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Researching Super Greens Ingredients

There are many Super Green supplements on the market and in researching the 60 or so products found a number of similar ingredients coming up.

Some greens seem to cram a lot of ingredients inside their tub, but most seem to include 20-40 ingredients with some containing a range of vitamins and minerals. Whilst it’s accepted consuming Super Green ingredients aren’t a substitute for fresh vegetables, they can act as a nutritional insurance and provide a number of healthy benefits.

Some Super Green ingredients have the science to support their claims whilst some are tenuous at best. To have effective greens supplement I need to select only the best Super Greens ingredients that actually work. And importantly include them in the right dosages to match what science tells us.

What ingredients will be going into my Super Greens supplement?

I check out the hottest green powder ingredients that actually work and in what dosages are required.

Super Green Star Ingredients

These are the go-to Greens ingredients and would be unusual not to see at least a few of these in a Super Greens product. The most common ingredients are your leafy greens and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Examples are Spirulina, Barley Grass, Chlorella, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola Rosea.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at three of the most common Super Green ingredients:

Spirulina

Spirulina powder organicThis is a popular choice for Super Green brands as it’s one of the highest sources of protein and is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants.

The non-toxic algae have many beneficial properties that have been supported by clinical studies.

Spirulina is packed full of antioxidants that have been shown to prevent oxidative damage to cells and lower the risk of heart disease.

Benefits of Spirulina:

  • Accelerate recover in athletes by reducing muscle fatigue
  • May help to increase energy production
  • Help to boost immune system to ward off infections
  • The chlorophyll content may help to “detox” the body by removing heavy metals from the body
  • The proteins and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) fatty acids may help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels

Recommended Spirulina Dosage:

The daily amounts required for Spirulina have been quoted to be between 1-8g per day according Examine.com. It should go without saying that any supplement with Spirulina should therefore have AT LEAST 1g per serving.

Barley Grass

Barley GrassIt’s fairly common knowledge now since Super Greens have become popular that Barley Grass is a great source of chlorophyll, vitamins B1, B2 and B12, carotene, iron, magnesium and amino acids, along with crucial enzymes that your body needs.

Containing more vitamin C than oranges, Barley Grass really packs a nutritional punch with benefits both inside and visibly outside. Consuming Barley Grass daily can fill in the nutrition gaps in your diet.

Benefits of Barley Grass:

  • Natural detoxifier by reducing build-up of toxins in the body
  • Lowering of blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol
  • Strengthen and repair DNA
  • High levels of superoxide dismutase a powerful antioxidant
  • Support healthy immune system
  • Improves skin health

Recommended Barley Grass Dosage:

So, how about the Barley Grass recommended daily dosage? This is where it’s interesting as the amounts vary significantly from 1 to 15g per day depending on the research.

A quick note on gluten here, in that Barley Grass, is generally considered safe for those with gluten intolerance unless highly gluten sensitive because there may be potential gluten contamination.

Chlorella (Cracked Cell)

chlorellaChlorella has been quoted as the new “algae” in town due it being incredibly nutritious with a nutrition profile that some regard to be a “superfood”. Similar to Barley Grass, Chlorella is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, iron, and Omega 3s.

Some of the benefits of Chlorella (see below) have cemented this superfood as an effective detox agent as it could help enhance your body’s natural ability to clear toxins.

It’s important when looking at Chlorella that you ensure it’s the “cracked cell” variety, this is because the valuable nutrients are locked up inside a hard-to-crack cell wall. Using the Chlorella Cracked cell variety means you maximize digestion and absorption of the nutrients.

Benefits of Chlorella:

  • Removal of heavy metals and reduce harmful chemicals in the body
  • Enhance immune system through producing more antibodies to fight off infection
  • May help to lower cholesterol
  • Improve blood sugar levels

Other benefits claim that Chlorella can promote eye health, support liver health, improve digestion, and relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Healthline highlight that further research is required to support these specific claims.

Recommended Chlorella Dosages:

In terms of daily dosage there is no set amounts as further research is required. However some studies have found some benefits of taking 1g per day, whilst others indicate 2-3g per day.

Brain Nootropic Ingredients

As I have already identified I am keen to have brain-focused “nootropic” ingredients in my Super Green supplement. Carefully selecting these ingredients in the right dosages can help improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.

Nootropic supplements have become hugely popular since Bradley Cooper starred in the “Limitless” film in 2011. As is the case with many over the counter supplements, most nootropic supplements contain either inferior ingredients or are in too few amounts.

I have researched the popular nootropic ingredients and found three in particular that seem to appear in many supplements; Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginkgo Biloba.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha RootOnly recently have I heard the term “adaptogens”, which are non-toxic herbal plants that can help the body resist stress. Basically adaptogens help your body deal with stress by tweaking the physiological response to stress and functions how it should do.

A great article from Time magazine on adaptogens here.

Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, recommends Ashwagandha and Rhodiola (see below) to soothe long-term sources of stress.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Improved memory and brain function
  • Help reduce stress and anxiety
  • Reduce blood sugar levels
  • Help lower cortisol levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Lower cholesterol and improve heart health

Recommended Ashwagandha Dosage:

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha in extract form is 450-500mg once – twice per day according to Healthline.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola RoseaAs highlighted above by Dr Powell, Rhodiola is another adaptogden that is believed to improve energy, physical performance and memory. This herb is considered one of the second most popular adaptogens around, second to Panax Ginseng.

Rhodiola has been used for centuries in traditional herbalism for a number of benefits ranging from weight loss to improving mood, with many people finding it useful for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This ancient herb is fast-acting too as the effects can begin within 30 minutes of consuming and can last for up to 6 hours.

Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea:

  • Improved cognitive functioning
  • Reduce effects and symptoms of fatigue
  • Reduce effects of stress and burnout

Recommended Rhodiola Rosea Dosage:

In terms of daily dosage, according to Examine.com, Rhodiola can be taken for acute fatigue and anti-stress in dosages ranging from 288-680mg per day. You can take too much though and the recommendation is to not exceed 680mg per day.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo BilobaGinkgo Biloba has been used for centuries as a herbal medicine and believed to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities with an ability to improve circulation.

Ginkgo has also shown great promise in reducing other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline associated with getting older.

Popular in Chinese Medicine using the leaves and seeds, many health supplements use the extract form.

Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba:

  • Improves brain function and well being
  • Reducing symptoms of anxiety
  • Can treat depression
  • Can help fight inflammation
  • Improve heart health and circulation
  • Reduce symptoms of dementia

Recommended Ginkgo Biloba Dosage:

According to Healthline the bulk of the evidence seems to support taking 120–240 mg of Ginkgo daily with a maximum of 600mg per day.

Immune Support Ingredients

Feeling healthy every day is important to living a long and fulfilling life, so protecting your body against infections is key. A number of super greens include what is commonly referred to as “immune-boosting” ingredients that are claimed to do just that.

After researching immune-boosting ingredients there are few that are backed by science shown to help fortify your body against infections. Let’s check out a couple here; Dandelion leaf extract and Olive leaf extract.

Dandelion leaf extract

Dandelion leaf extractMost people may not think of Dandelions as having many medicinal benefits and regard them more as stubborn weeds found in your garden.

Dandelions are highly nutritious plants, which are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As such they are an excellent source of antioxidants and polyphenols that are effective in fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation in the body.

Healthline identify “13 potential health benefits of dandelion” that may just have you thinking again about this stubborn weed!

Benefits of Dandelion leaf extract:

  • Help fight inflammation
  • Boost immune system
  • May help to control blood sugar levels
  • May reduce risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels
  • Promote a healthy liver by reducing excess liver fat storage
  • May aid weight loss

Recommended Dandelion leaf extract Dosage:

Recommended dosages depend on how Dandelion is taken. In leaf extract form the suggested daily serving is between 250-1,000mg up to four times per day.

Olive leaf extract

Olive Leaf ExtractAs expected this extract is from the leaves of the olive plant and has the active ingredient called oleuropein, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

According to Heathline, olive leaf extract may help with weight loss, heart health, and herpes breakouts.

Benefits of Olive leaf extract:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Eliminates free radicals
  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves heart health
  • Treats type 2 diabetes
  • Aids weight management

Recommended Olive leaf extract Dosage:

According to Examine.com, taking Olive Leaf Extract in daily servings of 500 – 1,000mg can have beneficial health benefits, but also as low as 10 mg may provide protection against LDL oxidation.

Vitamin and Minerals

I want to ensure I get all the essential micronutrients at the recommended daily amounts (RDA) here, so I won’t need to take any multivitamin at all. Whilst I could include higher RDA amounts I know that the greens above also include micronutrients so I don’t want to overload on these.

At the end of these are here as nutritional insurance to ensure I take the essential micronutrients each day.

Micronutrients:

To list these out here, they include: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, Selenium, Cooper, Niacin, Zinc, Manganese, Black Pepper Extract, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid and Folate/Folic Acid.

Macro Nutrition Values

I am keen for my Super Greens to be Keto friendly as many people seem to be following this at the moment – it’s certainly trendy and if possible would be good to ride on this popularity at the moment.

For me to consider it “keto-friendly” the carb content has to below, this is because if you’re following a keto diet properly you should be eating 20g per day of carbs. This means the lower the carb content of my Super Greens the better, most likely in the region of 2-3g per serving would be good.

In order to assess the macronutrient content a third party test will be required, called a NLEA test (see the FDA website for more information on the legal requirements for this)

In my opinion, this is essential as I would certainly like to know the carb/sugar, protein, and fat content of each serving. I suspect my customers would wish to know too.

So, to run this test I have to wait until my first supplement batch has been produced, and then my manufacturer will send off one tub for testing. This means the label cannot be completed until this information is available and so, unfortunately, will likely cause a delay of potentially 2-3 weeks to the production schedule.

Super Green Flavor and Natural Sweeteners

Stevia Leaf sugar substituteThere is no denying that most Super Greens do not taste great. Ironically the more potent the ingredient quantity the less palatable the product may taste.

Bundling lots of leafy greens and veggies into a powder is going to taste well grassy and fairly bland. This is why many Super Greens powders use natural sweeteners to make them more palatable to consume with water.

Natural sugar substitutes are a popular choice to improve the taste, the options usually consist of either using Stevia Leaf Extract or Monk Fruit, although stevia is more commonly used.

There are some benefits to using this herb but not everyone is keen on the taste.

A big plus is the zero-calorie, bonus for anyone looking to lose weight, but other associated benefits are keeping blood sugar levels in check and lowering total cholesterol levels.

You can check out all the reported benefits on Healthline.

Super Greens Ingredients Summary

So, I have a good idea of what my main greens, brain, immune, and micronutrients will be, and also in what dosages too. The last point is critical as “dosages really matter”, there is no point in putting in lots of ingredients to make the product sound great, especially if the amounts are too low.

“Dosages really matter”…no point putting in lots of ingredients to make the product sound great, especially if the amounts are too low.

The key takeaway from delving into the popular super greens ingredients is quality over quantity. Depending on serving size, having 15 to 25 ingredients is likely to be the target as any more, and the ingredient portion size will likely suffer.

I have 8 ingredients above that will certainly form the bulk of the ingredient profile for my Super Greens supplement. Other candidates may include L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Garlic Extract, and Moringa Oleifera.

The next step is to work with my chosen Manufacturer to produce an effective formula that tastes good too!

Adam Author

About the LifeHacker Guy

Hi, I'm Adam the founder of the LifeHacker Guy.

I have a First Class Honours degree in Sports Science from Brighton University, specialising in exercise physiology and nutrition. In my youth I was a competitive Triathlete and long-distance runner placing top 10 in most triathlon races I completed.

Since suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I moved into web development, after a couple of years I then moved onto developing a number of online businesses. I've recently taken a sabbatical and I'm now looking to make big changes in my life, hopefully this may resonate with you - join me in my journey!

1 comment

  1. I have pigmentation on my face do you have a product that could help this disappear. Thank you.

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