important fact since no other network marketing company has obtained even one health claim. There are only a handful of authorized health claims, which have been fully vetted by the FDA process.
This vision and passion begins with Dr. Wallach's career path. He chose to become a veterinarian and he began doing research with animals early on in his career. He even worked with Mutual of Omaha's Marlin Perkins. Being trained as both a pathologist and an exotic animal vet, afforded him many research opportunities. He even made the monumental discovery of the first case of cystic fibrosis in a non-human while doing research at the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta, Ga., in the fall of 1977. This set Dr. Wallach's path in search of more research for the trace mineral selenium.
Dr. Wallach began working on an extraordinary book which took more than 20 years to complete. This book wound up consisting of more than 1200 pages! "Diseases of Exotic Animals" was a huge project that represents Dr. Wallach's passion and vision. I remember growing up as a small child and young boy, as we moved from zoo to zoo, and house to house, I would have to tip toe around the house, being careful not to knock over any of the piles of paperwork. This book was a huge project, just think back to the 60's and 70's, there were no commercially available computers! He had to type this thing by hand, and he can't type! He types with two fingers! Just think, if you were going to work on such a big project that would take more than 20 years to complete! Could you stay focused for that long? That takes passion and dedication!
Well Youngevity is just an extension of that passion and vision. The health claim petition process is just an extension of that vision and passion as well!
What's involved in the health claim petition process and is it really a big deal? Well let's take a look. How many here have ever heard of folic acid? Have you ever heard a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for folic acid? You know, the March of Dimes now runs television announcements as to the importance of folic acid and that women of child bearing age should be consuming folic acid to reduce their risks of having a child with a neural tube birth defect. Well those claims had to be litigated! Yes, that's right, the FDA did not want these claims to be freely disseminated! The FDA had to be sued, and the courts agreed that this information should be allowed to be given to the public. Since these claims were allowed by the courts, these birth defects have declined by 50-70% in the US and parts of Canada! Just think of the many thousands of children born healthy that would not have been with out the dissemination of this information! Now many industrialized nations are disseminating this information. We believe that the public is better off by getting more information to better come to an educated decision regarding their own health. The FDA believes the public's access to health information should be limited to what The FDA allows, which is quite limited.
Now, remember that 1200 page book, "Diseases of Exotic Animals?" Youngevity and the health claim petitions are just an extension of Dr. Wallach's vision of getting more life saving nutrition information to the general public.
The authorized health claims we have achieved don't give us any direct advantage. These claims are allowed for use by anyone if their products qualify for them. So we can't patent or copyright these claims like the drug companies can to protect their profitability. We spend tens of thousands of dollars just gathering the independent information for each claim, and we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on these claims!
Well the question to us is, why don't other companies do this? There are several answers I have been given, from "it's too expensive" to "we don't want to rock the boat." But is this information important? You bet it is! Remember all those kids and families that are better off because of simply getting folic acid information? Dr. Wallach and Youngevity spent a ton of money to get the omega-3 essential fatty acid claims authorized. Kraft foods, a 30 billion dollar a year, global company submitted a letter to the FDA stating that an EFA claim would be a good thing. I don't know how much that letter cost, but I'm sure Dr. Wallach and Youngevity spent much more even though Kraft foods is a much larger company. Even the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from the White House was urging the FDA to amend the dietary guidelines and to get the information out about the importance of omega-3 essential fatty acids, yet it took the Youngevity petition to get the claim approved!
Well there are hundreds of beneficial nutrients and many of them have multiple beneficial effects for the human body. That means there are many more of these claims that must be filed.
The claims we have gotten authorized so far have to do with reducing the risk of certain cancers by consuming the trace mineral selenium and reducing the risks of cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) by consuming EPA and DHA which are essential fatty acids primarily found in fish oils. CHD is this country's leading cause of death! More than 500,000 Americans die each year from it. Just think if we could reduce the occurrence of these deaths by 50-70% simply by educating the public! Durk Pearson, an MIT, Phd. says that we may be able to reduce the risk of CHD by as much as 80% just with the proper fish oils and getting this information out to the public. Now that we have achieved this health claim petition for omega-3 essential fatty acids and reducing the risks of CHD, Europe may adopt this claim as well. What if we only saved a small percentage of these lives each year? Would it be worth it? OF COURSE! We now have more claims under consideration as well and there will be more!
Dr. Wallach and Youngevity have not only sued the FDA, they have defended the FDA and the health claim petition process as well. The FDA was sued by a group, the CSPI, which was claiming that the health claim petition process violated the FDA guidelines. Youngevity and Dr. Wallach wanted to help ensure this information continued to be available to the public, so they asked the court to be co-defendants with the FDA. By doing this, they could help to protect the health claim petition process. Ultimately the FDA, Youngevity, Dr. Wallach and others were successful in defending the health claim petition process, but we all know that we will have to be diligent in always defending this process. We know there will always be groups that want to limit your access to these nutrients and this information.
When people think Dr. Wallach or Youngevity are in the nutrition business to only make money, I have to disagree! It is to get this information to the public so they may use it to make a better-informed decision regarding their own health. As long as there are those that would want to limit your access to these nutrients and this information, we will be there to defend your rights to have access to them!
By the way, that 1200 page book, "Diseases of Exotic Animals", is now recommended by the Smithsonian Institute for all zoological gardens and aquariums! In 2003, the FDA authorized a first ever health claim for selenium, submitted by Dr. Wallach and Youngevity for the trace minerals anti-carcinogenic effects in the body!