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TrueHope EMPowerplus: True or False?

TRUEHOPE EMPOWERPLUS
First I’ll give the basic rundown on how I found this product, what it was supposed to do, and what happened to me. TrueHope EMPowerplus is an all natural, controversial, remedy for bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, such as ADHD or depression.
This is what the main website for TrueHope EMPowerplus has to say about it’s product. Pretty vague, eh?

EMPowerplus™ is a unique, micronutrient formula proven effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of bipolar, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. 19 medical journal publications, plus many individual doctors’ observations, have shown significant reductions in the symptoms of bipolar and other mental disorders.
These 19 publications plus several more current and ongoing studies make EMPowerplus™ the most studied micronutrient formulation in the world for mental conditions. Studies in animals also suggest EMPowerplus™ can improve brain-cell health and cognitive functioning.

The unique technology used in the micronutrient formulation of EMPowerplus™ allows the body to rapidly absorb and use these essential elements for optimum physical and mental health. EMPowerplus™ is a safe, effective, all-natural formula for common mood disorders.

First, what is a unique, micronutrient formula? They use some interesting words we haven’t heard much before: Micronization and Chelation, followed by two that we understand more: Balance and Quantity.
What is micronization?

Particle size reduction is achieved through the use of fluid energy jet mills. The material is drawn into a confined, circular chamber by way of pressurized nitrogen gas or compressed air. The powder gets suspended in a high velocity fluid stream in the milling chamber. The mill operates on the principle of impact and attrition due to the high velocity collisions between particles suspended within the nitrogen gas or compressed air stream, causing them to breakdown into smaller particles. Centrifugal force causes large, heavy particles to separate from smaller and lighter particles. The smaller particles are carried in the fluid stream towards the center of the milling chamber, where they are discharged into a collection bag. Larger particles remain in the milling chamber where they recirculate, causing them to breakdown. Operational parameters are monitored throughout the process and are documented in the batch record.

Now, in english: Jet mills are used to pull in a material and it is broken down into smaller pieces, then collected, repeat.
But why do we want micronization? Well, it seems contamination is less of an issue, which is a good thing. It has a (no source cited) proven history. It works with a lot of products. It’s accepted and regulated by most agencies. There’s no heat used, so it’s eco-friendly. Okay, so they’re taking big particles and making them smaller. The pills are freaking huge though, so I guess micronization is a good thing.

Chelation, however, yields very few results that have anything to do with the production of these pills. From the TrueHope website,

“Minerals are difficult for the body to digest in pure form. To overcome this, EMPowerplus™ minerals go through a rigorous process that wraps them in organic molecules and binds them to proteins the body can easily recognize and digest. “

But where’s the proof? Most of the results were about chelation therapy, used for coronary diseases. It seems like they enjoy using big words that are hard to describe, even when broken down to basic chemistry.
As for Balance and Quantity, if you see the ingredients list, well, this gives you up to several thousand X’s the amount of certain vitamins, minerals and supplements, which can be dangerous.
My personal experience was through the TrueHope website and over the phone. I ordered the pills and stopped seeing my psychiatrist except to repeat my medications until I was completely off of them (I never completely got off the benzos though, withdrawal was harsh and I had to stop the EMPowerplus “therapy”)
At first, they tell you to take 1-3 pills a couple of times a day. It’s definitely a booster (and makes you pee neon yellow, sometimes green, from all the B-vitamins) and you can see an increase in your mood. If you want your doctor to get you on to this they have to order a DVD and book, at a cost to you. They have professionals on the phone to tell you how much prescription medication to take every week, and I don’t recall any of them being doctors, or even naturopaths.
The pills are big, they smell, and they’re hard to swallow. I got the initial boost and slowly tapered down on my medication. But then it happened, I was unable to sleep. I would get so frustrated in the night, I would be pacing around my room, yelling and screaming at nothing. I got angry, and frustrated. This is for bipolar disorder? I was in a mixed state most of the time I was on it. If I got anxious they told to take up to 24,000mg! Of inositol a day, to counter the side effects. I went to the health food store all the time to buy more remedies to help with this remedy.
The final straw was when I was upped to 15 pills a day and had several breakdowns, wanting to drop out of school. I was throwing up a half hour after taking the pills and not sleeping. I was irritable, I couldn’t concentrate (how does this work for ADHD?) and I found out I was allergic to something in the pills, which was causing the vomiting reaction. I consulted professionals and went back on my prescribed, psychiatric medication and don’t plan on doing that again. It was a waste of several hundred dollars and time.
I was taking approximately 4x’s that a day. That’s 16,000x’s my daily needed vitamin B12 regimen!
There are 11 or 19 studies saying this works, plus a book “A Promise of Hope” (where I heard about this remedy) pushing this remedy. It is supposed to “cure” 85% or more of treatment resistant bipolar patients.
According to TrueHope, to balance the serotonin and dopamine (they use “brain chemicals”, not the technical terms) we need to have proper vitamins. Proper, sure, a daily multivitamin won’t kill you, but do we need 16,000x’s our daily needed vitamin B12? And I was on a low dose! But mood disorders aren’t caused only by brain chemistry (more about that later). What about a placebo effect? EMPowerplus says that a placebo effect eventually “wears off” but they don’t cite their resources. Plus, they’re wrong. Placebo’s can work for ages.
So, in conclusion, as a treatment resistant sufferer of bipolar disorder type 1 who had been through ECT prior (I started TrueHope EMPowerplus in late 2009, and had ECT in July 2008, which helped more than any medication had in the past) this stuff is about as useful to my mood as a normal multivitamin. It just costs a lot more and doesn’t have FDA approval.
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