Wednesday, June 15, 2022

#2545: Bela & Jason Berkes

Berkes elder at some
deranged conspiracy conference

Seasilver USA, Inc., is a California company that markets markets Seasilver,™ an expensive supplement product supposed to balance your body chemistry,” whatever that is supposed to mean, cleanse your vital organs,” whatever that is supposed to mean, purify your blood and lymphatic system,” which is a medically meaningless claim, oxygenate your body’s cells,” which is (fortunately for users) obviously false,protect your tissues and cells against challenges, in some radically unclear way, and “strengthen your immune system, which is (familiarly) medically meaningless. The company was founded by one Bela Berkes, who, like the alchemists of poorly written cartoons, developed the product after a lengthy quest to “learn nature’s secret to good health.” The company’s chief executive is apparently his son, Jason E. Berkes, who also heads the product’s manufacturer, AmericAloe. The scam is apparently run as an MLM and the product has been touted by numerous websites.


Of course, the company has a long history of conflicts with the FDA given the wild and false claims about the product’s ability to be “used successfully in the treatment of over 650 diseases.” As a result of FDA warning letters, the company toned down some of its marketing materials in the early 2000s, though its distributors still tended to continue to run wild. After significant legal troubles in 2004, the company decided to play it safer, but seems to have had enough fans to survive even without its most egregious lies in the marketing materials. There is a good recount of the story of the company and the preposterousness of their claims here. The company’s board of advisors included Daniel Clark.


Seasilver product contained a number of ingredients (in unclear quantities), including some of their proprietary ones:


-       Matrix Aloe Vera, a vitamin and mineral concoction that supposedly has powerful healing and soothing properties” and “contain more oxygen molecules than the fluids of any other known plant, which is apparently good because today’s air contains only half of what your body was designed for!” and oxygen levels are decreasing in many parts of the world. The claims is false on an interestingly high number of levels.

-       Sealogica,™ “a proprietary blend of 10 sea vegetables,”  that ostensibly contains every vitamin, macro mineral, trace mineral, amino acid, enzyme, and sea-veg phyto-nutrients in nature’s perfect balance. It most certainly does not, but the claim does show that the Berkeses haven’t really bother to try to figure out what an enzyme is. They do not try to explain what “nature’s perfect balance” could possibly mean either. Stasis?

-       Pau D’Arco, which has no demonstrated therapeutic utility – there has been some medical interest in its ingredient Lapachol, but it has turned out to be too toxic to be of practical use.

-       Cranberry concentrate

-       Phyto-Silver™ (seems to have disappeared from later iterations of the product), which addresses “silver deficiency”, which is not a recognized medical condition.


The evidence for the efficacy of the product included testimonials and, more interestingly, Kirlian photographies that distributors claime demonstrated that Seasilver affects the person’s “energy field.” Of course, whatever “energy field might mean in New Age speech, Kirlian photographies do not measure them but rather perspiration, finger pressure applied to the camera, and similar interference in the process of creating such photographies.


Diagnosis: Well, we suppose the Berkeses may be true believers in the quality, safety and efficacy of their product, but everything about it is practically indistinguishable from scam.


Hat-tip: Quackwatch

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