DISCLAIMER: This review is unbiased in that I am NOT a Plexus distributor. This review is biased through my eyes as a holistic health practitioner and as a person who lives WITHOUT unnecessary chemicals and supplements. This review is not intended to bash the company, it is simply an explanation of why I don’t use these products and why I don’t recommend them to my clients. YOU, however, are completely entitled to your own decisions and can choose whether or not you want to use these products. If it is evident you have not read this disclaimer and attempt to comment on this article, your comment will NOT be approved. I am not against MLMs, I do not have a personal bias against Plexus, and I am not against people taking these products to get them started on their health journey. My intent is to help you get back to your roots, find the source of your health issues, and use real food and the earth God has blessed us with to help heal and restore permanently.
Everybody wants to know if supplements work. What I always want to know is: are they safe? Why risk everything to get a skinny body if it destroys your insides? Companies these days are putting so much emphasis on the fact that their products contain “natural” ingredients. Unfortunately, this label is misleading in more ways than one. First, “natural” is not a regulated word, when you see it, you should be aware that it does NOT mean the ingredient comes directly from nature. On the contrary, it’s likely been processed with numerous chemicals to extract or purify a specific ingredient. Secondly, the term “natural” does NOT mean safe. You can read more about this in my It Works! Review (found here). There are SO many natural substances that are NOT meant for human consumption. Unfortunately, we only find out about a lot of those after people experience adverse effects. Thirdly, “natural” ingredients are not a cure all. While many natural ingredients can be effective for certain ailments, people must look at their unique needs. An example would be taking iron for anemia. For a lot of cases, this would be effective, but if you had pernicious anemia, taking iron would not help you. Instead, you would need vitamin B12. Nature is great, but you still have to use it correctly, in a way that fits your body’s needs. This situation is similar in taking medications… taking blood pressure medication is not going to fix your ear infection.
Plexus is another company that boasts its natural ingredients. My goal for this review is to break down some of their most popular supplements and #1—provide some safety information that I feel you should know about and #2—provide any scientific data that might show whether or not these products are effective. Plexus is a multilevel marketing business, which means there are a lot of people out there who get money to sell you these products. I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous claims from Plexus ambassadors about these products, so as a reminder, please remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Companies do not have to prove their products are safe or effective, and they do not have to provide proof that supports their claims. Always take what you hear with a grain of salt and DO your own research. With that, let’s get started.
This product is a Plexus best seller. This ‘pink drink’ is now marketed to help manage your weight, but the product was actually originally created for and marketed to reduce blood sugar levels. Before I looked at the ingredients, I wanted to see if there was any scientific evidence to support either of these claims and found that no clinical trials have been performed on this supplement.
There have also been no studies performed on Plexus Slim to evaluate it’s safety, so we are left to look at the individual ingredients. The current formulation of Plexus Slim contains the following ingredients: Chromium polynicotinate, Green coffee bean extract, Garcinia cambogia fruit extract, alpha lipoic acid, polydextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, beet extract, stevia leaf extract, luo-han-guo fruit extract, guar gum, and silicon dioxide. These all sound pretty natural…does that make them safe? Let’s find out!
Chromium polynicotinate: This chromium supplement is formed by combining chromium (a metal) with niacin. This form of chromium is less well known and studied in comparison to chromium picolinate—a supplement that has been controversially linked to DNA damage and mutation. Chromium is an essential trace element and only necessary in very small amounts for humans to aid in the action of insulin. The recommended Chromium intake per day is between 25-50 mcg. There are 200 mcg of Chromium polynicotinate found in each serving of Plexus Slim. So if you take this supplement 1 or 2 times a day, you are getting a significant amount of chromium. Chromium supplementation has been shown as ‘likely safe’ taken when taken for 6 months or less. Few studies have looked at the long-term effects of taking chromium. This study showed high doses and long term exposure to chromium can give rise to various, cytotoxic and genotoxic reactions that affect the immune system. This particular study showed use of chromium polynicotinate use over a 5-month period actually induced toxic hepatitis. This research supports other claims that the supplement can increase liver enzymes and cause kidney damage. People have reported the following side effects when taking chromium polynicotinate: dizziness, rash, insomnia, vivid dreams, anemia, iron malabsorption, and headaches upon stopping supplement. Please be cautious using this supplement if you have kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, or diabetes (and taking insulin).
Green Coffee Bean Extract: The main component of this is chlorogenic acid. In some studies, chlorogenic acid has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat in mice. However, short-term ingestion of this supplement has been shown to reduce the absorption of certain vital minerals such as zinc, iron, and possibly magnesium.
Garcinia Cambogia Extract: This was previously called ‘Citrin K.’ While this has been a fad ingredient for some time, there really is not any convincing evidence that it aids in weight loss. More than that, however, this ingredient is controversial for a few reasons. You might recall the popular weight loss supplement Hydroxycut, which used Garcinia Cambogia as an ingredient. In 2009, the FDA issued a safety warning regarding this product due to 20+ reports of severe reactions, including liver damage. One 2013 study confirmed that Garcinia Cambogia was associated with hepatic fibrosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress, while another 2013 study found no evidence of GC leading to inflammation or hepatotoxicity. Regardless of these studies in mice, however, a specific case study (published in 2016) showed that a patient actually developed acute liver failure requiring a liver transplant as a result of Garcinica Cambogia use as a weight loss supplement.
Since Plexus does not disclose how much GC is actually found in this supplement, it’s hard to determine if liver toxicity is something you should be concerned about. Using this product for a long period of time, although, would be discouraged due to the evolving research and previous experiences with Hydroxycut.
Polydextrose is a synthetic polymer of glucose. It is a food additive that is used as a thickening agent or stabilizer. To try to make this synthetic sugar seem healthier, companies try to emphasize that it is a soluble fiber and has little effect on blood sugar. But do I need to reinforce that it is, again, synthetic?
Natural Flavors: if you haven’t read our article about natural flavors, you need to now (read more about the truth behind natural flavors: here). What I want to point out is that there are no ingredients in Plexus Slim that would give it a berry flavor. Where that berry flavor comes from is a definite mystery since they decided to use the vague ‘natural flavors’ on the label. If true berries were used to flavor the drink, more than likely they would’ve disclosed that. Now, you never know—the flavoring could come from a beaver’s anal gland.
Guar gum: This is another ingredient I am not particularly fond of. It’s thrown into a lot of foods and supplements to use as a thickener or stabilizer. Most people don’t have a significant issue with it, but anyone with gastrointestinal issues should definitely avoid this ingredient. Guar gum can exacerbate GI distress, create gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
In summary, the combination of these ingredients can take a pretty hard hit on your liver. I was curious to get some honest reviews (other than from ambassadors who receive monetary compensation), so I searched the web and accumulated reviews from a number of different websites. Regarding Plexus Slim alone, people reported bloating, stomach pain, heart palpations, arrhythmias, insomnia, weight gain, headaches, irritability, anxiety, low blood sugar, kidney pain, and more. Another huge complaint was the terrible customer service of Plexus when customers were trying to get their refund. Very few people actually reported positive results from Plexus Slim.
Lastly, I just want to point out a very interesting thing I found on Plexus website in the FAQ section of Plexus slim. The question was: do I need to eat differently when taking Plexus Slim? Their answer was quite ridiculous and rambly (I encourage you to read it because it’s kind of a hilariously awkward answer: read here), but the first two sentences help shed light on this supplement. It says:
“This is a really important question and here is a very simple thing to keep in mind: if you keep on doing what you have always been doing, you will keep on getting what you have always been getting. In reverse, if you want to get healthy, you will need to eat differently than before.”
Diet and exercise will make you healthier. This supplement will not. If you want to truly find health, you aren’t going to find it by drinking this. Even if you are one of the few that lose weight from this supplement, you are NOT getting healthier. Look at what your body needs, NOT what they want to sell you.
Plexus Slim Accelerator+
In my reviews, I also found that when Plexus changed the formula the first time for Plexus Slim, many people found that it was no longer working as well as it had before. So, Plexus created this product to help accelerate the effects of Plexus Slim. Here’s more about this product:
In 2013, the Australia Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) tested Plexus Slim Accelerator capsules and found that they contained an UNDECLARED chemical, 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA). This chemical is listed in Appendix C of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP). Substances within Appendix C are of such danger to health as to warrant prohibition of sale, supply and use. Risks associated with its use include high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, bleeding in the brain and stroke. This ingredient may also cause a positive result on a drug test for amphetamines, because DMAA chemically “looks” like amphetamines. This particular substance is banned in Canada, Australia, and the UK. The FDA banned DMAA from all dietary supplements and issued a warning letter to all companies to reformulate or remove this substance from all supplements on the market. The sketchy and scary part of Plexus accelerator is that this substance was undeclared on the label. Since Accelerator was outed for using this substance, Plexus changed the formula. But did that make it any safer?
The Accelerator+ formula is basically a bunch of stimulant-like ingredients and appetite suppressants with some added “vitamins” and minerals. In as little amount of words as I can phrase this, I will say: stimulants and chemicals that act as stimulants, just aren’t healthy for us. Or in other words, they aren’t safe! As one stimulant gets banned, companies look for new ones that aren’t yet banned…or tested for safety for that matter. The next stimulant they throw in is not necessarily safer, it’s just been studied less. It’s only a matter of time before studies show that these are not safe and the product must be reformulated. Take higenamine, an ingredient found in Plexus accelerator, for example. This substance acts comparably to stimulants. It has been found to speed up the heart rate and increase heart contractions. But it has not been highly studied, so for now has been deemed “possibly unsafe.” What is clear is that higenamine is the main component in a plant called aconite. Ingestion of this plant has been shown to cause serious heart-related side effects including arrhythmias and death. The ingredients Hordenine and Hawthorn have also not been researched much and both show inconsistent evidence about their safety. So, I’ll ask you, is it worth your health to take a bunch of unstudied ingredients to potentially (if they even work) to help you lose weight?
As for appetite suppressants, this is all I want to say (warning: honest but a bit opinionated): why do we get hungry? It’s our body’s way of telling us that it NEEDS nutrients… you know, to do it’s job. When we suppress our appetite, we are deliberately not giving our bodies nutrients… all because we can’t control our food choices? Seriously, that doesn’t make sense. Our bodies are an intricate piece of work. It tells you exactly what it needs to function at its best. The problem is, we don’t listen. Instead of feeding our body nutrients, we suppress our appetite and starve our body of what it needs. Guess where this leads? Nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and even disease. Appetite suppressants in this product include the stimulants listed above, and include various other substances found in other Plexus products, such as Slim and Boost.
The reason I put vitamins in quotes earlier is because this product contains folic acid. Folic Acid is actually a synthetic form of the vitamin Folate, or Vitamin B9. For folic acid to be beneficial, it must be converted to the form THF or tetrahydrofolate. Natural folate is converted to this form by the small intestine; however, folic acid cannot be converted in the digestive system, and instead, is weakly converted by a specific enzyme found in the liver. This causes unmetabolized folic acid to enter the systemic circulation—which has now been found to be particularly harmful, and may be linked to various cancers. It is best to stay away from folic acid supplements and folic acid fortified foods. Instead look for dietary sources of folate—from sources such as spinach, beans, asparagus, broccoli, etc.
Accelerator+ also uses chromium picolinate as its source of chromium. As mentioned in above in my review of Plexus slim, Chromium picolinate has been studied more than chromium polynicotinate, and has a few worrisome findings. In some studies, chromium picolinate has been found to cause DNA damage. In addition, as mentioned above, chromium, especially in this form, has been linked to kidney failure, acute tubular necrosis, and impaired liver function. You can read more about chromium under Plexus Slim, but just know that taking too much chromium can lead to stomach complications, kidney, liver and nerve damage, and hypoglycemia. By taking Plexus Slim with accelerator+, you are getting quite a bit of chromium. I’m not sure why people think this is a safe way to lose weight.
If you are paying more than $10 for this supplement, then you are being ripped off. Biocleanse is basically a glorified a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is fantastic and most people desperately need more magnesium, however, this is not the type of magnesium supplement I would recommend. First, because biocleanse uses magnesium hydroxide, also known as milk of magnesia. This, friends, is a laxative and not an efficient way to boost magnesium levels. Actually, taking too much magnesium hydroxide can cause excessive diarrhea and therefore cause magnesium loss. This type of magnesium is not meant for long-term use. Preferred forms of magnesium include: glycinate, malate, chloride, taurate, carbonate, and citrate.
This, to me, is just a confusing supplement. On the website, there really isn’t an explanation for this product, other than it helps support digestion. Multiple Plexus distributors like to make claims that this product helps with Candida overgrowth, and by taking this product, it will clear up your “sugar cravings, inexplicable fatigue, bloating, anxiety and brain fog.” At this time, there are no scientific reviews to support any of these claims made by Plexus or Plexus distributors.
Probio5 contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, digestive enzymes and 5 strains of probiotics. The instructions say to take one serving (1 capsule) with evening meal or at bedtime. Or you can take up to 4 capsules with evening meal until desired results are achieved. My question is… What is it that we are achieving?
If you are looking for digestive enzymes, I’d recommend getting a stronger one with a lot more enzymes. The enzymes in this supplement only help break down protein, cellulose, and chitin. As for the probiotic, I love the claim on the bottle “at the time of manufacture, there are 2 billion live cells in each capsule.” In other words, by the time this reaches you, those probiotics are probably dead because they aren’t shelf stable (even though ambassadors claim it is, or if it is, how long is it shelf stable and how long has it been sitting in a warehouse?) and are not refrigerated. If you are looking for a probiotic for real gut health, I’d find one with more strains and one with at least 25 billion CFUs.
This product is also listed under weight management on the website. Why? I have no idea. There is no scientific evidence that shows any of these ingredients will lead you to lose weight, especially in these doses.
Mega X is a plant-based omega 3, 6, 9 + 5, 7 supplement. Supplementing with omegas 3, 6, and 9 have become the new hype, but do we really need to supplement all these? The truth is, most people don’t! The body does not make omega 3 or omega 6, therefore we have to obtain them from our diet. Proper supplementation with omega 3 is recommended (see below), however, a typical American diet is too high in omega 6s. You can read more about this here!
It is recommended that a person should have between 1 and 4 times more n-6s to n-3s. Unfortunately, our diets are loaded with n-6s! The typical American diet contains 11 to 30 times more n-6 to n-3. With that in mind, I ask you: does it make sense to supplement with omega 6? If we want to make a better ratio, it would be smarter to decrease our omega 6 intake and increase our omega 3 intake. Omega 9, on the other hand, is a non-essential fatty acid. Meaning, our body produces them as needed. So, in summary, we really only need to supplement with omega 3s. Now the question is, what is the best source?
The omega 3s we want in our diet are EPA and DHA. These n3s have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and vision problems. This Plexus product only uses plant-based omega 3s. The problem with plant-based omega 3s, is that they are high in ALA, which has not proven to provide the same benefits. ALA is converted in the body to EPA and DHA, however this is done very poorly and insufficiently. So, are plant-based omega 3s harmful? No. But you will not get the benefits that you would want in taking this product. I’d recommend a fish based source (such as fatty wild-caught salmon or sardines) for EPA and DHA supplementation.
My biggest concern is always the products we are putting on our skin. Most people know not to ingest weird chemicals they can’t say, but they don’t hesitate putting them on their skin. When we absorb chemicals through the skin, they bypass the liver—our detoxification center. That means, all the nasty chemicals get to go wherever they want and cause damage to our tissues they choose to reside in.
I know Plexus doesn’t have many external products, but still be careful! Most people start trusting a company and then forget to look at the ingredients of other products. You can read about a lot of the ingredients found in their topical products in my It Works! Review: here.
The Bottom Line
There are always going to be people who find a glimmer of hope when they use these products. These stimulants and appetite suppressants will cause some people to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean that they are any healthier than before. We have completely lost the definition of health, so far as, we think we are being healthy when we strip our body of the nutrients it needs to thrive.
The reason why these supplements will work for some and not for others is because each body is unique. Each body lacks different nutrients and may need different supplements according to their diet, genetics, etc. The problem is, instead of looking at our individual problems, we want a one-stop, cure all answer. We look to supplements to fix obesity instead of looking at our diets. Stop looking for the quick fix! If you need these products to jump-start your health journey then so be it. BUT stop giving these companies your money! Make the change! You don’t need to subject your body or checkbook to a lifetime of expensive pills and supplements. Eat real food! Get to the ROOT of your issues. Find REAL health. Let us help you. It’s time to restore your roots.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.