Brian Peskin Charged with Deception

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
December 4, 2003

Bryan Scott Peskin, of Houston Texas, has promoted three herbal products (Basic Essence, Mineral Essence, and Herbal Essence) with claims that they can eliminate food cravings, produce permanent weight loss, boost the immune system, increase energy levels and endurance, eliminate cellulite, maximize heart health, reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help achieve peak health, and help control blood sugar / diabetes. The products—marketed by Maximum Efficiency Products as part of the Radiant Health Program—are said to be based on the concepts in Peskin’s book Radiant Health: Moving Beyond the Zone. [1] Peskin’s Web site has stated that the book is “the key to radiant health” and provides “a system of nutrition that will give you permanent weight loss, boundless energy, improved concentration and the maximum shield against disease.” [2] According to two Web sites that market the Radiant Health products:

Brian Peskin is recognized as a world leading pioneer in transforming Nobel Prize winning research into practical solutions for quantum nutrition, peak personal performance, and radiant health.  Professor Peskin, an M.I.T. – degreed scientist, has combined the understanding of metabolism, fat-loss, and immunity to disease into practical and understandable terms.

. . . . Brian Peskin is one of the world’s leading authorities in Life-Systems Engineering, earning his degree from M.I.T. Life-Systems Engineering is founded on hard science and its focus is explaining real-life results.

Life-Systems Engineering is technically defined as the brand new science of producing desired results by working cooperatively with the natural processes of living things.

Brian and his Life-Systems team have discovered the solution to getting into the “zone,” and keeping you there with no dieting, calorie counting, or special exercise. . . .

Beyond The Zone took over 5000 hours of research and summarizes the results of over 3500 medical text books and scientific research studies and has been recognized by members of the medical community as being “one of the most significant works on diet and nutrition published in the last 100 years.”

Brian has developed, originally for his own personal use, the only three nutritional supplements our bodies require. Each is based on what “Mother Nature” designed us to eat everyday, before modern-day commercial food processing chemically distorted them or removed them from our diets.

Professor Peskin has been interviewed literally hundreds of times for radio and television and is a frequent guest on local, regional, and national radio and TV programs. He is the chief consulting scientist to Maximum Efficiency Products, a leading manufacturer of health enhancing products including the three Radiant Health products [3].

The Radiant Health Program, which sold for about $150, included audiotapes, a videotape, a copy of the book, and a one month supply of the products. The products alone retailed for $77 for a 1-month supply and $780 for a 1-year supply.

One of Peskin’s strategies was to ask users of his products to submit “success stories.” To encourage this, he promised a free bottle of one of his products if the story was used. However, testimonials do not provide reliable evidence of benefit. Testimonials obtained in response to a promise of reward are even less reliable.

In March 2002, the Texas Commissioner of Health ordered the defendants to recall all Radiant Health “Herbal Essence” products that had been commerically distributed. The recall was ordered because of safety concerns about the manufacturing process [4].

In April 2002, the Attorney General of Texas charged Peskin, Maximum Efficiency, and the parent company (Perkins Management Company) with making misleading claims about the products and Peskin’s credentials. The government’s complaint charged Peskin and the company with making false claims that he held a Ph.D degree, was a research scientist, and was a professor at Texas Southern University [4]. The complaint also noted that the company had not registered with the FDA or obtained a Texas manufacturing license as required by law. Peskin quickly agreed to a temporary injunction that prohibits these claims and bars the defendants from making unsubstantiated claims that their products will protect against heart disease; reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and other cancers; eliminate varicose veins; lower blood pressure; lower cholesterol; eliminate cellulite; prevent diabetes; manage ADD; help children or other persons with ADD, ADHD, or hyperactivity; make children smarter; or cure constipation [5]. In January 2003, the county judge issued a permanent injunction ordering Peskin and his company to pay $100,000 in fines and costs and prohibiting them from:

  • Making unsubstantiated claims that their products will (a) protect against heart disease; (b) reduce the risk of breast, prostate and other cancers; (c) eliminate varicose veins; (d) lower blood pressure; (e) lower cholesterol; (f) eliminate cellulite; (g) prevent diabetes; (h) manage ADD; (i) help children or other persons with ADD, ADHD, or hyperactivity; (j) be safe for infants, toddlers, or pregnant or nursing mothers; (k) make children smarter; (l) cure constipation; and (m) any other express or implied health or disease claim which bas not been substantiated by Defendants and approved by the FDA or satisfies the requirements of § 403(r)(6) of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.
  • Providing or discussing any general nutritional information or theories in connection with the advertising of any particular brand of nutritional supplement.
  • Using any vignette or symbol, including the “heart smart” vignette, on the labeling of any food or drug product advertised, manufactured, processed, sold, or distributed which makes any health or disease claim that has not been validated and approved by the FDA;
  • Representing, in any labeling or advertising that food products will mitigate, treat, cure, or prevent specific classes of diseases, as well as performing any role in the human body’s response to a disease.
  • Exaggerating Peskin’s credentials, education, background or expertise by stating that he (a) is the “Holder [of the] Emeritus Life-Systems Engineering Chair, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Texas Southern University” or (b) is a doctor, professor or holder of a Ph.D.
  • Using Peskin’s book Radiant Health—Beyond the Zone to help market Herbal Essence, Mineral Essence, or Basic Essence [6].

Peskin, a former employee, and Yes Supplements are facing a private lawsuit charging them with fraud, conversion (theft), business disparagement, tortuous interference, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract in connection with unauthorized use of a client list to market supplements. The judge has issued a restraining order [7].

  1. Peskin BS. Radiant Health: Moving Beyond the Zone. Noble Publishing, 1998.
  2. The Diet Book from Radiant Health. Radiant Health Web site, archived Oct 24, 2001.
  3. Identical biographical sketches were published on the Web sites of Radiant Health of Des Moines and Radiant Health of Chapel Hill. (Accessed May 7, 2002)
  4. Plaintiff’s original petition and application for temporary and permanent injunction. State of Texas v. Perkins Management, Inc., D/B/A Maximum Efficiency Products & Brian Scott Peskin. District of Harris County, 55th District Court, Case No. 2002-21594, filed April 26, 2002.
  5. Agreed temporary injunction. State of Texas v. Perkins Management, Inc., et al., Signed by judge, April 30, 2002.
  6. Agreed final and permanent injunction, signed by judge, Jan 7, 2003.
  7. Best of Health America v. Yes Supplements, Inc., and Brian Peskin and David LaFavers. Temporary restraining order, issued Nov 25, 2003.

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This article was revised on December 4, 2003.