I last did a Thrive Le-Vel review when people were wearing those patches that said ‘You be Thrivin’, girl!’
Since then, people are still wearing those patches, and Thrive has come out with some new and exciting products. I can’t miss the opportunity to investigate the new offerings and hold their claims up to current research (and basic physiology, of course).
Thrive Le-Vel’s claim to fame has always been their transdermal delivery system for supplemental vitamins and minerals. The Derma Fusion Technology, called DFT for short, is a daily patch that’s applied to the skin. Thrive claims its DFT will:
Promote ‘clean and healthy weight management’
Offer ‘nutritional support’
I’m just going to come out and say right now that It’s a huuuuge red flag when a brand or person wants to sell you something to ‘manage’ or ‘control’ your appetite.
Hunger aka appetite is there for a reason, and the only way you should be controlling this bodily cue is with FOOD.
Not supplements. Not patches. Not shakes or willpower or anything else. When you feel hungry, your body is trying to tell you something. You should listen.
Thrive has a ‘1-2-3 system’ that contains three core products: a vitamin, a shake, and their basic DFT patch.
Thrive DFT Patch
Thrive’s DFT patch has a combination of the usual MLM suspects: garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean, Q10, and a ‘fat burner’ called Forskolin (yes, I’m also thinking what you’re thinking).
Forskolin, trademarked as a product named ‘Forslean,’ has been around since 2001. While some weight loss studies involving forskolin are promising, the last 20 years haven’t yielded anything really groundbreaking for this ingredient. If Forskolin was so amazing, we would probably know that by now.
It’s important to note that the studies on forskolin mostly used 250mg of it, orally. We don’t know exactly how much forskolin is used in the DFT’s proprietary blend, and how transdermal application that may differ in effectiveness from the oral version.
In fact, the entire concept of a transdermal patch delivery system being better than oral supplements is sketchy at best. Sure, some ingredients can be absorbed by the skin. But others can’t or haven’t been studied in that capacity.
And, even though they probably don’t work in the way Thrive says they do, there’s still no compelling evidence that garcinia or green coffee bean extract have any effect on weight or appetite. Even so, every single nutrition MLM sells products with these two ingredients, and I’m not sure why they continue to be used in these capacities. Maybe it’s because people keep. on. buying. them.
Let’s stop doing that.
Thrive W (the W stands for ‘woman,’ and they have an ‘M’ one as well) is a capsule that – surprise – promises much the same thing as the patch.
There’s a real emphasis throughout the Thrive content on how ‘premium’ their products and ingredients are. Thrive says its W is ‘Ultra premium at its finest,’ meaning…who knows? It’s marketing gibberish.
W is a multivitamin comprised mainly of B vitamins (1667% of your recommended B12 intake, FYI) and a bunch of ingredients like probiotics, several sources of caffeine, green coffee bean (again!), Q10, and amino acids in a proprietary formula, of course.
Again with the proprietary formula. This is typical of nutrition MLMs, and it’s a huge red flag.
We don’t know how much of each ingredient is in the product, because that information is hidden behind the ‘proprietary formula’ label. This means that there may be more or less of what’s effective (if it’s effective at all). Proprietary formulas can also be dangerous if one or more of the ingredients in there interacts with someone’s medication or medical condition.
In other words, transparency is a good thing. Proprietary formulas are the opposite of this.
I’m not exactly clear on how Thrive W helps with weight loss, besides the possibility that all of the stimulants in there may wire you up. It looks like most Thrive products have several stimulants in them. I’ll talk more about that later, but RED FLAG.
All the other claims about W, like ‘calms general discomfort’ – may or may not be accurate.
Probiotics, if they’re in the correct formulation, can help with gut health.White willow bark, which W contains, is a source of aspirin, which may reduce inflammation and swelling. That is, if the proprietary formula contains enough of these things.
We’ll never know.
Thrive Mix is just another protein shake that’s apparently amazing because it’s ‘ultra micronized,’ which allegedly facilitates absorption of its protein and PROPRIETARY FORMULA of nutrients.
Thrive Mix also contains garcinia, caffeine, and some rather useless digestive enzymes that not many people actually benefit from.
Just speaking as a dietitian here, when I see the claim of ‘ultra micronized,’ I look for protein peptides in the ingredients. These are proteins that have been broken down to facilitate digestion, and they’re what we give to people in the hospital who can’t digest whole proteins.
I didn’t see anything of the sort on the Mix label. It just has soy, pea, and whey proteins in their regular forms. Dum de dum.
Still, the sales pitch for Thrive Mix is sort of hilarious:
“THRIVE MIX, combined daily with the THRIVE Capsules and DFT, completes a premium lifestyle and creates a premium you.”
What exactly is a ‘premium you,’ and can we not say the word ‘premium’ ever again? Please and thanks.
After you buy those three core Thrive products, there’s a whole host of other Thrive supplements for their salespeople to upsell, and Thrive (like most MLMs) is all about the upsell.
I mean, using the THRIVE DFT is one thing, but then if you really want great results, the company encourages the DFT Ultra. And then, if you want really really REALLY great results, the company suggests the Black Label, which is more effective than even the DFT Ultra, ‘taking the whole THRIVE experience to a whole new level’.
There’s Thrive Heat, then there’s Thrive DUO Burn patches. Another upsell to ‘premium.’ But why don’t they just sell the ‘best’ product to everyone?
DUO patches contain a saffron extract marketed as ‘satiereal’ that apparently reduces appetite. Dr Oz called satiereal a ‘miracle,’ and that alone should make you suspicious.
The company that makes Satiereal uses a 2010 study to ‘prove’ that their product has a ‘spectacular effect’ blunts appetite, and says that this ingredient is ‘for those choosing fit over fat.’
I know this is a total tangent, but I had to include a screenshot of one of the testimonials from the satiereal site:
I’m going to briefly outline the most problematic Thrive products. Problematic, because as a dietitian, I feel that they have little research to support their use. But more importantly, I also feel that these products go against what I believe is helpful for a good relationship with food and your body.
Thrive Plus 10-Day Detox
According to Thrive, “This dual AM/PM concept and formula is intended to assist the body in the removal of toxins and heavy metals. The secret to this system is the cleansing and detoxification pattern.”
Hmmm, the ‘secret’?
The Thrive 10-day detox plan focuses on ‘metabolic detoxification,’ something your body does anyhow….without any Thrive products.
Isn’t nature wonderful?
The 10-Day Detox apparently improves ‘weight management, gut health, energy and stamina, mental clarity, rest, nutrient absorption, overall mood, and more.’
There’s a diet plan that goes with the 10-Day Detox, but I didn’t have access to that. No need though, nothing about it will convince me that anyone on earth needs a detox.
The Thrive 10-Day Detox consists of two different parts, the AM and the PM.
The AM capsules contain a ‘heavy metals detox blend,’ a ‘liver, lymph, blood, and skin detox blend,’ a ‘kidney and bladder detox blend,’ and a ‘holistic detoxifying blend,’ all in proprietary formulas.
We know what’s in them, but not the amounts.
Heavy metal detoxes are making the rounds in alternative and functional medicine circles, and I’ve got one thing to say about them: you probably don’t need a heavy metal detox, and never will. If you have high levels of heavy metals in your body, you need medical care. Not Thrive capsules.
These capsules are a mix of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that have weak or no evidence behind their ‘detox’ capacities. Honestly, nobody needs a liver, lymph, blood, and skin detox.
Lymph IS your body detoxing itself. That’s what the lymphatic system does. It doesn’t need help, especially from unproven remedies.
The PM capsules are much the same, but they contain senna, which is a laxative.
This is typical of any ‘cleanse’ – they all contain laxatives. This doesn’t cleanse anything out of your system, even if you think it does. It’s malarkey.
There’s also a prebiotic, probiotic, and digestive enzyme blend for use in the PM. As I wrote in my probiotic post, healthy people probably don’t need probiotics. And as I said before, most people derive no benefit from digestive enzyme supplements.
I’m not sure how the Thrive 10-Day Cleanse supplements help with weight management, mood, rest, nutrient absorption, or anything else that the company claims it does.
I’ll say it again for those of you in the back:
YOU DO NOT NEED A CLEANSE OR DETOX.
Thrive SPT Heat
The requisite ‘metabolism booster’ with raspberry ketones, green tea extract (stimulant), caffeine (stimulant), rauwolfia (stimulant), huperzine A (can interact with certain prescription medications) and dandelion (diuretic).
Heat is meant to be taken directly from the packet:
“Unlike our other powerful powdered beverages, HEAT is poured directly into the mouth and dissolves instantly to provide benefits faster than ever before.”
Uh, cool, but what about the fact that none of the ingredients has ever been proven to cause an increased metabolism to the point of weight loss?
No food or drink or supplement boosts the metabolism high enough or long enough to cause an appreciable loss in bodyweight. So while every MLM sells some sort of metabolic ‘booster,’ they’re all garbage.
And hey, can we not use the woman with the tape measure to sell weight loss products? It’s outdated and gross.
Thrive Treat Meal
I think out of all the things Thrive sells, Treat Meal is the most repugnant. I really mean that.
Here’s a post by a Thrive salesperson talking about how Treat Meal ‘blocks’ carbs and fat.
Aside from sounding like disordered eating, the concept of blocking food in the digestive system so you can eat things you should be able to eat anyhow is just gross and physiologically impossible.
Eat the frigging brownie and get over it. Trying to purge yourself of what you’ve eaten, even with an innocuous-sounding supplement with a cute name, isn’t healthy or smart.
Thrive seems all about the gimmick: all form, not much function. We don’t know how well some of the ingredients are absorbed from a transdermal patch.
Thrive products appear to be extremely stimulant-heavy. I have seen people complaining that they actually had withdrawal symptoms when they went off the program, because their bodies had gotten used to all of that caffeine.
That’s not okay.
If you want a protein shake, buy a protein powder. It doesn’t have to be Thrive.
If you want a multivitamin (which most people don’t need, FYI), buy one. It doesn’t have to be Thrive.
Fat burners, metabolism boosters, cleanses, blockers – those are all unnecessary and probably don’t work.
Before buying from a nutrition MLM, think about what they’re really selling to you, and how.