Musings on Supplements
MUSINGS ON SUPPLEMENTS by Josh Oboler
According the National Institute of Health, the majority of adults in the United States take one or more dietary supplements either every day or occasionally. This fascinating fact has always blown my mind. “Who are these people,” I wondered? How can they be so easily manipulated?
Growing up in a medical family (my Father, Sister and Uncle were all physicians while my other uncle was a pharmacist) I was told early and often that vitamins and supplements were rip-offs. Unless you are extremely malnourished, your body gets all of its nutrients from the food you eat. All those vitamins people take religiously every day? They just pee them out. They are literally pissing their hard-earned money away. When my sister, Dr. Lara Oboler, called to tell me I needed to meet a doctor who had invented an “amazing” supplement, I was not very enthusiastic.
As fate would have it, my sister and I had already been planning to start a company together for about a year—so the idea was to bring other doctors’ inventions to market. Doctors are very bright people with amazing ideas on how to help people maintain their health, but many would admit to being business-challenged—some may not even realize they lack business acumen! I have a great deal of business experience and my sister, Dr. Oboler, had co-founded a company that provides products to help women get pregnant. (Shout-out to PregPrep.) We had been meeting with doctors trying to decide which product should be our first. The idea that we would invest our time and energy in a supplement was, to me, laughable.
However, Lara doesn’t let things go so easily. She said, “I think this is the one.” As she described the supplement, the tests and what it did, my main thought was, “Wow! That sounds too good to be true.” Generally, that means it’s a bunch of bologna. However, my sister is a very accomplished doctor and inventor, and she was over the moon. The doctor she wanted me to meet, Dr. Rajfer, had a stellar reputation. He was the former Chief of Urology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and had done much of the original work that led to Viagra. My sister had seen his test data and apparently, it was “mind blowing.” So, against my better judgement, I met with Dr. Rajfer.
Dr. Rajfer spent several hours walking us through the research he and his team had done. He showed us slides and graphs and diagrams explaining the biochemistry of erectile function down to the molecular level. To be honest, I only understood about 30% of it—what I did hear loud and clear—100% of men’s erectile function would erode with age—something I did not know. At the end of the presentation, I was thinking, “Wow! If this is true, it is, in fact, mind-blowing. There has to be a catch here somewhere.” I decided that this sounded amazing, but, really, what were the odds that I’d just met the guy who was going to break the hold of big pharma on our sexual health and revolutionize the world of erectile function? The odds seemed low.
Then it happened. As I was leaving, Dr. Rajfer handed me a bottle the stuff and told me to try it. “Your wife will thank me,” he said. I chuckled to myself all the way home. What a great tagline for a product. I could see the bottle. A picture of a smiling Dr. Rajfer holding a pill and saying “Your Wife Will Thank Me.” I arrived back at my house, and just for kicks, placed the bottle in my medicine cabinet. Why not try it? What’s the worst that can happen?
About two weeks later, shockingly, I realized something was happening, and it was very good. I called my sister. “We need to bring Revactin to market. It totally works.” No one was more surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth than I was.