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Supplement Review: Juice Plus

As a part of my review on supplements, I am going to start with Juice Plus. Most of you have probably heard of Juice Plus, know someone who sells it, or have seen it at a tradefair.

What it is:

The Juice Plus slogan is: "The next best thing to fruits and vegetables." Canadians don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. And the most commonly consumed vegetable is potatoes! Juice Plus contains concentrates from 17 fruits, veggies and grains (capsules or chews) in Garden Blend, Orchard Blend and Vineyard Blend.

Pros:

1) One major advantage of Juice Plus is that it is just fruits and veggies, with no isolated vitamins and minerals. The phytochemicals in foods work synergystically and you can't add them all to a traditional vitamin. Because of this, I like the idea of a whole foods supplement.

2) Juice Plus also has an impressive amount of quality research studies to support that the antioxidants are absorbed, it reduces oxidative stress, helps protect DNA and cardiovascular health and supports healthy skin and gums. I'm intrigued by the the potential benefits of Juice Plus during pregnancy; the research is still underway.

3) It's not a substitute for eating fruits or veggies, nor does it claim to be. But Juice Plus could provide worried parents a bit of comfort for a child that does not like fruits or veggies (ok - it's almost always vegetables!). It doesn't get you out of the parental responsibility of continuing to offer your child vegetables. But your child chooses not to eat them, at least you can be confident they are getting a bit of veggie powder in Juice Plus!

Cons:

1) Unlike a more comprehensive multivitamin, you may need to take additional supplements, such as Omega 3 and vitamin D and folic acid.

2) You have to order in 4 month increments, and have to order both the Orchard and Garden Blends. You can't just order the veggie (Garden) blend, if you think you or your child eats plenty of fruit but not enough veggies.

3) The chews (that I've been feeding my kids) are sugary. I worry that although Juice Plus can strengthen gums and teeth, that the sugar and stickiness of the chews will over-ride this and lead to cavities! I would love to see them sweetened with tooth-friendly xylitol instead.

My Juice Plus Trial: While there are lots of testimonials about feeling more energy, sleeping better, having healthier teeth and gums.....I didn't notice anything. However, I was not measuring my antioxidant levels or DNA damage, and I believe it is still working at a cellular level. I took 2 Garden and 2 Orchard Blend capsules per day, as directed. I find the capsules a bit large and sometimes get stuck in my throat. I suppose this just encourages me to drink more water with them! Or you can break them up and put the powder in a smoothie or yogurt or oatmeal.

I have also been feeding my kids the Juice Plus Chews. My 2 year old daughter spits them out about half the time, but my 6 year old son loves them.  My son is rarely ever sick and doesn't often catch little sister's colds! I'm not sure if this is due to Juice Plus, but it could be playing a small role.

Have you tried Juice Plus? What do you think of it?

Want to know more about family nutrition? Join my free Facebook group "The Nourished Family," for tips to make feeding your family easier.

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