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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 July 12, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

2.6

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:2.4
  • Ingredient Safety:2.0
  • Value for the Price:2.0
  • 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. However, other ingredients are not evidence-based and may actually cause harm, such as aloe vera leaf.

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

Pros

  • Some ingredients are evidence-based
  • May have digestive health benefits
  • Contains antioxidants
  • 90-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Limited evidence for some ingredients
  • Potential safety concerns of aloe vera
  • Expensive for a 30-day supply

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 is 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 a bit concerned that the founder themself 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.

However, I noticed there is no seal of approval from an independent third-party testing body.

Therefore, even though they claim to be independently tested, it is not through any of the validated testing labs I would look for.

Evaluation of Ingredients

ActivatedYou Morning Complete Supplement Facts
Photo by WellnessVerge

Morning Complete contains 8 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.

Prebiotics, in general, can be beneficial for health. However, it is not yet clear if the particular prebiotics and spices present in Morning Complete are effective for the general population.

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.

While there are surely benefits to consuming greens regularly, more research is needed to determine if there are continued benefits when taking Berberine longer than a few months.

3. Metabolic Enhancing Blend, 390 mg

This blend contains various extracts – 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.

There are some human studies demonstrating the benefit of consuming polyphenols, the antioxidants in green tea, for overall wellness and potentially supporting weight loss.

However, green tea extract also contains caffeine, which could cause jitters or nervousness in those who are sensitive.

Even though there may be some benefits to tea extracts, it is currently unclear if some of the other herbal extracts present are as effective.

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.

In general, consuming antioxidants 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 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.

There was one study conducted on pine bark and blood sugar, which found that it had a positive effect.

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

It is unclear if the dose of pine bark present in Morning Complete is enough to provide such a benefit.

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.

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

7. Cellular Support and Liver Function Blend, 30 mg

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

While rare, I’m concerned that there have actually been several case reports of acute liver toxicity in those who have used aloe vera.

There was one positive study that was done on milk thistle. This study demonstrated that a compound in milk thistle called silymarin may improve blood sugar control, particularly in those with diabetes.

More research is needed into both of these ingredients, especially regarding the safety of aloe vera leaf.

8. Probiotic Blend, 10 Billion CFUs

This product contains a blend of 9 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 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 B. bifidum present in Morning Complete could reduce digestive symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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

It is important to note that each probiotic strain is different, and not everyone may respond to them in the same manner.

I sometimes recommend probiotic supplements to my clients who are unable to get enough in their diet or struggle with particular gastrointestinal issues.

I have also been taking a probiotic supplement daily for almost 2 years for general health and optimal 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 ageNo Evidence

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 total 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.

However, my biggest concern is specifically regarding aloe vera as an ingredient.

This makes me question the overall safety of this product in regards to case reports of liver toxicity from aloe vera.

While these more severe side effects are rare, they are of concern, especially in those who already have liver problems.

Some recent studies are also naming aloe vera as a potential carcinogen.

The product does have a warning on the label that it contains aloe vera.

This label states that you should discontinue use immediately if you experience loose stools, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.

Because of all of this, I do not see why the manufacturer would still include aloe vera.

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.

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.

The cost is $79.00 for a 30-day supply. The cost is pretty expensive compared to similar wellness and probiotic supplements that average around $30–$45 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 also a 90-day money-back guarantee.

How It Compares

There are few wellness supplements on the market that combine both probiotics and the other wellness ingredients present in Morning Complete.

Many other drinks promoted for overall wellness are isolated drinks such as green tea, pomegranate juice, or kombucha, rather than a complex like Morning Complete.

Compared to other probiotic-containing drinks, such as Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drink, there is no clear labeling identifying if the product contains potential allergens or is certified organic.

Therefore, I may be cautious about recommending this product if you have any food allergies or intolerances.

The manufacturer does not make any claims that their product is backed by actual science. I would be leery of this because if there was strong research, the company would likely include it.

The strongest research behind this product is in the potential role of probiotics in health.

For this reason, if needed, I would instead recommend a daily probiotic and prebiotic supplement, minus all of the other ingredients present.

The Bottom Line

Many of the ingredients in Morning Complete are not evidence-based, specifically for the metabolic and cellular health blends.

Additionally, aloe vera may cause harmful side effects.

This supplement contains many different categories of ingredients blended together, and there is no way to know how they will interact when consumed.

I would therefore not recommend a product such as this without evidence of its safety.

A Word from Our RD

A wellness supplement simply cannot compensate for a poor diet.

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

For any supplement, it works best in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

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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