AUTHORITY NUTRITION

Juice Plus Review: Do These Supplements Really Work?

Written by Helen West, RD on August 4, 2016

This is an objective review of Juice Plus+ supplements and their health effects.

This review is 100% independent and based on information that is publicly available.

What Is Juice Plus?

Juice Plus+ is a brand of dietary supplements.

It is claimed to be "the next best thing to fruits and vegetables."

The supplements are made from the juices of around 30 fruits and vegetables.

However, they aren't intended to be replacements for fruits and vegetables.

Instead, the company suggests that they can help bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day.

Bottom Line: Juice Plus+ is a brand of dietary supplements. They contain vitamins, minerals and plant compounds from fruits and vegetables.

What Products Do They Offer?

The core products offered by Juice Plus are fruit and vegetable supplements. They come in capsule or chewable form in the following blends:

  • Orchard blend: Fruits
  • Garden blend: Vegetables
  • Vineyard blend: Berries

The adult dose is two capsules of each blend per day, preferably at meal times. Children under 13 are advised to take one capsule of each blend per day.

Supplements are available from the company's website or from a Juice Plus distributor. They come in packages that provide you with a 4-month supply.

Juice Plus also sells meal replacement shakes, soups and bars.

Bottom Line: Juice Plus supplements come in fruit, vegetable and berry blends. The recommended intake for adults is two capsules of each blend per day.

What Do the Supplements Contain?

Juice Plus supplements are made by juicing whole fruits and vegetables. The juice is then dried and mixed to make the supplement blends.

This is what gives Juice Plus supplements some of their vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. They contain dried juice from the following fruits and vegetables:

  • Orchard blend (fruit): Apple, peach, cranberry, orange, papaya, acerola cherry, pineapple, prune, date and beet.
  • Garden blend (vegetable): Broccoli, parsley, tomato, carrot, garlic, beet, spinach, cabbage, oat bran, rice bran and kale.
  • Vineyard blend (berry): Raspberry, bilberry, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, concord grape, blackcurrant, blackberry, elderberry, artichoke and cocoa.

The supplements also contain a number of added ingredients, including:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Soluble fiber (glucomannan)
  • Enzymes
  • Dried probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus)
  • Folic acid

The exact quantities of ingredients in Juice Plus supplements are not listed. This means the exact nutrient composition isn't available.

However, they are generally considered to be high in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A (from beta-carotene), folate and various different antioxidants and plant compounds.

Bottom Line: Juice Plus contains the juice extracts of around 30 different fruits and vegetables. The final product also contains added vitamins, minerals, an "enzyme blend," a dried probiotic and soluble fiber.

Juice Plus and Health

The company that sells Juice Plus claims that it can provide serious health benefits.

Let's find out if these health claims are actually backed by science.

Improved Nutritional Status

Juice Plus is claimed to help increase nutrient intake, but studies looking at how it affects blood levels of nutrients have provided mixed results.

A 2007 study found that Juice Plus raised people's blood levels of the following ():

  • Beta-carotene: 528%
  • Lycopene: 80%
  • Vitamin E: 30%
  • Folate: 174%

However, other studies found no significant increases in the blood levels of some of these nutrients (, , ).

Overall, Juice Plus does seem to increase the amount of some nutrients in your body. These include beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate ().

However, Juice Plus is fortified with these nutrients, meaning they are added to the supplements in addition to the fruit and vegetable powders.

This means it's unclear whether Juice Plus is any more effective than other, cheaper supplements that contain these nutrients. For example, a standard multivitamin.

Better Heart Health

Juice Plus is said to improve markers of heart health. This includes levels of a risk marker called .

High levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Some studies have shown that taking Juice Plus could decrease blood levels of homocysteine (, , ).

In one study, Juice Plus supplements decreased blood levels of homocysteine by 37% compared to placebo ().

Yet some other studies haven’t found this effect (, ).

Studies investigating the effects of Juice Plus on other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, have found mixed results (, ).

It’s important to note that taking multivitamins is also associated with lower levels of homocysteine (, , , , , ).

Moreover, given that Juice Plus is fortified with vitamins, it’s unclear whether the benefits are due to the juice extract itself or its added nutrients.

Finally, it’s also unclear if reducing homocysteine levels by taking vitamin supplements can reduce the risk of heart disease (, , ).

Reduced Stress and Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body fight illness and heal itself.

However, long-term inflammation — known as chronic inflammation — may lead to health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and may help ().

However, studies on the antioxidant effects of Juice Plus have found mixed results.

One test-tube study found that 1 gram of Juice Plus+ powder (equal amounts of Orchard and Garden blends) had the same antioxidant capacity as 10 grams of fruits and vegetables ().

To put this in perspective, it means that a 2-capsule (1.5-gram) serving of Juice Plus+ is equal in antioxidant power to half an ounce (15 grams) of a fresh fruit or vegetable. That’s like 2-3 bites, at most.

Yet it’s thought that after digestion, the antioxidant effects of supplements may be even lower than that ().

While some studies have found that Juice Plus supplements can reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage, other studies have found no effects (, , , ).

Immune Function

Juice Plus is claimed to support immune health. A few studies have found that the supplements can increase the activity of some immune cells (, , ).

But this may not even matter, because this sort of response isn’t always linked with better immunity or less illness ().

In another study, health care workers taking Juice Plus had 20% fewer sick days than those who took a placebo ().

Yet other studies investigating the effects of Juice Plus on immune function have not seen a reduction in the frequency or duration of illnesses (, ).

No studies looked at whether Juice Plus was better than a multivitamin or supplement at improving immunity ().

Improves Skin Health

Two studies investigating the effects of Juice Plus on skin health found that participants had better skin hydration, thickness and circulation (, ).

Nonetheless, taking vitamin C and E supplements has also been linked with improved skin health ().

Currently, there aren’t any studies examining whether Juice Plus is better for skin health than cheaper vitamin supplements.

Improves Dental Health

One study found that Juice Plus supplements improved gum health in 60 people with gum disease, or periodontitis ().

Other studies have found that vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and vitamin B complex supplements could benefit gum health (, , ).

However, a review concluded that there was not enough evidence supporting the role of diet or supplements in preventing and treating gum disease ().

Bottom Line: Juice Plus may increase the absorption of some nutrients, which could provide many health benefits. However, there is no evidence that Juice Plus is more effective than a cheap multivitamin.

Juice Plus+ Complete

In addition to the core supplements, there is also a Juice Plus diet that includes a range of products called Juice Plus+ Complete.

This is a selection of meal replacement shakes, soups and bars.

The Juice Plus diet replaces up to two of your daily meals with a replacement meal from the Juice Plus+ Complete line.

It is mostly intended for weight loss and weight maintenance.

You can then have one calorie-controlled meal of your choice and two healthy snacks per day.

They also advise you to take Juice Plus supplements on top of this plan to "boost your fruit and vegetable intake."

Bottom Line: Juice Plus+ Complete is a meal replacement program that's used as part of a diet plan for weight loss or weight maintenance.

Do Juice Plus+ Products Work?

Taking a Juice Plus supplement may increase your vitamin and mineral intake.

However, there's no evidence that Juice Plus is any better at this than a regular multivitamin.

Furthermore, taking supplements like these is no substitute for eating whole fruits and vegetables.

It's also worth noting that many of the studies on Juice Plus have been widely criticized for being industry-funded and poorly designed.

It's common for companies to fund research on their own products, but the results of these studies should be interpreted with skepticism, as they may be biased (, ).

Considering the high cost of these supplements ($28–$71 per month) and the lack of evidence of any real health benefits, you should think twice before buying them.

An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.

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