Isagenix Review: Science-Backed Products or Overpriced?

Isagenix Review: Science-Backed Products or Overpriced?


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Isagenix is a health and wellness brand that sells a variety of weight loss and nutritional supplements. It’s a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company, and the brand describes itself as selling "science-backed products" that are "Clean.Authentic.Pure."

But are Isagenix products really worth their high prices? Does the brand use research-backed ingredients? What about potentially unhealthy additive ingredients? And why was Isagenix recently sued?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in three of the most popular Isagenix supplements (Collagen Elixir, IsaLean Shake and Cleanse for Life) based on clinical trials to give our take on whether the supplements are likely to be effective or if they're a waste of money.

We'll also feature real, unsponsored Isagenix user reviews and document the recent lawsuits against the brand. 

Isagenix Collagen Elixir Review

Isagenix Collagen Elixir ingredients

The ingredients in Isagenix Collagen Elixir, which is arguably the brand's most popular product, are shown above.

Collagen is an effective anti-aging ingredient. It's the core structural protein in skin, and when taken supplementally it can help reverse the effects of decreasing collagen levels with age.

A medical review published in the Dermatology Practical & Conceptual journal concluded the following after analyzing data from clinical trials on collagen for skin: "Current research reveals that collagen use could result in a reduction of wrinkles, rejuvenation of skin, and reversal of skin aging."

The 5 gram (g) collagen dose in Isagenix Collagen Elixir is an effective dose, as medical research documents the effective dose range to be between 2.5 g and 10 g per day. We typically recommend a 10 g dose per day, since there are no risks or side effects to collagen supplementation and this appears to be the maximally-effective dose.

The remaining active ingredients like goji extract powder are contained in a proprietary (prop) blend totalling only 160 milligrams (mg), or an average dose of 40 mg per ingredient. We can't find any clinical evidence that any of these ingredients improve skin quality at this dose.

Collagen Elixir also contains two inactive ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.

Citric acid is a flavoring and preservative ingredient shown in a 2018 medical review to contribute to whole-body inflammation in some individuals.

Natural flavors are healthier than artificial flavors, but as we documented in our review of Beauty Focus Collagen Plus, a medical review found some natural flavoring ingredients and their metabolites to be potentially toxic. 

Overall we consider Collagen Elixir to be likely effective for improving skin quality due to the effective dose of collagen, but we do not recommend this product due to the additive ingredients and the price.

Isagenix Collagen Elixir currently costs $189 for guests (plus $13 shipping) for 30 servings, which equates to a cost of $6.73 per 5 g collagen serving.

Our collagen pick is Bulletproof Collagen powder which costs $43.95 at the time of updating this article, contains zero questionable additive ingredients and costs only $0.44 per 5 g collagen serving.

Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Isagenix's Legal Troubles

Isagenix has faced several legal challenges since its inception, as have many MLM companies that we've reviewed on Illuminate Health.

In early 2022, Isagenix was sued due to allegedly over-fortifying their formulations with vitamins according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The vitamin additives were causing toxicity in some customers according to the above-linked report.

This underlines why we recommend that patients speak with a doctor prior to using fortified foods or supplements. It may be harmful to take supplemental vitamins (especially those which are fat-soluble) without a deficiency in that vitamin.

Isagenix faces another ongoing lawsuit but we cannot ascertain what is being alleged from the limited information available.

A YouTube creator named "iilluminaughtii" overviews some of the other controversies faced by Isagenix in an entertaining video with over 230,000 views:

Do Isagenix Shakes Cause Weight Loss?

Isagenix IsaLean Banana Bread shake ingredients

The ingredients list above is from the "Banana Bread" flavor of Isagenix's IsaLean Shake. The brand sells a number of different flavored shakes, and describes them as "meal replacement" shakes that "supports healthy weight loss."

Phyto-IsaLean Complex is a blend of plant proteins. This shake provides 24 g of protein total, and a medical review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition documents that high-protein diets can be effective for weight loss because they tend to blunt appetite and cravings. 

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil powder is the only active ingredient in this formulation that we can find clinical backing for. A 2015 meta-review found that MCT oil supplementation caused slightly over 1 pound of weight loss in 10 weeks.

However, the dose of each active ingredient is not published in IsaLean, so we're unable to determine if any individual ingredient is likely to be effective or not.

This formulation has gotten significantly healthier since our first publication of this review, with fructose as a sweetener being replaced with stevia. As we documented in our review of Zevia soda, stevia is clinically shown to have anti-inflammatory and blood-pressure-lowering effects; the opposite of refined sugar like fructose.

We do not currently recommend IsaLean due to the cost and the inclusion of natural flavors, but we do believe this product can help support a natural weight loss program and is a healthier option than the majority of commercial weight loss shakes on the market.

IsaLean currently costs $73 for guests (plus $10.95 shipping) and provides 14 servings, equating to a cost-per-serving of $6.

Dietary fiber supplementation was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause over 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories below maintenance per day).

MBG Organic Fiber Potency+ is our top fiber pick because it's certified organic, provides 7 g of fiber per serving and costs under $1.85 per serving at the time of updating this article.

Real People Try Isagenix

A YouTube creator named "Mother Maui TV" reviewed Isagenix Collagen Elixir in an unsponsored video:

A TikTok creator named "SarahDoyle2.0" claims that Isagenix shakes helped her lose weight in a video that includes before-and-after images:

@sarahdoyle2.0 #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #greenscreen #watchme #isalife #isagenix #GetFit #weightloss #weightlossprogress #100poundsdown #weightlosscheck #4u ♬ Ben 10 Trap Remix by Modagoatt - Mo🐐

Isagenix Cleanse Review

Isagenix Cleanse for Life Peach Mango flavor ingredients

Isagenix sells a powder supplement to "support natural detoxification" called Cleanse for Life. The ingredients in the Peach Mango flavor are shown above.

This formulation does contain some research-backed ingredients, although we question the purpose of "detoxification" supplements generally, since we haven't come across any convincing clinical evidence that healthy adults benefit from supplemental detoxification compounds.

Alfalfa stem and leaf extract was shown in a 2021 clinical trial to have an antioxidant effect in animals and to help detoxify from heavy metal poisoning.

However the animals received a minimum dose of 250 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight, or 450x the equivalent dose in Cleanse for Life for a man weighing 200 pounds. 

Bilberry extract is clinically shown to cause changes to genes that enhance detoxification pathways.

Fennel seed is a laxative as we documented in our review of detox supplement Inno Cleanse, and it seems illogical to take laxative ingredients without a medical need.

Not only does this supplement contain citric acid and natural flavors as inactive ingredients, it also contains fructose which is described as "more harmful than is generally recognized" in a 2005 medical review, and may be associated with metabolic disease and obesity. 

Overall we consider this the worst formulation of the three reviewed and we do not recommend this product, due in part to the questionable additive ingredients but mainly because we cannot source a single clinical trial proving any of the active ingredients in Cleanse for Life are effective for detoxification in humans at the stated dose, nor does Isagenix cite any research on the product page proving such.

Where to Buy Isagenix for the Best Price

Isagenix is sold both on the brand's website and on Amazon. Here's a price breakdown between both retailers at the time of updating this article:

Collagen Elixir (10-count)

Brand website: $63 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $63 (free shipping depending on plan -- link to official Amazon listing)

IsaLean Shake

Brand website: $69 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $69 (free shipping depending on plan -- link to official Amazon listing)

Cleanse for Life

Brand website: $52 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $52 (free shipping depending on plan -- link to official Amazon listing)

Isagenix supplements appear to be the same price on the brand's website and on Amazon, but according to their Shipping Policy page, shipping rates from orders on the brand's website are a minimum of $10.95 in the U.S.

With this in mind, Amazon is the significantly cheaper option. Free shipping instead of a $10.95 shipping fee equates to a 15% discount on a $60 order.

Are MLM Businesses Unethical?

We have concerns about the business model of MLM companies.

MLMs may profit by taking advantage of people without a business education who are interested in entrepreneurship. The phrase “Isagenix ruined my life” gets 2,400 monthly Google searches at the time of updating this article, according to search software tool SEMRush. 

The CBC report referenced earlier in this article found that the median income for the top 10% of Isagenix salespeople was $7,421 before expenses.

A bigger concern we have in regard to MLM health brands is that the business model relies on members (who often have no scientific credentials or education) to market the brand's products on social media.

This can incentivize members of the MLM to make false and uneducated claims about the products.

We urge that consumers exercise caution when purchasing from MLM companies, and ethically-minded consumers may wish to avoid such companies entirely.

Real Customers Review Isagenix

We consider Amazon to be a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website.

IsaLean is the most-reviewed Isagenix product on Amazon, with over 2,600 reviews and an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "stephrachelle1" who apperciates the added vitamin(s):

"Although it’s quite expensive for a 14 day meal replacement, it does taste good and has worked for me. There are less expensive alternatives but one difference I’ve noticed is that Isagenix has a lot more Vitamin D than other products I’ve compared it to. Not sure if this is why I feel better after 14 days?"

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "diane g." who dislikes the taste:

"I have to say I am extremely disappointed. It was not cheap but I thought that it would at least taste somewhat good...It tasted so bland that I could barely take a full drink. Please if there is a way to fix this problem please tell me...I spent too much money on a product that is not even consumable."

Isagenix has an average review rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Isagenix also has 17 complaints closed in the past 3 years on BBB, and the brand appears to respond to every customer complaint in an attempt to resolve the situation which is a sign of a high-quality brand.

Pros and Cons of Isagenix 

Here are the pros and cons of Isagenix as a brand in our opinion:

Pros:

  • All formulations contained research-backed ingredients
  • Beautiful branding
  • Collagen Elixir should improve skin quality
  • IsaLean shake may aid weight loss efforts

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • MLM business
  • Some formulations contain natural flavoring agents
  • Some formulations contain citric acid
  • Some formulations contain fructose
  • Sued over added vitamins causing toxicity
  • Brand website charges over $10 in shipping to U.S.
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

In this article we analyzed the ingredients in three of Isagenix's most popular products to give our take on whether they're likely to be effective and worth the money. The products we reviewed are: Collagen Elixir, IsaLean and Cleanse for Life.

We don't currently recommend any of these supplements due to some of the inactive ingredients used by Isagenix.

We consider Collagen Elixir likely to be effective for improving skin quality due to its effective collagen dose. We consider IsaLean potentially effective for causing weight loss given its effective protein dose and MCT oil inclusion. We do not consider Cleanse for Life to be effective for any specific health outcome, and consider it a waste of money.

Isagenix supplements are very expensive (especially when considering per-serving cost rather than raw unit cost), but are cheaper on Amazon when factoring in the price of shipping from the brand's website.

Isagenix has been sued several times, and the most concerning lawsuit in our opinion involves a customer who alleges to have experienced vitamin toxicity due to the over-fortification of Isagenix supplements.