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Do Green Powder Supplements Work: A Dietitian's Opinion

Health Hack or Money Drain?

do green powder supplements work

There are more and more brands now producing a version of these supplements. As a Registered Dietitian I am more qualified than most to comment on the effectiveness of these supplements. Here is my opinion on do green powder supplements work.

For people short on time here are the key messages

There is no consistent link with supplementation and improved health

Natural combinations of vitamins and minerals in plants (like these powders) and animal foods are better absorbed than tablet

Green powders contain less vitamins than a tablet

Plants contain fibres promoting good gut health

We are still discovering nutrients required for good health. There is no substitute for a variety of wholegrain and of plants

You absorb more vitamins from the powders

I have not seen any lab data confirming this, but there is a believable mechanism meaning green powders are more bioavailable than traditional lab made pills. Nutrients act in synergy and assist the absorbance of each other. Lab made vitamins lack the surrounding nutrients to help absorbance, whereas green powders, although highly refined, likely still have some of the other nutrients. However, compared to lab made pills, green powders contain much less vitamins and minerals. Sometimes they aren't even meeting 100% of daily requirements.

Gut Health

The green powders have the additional benefit, compared to tablets, of containing plant compounds which promote gut health. Such as fibres and phytonutrients. However, these are often in low quantities compared to the amounts used in clinical trials for significant effects. For example one scoop of a powder often contains 2g of fibre. Your recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g a day.

Plant Based, but is that good?

The green powders are often entirely plant based. If you haven't noticed, plants are very different from us. They need nutrients in a different form. For this reason animal sourced vitamins are often better absorbed, especially in combination with plants. A combination of meat, dairy and plants is a diet we have evolved over thousands of years to be good at absorbing and is why supplements are no match for a diet with a variety of foods.

Suspicious Health Claims

There is strict regulation around the health benefits which can be made on products. There is a long list of claims which have been made illegal and a very short list of the claims you are allowed to make.

For example one of the now illegal claims is 'Kinder: the chocolate that helps you grow'. This is illegal due to a lack of scientific evidence. Some of the claims made by some of the green powder companies may fall into this list.

There is no legalised claim regarding anxiety or energy. This does not mean nutrition cannot influence anxiety or energy, just there is no scientific backing to the claims and therefore the claims cannot be made.

The Final Score: Do Green Powder Supplements work?

Adam McDonald has produced a highly detailed video on Athletic Greens on youtube. If you're interested I recommend watching this.

My professional recommendation for a healthy individual is to include a variety of plants in your diet and take a vitamin D supplement from September to March (if you are in the UK).   

Please leave a comment, and share your experience if you've used these products before.

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