- Contains A LOT of ingredients
- Provides some really interesting herbal extracts
- Should reduce stress
- Will promote good overall health
- Contains lots of dead weight
- Many ingredients unproven or are simply ineffective
- VERY expensive
Summary: This price tag is very hard to justify. We don’t know why so many people have written such positive Athletic Greens reviews; this is an average greens powder with a ridiculously inflated price. The best part of $100 for some over-hyped proprietary blends – no thanks. You can do a lot better than Athletic Greens for a fraction of the price. Greens powders should not cost the earth!
Athletic Greens Review: Whole food for optimum health?
Athletic Greens is probably the most popular greens powder supplement on the market right now (at the time of writing). It is probably the most sought-after greens powder in the US, and it is quickly gaining traction in the rest of the world too. Athletic Greens is a single-product brand; these guys don’t make anything else. Let’s take a look at what Athletic Greens claims to do which makes it different to all the other greens powders out there right now.
As you can see from the bag, Athletic Greens claims to be the “most complete supplement for a better you”. It is a very general, all-purpose health and wellness supplement.
It does not claim to do anything specific for performance; it just promises overall better health and happiness.
The Athletic Greens website does give us a nice breakdown of the different benefits this product delivers:
- Nervous system support
- Immune system support
- Hormone support
- Promotes efficient energy “production” and storage
- Liver & gut health support
- Provides antioxidants to facilitate “healthy aging”
Athletic Greens is a kind of full-spectrum health supplement. It may have “athletic” in its name, but this is not a sports supplement; it is designed to help everybody live a healthier, longer, more functional life.
The question we need to answer is – how good is it compared to the competition?
There are hundreds of greens powders, superfood supplements, and multivitamins on the market right now all making these same claims.
Does Athletic Greens really work? How good are the ingredients? Is Athletic Greens safe? Is it worth it? Who should use this supplement? Read our detailed Athletic Greens review below to find answers to all of these questions and more!
Athletic Greens Ingredients
Let’s dive right in and examine the formula. Here is the Athletic Greens formula as it appears on the bag:
Athletic Greens contains a whopping 75 different ingredients. We won’t go through every single one in detail. But we will go through each “complex” highlighting the main positives and negatives. If you have any questions, please post the in the comments section at the end.
Vitamin & Mineral Complex
This is actually quite a disappointing vitamin and mineral stack. Athletic Greens has emphasized some vitamins while leaving others woefully underdosed. If you were hoping to replace your current multivitamin with a greens powder, then this is not the product for you. It will be particularly disappointing for the most physically active among you, as well as for people who want to optimize sleep quality and hormone balance.
Athletic Greens provides very healthy doses of B12, Folate, Niacin, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and especially Vitamin C. Together, these vitamins contribute to better cognitive performance, improved eye health, better skin quality, more efficient energy metabolism, and better immune system function – just like Athletic Greens promised!
However, we get pitifully low doses of manganese, magnesium, copper, and selenium. There are also some important minerals missing, such as iodine. These minerals are absolutely essential for proper hormone synthesis, blood pressure management, cardiovascular function, and sleep quality.
Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense Raw Superfood Complex – 7388mg
This complex contains some excellent ingredients which have been found to promote overall good health, longevity, and performance. The effects on health are typically small with these substances, but the benefits are real.
For example, spirulina is thought to actively lower cholesterol, help control blood sugar, and promote a properly functioning immune system. The scientific evidence is shaky on all these points, but more research is being conducted all the time and the results are promising.
We also get a host of other general health-boosting extracts in this complex. Bilberry extract helps support vision and eye health. Beet root powder promotes circulation and cardiovascular health. Broccoli contains compounds which help with weight loss and blood sugar control. The different types of algae in this complex will also help control cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
Natural Extracts & Herbs Complex – 2732mg
This Athletic Greens complex is a real mixed bag. It contains some absolutely super plant extracts, as well as some completely over-hyped duds.
For example, this complex provides Ashwagandha and Rhodiola rosea. These two natural herbs are incredible anxiolytics; they both work to reduce anxiety, alleviate the worst symptoms of stress, and promote a calm, clear mind. They work in different ways too; Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels and promotes testosterone, which Rhodiola helps clear the mind and sooth the body.
We also get things like milk thistle, which protects and detoxifies the liver, along with artichoke extract, which may promote good brain development.
But on the other hand, this complex contains an awful lot of useless plant material – herbs which have never been shown to promote heath or performance in published clinical trials. Gotu Kola, Rosemary, Hawthorn Berry; these substances are not scientifically-proven supplements.
The use of things like Rosemary and ALA raises serious concerns about formula stuffing and ‘filler’ ingredients. More on this later.
Digestive Enzyme & Super Mushroom Complex – 154mg
This is not a particularly interesting complex apart from one ingredient – the Reishi mushrooms. Reishi mushroom is receiving a lot of attention at the moment; it is definitely the ‘in’ supplement ingredient right now. Some of this is obviously hype – claims that it can cure disease are completely false. However, one thing reishi mushroom does seem to be able to do is promote Nerve Growth Factor release in the brain. This promotes neuron growth and proliferation, enhancing cognitive function over the long-term.
The other ingredients in this complex will aid digestion somewhat. But very small quantities of some prebiotic fibers isn’t going to do very much. Reishi mushrooms should be consumed in doses of several hundred milligrams for the benefits described above – Athletic Greens can’t accommodate for them and the other ingredients with just 154mg.
Dairy Free Probiotics – 38mg
Probiotics are definitely a good addition to Athletic Greens – to any green powders in fact. Consuming large amount of herbal extracts, plant matter, and minerals can be pretty tough on the digestive system. Adding in some healthy bacteria species can facilitate digestion and help support overall good gut health.
We do recommend using prebiotics rather than probiotics if you are concerned about optimizing gut health. Probiotics introduce exogenous gut bacteria, whereas prebiotics feed your existing gut bacteria (good ones preferentially feed the best gut bacteria).
Our thoughts on the Athletic Greens formula
Honestly, we don’t understand why Athletic Greens is so much more popular than other green powders – there’s nothing that special about it.
The ingredients are generally very mixed.
Some of the plants used in the superfood complex definitely benefit overall health and wellness. Consuming these foods is associated with better health outcomes, enhanced performance (across multiple different measures), and in some cases, a longer lifespan. Spirulina, bilberry, and green tea are all great for overall health and performance.
But then some of the ingredients are not so fantastic. Things like Gotu Kola, Licorice Root and Rosemary are not known to have significant effects on health or performance. They don’t affect health in any way as far as we can tell.
What is much more worrying about the Athletic Greens formula is the fact that Athletic Greens chose to display everything as proprietary blends, or “complexes”.
We hate it when manufacturers don’t show a complete breakdown of their formulas. We like to know exactly how much we’re getting of each ingredient. Some people might think that is picky, but it’s actually really important.
Manufacturers generally only use proprietary blends when they want to disguise a poor formula from potential customers. Formula theft doesn’t happen, and people would struggle to replicate the formula themselves no matter what the doses are; so why hide the serving sizes for each ingredient?!
For all we know, the majority of the Athletic Greens complexes could be composed of the least effective ingredients. The Extracts & Herbs Complex, for example, could be 90% Rosemary. The Superfood Complex could just be 99% broccoli.
Keep that in mind when looking at the price tag of Athletic Greens!
Despite some really good ingredients and an extremely diversified formula, we aren’t overly impressed with Athletic Greens. It isn’t a terrible supplement by any means. It is just nothing special; we don’t know why this stuff sells so much better than any other greens powder!
We can never recommend a supplement that uses proprietary blends. That applies to this one too; stick to greens powders that show you every ingredient’s serving size. Athletic Greens does not.
Side Effects: Is Athletic Greens safe?
There is nothing in Athletic Greens which makes us think it will cause any side effects.
None of the ingredients used in Athletic Greens are thought to pose long-term health risks either.
There are no stimulants, synthetic drugs, or side effect-causing plant materials.
Allergies might be an issue, but we think only a small minority of people will have allergies to any of these ingredients. You should read the label carefully to make sure, and bare in mind that many of these ingredients are unusual – you might never have consumed them before!
We recommend getting in touch with the manufacturer if you have any concerns whatsoever about the ingredients used in Athletic Greens. If you think you might respond badly to any of these ingredients, talk to a doctor.
Some users might experience digestive discomfort, bloating, and cramps for the first few times using Athletic Greens. Few people are used to consuming such an intense mixture of plants, herbs, fungi and bacteria. These side effects should be mild as there isn’t much fiber, and you should get used to it pretty quickly.
Overall though, Athletic Greens looks safe to us – at least for 99.9% of users.
Price – Is Athletic Greens worth it?
This is the big question for us: is Athletic Greens worth the steep price tag.
Obviously, this depends to an extent on your own circumstances – how much do you need a greens powder, what are you using it for, how much disposable income do you have, and how much is Athletic Greens compared to other, similar greens powders on the market right now.
But even when you take these variables into account, Athletic Greens is extremely expensive.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it – the $97 per bag price tag is very difficult to justify.
This works out at $3.23 per serving.
If you buy the subscription, which is where you just pay monthly, the price only comes down to $77, or $2.57 per serving.
Compared to other greens powders, that is a lot of money.
When we factor in the poor value for money you get from proprietary blends, the price gets even harder to justify.
Athletic Greens uses proprietary blends, so we have no idea how much of each ingredient we get per serving. There are several ineffective, unproven ingredients in the complexes. There are common food stuffs in there too, like Rosemary and Licorice.
We think spending $97 on a supplement that could be predominantly rosemary, licorice and useless plant fibers is insane.
Is Athletic Greens worth it?
In our opinion, absolutely not. You can get similar products for less than half this price – products that are more open and transparent with their formulas too!
In conclusion – Should you buy Athletic Greens?
We think Athletic Greens is a pretty over-hyped supplement. We don’t get where all the positive Athletic Greens reviews have come from; there’s nothing that really separates this product from the dozens of other greens powders or superfood shakes on the market right now.
For starters, Athletic Greens uses a proprietary blend complex. We aren’t told how each ingredient is dosed. This is a massive red flag for us; prop blends usually mean you’re being ripped off.
The fact that Athletic Greens is $97 per bag really drives this point home – almost $100 for a supplement that could be mostly licorice and rosemary for all you know!
There are some great ingredients in Athletic Greens: spirulina, chlorella, rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha, reishi mushroom, good servings of B12, Niacin, Folate, and more.
But there is an awful lot of useless plant matter too. Some of the ingredients in this supplement have never been proven to enhance any aspect of health or performance.
The last nail in the coffin for us are the low doses of key minerals – Athletic Greens doesn’t provide anywhere near enough manganese, magnesium, zinc, selenium, or copper. If you were hoping to replace your daily multivitamin with a greens powder, Athletic Greens is not right for you.
All-in-all, we think Athletic Greens is a fairly good greens powder, but it is massively over-priced.
If you want to add more superfoods and health-promoting herbs to your diet, this might have been a good option if it weren’t for the price tag. There are plenty of other products out there offering all of the best ingredients in Athletic Greens, less useless garbage, and for a much lower price.