Which nutritional supplements actually work?

In many vitamin pills, such as those produced by Juice Plus, nutrients or benefits are lost through excessive processing, heating, juicing, drying or other processes. They pass through our body without being absorbed.  That’s why people say that the best way to gain the vitamins and minerals your body needs is through eating actual raw plant foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables and fruit!

Unfortunately, despite trying hard to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, many of us still can’t achieve the right range of raw plant foods that provides every type of vitamin and mineral we need.

Luckily, I have found a brand of supplements that does exactly that! Forever Living’s aloe vera and bee pollen are raw, non-heat-treated plant foods which have not lost any of their beneficial properties through excessive heating, juicing, drying or other processes! As a result, the nutrients in aloe vera and bee pollen are readily digestible and easily absorbed by the human body just like any other raw fruits and vegetables.

Forever Living has a patented method of stabilising the aloe vera gel without heat-treating it. Because they have the patent for this method, no other producer of aloe vera drinks can replicate it, which means their aloe vera drink is more potent than any other brand! Other companies have to heat-treat their aloe which means most of its beneficial properties are lost. By contrast, Forever Living’s aloe is basically the same as eating a whole aloe leaf directly from the plant. All they have done is remove the toxic outer layer, blend it (retaining the pulp), stabilised it, added a minimal amount (about 1%) of other substances needed to stop it from going bad, and bottled it. That’s it.

There are more than 300 species of aloe vera plants and Forever Living only uses the one which has the most potent health benefits. People who grow and eat aloe vera plants without removing the outer layer properly can get poisoned. Only the inner leaf gel is included in Forever Living’s products which makes the gel drink safe to ingest daily.*

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Pollen is a part of a flower. Bees collect it, then the beekeeper collects it from the beehive. It is a raw whole food, and all Forever does is press it into a pill shape – no heating or chemical additives!

To summarise – stabilised aloe vera and bee pollen are real, raw, FOOD sources of nutrients – not highly processed pills!

Aloe vera contains:

  • 75 live active ingredients
  • 200 compounds
  • 12 vitamins including Vitamin B12, other B-group vitamins, Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folate (folic acid) and more.
  • 20 minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc
  • 19 of the 20 amino acids needed by the human body, including 7 of the 8 essential ones that the body cannot make on its own.

Bee Pollen contains:

  • All the B-Complex vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamins D, E, K, and Beta Carotene (vitamin A)
  • Numerous minerals, enzymes and coenzymes
  • Plant-source fatty acids
  • 22 amino acids – including all 8 “essential” amino acids that the body cannot manufacture for itself.
  • Lecithin, which aids in the metabolism of fats
  • Bee pollen is one of the most nutritionally complete foods available!

 * If you have a medical condition or are on medications, always consult your doctor before taking any supplements, as supplements can interact with some medications and conditions.

Now, for comparison, let’s look at Juice Plus

Although all Juice Plus’s capsules contain powder from dozens of different fruit and vegetables, these fruits and vegetables have been juiced, dried, and powdered which may reduce the bioavailability and absorption of the nutrients.

In fact, Juice Plus inserts the Vitamin C, A and Folate during processing to make up for the fact that many of the nutrients from the original plants are lost during processing!

Concerns have been raised that these nutrients in Juice Plus capsules may not be bioavailable, not effectively absorbed by the human body, and that some of the nutrients claimed to be in the products may not be present in significant amounts. Studies on nutrient absorption showed that the effects on blood levels of vitamins were inconsistent and inconclusive.

What’s more, laboratory analysis has repeatedly shown that despite containing so many different fruits and vegetables, Juice Plus+ products actually only contain four nutrients: Vitamin A, C, and E, along with Folate. That’s it. Forever Living’s aloe vera and bee pollen contain the same nutrients plus a whole lot more, plus they come in the form of raw plant foods.

Many people reported health benefits from the vitamins included in Juice Plus+, however they could have obtained the same or even better results by eating raw whole foods, especially super foods like aloe vera and bee pollen!

Studies of Juice Plus’ effects have generated conflicting and controversial results. Although Juice Plus claims its products’ efficacy is backed by research, critics have argued that there is no scientific proof that Juice Plus offers significant health benefits and that deceptive claims are used in the product’s marketing information. Some marketing claims made about Juice Plus products have been disputed by consumer watchdog organizations and governmental agencies as misleading and according to Quackwatch it is “a colossal waste of money”.

  • Concerns have also been raised about the accuracy of product labeling. Three studies which included chemical analyses of Juice Plus have indicated nutrient amounts that differ from the amounts listed on the product labels.[33][46][47]
  • In December 2007, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a complaint with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “halt the marketing of NSA’s Juice Plus Orchard Blend and Garden Blend capsules because the products appear to be adulterated and misbranded”.[48] CSPI said it was “concerned that the products’ claim, ‘the next best thing to fruits and vegetables,’ may lead consumers to believe the pills are closer to real fruits and vegetables than is likely to be the case.” According to CSPI, the labels say the capsules contain high levels of vitamins A and C and folate naturally, but “do not disclose that these vitamins and minerals are added to the capsules during processing and are nutrients only characteristic of the original fruit and vegetable sources.”
  • Registered dietician Fudeko T. Maruyama and nutritional education specialist Mary P. Clarke of Kansas State University commented that “the promotional literature for Juice Plus, billed as a whole food concentrate, is a carefully worded blend of incorrect information, misleading health claims, and nonscientific jargon” and concluded that “Juice Plus probably won’t harm you, but can hurt your pocketbook.”[29] Others have provided similar skeptical assessments of Juice Plus+.[25][27][28][32][49][50]
  • In November 2007, the Complaints Resolution Panel for the Therapeutic Goods Administration Advertising Code Council ruled that statements on NSA’s Juice Plus website were in breach of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code. According to the panel, the “clear message” in the ads was that Juice Plus tablets/capsules are “equivalent to fruits and vegetables” and that “consuming Juice Plus tablets would help Australians to consume the ‘recommended 5–7 servings’ of fruits and vegetables”. NSA was sanctioned by the Council to withdraw any representations that the products “are equivalent to fruits and vegetables or that their consumption can aid in meeting dietary recommendations relating to fruits and vegetables.” [51]
  • NSA claims that Juice Plus is an effective antioxidant, and quotes a study that showed a 75% reduction in lipid peroxidation (an oxidative stress marker) in subjects that took Juice Plus for 7 to 28 days.[12] This report was criticized as “a particularly poor study” by nutritionist Rosemary Stanton[50] in the Australian journal, The Skeptic.[28] Other studies have also reported reductions in lipid peroxidation[13] and DNA oxidation.[35] These three studies were not blinded or placebo-controlled, included few participants (in one case no more than 15), and did not include monitoring or control of the participants’ food intake. Other studies conducted under more rigorous conditions (randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, longer in duration and with more subjects), found no significant reductions in lipid peroxidation,[37][38][40] DNA oxidation,[34][38][39][40] or other markers of oxidative stress.[37][44]

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