Healthy Gut. Happy You. And Weight Loss Too.
The above were the first words I read when I opened the Plexus Worldwide site to review their TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo. What’s not to like? Gut health and microbiome are trending, and weight loss is always in fashion. The price seemed a bit extravagant at $149.95 for the three products, but the packaging was professional and attractive. Time to read on and do a little investigation into the company to determine their history, ownership, their key executive’s backgrounds, and their philosophies. In short, time to assess their credibility in the natural product’s space.
Enroll As An Ambassador
In addition to a money-saving Subscription plan (auto-ship program), readers are invited to join the Plexus Ambassador program. This caused some initial concern as Ambassadors are often another way of saying distributors in the MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) game.
Sure enough, Plexus Worldwide is a Scottsdale, Arizona based MLM that markets nutritional supplements. The company was founded by Tarl Robinson and Alec Clark. Both Robinson and Clark started their careers as distributors in the network marketing space. They position the company as “The Health and Happiness Company” that specializes in health products and a global online income opportunity. The company has expanded dramatically since 2008 when its sole product was a breast health kit, sold through a direct sales operation. Today the company markets products in the nutrition, gut health, weight management, and personal care sectors.
Plexus is doing something right as they are now in their third office, a 35,000 square foot space, located in sunny Scottsdale, and today, according to their website, there are more than 135,000 Plexus Ambassadors.
Network Marketing – Direct Sales Companies – MLMs – Pyramid Schemes
It’s interesting to note that nowhere on the Plexus website do they refer to themselves as an MLM. Even in interviews with the founders, they refer to either network marketing or direct sales companies. Perhaps this is the reason why – here are two warning signs that an MLM may be a pyramid scheme, per the FTC (Federal Trade Commission):
- Promoters make extravagant promises about your earning potential. Stop. Such promises are false.
- Promoters emphasize recruiting new distributors for your sales network as the real way to make money. Walk away. In a legitimate MLM program, you should be able to make money just by selling the product.
When we reviewed the Plexus Compensation Plan, several bullet points grabbed our attention:
- Rewards you for building a solid base of loyal customers.
- Gives you additional incentives for assuming a leadership role.
- Pays out both weekly and monthly.
- Offers full compression to maximize your earnings.
- Pays up to 7 levels down
Once you read further, you learn there are levels of Ambassadors, from regular Ambassador to Emerald, Sapphire, and Diamond Ambassadors, where you are paid down seven levels. The plan does state that “Building a network is not required,” however, due to the structure of the plan, it’s obvious the way to grow and make money at Plexus is by building a network.
One last comment on MLM companies and then we’ll move on to the product review – “the median annual income for direct sales consultants less than ten years ago was $2,400, according to Amy Robinson, spokesperson for the Direct Selling Association.” That equates to roughly $200.00 per month.
What Is Plexus TriPlex?
The combo includes three Plexus products, the Slim Weight Loss powder packets, ProBio 5, a probiotic in capsule form, and BioCleanse, also a capsule. The company says of the combo pack, “The clinically demonstrated TriPlex System works in three ways to remove, restore and rebalance your body to help get your gut back into balance.”
The Slim Weight Loss product contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. The product is gluten-free, vegan, and Non-GMO. So far, so good. ProBio 5 delivers 2 billion CFUs per capsule at time of manufacture, contains no artificial colors, and is gluten-free. We find this a bit disconcerting as probiotics perish over time, most have a relatively short shelf life, and the pertinent fact is the number of CFUs available at the time of use versus the time of manufacturing. The Bio Cleanse capsules contain no artificial colors or preservatives, are vegetarian, and gluten-free.
In this review, we’ll examine the three products’ formulations and ingredients, and list the structure-function claims. We’ll inform you where you can find the product, give you our impressions of the cost-value relationship, and as always provide a rating in terms of effectiveness and value.
Plexus TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo Ingredients
Slim Microbiome Activating – Key Ingredients
- Chromium (as chromium polynicotinate), 200 mcg. Chromium is a mineral, an essential trace-element, thus the mcg (microgram dosage). It can help lower blood sugar and is used in this dosage for people who have diabetes. The ingredient is also used in weight loss supplements.
- Sodium, 60 mg.
- Xylooligosaccharide, 1000 mg. A new prebiotic thought to be beneficial in reversing changes in the gut microbiota during the development of diabetes. Clinical studies seem to validate this fact; however, the prebiotic does not play a role in weight loss.
- We then encounter a proprietary blend, the Plexus Slim Blend, 531 mg, including green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia, alpha lipoic acid, and white mulberry fruit.
- Green Coffee Bean Extract – may have some impact on blood sugar levels and may also improve metabolism due to its caffeine content.
- Garcinia Cambogia – this can be found in many diet supplements, such as FitTeam Fit. Some studies have indicated garcinia can cause modest weight loss. Note: stand-alone Garcinia products are typically sold as 1,000 – 2,000 mg. Given the entire Blend is 531 mg, we think dosing may be inadequate.
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid – has also been associated with a small reduction in weight in clinical studies.
- White Mulberry Fruit Extract – another ingredient thought to lower blood sugar.
ProBio 5 – Key Ingredients
- Vitamin C, 150 mg and Vitamin B6, 2.5 mg.
- Enzyme Blend, 200 mg of protease, cellulase, and serrapeptase to aid in the digestive process, breaking down proteins into polypeptides and amino acids.
- Probiotic proprietary blend. Most probiotics on the market are at significantly higher dosages. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are types of probiotics that require refrigeration to extend the life of the live bacteria.
- Bacillus coagulans
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Grapeseed Extract, 25 mg
Bio Cleanse – Key Ingredients
- Vitamin C, 150 mg.
- Magnesium, 380 mg.
- Sodium, 50 mg.
- Sodium bicarbonate, 190 mg.
- Citrus Bioflavonoid Blend, 50 mg, consisting of orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, and quince peel powder. Bioflavonoids are another antioxidant that works in conjunction with Vitamin C.
Dosages For Plexus TriPlex
With Plexus, dosages are a bit more complicated as there are three products to consider.
For the Bio Cleanse product, take two capsules with eight ounces of water, twice daily between meals.
The Probio 5 product, consume one capsule at bedtime. The company advises you may take up to four capsules at night until desired results are achieved.
The Slim Microbiome Activating product should be taken as follows; Tear the Slim packet and pour it into a twelve to twenty-ounce bottle of water and shake. For optimal results, adults should drink one serving thirty to sixty minutes before a meal up to twice daily.
You can further enhance the gut health benefits offered by Plexus TriPlex by adding meal replacement shakes designed for gut health like Supergut to your supplement routine.
Benefits Of Plexus TriPlex
The primary benefit expressed in the product’s tagline is gut health. The list of benefits for the three products is exhaustive:
- Clinically demonstrated to help you lose weight
- Promotes the growth of beneficial gut microbes
- Increases Lactobacillus up to 365 times and Bifidobacterium up to 290 times – contributing to overall health
- Supports healthy glucose metabolism
- Help keep intestinal yeast in balance
- Helps support a healthy intestinal tract
- Supports healthy digestion
- Promotes healthy bacteria counts and pH levels in the gut
- Help cleanse the gastrointestinal tract
- Helps relieve occasional gas, bloating, and discomfort
- Helps promote regularity
- Relieves occasional constipation
We discovered an FDA warning issued to Plexus in 2014. The FDA asserted that the company was marketing several products, including Bio Cleanse and ProBio 5 illegally, making claims that the products could treat certain health conditions.
How Does Plexus TriPlex Perform – The Claims Versus The Reality
We conducted as thorough research as possible on Plexus. Negative customer reviews, disgruntled ambassadors, customer complaints to the FTC, and FDA warnings make us uncomfortable in recommending the brand for its intended health purposes, or as a money-making side gig. For a time, certain Plexus products were banned by Amazon, and in Australia and Canada.
Many of the ingredients used in the TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo are prevalent in other diet and weight loss products. Proprietary blends make it challenging to determine if these ingredients are in Plexus products at efficacious dosages.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are also used in national brand probiotics. The fact there are only 2 billion CFUs in ProBio 5 – at the time of manufacture, and that these probiotics should be refrigerated to extend the bacteria’s life are also of concern.
Is Plexus TriPlex Safe?
Taking three new products with an array of ingredients presents the potential for side effects. As an example, Garcinia Cambogia can cause dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, and upset stomach, or diarrhea. The levels of caffeine can also have well documented, undesired side effects.
With the number of ingredients in the Plexus TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo, we suggest you discuss the program with your health professional to ensure there are no interactions with prescription medicines.
We find the Combo priced on the Plexus website at $149.95 for a one-time purchase, or $139.95 for a Subscription (auto-ship). The cost to enroll as an Ambassador is $39.95, due annually. In return for enrolling, you receive an average discount of 25% on all products.
Important note; more than three-quarters of all complaints to the FTC regarding Plexus, and there are a plethora of complaints, are from consumers who were charged for products they either didn’t receive, didn’t order, or received after they suspended their subscription. Based on the complaints, customer service is not a strong point for the organization.
Where To Buy Plexus TriPlex
It appears the Microbiome Activating products from Plexus are only available on the company website or from one of the Plexus Ambassadors. We did find a few listings on Amazon and an assortment of Plexus products for sale on eBay; however, we assume this is from a current or former Ambassador.
Summary For Plexus TriPlex
Simply too many red flags, warnings, and unhappy ambassadors to endorse Plexus TriPlex, the brand, its products, and its go-to market strategy.