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Athletic Greens Review: Is It Worth It? A Dietitian’s Perspective

Written by Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on May 6, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

4.2

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.8
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:4.0
  • Brand Transparency:5.0

Athletic Greens is a green superfood mix that is formulated to support normal energy, immunity, digestive health, and brain function. For anyone seeking an all-in-one comprehensive supplement to complement (but not replace) a healthy diet and lifestyle, this seems like a great choice – if it fits in their budget.

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Athletic Greens Review: Is It Worth It? A Dietitian’s Perspective
Photo by WellnessVerge

Pros

  • The supplement offers 100% of the daily value for many micronutrients and could easily replace a multivitamin if desired.
  • The formulation is based on whole food sources without the addition of unwanted ingredients and uses natural coloring and flavoring components.
  • Provides antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and compounds that support the body’s natural well-being.
  • Product is NSF Certified for Sport.

Cons

  • Could be a costly investment for many consumers, especially if used as a daily multivitamin supplement over the long term.
  • This product cannot replace an overall healthy diet, which some consumers may presume.
  • Difficult to know how much of the ingredients in the proprietary blends is in the product, as it is not listed on the label.

What Is Athletic Greens?

The Athletic Greens formula contains 75 vitamins, minerals, and ingredients sourced from whole foods.

The product claims to be more bioavailable than pill-based supplements because it comes in powder form.

Its plant-based ingredients make it suitable for a paleo, keto, or vegan diet.

Athletic Greens is formulated to provide all of the micronutrients of an average multivitamin with the addition of a raw superfood complex, herbs, extracts, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, a mushroom complex, and two strains of probiotics.

It’s free from wheat, dairy, gluten, corn, lactose, sucrose, dextrose, egg, yeast, peanuts, animal products, GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, harmful chemicals, artificial colors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and added sugar.

Evaluation of Ingredients

Athletic Greens is a complex supplement intended to support optimal nutrition and wellness.

Because there are over 75 ingredients, I’m only evaluating a few components from each of the four blends.

The ingredients reviewed were chosen because they are commonly used in other supplements and may be more familiar to many consumers. 

The individual amounts of each ingredient are unknown as they are each part of the following blends:

  • Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense Raw Superfood Complex (7388 mg)
  • Nutrient-Dense Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidants (2732 mg)
  • Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex (154 mg)
  • Dairy-Free Probiotics, 7.2 billion CFU (38 mg)
Athletic Greens Supplement Facts
Photo by WellnessVerge

Organic Spirulina

Part of Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense Raw Superfood Complex

Spirulina is an algae that contains the alkaline green pigment chlorophyll, which is thought to help the body maintain its normal pH balance.

Spirulina is a good source of plant protein with a long history of use and is rich in antioxidant phycocyanin. It’s also been observed to have blood glucose-lowering effects.

Organic Chlorella Root Powder

Part of Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense Raw Superfood Complex

Chlorella is another algae that provides more omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and provitamin A. It also has protective effects on the liver.

Specifically, chlorella protected the livers of rats from cadmium toxicity in a 2008 study.

In an 8-week 2014 study, chlorella was found to be beneficial in alleviating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and lowering blood fats compared to patients who received a placebo.

Pea Protein Isolate

Part of Nutrient-Dense Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidants Blend

Though newer to the protein powder game, pea protein has proven to be a good alternative to people who want a plant-based, soy-free option.

Research shows that pea protein is equally satiating when compared to whey protein. It also contains all nine essential amino acids that the body requires.

Ashwagandha

Part of 2732 mg Nutrient-Dense Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidants Blend

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb and is known to be an adaptogen, which means it seems to help the body function at its best under stress.

A 2012 study found that daily ashwagandha for two months was beneficial in improving resistance to chronic stress among 64 adults.

Other studies have found it to help increase energy and concentration, improve insulin sensitivity, and even improve cognitive function.

Athletic Greens mixed in water
Photo by WellnessVerge

Astragalus

Part of Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex

Astragalus is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for a wide range of ailments and is considered useful for promoting longevity.

Antioxidants from dried astragalus root can have a protective effect on the heart, brain, kidney, intestine, liver, and lungs, as seen through models of oxidative stress-related disease.

Furthermore, it appears efficacious for protecting against inflammation-related diseases, especially in the digestive tract.

Bromelain

Part of Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex

Bromelain is a compound extracted from pineapple and has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, circulatory- and immune-boosting properties.

Animal studies suggest bromelain may be effective in targeting inflammation in the gut. Furthermore, it helps the body digest protein.

Reishi and Shiitake Mushroom Powders

Part of Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex

Mushrooms are full of micronutrients, and reishi and shiitake have immune-boosting and adaptogenic properties.

Both have been studied for their immune-modulating abilities in a lab and human research.

One study found that reishi supplementation was helpful in improving fatigue, anxiety, and ultimately the quality of life among breast cancer patients.

L. Acidophilus

Part of Dairy-Free Probiotics Blend

This bacteria is commonly used in probiotics because it’s been observed to support gut health, modulate bowel function, and have antimicrobial properties.

Some studies have even found that L. acidophilus can suppress intestinal pathogens, making more room for good bacteria to thrive.

B. Bifidum

Part of Dairy-Free Probiotics Blend

This is the most abundant bacteria of the gut microbiota in healthy breastfed infants, suggesting that it plays an enormous role in overall health.

Other studies have confirmed this, finding that B. bifidum is a promising enhancer of microbial diversity in the intestine and has a vital role in health.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Athletic Greens based on the available research:

  • Supports energyStrong Evidence
  • Supports immune systemGold Star Evidence
  • Supports gut health and digestionGold Star Evidence
  • Supports liver functionModerate Evidence
  • Supports hormone functionLimited Evidence
  • Supports brain and neural functionStrong Evidence
  • Supports the body’s natural detox processModerate Evidence
  • Supports blood sugar levels already within normal rangeStrong Evidence

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The recommended serving size for Athletic Greens is one scoop of powder (12 grams) per day, to be mixed with 5–10 ounces of cold water.

The consumer is instructed to drink it in the morning on an empty stomach for optimal absorption.

The bag provides 30 servings. However, the bag states that athletes or people with significant life stressors could take two servings per day if desired.

Side effects are possible with any supplement, and this one contains a long list of ingredients.

The most commonly reported side effects I could find with this product include bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and digestive issues that may range in severity.

Additional research on a few individual ingredients found that:

With so many ingredients, it’s important for consumers to scour the label for potential allergens and watch for adverse reactions.

It is always best to ask your doctor before adding any new dietary supplements to your routine to make sure it’s appropriate for you.

Athletic Greens powder
Photo by WellnessVerge

Third-Party Testing

Athletic Greens products bear the NSF Certified for Sport independent testing seal.

This means that the company has invested in unbiased third-party testing to verify the quality of ingredients and label claims.

Additionally, this particular seal means that Athletic Greens has been verified as being free from athletic banned substances.

Third-party testing is a great perk for consumers and provides extra confidence in product quality.

I appreciate that Athletic Greens emphasizes their NSF Certified for Sport achievement and explains why this is a selling point for consumers.

Cost and Where to Buy Athletic Greens

One 30-day pouch of Athletic Greens is priced at $97.00, but you can subscribe and save for a price of $77.00.

The product can also be purchased in the form of travel packets. A 30-day supply of the travel pack is priced at $107.00 but reduced to $87.00 if you sign up for a subscription.

Athletic Greens can be purchased directly from the brand website or the brand storefront on Amazon for a slightly higher cost.

The subscribe-and-save option on Amazon only brings the cost of the 30-day pouch to $94.00 monthly, so your best option is from the brand directly.

There is a 60-day money-back guarantee on the Athletic Greens website.

This allows the customer to initiate a full refund process if they’re not satisfied with their purchase within 60 days of making it.

Athletic Greens packaging
Photo by WellnessVerge

How Athletic Greens Compares to Alternatives

While there are many superfood blends and green drinks, Athletic Greens seems to go above and beyond in terms of its nutritional makeup and ingredient list.

Compared to many other products, Athletic Greens is much more comprehensive and offers more micronutrients. Most similar products also do not bear a third-party testing mark.

I appreciate that this brand confidently stands behind its product and claims, has invested in third-party testing, and is transparent with its product information.

While they briefly explain the intended benefits of each ingredient, I’d like to see links to research made available to the consumer behind each one for added confidence.

The Bottom Line

Athletic Greens is a comprehensive supplement designed to meet not only basic micronutrient needs, like some multivitamins, but also offers additional health-promoting compounds from whole food plant sources.

While whole foods are best, many people don’t eat green vegetables or raw superfoods nearly as much as they should for optimal health, and some may want to complement their diet with something like Athletic Greens.

Athletic Greens does an excellent job of offering a supplement that provides not only vitamins and minerals but other compounds that may support overall health for both average and active consumers.

For anyone seeking a complementary green superfood product packed with nutrients, supported with research, and who can afford the investment, I’d say Athletic Greens is a good choice.

A Word from Our RD

Athletic Greens does not replace meals and shouldn’t be used to do so.

However, this product does provide a long list of micronutrients from a variety of plant foods that may be lacking in the average western diet.

As a dietitian, I recommend that people prioritize getting their nutrition from a diet based predominantly on whole plant foods.

If someone wants a complimentary supplement to help increase their micronutrient intake using plant-derived ingredients, Athletic Greens appears to be a very good (albeit costly) option.

Try Athletic Greens

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