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Truehope: Panacea or Empty Promises?

by Kimberly Read

By

Updated June 20, 2006

The Promise

Truehope – officially named Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. - is the inspiring, encouraging name of a company that markets the nutritional supplement known as Empowerplus (aka EM Power+, EM Power, and Synergy). According to Truehope, “Empowerplus may help address nutrient deficiencies in those who suffer from various CNS disorders, particularly Bipolar Disorder.” The company further offers that this product could be beneficial to those with anxiety disorders, ADHD … pretty much any mental illness.

The Product

According to this “non-profit organization,” the supplement contains, “thirteen vitamins, three amino acids, and seventeen minerals in a highly bio-available form.” The vitamins include A, C, D, E, and the B complex. Phenylalanine, glutamine and methionine are the amino acids. The minerals include those common to standard multivitamins – Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, etc. This blend also boasts minerals such as Boron, Germanium, and Molybdenum among others. EM Power also contains some herbal ingredients, of which grapeseed and ginko biloba are two.

The Program

The program designed by Truehope claims to be an “alternative intervention for those who may have a central nervous system imbalance.” Components of this program include:

  • Use of Empowerplus
  • Data Collection – Participants are asked to complete a personal information form as well as maintain a record of symptoms which is submitted to Truehope weekly.
  • Nutrient Protocol
  • Support – Participants are asked to read and complete a booklet and commit to a weekly phone appointment for the purpose of monitoring progress.

The Problem

First and foremost, Truehope makes unsubstantiated claims. There is no empirical research to validate the efficacy or safety of this product. In Canada, the manufacture and sale of all drugs, including nutritional and herbal supplements, must be approved by Health Canada, a federal government regulatory body. In order to receive approval, the manufacturer must first provide Health Canada with scientific evidence that the drug is safe and effective at meeting its stated claims of effectiveness of treatment. Health Canada has NOT given its approval. As a matter of fact, in June, 2003, the agency has issued a warning regarding Empowerplus,

    Health Canada has identified risks associated with the use of Empowerplus. The safety and efficacy of Empowerplus has not been shown. The drug is being sold to treat serious disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, fibromyalgia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Serious central nervous system conditions are best treated under the supervision of a health care provider. These serious disorders should not be self-medicated or self-diagnosed.

Futhermore, Truehope actually advocates cessation of medications that are often key to the continued health of those with the disorders it claims to help. In at least three places on their Web site, this company makes a claim that prescription medications can be stopped. For example, “Many Truehope participants have been able to completely eliminate their psychiatric medications due to the reduction/elimination of their symptoms while on Empowerplus.” This company is not a healthcare provider and should in no way support such potentially dangerous behavior. Many psychiatric medications require titration and monitoring to prevent sudden withdraw symptoms. In addition, when psychiatric medications are stopped without care, sudden and more volatile symptoms of the condition for which they were prescribed can re-emerge.

Any change in medication - including the addition of natural, herbal, or nutritional supplements - should be discussed in depth with your healthcare professional.

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