Juice Plus+ is a dietary supplement aimed at people who don't eat enough vegetables and fruits in their daily diet. According to the manufacturer's website, Juice Plus+ is "the next best thing to fruits and vegetables" but adds that “Juice Plus+ is not a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juice Plus+ is not a medicine, treatment, or multivitamin.” The Juice Plus+ line of products -- capsules, chewables, nutrition bars and shakes -- purportedly contain “powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains.”
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Juice Plus+ products are sold via its website and through direct sales from members of “virtual franchises.”
As with any type of supplement, you may experience side effects from Juice Plus+ so you should consult a doctor before adding it to your diet.
The Importance of Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables is a key part of a healthy diet. While the specific amount of fruits and vegetables you need to eat daily depends on your age, sex and activity level, the USDA generally recommends that adults eat two to three cups of fruits AND vegetables daily. But according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 68 percent of Americans do NOT eat fruits or vegetables at least twice a day, so it makes sense that people are seeking alternative ways to get these important foods into their diet.
Fiber is also an important part of a healthy diet, as it can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, digestive issues and weight gain. Fiber is found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, so by eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies, you’ll also meet your daily fiber requirements.
Juice Plus+ and Drug Interactions
There is a chance that Juice Plus+ may interact with drugs or treatments that you may be taking for other medical conditions. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center does not recommend taking supplements with antioxidant properties since they “may decrease the effectiveness” for patients who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. It also states that Juice Plus+ is “not a substitute for fresh fruits and vegetables.”
While it’s undisputed that adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals are key to good health, there is research that shows that “too much of a good thing” exists as well. For people who are generally already in good health, studies show that taking a multivitamin does not add any health benefits. But for certain groups of people, supplements could have an adverse affect: In a study published in a 2011 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who took vitamin E supplements had an increased risk of prostate cancer.
In a 1994 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that male smokers who took beta-carotene supplements had “a higher incidence of lung cancer among the men who received beta carotene than among those who did not,” despite evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of cancer.
What Are the Side Effects of Juice Plus+?
Regular consumption of Juice Plus+ may result in diarrhea. Juice Plus+ contains magnesium, a mineral essential for good health but that can cause diarrhea and nausea when taken in large doses. You may experience nausea because Juice Plus+ contains iron and according to the National Institutes of Health, taking iron-rich supplements on an empty stomach is more likely to promote nausea and other side effects.
Upset stomach is one of the more common side effects of magnesium supplementation and too much vitamin C may also cause upset stomach. Juice Plus+ contains many ingredients that provide vitamin C, including acerola cherry, orange, pineapple, papaya, kale and spinach.
Impaired Exercise Recovery
Although Juice Plus can be beneficial for promoting improvements in overall health, it may actually have detrimental effects on the results of your exercise sessions. Juice Plus is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, which research from the September 2009 issue of "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" suggests can delay muscle recovery. Additionally, a study published in the January 2008 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that vitamin C supplementation inhibited improvements in endurance normally caused by exercise.
Do Dietary Supplements Really Work?
There are people may need to take dietary supplements; for example, people who have allergies or medical conditions that prevent them from eating certain foods. But according to the the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it’s always preferable to get your fruits and vegetables from whole food sources. ALL the nutrients from real fruits and vegetables cannot be distilled into pill -- when fresh, whole produce is processed, something is always lost.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Juice Plus: The Reason
- Juice Plus: What It's Made Of
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Magnesium; June 2009
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements; Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron; August 2007
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; Vitamin C; February 2011
- "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise"; Antioxidants Do Not Prevent Postexercise Peroxidation and May Delay Muscle Recovery; V.H. Texeira, et al.; September 2009
- Study Shows Vitamin E Increases Prostate Cancer Risk
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know
- "Am J Clin Nutr"; Oral Administration of Vitamin C...; M.C. Gomez-Cabrera, et al.; January 2008
- Tips for Dietary Supplement Users
- Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: Do You Need to Take Them?