Because I do a lot of honest product reviews, I’ve received a ton of requests to review Plexus. I’ve had several people tell me it’s “all natural” and offer to send me some. This proves just how uneducated people are regarding these products. And that’s why I do these reviews. Inevitably, people question my motive behind doing products reviews. And the answer is simple: people should know what they’re spending their hard earned money on. Most people can’t read these labels and decipher what is and what isn’t harmful. Most people don’t know that folic acid is synthetic and has been linked to cancer. But then again, most people don’t know that higenamine is a stimulant that’s been linked to serious side effects. They don’t even know what grass-fed whey is.
I do these reviews because the truth is important to me, and if a company isn’t willing to provide it – I will. I’ve decided to start grading the products and companies I review, and Plexus gets an F. Here’s why.
Higenamine is essentially a stimulant.
In some parts of the body it causes tissues to relax. In other parts of the body, such as the heart, it causes tissue to contract. It seems to increase heart contractions and speed up the heart rate…Higenamine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. The purified or extracted chemical higenamine has not been studied in people. Therefore, its safety is not clear. However, higenamine is one of the main chemicals in a plant called aconite. Aconite has been shown to cause serious heart-related side effects including arrhythmias and even death. These side effects from aconite ingestions may, in part, be caused by the higenamine chemical. Source
Higenamine causes increased blood pressure and heart rate – making it especially dangerous for anyone suffering from hypertension, heart issues and nervous system problems (including issues like anxiety).
Hordenine is yet another stimulant. This particular stimulant affects the central nervous system (which is horrible for those with anxiety issues) and has shown to cause increased blood pressure and negatively affects the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems.
Stimulants are simply not safe. When the FDA bans one, others pop up – often until the FDA bans the new ones and the cycle continues. Just because something is natural or plant-derived does not make it safe. Stimulants can cause rapid heartbeat, arrhythmia, disrupt the central nervous system, cause cardiovascular issues and so much more. What happened to just eating real food to lose weight?
Caralluma + Garcinia Cambogia
Caralluma and garcinia cambogia are both appetite suppressants. Let me explain something about hunger: it is the body’s way of sending signals to the brain saying “Give me nutrients!” Yes, hunger is not some evil plan your body has to make you gain weight. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent – everything we feel and experience has a meaning. And hunger means your body needs nutrients. What happens when you take appetite suppressants? Hunger may be reduced, but so are the nutrients you’re consuming. This sets you up for nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, mood disorders and a ton of other dangerous side effects.
Stimulants – which already reduce hunger – combined with appetite suppressants are only unhealthy, they’re unsafe.
Polydextrose is a synthetic form of glucose and a food additive. It is often made from corn, a largely GMO crop.
I take issue with anything listed as “natural flavors.” Because chances are, it’s not all that natural. Hell, even monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be masquerading as a natural flavor. The labeling is loosely regulated. In Food Rules: A Doctor’s Guide To Healthy Eating, Dr. Shanahan discusses a study in which 95% of ingredients listed as “natural flavor” contained MSG.
As for “natural” flavor, it could even be secretions from a beaver’s butt. Beavers secrete castoreum, which smells and tastes remarkably similar to vanilla.
Castoreum is a chemical compound that mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, which are located between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Because of its close proximity to the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine…Still concerned you’re chowing down on beaver-bum goop? Because of its FDA label, in some cases, manufacturers don’t have to list castoreum on the ingredient list and may instead refer to it as “natural flavoring.” Yum. Source
I’m not saying Plexus definitely uses beaver butt, but without transparency in labeling…there’s really no way to know.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which has proven to be particularly problematic. Folate is a naturally occurring water-soluble B vitamin. Folic acid, however, is a synthesized form of folate that the body is unable to properly absorb or utilize.
In fact, folic acid supplementation is linked to cancer.
…in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. “The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.
Another study out of Chile linked folic acid supplementation with an increased risk of colon cancer.
And yet another study out of Norway linked folic acid supplementation with a 21% increase in lung cancer.
Folic acid and B12 supplementation was associated with a 21% increased risk for cancer, a 38% increased risk for dying from the disease, and an 18% increase in deaths from all causes.
While folate is a necessary part of a balanced diet, folic acid has actually been linked to increased rates of cancer (another source for ya).
I called Plexus directly to inquire about this. Their instructions were for me to email their products department, which I did. I also reached out to an independent distributor and asked – he had no idea. I left two comments on the Plexus Facebook page and sent them a direct message as well. The comments went entirely unanswered, and Plexus responded to my direct message instructing me to email the products department. As of now, I have not received a response and I’m likely not going to. I also directly tweeted at Plexus to ask if their whey is grass-fed. There was no response.
Because Plexus refuses to answer my questions surrounding the whey they use at this time, I assume based on their reaction that the whey they use is inorganic. I also couldn’t find any information on their website about their whey. If their products were organic, non-GMO and grass-fed, they’d advertise that because it’s a huge selling point. Consumers want transparency and honesty. I know wouldn’t want to purchase from a company that refuses to answer questions and who doesn’t educate its distributors.
So what’s the problem with whey that isn’t organic or grass-fed?
For starters – it’s not healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of whey protein. You can check out the protein shake I make using it here. The majority of whey protein (and I’m assuming what Plexus uses in their products) comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These animals are not on pasture, eating grass as they were meant to. Cows are meant to eat grass, the bovine consumption of corn and soy – which are two of the highest genetically modified crops – causes infections in the cow and raises the omega-6 content while lowering the omega-3 content (making the whey much more inflammatory). In fact, this study demonstrated how organic dairy contains 62% more omega-3s and 25% less omega-6 fatty acids than inorganic dairy. Vitamins, particularly A, E, D, and K are also higher in grass-fed dairy.
Maltodextrin is a processed food additive, usually derived from GMO corn or wheat. If derived from wheat, this would not be a gluten-free product.
Likely derived from GMO soy.
I wanted to touch on the Plexus omega-3 supplement because I’ve done a lot of research on omega-3s and I would never waste my money on this product for one big reason: plant based omega-3s are not nearly as healthy, effective or useful as animal-based omega-3s. This is because plant based omega-3s are in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
ALA converts very poorly to EPA and DHA; you can read more about that here and here. ALA does not provide the anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular or brain benefits that EPA and DHA do. You’re better off using the fish oil I recommend. Using an ALA based omega-3 is basically a huge waste of money.
Whatever happened to eating real food? Have we become so lackadaisical and disconnected as a society that we constantly search for quick fixes – even at the cost of health? I understand the need and desire to lose weight, but it is not worth the cost of your health. It is not worth filling your body with dangerous stimulants and appetite suppressants. It’s not worth drinking mystery whey. Know what you’re eating and where it comes from.
There’s a simpler and cheaper way to lose weight: eat real food. Eat unprocessed, whole, organic foods. Wouldn’t it be nice to not just eat healthy food, but enjoy it? It’s possible and it’s the healthiest thing you can do for your body. But this, these products, this is not healthy.
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