Truehope and the Bipolar “Treatment” EMPowerplus
I have been wanting to write about the Truehope people (makers of EMPowerplus) for years but I haven’t because, well, I didn’t have anything nice to say, so I didn’t say anything at all. I knew that any critique I made of these people would be met with a slew of hate mail and, really, I get enough of that already.
But now I’m ready to go and at the bottom I’ll tell you why.
Who is Truehope?
According to their website:
Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. is a non-profit company dedicated to promoting mental wellness through non-invasive, nutritional means. Founded in 1996 by Anthony Stephan and David Hardy, the company is completely independent.
(I, personally, choke on the “non-profit” part and would be dead shocked if someone wasn’t making a lot of money here.)
What is EMPowerplus by Truehope?
Well, the main first thing you see on the EMPowerplus page is “Advanced Natural Medicine – Replaces Psychiatric Drugs.”
I’m not kidding. That’s pretty much the first thing they say about it. Now, if you said that in Canada, you’d get the pants sued off of you because we actually have natural product labelling laws, but in the United States? It seems you can make any old claim you like with absolutely no proof.
According to them, EMPowerplus is “appropriate for all ages and diagnoses.” It’s:
. . . the most studied micronutrient in the world. Unlike standard multi-vitamin supplements, EMPowerplus™ is formulated specifically for high levels of absorption, allowing the body to finally get the proper nutrients it needs to function at its best . . .it is helping individuals to reach their mental health goals rather than cover up symptoms with medication.
EMPowerplus Advanced™ is a micronutrient consisting of 36 clinically proven minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants and is designed to address essential nutrient deficiencies which can cause depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and ADHD in both children and adults.
(And note the grammatical error in the first paragraph. It’s the first of many on their site. Oh, and bipolar has no bloody hyphen.)
Saying “36 clinically proven minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants” is sketchy at best as they don’t say what they’re actually proven to do. (And note that Truehope advises people to get off of all their psychiatric medications when taking EMPowerplus. More on that later.)
Evidence for EMPowerplus by Truehope for Bipolar Disorder in Adults
When you review the material this is clear: there is no decent scientific evidence that this stuff works. Truehope says there is. They’re not exactly right. What there is, is case reports and open-label (mostly self-selected) studies. And every paper on this stuff (and “nutraceuticals” in general) ends with statements like, “BD treatment outcomes may potentially be improved by additional use of certain nutraceuticals with conventional pharmacotherapies,” and “caution should be extended in interpreting the large effects of several isolated studies.”
Note that not one scientist involved in research says in a peer-reviewed paper that it works and not one scientist in a peer-reviewed paper says you need to get off of your medication to take it. (At least, not that I can find.)Feel free to browse the paucity of data here (note no adult trials).
How Do I Feel about Truehope?
You probably get the sense I’m not a fan. I’m not. Like, in huge ways. I think that anyone selling “hope” is making money off the backs of desperate people who can nary afford to spend money on snake oil. I think that if you’re calling your company “Truehope” it’s because you have something to hide. It’s because you’re selling a concept and not a product.
But beyond that, I would say that anyone who advises that people transition off of their psychiatric medications (you know, that actual, knowledgeable and accredited doctors have prescribed) and onto a bunch of vitamins deserves to be drawn and quartered. Why? Because people going off their medications for “miracle” cures is how people bloody well die, that’s why.
And beyond even that, in my opinion, this company makes false claims that they should be sued into the Stone Age for. If drug companies did what this company does, there would be a general population uprising but because these guys aren’t Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated, anything they want to say is just peachy-keen.
Then Why Write about Truehope and EMPowerplus?
Because, I’m going to take it (more on why I would do this).
I know that seems crazy given how I feel about the company but just because I don’t like them, doesn’t mean their product doesn’t actually work for some people some of the time. It might. I can’t say for sure.
But let me make this clear: I’m fully aware that there is no decent scientific evidence that this stuff works and I’m going into the treatment with my eyes wide open. I do not recommend that anyone follow me on this. It could be harmful to you.
I have chosen to write about this experience precisely because there is no good data on it and what information there is on it seems to be tightly controlled by the company. I’m also writing about it because people have resoundingly asked me to. So while I do not recommend this product, I am going to take it.
In the next post I’ll explain a little more about why I’m choosing to take EMPowerplus by TrueHope.