I just received the following question from Allan:
Julie, do you or any of your readers have any knowledge or experience of an alternative micronutrient product called EMPowerplus sold by a company called Truehope? I have a 15 year old who has still not been accurately diagnosed by some of the best physicians on both coasts. This has been a 10 year battle costing a fortune. We have tried just about every medication listed in your blog. All of the symptoms overlap. Bipolar, ADD, ADHD, OCD, OCD, etc etc are all a part of this. I just ordered some of these micronutrient vitamin supplements to try as everything else has failed over the years. A family member sent me an article from a newspaper about this stuff. As with everything else, some people claim its a scam while other are having great results. Any feedback would be great.
I get this question so often- it’s a good time to answer it here. Please remember I am not a doctor and this is for informational purposes only.
TrueHope’ s EMpowerplus is a very controversial. Some swear by it, some have no response and some like myself, have had a negative response. TrueHope is marketed as a supplement, but I see it as a medication in that it has similar results to synthetic meds. All herbs/supplements and other natural treatments have the potential to cause mood swings for people with bipolar disorder. There are many over the counter products such as 5HTP that are serotonin acting drugs that can definitely cause mania. St. John’s Wort has a warning about mania. It really depends on how sensitive a person is. It’s important to know that just because you don’t need a prescription for something, it’s not necessarily safe.
True Hope was investigated in Canada for making false claims, but the lawsuit was dropped. It is not a US product.
It made me psychotic- which is not safe. When I called their customer service and said I was having trouble, the person replied that it was impossible that it could cause psychosis. The person was wrong. But…. I have a client who swears it helps keep her mania down.
I do NOT suggest this product if your son has severe rapid cycling or is not able to get his mania or psychosis under control. I feel it can make it worse.
But, having said this. If you are at the end of your rope in terms of helping your son, I do know that you need to try all that you can. If you and your family have a VERY good system in place to recognize negative changes in moods, then it makes sense to try a product that may help- but is this the right product? That is the question. It just might be. I use my Health Cards to have a plan in place when I try a new medication. They work well for children and their families.
But please go in knowing there is NO real research data behind this product. I believe your son’s health care professionals need to know as well. If it even starts to change his mood negatively, that is a problem. I would definitely work with a health care professional. Would you buy some Abilify and see if it works without knowing the research or how it affected others? Probably not- it makes sense to use the same caution here.
Please keep me posted. All that matters is that your son finds relief- while staying safe. This may be what you’re looking for- but please use caution!
PS: Informational purposes only! And please ignore the misspelling of the word Supplements- for some reason the blog will not let me correct the title!