Category Archives: Juice Plus+

4 Things You Might Not Know About Whole Foods

Juice Plus+ Family

We often say  Juice Plus+ provides whole food based nutrition from a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains.

This means more to some people than to others.

So I’d like to give you a little more useful information about why whole foods are so important for a healthy lifestyle, and what foods are actually in  Juice Plus+.

  1. Disease Prevention. Many studies have found a whole food based diet to be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
  2. More Complete Nutrition. One problem with processed food is many healthy nutrients are removed during the manufacturing process. But whole foods are naturally loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients.
  3. Absence of Additives. Often packed with excess salt, fat and simple sugars, processed foods can lead to increased blood pressure, weight gain and disease. Conversely, whole foods slow down the digestive process—allowing for better absorption of their balanced nutrients—and help regulate blood sugar by slowing down the conversion of starches into glucose.
  4. Lower Cost. In addition to avoiding processing costs, whole foods can save you a little money by satisfying your hunger with less. Because whole foods are often dense with fiber and filling nutrients like protein, a serving of a whole food is more likely to fill you up than a serving of a processed food is. So while the price tag at the store might be a little higher, you’re actually getting more for your money.

Hungry for more? Discover which whole foods go into Juice Plus+.

Why We Take Juice Plus+

Startling Statistics:

1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will have cancer in their lifetimes; 20 years ago it was 1 in 10.
The Framingham Study
demonstrated that people who eat 6 servings/day of fruits and vegetables have 44% less risk of stroke; 9 servings/day yields a 66% reduction!

A large study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that 5 servings/week of green, leafy vegetables cut the risk of macular degeneration, the most frequent cause of blindness in people age 65+, by 43%!

The National Cancer Institute has for years recommended 5-9 servings/day of raw fruits and vegetables to help prevent lung, breast, colon, prostate cancers (by 50% or more)!

The American Heart Association has for years recommended 5-9 servings/day also to slow down the atherosclerotic process and prevent heart disease and stroke.

us dietary guidelinesThe current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults consume 9-13 servings (4.5-6.5 cups) of fresh fruits and vegetables every day and more for athletes. Even small children should eat 7 or more servings every day.

…YET, 95% of Americans are not getting 9-13 servings of produce a day!

In fact, only $50 is spent by the average American family of four on fruits and vegetables each month (2007 US Census Bureau). That’s less than $2 per day per family! According to the USDA, it now costs a family of four more than $6000 a year ($16.44/day) to eat the recommended minimum 7 servings of fruits and vegetables we need for good health.

And our CHILDREN?! Obesity is epidemic; in their lifetimes 1 in 2 will develop heart disease; 1 in 2, cancer, most will not live as long as their parents (according to Dr. David Katz)! Degenerative diseases of the aged are now evidenced in children. ADD and ADHD are on the rise! WHY? Children as young as 4 years of age, should be eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, yet a study of 3112 children grades 2-6 proved almost ½ didn’t eat even 1 fruit or vegetable in a day! FOOD IS FUEL, and they are running on empty!


No, and here is why:

As many as possible need to be RAW because enzymes are only found in RAW foods. Enzymes act as catalysts for the thousands of processes that our cells undergo every second. They strengthen the immune system, defy aging and detoxify the body. Cooking deactivates enzymatic activity. Meat is cooked, milks and juices are pasteurized, grains are baked and nuts are roasted. Fruits and vegetables are about the only other sources of enzymes and even then we cook most of them.

VARIETY is important because everyone absorbs nutrients differently. Your body may absorb calcium beautifully from broccoli, but I may need to get it from spinach. Kale is the #1 anticancer vegetable and most never eat it; do you? Since each fruit and vegetable has a unique composition of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and trace elements, and since most people only eat the few fruits and vegetables they like, they may be missing some important fuel.

Not only does a VINE RIPENED tomato (for example) taste delicious, but also the bright red coloring is indicative of the rich phytochemicals inside (in this case lycopene). Vine-ripening not only creates MORE nutrients, they are absorbed better. Produce needs to be FRESH or nutrients are lost. How much truly FRESH produce do you eat?

There is also solid evidence that the fruits and vegetables bought in the store today don’t contain the NUTRITIONAL VALUE they had about 40 or 50 years ago. And, when it comes to superior taste and nutrition, fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden are always best. Usually picked long before ripe, by the time your produce reaches the local grocer, it has had plenty of exposure to air, heat and light — enough time to diminish its nutritional value even more. This means, short of growing our own produce in perfect conditions, we need a better solution.


Juice Plus+ is WHOLE FOOD: it is composed of 26 raw fruits, vegetables, berries and grains which are grown in nutrient dense soil, allowed to ripen on the vine and picked/processed quickly!

“If your lifestyle does not control your body,

eventually your body will control your lifestyle.”

Juice Plus+ is now over 20 years old and is the world’s most thoroughly researched wholefood-based nutritional product. It helps us bridge the gap between what we do eat and what we need to eat, in terms of daily fruit and vegetable intake. We are so glad we have Juice Plus+ as a part of our regular daily healthy lifestyle. How about you?

Many have turned to juicing as a solution; God bless them! But: Juice Plus+’ing is better than Juicing! And Juice Plus+ gives you the nutrients of 26 fruits, vegetables, berries and grains without all the sugar and salt!

Plant Mix Kills Cancer Cells

A study led by Madhwa Raj, PhD, Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, has found that a super cocktail of six natural compounds in vegetables, fruits, spices and plant roots killed 100% of sample breast cancer cells without toxic side effects on normal cells. The results, which also revealed potential treatment target genes, are published in the November 2013 issue of The Journal of Cancer.

eatingbroccoli“One of the primary causes of both the recurrence of breast cancer and deaths is a small group of cancer stem cells that evade therapy,” notes Dr. Raj. “These often multi-drug-resistant cells have the ability to generate new tumors, so it is critically important to develop new approaches to more effective and safer treatment or prevention of breast cancer.”

The research team tested ten known protective chemical nutrients found in foods like broccoli, grapes, apples, tofu, and turmeric root (a spice used in Indian curry) before settling upon six – Curcumin known as tumeric, Isoflavone from soybeans, Indo-3-Carbinol from cruciferous plants, C-phycocyanin from spirulina, Reservatrol from grapes, and Quercetin, a flavonoid present in fruits, vegetables, and tea.

cfightingfoodThe researchers administered these six at bioavailable levels to both breast cancer and control cells. They tested the compounds individually and in combination. They found that the compounds were ineffective individually. When combined, though, the super cocktail suppressed breast cancer cell growth by more than 80%, inhibited migration and invasion, caused cell cycle arrest, and triggered the process leading to cell death resulting in the death of 100% of the breast cancer cells in the sample. The researchers observed no harmful effects on the control cells.

Further analysis also identified several key genes, which could serve as markers to follow the progress of therapy.

Although the cocktail was not tested against BRCA1 and BRAC2, previous studies have shown that they are molecular targets of four of the six compounds. The researchers also earlier demonstrated that two of the compounds synergize effectively to kill ovarian cancer cells.

Read more from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

It’s interesting to note that ALL of the plant nutrients mentioned in this article are contained in the Juice Plus+ products, making Juice Plus+ a super “super cocktail”!

One of the recent clinical studies of Juice Plus+ was conducted  on ovarian cancer patients at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. In this study, Juice Plus+ and Juice Plus+ Complete helped bridge the gap between what is consumed and what is needed by ovarian cancer patients, improving their quality of life dramatically. The study was published in the Gynecologic Oncology Journal.

The research team also analyzed data on the recurrence of cancer and the survival rate of the women in the study over a five year period. The results were so positive that they are planning to study the data in more depth, including a control group of women who were not in the study.

In this webinar the lead researcher, Dr. Lovell Jones, explains why his study is so exciting:

When Prostate Cancer Strikes

Prostate cancer strikes 1 in 6 men in America (including my brother).  It is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

The family impacted by this disease sometimes suffers terrible loss; this was true of one young 8 year old and her family. But Winter Vinecki’s story, while truly sad, is inspirational, because of the way she responded.

In May 2008, Winter experienced personal hardship that would prove to be the defining moment in her life and career as an athlete. After a series of medical tests, her dad, Michael (right), was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer. The grim prognosis was met not only with sadness but with determination. Winter vowed to do everything in her power to put an end to prostate cancer and help find a cure so that other families wouldn’t have to endure the personal hardships that hers was going through. Thus, Team Winter became a vehicle for funding prostate cancer research and raising prostate cancer awareness on a global scale.

Since the passing of her dad in 2009, Winter’s determination has only grown. While maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA in Stanford University’s prestigious online High School, EPGY, she travels almost every weekend to races in which she, her three brothers and her mom, Dr. Dawn Estelle, spread the word about Team Winter and prostate cancer awareness. She runs a Team Winter booth at various expos and undertakes speaking engagements at schools with her “Winter’s Inspirational Talk Series”, all the while racing with unrivaled passion. Winter is the reigning two-time IronKids National Triathlon Champion. Each first place trophy she receives is sent to a person affected by prostate cancer as a means of support and a gesture of goodwill. While most kids cherish their trophies, she cherishes the people she gives them to.

Recently, Winter became the youngest person to run a marathon on every continent when she crossed the Athens Classic Marathon finish at Panathinaiko Stadium, the 1896 Olympic Stadium. All to help find a cure for prostate cancer, in honor of her Dad. Winter’s mother also ran all 7 continents with her and set a record as well for mother and daughter running together.

Watch highlights of her marathon in Greece in the video below.

We are proud that Team Juice Plus+ and Team Winter have teamed up;  Winter Vinecki is one of, if not THE, most courageous and extraordinary 14 years-olds on the planet.

winterWinter has used Juice Plus+ for nutritional support for many years and appeared at a recent Juice Plus+ Conference to share her story and how much she believes Juice Plus+ has helped her achieve her remarkable feats.

For Winter, it’s not about the attention. It’s about bringing vindication to her dad, who was given a death sentence in the form of prostate cancer; a disease in which one in six men will be afflicted with. She strives every day, sacrificing playtime and other luxuries kids her age take for granted to ensure that she is doing all she can to bring an end to this tragic and all-too-common disease.

Some may find it hard to fathom that a 14-year-old is capable of all of what she has accomplished, but for her, it’s only the beginning.

Winter is also the youngest and newest member to the US Olympic Development team for aerial skiing, Fly Elite. She lives and trains in Park City, UT and has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Desert Runners … how do they survive?!

The four driest, windiest, hottest, and coldest deserts on earth; the Atacama in Chile, The Gobi in China, the Sahara in Africa, and the “Last Desert” in Antarctica.

These are the locations for the Racing the Planet‘s 4 Deserts Ultra marathon series, rated by Time magazine as one of the most challenging endurance competitions in the world.

Each of the four races covers more than 150 miles – the equivalent of running six marathons in five days, over extreme and diverse terrains with temperatures ranging from over 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees below zero.

The people you will meet on this video will attempt to run, walk, or crawl their way across all four deserts, carrying everything they need- clothes, food, water, medical supplies, sleeping gear – in a single backpack, pushing their bodies and minds to the very limits of human endurance.

Do they have what it takes to survive the 4 Deserts? The answer, of course, is ‘yes’! It’s worth noting that Juice Plus+ is an important part of their survival kit.

The video below is narrated by Dean Karnazes – The Ultra Marathon Man – who recently ran across America. Worth watching!

Dr. David Katz on Wellness

katzrecAt our recent Juice Plus+ Conference in Orlando we had an amazing presentation by Dr. David Katz on “Sense and Science”.

We in Juice Plus+ are proud to be associated with Dr. Katz, one of the most popular and respected physicians in North America today, and world famous Director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University.

In Men’s Health magazine recently, we saw the most recent public recommendation for Juice Plus+ by Dr. Katz.

He recommends we supplement our diets with “whole foods” not a synthetic multivitamin, because research is conclusive that vitamin pills do not work; yet he knows that Juice Plus+ works really well.

Dr. Katz has predicted that “this generation of children will be first to live shorter lives than their parents”, as a result of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes now affecting our children and young adults.

In an effort to turn back the tide of obesity, he created a classroom program called Nutrition Detectives that teaches children how to make healthier food choices.

He wanted to convert it from a slide presentation into a video, so that he could get the program into the hands of more schools, more quickly, and in a form that would have greater appeal to elementary school-age kids.

Dr. Katz had “big food” companies who were happy to underwrite the effort, but he understood their involvement might undermine the credibility of his project. So he turned to Juice Plus+ to bring his vision to life.

The result is a Nutrition Detectives DVD, which is now available to teachers and classrooms everywhere at

A product of Dr. Katz’ non-profit Turn the Tide Foundation, the 53-minute video is available free as a “streaming” video online or as a DVD for a small shipping and handling charge. The entire production was arranged, overseen, and financially underwritten by The Juice Plus+ Company, working in close conjunction with Dr. Katz.

“I am profoundly grateful to my friends at Juice Plus+,” Katz says. “We are partners in the same mission: educating others about the importance of good nutrition and preventive health.”

An Associate Professor (adjunct) at the Yale University School of Medicine, David Katz, M.D. serves as nutrition columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine; as a medical contributor for ABC News; and as a syndicated health/nutrition columnist for The New York Times. He also writes a daily blog for Prevention magazine and has published nearly 100 scientific articles and chapters, as well as nine books, including a nutrition textbook used by the Harvard School of Medicine, among others. Dr. Katz was elected to the governing board of the American College of Preventive Medicine in 2002 and President of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine in 2004.

Dr. Katz is one of thousands of health care professionals around the world who recommend Juice Plus+ to their patients, friends and family.

Whey Protein vs Soy Protein … You Decide!

by Jack Medina, M.A.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is animal based and a derivative of milk production. It is obtained by coagulating and removing the curd (casein) during cheese production. After it is separated from milk, whey contains almost all of the vitamins and minerals, 50% of the milk solids, and 20-24% of the milk proteins. 

Whey proteins are unique in that they contain high levels of essential amino acids, which include lycine, methionine, cystine, and branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). 

Whey is considered an excellent source of protein because of its high biologic value and amino acid composition. The final products are high quality and have received tremendous attention from not only the scientific community, but athletes and health/fitness enthusiasts as well.

Important note for bodybuilders & athletes: despite the large number of body builders & athletes using whey protein for ergogenic (growth) purposes, there is little scientific evidence demonstrating a growth effect. The primary advantage of whey protein is the rapid availability of amino acids after ingestion. This is not what advertisers lead you to believe. 

Soy Protein

Soy protein is plant based. Using soy is a good way to get less animal food products, which we get too much of. Soy proteins are high in quality and are free from cholesterol and are very low in saturated fat. In addition, there is fiber in soy products along with phytonutrients not present in whey protein. 

Soy is a quality equivalent to both casein and various animal proteins and contains high amounts of glutamine and arginine. Recent studies regarding the cardioprotective (heart protection) benefits of soy isoflavones has stimulated an increase in the numbers of people using soy powders. In addition, studies on nitrogen balance indicate that isolated soy is comparable to that of animal proteins. 

Soy lacks sulfer-containing amino acids but research shows that well processed soy isolates and soy protein concentrates are essentially equal to those of animal proteins. Soy proteins are also beneficial because of their antioxidant and immune enhancing properties. 

Soy is well tolerated and there are no adverse side effects associated with its use. 

Measuring Protein Quality

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) considers a product to be an “excellent” source of protein if it contains more than 20% Daily Value per cup and “good” if it contains between 10-19% Daily Value per cup; this is based upon a 2,000 calorie per day diet. This “Daily Value” score is determined by taking into account how digestible a protein is, in addition to comparing its essential amino acid profile to the essential amino acid profile needed for growth by a child age 2-5 years. 

complete3How does your protein score? 

We recommend you consider trying Juice Plus+ Complete. It scores in the “EXCELLENT” Category; one serving has a 25% Daily Value, excellent by anyone’s standards. 

Juice Plus+ Complete is soy-based while whey protein is a component of milk. Both provide protein. The soy in Juice Plus+ Complete is non-GMO and water-washed; meaning it’s the healthiest soy out there. Check the labels for comparison and consider your personal choice for taste. The choice is yours!

jackmedinaJack Medina, M.A. has been a strength and conditioning coach and consultant for over 40 years. He developed 19 All-American gymnasts and 2 National Event champions. He served as consultant to the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and the Golden State Warriors. An active member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength & Conditioning Association and a Certified Fitness Specialist by the Cooper Center in Dallas, TX, Jack has inspired thousands of people to take charge of their health and fitness through his public speaking and his book The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance.

The United States Performance Center is excited to be offering Juice Plus+ Complete as a recovery drink for all their athletes.

drrayDr. Mitra Ray (PhD researcher) says:

“While whey protein has been shown to increase muscle mass, it also causes inflammation. Whey is made from the protein left over in making cheese, which used to be thrown away but is now successfully marketed. It is highly processed, though marketers will argue that not all whey sources are the same. Nonetheless, all milk-based proteins along with other animal proteins are highly acidic and have been linked to cancer. In my work, I see far too many people who are suffering from pain and inflammation aggravated or brought on by the use of whey/casein powders. The intestines cannot absorb the typically high amounts of whey protein and this can also lead to intestinal toxemia.complete3

The soy in Juice Plus+ Complete is made from non-GMO, water washed, minimally-processed soy, similar to crushed edamame. Many who have ‘allergies to soy’ I find really have allergies to GMO soy, and have no issues with the Juice Plus+ Complete. The isoflavones in soy have been shown to fight cancer and are an integral part of more cutting-edge cancer therapies along with being beneficial in balancing hormones in both men and women. Juice Plus+ Complete contains many other beneficial plant protein sources besides soy, and has been clinically shown to build lean muscle mass. Beyond being a source of protein Juice Plus+ Complete has fiber to promote a healthy gut. People experience sustainable energy, balanced blood sugar levels and decreased cravings because Juice Plus+ Complete is a low glycemic load source of complex carbohydrates.

For many reasons Juice Plus+ Complete is superior to the highly marketed milk protein based protein powders commonly used by most trainers and marketed in most gyms. From a health standpoint I personally stay away from dairy products.

As the name implies, Juice Plus+ Complete is a whole-food, plant-based, balanced protein product with only positive results including reduced inflammation, increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, balanced hormones and blood sugar levels and more energy. It is truly a superior Green protein choice in my book.”

What does Wellness Cost?

All this for less than the price of a cup of coffee?!


According to Accounting Principals’ latest Workonomix survey, the average American worker is shelling out more than $20 a week on coffee, for a yearly average of $1,092. That’s about $3 a day.

Some claim that drinking coffee has health benefits – we seriously doubt it. But whether you drink coffee or not (we much prefer tea!), there is no doubt that $3 could be spent every day on something with proven health benefits.

hike2We have had the privilege of ‘eating’ Juice Plus+ and working with it for over 20 years, so to say we are ‘believers’ in this family of products would be an understatement. We are in our late 60s, in great shape and take NO medications of any kind! Juice Plus+ has been the catalyst we needed (as do most people) for dietary and lifestyle changes that have been life-changing.

Juice Plus+ (whole food) provides the nutritional essence of 26 different fruits, vegetables and grains in convenient capsules and delicious soft chewables; it’s the most thoroughly researched, safe and effective nutritional product in history.

Most of us do our best to bridge the gap between what we eat and what we know we should eat, but we are very confused about supplements – it seems that some are considered dangerous to our health. 

Hundreds of prominent doctors like Dr. Bill Sears tell us that we should eat many more fruits and vegetables; these same doctors know we can’t or won’t so they prescribe Juice Plus+.

Juice Plus+ has been thoroughly studied in pregnancy, children, young adults, athletes, families and the elderly, with results published in major, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Juice Plus+ is proven to powerfully support good health.

Juicing vs. Juice Plus+’ing

by Liza Pepple, Manager of Special Projects at The Juice Plus+ Company

newbottlescapsulesIn traditional juicing processes, especially for industrial (or large scale) practices, fruit and vegetable juice is formed by squeezing the produce until the liquid is removed. That liquid is often a clear fluid because most processors cannot “juice” the solids. This leaves an almost clarified liquid that has a relatively high sugar content and relatively low fiber content, and contains none of the micronutrients that would be found in the skin or peels of the fruit, or the leaves and stems of the vegetables.

The “Juice Plus+ing” process is more rigorous, and results in what we feel is a much better finished product.

We start with the whole fruits and vegetables. We leave the skin and seeds intact (unless the seeds are toxic, as is the case with peaches) and process the whole produce.

We have a very large grinder that breaks the majority of the pieces into small bits and then those small bits are further broken down into a fine slurry.

It is this slurry containing the micronutrients from the skin and seeds or leaves and stems along with the flesh that is dried. This picture (left) of the beginning of our process is the rough grinding of the fruits (click on the picture to enlarge).

This is a picture of our cranberries on the drier (right). If you look closely you can see fibrous strings (click on the picture to enlarge).

What you can’t see in this picture, but I have seen consistently, are pieces of seeds that are still relatively whole.

When we test our product against other “juiced” powders, we consistently see higher values for things like vitamin e and c, as well as polyphenols and anthocyanins. 

Additionally, we consistently see deeper, more vibrant colors in our products than in competitive products.

Here is a picture of our cranberry compared to standard juiced cranberry powder (click on the picture to enlarge).

You can see that our powder (on the right) is darker and has more natural variation than the one on the left.

Juice Plus+ product quality assurance is second to none.

We used to juice. Now – for twenty years – we have Juice Plus+’ed! The best news is that this special way of making the Juice Plus+ powders results in the most densely nutritious and effective whole-food based product in history. This is proven by the impressive body of research on Juice Plus+, published in more than 30 medical and nutrition journals.

We encourage you to watch our 10 minute video which explains exactly what Juice Plus+ is, how it’s made, and why it is the most thoroughly researched and top selling nutritional product (in a capsule) in the world.

If you are not already benefiting from Juice Plus+ we’ll be happy to get you started.

Your Daily Multivitamin May Be Hurting You

physiology supplelmets multivitamins research science health pills crushed science

The debate isn’t whether supplements are good or bad. It’s “are they useless, or are they worse than useless?”


At this year’s European College of Sport Science conference in Barcelona, Mari Carmen Gomez-Cabrera, a physiologist at the University of Valencia and one of the world’s leading experts on antioxidants, was debating the merits of supplements with two top researchers. For more than 90 minutes they went back and forth, parsing the accumulated evidence in front of a packed auditorium. Finally, Gomez-Cabrera landed on a provocative question that summarized her position.

The debate, she explained, isn’t whether supplements are good or bad for athletes. Rather, it’s “are they useless, or are they worse than useless?”

The question may come as a shock to the more than half of Americans who take some sort of dietary supplement—a vast catch-all term that includes everything from vitamins and minerals to herbal remedies to exotic performance boosters like deer-antler spray and glutamine. It’s no surprise that the purported muscle-building supplements make unproven claims and may come with hazardous side effects. But in the past few years, Gomez-Cabrera and a growing number of researchers have come to believe that even respectable mainstream supplements like vitamins C and E suffer from the same basic flaw: few apparent benefits and increasing evidence of negative effects.

For example, in July’s issue of the Journal of Physiology, researchers discovered that resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine, actually limited the positive effects of cardiovascular exercise—like an increased VO2 max—when taken daily in high concentrations. In July, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with high levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their blood, often from fish-oil supplements, had a significantly greater risk of prostate cancer.

According to Pieter Cohen, a professor at Harvard Medical School, there are really only two types of sports supplements: those that are safe but don’t work, and those that might work but have side effects, especially at higher than normal levels. “If any supplement, no matter how beneficial, has a pharmaceutical effect, it’s also got a downside,” he says. “There’s no way to get around that basic principle.”

Most supplements stay firmly in the first category. Taking a daily multivitamin, Cohen emphasizes, won’t harm you, but it usually won’t help either, which is why major health organizations like the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine don’t recommend supplements to healthy people.

It’s not that vitamins and minerals aren’t important. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, you can get scurvy; without enough iron, you can become anemic; and if you live far enough north to see Russia from your backyard, you may need some extra vitamin D. But all three of these substances have also been linked to negative effects at high doses. Same goes for prolonged use of other common supplements like vitamin E and calcium. In short, unless tests have shown that you’re low in a particular vitamin or mineral, there’s no evidence to suggest that you should take a daily supplement.

That rule also applies if you’re an athlete who takes supplements because, say, you assume your training requires an anti-oxidant boost to speed recovery. Gomez-Cabrera and her colleagues at the University of Valencia have shown that antioxidant supplements suppress the oxidative stress that signals your body to adapt and get stronger. The result: regular use of something seemingly innocuous like vitamin C can actually block gains in endurance-boosting mitochondria.

The balance between risk and return also works in subtler ways, as Wen-Bin Chiou, a psychologist at National Sun Yatsen University in Taiwan, has shown in a series of experiments on a phenomenon called the licensing effect. As part of a battery of tests, subjects were asked to take a pill; half were told the pill was a multivitamin, while the other half were told it was a placebo. In truth, they were all placebos.

In subsequent tests, the subjects who thought they’d taken a vitamin consistently behaved in less healthy ways. When asked to try out a pedometer, they were more likely to choose a shorter walking route; at lunch, they chose less healthy food. In follow-up studies, Chiou has also discovered that smokers who think they’ve been given a vitamin smoke more, and people who are given a weight-loss supplement are less likely to stick to their diet. The same thing happens when you go to the gym or eat a plate of spinach. The difference is that exercise and vegetables have real benefits, so you’ve still got a chance to come out ahead. If you take a pill with no benefits, the best you can do is break even.

Which brings us back to Gomez-Cabrera in Barcelona. She, of all people, has enormous respect for the powers of micronutrients like antioxidants—she has devoted her life to studying them. “But if you eat enough fruits and vegetables, five servings a day,” she says, “I don’t think you need anything else.” And if you’re not eating like that, then taking a pill isn’t a solution. In fact, it may be part of the problem.


Unlike the supplements discussed in this article, Juice Plus+ is a whole food concentrate proven to provide perfect protection against oxidation while supporting the training effect. Watch my webinar here:

#juiceplus #exercise #antioxidants #nutrition #vitamins