Sunday, July 08, 2012

EMPowered to Kill

Mentally ill killer tried vitamin therapy, court told

A man with schizophrenia killed his father and gravely injured his mother at their home in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Jordan Ramsay was off his prescribed antipsychotic medication at the time, instead taking an alternative multivitamin preparation called Truehope EMPowerplus™. He believed his parents were aliens and felt compelled to kill them. Ironically, Wendy and Donald Ramsay were in favor of their son's Truehope treatment. But Jordan Ramsay's paternal aunt and grandmother disagreed strongly with this decision:
Leeann Ramsay, the aunt of the accused, believes the family's attempt to control his illness with an alternative therapy rather than his psychiatrist's prescription had a role in his state of mind at the time of the killing.

. . .

...just two days before the murder, a North Vancouver nurse reported, "His mother stated she wanted him on Empower Plus vitamins, and she believed she had permission to reduce his medication."

Leeann Ramsay told CBC News that Jordan's grandmother had serious concerns about the alternative treatment as well.

"My mom had various conversations with them about Jordan weaning off his anti-psychotics and trying this alternative megavitamin therapy, and my mom was very much against it."
Furthermore, Leeann Ramsay wants to launch an investigation into whether EMPowerplus™ played any role in her brother's death, subverting the antipsychiatry paradigm of blaming psychotropic medications for suicides and homicides.

Truehope EMPowerplus™ is no stranger to controversy. In June 2003 Health Canada advised Canadians not to use Empowerplus, and in July 2003 they executed a search warrant to seize imports from the US. The supplement was being marketed to treat bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, schizophrenia, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, fibromyalgia, and OCD without a doctor's supervision and without an approved Drug Identification Number (DIN).
Our main concern deals with the unproven health claims being made about Empowerplus, and the recommendation that patients decrease the dose of, or eliminate altogether, medications prescribed by their doctors. This can result in serious adverse health consequences.

But no matter. The company continues to make false claims. For starters, the current title of the product webpage is still "Depression symptoms reduced or eleminated [sic] by taking EMPowerplus".

But what is EMPowerplus™ exactly? Truehope says it's A Revolutionary Micronutrient Formula...
...proven effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of bipolar, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. 16 medical journal publications, plus many individual doctors’ observations, have shown significant reductions in the symptoms of bipolar and other mental disorders.
That's interesting. ONE formulation to treat all of these disorders? Typically, the antidepressants and stimulants used to treat anxiety/depression and ADHD (respectively) are not recommended for bipolar disorder because of the risk of triggering a manic episode. The premise of the Truehope treatment strategy is that a "chemical imbalance" causes all mental illnesses:
The most common explanation for mental disorders is a chemical imbalance in the brain, but how and why these imbalances happen is not yet known. Since a complex web of nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, are the building blocks that the brain needs to make the right amounts of important chemicals such as neurotransmitters, it makes sense that a lack of these nutrients could cause the chemical imbalances of mental illnes. [sic]

The thing that I find so fascinating is the simultaneous reliance on a simplistic "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness and an opposition to traditional pharmaceuticals originally purported to correct those chemical imbalances. This theory has been panned by critics of biological psychiatry and has even fallen out of favor among neuroscientists conducting both basic and clinical research.

However, there is no doubt that vitamin deficiencies can produce neurological and psychiatric disturbances. For instance, a lack of B12 can damage the central nervous system via changes in cytokine and growth factor production (Scalabrino, 2009). Thiamine deficiency is well-known for causing Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's syndrome, disorders characterized by severe memory impairments. Previous studies have suggested that vitamins and minerals do have an effect on mood and perhaps even antisocial behavior Kaplan et al., 2007; Bohannon, 2009). The question here is whether broad-spectrum micronutrient treatments (i.e., nutritional supplements) can improve or "cure" bipolar disorder.

Truehope lists 17 published studies on the effectiveness of EMPowerplus™ in treating bipolar, ADHD, autism, and OCD. However, none of these studies is a randomized controlled trial that compares placebo to EMPowerplus™ in a double-blind fashion. Thus, it cannot be established that any improvements are due to the supplement, rather than to expectation or placebo effects.

In one study, Gately and Kaplan (2009) presented results from 358 self-identified bipolar individuals (120 men, 238 women)1 who purchased EMPowerplus™ from the Truehope website and subsequently filled out a symptom reporting checklist using the company's Self-Monitoring Form.2 The diagnosis of bipolar disorder was not confirmed by a mental health professional. We don't know how many have bipolar I vs. bipolar II vs. cyclothymia. Here's a description of how the sample was selected:
There were 682 participants who reported having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder: 378 with no other disorders, 17 with both depression and bipolar disorder,3 and 287 with bipolar disorder as well as additional diagnoses such as ADHD, OCD, anxiety-panic, or schizophrenia. The conservative selection of just the 395 reporting bipolar disorder but no additional disorder except for the 17 also reporting depression was an attempt to reduce the heterogeneity of the sample.

Although physician confirmation of diagnosis was not available, 81% of the sample were taking psychiatric medications at the time they commenced taking the micronutrients, indicating that a physician considered their mood symptoms to be sufficiently severe to warrant medication.
If you're going to ultimately claim that a treatment reduces the symptom severity of an illness, you'd better confirm the clinical diagnosis of that illness (and the presence or absence of any co-morbidities). Of the 358 participants in the primary sample, only 136 were taking a mood stabilizer (e.g., lithium or divalproex sodium), the first-line treatment for bipolar. 145 were taking antidepressants, 75 were on antipsychotics, and 57 on anxiolytics. In addition, reliance on a totally self-selected sample of people who wanted to try an alternative micronutrient treatment is suspect.

Dr. John Grohol made similar points about deficiencies in study design and outcome reporting in a post at PsychCentral:
Some of the published research comes from researchers who have used the company’s own data collection routines through a “Self-Monitoring Form” that’s filled out by customers of the product (a form whose psychometric properties we know nothing of). The majority of customers stop filling out the form after two weeks, however (Rucklidge et al., 2010), suggesting they’ve either stopped using the product or stopped enjoying any positive effects from it.

In the aforementioned study, 120 families (out 709) agreed to monitor symptoms of their children who were taking EMPowerplus over 6 months’ time. Naturally, the researchers found a positive effect for the supplement — a 46% decrease in mean bipolar symptom severity scores at LOCF and a 40% decrease in ADHD symptoms.

But what’s that LOCF thing? Well, it’s a technique called Last Observation Carried Forward that researchers use that carries forward drop-out scores as though they had completed the entire study (in this case, observation of scores over 6 months’ time). In this study, only 49 percent of the participants kept providing the researchers data at 6 months — meaning the majority of them dropped out of the study before the 6 months were up!

LOCF is generally frowned upon in good research unless there’s a very good rationale for its use. Why? Because research conducted on the effects of LOCF shows that this method gives a biased estimate of the treatment effect while underestimating the variability of the result. In other words, it stacks the deck to demonstrate a treatment’s effectiveness — even when the treatment might not be effective. It’s a research slight of hand.

Retention in the Gately and Kaplan study at the 3 month time point was actually quite high (349 out of 358), but this had dropped to 242 at 6 months. What happened to the other 107 participants? Did they feel worse (i.e., depressed) and decide to stop the supplement, or did they just get tired of filling out the checklist? OR did they get worse in an objective sense (i.e., hypo/manic) and decide they were cured?

One troubling (but not unexpected) aspect of the symptom reporting data is the variability of days that were reported: 15% of the 358 participants reported between 60-90 days of the 180 days, 22% between 91-120 days, 21% between 121-150 days, and 42% reported 150 of the 180 days. A related concern is the failure to include specific symptoms or adverse reactions. The words "hypomanic" and "manic" and "psychotic" do not appear in the text. Furthermore, individuals in those states often lack insight into their mental status and may even feel better than ever (in the case of hypomania).

The table below shows that many participants decreased their dose of psychotropic medication or went off their drugs entirely (just like Jordan Ramsay). In fact, this is generally encouraged by the non-medically trained sales staff, called "Truehope Assistants".

- click on image for a larger view -

Sandra Kiume, blogger at Channel N, made these observations about the dangerous lack of medical monitoring:
When you attempt to purchase the product you are forced to sign a terms of agreement that includes:

“Some of the medications I’m currently taking or have taken (if any) may require that I take extra care when starting the EMPowerplus nutrient program and I agree to follow the guidelines of the program as suggested by my Truehope Assistant.”

A Truehope Assistant is essentially a sales rep for the company. They are not mental health professionals. However, based on your checking a box when you order that states “I am taking or have recently taken medication for sleep or a mood disorder,” they advise you to discontinue taking all psych medications before taking Truehope. Why? If it were really a safe nutritional supplement, there wouldn’t be any interaction, and if it’s not, they don’t say what’s in their proprietary formula so we don’t know what’s in it that might pose a risk. Either way, advising people to discontinue medication – without a professional assessment or medical supervision – is a dangerous ploy. To me, this what’s most disturbing about Truehope, even more than their marketing techniques and lack of rigorous research.

In calls to the Truehope sales team, Dr. Terry Polevoy used scripted scenarios to solicit advice about various ailments. It makes for interesting reading (pdf) and listening (mp3). In one scenario, the caller presents with a recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and inquires about the product:
. . .

Caller: and if I start the Empower and I still feel good do I stop my lithium, or…?

Truehope: Ok generally what will happen is that after you start on the Empower it gets into your body and it starts to repair that chemical imbalance a little bit at a time. And each time it repairs a little bit your body’s going to go through an adverse drug reaction and you’re going to need just a little bit less medication. And that will continue happening until you wean off all your medication

Caller: I see so there’s really no risk if I stop taking the lithium.

Truehope: Um, we never recommend that you stop your medication before Empower has a chance to get into your system and before your body’s ready. And we always recommend just very slight gradual reduction over a period of anywhere between a month, two months and some people even longer than come off the medication.

And this is done without medical supervision. Later in the conversation, the Truehope Assistant recommends inositol, which can trigger manic episodes (see Levine et al., 1996) at the suggested dose of 6000 mg/day (Red Bull contains 50 mg, to compare):
Truehope: We also, just for your information, we also carry a product called inositol powder and what that is it’s one specific component of the B complex family and what it does is it gives a gentle calming effect over the body. We found it extremely beneficial in helping with anxiety, irritability, withdrawal from coming off of medication, as well as many people have told me they actually find it a lot of help when they are first starting off on Empower just cause it gives them a little bit of a benefit there when they first start off.

Nonetheless, many satisfied customers have provided testimonials on the supplement's effectiveness and how it has improved their lives. These appear not only on the company's website but on numerous blog posts covering the product. The positive comments even appear on the Gately and Kaplan (2009) paper, which is open access and can be read by all.

But testimonials are not the same as double-blind, placebo controlled studies. EMPowerplus™ believers and skeptics alike might ask if there are any ongoing clinical trials. Well there was one registered in the database, but Study NCT00109577 has been terminated.


1 Already we can see this sample is not representative of the general population with bipolar disorder, because women are overrepresented. Bipolar is equally prevalent in men and women, but in this study women outnumber the men 2:1. Also, these participants had the financial means to purchase their own supply of EMPowerplus™ ($150 for one month). This likely rules out many individuals who are unable to work because of the severity of their illness.

2 From the Methods:
...people wanting to take [EMPowerplus™] for amelioration of psychiatric or neurologic symptoms are encouraged to use a checklist to monitor their progress, usually using symptoms specified in the DSM-IV. The Self-Monitoring Form which forms the basis of the current analyses consists of 16 DSM-specified mood symptoms (e.g. loss of interest in hobbies or activities; an excessively high or elated mood). Clients were asked to rate each symptom from 0 (not at all) to 3 (very much), for a maximum score of 48. Use of the Self-Monitoring Form is voluntary, and not all of the company’s clients choose to use it.
3 The diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires both depressive and hypo/manic symptoms, so saying you have both depression and bipolar is redundant.

4 aka the Synergy Group of Canada. The founders said, "We have named this work “TRUEHOPE” because we believe true hope can only be found in the healing sustenance God offers. No man, company, or scientist can ever replicate or replace that which our Creator provides."


Bohannon J (2009). Psychology. The theory? Diet causes violence. The lab? Prison. Science, 325 (5948), 1614-6. PMID: 19779166

Gately D, Kaplan BJ (2009). Database Analysis of Adults with Bipolar Disorder Consuming a Micronutrient Formula. Clinical Medicine: Psychiatry, 2, 3-16. Link

Kaplan BJ, Crawford SG, Field CJ, & Simpson JS (2007). Vitamins, minerals, and mood. Psychological bulletin, 133 (5), 747-60. PMID: 17723028

Levine J, Witztum E, Greenberg BD, Barak Y. (1996). Inositol-induced mania? Am J Psychiatry 153:839.

Rucklidge JJ, Gately D, Kaplan BJ. (2010). Database analysis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder consuming a micronutrient formula. BMC Psychiatry 10:74.

Scalabrino G. (2009). The multi-faceted basis of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) neurotrophism in adult central nervous system: Lessons learned from its deficiency. Prog Neurobiol. 88:203-20.

Additional Reading - from CIRCARE (Citizens For Responsible Care and Research Inc.):

EmpowerPlus Research I

EmpowerPlus Research II

EmpowerPlus Research VII

Pig Pills, Inc.

Dr. Terry Polevoy has waged a tireless campaign against Empowerplus. His voluminous research on Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd.4 is available at these sites:

Truehope Empowerplus loses lawsuit against Health Canada

Canadian Quackery Watch - Truehope's Empowerplus and other miracles

He also has an ebook: Pig Pills, Inc., The Anatomy of an Academic and Alternative Health Fraud:
It's the unlikely story of a "cure" for psychiatric disorders by "inventors" who were neither doctors nor research scientists. They were, however, seasoned sales people with dubious tragic stories to help them focus their pitch on others in need...

Their pitch was based on the absurd notion that young piglets on their way to becoming ham for your dinner table could be cured of a condition that is know as Ear and Tail Biting Syndrome. They claimed that pigs of course could be healed by just throwing them a haphazard mixture of vitamins, minerals, and herbs - the pig pills. Yes, pig pills! Then in an amazing leap of faith, these two fellows from rural Alberta, Canada, with connections to nutraceutical conglomerates in Utah, came up with the idea that their pig pill formula could help wipe out the scourges of otherwise incurable mental illness in humans.


Four Explanatory Models for how vitamins and minerals may influence mood states (Kaplan et al. 2007, in the highly regarded Psychological Bulletin):
  1. Unstable Mood May Be the Manifestation of Inborn Errors of Metabolism
  2. Unstable Mood May Be the Manifestation of Deficient Methylation Processes
  3. Unstable Mood May Be the Result of the Alteration of Gene Expression by Nutrient Deficiency
  4. Mood Disorders May Be Long-Latency Deficiency Diseases
"The four models described above are entirely compatible ideas that provide overlapping views of how brain metabolic pathways may become deficient and result in mood symptoms."

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


At July 08, 2012 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should put some work into the wikipedia article:

It's pretty slim.

At July 08, 2012 9:10 PM, Anonymous Luke said...

I would have to agree with the mother on keeping the child on the same prescribed medicine and not trying to find an alternative. If i had to take a guess, Empower plus medicine worked primarily on the frontal lobe cortex and the GABA hormones to make the son avoid killing his parents and rationalize and think about it.

At July 09, 2012 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pardon Luke? The mother insisted on taking him off antipsychotics and replacing them with vitamins. even though he was extremely psychotic for the weeks leading up to the murder he was still only on vitamins.

At July 09, 2012 10:03 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Anonymous #1 of July 08, 2012 - Thanks for the suggestion, but I already put a lot of work into this post. The Wikipedia article is being considered for deletion, if anyone else wants to take that up.

Anonymous #2 of July 09, 2012 - Thank you for clarifying the situation for Luke.

At July 10, 2012 9:24 AM, Blogger Bernard Carroll said...

Ha! The listed ingredients add up to just a fancy multi-vitamin-minerals formula. It crossed my mind to wonder if this product is a stealth campaign by the Scientologists to combat psychiatric treatment.

At July 10, 2012 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah: If neurotransmitters have different effects in different areas of the brain how can a series of vitamins "cure" Schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and other mental diseases? This bothers me since different neurotransmitters cause different diseases. For example; too much dopamine can cause a person to be schizophrenic and to little can cause a person to have parkinson's disease. An in balance of serotonin and norepinephrine can cause depression. I don't see how any rational/honest person can state a claim that they have one miracle vitamin that can cure all mental disorders especially when there are different medicines to help suppress these multiple mental diseases.

At July 11, 2012 9:37 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

please go to the wiki articles for deletion page and vote to keep the article. right now there are 4 Keeps and 4 deletes.

At July 11, 2012 9:39 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey neurocritic, did you know Strauss is marketing this pig shit?

At July 11, 2012 2:15 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This was my brother, Don. I have no idea how to blog so I hope it worked. He would be alive today without Truehope brainwashing my sister-in-law.

At July 11, 2012 4:56 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...


I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I read the tragic news story and felt compelled to review the published studies on EMPowerplus. In agreement with others, I concluded there is no sound scientific evidence that EMPowerplus is effective in treating mental illnesses. In addition, it can be extraordinarily dangerous to go off standard meds in favor of vitamins with no medical supervision (as Truehope advocates). Wider dissemination of this information will not help your family, but perhaps it will help others in the future.

I wish you the best and will follow subsequent updates to see if an investigation goes forward.

At July 11, 2012 5:01 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your blog is fantastic and so thorough. I am using your link all over the place! I do want an investigation to move forward and am trying to spread word any way I can. If anyone is on twitter I'm @digitel45 and would love it if you could retweet some tweets! Still learning this medium and would love to figure out how to get my blog seen! Thanks again neurocritic. I really appreciate all you have done.

At July 11, 2012 5:06 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...


Thank you. I'm willing to help in any way I can.

At August 05, 2012 4:30 PM, Anonymous Altostrata said...

EmpowerPlus is nothing but a multivitamin with minerals divided into smaller dosages to be taken throughout the day. One can get any such multivitamin, chop it into quarters, and get approximately the same product.

TrueHope also oversells other supplements as a cure for psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms. This is very misleading for customers, as some go off their medications too fast, thinking the supplements are going to compensate (they don't). Some of the supplements themselves cause adverse reactions.

Univ of Calgary's Bonnie Kaplan sent the following prepared response to my 2006 inquiry about her research on EmpowerPlus. She is still a strong supporter of TrueHope:

Thank you for inquiring about the University of Calgary research on micronutrient supplementation in the treatment of bipolar disorder. The supplement we are currently studying is available commercially as Empowerplus....

The following are some additional facts that may interest you: The ingredients of this supplement are mostly ordinary minerals and
vitamins. They are certainly not unusual or exotic: a normal everyday
diet includes 34 of the 36 components, though not in such high amounts.

A full daily dose initially consists of 5 capsules three times/day (=15/day). [Note: our publications thus far employed an earlier version, containing many more capsules.] Most people decrease that to a maintenance dose after a few months, usually at about 4 capsules twice/day (=8/day). The ingredients are not a secret: they are listed on every bottle, at the Truehope website mentioned below, and in our published articles....

To purchase this supplement, the distributor can be reached at the
toll-free number on the website (, which is
1-888-truehope (1-888-878-3467). That is also the phone number to call if you just have general questions about the supplement. The Truehope people are not medical researchers or even health professionals, and you will see that the website is written for the general public. The Truehope people have a system in place for talking with you and the relevant physicians about the use of the product. Although they do not have health professionals available to provide guidance, this "friends
helping friends" system will be able to provide information that might be helpful.

None of the academic researchers benefit financially from the sale of
this product. None of us ever receives any money from the Truehope

Thank you for your interest in our work. If you have any further questions about the academic research, feel free to write directly to me.

Bonnie Kaplan

At August 05, 2012 6:27 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Altostrata - Thanks for providing this important information. The strength of Kaplan's endorsement and support was surprising to me.

At February 21, 2013 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This stuff is great! I have no idea why these vitamins work so well but they just do.

I have a very serious case of bipolar, that left me completely disabled, and since taking these vitamins as directed by the company I have been practically symptom free since 2009. So over 4 years. I have a bad day here or there, but then again, so does everybody. But I have my life back, and no meds that make me fat or kill my thyroid.

I took these the whole time I was pregnant with my daughter who is 2 now and she is a genius. These vitamins and some omegas as well, no other prenatals.

And no, you cannot get the same benefit by taking other multivitams because they are not made with the same care or quality, because regular multivitamins DO NOT do what these truehope vitamins can do.

Big Pharm has already tried to shut this company down, but the thousands of people who depend on them all stood up and stopped it. Thank heavens.

At February 22, 2013 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank-you Anonymous Feb 21 @ 707.
I Needed to here that. I am on my secone week of starting these pills and i have never felt better.

At May 22, 2013 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before blaming TrueHope for unfortunate outcomes, it might be wise to research a little of the side effects of the drugs. Look at what drugs the school killings kids have been on, look at what the movie theatre killer was on. It's not a perfect world for any of us, but you may find more answers with some more information.

At June 07, 2013 8:59 PM, Anonymous Sherri said...

I'm glad to see some positive feedback. My brother has been DX with bipolar nd schitzoeffecive disorder and is on latuda, lamictal and lithium and doesn't want to be on them as none do. He can't function very well ... The side effects fom those meds are horrible . I have a friend that her daughter is bipolar and schizophrenic , 5 yrs of meds ot working in and out of state hospitals was turned On to truhope by her pdoc as a last resort .... She has been on truhope for 3 yrs , stable, no meds, doing well! That was a tru testimonial . as with anything, it may not work for all ... But it seems worth the try . It would be great if truhope had an inpatient center that could control the environment nd keep the patient safe and others while transitioning .....

At June 07, 2013 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all smoke and mirrors to me. Loading up on vitamins is not a sound solution to a deadly set of circumstances. Let's face facts, it boils down to $ and the profit that can be made on the downtrodden.

At June 07, 2013 10:39 PM, Blogger Sadheart said...

And can also lead to murder when the seriously ill think they can be cured with vitamins.

At December 07, 2013 5:20 PM, Anonymous Natasha Tracy said...

Really, really great blog and post. Thank-you for highlighting all this information. I'm a mental health writer too and I seriously appreciate all the work it takes.

I have bipolar disorder and I'm trying out this treatment out of sheer desperation but will document the whole journey so that others can learn from it. I don't plan on going off my meds as they insist. I consider that a plan for suicide.

- Natasha Tracy

At December 07, 2013 6:52 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks, Natasha. Glad to hear you're not going off your meds. Hope it goes well for you.

At April 29, 2014 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information.

At December 08, 2014 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are reading this and you are a person with Bipolar Disorder contemplating taking EMPower Plus, then please know that it works. I am living proof.

Also know that since it was released, misinformed people like the author of this blog have attacked it for years because it is not the pharmaceutical drugs that their TV has told them to believe in.

Go to, and call them. They will talk you through the process with great care, including how to safely transition onto EMPower Plus from your current medication.

Furthermore, understand that no one will believe you when you tell them that something other than pharmaceutical drugs works.

People believe what their TV set tells them to. To get relief, you will have to do the unthinkable and think for yourself.


At December 08, 2014 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing that the author of this blog must approve these posts, then this note is to you, "The Neurocritic."

I know that you likely don't have the courage or integrity to approve my post.

You have no right to consider yourself "informed" when you have not personally taken EMPower Plus and had it cure a mood disorder.

Because I have, that makes me "informed."

These is the informed (me) informing the un-informed (you.)

But if you do wind up showing enough integrity to approve a post contrary to your opinions in the interest of objectivity, then please accept a sincere thank-you from me.

You will have helped undo some of the damage you may have already done by scaring people away from something that can help them.

At December 08, 2014 12:15 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks for your comments. I approved both of them within minutes, because I happen to be sitting here at my computer. If I had not approved them immediately, that means I'm either too busy, or away from my computer, or asleep.

You're free to express your opinion. I'm glad you feel the product works for you, but an individual testimonial does not comprise scientific evidence that EMPower Plus will work better than placebo in double blind clinical trials.

At December 08, 2014 12:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It is never harmful to take a vitamin (my opinion) but is definitely very harmful when the company's "help desk" (none of whom have medical training) are trying to "cure" a severe schizophrenic; that schizophrenic's desperate mother buys into their crap; and the schizophrenic's father ends up with his head bashed in.

This is the case with my family. The company worked with the mother on reducing his dose of antipsychotic medication; told her to ignore conventional wisdom from medical doctors; and to just to wait out the delusions, hallucinations, (and murders). Much of this advice was given in the couple of days leading up to his lethal psychotic break. (court documents). They absolutely knew he was violent.

There was certainly no "safe" transition that took place - just uninformed "help desk" advice to get him off all antipsychotics in favor of a vitamin supplement.

I want this company to acknowledge that severe mental illness is not "safely" treated with vitamins alone. Use them in conjunction with appropriate treatment if you want to. Nobody else needs to die. I hold them personally responsible from my brother's violent death.

At December 08, 2014 1:20 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

LeeAnn - Thank you for reminding us of the dangerous, and even deadly, consequences of undergoing treatment for severe mental illness without medical supervision.

I wish the best for you and your family.

At December 08, 2014 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for posting my comments earlier. Obviously you did have both the courage and integrity. I apologize for insinuating otherwise.

To the family of the gentlemen who was murdered, I am deeply sympathetic and truly sorry.

At April 25, 2015 2:56 AM, Blogger JWood said...

I have only read one article where True Hope was blamed for the death of people and dozens other articles where it has helped people.

Other than the one talked about in this blog, does anyone know of any other deaths that were linked to taking TrueHope or, any other article where it is ineffective in treating mental disorder?

At May 25, 2015 2:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My teenage daughter has been on EMPower Plus since November. She has had more than half a dozen bipolar episodes since she was 14 and Truehope and the literature and Discovery Channel program all raised our hopes that this would finally be the answer to our prayers. She was getting better and so on EMPower and Transition, and with weekly consultations with the Truehope support staff she was off Lithium about 3 months after starting EMPower. Our daughters manic episodes have appeared like clockwork every sick months, so when six months passed in April I sighed in relief, thinking this truly was a miracle product. Nobody at the support center at Truehope had ever advised us or even suggested that severe episodes could happen on their products, or that there were Truehope products like Choline to help take away the desperate thoughts that happen during a full-blown episode.
Well, on Sunday two weeks my daughter went with much excitement to her first art college interview and called to say how excited she was and that she was going to sit in a cafe and draw for a few hours. She hadnt been sleeping a full night the week before, 6 hours instead of 7 or 8, but I didn:t think it was a red light. We waited as the hours ticked on Sunday night and she didn't return home, she didn't call, and at midnight with growing fear we called the police to report her missing and possibly in an elevated state. After a sleepless night for my husband and I with much prayer, she turned up at school. She told her teacher she had spent the night in the Red Light district and been protected by an angel there. She had gone in literally twenty four hours from calm and sane to loss of self-regulation, intense talking, anger and confusion that accompanies these episodes. She returned home unapologetic and ready to leave home again, which is not her normal condition. I naturally called Truehope support to tell them and they advised me to up the dosage and put our daughter on Choline. I said I don:t have Choline. I asked why didn't you prepare me with a preventative kit if there was even a one percent chance of this happening? The Truehope answer: Well, maybe she isn't taking her EMPower like she should. But keep her on Truehope I was told. That certainly got them off the hook and to be honest, a parent of an older teen can't say for sure because during the hours at school I can't know for sure and so there is, as always with meds of any sort, a level of trust and faith in compliancy. And wanting to believe in this product, I stupidly did for a few more days until I awoke later in the week to find my daughter thinking she was Anne Frank and having shaved her head. Well, I cried for the loss of my daughter's beauty--for now, and I cried for the loss of faith in a product by a company with a name that ironically suggests, as the philosopher George Ohsawa once said, *The bigger the front, the bigger the back." Meaning that the more claims Truehope makes without admitting humbly the potential that EMPower won't work on some, the more their product looks and tastes like It's so sad. I really wanted to believe in the theory behind micronutrient treatments. I saw my daughter come alive and enjoy her life like never before on this product. But I will not jeopardize her life again by subscribing to Falsehope. I wish I could feel confident that EMPower works safely in combination with the Lithium. I so wish it were true hope.

At May 27, 2015 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, this product has worked GREAT for me. I have saw things in a new light & in a way I never saw them before. My perceptions have changed in a healthy way since I started on this product & YES, I have to take the Choline for the racy thoughts & paranoia. My back has also stopped hurting as the nutrients help with stress. There are psychiatrists that are trained in this program & my psychiatrist is on board too & they take my insurance which was fortunate for me. Those psychiatrists have seen the consistency of the results of the products. & of course, the choline is VERY important, VERY VERY important. The Inositol also works great too, but their amino acid product helps the best with anxiety. I take the Empower, then wait until I get super super drowsy & sleepy & I feel over-medicated, then I reduce, then repeat the cycle. We've done it twice so far & I have a "Breakthrough/Threshold Moment" as I personally call them, ever so often as my mind is healing & improving where I see things in a "new light" at that time of that Moment. My condition mostly involves paranoid delusions about what people think of me & I don't ever think I'm someone I'm not or anything like that, But by all means, someone with worse features than myself definitely need to be utilizing ALL of their products & be overseen by someone very carefully. Maybe the staff should have been more diligent to tell you about all the products, but you all can't blame it all on them since all the products are listed on their website for you all to do your due diligence. It says what they're for, what they help with & everything.

At July 25, 2015 3:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

EMPowerplus is now involved in another interesting lawsuit:

At August 19, 2015 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Pharma must be giving you some kick back for your intense and extensive over site. Tell me in your book of knowledge have you researched the side effects of Lithium, and all those other cabinet fillers ? Just as many or MORE die or kill while taking these Pharma wonder drugs. This is FACT but of course why point that out when your trying to isolate all the mental acts of violence on Empowers doorstep. Tell me what medication are you taking ? Have you attempted to get help for your disillusions ?Are you self medicating in layman terms are you a POT head or do you do the weekend Coke or Booze binge. What it boils down to is a matter of choice and it does go along with being supervised by your doctor.Lithium causes kidney failure and all kinds of other nasty little side effects which brings it right up there with SHOCK therapy which i am sure you wouldn't want to confirm . this is perhaps where you should stand on this issue. I'm either too busy, or away from my computer, or asleep. Don't be wasting anymore of your obvious valuable time saving the world get some rest precious your obviously sleep deprived.

At September 13, 2015 10:25 AM, Blogger Baruch60610 said...

I'm saddened and disgusted by the comments that suggest that you couldn't possibly disagree with the commenter, unless you were a slave to Big Pharma. Of course, it makes it much easier to dismiss what you say. No evidence is necessary. You're a shill for Big Pharma.

I have bipolar. I tried to get along without meds for years, suffered because of that. At long last I found a regimen that works. It involves medication. Without these medications, I become more highly symptomatic. When I take them, the symptoms become more manageable.

I want to suggest that people who suffer from mental illness, and those who treat them, aren't idiots. We're not all fools, dazzled by Big Pharma. Lots of us understand about multinational corporations manipulating markets, research, and legislation. And despite all that, for many of us, medication literally makes the difference between life and death.

There is no properly obtained evidence of which I am aware that supports the claim that EMPower, or any other "natural" regimen, is effective against mental illness.

"Properly obtained" refers to studies done objectively, in what are called randomized double-blind experiments. This means that out of sufficiently large population of patients, half receive the treatment under test, half do not. Neither the patient nor the treaters know whether the patients are receiving the treatment or a placebo (a non-effective substitute). If a higher percentage of treated patients improved as compared to the untreated ("control") patients, then the treatment under test has a claim to being effective.

I haven't seen any study that tested EMPower in this way, that showed it to be effective to treat anything.

I hate being on medication. I hate being tied to a pill, having my life and wellbeing depend on it. I would be thrilled to find a non-pharmaceutical regimen to treat the illness. I keep a sharp eye out for studies that support any such regimens. I have seen nothing, not so much as a whisper of randomized double-blind experiments.

All I can say to people who want to try "natural" treatments is, research the treatment and the company providing it. Google them, read what people have to say. Chances are that the company has a dark side that you need to know about.

At December 22, 2015 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think their vitamins can help some people...but not everyone. Not every mental disorder is a lack of vitamins/nutrition. For me though, I have tried over 15 different pysch medications and only had side effects from them. Once I began eating healthier, fixing my gut health and taking these vitamins, things started to clear up!

Your depression/anxiety etc can be caused by a million different things! I believe they should definitely change how they claim it can help in every case, as it will not.

At December 31, 2015 6:36 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

You cannot go off all medications and then start truehope. That is not how it works. The person has to be monitored by a doctor coming off psychiatric medication while transitioning to truehope. They work with your psychiatrist.

The other thing is that you cannot be psychotic and off all meds to start truehope. You are supposed to be stable on meds and slowly increase truehope to the point where you get a reaction and that tells you to start reducing meds very slowly. There is a weaning process and that is why truehope supplements are in divided dosages.

As well, the people for whom truehope does not work prevent absorption by drinking alcohol, smoking weed, and drinking caffeine and eating sugar. If you do the natural way of managing mental illness, you have to be able to follow a disciplined diet.

I have schizoaffective bipolar disorder and I have been on supplements for it for 15 years without doctors. My psychiatrist weaned me off psych meds to go on truehope and i was monitored for a year while he helped me transition.

I am not able to work full time as a professional and support myself. I got off disability 14 years ago. It saved my life and my friend's and it continues to save more lives.

It doesn't work for people who cannot discipline themselves to follow strict guidelines, and nobody should be on it who is psychotic and not stable because you cannot follow a disciplined lifestyle for it to work.

At December 31, 2015 6:53 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

The reason truehope works is that it is Orthomolecular medicine.

There is an inmunologist and vitamin expert in Toronto, Ontario Canada who is a medical researcher, cell biologist.

She told me flat out that she is aware of truehope that it is a good product. That what mental illness is, is a genetic need for more nutrients that an normal person.

It takes about 3 months to fix deficiencies in normal people with supplements. With mental illness it takes longer and it takes about 2 years to heal a psychotic disorder. I was a violent delusional psychotic person and even homeless at one point.

It took a full 2 years on supplements to become completely sane enough to hold a job full time with zero symptoms.

I do not drink caffeine, eat sugar, gave up my chain smoking habit, gave up alcohol, and even fruit or fruit juice because they make me angry and delusional.

I live a very regimented lifestyle and in the beginning it was tough but I was medications resistant and violent and crazy on meds, so i had no choice but to try truehope and it worked but it took me a long time to heal my brain.

Amino acids are used to make neurotransmitters. That is why a meat and vegetable diet is ideal. If I eat carbs for breakfast like oatmeal or cereal, i won't be that sane and if i keep eating like that for days, i will not be sane period even on truehope.

Truehope is not a drug. It is a way to heal deficiencies and you have to put in the work and be stable to put in that work to discipline yourself.

The scientist i spoke to told me flat out that it is a genetic need for more nutrients than a normal person and this shows up on every blood test. If you don't have enough nutrients you won't be able to produce the neurotransmitters to heal your brain chemistry.

That is why diet is just as important as supplements. You can't do one without the other. I plan to write a book about how to do this using truehope or using orthomolecular brand supplements and how to do it properly. A lot of people cannot or do not want to change their lifestyle or diet to make it work. it means eating vegetables for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and meat or eggs or fish, along with taking supplements.

At March 09, 2016 12:34 PM, Blogger Nathan Hall said...

Every time anyone says anything critical about Truehope, they get bombarded by these anti-big pharma conspiracy living testaments to this quack-pill's efficacy and their ad hominem attacks. It gets to the point where it actually detracts from Truehope's credibility.

For them, I'll just leave this here:

At March 09, 2016 2:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...


At March 26, 2016 6:32 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Unknown - You're wrong! Truehope does indeed tell people to drop their psych meds. Their website says (or used to say): "Advanced Natural Medicine – Replaces Psychiatric Drugs."

You might want to read Natasha Tracy's posts. She purchased the product herself and was told to go off her meds.

Truehope and the Bipolar "Treatment" EMPowerplus

Here's the whole series:

At March 31, 2016 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading all the posts and the original blog, it seems to come down to this: it works for some people and not for others. What is troubling is that scared parents and persons with mental illness do get to a point where they'll try anything that might work. We learned, through a terrifying experience, that medicines and vitamins can help or harm depending on how they're prescribed or suggested for use. I've looked into Q96 and what concerns me is the lack of regulation for dosage consistency. The FDA does not regulate vitamins. Chelated minerals can be toxic and cause other minerals to be stripped from your body. For me, there are too many questions and I don't think the risk for harm is low enough to make this product viable for me or my family.

At November 15, 2017 10:57 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I am a Bipolar/major depression and anxiety disorder with ADD. I take EMPowerPlus. This helps me have self worth where I never had it before. I’m not so angry and my anxiety is little no nothing everyday. This doesn’t work for everyone and the mother who wanted her son to take it two days before he then killed others isn’t focusing on what her son needs. Which is to slowly be weaned off the medication. I got documents showing that I have my disorders and I can get a letter stating I don’t take any medication. This product doesn’t work for all.

At March 29, 2018 8:12 AM, Blogger ajuliagulia said...

I wonder how many people have killed other people while being mentally unstable but also a psychiatric medications which were approved by doctors and the pharmaceutical industry?

I have been using the EMPower vitamins successfully since I discovered I was pregnant with my first child in March of 2004. I had type 1 Bipolar disorder and it’s been numerous experiences in a psychiatric hospitals believing that I alone was the second coming of Christ.

Medication was not an option because it would’ve killed the fetus. But you need to take a lot of vitamins when you’re pregnant. My psychiatrist guaranteed that it would only cause me to have expensive pee. Happily, he was wrong.

Ask Brooke Shields and other women who have suffered from postpartum depression: if anything is likely to bring on a manic or a depressive episode, it’s pregnancy in the postpartum period. Even shrink and agree with that statement.

It has now been over 13 years since I last took medication to treat my bipolar disorder. Incidentally there were events when I took the medication and it almost killed me because of toxicity.

Pharmaceutical companies do not make money when you’re well. It is not in their best interest to do FDA trials on something that will make them no money.

I can’t help but wonder if this anti-vitamin article is sponsored in part by the pharmaceutical industry

At March 29, 2018 8:18 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

I am the author of this article, and I have no ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

At August 11, 2018 8:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

it is amazing how much mis information there is about Truehope,,,, look at what the benzos have done to millions of people, SSRI have a track record now of less than 50% work, and not long term When given a placebo, 83% of peo-ple after 6 weeks were C"cured" from there depression,, Drugs are NOT the answer, We should be embracing Co like Truehope, funding more studies, HAs anyone ever died from OD on Truehope ??,, How are pain meds doing??,, Come on stop the hating, IT works, for very many, that should be enough to have hope for others,, Also I been on the product 2 weeks I have never ever been told to stop my mkeds, in fact they said just the opostie, stay on till your body repairs, I was put on klonopin last yr, it dam near killed me, The Doc noew tell me it will take a good year for my brain to heal from what that med did,, You hatters are focusing on the wrong people,, For me this product is healing my brain along with diet, amino acids, etc,, Do your howmwork youtube Natural cures,, You will be shocked,It is a new age,,

At August 24, 2018 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a young psychiatrist working out of New York who has written a very interesting and important book on treating mental illness without psychiatric meds. It's called " A Brain of your Own" and I highly recommend it. Her name is Dr Kelly Brogan and she has done her research. She also has a website, but her book really tells the story of how pharmaceuticals are not the answer for everyone. I don't recommend anyone go off their meds without first working with their own doctor, however! What I like about Brogan's book is that she presents a different story behind the causes of mental illness besides the "chemical imbalance" theory -- which according to her has not actually ever been proven.

At November 29, 2018 4:20 AM, Blogger Angel said...

I am a 25 yr old female and homo for the C677T gene. I was diagnosed with ADHD about 8 years ago and have been taking vyvanse and adderrall ever since. I also take trazadone because I have a lot of difficulty sleeping at night but during the day I feel groggy. In the past year I have noticed my hair falling out and has basically stopped growing. I feel tired most days and have little motivation to do anything but don't really feel depressed. My doctor just prescribed me 15 mg of Deplin and I want to know your opinion. Do you think this will help with my fatigue and hair loss? Is there anything else I should be taking along with the Deplin? Please help because I have tried everything!!
supplements for kids

At February 23, 2020 3:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I’ve been on true hope for 2 years. Why do I feel sad after not taking it for 2 days?

At June 07, 2020 4:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

relationship with family doc or shrink ..EVER ....and SECONDLY as the mother of a son with LAYERED complexities including scizophrenia ocd adhd etc including addictions of alcohol weed method and SUGAR ...seriously poor eating habits so GETTING ZERO MICRO NUTRIENTS from any direction in his life....HIS DOCTORS have left us high and dry to deal with med changes wayyyy out of my abilities to manage leaving him very susceptible to increased use of substances to self medicate threw med change insanity....AND HIS FRICKEN SHRINK missprescribed a serious medication to replace his Colozipine and ecitilipram ..he prescribed a medication they don't even use anymore...he tookTHREE WEEKS to only suggest he go back on the ecitilipram witch he would not see the effects of until up to full dose in about another MONTH AND A HALF leaving him highly susceptible to suicide depression as his OCD SYMPTOMS became for all of you so called professionals and folks spouting irresponsibility of this company ...shame on you a person with ADHD BIPOLAR AUTISTIC TRAITS PTSD AND OCD I HAVE TAKEN emp for 3 years along side my prescribed pharmaceuticals with life changing effects ... close friend states it's been like day and night ...and she immediately picks up when I've been off them ...there is a list of traits it addresses .And anyone scoffing at it having been effective for pigs huff and mouth insanity ...which are serious OCD TRAITS any our physicality compared with pigs should do your own research there...and if any of you judging have not read his daughter Autums autobiography perhaps you should...I Also have another friend whose son with schizophrenia goes into a remission of sorts when he takes 10 to 20 caps of emp daily...YES THAT'S RIGHT 10 TO 20 caps DAILY!!!that's at a cost of about 400 to 500 $ a month. ..He becomes grounded and able to live a full filing life including full time work ...until he stops taking it...and yes also takes it alongside a pharmacy med ..he was able to come off of 3 out of 4 medications he was on ..down to one accompanied with emp and dietary changes..A HUGEEE commitment both financially and physically.... So my experience with highly negligent FAMILY DOCTORS AND PSYCHIATRIST is one if sheer and utter disappointment .Other than my own relationship with psychiatrist whom 110 % SUPPORTS MY EMP and omega 3 Zinc and folic acid suppliment use in partnership with my pharmaceuticals. ...I was on dexodrine for 7 years for adhd. .. went from 180 lbs to 127 because I never was hungry...eventually it's effects to improve my energy concentration and cognitive abilities completely platoed at my maximum dosage and was only keeping me from falling asleep in the middle of the day it took 2 excruciating weeks to come off of it unsupervised by a doctor....dexodrine is LEGAL SPEED only administered in regulated LABS and prescribed by big pharmacy pushers...emp and the aforementioned mentioned supliments alongside exercise give my 110% more reliable and sustainable energy and FOCIS than prescribed speed ever EVER did..
Also pretty sure the FDA HAS REFUSED TO DO CLINICAL TRIALS just like they also created a list of healing highly and historically renouned for their healing properties such as echinacia ( yes they tried to criminalized the sale of echinacia KNOWN to support the immune system as the rest of the flowers and herbs on this list )Golden seal ( highly effective in Lou of antibiotics) amunkst others because they were impacting the use of chemical compounds consistantly prescribed by BIG PHARMA ...and because the FDA REFUSED TO DO CLINICAL TRIALS and the sources of natural supliments refused to sell out to big pharmacy as has the owners of EMP....So be for challenging this company ...

At January 03, 2022 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truehope saved life. I've been on it since I was 27 and I have schizoeffective bipolar and was psychotic,homeless, and deteriorating from being medication resistant. Many people are medication resistant and psychiatric drugs have a success rate of only 14 percent. The success rate of truehope is 76%. Despite this tragedy, there are so many people on it for whom it worked when nothing worked. That's why it won the right to sell in the Supreme Court of Canada against Health Canada because it works for so many people. I'm one of them. I was homeless and psychotic and now I'm a Nurse and own my own home paid off. I'm 47 now. I noticed over the years that schizophrenic people who try this supplement usually fail because about 85% of them are drug addicts or alcoholics and that won't work with Truehope or even psych meds. That's the reason it fails for most people with psychiatric illness. Bad diet, chain smoking,and addiction issues. I quit smoking and totally changed my diet and drinking alcohol so that truehope would work for me. Not everyone is up to that and people have to start taking responsibility for their health instead of blaming a company. I'm still on Truehope and it is my lifeline.

At January 03, 2022 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truehope has a wellness program for low income people and I pay 40 a month for it. You have to show your proof of income or lack of it. The rich can afford it. The poor who have mental illness get a break from truehope.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker