Costco Schiff Melatonin Ultra Discontinued - Scalpers Hit Jackpot Raise Price 2000%

Schiff Melatonin Ultra
Looking for Schiff Melatonin Ultra??? Good luck, it is discontinued. I have switched to Vicks ZzzQuil.
Today I was at my local Costco and I was looking for one of my all-time favorite sleep aids, a specific version of Melatonin made by Schiff called Melatonin Ultra. This product was made exclusively for Costco and sold over the past several years but has recently been discontinued. The proprietary blend of Melatonin featured not only 3mg of Melatonin, but also 25mg of L-Theanine, 25mg of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and a blend of Chamomile and Valerian Extract totaling 8.5mg. The product really does work wonders and other Melatonin just isn't the same. 

Anyway, after coming up empty-handed at Costco I figured I would just order it from Amazon as I have ordered it this way before. For those that are not aware, there is an entire cottage industry of people who purchase products in bulk from their local Costco and then resell them on Amazon. This appeals to both people that don't have a Costco membership or simply don't want to visit the store for a single item. Tonight I went to Amazon and was astounded that the price, almost like the infamous pharma-bro Martin Skirelli's Daraprim, had risen over 2000% to $149.95. My last purchase which from Amazon was $9.99 shippe
d via 2-day prime, and I have purchased it at a Costco store for $7.99 from Costco. It was even $4.99 when it was on a Costco coupon promotion. Given the discontinuation, I wasn't exactly surprised that it had increased but I was shocked by how large the increase was in a short period of time. 

For those that doubt that this is selling or is just a temporary pricing error think again. According to eBay completed sales, which is public knowledge, it shows that these bottles are selling for north of $200. It is safe to say that I will be looking for a new brand but it goes to show how much we as a society value our drugs, products, and our brands and at any cost. 

Completed eBay Sales of Schiff Melatonin Ultra 

I have to imagine that Schiff will make this product again if there is enough interest, but I have switched to Vicks ZzzQuil for now. Because supplements are unregulated I prefer to go with stable brands. You get 2mg of melatonin + the valerian & chamomile. You also get some lemon balm and lavender which was not in Melatonin Ultra.

Vicks ZzzQuil
My replacement for
Schiff Melatonin Ultra

For those that are unfamiliar with melatonin. Melatonin is what your body produces in the Pineal gland to put itself to bed naturally. I have used a 3mg tablet 30-60 minutes before bed as an effective way to help set the bedtime process in motion. 

Relevant Links

Pedal the Perimeter - Matt "BikerBroshat" EPIC USA Cycling Trip

Pedal the Perimeter Bike Trip
For readers who may be interested, my cousin, Matt  "BikerBroshat" Broshat, is attempting to bike the Perimeter of the USA #PedalThePerimeter. His trip is starting today, August 8th, 2018, and he is planning on taking about 6 months to complete his journey. This will be a self-supported ride with a bike that is built to carry all his gear and camping equipment - it is not a fast bike but he hopes to ride 60 miles a day.

I am sure he will need plenty of help, a wash of clothes, and a place to stay on his route. Being the athlete myself, I know what this is going to take logistically, solo, so there are no hard dates about where he will be, and when, but follow his Instagram account for updates. I am sure he would be appreciative of any support. Matt is a very religious person and kind person who has committed, even in cold and blustery Minnesota winters, to commuting and traveling by bike. His goal is to raise $25,000 for a youth group for special needs kids. Matt has been involved in helping these kids live a better lives through his own donation of time. Stay safe Matt!



Links:
- Donate to Matt's choice of charity

2018 NEW Normatec Pulse Review - Gen 2 Pulse vs Gen 1 Pulse (2015-2017)

Enjoying the new 2018
Gen 2 Normatec Pulse System
Although on the surface the 2018 Normatec Pulse looks and functions just like the original Normatec Pulse (2015-2017), there are some nice upgrades to the new unit that are not clearly visible and marketed, but nonetheless are beneficial to the customer. Normatec has been shipping what I am calling the "Gen 2" 2018 Pulse since at least November 2017 so if you bought one direct from them you probably have it, but I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight a few key benefits of the new 2018 system.

My thoughts on this 2018 unit are my thoughts after 6+ months of use with 80+ hours of runtime. I can definitely say that this is the best Normatec Pulse unit yet and fixes the battery issue which was the one gripe I had with my original Pulse. It is worth mentioning that while I discussed the battery limitation in my original review of Normatec vs Air Relax, I have since updated that article to reflect the improved battery. This isn't a complete detailed review of the Normatec system akin to the likes of DCRainmaker's Garmin reviews, but I am happy to answer any questions you have.

2018 Normatec Pulse vs 2015-2017 Normatec Pulse

While the changes to the 2018 Pulse may not seem obvious, there are some significant changes in the 2018 model. The biggest include:
  • Improved Battery - The old Normatec Pulse had a battery that was always in a "low-power" mode even when off.  This led to situations where you might charge the unit but it was dead when you went to use it. This was highly annoying if you were traveling and didn't have access to power outlets such as in an airport, in the car, or on a soccer field. This issue has been fixed in the 2018 Pulse.
  • Enhanced Durability - The legs have been reinforced further making them stronger to handle the continuous cycle of expanding, holding pressure, and decompressing, and then doing it over and over, for weeks, month, and years. This may not seem like much, but every pro athlete I know depends on their recovery compression boots to get them thru their biggest training blocks. Failures do happen and it is nice to know that Normatec has worked on increasing durability.
  • Increased Warranty - With the durability enhanced, Normatec was able to extend the warranty from 1 year to 2 years. However, if you have an AMEX card then I highly recommend using it for this purchase. AMEX will double your warranty for free which increases the warranty to 4 years. I have gone thru their claim process a couple of times (usually with Garmins) and it is a great benefit to cardholders.
  • Decreased Price - Despite the improvements, the new 2018 Normatec Pulse is more affordable than ever. Normatec has been reducing the price of the Normatec Pulse over the past few years. While originally it was priced at $1695, it is now $1495. With a readily available discount of $100 that makes the standard pricing effectively $1395.
Battery Testing - 2 hours 51 minutes at level 5 with standard size leg boots

Along with testing the battery to make sure it held a charge over extended periods of time, I also wanted to test battery life. This test was conducted after many months of use and charge/discharge cycles. Battery life will vary on boot size, pressure level, and your own leg size. Personally, I got 2 hours and 51 minutes at level 5 (max is level 7) from a standard set of legs. Normatec claims 2 hours of battery life. 


Leg Fluid Edema Testing - 90 minutes in the boots at level 5, 6, and 7 reduced my calf diameter from 41mm to 39mm

Baseline (top) / After 90 mins (bottom)
Normatec was originally designed for patients with leg edema (swelling). I don't suffer from edema, but I figured I would test how much difference it made on otherwise healthy legs.

For this test, I took a baseline measurement and photo and then sat in the boots for 60 minutes at level 5. I photographed and measured them again and then I got back in the boots for 30 more minutes with 18 mins at level 6 and 12 mins at level 7. I used a Sharpie on the front of my legs to draw support lines to make sure the tape measure was being placed in the same spot for consistent measurement. The results are as follows:

Baseline: 41cm  (left) / 40.6cm (right)
60 minutes at level 5: 39.5cm (left) / 39.6cm (right)
30 additional minutes - 18 mins @ level 6 & 12 @ level 7: 39.0cm (left) / 39.1cm (right)


Normatec Leg Sizing

As a reminder, Normatec leg sleeves come in three sizes. Keep in mind it is not only the leg length but also the width that is affected.
  • Short for under 5' 3"
  • Regular 5'4" to 6'3"
  • Tall for people over 6' 4"  

Tall / Regular / Short



Identify the 2018 Normatec Pulse (Gen 2) vs the 2015-2017 Normatec Pulse

One can easily determine which Pulse they are getting via a sticker on the back of the unit. You want to see a manufactured date of 2017 or later, plus a sticker at the bottom, with a "Rev 2".

2015-2017 Normatec Pulse vs 2018 Normatec Pulse



Final Thoughts

Lebron James in his Normatec MVP

The 2018 Normatec Pulse is a nice upgrade to a system that was already very nice. Never in my life has a product category been embraced by so many professional athletes in so many sports, including triathletes, marathoners, cyclists, cross-fitters, NBA, NFL, NHL, golf, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, track and field, and even Hollywood celebrities (Snoop Dogg included). The overwhelming majority of these athletes aren't being paid for their endorsement. Lebron James is probably the biggest sports name and it was reported he spent $3 million dollars in 2017 on his recovery.

Personally, as a tinker but minimalist, I have been surprised by how often I am willing to travel with recovery compression boots. They simply go everywhere with me and I write this as I am in them. While there is still a place for many other recovery modalities in the athlete toolbox, no tool is as convenient and relaxing as recovery compression boots. They are just too easy to get into and I really do believe they help athletes recover faster and feel fresher. I believe the best recovery tools are the ones that don't seem like a chore and recovery compression boots are definitely not a chore to me.

For those that are looking for a more affordable set of boots please take a look at my original Air Relax vs Normatec review. Air Relax is a competitively priced system that has also become the choice of many champions and in many sports. Some triathletes using Air Relax include Ironman Champions Romain Guillaume, Jozef Major, Guy Crawford, Kate Bevilaqua, and Susie Cheetham (6th at 2017 Ironman World Championship).

When companies have competition the consumer wins. Normatec, Air Relax, and Rapid Reboot will all help push the boundaries of what the human body can accomplish.


Relevant Links
Normatec on Amazon - $1495 and ships via Amazon Prime
- Normatec ($1495) vs Air Relax ($370) - original review
Normatec.com
Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 - great chairs for lounging in Normatecs
Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices generally $700-$1200)

Competitors
- Air Relax - $400
- Rapid Reboot - $995