Founded by New Zealander Chris Ashenden in 2009, Athletic Greens International Inc (registered in the US) produces the popular greens juice powder Athletic Greens, branded as AG1. This greens powder is manufactured in New Zealand and sold all over the world.
According to the Athletic Greens website, AG1 is “The foundation of daily health. Comprehensive nutrition and gut health in one simple scoop.” You simply dissolve a portion of the greens powder in 250ml of cold water to create a green juice, give it a good shake and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Founder Chris Ashenden formulated the blend of 75 vitamins, minerals and wholefood-sourced nutrients in a bid to find the best way to absorb all the nutrients your body needs. Before founding the company, he was getting sick a lot and tests revealed that he was not absorbing enough micronutrients.
AG1 contains prebiotics, which are non-digestible plant fibres which promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut, a bit like a fertilizer. If you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, you’ll get all the prebiotics your body needs.
AG1 is marketed to cash-rich, time-poor professionals who may not be eating a healthy diet due to lack of time to prepare meals from scratch. Anyone keen on exercise and good nutrition, including athletes, are the target market. Chris Ashenden wants to give his customers “ownership of their health.”
As the website explains, AG1 is “designed to fill nutrient gaps” and is compatible with vegan diets, keto diets and paleo diets, being free from sugar, nuts and dairy. The sweetness in AG1 is from the natural sweetener stevia.
A key ingredient of AGI is probiotics, which are living micro-organisms which promote gut health, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. An alternative source of probiotics is live natural yoghurt, available in all supermarkets. As a personal trainer in London, I advise my clients to eat a healthy breakfast, such as a bowl of live natural yoghurt with a handful of blueberries and a handful of walnuts.
A healthy gut is vital for good digestion, so probiotics are a valuable addition to your nutrition. Your microbiome, your micro-ecosystem which live mainly in your small intestines and colon (large intestines), comprise trillions of friendly bacteria, spanning over 1,000 different species.
Vitamins & Minerals
AG1 also contains the full range of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C and zinc support immunity, magnesium boosts your energy levels by regulating energy production in the cells, and so on. However, if you’re eating a healthy and varied diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, nuts & seeds, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, eggs, unrefined complex carbohydrates, you should be getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
The number of superfoods in AG1 is impressive. There’s spirulina, wheatgrass, alfalfa, chlorella (a freshwater algae), ashwagandha root extract, milk-thistle seed extract. AG1 also contains healing mushrooms, namely reishi and shitake. Some of these superfoods are classed as adaptogens, which are substances used in herbal medicine to stabilize physiological processes and promote homeostasis.
The small-print warns that AG1 may cause temporary upset stomach (such as diarrhoea or bloating) in some users. AG1 is not recommended for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding or children under 18.
In addition, some ingredients in AG1 may adversely react with certain medications, so if you are on medication, don’t take AG1 without the approval of a medical professional.
This is an impressive health supplement with many nutritious ingredients, but personally I think I’m getting all the nutrients I need from healthy eating. For those who struggle to get enough healthy food and absorb all the micronutrients they need, AG1 is certainly an option to consider.
The danger is that people might think that AG1 is the solution to all their nutritional needs, which is certainly not the case as you need sufficient calories, sufficient protein for growth and repair, and more fibre than AG1 provides.
(Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and an online nutrition coach.)