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Scammy "Liver Condom" Brings Millions of Dollars
Avenir Nutrition and the Supplement Industry's Greed Game
Do you ever wonder just how profitable supplements are to the companies that make them? I do. It must be good money, because almost every day there seems to be a new supplement that is the “latest and greatest” thing. And the number of companies, doctors, influencers, and celebrities who are in on this seemingly fast track to cash is astounding.
Well, now, courtesy of Avenir Nutrition, we have an idea.
You might remember Avenir Nutrition, a company which sells a scammy liver supplement dubbed “The Liver Condom” that I wrote about back in April. (“Liver Condom” are words I never thought I would string together). You can find my original post here. I interviewed two actual liver specialists and a toxicologist about this magic elixir and they didn’t mince words. To paraphrase they said, “Don’t take this garbage.”
In reality, Avenir’s supplements are even worse than useless, because the advertising suggests that taking their products will prevent hangovers and protect the liver from the harmful effects of excessive drinking. Their supplements can do no such thing, but the implication in their copy and their videos is “Go ahead and binge drink, Avenir has got you covered.” Imagine a cringe worthy wink at the end. It’s almost like wellness can mean any crap that you want it to as long as you use the right words and images on TikTok and Instagram.
The co-founder of Avenir Nutrition is Dr. Kunal Sood, an interventional anesthesiologist, who appears to have spent some time building a large female following on Tik Tok, in part by making reaction videos to women who have posted about painful gynecological procedures. In some of his videos, Dr. Sood has posted incorrect information, and while Dr. Sood is a physician, pain anesthesiologists typically know relatively little about gynecological procedures.
We know that many women don’t have their pain taken seriously, but you need accurate information to advocate for yourself, so several female OB/GYNs decided to correct Dr. Sood on TikTok. I’ve seen those videos and they were collegial and informative and typical TikTok videos. We actually have quite a few studies here, so getting this correct information out is very important.
What followed were more videos from Dr. Sood that implied these doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. One video was deceptively edited to falsely imply a doctor who had corrected Dr. Sood didn’t care about pain. These videos of Dr. Sood’s were very popular and several female providers were attacked because of them, receiving hundreds of harassing and bullying comments, false Google reviews for their medical practices, and one was even doxxed. Several tried to interact with him about his videos in the comments section and one even emailed to explain the medicine and to let him know the impact of these attacks. Dr. Sood didn’t post any kind of correction that I could find.
So when I was alerted to Dr. Sood’s involvement with Avenir Nutrition, I wondered about the coincidence of growing a large following on TikTok of the demographic that is also a target demographic for supplements? I also wondered why a pain anesthesiologist needed to sell liver supplements. After all, pain anesthesia is one of the higher paid medical specialities.
And then I saw just how lucrative Avenir claims to be…over a million dollars in revenue since April 2022, and they claim to be on track to bring in more than ten million in revenue by next year.
Yes, you read that right. Ten million dollars. That’s a lot of money for useless crap, isn’t it?
So how do I know this?
Avenir Nutrition tried to recruit a gynecologist to help them promote their product.
But they didn’t try to recruit just any gynecologist, they targeted Dr. Jennifer Lincoln.
And I get it, Dr. Lincoln has curated a large TikTok following based on her dedication to evidence-based information about pregnancy, delivery, gynecology, and lately (because it is so needed) abortion advocacy. If *I* had a scammy product that seemed largely targeted to women and wanted to enlist the help of someone with a desirable demographic, Dr. Lincoln and her 2.8 million TikTok followers would be a grand place to start. However, if you were to spend any small amount of time watching her videos and not just looking at Dr. Lincoln’s follower numbers and views, you would quickly realize that she would likely think Avenir’s supplements are garbage.
But it gets better, because Dr. Lincoln is one of the OB/GYNs who tried to correct Dr Sood to only to find herself targeted for her efforts.
So it appears that Avenir spent as much time researching her as they did their products. You can see Dr. Lincoln’s response to Avenir here.
And there you have it, supplements are even more of a cash cow than I thought. Millions of dollars in a couple of years from a product that experts say is garbage, has no research to back up its claims, and costs next to nothing to market other than the time it takes to make Tik Tok videos and curate a following.
Which brings me to my #1 point when you are looking for quality health information, be it online or in person. If a provider is selling a supplement, which you should view as an untested pharmaceutical, do not take their health advice. When a provider is selling you a supplement they are not hoping to help you solve an actual health issue, what they are hoping is that you will help them make millions of dollars by buying their medical garbage.
And sadly, it seems to be that easy to make millions.