Metabolife Review: 25 Things You Should Know

In today’s post, I am going to review a seemingly closed down multi-level marketing company. Or is it?

Metabolife became quite popular at one time, and made both the owners and many distributors of the weight loss direct selling company millions of dollars.

How familiar are you with Metabolife? Did you ever use any of their products? Or did you possibly have a home based Metabolife business? Feel free in telling us your Metabolife story at the end of this post in the comments area.

Metabolife Review & Top Facts

This is a Metabolife review, and 25 things you should know.

1: When Founded

The Metabolife ccompany was founded in the early 1990’s in San Diego, California.

2: Founders

The founders of Metabolife were convicted felons. Their names were Michael Ellis and Michael Blevins. Ellis was a former police officer. He and his friend, Blevins started manufacturing methamphetamine. They were caught by Federal authorities. The statement is that both men cooperated with the Feds for lighter sentences. Once they served their sentences, the 2 decided to start Metabolife.

3: Legal Meth?

Ellis and Blevins used the primary ingredient in the methamphetamine they were making illegally in the products they now sold legally through their company Metabolife.

4: Top Seller

When we research the top selling product that Metabolife had, it was Metabolife 356. It had a high content of Ephedra, which was originally used to clear bronchial passages.

5: Body Builders

The original target market that Metabolife went after with the Matabolife 356 was bodybuilders.

6: 1995

While the Metabolife 356 did well in sales to bodybuilders, there was a realization. Seeing more dollar signs, the Metabolife 356 was rebranded as a weight loss and diet supplement. This created a cyclone of sales.

7: Makers of Metabolife 356

Metabolife did not manufacture the Metabolife 356. The maker was the Chemins Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chemins came under heavy FDA scrutiny, and in 2007, their assets were acquired by Nexgen Pharma.

8: Metabolife In Space

Sales were great for Metabolife, and they came up with the ultimate advertising plan. Metabolife executives approached the Russian government and they offered to pay approximately $15 million to paint the Metabolife logo on the International Space Station. It didn’t happen.

9: Deaths

Complaints and reports began to roll in against Metabolife 356. Adverse effects were happening to some who were taking the diet supplement, and over 100 deaths were said to be linked to Metabolife 356. The Food and Drug Administration sought regulations against the supplement.

10: Clinical Trials

Clinical trials were performed on Metabolife 356. It was found that the product had safety issues as it created high blood pressure and also cardiac arrhythmias.

11: Advocacy

Metabolife began to battle back against possible regulation. They created the Dietary Supplement Safety and Science Coalition, which was an advocacy group that lobbied against Ephedra regulation.

12: Political Contributions

Metabolife began contributing to politicians. They gave $3 million to lobbyists, $1.5 million in soft money to both the Republicans and Democrats. They also gave money to politicians including:

13: George W. Returns The $10,000

When the media published that Blevins and Ellis had been convicted of methamphetamine production, George W. Bush immediately returned the $10,000 that Metabolife donated.

14: The I.R.S. and Metabolife

The Department of Justice and the I.R.S. began to look close at Metabolife. What they discovered was fraudulent tax returns were filed. Metabolife pled guilty and had to pay a $600,000 fine. They also had to pay over $6 million in back taxes.

15: William Bradley

One of the owners of Metabolife, William Bradley was also convicted of tax evasion at the same time the company came under scrutiny. Bradley was sentenced to 6 months in Federal prison and 2 years probation.

16: Metabolife’s CPA

It was determined that Michael Compton who was the Certified Public Accountant of Metabolife, helped hide all the illegal things that were happening. He helped set up offshore accounts and also knew that each of the owners, Bradley, Blevins and Ellis had over $1 million each in their homes that was not reported. Investigators raided Compton’s offices and seized many records.

17: Suicide

Michael Compton, the CPA just couldn’t take the pressure. In November of 2003, he was found after he had put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

18: Back to Prison

The FDA banned the majority of items containing Ephedra. Immediately after doing so, Michael Ellis was charged with making false statements in testimony about the effects of Ephedra in regards to Metabolife 356. He was given a sentence of 6 months in prison and a $20,000 fine.

19: Fall of the Metabolife Giant

Sales were dropping and the lawsuits Metabolife were facing were over $1 billion in personal injury. Metabolife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005, and property and furnishings were liquidated to satisfy some of the bills.

20: Ideasphere Inc.

In 2007, Ideasphere Incorporated paid $12 million to acquire all of the Metabolife non-ephedra holdings and the name.

21: The Book

In 2008, Michael Ellis, the one-time police officer, methamphetamine manufacturer and founder of Metabolife, authored the book:

The Metabolife Story: The Rape of Cinderella

22: TwinLab

While many think Metabolife is gone, I have news for you. I mentioned that Ideasphere purchased the non-ephedra assets, and a subsidiary of Ideasphere is TwinLab. TwinLab in American Fork, Utah now controls and operates Metabolife.

23: Other TwinLab Holdings

Twinlab operates various brands. Along with Metabolife, the others are:

  • TwinLab Fuel

  • TwinLab Clean Series

  • TwinLab Pro Series

  • TwinLab Beach Body

  • Trigosamine

  • Alvita

  • TwinLab Bariatric Support

24: Metabolife is Still an MLM

For those who may be interested in having a home based “new” Metabolife business, they still operate on the MLM business method. You can visit their website here.

25: Starter Kit and Plan

From what I see in researching the TwinLab Metabolife, those who start a Metabolife business will receive a Starter Kit that has a Strength DVD, an exercise sheet and a food/exercise diary. To stay active, and be involved in the compensation plan, representatives must purchase at least $200 for resale or personal use.

Final Thoughts

The complete Metabolife story seems like it could be made into a major motion picture. Ellis and Blevins did everything wrong, even though they thought they were getting away with something.

I would love to hear from anyone who was involved with the original Metabolife. Tell us your story. If you used Metabolife Ephedra products, please tell us if the damaged your health, or if you were fine with them.

Also, anyone who is a distributor with the new Metabolife, please tell us more.

I must admit that I was surprised that any company would want to use the name of a brand that was embroiled in such controversy. What do you think?

Please post your comments, suggestions or questions below. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Neither I, nor the Online MLM Community is affiliated in any way with Metabolife, TwinLab or any of their subsidiaries. This is posted for your educational benefit.


chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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2 thoughts on “Metabolife Review: 25 Things You Should Know”

  1. Very interesting! I’m with you on why would any company want to used a tarnished name? At first I didn’t recognize the company but after reading a little about the story I recall seeing it in the past.

    I hope some people come forward who have used it or were involved in the business.

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