I was unaware of Autumn Stringam, Truehope, and a Canadian women’s magazine called Chatelaine until reader Sally Kwan wrote in yesterday to tell us about yet another ass weasel selling overpriced vitamins as a cure-all. In this case, it’s a company called Synergy (isn’t that word just code for “Incoming BS?”) marketing vitamins as a cure for people with serious mental diseases. Chatelaine promoted Synergy’s crap-based medicine in a recent issue, and Sally wrote them a very well-worded letter in response.
After reading Sally’s note, which I’ll include in full below, I thought for a moment about the danger of encouraging people who are bipolar to cease their medications — I’ve had the misfortune of managing an apartment building with tenants in very, um, stabby states of mind. I wondered who could possibly want to do such a stupid thing to ruin so many lives. Then it occurred to me that I know one organization that would be all for that — the “Church” of Scientology, which runs Narconon and preaches that all psychologists are evil tools of Xenu. The CoS shows up alongside a number of references to TrueHope, but after a lot of reading, I’m not sure there’s any direct connection. Anthony Stephan, the guy who developed Truehope, is a Mormon. I still can’t shake the feeling that the CoS is somehow in on this, so if any of you have any leads, let me know in the comments or through the contact form.
Sally’s letter follows the jump. If you want to complain to Chatelaine as well, do so via their web site.
I have been a reader and subscriber of your magazine for many years, and love the combination of health and beauty articles you provide.
The last two months (Your June and July issues) gave me pause, however. First, there is the Autumn Stringam article. She is famous; her book Promise of Hope is being published by Harper Collins. However, that is as far as her credibility goes. As a family member of the person who is marketing and selling the vitamin product Truehope, she is definitely not the best person to be providing the testimonial.
She stands to personally profit from a non-clinically tested and unapproved drug that claims to cure bi-polar disorder as well as other serious psychological disorders â€“ anything from psychosis to schizophrenia is supposedly cured by this mixture of vitamins. Synergy / Truehope is suggesting that psychiatric patients forego their doctor recommended prescription drugs and switch to an untested vitamin regimen. The effects of this would be obvious â€“ in some cases where a mental disorder was misdiagnosed might improve by placebo effect, and in most cases where the vitamin regimen has no effect, the patient will be unwilling to go back to their medication because theyâ€™re mentally unstable.
The Synergy Corporation also has a history of lying to the press. For years they have claimed that Truehope is a non-profit organization. In reality they have been incorporated since 1996 as a for-profit company. At over $50 a bottle and a suggestion of two bottles a month for a vitamin concoction with the same ingredients as most multi-vitamins for about $15, that is one profitable â€œnaturalâ€ drug indeed.
You might not be aware of this, but the Skeptics Magazine has recently published an online article linking the Stop-C51 website to Truehope. Health Canada has tried to stop the vitamins from being illegally sold in Canada, and when C51 passes, that would be one drug off the market. The sensationalist tactic to sell this drug by Tony Stephan, using his daughterâ€™s affliction and winning sympathy and â€œhopeâ€ by women with bi-polar disorder, is disgusting. I, as a woman, donâ€™t appreciate my emotions being targeted in a marketing campaign.
Iâ€™m not sure if youâ€™ve read the stopc51.com website, but I urge you to take a good look. Itâ€™s at www.stopc51.com – itâ€™s a great piece of fear mongering paranoia. If you look in the contact section, the e-mail goes to [email protected]
Despite your clarification in the feedback section on how youâ€™re â€œcautious of endorsing any unconventional medical treatmentâ€ you still published the name of the vitamin. There will be women seeking this out on the internet, trying to find a cure, and all theyâ€™ll find in Truehope is Quackery. I urge you to warn your readers against doing this in a more revealing article on this â€œmixture of vitaminsâ€ that supposedly â€œcuredâ€ bi-polar disorder.
I also canâ€™t help but notice that after that little disclaimer in your feedback section, there is a one page article on â€œTwo viewsâ€ and acupuncture. Acupuncture doesnâ€™t work. Pinch yourself, and your brain will release endorphins and ease your pain in general. Meridians and spiritual talk aside, there is no proof that traditional acupuncture works â€“ electricity applied to the skin between the thumb and forefinger works just as well. Chiropractic therapy might be affective in treating some forms of back pain, but acupuncture is a definite no. Please do more research before publishing medical articles in the future.