Endorse Evolv Spring Water
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
EvolvHealth, LLC is a multilevel company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. It's featured product is a bottled water water called Evolv, which it claims will convey many health benefits. The company's Web site claims that "Evolv's beverage combines the Archaea Active formula with natural spring water to combine the health benefits of hydration with
increased stamina, energy and endurance"  and "may" help to maintain circulation; support the immune system; enhance absorption of important nutrients; restore mental alertness; and "neutralize harmful toxins." .
Evolv's benefits are said to result from "unique Archaea Active proprietary technology and backed by studies and testimonials from world-renowned research centers and everyday people like you." The Archaea Active™ formula is said to be made from extracts of alfalfa, milk whey protein, and seven enzymes that undergo manufacturing processes that "remove most all traces of the initial ingredients, leaving behind only picomolar levels of the Archaea Active™ formula."  "Picomolar levels" refers to concentrations expressed as trillionths of a gram.
I can't judge whether the original extracts contain enough nutrients to have any nutritional effect. But even if they did, diluting them to one trillionth of their original concentrations would negate all or most of that effect. Moreover:
- Alfalfa—concentrated or not—produces no health benefit.
- If any enzymes survive the manufacturing process, their concentration will be too small to be meaningful.
- Any whey protein that remains would be trivial compared to the amount of equivalent protein in the average diet.
- To demonstrate a special health benefit, Evolv would have to be proven in many human clinical trials—and you can safely bet that no such proof exists.
For all of the above considerations—and more—there's no logical reason to believe that Evolv offers any health benefit beyond that of other bottled waters or of ordinary tap water.
From its inception, EvolvHealth's marketing has been centered around statements that the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has tested its product. In the "OFFICIAL Evolv Introductory Video," for example, Evolv's founder and chairman Trey White, states:
Evolv is our product. A breakthrough science—a science backed up by documented studies from the country's top-ranked medical research institutions, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Center in Houston. . .
It's true that MDACC conducted some tests, but it would be incorrect to conclude that the tests found any health value or that MCACC endorses any of EvolvHealth's claims. EvolvHealth merely hired the MDACC to conduct a few tests related to possible antiinflammatory activity in cell culture preparations. The tests did not determine efficacy or toxicity, and the results are not applicable to humans. In September 2009, MDACC became sufficiently concerned about the company's marketing to issue the following notice:
M. D. Anderson statement:
We Don't Recommend You Drink the Water ...
Director, External Communications
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
September 9, 2009
We also don't recommend that you don't drink the water, either. Confused? Well there seems to be buzz on the Internet about a type of water that a Dallas-based company is marketing and this water's relationship to M.D. Anderson.
So we thought we'd un-muddy the water for our patients, employees and supporters. M. D. Anderson doesn't recommend the water.
What we did do was test the water (this time the pun is not intended) for the company, who compensated us to do so. The tests were very specific, not comprehensive and the results were turned over to the company without interpretation by M.D. Anderson experts.
Because of the advanced equipment at our institution, we get requests from industry from time to time to use the equipment for commercial endeavors. We evaluate these requests, and if it's not disruptive to patient care and research, we may accommodate for a fee. This is what happened in the case of the water from Dallas.
M.D. Anderson is focused on patient care, research, education and prevention of cancer. You'd be hard-pressed to get us to stray from that mission, so when you see us appear to recommend something not necessarily related to cancer, please ask questions. In fact, please call us at 877-MDA-6789 and let us know.
Our lawyers have crafted some nice language fully explaining this situation. Please share it with anybody who might ask you about M.D. Anderson and some newfangled "nutraceutical" water from Dallas.
Recently, you may have heard or read about a company that sells Evolv, a "nutraceutical beverage," which is being promoted in part based upon testing done at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, but also is being mistakenly viewed as endorsed by M.D. Anderson. M.D. Anderson conducted limited chemical analysis of the product to evaluate its anti-inflammatory activity for a fee at the request of the manufacturer. No efficacy or toxicity data were generated at M.D. Anderson nor was the product tested on humans. Moreover, M.D. Anderson does not have any involvement with the company, the product is not produced by M.D. Anderson, and M.D. Anderson does not endorse the product or recommend its use.
Despite this announcement, EvolvHealth has continued to falsely imply that MDACC found something useful or in some way endorses its product. As of this writing (October 15, 2009), one page on the Archaea Active site acknowledges that MDACC does not endorse or recommend Evolv's product. However, EvolvHealth's promotional videos and printed and Web-based marketing materials have not been modified.
EvolvHealth's Official Welcome Video states that the company's cutting edge marketing tools and training will "assure your success and financial freedom." I don't believe that because in addition to being overhyped, it is overpriced. The posted retail price is $55 per case of 24 16.9-ounce bottles, which is $2.29 per bottle. The Wall Street Journal
recently reported that the demand for bottled water has been falling and that in the first quarter of 2009, the average price in the United States was $1.35 per gallon
. That's about 18 cents per 16,9-ounce bottle. In other words, Evolv is priced at nearly 13 times the cost of the average bottled water product.
The Bottom Line
Despite the hype, there's no logical reason to believe that drinking Evolv will provide any special health benefit. The fact that EvolvHealth continues to imply that M.D. Anderson has found Evolv effective is a sign of dishonesty. And its high price compared to other bottled water products will make it difficult for distributors to achieve business success.