Digestrol II – the Return

UPDATE: The Digestrol product was a scam and the conmen responsible have been jailed. Read the whole story here.

I wrote a blog entry about a product called Digestrol a while back and received a quite humungous number of comments about it, so I thought it was worthy of a follow-up. Lots of people said that they were equally horrified by the Digestrol brand of marketing (which told people that they might need surgery for their IBS if they didn’t invest in a few bottles of this wonderstuff), but others said that I was wrong about Digestrol, and so I’d like to address a few of the issues raised.

Firstly, there were a few people who said that they had tried Digestrol and it worked for them, so therefore I was wrong to criticise the product.

However, my original review was an evaulation of the quality of marketing copy on the Digestrol websites, not an evaluation of whether the product would work for IBS or not, and there was a good reason for this – I have no clue whether Digestrol works for IBS or not. And this is because the manufacturers have not given me any information which could show whether their product works or not. In other words, they haven’t done any placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials.

Without these clinical trials, there is no way of telling whether Digestrol is any good for IBS. I always find it very amusing when I see herbal or “natural” products making all sorts of nasty claims about prescription drugs, listing all the possible side effects and the dangers of man-made chemicals, and omitting to mention the fact that at least prescription drugs have to go through vigorous and extensive testing to get approved, and at least doctors have access to a bucketload of data about how well the product works for which symptoms, as well as the side effects and possible risks. Herbal supplements just come with a leaflet.

Most IBS supplements, as opposed to IBS drugs, don’t have any clinical trial data. Now, this in itself isn’t a reason to condemn them all to the very bowels of hell: clinical trials are expensive and take a great deal of organisation, and lots of companies can’t afford them. Fair enough.

But what this means is that we sufferers have to rely heavily on the marketing copy when we are deciding which products to try. And if a company tells me very clearly in its marketing copy that it either doesn’t know the first thing about IBS (Digestrol’s website claimed that IBS was a progressive disorder, for example) or that it didn’t even bother to check the blurb that their advertising guy wrote for them, I think that’s a pretty clear signal to stay away.

Or, to put it another way…your television has exploded, and you go to the shops to buy a new one. The salesman tells you that the new TV-3000 cooks chicken in under an hour and never has problems with its wheelnuts. Would you buy a telly from this man?

Secondly, we have to be careful about our own claims as well. Because we are human beings and not petri dishes, we can never really know exactly what is making us feel better. Now, this doesn’t just apply to people taking Digestrol, this applies to everything from a new diet to a new drug.

People write to me and say “I have been taking Super-Duper-Pooper Capsules for over a week now and they are really working”. But how do they know it is the capsules that are working, rather than the diet they ate that week, or the fact that they stopped taking another medication, or their stress levels, or some entirely mysterious factor?

We all eat different things every day, drink different things, and IBS waxes and wanes naturally. We need to be careful that we don’t make assumptions about which particular aspect of our lifestyles is causing our relief. And, of course, this is exactly why we need proper clinical trials – because they attempt to eliminate all other variables except the one treatment being tested.

Thirdly, perhaps one of the things that I should have concentrated more on in the earlier review was the actual cost of Digestrol ($57 for a one-month supply, about £30 for the Brits). Digestrol just contains digestive enzymes, nothing else, and I can buy the very same enzymes in my healthfood store for a fraction of the price. So why shouldn’t I?

And last but not least, I do want to say that I’m not in the least trying to tell people what to do, and in fact I’m always ever so slightly worried when someone starts using a new treatment based on what I have said on my websites. All I am saying is that every treatment should be evaluated carefully, using all the information we have at our disposal, be that clinical data or marketing copy or personal recommendations or whatever else.

We’re all going to come to different decisions, and that’s the way it should be. If anyone chooses to take Digestrol, then that’s fine by me – just as long as they’ve evaluated the possible risks and rewards for themselves, and they’re not just being influenced by the fancy advertising that is a bucketload of style and no substance.

18 Responses to Digestrol II – the Return

  1. A great article there Sophie. You have highlighted many important points about products that claim to cure IBS. One thing I would like to point out is that herbal and ‘natural’ medication can have just as many side-effects as prescription medication. Also they can adversely affect your health if they conflict with any prescription medication you may be taking. People are fooled into thinking that herbal medication is safe because it comes from plants. They aren’t. They are just as dangerous as prescription medication. I wish more people realised this.

  2. As a former employee of Techmedica, aka Micronutra Health, I can tell you that there is no difference between Digestrol, Hyperexol, Diamaxol, Glucofast, Provigro, etc. They receive a large barrel of capsules and then dispense them into which ever bottle they are marketing. The FDA has raided their facilities many times in the past. This is why it nearly impossible to get through to them. They are actually located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, not in Nevada. The Nevada address is only a PO Box. This company has not only swindled people out of their money, but they have lead them to believe this stuff can heal them. Don’t waste your time or money!!

  3. This company has been raided 3 times. The pills get bottled in a storage unit on 44th st across from a citgo gas station by River town mall. A red curtain covers the door. Another place is at York Creek apts in a apt that the two bottlers share with their kids and wifes. Filthy place. Not to mention a barn in MO which most of these places have been either busted already by the FDA or not yet. They then will find other places and re start the process again. As a former employee they do come in huge barrels and then they just take what ever they want to bottle and put the pills in different bottles under different names. Same pills that the people are buying and they say are different. LOLOLOL YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED AND FRAUDED OUT OF YOUR MONEY. THEY NEED TO BE BUSTED BY THE FBI AND LOCKED UP FOR WHAT THEY DO.

  4. Ok i have to admit i did go and buy digestrol it took me a week to buy because they over hyped it all and some of the stuff they were saying made me think they new nothing about ibs… i was that desperate because of the pain and constant trips to the toilet ive been on this for a week now ….i still get the pains but do feel abit better…my trips to the toilet have lowered i dont get the runs or constipation and im not sitting on there forever its just normal thing is though i really dont want to be spending £45 every month for this stuff…i have tryed digestive supplements before which never worked…actually no tablet has worked…. diets dont work….only this stuff has come close so far….so what can i get that has everything that this has and cheaper….thanks

  5. So howcome you haven’t gone to these companies selling Digestrol and asked them the same questions you have asked in your blogs to see what kind of answers they will give you? I bought a bottle of Digestrol and it hasn’t worked yet, but I am going to buy more because the Nutracura website offers a 60 day money back guarantee and it’s all there in the terms. If after 60 days it hasn’t worked you get a full refund. Now, if people are too stupid not to ask for a refund if something doesn’t work for them then I say it’s their own fault. If it doesn’t work for me then I certainly will ask for my money back, but, I’ve tried everything and for my own well being I HAVE to try this.

  6. Sophie Lee

    How come I haven’t asked the manufacturers any questions? Well, because they kinda lost me at “Eight out of 10 of the patients who have IBS report it as a progressive condition that can disable them within only a few increasingly painful years from the point of experiencing the first symptom”, not to mention “A few bottles of Digestrol now or surgery later?” If I’m in a computer store and the guy tells me that the PC comes with 10GB of RAM then I’m going to find another store. Lots of products come with a guarantee. I suspect that very few people bother to use it so it’s a win-win situation for the company. Plus, that’s assuming that they really do give you your money back without finding some loophole…

  7. Hi Sophie, I gotta say I’m on the fence on whether or not to get myself a bottle of digestrol. Reading the comments from people claiming that it had worked for them makes me want to try it just to see, but then, naturally being sceptic, I thought that maybe these people could be the owners of Natura themselves… I mean you never know, all you need to do is type in an email address to post a comment on this page.

  8. Sophie Lee

    Hi Robin – I think it’s always best to start from a sceptical point of view, but obviously it’s up to you whether you do try Digestrol. As someone who has had IBS for 17 years I definitely understand why someone would want to try anything to take the symptoms away. What I don’t understand is why people would choose Digestrol, a product with no clinical trials to its name and some ridiculously misleading marketing, over the many other treatments that have legitimate clinical evidence to show that they work.

    There are plenty of probiotics, fiber supplements, medications, and therapies such as hypnotherapy which have real evidence to show their efficacy, evidence which rules out the strong influence of the placebo effect and genuinely establishes that the improvements in symptoms are due to the treatment rather than any other factor.

    Like I’ve said before, testimonials don’t prove anything, and if I gave all IBS sufferers sugar water and told them it was a miracle cure then some of them would actually feel better and give me some glowing testimonials – and sugar water would still be useless for treating IBS.

  9. Hi, I’m new to the blog but I have been suffering from IBS for over 20yrs now.I thought it was something I would have to live with but with some advise from here I can see I’m not the only one with this problem and I think it might can be treated.I’ve not tried Digestrol but I did do alot of research on the product and its ingredients. I think there is something else out there cheaper.I thought Digestrol was a little expensive so I spent some time searching and I found something called “Gestazyme”. It has the same ingerdients as Digestrol but costs about $10.00 a bottle for 100 tablets.Has anyone tried this and if so has it worked for you? You can get it from Amazon.I have ordered a bottle for myself and should recieve it in a few days.I’ll keep you posted on how it works for me.

  10. Hi there. I only came across your website yesterday – one week after I ordered my bottle of Digestrol. As I have already ordered and paid for it, (done on a particularly bad tummy day!)I am obviously going to give it a try. I have had IBS -D for over five years now, but have only just been doctor confirmed that this is what I am suffering with (after many hospital tests and procedures) I will let you know how I get on with the Digestrol. I, like so many of you are just desparate to try anything to get my life back on normal track. I really think your website is great, but I have to say that I cannot understand why Sophie has slagged off this product, when she hasn’t even tried if for herself. I do understand the reasoning, but then when we are suffering, we will try anything. Thanks.

  11. Hi Nickie and welcome! Glad you like my site. I totally understand the wish to try anything to help, believe me. What I don’t understand is why a lot of people seem to think that I’m only allowed to comment on Digestrol if I have tried it myself. That does kinda baffle me…next time your doc is choosing a drug for you, tell him you will only take one that he has taken himself, and see what he says!

  12. Hi, I have been suffering from IBS for two and a half years now. I feel just the same as many of you do about trying anything to fix the problem, but I do not want to take something that will cause more problems in the future. Take for example zelnorm the prescription drug that helps IBS with constipation that recently got pulled because it could cause strokes and heart attacks or whatever. Thats why I think that more people should research the products they take and not just buy into something that sounds to good to be true because they are desperate. I think that Sophie has written good insight as to the common sense people should use when looking for a cure.

  13. hi..
    i’ve bin sufferin from ibs for 4 yrs now..it feels like everythin juz gets worse..i myself fell for the blurbs on micronutra..it did give a lot of hope n i’ve shelled out quite a bit for about a year n a half always believin that perhaps it would wor at some point..i’m from india n here doctors do not view ibs as a condition worth wastin their time about..they prescribe fibre supplements like fybrogel n so on, which seem to only worsen my constipation..a month back, a friend’s mother who is a doctor suggested a supplement called ‘benefiber’.has any1 tried this?..i tried it for a month n it gave me some measure of relief.its not available in india..so my next order will reach me only in a week or so..i hope it works..

  14. Anyone tried CP-1 from the GutDoctor (UK) for IBS. It comes recommended.

  15. hiya am kelsey am 17 years old been havin really bad stomach pains for 3 years now and its like my stomach burnin then i get rumbles panic attacks cramps bloated and i really can not take this any more the doc says i got ibs i taken all sorts of pills and they just dont work so if any 1 has the number for this digestrol plz could u give it me !!!! i feel like i dont wanna live anymore its makin me go crazy might as well give it a bash and see what its really like for me self !!

  16. I just wanted to give my thoughts on IBS, I have suffered now for as long as I can remember but have never been officially diagnosed as I am told it is very difficult to do so by the doctors. I have many symptoms – being constantly bloated is the worst, constipation one day and then the opposite the next, abdominal cramping and pain.

    I have ordered a bottle of Digestrol as although I agree with Sophie’s comments about the website, I am desperate!! I read a few people’s comments who said that it worked for them so I figure it is worth a try although £39 for one month is alot to spend.

    I wanted to mention another big symptom that I have suffered from for a long time and I wanted to see if anyone else can relate to it at all? I experience pain everyday but at least once a month (sometimes twice) I get a pain in my lower bowel – it literaly cripples me and I get sweaty and feel naucious. I have actually fainted on several occasions and the pain normally lasts for at least 5 to 10 minutes – I have been very close to calling an ambulance it is that bad.

    I just wondered if anyone else has ever experienced anything like this along with the normal IBS symptoms? I get very worried about this as it doesnt seem normal and just wanted some feedback. As I said I will be trying the Digestrol and once I do I will post a comment about my experience.

  17. I’ve read most of the responses and I have to say that I have been using Digestrol for three months now and have never felt better! I am a huge advocate of people doing what works for them, whatever that might be, and this works for me. Everyone is different and people react differently to things. For me, the money spent on this product is worth it based on how I feel now. I have asked many times if perhaps it is all in my head and that I am only feeling better because I know I am taking something…but to be honest, I don’t care if that is the case. I feel better, and that’s all that matters. I actually have a normal life again and can go out without having to check the place for the nearest restroom “just in case”. People can say what they want about Digestrol, but I am one of the ones that will continue to tell people about it because I have been nothing but happy with the results. I have not changed my diet since I started taking this product. I am a creature of habit and generally eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. I have never really been one to exercise, so that has not changed. And to touch on the cost for a moment, the directions are pretty clear that you should take 1-2 tablets with each meal at first, but over time, you can lessen the dosage. I take 1, maybe 2, per day and I am still feeling great!

  18. As Digestrol has now been exposed as a scam I am closing comments on this post. Read why here.