Provailen is touted to “stop arthritis at its source” with “zero side effects.” On their website, the makers of the product also state that 87.6% of people surveyed said they experienced a 90% reduction in their arthritis symptoms. Impressed with these bold claims, I was curious if Provailn really worked, and so that will be the main focus of this review. As you read this review, pay attention to the Provailen return policy, as it was unlike anything I've ever seen before.
How Is Provailen Supposed To Work?
Before we begin, it's important to note that the Provailen website (Provailen.com) specifically mentions that
“arthritis is caused by your autoimmune system attacking your joints and causing inflammation.”
This statement says to me that they are specifically referring to Provailen helping rheumatoid arthritis, because that is the type of arthritis that's thought to be caused by the immune system attacking joints.
In my review of this product, I saw no osteoarthritis published research for any of the ingredients in Provailen. As such, I see no good proof that Provailen would have any effect on osteoarthritis.
Those who do not know what type of arthritis they have, should ask their doctor.
From what I can gather from the Provailen.com website, one of the main arthritis-buster ingredients in the product is reishi mushroom, which they say, is part of their “3 in 1 formula” that's said to “rebalance your immune system and relieve your inflammation.”
Their talk about the 3 in 1 formula basically means the Provailen has 3 different ingredients. The implied meaning here is that those 3 ingredients are said to act synergistically ―as 1 super ingredient― to knock out arthritis inflammation, and hence pain. It sounds interesting. Let's now look at the ingredients and research on Provailen.
According to the bottle I have, the ingredients in 1 tablet are as follows:
- Ganoderma lucidum 800 mg (see my review of Ganoderma for more info)
- Lonjack Tongkat Ali 15 mg
- Capsaicin extract 20 mg
Let's look at the arthritis research on each of these ingredients and see what can be discovered.
Even though the bottle of Provailen I have says, “4000 years of proven use,” when I searched the National Library of Medicine for “Provailen” I did not see any research specifically on this product. Likewise, the Provailen website (Provailen.com) also shows no research either.
Therefore, I conclude that Provailen― itself ―appears to have zero published peer reviewed research.
That said, let's now look at the arthritis research for the 3 ingredients in Provailen.
On the Provalilen website they call this a reishi fungus. Other names include reishi mushroom an Lingzhi.
In 2005, a study titled Safety and efficacy of Ganoderma lucidum (lingzhi) and San Miao San supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial was published in the journal, Arthritis and Rheumatism. This study involved 65 people with rheumatoid arthritis and lasted 6 months.
Those getting the combination of ganoderma lucidum (4 grams/day) and 2.4 grams per day of another supplement (called San Miao San or SMS), reported less arthritis pain compared to placebo. The people in this study also continued taking their arthritis medications as well.
A possible weakness of the study was that the people were given both Ganoderma lucidum and San Miao San. This makes it hard to determine how much Ganoderma lucidum ―alone ―contributed to improvements seen.
Also, blood tests of the subjects failed to show any significant reduction in inflammation (remember, it's implied that Provailen reduces arthritis inflammation).
The people in this study took 4 grams of Ganoderma per day. This is more than is in Provailen (800 mg).
In 2007, a study titled Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide reduced the production of proinflammatory cytokines in activated rheumatoid synovial fibroblast was published in the journal, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. This was basically a test tube study, were ganoderma lucidum was noted to reduce the spread of cells, called RASF, which are synovial fibroblast cells, that disrupt normal cartilage and bone formation.
Bottom line: This is an interesting study, but humans are more complex than isolated cells.
In 2006, a study titled Immunomodulatory effects of lingzhi and san-miao-san supplementation on patients with rheumatoid arthritis was published in the journal, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. After taking a combination of ganoderma and san-maio-san, a reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines was reported.
Again, how much of these results was contributed by reishi mushroom? This study does not say.
I was unable to locate any other research on reishi mushroom and arthritis other than these studies.
Note, that in 2 of the 3 studies mentioned above, reishi mushroom was combined with another product. So how effective was reishi alone?
It's worth noting that in a 2010 paper titled, Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum): Systematic Review, the authors gave reisi mushroom a rating of “C” when it came to it helping arthritis. In this paper a rating of “C” indicated “unclear or conflicting evidence.”
Also read my review of Ganoderma lucidum for additional information.
Lonjack Tongkat Ali
Other names for this herb include Eurycoma longifolia and Malaysian ginseng. Still other names include Tonkat Ali and Longack.
The funny thing is that other than the Provalien website, I've never seen this herb called “Lonjack Tongkat Ali.” The name they give this herb is a combination of two different names. I don't know why they did this but technically it's incorrect.
Is there any evidence that Tongkat Ali helps arthritis? I searched the National Library of Medicine for:
- Eurycoma longifolia, arthritis
- Eurycoma longifolia, inflammation
- Tonkat Ali, arthritis
- Tonkat Ali, inflammation
I saw no studies for any of these search terms. I then did a Google search for “Tonkat Ali and arthritis” and noticed that a lot of websites say that this herb helps arthritis (they also sell Tonkat Ali as well) ― but none of the them showed me proof that it worked.
Therefore, I conclude that there is no good evidence that Lonjack Tongkat Ali helps arthritis.
The ironic thing about Eurycoma longifolia is that it's an herb that's sometimes found in male sex supplements and bodybuilding supplements. For example, it's been a component of:
- Triverex (sex supplement)
- Syntheroid (exercise and sex supplement)
Also called Cayenne, Chili and Chili Pepper among many others.
There is some research on capsaicin and arthritis. For example, in a 2010, study titled, Effectiveness and safety of topical capsaicin cream in the treatment of chronic soft tissue pain, published in the journal, Phytotherapy Research, a topical cream of capsaicin, appeared to decrease pain better than a placebo in people who were treated for 3 weeks.
One possible problem with this study however was that 151 of the 281 people were exclude because they had other health issues. Still, that leaves 130 who finished the study and that's not too bad.
The idea here is that capsaicin masks feelings of pain by replacing it with feelings of warmth. Capsaicin also appears to deplete levels of something called “substance P” which plays a role in the transmission of pain signals (get it… the P stands for pain). It's for these reasons that there are over-the-counter sports creams that contain capsaicin.
But here's the thing; The research supporting capsaicin for arthritis is based on topical creams that are rubbed on the skin. Provailen is a pill that people take by mouth.
Is there any evidence that capsaicin pills help arthritis? If there is, I can't find it. Maybe oral capsaicin might improve arthritis pain by causing a temporary warming of painful joints? I am totally speculating here because I can find no good proof that taking capsaicin by mouth helps arthritis pain.
Is Provailen FDA approved?
The Provailen website states that Provailen is “produced in an FDA approved lab.” This does not mean that Provailen is FDA approved. The FDA does not approve or regulate supplements before they are sold to the public.
Registering a lab with the FDA is a nice step, however this does not mean that does not guarantee that the products made in that lab are safer or more effective than products made in a non-FDA registered lab.
Does Provailen Reduce Pain?
The Provailen website notes that 87.5% of people who took Provailen stated that they achieved a “90% reduction in arthritis pain.” That's impressive, but a crucial piece of information is how many people did they ask?
- Was it 1000 people?
- Was it 100 people?
- Was it 10 people?
They don't tell us how many people were surveyed. That's a problem because the more people who were surveyed, the more faith we might have that the product might really work.
When I called Provaiilen customer support and asked this question, they couldn't tell me how many Provailen customers were surveyed.
The Mighty Fungus
Remember that another name for Eurycoma longifolia is reishi mushroom―and mushrooms are a type of fungus. I noticed that the word “fungus” was used on more than one occasion on the Provailen website to refer to Eurycoma longifolia. This jumped out at me because fungus was used alongside a reference to the drug, penicillin.
The subtle association here is that reishi mushroom (and hence, Provailen) is as revolutionary as Penicillin was when it was discovered. This, I believe, is little more than marketing hype and I give it little credence. Here's why:
- Penicillin has lots of peer reviewed research.
- Eurycoma longifolia has a little peer reviewed research.
- Provailen has zero peer reviewed research.
This is why I feel that the subtle parallels made between penicillin and reishi mushroom/Provailen are not substantiated.
Provailen Side Sffects
The Provailen website proclaims that:
“Provailen has had no negative side effects reported.”
While I'm also not aware of any side effects, just because none of been “reported” does not mean none exist.
They also make this very bold claim:
“Provailen does not interact with other medications and so can be safely taken alongside your other medications you have on prescription or over the counter.”
But, since Provailen, itself has never undergone any peer-review testing, I'm going to disagree with this statement since there is no proof either way.
On the FAQ page of Provailen.com they say this:
“People may feel what’s known as a ‘healing response’ in the first few weeks of using Provailen. This varies from individual to individual but can include itching and red pimple-like dots on the skin, headache, dizziness, a temporary rise in blood pressure and diarrhea.”
Wait… They just said that people who take Provailen may have:
- Itchy skin
- Temporary rise in blood pressure
These sound like side effects to me!
Also, what's this talk about these symptoms being a “healing response?“ How do they know this, if Provailen has never been tested for safety and effectiveness?
I'd recommend people stop taking Provailen if they had any of those listed symptoms!
There is some evidence that Eurycoma longifolia may decrease the effectiveness of beta blockers, a medication used by people with heart disease and/or high blood pressure.
Capsaicin might have a mild blood thinner effect which might be exaggerated when combined with blood thinner medications.
While I think Provailen is safe in healthy people, I recommend speaking to a doctor before trying Provailen, if other health issues exist. I think this especially prudent for those with heart disease, high blood pressure, or those who have had a stroke. While there is no proof that anything bad /out of the ordinary happens in anyone, I think this is the safest course of action.
How to return Provailen
I highly recommend that people read the Returns page of Provailen.com before ordering. Here are some things I gleaned from that page:
1. People have 30 days from the day they order the product in which to try to return Provailen. Not when it arrives ―but when its ordered.
2. Provailen customer support does not have to give you a refund! On their Returns page they say this:
“Support staff reserves the right to determine if a client may return a product for a refund.”
They also say that:
“Your changing of mind does not apply here…”
So, if you order it, and then change your mind and want your money back, you might not be able to get a refund.
3. To return Provailen, it may cost you more than Provailen itself! On the Return Page, they say this:
“Refunds that are authorized by support contain (RMA) numbers issued and are subject to a $45 package inspection fee to cover hazmat protocol for human consumption items, $14 shipping fee if USPS shipping was used International orders will have a $45 deducted to cover cost of shipping and handling applied all orders returned will also be charged a 18% restocking fee.”
In other words, it might cost $45 + $14 + 18% (of the price of the Provailen purchase) to return it.
So, for example, if you only bought 1 bottle of Provailen (at $49.95/bottle), it would cost $45 + $14 + (0.18 x $49.95 = $9.00) = $68 to return it!
That's more than Provailen costs!
I called their customer support number and they confirmed this.
To make things more confusing, I was also told that the cost to return Provailen would depend on the reasons why you wanted to return it. This made no sense to me. Again, customer support has ultimate control over who gets a refund and who does not.
4. They will not take back any bottle of Provailen that is open or if the safety seal is broken. I have no problems with this part of the policy.
How To Contact Provailen
The website lists these contact numbers:
- Toll-free USA 855-281-8099
- International: 214-446-0158 / 469-277-2439
Who Makes Provailen?
I was curious who made Provailen so I asked their customer support, who told me that the company is called RDK Holdings (also known as RDK Global), located at 3636 Buckner Blvd Dallas Texas 75228. Unfortunately, this address does not appear to have a Google Street View to see what it looks like.
The Better Business Bureau has another address for RDK Holdings: 2151 W Commerce ST Dallas, TX 75212 (this is the same address listed on the Provailen website).
The Better Business Bureau gives RDK Holdings a rating of “F” at the time this review was written. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
The website listed for RDK Holdings on file with the BBB is phen375.com, which pertains to a weight loss supplement called Phentemine375. I noticed that the return policy page for Phentemine375 was very similar to that of Provailen.
Does Provailen Work?
I didn't try Provailen personally but looking at the research I was able to locate, I don't think there is enough evidence to warrant trying Provailen at this time, especially given their bizarre return policy. If Provailen does work, I feel its active ingredient is probably Ganoderma lucidum (reishi mushroom) and not the other two ingredients. I say this because reishi has more evidence than the other ingredients in Provailen ―but even that evidence is much weaker than I'd like.