I have been talking to Trevor from Pareto Nutrition for over a month now, he saw some traffic from my blog when I first started and emailed me about it. He and his business partner Kalin were nice enough to do a interview about their company and their PAGG product.
Q: For people that do not know what PAGG is can you give us a brief explanation?
A: The PAGG stack is a dietary supplement formulation developed by Tim Ferriss in his New York Times bestseller The Four Hour Body. The idea behind it is that by taking a specific combination of 4 ingredients at various times of the day, you can produce a greater benefit than by taking them all at once. The result is fat loss; when combined with other practices as defined in the book, such as resistance weight training and proper diet, the outcome is a leaner body.
The dosage schedule for the PAGG Stack, as outlined by Tim Ferriss, is very specific. The AGG portion of the stack is to be taken four times each day, before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sleep.
- Alpha-lipoic acid: 300 mg
- Garlic extract: 200 mg
- Green tea extract: providing 325mg of EGCG
- B-complex vitamin (especially Biotin)
On the final dose of the day, before bed, include policosonal, the P in PAGG:
- Policosanol: 23 mg once each day.
A: From the beginning, we made a decision not to be distracted by what the competition was doing. I know it sounds cliched, but we were completely focused on our product and our business and that involved, and continues to involve, a lot of time researching ingredients, dose combinations and even new products.
That said, when you are constantly reading and working to find that advantage you do come across the competition. Being the first all-in-one PAGG stack to the market, we attracted a lot of copy-cat imitators. At first we brushed it off as flattery, but there were several cases of extreme plagiarism where they even used our product images and used MS Paint to poorly cover our name. Here’s a couple that were particularly, ahem, sad.
Eventually these “competitors” disappear after they’ve burned through their Google Adwords credit and free month of hosting, but it still has an impact when it creates confusion in the market and creates a general feeling of distrust among consumers. That’s a frustration that we have had to overcome.
As for the two you mentioned:
- paggpack.com — They had an interesting idea for a specific niche, but their website disappeared a few days ago, almost exactly 30 days after it first went online.
- paggsupplement.com — This site popped up in late December and has left us wondering exactly what they have been doing ever since, for three reasons. UPDATE: see comment below from Tyler of paggsupplement.com
- First, a lot of what is on that site is either confusing or stolen. If you line up the supplement facts graphic over ours, the pixels on parts of it match ours perfectly. Then there’s just odd things like the ‘community’ feature. Worse, for the first month, they were trying to sell the site as a cash-flow positive business so they could move to New Zealand. It’s disappointing to us because we feel it reflects poorly on the supplement industry.
- Secondly, they have never shipped product. I remember seeing their ads back in early January, maybe even late December, saying that they were shipping now. We’ve heard from several of their angry customers, who paid money, that it just wasn’t the case. We have visited them occasionally since late December and their shipping date has changed 5 or 6 times since then. That’s not good for anyone.
- Thirdly, and to answer your core question about why our product is better, there are three reasons why this is true: 1) our decaffeinated green tea extract delivers the exact EGCG dosage Tim Ferris recommends. The green tea extract from paggsupplement.com is only 50% EGCG, meaning you need to take two pills to get the same dose as ours. And since green tea extract is the most expensive part of the stack, if you cut your percentage, you can lower your cost albeit delivering an inferior product in the process. 2) Our product uses an aged garlic extract, not a fresh garlic extract. Aged garlic extract (AGE) contains high levels of the active ingredient S-allyl cysteine. The aging process also removes the components that cause the garlic breath and odor that are a problem with non-aged extracts or fresh garlic. 3) We use capsules, which are better than tablets for storing alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA is unstable if exposed to air and sunlight. Our red capsules were selected to minimize against that degradation to preserve the antioxidant’s potency until it hits your body.
Q: How did you get started with the PAGG stack?
A: We’ve been big fans of Tim Ferriss for quite a while. One of us had the chance to meet him after a talk he gave at Railsconf 2009 when he disclosed a “secret project” he was working on that involved a new book on extreme training, sleeping, eating, etc. We were more than intrigued and the concept of the 4 Hour Body was one we knew Tim would nail. It didn’t take much reading between the lines of his blog posts and chapter excerpts to know what was coming and having lived through the 90s with the ECA stack, we thought Tim might just have something that could change the training scene. As soon as we had the book in our hands and saw the PAGG stack, we knew we had our work cut out for us.
Q: What is your background in bio-chem/pharmacy/supplements?
A: Neither of us are chemists but both of us have undergraduate biochemistry, organic chemistry and even genetics under our belts. We’re also a lot like Ferriss; having tried and measured the results for almost everything on the market, our kitchens look like they might be FDA testing facilities sometimes. We had a good head start with PAGG, with Ferriss already designing the formula. That allowed us to hit Pubmed for many long hours to make sure that the logic was sound and things made sense. While Ferriss recommends a B-Complex vitamin in the book, we knew that the most important thing here was to make sure people got enough Biotin, since your intestinal bacteria produce less when you take ALA. All of our competitors have copied that idea now. Finally, we also knew when to bring in the right expertise and we contracted chemists to extensively review our product prior to manufacturing.
Q: Where does the name Pareto come from?
A: Anyone who read The Four Hour Work Week will know who Vilfredo Pareto was – the originator of the 80/20 rule. Right from the start we wanted to deliver people a lot of benefits without requiring them to do too much extra work. Pareto Nutrition’s mission is to help people achieve their health and fitness goals with as little effort as possible.
While most supplement companies pick their measurements and pill quantities at random (why do so many come in 90 capsule bottles regardless of the daily dose?), we focus on delivering exactly what you need, when you need it. Our goal is to create products designed around protocols based on the newest research and recommendations of top nutrition experts and body hackers. To try to sum all of that up in one name, Pareto Nutrition was a natural.
Q: Are there any regulations that you need to follow?
A: We strictly follow the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). We’re fanatics about details and this is the only way we can ensure a quality product is delivered in every bottle.
Q: I have read your post about EGCG and insomnia, will you be keeping it in the night pill?
A: Yes. Everyone’s body is different, but after shipping out a lot of product we have found what we expected, and what the peer-reviewed research supports. There have been almost no complaints about insomnia; in fact, there has been only one so far. We actually have gathered a fair amount of anecdotal evidence (including our personal experience) that people are getting deep, restful sleeps while taking PAGG. Maybe we should include that as a side effect, uberman sleepers beware!
Q: Have you had any returns?
A: We offer a 110% guarantee if you return the unused product within 45 days. A lot of people see that and imagine that there will be a high return rate because a lot of people will take a chance on a product that might not be right for them. So far our return rate has been below 1%, well below industry averages, and we think that speaks to the quality of our product and the research and care that went into producing it.
Q: Do you or will you be selling other 4HB supplements? CQ? Athletic Greens or similar?
A: There are a lot of plans in the works, but we’re keeping tight-lipped at the moment.
Q: What chapters from the book have you found most beneficial other than the four horseman?
A: If you ask us, we would say there is one very important concept that stands out in the book – the commitment to collecting data about your training. From taking measurements to having before and after pictures, people often underestimate how important it is to measuring progress, and ultimately success, in any program. Without any proof of change, it’s difficult to make a good decision to stop, continue, or modify a program.
Q: Have you reached out to Tim about this or has he commented about it?
A: We tried to contact him when we first started but he was understandably very busy with the book launch. We know he’s aware of us.
Q: Where can people find it?