Alex Guerrero, according to a January story in the New York Times, is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's "best friend and ever-present guru for training and many other things." He has been referred to in various articles as Brady's "body coach" and, according to the Times, can more accurately be considered a "spiritual guide, counselor, pal, nutrition adviser, trainer, massage therapist and family member."
According to a report from Boston Magazine, Guerrero used to go by the name Dr. Alejandro Geurrero and was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), twice.
On the first occasion, in 2004, Guerrero was part of an infomercial for a product called Supreme Greens, which claimed, among other things, to be able to cure "ailments such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease." A study was conducted on 200 patients, the infomercial said, and all but eight survived. The FTC debunked that claim and others made by Guerrero in the infomercial -- including the fact that he was a doctor -- as a sham.
If anyone cared to look closely, however, there were a couple of problems with Dr. Alejandro Guerrero’s claims. First, he wasn’t a doctor of any kind—not a medical doctor, as he admitted in the infomercial—or a doctor of Oriental medicine, as he claimed to business associates, according to a sworn affidavit. The FTC would eventually bar Guerrero from ever again referring to himself as a doctor. In truth, Guerrero’s degree was a master’s in Chinese medicine from a college in California that no longer exists.
The other problem, of course, was that Alejandro Guerrero’s Supreme Greens was a sham. Total nonsense. Modern-day snake oil. “This is just out and out quackery,” says Barrie Cassileth, a bona-fide PhD in medical sociology and the founder of the Integrative Medicine Service at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who helped the FTC investigate Supreme Greens.
Turns out, Supreme Greens had never been scientifically tested. The “study”—the one in which Guerrero claimed that 192 terminally ill patients had survived thanks to Supreme Greens—never actually existed, he later admitted. The FTC found not a shred of evidence that Supreme Greens could cure or prevent cancer, AIDS, MS, Parkinson’s, or any of the other ailments Guerrero had mentioned.
Once the investigation ended, Guerrero signed a settlement with the FTC that included surrendering a $65,000 fine or his Cadillac Escalade, and also "barred him from promoting Supreme Greens or 'any substantially similar product' as an effective treatment, cure, or preventative for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or any other disease."
By 2014, Boston Magazine reports, Guerrero had another product -- NeuroSafe, marketed as a preventive measure for concussions and sports-related head injuries -- as awell as a business partner in Tom Brady. The label on the product stated that it was "Powered by TB12," the limited liability corporation run by Brady, Guerrero and a friend of Robert Kraft's, as well as a lawyer with ties to Patriots and Kraft.
NeuroSafe, much like Supreme Greens, made claims of being able to do amazing things, and like Supreme Greens, it brought the FTC's attention to Guerrero. According to the Boston Magazine report, it was also a sham.
“Besides protective equipment,” NeuroSafe’s website advertised, “NeuroSafe represents the only preventative measure available to athletes to protect their brain. When used consistently, NeuroSafe helps to dramatically improve recovery from head trauma by providing the brain the nutrients it needs to repair itself.”
As with Guerrero’s Supreme Greens product, the claims were overblown and unproven. “It’s total garbage,” said Cassileth, the Sloan Kettering researcher who helped debunk the curative claims around Supreme Greens, when Boston informed her of NeuroSafe’s claims. “It’s just ridiculous. The organizations and people who make these claims and produce these false treatments really are doing something horrific.”
NeuroSafe had endorsements on its website from, among other people, Brady and former Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who at one point suffered three concussions within a year.
Despite its apparent endorsements from celebrities, NeuroSafe had a very short shelf life. In April 2012, the FTC reappeared and wrote that it had conducted an investigation of Guerrero for possible violations of the consent decree he’d signed in the Supreme Greens case. The investigation centered on NeuroSafe’s marketing: “In particular…on whether [Guerrero] could substantiate claims that NeuroSafe prevents, limits the severity of, and speeds recovery from, sports-related traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, and that NeuroSafe’s results were scientifically proven and clinically tested.”
The FTC concluded that Guerrero had no scientific evidence to back his “extraordinary” claims. “We have serious concerns,” the FTC wrote. “Among other things, users relying on [Guerrero’s] unsupported claims might forego appropriate medical treatment and return to competition before they have adequately recovered from their injuries.”
The FTC then did something surprising: “Despite our concerns,” the agency wrote in a letter, it declined to bring an enforcement action against Guerrero. The reason, according to the FTC, was because Guerrero had sold an “extremely limited volume” of NeuroSafe, had decided to discontinue marketing the product, and had agreed “to provide full refunds to all consumers who purchased the NeuroSafe product.” In essence, the FTC agreed to back down only after Guerrero promised to stop marketing NeuroSafe. “This action,” the FTC wrote for good measure, “should not be construed as a determination that there was no violation” of Guerrero’s previous consent decree or other FTC regulations.
The story states that TB12 markets Guerrero's training regimen as "a proven approach to help people reach and maintain their peak levels of performance. Developed by Brady and his body coach, Alex Guerrero, their revolutionary approaches to wellness in the areas of nutrition and supplementation, as well as physical and mental fitness training, have helped athletes maximize their potential and maintain peak performance levels for more than a decade."
Brady has indeed been remarkably healthy throughout his NFL career and is generally considered to be in excellent shape, especially for a 38-year old quarterback. With the exception of 2008, when he missed 15 games with a torn ACL, Brady has never missed a start. It would appear that Guerrero's training, eating, and supplemental regiment works, at least for Brady, to whom Guerrero devotes near-constant attention by mapping out his training and nutrition years into the future.
Per Boston Magazine's report, Brady's agent, TB12, the Patriots, and others either made no comment on the substance of the report or did not respond to requests for comment.