Court documents and news reports reveal that a business partner of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been investigated twice and sanctioned once by federal officials for making false claims of supplements to treat chronic conditions. One of the supplements under investigation was falsely billed as a treatment and cure for Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
Alex Guerrero has been profiled by the New York Times and Sports Illustrated as a fitness guru for Brady, and Brady has credited Guerrero’s training for his health and ability to dominate as a quarterback at an age when most NFL players have retired. According to a report in Boston Magazine, Brady, Guerrero and another business partner have established a fitness and nutrition business called TB12.
Guerrero’s past, however, includes a history of court complaints, bankruptcy filings, and a lawsuit concerning past nutritional supplement companies, including ones that touted diabetes cures and treatments. The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against Guerrero (referred to in official documents as “Alejandro Guerrero”) for making false claims of the therapeutic benefits of his supplements.
Guerrero has made several eyebrow-raising claims about diabetes treatments, including:
-His endorsement of a Dia-Balance Pack that claims to stabilize blood sugars for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In promotional material, Guerrero claimed that the product allowed people to discontinue insulin therapy within 18 months to 3 years, according to a Daily Mail.com report. According to the website of the group producing the Dia-Balance Pack, the supplement “energetically supports and aids in the regeneration of the Pancreas (sic), and helps to maintain the body’s proper blood sugar levels.”
-His claim that parents of children with Type 1 should not use insulin. He made this claim when calling himself a doctor, a position for which he has admitted in court filings he lacks credentials. According to the Daily Mail report, he backed up this claim by using aura photography.
-His endorsement, while again using the title of doctor, of Supreme Greens, a supplement to treat chronic conditions, including diabetes, according to FTC documents. The FTC found that he made multiple unsubstantiated claims about Supreme Greens and practiced deceptive advertising and business practices while selling the product.
Guerrero entered into a 2005 consent decree with the FTC for his role pushing Supreme Greens. He was fined; he also agreed to no longer refer to himself as a doctor and to no longer make false claims about Supreme Greens or future products.
However, by 2011 he had created a new nutritional company, 6 Degree Nutrition, that was making questionable health claims, according to the Boston Magazine report. In 2012, the FTC sent a letter to Guerrero’s lawyer about the company’s marketing material for a supplement, NeuroSafe, that was purported to protect against concussions. NeuroSafe appeared to have the endorsement of a handful of big-name NFL players, including Brady. However, the FTC warned that Guerrero had no scientific evidence to back the company’s claims about the product’s effectiveness. The commission took no action since the product had already been voluntarily pulled from market.
It was after this that Guerrero became known as the prime trainer of Brady, once claiming that he knew Brady’s body better than Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen. After the Boston Magazine article, Brady was asked on WEEI, a Boston sports radio station, about his business partner, and he defended Guerrero. Brady claims he and Guerrero had discussed some aspects of Guerrero’s checkered business past, but not all of it, and that he’s satisfied with Guerrero’s explanations.
“He dealt with that,” Brady said in the interview.
Brady has been mired in controversy since the 2014 NFL football season, when he was accused of being part of a scheme to use underinflated footballs during last season’s playoffs. He has, so far, successfully fought off a four-game suspension for his alleged role in that scheme. Both he and his team, the New England Patriots, have been under a microscope in recent years for multiple controversies. While Brady swears by Guerrero’s training and nutrition techniques, it seems an impolitic time for the quarterback to have a business partner who has been a lightning rod of controversy in the nutritional supplement world. At the very least, the move may not help the quarterback’s standing in the diabetes community.
Photo Source: Keith Allison – Creative Commons
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