MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Ever since I published a post about the irresponsible and aggressive advertising campaign of LYMA (“the world’s 1st super-supplement”), I am pursued by them with emails informing me about the wonders of this supplement. Here is one I received recently:

Here at LYMA we are firm believers that optimal productivity depends on good quality sleep and your day is only as good as the previous night.

Suffering from bad sleep is debilitating whether it’s ourselves or we’re watching someone we love suffer, the search for good rest is something we’re all united in.

Energy levels, positive mindset and strong cognitive function all come from sleep, which is why we spent so long formulating the LYMA supplement. Our patented KSM-66® Ashwagandha is the highest-quality, zero toxicity, concentrated Ashwagandha root in the world. The hefty combination of purity and potency make it unrivalled in its ability to reduce inflammation, neutralise anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep, night after night.

Thousands of customers have told us that after years of bad sleep, they’re finally getting the rest they need and feeling transformed as a result. In fact, it’s one of the very first benefits most people notice. We’re happy to hear it.

And the knock-on effects of a good night’s sleep in how we feel, how we perform and our overall health are far reaching. Which is why we are so delighted to welcome Michael Grandner, world-renowned sleep expert and Director of the Behavioural Sleep Medicine Clinic, Arizona to the LYMA team.

Michael is one of the most cited sleep experts in the world and has himself published over 175 articles on issues relating to sleep and health. We plan on tapping into every area of his expertise to understand our own sleep habits and how we can all become the best at rest.

To introduce Michael to the LYMA community we’re hosting a seminar dedicated to understanding sleep on Tuesday 22nd June…

I was tempted to discard all this as rather pathetic advertising hype. But then I had second thoughts. This text does after all make several medical claims, and the question is: ARE THEY SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE?

It claims that KSM-66® Ashwagandha:

  1. is the highest-quality, zero toxicity, concentrated Ashwagandha root in the world.
  2. That the hefty combination of purity and potency makes it unrivalled in its ability to reduce inflammation.
  3. That the product neutralises anxiety.
  4. That it promotes deep, restful sleep, night after night.

I ran a few searches to find out whether there is any sound evidence for any of these claims.

  1. There seem to be several supplements that contain,KSM-66® Ashwagandha’. The impression that LYMA is the only one is thus wrong. Zero toxicity must also be wrong; not even water has zero toxicity. In fact, epigastric pain/discomfort and loose stools were reported as most common (>5%); and giddiness, drowsiness, hallucinogenic, vertigo, nasal congestion (rhinitis), cough, cold, decreased appetite, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, hyperactivity, nocturnal cramps, blurring of vision, hyperacidity, skin rash and weight gain have all been associated with the herbal remedy. Moreover, if it is true that Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system, it might cause problems for people with autoimmune diseases.
  2. I found no compelling evidence from clinical trials to show that KSM-66® Ashwagandha reduces inflammatory conditions in humans.
  3. I found a study concluding that Ashwagandha given as an adjunct offered some potential advantages as a safe and effective adjunctive therapy to SSRIs in GAD. Yet, I found no compelling evidence from clinical trials to show that KSM-66® Ashwagandha as a single supplement reduces anxiety in otherwise healthy individuals.
  4. A 2021 study suggested that Ashwagandha root extract can improve sleep quality and can help in managing insomnia. Yet the authors cautioned that additional clinical trials are required to generalize the outcome.

So, what does that tell us?

It could mean that:

  1. My searches were not sufficiently thorough and that I have missed compelling evidence. If so, I would appreciate, if the LYMA promoters would show me their evidence so that I can assess it.
  2. The LYMA people are irresponsible and mislead the public with untenable claims.

I am looking forward to their response.

2 Responses to More irresponsible claims about LYMA?

  • Harriet Hall also mentioned ashwagandha in one of her SBM articles:

    “As I was writing this, I received the current issue of The Medical Letter with their evaluation of ashwagandha (volume 63, issue number 1619, dated March 8, 2021). It was a revelation. Rightful claims its ingredients have no serious side effects. While it is true that no major adverse effects have been reported in clinical trials of ashwagandha, there have been many case reports that are very concerning. It has been reported to cause severe diarrhea, skin burning and discoloration, sedation, severe liver injury, heavy metal poisoning, thyrotoxicosis, increased testosterone levels, and miscarriage. The Medical Letter didn’t mince words. Its conclusion reads:

    There is no convincing evidence that ashwagandha supplements are effective or safe for any indication; patients should be advised not to take them. FDA-approved drugs are available for treatment of all the conditions for which these herbal supplements are being promoted.

    In all the years I have subscribed to The Medical Letter, I don’t remember them ever issuing such a strong condemnation.”

    And of course we are not really surprised – as ashwagandha is, among other things, also known by the name of Poison Gooseberry.
    Now I’m usually rather sceptical if a plant’s name is somehow associated with beneficial effects, but if it is called ‘poison’, I am more inclined to believe that there are good reasons for that.

  • One more note bout toxicity: these people actually admit (scroll down a bit) that ashwagandha supplements are often toxic, but that this is not the case with their product, as that supposedly only contains root extract.

    Even if we believe these people at their word that the root is non-toxic, it is still odd, because that usually means that there are also far fewer active substances, including the beneficial compounds, in that part of the plant.
    The literature referenced at the bottom is not exactly what I would call high-quality either …

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