“Life is better when you are thriving!” US company Le-Vel market a brand of health products called Thrive that, according to the advertising, is designed to help you achieve peak physical & mental levels. As well as the advertising, it seems that thousands of people find taking Thrive products a life-changing experience.
We take a look at Le-Vel Thrive to find out more about the supplements and the company behind the range.
Le-Vel is a US multi-level marketing (MLM) company based in Texas that was started in 2012 by two entrepreneurs called Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, both of whom have a background in the supplements industry.
In just a few years this multi-level marketing company has created a real stir in the supplements world, and today is very successful with thousands of promoters – as the distributors are known. The company operates in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK, and are looking to hit $1billion in sales by March 2017.
Multi-level marketing is nothing new. It can be controversial because it is often accused of pyramid selling, but many people like the concept of running a structured home business, and selling to friends and family. Since the economic crash in 2008, MLM businesses have boomed in the USA, as consumers look to add an additional income stream to their household earnings.
See more about MLM in our short Watchdog video.
According to the advertising, Thrive products are high-quality premium supplements that deliver real physical and mental benefits.
The 8-week Thrive Experience is the flagship program, and this is where you are encouraged to take a combination of products over two months. If you go through a Thrive distributor you can also take a shorter 3-day or 30-day trial to test it out.
According to the advertising, the key to Thrive lies on how the regimen is taken. Jason Camper, the founder of the company explains more about this,
You take two Premium Lifestyle Capsules “before your feet hit the floor in the morning,” followed by the ultra-micronized Premium Lifestyle Shake Mix, and then the Derma Fusion Technology (DFT™) adhesive applied to clean, dry skin to boost metabolism.
According to Jason,
Within 40 minutes from someone getting up in the morning, they’ve got three formulas circulating in their bloodstream and they’re done for the day.
The advertising claims that doing this will promote:
This premium lifestyle capsule comes in two forms: “M”, aimed at men, and “W”, for women. These capsules contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and plant extracts. Also, both contain stimulants, so will give your energy levels a lift. Although the vitamin quantities are provided – and levels are high – the herbal ingredients and stimulants come under a proprietary blend so it is impossible to see just how strong the effects will be.
The stimulants include caffeine and Theobromine, as well as Citrus Aurantium – which is a source of synephrine.
Synephrine affects adrenaline and can put your body into a stressed fight or flight response, which raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure. It can help weight loss when combined with caffeine, but is potentially dangerous, especially if you have health issues with your heart and blood pressure.
Here in unknown quantities, we think it is irresponsible that there is no warning about these stimulant ingredients. In fact, the FDA has received 16 adverse health event reports concerning Thrive products. Common symptoms reported so far have included abdominal pain, headache, and increased blood pressure.
We will look further into side effects later in the review.
A key product of the Thrive Experience is DFT Ultra – a skin patch similar in appearance to a nicotine patch that you change daily. Ingredients include a branded product called Forslean – a coleus forskohlii extract, white willow bark, Garcinia Cambogia and more. DFT Ultra looks look like a standard weight loss patch, but there is no evidence it will work in the way as described.
Although it sounds good to deliver ingredients through the skin, and we are accustomed to nicotine patches, vitamins and some medication being delivered this way, not all ingredients are suitable for this purpose.
For ingredients to pass effectively through the skin, a substance must have a low molecular weight (which means it is very small) and must be oily. Moreover, once an ingredient is in the body, it may have a different effect when eaten compared with skin absorption.
Just because a drug is effective when swallowed doesn’t mean the drug is going to be effective when put on the skin
says Mark R. Prausnitz, director of the Center for Drug Design, Development and Delivery at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
White willow extract, for example, is known for causing stomach upsets and internal bleeding.
The Lifestyle Mix is a protein powder that you add to water or a smoothie in order to make a shake. It is based on whey protein concentrate, as are most shakes, and it contains vitamins and minerals, plus a proprietary blend of ingredients adding up to 1595mg serving.
Ingredients in the proprietary blend include oatmeal, ginger root extract, Garcinia extract, and undisclosed quantities of caffeine.
You are encouraged to take the three supplements first thing in the morning. Many customers have reported enhanced energy, side effects, and general “weird feelings” following doing this over a period of time.
Despite the absence of health warnings on the Thrive product information, there have been numerous reported side effects. bearing in mind that the supplements contained undisclosed quantities of ingredients, such as caffeine and synephrine, this should not come as a surprise.
Reported side effects of the capsules include:
Some people have reported skin irritation following the use of the patches.
Some people have reported side effects following the use of the protein shake including:
There are zero health warnings about any of the ingredients in the products. If you buy directly from a distributor, any proper information will not be provided regarding your suitability for taking the supplements, or any adverse effects.
There are no links to any clinical evidence to prove the efficacy of the supplements and no information regarding any potential risks.
In most cases Thrive promoters do not believe that any negative effects are even possible with the supplements.
According to the company information, Thrive is free to join. At first glance this makes Thrive look a little different from many other MLM companies out there. Don’t be fooled; it’s not.
You will be expected to buy $100 minimum of products a month to stay active and earn commissions from your downline. You are also encouraged to join others to your network, sign up loyal customers in auto-ship programs, and all the usual selling tricks that are associated with being an MLM distributor.
For example, if you sign two people up to auto-ship programs in the same month, you receive free products for as long as the auto-ship programs are in operation.
None of these tricks are actually bad, but when it comes to hard selling to friends and family, it can seem a little underhanded. However, you may make some extra money or at least get your own Thrive products free of charge.
One thing that does set Thrive apart from other MLMs is the enthusiasm of the promoters. These people really seem to believe in their products, and if you look at Facebook, for example, you can see thousands of people proudly proclaiming that they are “thriving for life”.
There is an official Facebook page, operated by Le-Vel called Le Vel Brands, and it makes for some fascinating viewing. The posts are all about the life-changing aspects of Thrive and how people have turned their lives around by using this brand.
They all mention the enhanced energy levels and the benefits of being involved with the company.
We are pleased that some people have found a way to live that makes them feel happy, but we are very concerned that Thrive looks a tiny bit like a brainwashing cult.
Not all Thrive promoters are as happy. Some people have complained about a lack of communication with the higher levels of the company. Issues have included not being paid promised commissions, customers’ auto-shipment deliveries not being cancelled when requested, and difficulties getting answers about the products’ nutritional information.
Thrive is expensive, and the price will depend on whether you sign up to auto ship, become a promoter yourself, or just purchase as a retail customer.
You can buy the supplements separately or as a package. It is important to note that if you do buy the Thrive Experience pack, you will need to buy it twice in order to complete the full experience.
For example, a box of 30 DFT patches costs $62 for a one-off purchase or $50 if you sign up to auto-ship.
The Thrive Experience Lifestyle Pack + DFT includes a month’s supply of Thrive W or Thrive M, one carton of Thrive Premium Lifestyle Mix, and one pack of Thrive DFT patches for $188 or $150 on the auto-ship program.
If you subscribe to the Le-Vel monthly auto-ship program, you’ll get recurring shipments of Le-Vel Thrive products delivered to your home each month, and your credit card billed accordingly.
You are advised to buy through an official Le-Vel Thrive promoter, so deals and offers may vary according to whom you buy from.
You can also buy Le-Vel Thrive via outlets such as Amazon; a practice frowned on by Thrive promoters.
Prices are as follows:
Prices will vary depending on the seller.
Le-Vel is undoubtedly a successful business going from strength to strength as the company approaches its $1 billion landmark. However, it is hard to see what is so special about the supplements, and, in our opinion, all that enhanced energy experienced by customers is down to the speedy effect of the stimulants combined with some vitamins that you take first thing in the morning.
There is very little evidence that the Thrive supplements are actually good for health and wellbeing, and very little real information about the ingredients. Yes, you can read the names of the ingredients, but the stimulants and herbal ingredients are all under proprietary blends, meaning there is no individual ingredient quantities breakdown. So you have no idea of just what you are taking or how strong it is.
We are concerned about this lack of contents information. There have been reported side effects and the FDA has received complaints. Anyone who has a heart or blood pressure condition should certainly avoid products containing synephrine, for example, yet this is overlooked by the advertising and distributors alike.
Also, we feel that Thrive is overpriced. Essentially, it appears to be a vitamin supplement in various forms combined with some stimulants, and there seems to be nothing to justify this expense. After all, you could buy a vitamin supplement and a caffeine pill, then combine them for much the same effect.
We don’t want to rain on the Thrivers’ parades. These people are passionate about their products and really believe. But we wonder if this opinion is being formed in part by the excitement of being involved with a currently hot company, as much as it is by taking stimulants at breakfast time?
Thrive is not all bad. But in our opinion, there are much better supplements on the market and easier ways to make a living than becoming involved with this company.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.