When My Mum Sold Isagenix – My MLM Experience

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Elle-small[Elle:] The Anti-MLM Coalition recently received a message from an Australian-based reader by the name of Mica (not her real name), who wishes to share her experience of when her Mum joined Isagenix. Here, she speaks frankly about the tremendous pressures it put on her as a teenage girl, when already struggling with self-image and body confidence.

Before we begin Mica’s tale, what do we know about Isagenix?


Founded in 2002 by John Anderson (Master Formulator), Jim Coover (President & CEO), and Kathy Coover (Executive Vice-President), Isagenix is an Arizona-based multi-level marketing (MLM) company.

Isagenix sell dietary supplement products such as protein shakes, weight loss supplements, diet snacks and meals, as well as cosmetics.  Interestingly, they also sell “Wealth Creation” product bundles to their independent distributors.

In investigative article ‘Isagenix Under the Microscope‘ by Australian consumer organisation CHOICE, reporter Kate Browne says the company’s “nutritional cleansing” product makes claims which are not supported by science. The report also describes instances of unqualified independent distributors providing medical advice about the products, which is prohibited by the company. As typical of MLM products, the report notes that Isagenix weight-loss products are similar in content to much cheaper store-bought alternatives.

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Energy Value Pak – Isagenix.com

Dr. Harriet Hall, MD of Science-Based Medicine published a lengthy, but interesting, critique of Isagenix in the Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.1, January/February 2011. In ‘Defending Isagenix: A Case Study in Flawed Thinking‘, Hall noted that claims made about the products are “false” and misleading, and that “…the amount of vitamin A in these products is dangerous and goes against the recommendations of The Medical Letter [on Drugs and Therapeutics]...”

Naturally, Dr. Hall received quite the backlash from Isagenix loyalists, one questioning “…whether I am really a doctor and says I have a small brain and a big mouth…” amongst other such comments, which have been presented in her critique — do take a look when you get the chance.

In addition, our very own BotWatch has written an opinion piece from 2017: ‘Isagenix – Cutting Through the Crap‘.


With this brief introduction in mind, we present Mica’s MLM experience to you.

Before reading Mica’s story, please remind yourself that all views presented in this blog are as told to us by the authors, and simply reflect their own opinions. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively.


Take it away, Mica.
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[Mica:] Thanks for letting me tell this story, Elle.

For one year, my Mum was an Isagenix rep. She joined to help my Dad lose weight, but she ended up taking the products daily instead of eating; when I would bring it up with her, she would go on and on about the nutrients. It got to the point where my mum would eat one meal a day that wasn’t an Isagenix shake, and she watched my Dad to make sure he did the same.

She would encourage me to drink a ‘fruit tea’ (made with their ‘Ionix Supreme’ tonic) to “help me sleep and to help with my nerves and breakdowns” (which I now know is anxiety disorder, but my Mum still doesn’t fully believe I have) and to take their ‘IsaLean’ meal-replacement shakes instead of eating lunch on weekends to “help me lose weight“. Understandably the tea did nothing (it probably made my anxiety worse) and the shakes were so disgusting I ended up eating very little to avoid drinking them.

My siblings were encouraged to also drink the shakes to help them stay healthy “because of all the nutrients.” When we were hungry we were told to “drink a shake” instead of actual solid food (my younger brother was only ten at the time, it couldn’t have been healthy for him). She also recommended my brother take the same tea I did to help his (then-undiagnosed) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but he hated it, so she never pushed it.

The time my Mum was part of the MLM caused my body confidence to hit it’s lowest point – Mum would constantly pressure me to drink the shakes, always telling me it was “to be healthy.” I was only fifteen at the time; being pressured to drink weight loss shakes (not that my Mum believed that they were for weight loss), well, it made me believe that my Mum thought of me as overweight, when I truly wasn’t.

Mum wasn’t a seller for long, but she had a downline of mostly friends (I’m from a very small country town) and was very passionate about it for the time she was selling. The lady who brought her into the scheme is still selling and my Mum still purchases the products, but just the shakes now (not the teas and supplements she pushed on us).

Her downline, as far as I know, has also stopped using the products as it’s not that different to every other weight loss shake on the market. I don’t know how much money my Mum lost, she managed to hide it well, but she certainly lost some. We had a huge box of shakes in our office for about a year after she stopped selling.

One evening we were watching a show called The Checkout, where they had a skit about Arbonne called Door Knockers: Arbonne, and my parents thought it sounded like the biggest scam ever. When I said “it sounds just like Isagenix” Mum got quite offended.

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Episode 7 of The Checkout – ABC TV

Two years later, the same show had a piece on MLMs called Opportunity Knocking, and mum’s response was, “I wish this had been on three years ago“.

I had been calling it a pyramid scheme the whole time, so at least she realises now that it is. She still uses the product — I think because she doesn’t feel comfortable buying weight loss shakes in public (my mum is very thin, most likely with some body issues herself) but she doesn’t sell or push it on us anymore.

This is my little experience with an MLM. Thankfully my Mum didn’t lose too much money or alienate anyone, but it still changed her and made me realise I will never get involved in an MLM. I just thought I would share my story, as a daughter of someone who got involved in an MLM and the effects it had on me.


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9 comments

  1. So I read over this article…. it sounds like the daughter has some serious issues to do with the mother and is blaming the company. The mother was not right to give the products to young kids as that should not be a thing. So please don’t post an article like this bad mouthing a company, when in the end it seems like the mother was not knowledgeable on the products herself. Which if you’re growing a business within Isagenix they VERY WELL have great learning tools to instruct you on this knowledge.

    1. This is a really poorly written article. The children come off as poorly parented more than anything. The moment I started reading this, I thought “she is simply a strong willed child, that’s all”.

    2. I know new born babies that are being fed this garbage. Never in my life would I ever eat anything other then whole foods. I’ve had friends get sick who over used the shakes daily and skipped meals.

      1. You just need to meet more friends. I have been using these shakes for 8 years, I am 50 now and still a healthy airline captain. This is not a medical system, it’s pure food. Eat it alone, or with a meal whatever you like… whenever you like. There are many days, because of my busy schedule, I have gone entire days just with shakes. Sometimes I’ll even have half a shake after eating out at a restaurant, perfect for getting rid of bad digestion. Everyone is talking precisely as someone who has never experienced it. If you had, than perhaps the person who brought you in didn’t take the time to help you understand it.

    3. My exact same thoughts right at the get go. Seemed angry cause the weekly visits to McDonald’s, for real food, likely got axed. LOL

  2. Interesting that people try to align Isagenix as a pharmaceutical or a supplement when all it is, is simply as advertised – pure food. Since when did we ever consult Drug and Therapeutics organizations when we talk about fruits and vegetables? One can eat a lot of carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, kale, and collard greens.. and overdose on Vitamin A. And yes, you can get diabetes from drinking too much apple juice over time…. which I am sure she enjoys a lot of fruit juices in the grocery story that has sat in a vat for as long as a year before it wound up in a grocery store somewhere. I won’t even mention the amount of pop her and her brother likely consumed growing up.

    Not sure about how things are in other parts of the world, but here in north america the FDA approves companies to put commercial Floor Degreasers (trisodium phosphate) in children’s Honey Nut Cheerios. These are the organizations this uneducated writer is taking her facts from. I know about the Honey Nut cheerios cause I personally called them. They told us they use it to help the cheerios float, and that the FDA approves it under a certain amount. I do know they don’t have it in Europe. Cause some countries actually take health a bit more serious.

    So I am guessing that the writer of this article has no complaints about eating real food, as she calls it… such as cereals her mother probably tried her best to get her and her family she cares about away from. I bet the visits to McDonalds were cut in half, or non-existent, after her mother got onto Isagenix as well. One day she should show appreciation towards her mother for trying to do the best she could with what she had, rather than acting like a spoiled brat.

  3. My family is involved in buying, selling, and using Isagenix. It is not “pure food.” Pure food consists of whole & recognizable ingredients like: broccoli florets, chicken breast, cuts of steak, potatoes, strawberries, —unprocessed, real food. That’s “pure,” though the purity level is also negotiable, depending on how it was grown or butchered.

    That being said, I’ve also used Isagenix myself, and the shakes don’t taste bad. They work relatively well for meal replacement.
    However, it’s the same basic stuff you can find in any higher end protein powder + meal replacement shake on the market. When I ran out of my gifted Isagenix Shake container, I bought quality protein powder from Whole Foods & add my own while ingredients to it: spinach, almond butter, flax seeds, almond milk, whole strawberries for sugar. That shake lasts me light years more than Isagenix’s does, bc it actually has real protein, fat, fiber & greens in it. ‍♀️

    Isagenix is not special. They report whatever numbers they want because they are not monitored by the Food & Drug Administration. No supplement companies are, because it’s not considered a food or a drug & thus isn’t a regulated market.

    You all have to be careful with any supplement. Just because it SAYS there are carrots, green beans, broccoli, whey-based protein powder, sweet potatoes, etc. in it, doesn’t mean it actually does or that the reported percentages of those ingredients are actually in there, because there’s no regulation. Legally, they can say what they want to get you to buy it.

    Use what ya want, of course; whatever makes ya happy.

    But you cannot say that a company who presents its own “facts” without unbiased contributing studies or source material backing it up, in an unregulated market, is telling its customers the 100% truth. Make no mistake: they are SELLING the product to you, whether they believe it works or not isn’t necessarily relevant to their profit margins.

    Not saying they’re specifically scamming people, but they do charge WAY too much for what they’re selling. My husband is a label reader (on all foods & condiments) & he’s told me countless times that this or that product my family brings when they visit, is the same stuff as you can get over the counter. It frustrates me that on a limited income, my family pays out the nose for those products, because they believe in the product.

    Just some “pure food” for thought.
    The company hasn’t negatively affected me or my family, other than giving me a positive way to view their products & I still think they’re all paying too much for the same stuff I’m getting at a nice grocery store, for less money & no hefty monthly subscription fee.

    1. Bravo. I was appalled by the comments by some here on the author of the article – the assumptions and insults. Thank you, Robbie, for providing a rationale response.

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