Another Test to Avoid
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
|The iTOVi Nutrition Tracker, pictured to the right, is claimed to "help you understand what products your body wants." It is marketed by iTOVi LLC, of Orem, Utah. To operate the hand-held device, the user plugs it into a smartphone and runs an app that produces a "personal wellness evaluation" that recommends what dietary supplements and/or essential oils to take. The company states that the device can help people "discover product recommendations that can help bring their body back to a state of homeostasis." |
The iTOVi Web site explains how the device works this way:
The iTOVi scanner is available through two plans. The "basic" plan costs $9.99 (plus shipping) and $39.99 per month. The "choice" plan entails a one-time fee of $799 but no monthly charge. Scanner buyers can also get a $50 commission if people they refer to ITOVI buy one. The main users of the device are distributors for multilevel companies that sell essential oils and/or dietary supplements. The iTOVi app enables them to select one of ten such companies for which a "product library" has been programmed.
ITOVI LCC was registered as a limited liability company in Utah on July 2, 2015, with Michael Wadman listed as the only member/manager. ITOVI's Web site lists three more people as partners in the company. In an audio interview posted to YouTube, Wadman was introduced as ITOVI's chief executive officer. His Linkedin profile states that he worked as director of training for ZYTO Technologies from April 2010 through October 2013 and as a technical consultant for NutriMost from April 2014 through January 2016.
ZYTO is a leading marketer of devices used for electrodermal screening, a dubious test that supposedly detects health problems and suggests corrective products . Its flagship product is a hand cradle that is plugged into a computer that generates printed reports. The hand cradle has FDA 510(k) clearance for marketing as a galvanic skin resistance measurement device. NutriMost is a chain of chiropractic clinics that from 2014 through 2016 offered a "fat loss system" centered around the use of a ZYTO scan .
In May 2015, the FDA ordered ZYTO to stop making "diagnostic" claims that went beyond what its hand cradle was cleared for . ITOVI describes its device this way:
The iTOVi scanner and app system have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and therefore the iTOVi system does not treat or diagnose any disease or condition. Individual iTOVi scan results are not an indication of health and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Claims that iTOVi is approved by the FDA or any other government agency are false and strictly prohibited.
The ITOVI Web site states that its device is "categorized as a General Wellness Device according to the FDA."  The site then links to the FDA's policy document on low-risk devices . The document states that it is permissible to make "claims about sustaining or offering general to functions associated with a general state of health that do not make any reference to diseases or conditions." However, claims that refer to diseases or conditions are permissible if the device is used to promote, track, or encourage lifestyle choices that may help reduce the risk of help people live better with certain chronic diseases or conditions.
I don't believe that determining the body's "response" to dietary supplements or essential oils or recommending products to correct "unresolved biomarkers" fits within these categories. The FDA warning letter to ZYTO objected to the claim that its devices would " help to identify your patient's biological preference for the products you sell." It seems to me that ITOVI's basic claim is similar.
Why You Should Be Skeptical
ITOVI claims that (a) its scanner "determines your body's reaction to frequencies and signals are naturally found in everything," (b) these frequencies can be represented by digital signatures, (c) the device measures the body's reaction by measuring sweat-gland production in the skin, which reflects subtle changes in the autonomic system, (d) the device also measures the frequencies of "energy centers" it calls "biopoints," (e) if extreme responses are detected, they are considered "unresolved" and the device recommends products that will "resolve" the biopoints. During a podcast explaining how the iTOVi works, Wadman said in addition to the physical body recognized by Western medicine, there is an "energetic body" that "reacts to things on a subatomic level," and that claims made for the iTOVi Nutrition Tracker can be explained by "quantum biodynamics." 
Here's why you should be skeptical of these claims:
- The idea that body tissues and products have "frequencies" that can be represented as "digital signatures" has no scientific support and has never been demonstrated using scientific instruments.
- Variations in sweating do not reflect the health status of the body as a whole or of any organ in the body except the sweat glands.
- No published study has demonstrated that the iTOVi measures anything of clinical value.
- No published study has demonstrated that iTOVi results are reproducible. Wadman admits that they can vary from minute to minute. But he claims that they are still valid.
- No published study has ever demonstrated that following the advice given in an iTOVi scanner report provides any health benefit. Since there are hundreds of "biopoints" and products, the number of studies required to test such claims would be impossibly large.
The Bottom Line
Skin resistance to an electric current has no value in assessing the health of the body or its internal organs. iTOVi scans have no proven practical value and could cause money to be wasted by people who trust them.
- Regulatory. ITOVI Web site, Accessed April 6, 2017.
- iTOVi technology. ITOVI Web site, Accessed April 6, 2017
- Barrett S. ZYTO scanning: Another test to avoid. Device Watch, March 22, 2017.
- Barrett S. A skeptical look at the NutriMost Fat Loss System. Chirobase, April 6, 2017.
- Mitchell LM. Warning letter to Vaughn R. Cook, May 8, 2015.
- General wellness: Policy for low risk devices: Guidance for industry and Food and Drug Administration staff. FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, July 29, 2016.
- Wadman D. Interview by Samantha Lee Wright. Posted to YouTube, Jan 24, 2017.
This article was posted on March 7, 2017.