This is our 2nd blog post in the series of Dissecting Health MLM/Direct Sales Companies. Check out our first one on Juice Plus.
No, me and Thrive Le-Vel aren’t affiliated! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mistaken for this company. We have no affiliation whatsoever with each other. Thrival Nutrition is the company I founded and I fully own it.
Le-Vel is one of the newest direct selling companies on the market right now. They sell food, supplement, drinks, and as I write this blog – this is one of the first times I’m actually diving into their products. I’ve seen sellers of this company at various events around town and on social media, but I’m ready to dive in!
I want to start with the patches, as this is a new product you don’t find in stores or other people selling. While the ingredients of the patches don’t cause concern, the clinical research on these patches are lacking – severely. I can’t find ANYTHING about the actual effectiveness, how much of the ingredients are in each patch, if the body is actually absorbing it. If they do research, they definitely don’t share it on their website. Quick summary: The ingredients on the patch are okay, but I’d be hesitant to purchase something that has no clinical research and proven efficacy. You never really know if it’s placebo effect people are feeling or if that these could be the real deal.
Another thing that I want to mention about the patches is that this is a classic “magic solution” people are looking for. I’ll dive deeper into the other products they have, which consists of supplements, shakes, and snacks. But, I can definitely see people start relying on this patch to “increase metabolism” and “burn fat”, but not truly focusing in on nutrition and their bioindividuality. I always teach my clients that weight gain/stubborn weight loss is a symptom. It’s a symptom of something that is off balance – gut health, hormones, or simply just eating junky foods or even eating foods that may not work with your body. These changes should NEVER be substituted for a patch. I wish it was that easy!
While I won’t get into EVERY single product, I’ll quickly go over what I find when I pull up their capsule products. They use really cheap vitamin sources – folic acid (not ideal for the 50% of the population that deal with MTHFR gene mutations) and all of their other B vitamins. They don’t get specific on which strain of each vitamin they use, but if they use folic acid – I can guess they use cyanocobalamin for B12, etc. When looking for supplements, I look for bioavailable and easier to absorb forms of the vitamins/minerals.
Their Proprietary Blend doesn’t look terrible, but I realize they use a lot of caffeine. Be careful with this if you’re already really stressed out. Taking a break from caffeine can be great for your adrenals (and that just might be what you need if you aren’t losing weight and you’re really stressed out)!
While the “other” ingredients aren’t technically ‘bad’, like silica, they still are considered anti-caking agents/fillers, which are totalllllly unnecessary. If that was the only thing that was ‘eh’ about the capsules and the other ingredients were AMAZING, I would let it slide, but nothing is standing out to be super amazing in this capsules.
Thrive Mix / Other Drinks / Snacks
The same idea goes behind the Thrive mix – they use really cheap vitamin sources. They do good on the minerals, but not on the vitamins. Like I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of folic acid and the B vitamins they use. Unless your calcium levels are low (and you’ve actually got them tested to show a deficiency), I don’t ever recommend supplementing with calcium, as this is a very important nutrient to be balanced. If you supplement more than you need, it can become an issue and cause calcification in areas of the body that can increase your risk of cardiovascular issues. I love Chris Kresser’s take on calcium supplements.
Thrive’s drink mix proprietary blend looks good! The “other” ingredients don’t impress me. They use soy, which I mentioned in the Juice Plus blog, about how to make soy protein is by using a very chemically induced process using hexane. I don’t like using soy in processed forms, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Let’s talk about the ‘other’ ingredients (these are in the Thrive Drink Mix, shots, antioxidant drink, bars, etc.). Maltodextrin is a food additive that usually comes from GMO corn most of the time, but can come from wheat, rice, and other starches. It is HIGHLY processed and not so great on your gut. Studies show that it can interrupt your anti-microbial defense system in your gut. They also use sunflower oil and soybean oil, which are very junky industrialized oil that is higher in omega-6, being a more pro-inflammatory oil.
The drink mixes also include sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener. This is a popular artificial sweetener that I detest with a passion – while it doesn’t increase blood glucose like sugar, it can wreck havoc in your gut.
Enrichment of bacterial pro-inflammatory genes and disruption in fecal metabolites suggest that 6-month sucralose consumption at the human acceptable daily intake (ADI) may increase the risk of developing tissue inflammation by disrupting the gut microbiota.Frontiers in Physiology, 2017
Balance – Digestive Support
Outside of the fillers that are used in this supplement, such as wood pulp, silicon dioxide, etc, I don’t like that they use senna leaf and recommend this supplement as a daily thing. You guys know that I love me some herbs! I’m an herb girl 100%, but this herb you shouldn’t be taking every day. Ideally, senna is only used occasionally when you are feeing backed up and need a little extra help. Senna can also interact with medications, such as….
- Birth Control
- Diuretics (As senna is a natural stimulant/laxative, if you combine this with another diuretic, you have a chance of lowering your electrolyte levels too low.)
- Blood Thinners
- Other laxatives
As you can see, if you aren’t qualified in nutrition or herbs, people should NOT just be recommending this as an every day supplement. An individualized approach to supplements is SO important and working with someone qualified is even more important.
Research On Le-Vel
There is none that I can find.
Would I Recommend It? Is Le-Vel Worth It?
Heck to the no. As a nutritionist, I can’t stand behind any of Le-Vel’s products. The patches are the only products that have decent ingredients, but have no clinical research that is publicly published behind them. I notice their Thrive Bites is jerky that is from pasture raised cattle, which caught my attention, but they use soy sauce (which is another processed form of soy). I would rather buy Epic bars or other grass-fed beef jerky that is most likely cheaper and easier to get in a store. Unfortunately, this company gets a hard pass from me!
If you’re ready to get your bioindividuality on + figure out what works for YOU, book your free 15 minute phone call with one of our dietitians and nutritionists. You deserve the best care!