Athletic Greens (Product Review)
I have a short list of supplements I think are great for pretty much any athlete. That list includes creatine, fish oil, and greens. I feel like greens get the least attention, but for many athletes striving to dial in their diet, greens might be just the right thing to balance out their nutrition.
Taste and Flavor
Recently I tried Athletic Greens, a greens powder with a well-rounded ingredients list that includes all the features of a good greens supplement. The flavor of greens drinks is always a toss-up, with some being hard to stomach. Athletic Greens, however, is one of the good ones. The flavor of greenery is mild and pleasant, and is complemented by a light sweetness provided by some of the added fruits, vegetables, vanilla, and stevia.
Speaking of stevia, the packaging claims that there are no sweeteners in Athletic Greens, which is a bit misleading. Stevia is listed in the herb section, since it is an herbal extract, but it is primarily used as a sweetener. While this can be forgiven, it does make me wonder what else might be worded in a misleading way.
Athletic Greens can be used as a multivitamin/multimineral as well as a greens supplement, and provides several vitamins and minerals. Namely, one serving provides the full daily value of zinc, almost as much vitamin A, and as much or more of vitamins C, E, biotin, and many of the B vitamins. That includes 160% of the daily value of B6, an important cofactor in the production of several neurotransmitters, and nearly 500% of the daily value of B12, which is important for brain health. For vegans, good sources of B12 can be hard to come by, so Athletic Greens is an excellent choice for vegan athletes.
These nutrients come from a host of greenery, herbs, and mushrooms. Athletic Greens divides these ingredients into four major classes:
- Superfoods: These are the herbs and greens included for nutrients and alkalinity. The latter is, of course, important for athletes to help maintain the pH of their bodies, particularly in those who do not consume enough green vegetables in their diets. This list includes many of the usual suspects of greens supplements such as spirulina, wheatgrass, and chlorella. The superfoods group makes up the bulk of the powder.
- Herbs and Antioxidants: This group of foods is the second most abundant in the powder. The herbs and antioxidants are included for nutrients and high levels of antioxidants. This group includes pea protein, citrus bioflavonoids (great antioxidants for athletes), and coQ-10, amongst other ingredients.
- Digestive enzymes and Mushrooms: This section includes several herbs high in digestive enzymes, as well as reishi and shiitake mushrooms.
- Probiotics: Athletic Greens also includes 3.6 billion count each of lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum, two important species of intestinal microflora. These are sourced dairy-free, but the acidophilus may help lactose intolerant people to digest lactose. The superfood section above also includes a fructooligosaccharide, a type of prebiotic that may help with the natural development of microflora already existing in the intestines which could result in many beneficial health effects.
Athletic Greens contains both green tea extract and cocoa extract, but because they are standardized for antioxidant content they do not contribute much caffeine. I learned this by asking their support department, which was helpful, informative, and prompt in their reply.
The major con for me is the price. Good greens supplements aren’t cheap, averaging about $1.00 per serving, but in my opinion they are still worth it. However, Athletic Greens has a price tag that would make even its high-priced competitors blush, coming in at $4.23 per serving.
For athletes and active people, whom the product is marketed to, the company recommends two servings per day, which would last two weeks and one day. That means for athletes, the price tag goes up to over $8.00 per serving. For the same price, I could invest in a local CSA, pay someone to dehydrate the vegetables for me, and still save money.
All-in-all, Athletic Greens is a solid greens supplement with a good flavor that supports digestive health, energy production, balanced nutrient intake, and alkalinity to your diet. A greens supplement like this is a good addition to any athlete’s regimen, but is especially important for those not consuming enough fruits and vegetables. I’m happy to recommend not missing out on this important aspect of health, but the price point will be well beyond what many are willing to pay.
Athletic Greens is available for $127.00 for 30 servings at AthleticGreens.com.