Athletic Greens Review: 1 Potentially Harmful Ingredient to Lookout For

On any Tuesday afternoon, the owners of Athletic Greens can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of Medellin, Colombia. Choosing this charming South American city seems to be no accident. The inventors of Athletic Greens are on a quest to expand their green powder empire.

Growing in popularity largely due to Tim Ferriss’ promotion, their 75 ingredient blend has some valid and synergistic ingredients. Many of these ingredients enhance cognitive function, longevity, and performance.

Unfortunately, this Athletic Greens review will question whether it’s worth the money, the validity and doses of the ingredients, and one particular aspect that involves fatalities (maybe)…

Athletic Greens Review of Ingredients

With 75 ingredients, no Athletic Greens review would be complete without analyzing them for efficacy. Many companies in the nootropics and supplement industry “fairy dust” dozens of ingredients to claim certain benefits, without any truth to them.

The sign of “fairy dusting” is the lack of doses on the labels. If you don’t have the dose for specific ingredients, there is a good chance it isn’t enough (or at least you have no way of knowing).

Athletic Greens hides many of their ingredients behind proprietary “Complex”, which make it difficult to analyze. One example gives us all the data we need.

Reishi mushroom powder is an ingredient in the Athletic Greens “Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex” The entire complex only has 233 mg, reishi powder is the second to last ingredient, and a proper dosage to get any psychoactive benefit from reishi is 1.4 – 5.2 grams alone.

From this example, it is easy to question the doses of any of the ingredients. It seems “a pinch of this, a pinch of that” is the clearest method they’ve used for developing their ingredient list.

athletic greens ingredients

There are many other problems with the ingredient deck as well. While Athletic Greens includes magnesium glycinate (a high quality form of magnesium), they added a paltry 26 mg, which is nearly worthless.

[UPDATE Oct 27, 2017:] This dosage is misleading. According to the Athletic Greens CEO, the mineral amount is recorded on the label (i.e: what our body absorbs). This means that 26 mg is better than I originally thought, but is still lower than daily recommended doses.

Another ingredient may be actively harmful. Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for many enzymes and cofactors. Deficiency is associated with 30% less DHA, which is a major component of fish oil and neurological protective [1].

Athletic Greens has vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol succinate, which is a small portion of the true vitamin E molecule. In fact, Dr. Rhonda Patrick advises skipping “doing too much” with vitamin E supplements and instead opting for avocados and nuts [2].

The reason?

According to Johns Hopkins, high dose vitamin E may increase risk of dying [3]. Luckily, their study looked at 400 I.U. and Athletic Greens only has 100 I.U.

Taking an all-inclusive supplement can not only be a waste of money at times, but also harm your health.

Brain Enhancing Athletic Greens Review

Even though the Athletic Greens ingredients seem to be focused more on quantity than quality, there are a host of nootropic herbs and extracts that aid in cognitive performance.

Besides the reishi mushroom powder of negligible dosage above, here are a list of the other brain boosting ingredients. One thing Athletic Greens has going for it are the potent extracts. They range from a 4:1 all the way to 10:1 and 15:1 extracts, which suggest high potency even if low dosage.

  • Rhodiola Rosea root extract (5:1) – used by the Vikings to increase stamina and virility, rhodiola root is a great anti-fatigue and de-stressing adaptogenic herb.
  • Ashwagandha root extract (15:1) – thousands of years old, Ayurvedic medicine used ashwagandha root for calming and relaxing purposes.
  • Cocoa bean polyphenol extract – more of a general antioxidant and polyphenol than anything, it’s still a valuable extract. Because it is standardized for antioxidant count rather than caffeine, there is little stimulation effect.
  • Green tea extract (10:1) – green tea is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine and a useful cognitive enhancer particularly for EGCG content.
  • Beta-Glucans – this is the main psychoactive ingredient in medicinal mushrooms, though I’m not sure how the beta glucans are separated and added here.
  • CoQ10 – coenzyme q10 (otherwise known as CoQ10) is a cofactor involved in mitochondrial support. By aiding the mitochondria (the “power factories” of the cell), CoQ10 helps increase energy production.

The major problem with all Athletic Greens reviews is how little they focus on the quantity of ingredients and doses. While the Athletic Greens powder might be great tasting or “healthy” in theory, it may not always be the case in practice.

How and Where to Buy Athletic Greens

Despite what I have said above, there are thousands of people interesting to purchasing Athletic Greens. We must all find what works for us and many people find Athletic Greens helps to fill gaps in their diets.

In the past, Athletic Greens has run into some problems because of their marketing. A $4.95 trial pack of 5 servings turned into an auto rebill 30 days later (charging credit cards automatically in 30 days for $70). They have since changed their approach for the better.

They no longer have an auto-rebill set up, but instead have a package of 30 servings for $97, which translates to about $3.23 per serving (or $6.46 per day if consuming twice per day).

That comes to approximately $194 per month, but the Athletic Greens price for two is $177 so it’s possible to save some money that way.

Interestingly, at the time of this writing, the Athletic Greens Amazon pricing was cheaper than their website. As the screenshot below shows, a subscription of Athletic Greens through Amazon is 5% cheaper than on their website. Get it here.

Finally, this Athletic Greens review wouldn’t be complete without noticing their 60 day money back guarantee (and poking a bit of fun). Athletic Greens says:

“…we’re more than happy for you to return your order within 60 days for a full refund. In fact, we’ll double your money back. Even if you return it empty. Just call to let us know what superior product you’ve found.”

I’d be genuinely curious if they honored that request to provide $100 for free simply for finding a superior product. If they do, that’s an amazing return policy and customer service.

Is Athletic Greens Worth It?

Considering a product “worth it” or not will depend largely upon your needs and desires. While I have poked many holes in the product, it will help many people and especially those who don’t have a great diet.

Those who travel often for work or pleasure might also find Athletic Greens ingredients to fill in the gaps of a poor, travelers diet. Their convenient pack makes it easy to travel with and the Athletic Greens cost isn’t so bad when compared to bushels of green vegetables.

For many people, Athletic Greens is a worthwhile greens supplement that saves time, energy, and safety.

References (Click to Expand)
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