Friday, August 07, 2009

Zentra Happy Pills

Promotes feelings of wellness, loss of anxiety, and general calm focusI've been hearing ads for a product called "Zentra" on the radio lately. They make it sound like a medication to treat depression, but it's obviously not a medicine, because the commercials lack all the disclaimers that are required for pharmaceutical commercials, and the Zentra website has fine print that says, "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration." It's sold as a dietary supplement, so naturally the disclaimer also says, "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

On the other hand, their radio ad claims that "users have compared the effect of Zentra to falling in love" or "an overwhelming sensation that all is well in the world, and things are getting better" (paraphrased, I don't remember the exact terms from the ad, but they were similarly glowing). Note that the producers don't claim themselves that Zentra has these effects, they just say that some customers report them.

Zentra is a powerful stress-busting pill that works quickly to elevate your mood and produces a blissful sensation without the side effects of drugs and alcohol. The ingredients in Zentra work to quickly relieve anxiety and maintain calmness, you’ll begin to feel it working within 30 minutes.

I can't even find an ingredient list for the stuff on the website. Since it's sold as a dietary supplement, I'm pretty sure it will just list an assortment of vitamins and minerals. They don't peddle it as homeopathy, but there's still no sign of a clinical trial or any other legitimate evidence to support that it actually does anything significant to reduce depression or improve mood.

This strikes me as a dodgy, sneaky ad campaign designed to separate people with mental health issues from their money by hinting -- if not actually promising -- that their product is as effective as real depression medication without the side-effects associated with real medication, which they make sure to say Zentra doesn't have.

Update:

Reader SKN990 directed me to the ingredient listings for the two Zentra supplements.
Zentra Complete utilizes a proprietary formula derived from b-vitamin molecules which an excellent source of energy, feelings of overall wellness and calm, improved memory, focus and concentration without the side effects of caffiene.
Zentra Daily (Day Time Stress Relief Formula) contains magnolia bark extract (standardized for honokiol), Phenibut, GABA, and Picamilon.

Zentra Complete (Night Time Stress Relief Formula) contains Vitamin B12, Sulbutiamine (a vitamin B1 derivative), and Pyrithioxine (a vitamine B6 derivative, also known as Pyritinol).

A study published on PubMed does show reduction in some stress indicators in rodents from a mixture of honokiol and magnolol (another compound extracted from magnolia bark), although I have no idea how the dosage in the mice compares to the dosage in Zentra for humans.

Phenibut apparently also has real effects on mood in mice.

GABA is gamma-Aminobutyric acid that apparently functions as a neurotransmitter, although I can’t claim to understand neurochemistry well enough to properly interpret the extract of the article.

Picamilon is a combination of GABA and niacin (vitamin B3), and one study describes it as a known nootropic: a drug that enhances cognition, memory, attention, motivation, and concentration.

A study of sulbutiamine says, “Sulbutiamine has no antidepressive effect but it can… facilitate the rehabilitation of patients in their social, professional and family life functioning.”

Pyrithioxine is lab-created variant of vitamin B6 that apparently does have some effect on chemical activity in the brain, as well.

All-in-all, it looks like Zentra could legitimately affect a person's mood and relieve depression. I do not see any studies or evidence to support the glorious language used in their advertising, however. Some of the ingredients are listed as over-the-counter or even prescription medications in some countries, although Zentra is being sold as a dietary supplement in the US with claims that it is perfectly safe to use. Given that some of its contents really do seem to have chemical effects in the brain, I would hesitate to say that it's perfectly safe, although it is probably quite low in risk (especially at the doses they're probably recommending).

In a nutshell, if Zentra affects mood as much as their advertising implies (and they make it sound like heroin with their talk of "blissful" sensations), it's probably not perfectly safe. On the other hand, if it's perfectly safe, it's probably not as effective as they want you to think.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I ordered Zentra and should have it in 10 days. I'll post the results here. I'm hopeful, but somewhat skeptical myself and have full intentions of holding them to their guarantee if I don't feel like a giddy school girl in love within a few days. (Well, I'll be satisfied with the feeling a few beers give me on a Friday night)

Anonymous said...

Wondering how safe this product is. just ordered Zentra and am afraid to try them

Lord Runolfr said...

I daresay that Zentra is quite safe, on account of it probably doesn't really do anything at all.

SKN990 said...

The ingredients are on the front page to the left in the middle of the front page of the zentra website.

Anonymous said...

I shall order these pills immediately. Upon receiving them, i shall i use them not orally as the directions say, but as suppositories. I believe the better absorbtion will facilitate the effects. If the product is bunk, well than at least i will have yet one more thing to add to the list of objects i have sodomized myself with. WOOHOOO!!

Anonymous said...

Be careful, GABA deficiency may not be the cause of *your* depression. Imbalances of serotonin or dopamine are common causes and even acetylcholine issues can cause depression. So if, say, to much GABA or a lack of a different brain chemical is the reason you are depressed, many products or medications may worsen your mood.

Anonymous said...

I could talk... well, POST my thoughts about Zentra for pages on end based upon the research pertaining thereto and my knowledge thereof as a psychiatric social worker, and none of the comments would be positive, so let's not go there at the moment, shall we? ;) I'll tell you at a later date, if you really want to know. Anyway, "Runolfr"... nice blog. :) I found some info to share with you, and here are some links.

You can pick up a very nice, free little audio editing program at audacity.sourceforge.net. As for video editing, Movie Maker comes free with Windows, which I imagine you've already figured out. If you'd like to try Premiere (it's what I use), you can go to www.adobe.com/downloads and download a free trial version. I also have a copy of an earlier version of Premiere you can have if you find that you like it (it won't have all the bells and whistles of the newest one, obviously). Anyway, let me know how it works out, and have fun! :)

Cathy

Anonymous said...

Received my Zentra today. After taking a dose, I do feel much more relaxed than normal. It's not a buzz or a drug like mellow... just relaxed. I loo ked up Phenibut (an ingredient) and it appears to be habit forming after prolonged use. Withdrawal lasts about 2 weeks and sounds unpleasant. (Actually sounds like the withdrawal I went through after my addiction with Ativan... only much shorter duration.

Anonymous said...

Please do post your findings on Zentra! I'm having trouble finding anything on the net about it other than ads.

jvdavid said...

I have taken Zentra Daily twice a day for three weeks. I do not feel it did anything to "decrease stress & anxiety, to feel more calm and in control" as they claim. I don't think it did anything. I am planning on returning the rest of the product and hope they honor their 30 day return policy.

Anonymous said...

After hearing the radio ads, I was ready to order, but the $70 per month price tag turned me off. I'd like to know if they honor the refund.

Anonymous said...

i was driving home from work when i heard the radio ad. i called to see about it and the woman i talked to sounded like a recording. she just kept telling me that i would like it and that i had to have it. she didnt even ask if i wanted to buy some she just demanded a credit card number when i told her that i was in my truck and my debit card was at home she acted like she didnt even hear me she asked for the number 5 times before i finally hung up

Anonymous said...

Who is this company? Notice their website has NO CONTACT INFO. I ordered product from their website on 9-1-09 and selected rush delivery. On 9-10-09 I still hadn't received my order. i tried to contact the company, but there was no way to do it. there is no phone number, no email, nothing. The "contact us" at the bottom of the home page has a "click here" for a response in 48 hours. It does nothing. No nothing. I did searches online for info on Zentra and JT Communications, and could find nothing. No nothing. Finally i went to my credit card statement and got a contact # from that. I called, they said they no longer do rush delivery. What kind of company sells a OTC medication and provides no contact info? Pretty scary if you ask me. I got my order 9-11-09. I think Zentra and JT Communications need to come clean with who they are if they want any credibility.

Casey said...

I was looking at the company listed on the Zentra website and this is the first thing on JT Communications' site:

PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED OR ASSOCIATED WITH THE PRODUCT CALLED ZENTRA, NOR ANY OTHER PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS!!

Curious.

Anonymous said...

Just ordered Zentra by phone, heard over WJR radio this a.m. I am curious also about the effects/side effects but will try it and let you know my results. The order person was very kind and listened to my symptoms, and assured me it is not addictive, and I can take it anytime and will notice a relaxed feeling in about a half hour!! I'll see. Their customer service # is 877.222.6681.9-5 Mon thru Friday. I plan to call them with any concerns relating to this product. Glad I found your blog. Thanks jd

Daniel said...

This sounds like an intriguing product. It also sounds like a sleazy marketing campaign.

I've educated myself extensively over the past decade in the fields of amino acid precursors and direct neurotransmitter-enhancing supplements. A superb guiding work in this field is ‘Depression Free For Life’ by pioneering MD Gabriel Cousens.

The neurotransmitter GABA acts as a universal calmitive. It also sounds like there may be some serotonin enhancing elements in Zentra as well.

A quick rule of thumb is that if one feels overwhelmingly inert, and wishes to be more ‘ert’, they are low in dopamine. If one feels anxious, hopeless, like they are crawling out of their skin-- they are lacking serotonin.

John Grey, the popular author of the ‘Mars and Venus’ books is widely underappreciated as a very sound researcher. He gives the clever example of the husband who is low on dopamine, and is sitting like a happy, non-anxious couch potato watching TV. The wife, who is NOT low on dopamine, but rather is low on serotonin, is hovering anxiously around him, carping and nagging.

This cute little example demos a profound principle. One has to KNOW what the current profile of brain and neurotransmitter balance is, before they can take any kind of balancing corrective action. There is no such thing as a ‘good’ product for depression. The couch potato is not low on serotonin, he’s not anxious, he’s a pig in mud. However he is inert, he has no gumption. Boosting his serotonin will just give him a classic excess serotonin headache.

Etc. Etc.

So bottom line, here’s the magic rule. If a product is efficacious, meaning it works, then you better damn well KNOW what you are doing.

If it isn't efficacious, meaning it’s just going on placebo effect, then you can pop it like PEZ candy in any dosage at any time, because it won't have any effect.

For all that this sounds like simple common sense, one would be amazed at how often even MDs will fall into the pattern of saying something is good or not good, without that conditional, all-important “IT DEPENDS”.

Also, here’s another simple golden rule. ANYTHING that works on altering the brain is going to be addictive to some degree or another. Two simple reasons for this. One is that the brain is intelligently lazy. If you send it a welfare check, it will stop working as hard at manufacturing the end result compound itself. It becomes dependent.

This is why supplements are LESS harmful than pharma drugs, because the brain/body still has to do the final few breakdown steps. Yes, you are still “feeding it a fish”, to paraphrase from the common phrase, but at least it has some breakdown and assembly work to do. A direct drug is more targeted, and hence more dependable-- but it’s like a fish sandwich, all cooked and ready to gulp down.

The other problem is that, once it becomes certain the supply of the supplement or drug is going to be regular, additional receptor sites are added to receive and process the bounty, either by fresh creation, or by genomically activating existing ones which have been shut down. In either case, if you suddenly cut off supply of the new substance, they will cry out FEED ME for quite awhile-- producing a sensation of withdrawal.

As you can plainly see, I am neutral toward this product, knowing about it mainly what I've read on this blog... but I caution readers to apply the golden rules; and if one does experiment with it, follow the tried and true methodology of gradual introduction and gradual tapering off...

Daniel

zflynn said...

"Proprietary formula" this is the tell-tale phrase in their ingredients. Whenever it says "proprietary formula" or "private blend" it means there are no standards as to the amount required for each ingredient and so it's used to conceal the fact that it's 90% (or more) "other" (non-active) ingredients, such as rice flour or other filler. Almost always products that are of a "proprietary formula" are of almost no value other than placebo (if you think it works, you'll "feel" something). The upside is they're usually harmless. Nevertheless, I can think of other ways to waste my money.

Anonymous said...

thanks daniel. great comment...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment from zflynn, just because a product has "proprietary formula" does not mean it contains 90% "other ingredients". When it comes to these types of non-pharmaceutical products, the only way a company can protect their products from being ripped off is to use the phrase "Proprietary Blend". Typically, the label shows how much the total weight of these proprietary ingredients are. So, you can determine quickly how much filler is in the product. In Zentra's case, they are not showing how much the total weight is. But, that does not mean it does not contain a therapeutic dose. Most companies in the health industry are smart enough to avoid FDA and FTC problems by including the prescribed amounts of each component to make the statements in their ads. Granted there are exceptions to this statement. But, these companies do not last long.

Bonnie said...

I wish I could find an effective non perscription med that works on anxiety disorders. I walk around feeling anxious but don't know why and I feel ADD because I have trouble focusing on anything for very long. I am on Celexa and it helps with the feeling of a panic attack but not with the constant feeling of anxiety and lack of focus.

Anonymous said...

I got my order of Zentra this weekend. i am very doubtful it will help me at all. I only ordered it because the amount of stress in my life is out of hand and does not stop.

I took one look at the bottle and it said gelatin. Great I have not eaten meat in 30 years & gelatin is ground bone marrow. I called them and they said take it without the capsule or send it back.

They were very nice and I am going to let my husband try it. We have completely different metabolisms. Their marketing was terrific and they found their target market, people like me. Will let you know if it works. Thanks for the helpful postings!

Anonymous said...

Here's what we know about buyzentra.com: "Gemini Technologies LLC" owns about 39 other domains View these domains > is a contact on the whois record of 48 domains
1 registrar has maintained records for this domain since 2009-03-30 This domain has changed name servers 2 times over 0 year. Hosted on 2 IP addresses over 0 years. View 82 ownership records archived since 2009-04-21 . Wiki article on Buyzentra.com 64 other web sites are hosted on this server. DomainTools for Windows®

Now you can access domain ownership records anytime, anywhere... right from your own desktop! Find out more >

Registrant:
Gemini Technologies LLC
39 Exchange Street
Suite 201
Portland, ME 04101
US
207-347-5056x14

Domain Name: BUYZENTRA.COM

Administrative Contact:
McBrierty, Jennifer
39 Exchange Street
Suite 201
Portland, ME 04101
US
207-347-5056x14

Technical Contact:
McBrierty, Jennifer
39 Exchange Street
Suite 201
Portland, ME 04101
US
207-347-5056x14

Record last updated 04-20-2009 09:18:12 AM
Record expires on 03-30-2010
Record created on 03-30-2009

Domain servers in listed order:

Anonymous said...

Do not take!!! Biggest rip off out there. It does not work and they wont give your money back as they promised. People have told me they became nauseated and vomitted taking these ppills aas well.

Anonymous said...

As a retired psych nurse, I've seen all the drugs out there (and know the risks & potential side effects)so am inherently suspicious and very cautious. I also am a believer in holistic medicine and the power of the mind to heal oneself. That all being said, I've tried Zentra because of various situations in my own life and can tell you I was prepared to be disappointed. BUT I WASN'T!! I've taken the daytime formula at night and slept very soundly, and awoke feeling more refreshed than usual. It was more like it ALLOWED me to sleep rather than it PUT me to sleep. I felt calmer and more in control during the day...which allowed me to "use" my mind more effectively. Because of the cost, I was unable to buy more after the first two bottles and was worried about the potential for symptoms of withdrawal.....there were NONE! I don't consider myself gullible or especially susceptible to a placebo effect...if anything, I tend to dissect things too clinically. I can say that I am very happy with the results I had from Zentra, and plan to get some more. By the way....try eBay for much more reasonable prices!