(Prereading: What is EMPowerplus by Truehope and Why am I Taking EMPowerplus?)

I’ve ordered EMPowerplus by Truehope now, and so, as a buyer, I know a few things that you can’t find out on their public site.

The Experience of Buying EMPowerplus by Truehope

The experience of buying EMPowerplus is exactly what you would think it would be – you go online and you buy it. There is one difference though, and that difference is that someone calls you to follow-up.

The morning after I ordered the product, the Truehope follow-up person called and started asking me personal questions and confirming information I had already given them. Then she asked my diagnosis. I hesitated as I don’t really think it’s any of her business, but then said, “bipolar.” Then she asked me what medications I was on. I told her I was on several and I didn’t want to enumerate them. She said something along the lines of, “our support staff can’t help you if they don’t have a full picture.” I asked her what her qualifications were to be asking such questions and she said that she simply, “set up the file.” Then I asked her what qualifications those support staff have. She said, “they’re educated on the product.”

In other words, the follow-up person has zero qualifications and the support people who will be counselling you have zero qualifications also. (This is true, by the way, it’s just a call center.) And she wants me to hand over my personal, medical information to these people. I don’t think so.

Truehope EMPowerplus Drug Interactions

Dangerous Drug Interactions of EMPowerplus

And keep in mind, Truehope wants you to call their support staff, “if you are on psychotropic medications to help you avoid dangerous drug interactions.”

Apparently these drug interactions are so “dangerous” as to require a disclaimer on the order page but not dangerous enough to be specified on the site nor addressed by people with actual, medical qualifications.

Does anyone else think that’s nutty? If they’re so dangerous, why wouldn’t they be listed on the site so you could determine whether or not to purchase the product? And why, exactly, would anyone allow a supplement to be sold that caused “dangerous drug interactions” without labelling?

(I’ll tell you why. I suspect it’s because they want to build a little file up about you so that they can sell you other products. A follow-up-follow-up person actually called too, twice, but I didn’t take the calls.)

(Health Canada, by the way, appears to hate these guys and has previously sued them and advised people with serious mental illness not to take EMPowerplus. They also have a record from 2007 that states, “Reports of adverse reactions in patients with serious mental health conditions suspected in association with use of prescription medications and EMPowerPlus — consumer information.” I would bet serious money on the fact that these “adverse reactions” were from people who stopped taking their meds.)

And note that when asked about side effects, the EMPowerplus literature says, “EMPowerplus produces no side effects, other than minor, temporary gastrointestinal upset in a few people.” So, no side effects but dangerous drug interactions for EMPowerplus?

Initial Truehope EMPowerplus Email and Documents

EMPowerplus DocumentsAlongside all of this I was sent a series of informational documents from Truehope about EMPowerplus. The documents were:

  • A Truehope Participant Guide
  • A Truehope Support Guide (for the person who will be supporting whomever is taking the EMPowerplus)
  • A Candida Reference Sheet
  • A Candida Self-Test
  • A Candida Protocol

All that candida stuff is there so that if you supposedly have a “problem with candida” (yeast), you can address it by buying more of their products. And you have to do this because if you have a candida problem you won’t be able to absorb the nutrients from the EMPowerplus.

And oh, you don’t have to have any symptoms to have a candida problem. You just have to have done things like: taken broad-spectrum or acne antibiotics, crave sugar or carbs, feel fatigued or lethargic, been pregnant or about a million other things according to their self-test.

It should be noted that the Truehope Support Guide is actually longer than the Participant Guide. This seems purposefully manipulative – get the family member on-side so that if the person with the mental illness wants to stop taking the supplement, the loved one convinces them not to. It’s perfect marketing. As Truehope says, “Your job will be to keep the new Truehope participant stay on track . . .”

One final note before I go into these documents in detail, on page three of the Support Guide it says that, “A multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using EMPowerplus for adults with bipolar disorder is now under way in Canada and the United States.” This is actually a lie. That trial was terminated unexpectedly in 2009.*

* A Truehope representative said they will look into this upon reading this article.

Update: You may also wish to read how a TrueHope Believers Baby Dies Likely Due to Lack of Medical Care.