Our expert nutritionist Kate Harrison takes a thorough look at this high quality greens supplement in our Athletic Greens review. Read on to find out if AG1 is all it’s cracked up to be…
Greens Powders represent a growing trend. A form of supplementation, they are essentially ground up superfood complexes designed to give your body a massive boost in health giving nutrients. Their benefits are many – improved energy levels, lower cholesterol, better heart health, more balanced mood, protection from stress, improved body composition, a decreased risk of most diseases going…
They are, in short, very potent.
Athletic Greens’ AG1 is one of the best.
AG1 is an incredibly effective way to conveniently give your body everything it needs, all in one drink. It contains a top-shelf vitamin and mineral complex, plenty of botanicals, fruits and veggies, extracts, herbs, probiotics, antioxidants and digestive enzymes for some of the best health-giving properties I’ve ever seen in any supplement. Today, we shall discuss them all in this Athletic Greens review.
Athletic Greens AG1
In short, AG1 is a powder designed to be mixed into a drink. Its nutrition content supports optimal health across four separate areas: energy levels, gut health, immune function, and brain and neural function.
There is a macronutrient load to it, of course. A single, 12 g serving of AG1 gives you 6 g of total carbohydrates, of which 2 g are fiber (giving some of the most profound benefits offered by any greens powder), and 2 g of protein. This comes to fifty calories in total.
However, with any good greens powder, the micronutrient profile is where most of the magic happens. We are looking at the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and so forth.
Athletic Greens have segmented AG1’s ingredients across five main areas.
The first is the vitamin and mineral complex that make up its core micronutrient profile. This makes it a solid multivitamin selection, on a par with the best multivitamin tablets available on the market.
Then there is a nutrient dense, raw alkaline superfood complex. This is mostly made up of green superfoods. It is designed mainly to help in maintaining optimal pH balance in the body whilst aiding longer term liver and heart health.
Next up we have a host of herbs, extracts and antioxidants. These contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, pea protein, and various herbs and extracts, all of which are included to aid long term health, brain function, blood sugar balance, energy and focus.
AG1 also contains a strong dual dairy free probiotic complex, using two well-backed, well-studied probiotics. These should support healthy gut bacteria, aid in healthy digestion, and bring a host of antimicrobial benefits.
Finally, there is a digestion complex with added super mushrooms. It makes use of medicinal mushrooms paired with natural digestive enzymes. Together, these will support gut and digestive health whilst optimizing normal immune response.
Athletic Greens aren’t all talk, either. AG1 is firmly backed up with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Certified for Sport independent testing seal. This shows that it is high quality and free from any unsavory substances, such as those banned by most athletic organizations.
With regards to third party testing and testimonial, this one is hard to beat. Its claims – to support optimal energy levels, immune health, gut and digestive health, and brain and neural function – have all been verified. There is a fantastic body of evidence underpinning each one.
This is important in an increasingly crowded market place. Where anyone and everyone seems to be bringing out comparable greens powders, Athletic Greens stands out for their ingredients list’s quality and makeup. It has far more micronutrients, in far higher doses, than many daily multivitamins, and far longer, more usable ingredients lists (as we’ll see below – the list is long, and I’ve only managed to cover half of it in my roundup) than most other greens powders.
Very few supplements have such robust third party testing backing them up.
This is reflected in the price, of course. AG1 is at the pricier end of things. However, it is worth every penny, as I’ll demonstrate.
AG1 Athletic Greens Ingredients
Get ready for it, brace yourself – the ingredients list is beyond exhaustive. I honestly have no idea how they’ve managed to fit so much into one supplement.
The list begins with alpha lipoic acid (ALA). ALA works with our bodies’ cells to turn glucose (sugar) into usable energy. It can also enhance CoQ10 activity, which in turn will aid cardiovascular health. It can stabilize blood sugar levels whilst giving you longer lasting energy.
You get a good dose of CoQ10 with AG1. It’s a fat soluble molecule found in pretty much every cell in the body. It is crucial for mitochondria health. Including it should aid hearth health, athleticism, and endurance, whilst fighting fatigue.
Then there is a very specific B vitamin called biotin. It is often used in beauty products as it keeps hair, skin and nails healthy. It works as a cofactor, improving the efficiency with which enzymes work. This is key for normalizing gene expression and cell growth, and plays a role in optimizing metabolic health.
You also get the water-soluble B vitamin folate (as 5-MTHF, or methyl-folate, a very bioactive form of folate). Folate is key to energy production, neurological health, growth, and overall wellness.
AG1 also contains the B vitamins B3, B5, and B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, and methylcarbylamine, respectively.
B12 is known for aiding cellular energy. It is generally only found in animal food sources, so including it as a supplement is crucial for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Niacin also supports cell energy, whilst also helping to repair and maintain them, and maintain long term brain health. It can also help you to keep on top of your cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B5 is linked to metabolic health and energy levels, and will allow your body to more correctly, more efficiently use its fat resources.
Next up, we have thiamine and riboflavin.
Thiamine helps to convert carbohydrates into energy. It allows the nervous system to function. A deficiency will make everyday tasks like walking and talking problematic. Riboflavin, meanwhile, further helps to convert food sources into energy. It also enhances the effects of other vitamins – specifically vitamin B6, niacin, and vitamin K.
Finally, in this grouping, is a group of enzymes and cofactors collectively called bromelain. They are all pineapple extracts, and all help you to utilize protein more efficiently.
All this is before we get onto the main vitamin and mineral complexes!
The Vitamins and Mineral Complexes
You get a wide array of vitamins with each serving of AG1.
Let’s take it in alphabetical order, beginning with vitamin A. It’s an antioxidant known for supporting growth, immune function, eye and skin health, and normalized thyroid function.
We’ve covered plenty of B vitamins already, so let’s move onto C, E, and K. Vitamin C is crucial and versatile. It has many uses and functions. They all tie together to improve immune health, nutrient uptake, and recovery. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. You will often see it included in beauty creams for this reason. Vitamin K, meanwhile, is used throughout the body. Its uses include the metabolism of calcium, promoting bone health, and maintaining healthy a nervous system with proper cellular signaling. AG1 uses K2, a very active form of the vitamin.
The mineral complex is no less impressive than the vitamin one.
It begins with calcium, which everybody should include in their supplement regime. It aids bone and tooth health, as we all know. It also has myriad other uses within the body, however, from maintaining heart and nervous system health to aiding proper hormonal and brain function.
You get three different types of calcium in AG1.
Chromium is also a very important mineral for overall health. It can help to regulate blood sugar levels, which will keep you healthy long term and help you to maintain good energy levels. AG1 uses chromium picolinate, the most bioavailable and well-researched form of chromium used in supplementation.
AG1 also delivers plenty of copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc, all of which bring quite profound health benefits.
Copper works as a coenzyme in cellular processes. This means that it will help your body with energy production. It will also lead to more efficient iron metabolization and stronger connective tissue. Manganese plays into this, too. Manganese is a trace mineral required for all living organisms to maintain health and function. It protects cells, aids bone health, and further helps in energy production.
Meanwhile, magnesium, an essential nutrient, is well-known in sporting circles for relieving muscle cramps. It also helps to maintain blood sugar levels.
Potassium is an electrolyte, aiding hydration, whilst selenium is a fantastic antioxidant, which will aid immune and cognitive function, thyroid health, and may slow some of the effects of aging.
Zinc is one of the most important ingredients in this list. It helps with immune function and skin health. However, it is also crucial in keeping hormone levels healthy – it will help to optimize testosterone levels and thyroid function, will balance estrogen levels, and will in general have one of the most profound effects on your overall health and wellbeing of anything included in AG1. AG1 uses a highly absorbable form of zinc – zinc citrate.
Finally, you get a good dose of salt in AG1’s mineral content, with good quality sodium. Though too much salt can be unhealthy, especially from processed foods, we all need some, as it helps to normalize blood pressure and nervous system function.
This is far from it, though. As above, AG1 contains some powerful probiotic ingredients.
Firstly, it gives you Bifidobacterium. It’s one of the most common, most plentiful probiotics found in the human gut, and brings benefits both for immune function support and digestive health. Secondly, you get lactobacillus acidophilus, another incredibly beneficial type of bacteria found in the gut. It helps to ferment sugar into lactic acid, which changes conditions in the gut to favor ‘good’ bacteria over ‘bad’.
AG1 also makes use of the prebiotic fiber inulin, which further supports digestive and gut health. It has been linked to improved blood sugar levels and healthy metabolic function.
There are also a great many adaptogens included in AG1’s recipe. Adaptogens are botanical ingredients that help our bodies to adapt to stress and anxiety, that help to treat fatigue, and that generally improve our overall wellbeing.
For me, the foremost is ashwagandha, one of my favorite supplement ingredients. It is perfect especially for men, as it has been strongly linked with improved testosterone levels. However, it should help to balance hormone health in everybody.
Then there is beet powder, known for improving cardiovascular health; ginger rhizome, which is great for digestive health, and which should combat some of the flatulence generally associated with greens powders; kelp, which is packed full of free radical fighting iodine; and rhodiola, a common adaptogen associated with an improved ability to fight stress.
There about a dozen other potent adaptogens that I simply don’t have the space to get into here!
Every ingredient and nutrient in AG1 comes from a whole food source – acerola, artichoke, bilberry, broccoli, spinach, spirulina, to name just a few.
I only have one bugbear with this formula. It is fantastic, incredibly varied, dizzying and exhaustive, and very intelligently thought out. However, AG1 does contain ‘proprietary blends’, which I’m always cautious of. This is pretty common in greens powders, but I still dislike it.
A proprietary blend allows a supplement to show you the ingredients included, but without any information on dosing. You could, in theory, have the best ingredients in the world included in a recipe, but in such small amounts as to be useless.
This likely isn’t the case with AG1. It is too highly rated, proven to be too effective, and too well backed up by third parties. It is far from useless. It is, however, a slight shame.
How To Take AG1 Athletic Greens
AG1 is incredibly easy to use. Simply mix it with water. The manufacturer recommends mixing each 12 g scoop with 5-10 ounces of cold water. Alternatively, you can mix it into your protein shake, though this may exacerbate any bloating and flatulence.
Take in the morning, before breakfast, wherever possible.
You get a full thirty servings with each purchase, so one packet should last you for a month. However, the manufacturer recommends that those with significant life stressors or active lifestyles take a couple of servings per day. This may particularly be the case for those with high resting metabolic rates, as their bodies will tend to need more of every nutrient across the board.
Using AG1 Athletic Greens
As above, AG1 is pretty straightforward to use. Blend it in with a glass of water or a protein shake, down it, and carry on with your day.
You should find yourself pretty quickly noticing an increase in energy levels and digestive health. The latter will be abundantly clear within a couple of days – it is common to lose a few pounds very quickly when taking greens powders as your digestive tract fully clears itself out!
The other benefits are less noticeable; they are less acute. Rather than feeling an immediate benefit across all areas, most of the benefits will be slow burners. You will simply feel healthier, with greater wellbeing, as you age. This sounds nebulous; it kind of is. However, the effects are so fundamental that there is no other meaningful way to put it; the fundamental systems that go into keeping you alive and well will be tuned up.
There are some side effects to be wary of. These can be especially prevalent in the early days. I know I suffered with several when I first began taking greens powder and the same was true of AG-1. Rather than going in with a full daily dose, try taking a half dose each day for the first couple of weeks as your body adapts.
Common side effects include bloating, diarrhea, or, conversely, sometimes constipation, nausea and stomach aches.
Some of the individual ingredients found in AG1 may have some side effects, though it is unlikely and they will not be severe in most cases. For example, spirulina can thin the blood and rodiola can cause dizziness.
In an ingredients list as long and varied as AG1, it’s sort of inevitable that there will be something in there which reacts badly with you.
However, no reactions should be too severe. If you’re worried about any of them, or are on any medications you fear may be impacted, speak to your doctor before taking AG1.
It is completely free from wheat, dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts, yeast, corn, animal products, GMOs, artificial colors and preservatives, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. However, it does contain soy, so may not be suitable for those with an intolerance to soy.
AG1 isn’t recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Does Athletic Greens make you gain weight?
No single food or drink source will make you gain weight. Rather, total calorie intake will cause you to put on weight, usually as excess body fat. AG1 has a calorie content – at fifty calories per serving, it is slight, however. It likely won’t affect a calorie surplus or deficit, but do make sure to factor it into your intake.
There is evidence that greens powder can help you to lose weight.
Does Athletic Greens give you gas?
AG1 can cause a little flatulence and a bit of bloating. When the powder is blended into water, it releases a little gas. This is what causes the layer of foam on the top of your shake. It is normal and safe. However, this gas can make its presence known when you ingest it. Digesting greens powders can also make you feel bloated, especially when you first start taking them.
Does Athletic Greens make your pee yellow?
No, AG1 won’t turn your urine yellow. Yellow pee is generally associated with free nutrients being expelled through your urinary tract. However, AG1 uses incredibly bioavailable ingredients. Very little of what you ingest from it is wasted – rather, it is all used, leaving nothing to pass through into your pee.
Is AG1 a meal replacement?
AG1 is a supplement, not a meal replacement. It contains plenty of micronutrients, as we have seen. However, it is calorically scarce, with very small amounts of macronutrients. It therefore will not work as a meal replacement. When using it, eat as you normally would, simply adding in a greens shake at some point in your day, as directed by the labelling.
Pros and Cons
- You get your daily recommended intake of a multitude of vitamins and minerals with each serving
- The formula is sourced from complete whole foods
- Supports and enhances plenty of natural bodily processes, greatly enhancing your overall wellness
- Third part tested and backed by good quality scientific data
- Fully legal in all athletic competitions
- Uses a proprietary blend
- On the pricier side of things
- Can cause a little gas, bloating, and flatulence
If you are looking for a way to boost your overall micronutrient intake, improve your energy levels, ring fence your health and wellness in pretty much every major aspect, protect yourself against disease, maintain healthy body composition, and spike your athleticism, you should consider using a greens powder. Most of us don’t eat enough greens, and very few eat a wide enough array – we all have busy lives, and doing so can be tough.
Greens powders can reverse this. It can give you everything you need from a balanced, healthy, well-planned diet, all in one easy, simple drink. We have seen the wonders – they can work.
And if you are thinking about investing in a greens powder for daily use, you should seriously consider AG1.
Though it is more expensive than much of the competition, the old adage stands true – you very much get what you pay for, here. AG1 is fantastic.
It should boost pretty much every health giving function in your body. You will be more energetic, less prone to fatigue, with improved physical wellbeing and athletic output, for taking it. Your brain, heart, and other major organs will all work better, for longer, giving you myriad benefits.
AG1 is backed by fantastic third-party testing. Everything included is there because the research underpinning it is sound. The quality of everything you get in their formula is near enough beyond reproach.
If you can, get yourself a pack. See how it makes you feel. I’m willing to bet that you’ll see improvements almost immediately.
Written by Kate Harrison
Kate is one of our nutrition experts at PathMed and is also one of our in-house writers. There is little that gets past Kate when it comes to nutrition and she has a wealth of experience when it comes to fat loss and supplementation around losing weight. She is thorough in her research and is a real advocate for living a healthy lifestyle.