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Morning Complete Review: Is It Safe and Effective?

Written by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on November 5, 2021

Dietitian Rating:

3.4

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:2.6
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:3.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Morning Complete is a daily wellness drink designed to support regular digestive function, energy levels, and overall wellness. Some of its ingredients may provide health benefits, such as prebiotics and probiotics.

This page contains links through which we may earn a small commission should you make a purchase from a brand. Learn more about how we make money here.

Morning Complete Review: Is It Safe and Effective?
Photo by WellnessVerge

Pros

  • Some ingredients are evidence-based
  • May have digestive health benefits
  • Contains antioxidants

Cons

  • Limited evidence for some ingredients
  • Expensive for a 30-day supply
  • No third-party seal of approval

What Is Morning Complete?

ActivatedYou Morning Complete is a wellness drink designed for those who want to improve their digestive function, daily energy levels, and overall health.

It was founded by actress and health advocate Maggie Q.

In creating this product, she sought the expertise of Dr. Frank Lipman, a celebrity integrative medicine doctor, and owner of a renowned medical center in New York.

While I am happy to see that a medical doctor is involved in product development, I am concerned that the founder does not have any health background.

I see it way too often where someone endorses a particular supplement just because they used it themself, instead of basing it on science.

This can lead to unwanted side effects in a product not proven through actual research studies.

ActivatedYou’s three core principles are that their products are scientifically proven, environmentally sustainable, and plant-based.

There is no seal of approval from an independent third-party testing body. However, the company claims that all of its products are independently tested.

Evaluation of Ingredients

ActivatedYou Morning Complete Supplement Facts
Photo by WellnessVerge

Morning Complete contains eight unique wellness “blends.” After evaluating the research, here is what I found regarding the validity of the product claims:

1. Prebiotic and High Fiber Blend, 4.05 g

Prebiotics are fibers that nourish the healthy bacteria (i.e., probiotics) in your gut.

Morning Compete contains a prebiotic blend of chicory root fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and cinnamon bark.

There is some research into the role of FOS’s in supporting the growth of good bacteria in the gut. However, more up-to-date research studies are needed.

Regarding cinnamon bark, there may be potential, but the research is less clear. 

For example, a 2019 pilot study demonstrated a prebiotic effect in those taking a mixed spice blend. However, the effectiveness of cinnamon bark alone was not tested.

Another 2018 study investigated the effects of various spices, including cinnamon, which were found to have prebiotic potential. However, this was a lab study, not a human study.

A lab study’s results may not always translate to humans.

Summary

In general, the two prebiotics present in Morning Complete have the potential to benefit gut health. However, more research is needed into the benefits of taking cinnamon bark alone.

2. Green Superfoods Blend, 735 mg

This blend contains several leafy green extracts such as kale, spinach, broccoli, barley grass, alfalfa leaf, mulberry leaf, and berberine HCL.

There are many health benefits from consuming greens, but more so in whole food form.

There is a 2018 study outlining some possible health benefits of barley grass.

Berberine, another ingredient, is a plant compound that may help manage high blood sugar levels along with lifestyle changes.

Summary

There are multiple health benefits to consuming the type of greens present in Morning Complete. However, more research is needed to determine if there are continued benefits in taking berberine for longer than a few months.

3. Metabolic Enhancing Blend, 390 mg

This blend contains green tea leaf, ginger root, white tea leaf, turmeric root extract, bitter melon, and black pepper.

One animal study showed some potential of tea extracts similar to this one in reducing body fat. Out of all tea extracts, green tea leaf has been the most extensively studied.

Some human studies are demonstrating the benefit of consuming the antioxidants in green tea called polyphenols.

These ingredients have been known for their role in supporting overall wellness and potentially aiding in weight loss.

One of the key ingredients thought to promote weight loss in green tea is called EGCG. It is also present in white tea leaves.

A 2012 study found that consumption of ginger helped increase calorie burn and reduce appetite in a group of overweight men.

Turmeric root contains curcumin, which is the ingredient thought to be responsible for its antioxidant properties. One 2018 study showed that turmeric might act similarly to a prebiotic to improve gut bacteria diversity.

However, the amount of turmeric seen to show benefit in studies is typically at least 500 mg, more than the amount of turmeric present in this blend of Morning Complete.

Bitter melon has been found to improve blood sugar and may help with weight management.

Black pepper is included to enhance the absorption of other ingredients.

Summary

This blend in Morning Complete does contain some ingredients that may support overall wellness and healthy body weight. However, because the individual ingredient doses are unknown, it’s impossible to know if they are present in clinically effective amounts.

4. Antioxidant Blend, 100 mg

This blend contains lycium berry, pomegranate fruit extract, and Polygonum Cuspidatum root extract.

These extracts contain antioxidants that may have a protective effect as we age.

Pomegranates may also help to reduce inflammation, which can support our overall health.

One study showed that those who consumed pomegranate juice regularly had lower markers of inflammation.

However, it is unclear if the dose present in pomegranate juice on its own is higher than the dose of the combined antioxidants in this blend.

Summary

In general, consuming antioxidants such as those present in this Antioxidant Blend can help support overall health.

5. Sugar Balancing Support, 100 mg

This blend contains Gymnema sylvestre leaf, fennel seed, and pine bark extract. Animal studies have found that Gymnesia sylvestre may reduce blood sugar levels.

Researchers have also investigated the use of fennel seed for blood sugar control. However, most studies have administered these ingredients in combination with others.

It is therefore difficult to determine which ingredient directly provided that benefit.

One study conducted on pine bark extract showed it had a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels.

There was a dose-dependent relationship with up to 200 mg of pine bark, which was seen to help lower blood sugar. However, more than this was found not to provide any additional benefit.

It is unclear if the dose of pine bark in Morning Complete is enough to provide such a benefit, as this ingredient is present in the lowest amount out of the three ingredients in this blend.

Summary

All three ingredients present in the Sugar Balancing Support blend have some research to support their role in managing blood sugar. However, larger studies are needed to confirm this effect, and it is unknown if the doses present in Morning Complete are in clinically effective amounts.

6. Adaptogen Blend, 55 mg

This blend contains several extracts, including astragalus root extract, Rhodiola rosea root extract, and diindolylmethane (DIM). These particular extracts are considered adaptogens.

Adaptogens are plant compounds that may improve the body’s resistance to stress.

One animal study on astragalus showed its potential to reduce the risk of infection and sepsis by reducing inflammation. However, this may not necessarily transfer to humans.

A 2003 research review investigated the health effects of 3 herbal supplements, including astragalus.

This review showed that astragalus has the potential to support the immune system and boost resistance to infection. The study investigators noted, however, that more research is warranted.

Other human studies done on astragalus are specific to certain conditions such as hepatitis and cancer.

Rhodiola rosea extract may also help reduce fatigue and improve energy, according to one study.

However, the dose given was 400 mg per day, which is much higher than the amount present in this supplement.

To date, there have not been any studies showing that taking DIM results in any of the claimed benefits of Morning Complete.

Summary

While adaptogens may hold some promise in overall health, more research is still needed on the optimal dose.

7. Cellular Support and Liver Function Blend, 30 mg

This blend contains aloe vera leaf and milk thistle seed extract.

Aloe vera leaf extract is claimed to have beneficial effects on digestion, inflammation, fatigue, constipation, skin health, and weight loss.

A few studies have demonstrated aloe vera’s benefits orally, but most have been limited to lab and animal studies or clinical trials.

Clinical trials are not held to the same scrutiny as well-researched studies such as randomized controlled trials, and the results seen are considered preliminary.

Possible benefits of oral aloe vera in clinical trials include improvements in skin health, wound healing, constipation, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders,

One small 2013 Iranian study showed aloe vera leaf might support gut health in those with IBS.

Regarding milk thistle, there was one positive study. This study demonstrated that a compound in milk thistle called silymarin might improve blood sugar control, particularly in those with diabetes.

Summary

More high-quality research is needed into the efficacy of aloe vera leaf and milk thistle seed extract.

8. Probiotic Blend, 10 Billion CFUs

This product contains a blend of nine probiotic strains and 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units).

CFUs are a measure of the number of bacteria present in the supplement. 10 billion CFUs are on the higher end for probiotics, but this does not always mean it is more effective.

Most of the probiotic strains present in Morning Complete are bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains, which may improve digestion and the absorption of food.

There is ample research on the potential of probiotics to improve digestion. Some strains, in particular, have been researched more than others.

For example, one randomized controlled trial (the gold standard research model) showed that Bifidobacterium bifidum present in Morning Complete could reduce digestive symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Furthermore, a large systematic review of randomized controlled trials showed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus could reduce the likelihood of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children and adults.

I sometimes recommend probiotic supplements to my clients who cannot get enough in their diet or struggle with particular gastrointestinal issues.

I have also been taking a probiotic supplement daily for almost two years for general health and optimal digestion, and I find I have minimal digestive issues.

Summary

It is important to note that each probiotic strain is different, and not everyone may respond to them in the same manner. However, the two main types of probiotics present in Morning Complete are well-studied and have the potential to support digestion.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Morning Complete based on the available research:

Improves daily energy levelsLimited Evidence
Populates digestive system with beneficial bacteriaModerate Evidence
Supports overall wellnessModerate Evidence
Supports healthy body weightModerate Evidence
Helps the body function and perform at peak levelsLimited Evidence
Supports the microbiomeModerate Evidence
Manages and relieves feelings of stressLimited Evidence
Supports physical health as we ageModerate Evidence

There is research on most of the ingredients present in Morning Complete. However, most of the research does not have high-quality studies.

Many of the ingredients present in this product may not be in clinically effective doses based on the research.

Lastly, the ingredients in Morning Complete are part of proprietary blends. When ingredients are part of blends, it’s unknown how much of each ingredient is present, making it difficult to determine their level of effectiveness.

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The recommended dose is one daily scoop of Morning Complete wellness drink powder mixed with 8 ounces of water or tea. One scoop is 7.6 grams of the whole complex of ingredients.

This product contains probiotics, which are generally recognized as safe.

Some may experience mild side effects from probiotics such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea, especially in the first few days of taking them.

There have been a few rare case reports of hepatitis in those who have used aloe vera.

However, it’s important to note that a case report is an isolated incident in a single person. Therefore, this presents a much lower level of evidence compared to a larger, more well-designed research study involving many people.

The two case reports were both in individuals who were middle-aged with no known history of liver injury or disease and no other underlying risk factors for hepatitis.

In both cases, their hepatitis resolved shortly after discontinuing the use of aloe vera leaf extract. The oral dose of aloe vera taken in these cases was also substantially higher than the amount present in the Morning Complete blend.

Another 2016 study found that taking aloe vera may also cause diarrhea, decrease potassium levels, and, in rare cases, lead to kidney failure.

Some recent studies also named aloe vera a rare but potential carcinogen, but more research is warranted.

This product also contains caffeine as part of their metabolic enhancing blend, which some people may be sensitive to.

Since a proprietary blend like this does not publicly display the dosage of each supplement present, I reached out to the manufacturer to get more answers.

According to the company, Morning Complete contains 6 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which is a minimal amount.

The FDA’s upper limit recommendation for caffeine is 400 milligrams per day. When consuming any product containing caffeine, it is important to also take into account any other caffeine-containing beverages you may be consuming, such as coffee, tea, or soda.

Anyone who is considering starting this product should speak with their medical provider first.

Morning Complete mixed in a glass of water
Photo by WellnessVerge

Cost and Where to Buy

Morning Complete is sold directly on ActivatedYou’s website or Amazon from third-party sellers.

The cost is $79.00 for a 30-day supply. Similar wellness and probiotic supplements can be around $30–$100 for a 30-day supply.

If you purchase it in bulk from the manufacturer, you’ll receive a 10% discount for a 3-month supply and a 15% discount for a 6-month supply.

If you choose to purchase this product, I’d recommend purchasing directly from the manufacturer, so you have a direct point of contact and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Also, while you may be able to get a slightly lower price from an Amazon third-party seller, there is no guarantee of the contents of the supplement.

How Morning Complete Compares to Alternatives

There are few wellness supplements on the market that combine probiotics and other wellness ingredients similarly to Morning Complete.

Two products that are similar to Morning Complete are Athletic Greens and Beyond Greens.

These products are also in powder form that can be mixed with water and contain similar ingredients such as superfood greens, probiotics and prebiotics, and herbal extracts.

Out of all three products, only Athletic Greens displays a reputable NSF Certified for Sport third-party seal of approval. This provides additional peace of mind that Athletic Green’s ingredients and label claims are accurate.

The NSF Certification for Sport designation also verifies that the product is free of any banned athletic substances and helps to provide extra assurance of its quality.

The cost for these three products varies for a 30-month supply. Beyond Greens is the lowest price at $31.95, Morning Complete is $79.00, and Athletic Greens is the most expensive at $97.

Even though Athletic Greens is more expensive, the third-party testing seal provides extra value and may be worth the higher price tag. You can also get a discount on Athletic Greens by signing up for their subscribe-and-save program.

However, Beyond Greens is the only one that lists out the dose of each ingredient and doesn’t contain any proprietary blends. This is a big plus as you know exactly how much of each ingredient you’re getting.

None of these three brands share actual research on their products, which would add more to their credibility.

If I were to recommend a greens powder supplement, I would be most apt to choose Athletic Greens, as it is third-party tested and contains the most comprehensive blend of ingredients.

The Bottom Line

Many of the ingredients in Morning Complete have studies to support their use. However, it’s unknown if the amount present in its ingredient blends is enough to produce a benefit.

The ingredients with the most research are probiotics and prebiotics. They also have a good safety profile.

A supplement such as Morning Complete may be suitable for someone who doesn’t eat enough leafy greens and wants to optimize their health.

Always speak to your doctor first before starting any new supplement.

A Word from Our RD

Even though a wellness supplement such as Morning Complete can provide essential nutrients your body needs, it cannot replace a healthy diet.

Many health benefits of consuming plant foods likely come from ingredients present in the whole food, rather than isolated nutrients broken down into supplements.

I’ve worked with many clients who have taken similar supplements without changing their diet, and most saw very minimal benefits from taking them.

Any supplement works best in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, such as increasing your intake of plant-based foods, fiber, and probiotics.

You can start doing this simply by adding one fruit or vegetable with each meal.

Additionally, add one fermented food per day, such as Greek yogurt, kombucha, or kefir, for your daily dose of probiotics.

If you want to manage a medical condition better or simply improve your health, consult with a qualified medical doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new supplement regimen.

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