Update 3/9/20. Alkalize. Balance. Detoxify. These are words used to describe “It Works, Greens”, a supplement said to restore pH balance to the body. With restored alkalinity, it’s said, you will experience immune system health and increased energy. I’ve been intrigued by –and had questions about – claims that we can alter the alkalinity of the body to improve health for a while now and so when It Works Greens came to my attention, I thought I’d review it and see what I might discover. If you were curious also, keep reading and let’s see what we can find out about it. Also, see the review of It Works Fat Fighter as well as the ThermoFit review for more information.
It Works Greens Research
Clinical research on It Works Greens could not be located.
It Works Greens Nutrition Facts
According to the product label, a serving of It Works Greens (Berry Flavor) is 2 level scoops (4 grams) mixed with 8 oz of water. These 2 scoops have the following basic nutrition information:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Total carbs||2g||1% DV|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g||4% DV|
|Magnesium (dimagnesium malate)||50 mg||12% DV|
|Potassium (potassium citrate||250 mg||7% DV|
Other ingredients listed are Natural flavors and silica. They don’t say what the natural flavors are.
This is the form of magnesium used in It Works Greens. Basically magnesium is chemically bonded to another compound (malic acid) to increase its absorption.
Potassium Citrate is the form of potassium used in the supplement. It’s the mineral potassium, bonded to citric acid. Like magnesium above, this may be so as to increase absorption.
Two scoops of It Works Greens provides 250 mg of potassium. One cup of spinach has over 800 mg of potassium.
The Berry Flavor of It Works greens also contains these other ingredients
- Natural flavors (not sure what they are)
- Malic acid
- Citric acid
- Rebaudioside A (this is Stevia)
These other ingredients likely play no role in any of the effects the product might have.
The Proprietary Blends
It Works Greens contains two proprietary blends containing several different ingredients. Here are the amounts contained in each of them:
- Greens Proprietary Blend has: 1080mg (about 2.2 grams). It used to be 2231 mg.
- Whole Food Proprietary Blend 2 has 1475mg. It used to be 330mg.
To put things in perspective, 1 ounce of anything equals 28 grams.
The ingredients listed at the beginning are present in the greatest concentration, while those at the end of the list are present in the lowest concentration.
Greens Proprietary Blend (1,080 mg)
The Greens Blend ingredients have changed since this review was created. The table below reflects the current ingredients.
Here are the ingredients in the first proprietary blend. Read the table from left to right. This will tell you which ingredient is present most and least.
|Blue green algae (spirulina)||Parsley||Barley grass
|Spinach||Clorela||Alfalfa extract (aerials)|
|Matcha green tea||Watercress||Rosemary leaf|
|Plantain leaf||Dandelion leaf||Lemon grass|
|green tea leaf extract||Dulse|
Previously The Greens Blend contained soy lecithin and soy protein isolate. In the new version, these ingredients were removed. Spirulina was in the previous ingredients list too and it remains in the current version of the product.
This is a type of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae contain some protein. Since this is the 3rd ingredient listed in this proprietary blend, my guess is a good amount of the 2231 mg is composed of spirulina.
Also called Siberian Ginseng, this ingredient has been removed from the proprietary blend. It's now present in the Whole Foods Blend below. See below for more information.
Bacillus Coagulans (no longer in the product)
This is a probiotic bacteria. It Works Greens contains a trademarked version called LactoSpore
Astragalus Root Extract (no longer in product)
The scientific name is Astragalus membranaceus. There are many extracts in the root of this plant. The company does not tell what extract of Astragalus is in the supplement. That said, there have been some studies noting that extracts of astragalus can improve various aspects of the immune system.
Much of the research involves exposing cells to astragalus extracts rather than giving the herb to people.
They don’t tell us what extract of green tea It Works Greens contains. Is it caffeine? Is it Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)?
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (no longer in the product)
This herb is often used because of its reputation to help memory although several studies have noted it does not help memory. If I knew the reason why ginkgo is in the product, then I could say more.
Aloe Vera Gel (no longer in the product)
This is the last ingredient present in this proprietary blend. As such, it is present in the lowest amount. There has been some research that aloe vera might reduce blood sugar levels.
Whole Food Proprietary Blend (1,475mg)
Here are the ingredients in the Whole Food Proprietary blend of It Works Greens. One serving of this blend provides a total of 1475mg of all these ingredients. Since pea fiber is first on the list, this blend contains mostly pea fiber Read the table from left to right to see which is present the most and the least.
|Pea fiber||Apple fiber||Eleuthero root extract|
|grapefruit juice||white willow||Onion|
|Papaya juice||Peach||Pear juice|
|Brussels sprouts||Lemon juice||Raspberry juice|
|Strawaberry juice||Pumpkin||Black currant|
|Goji (Lycium barbarum)||Sunflower lecithin||Astragalus root extract|
|Turmeric||Meadowsweet herb (aerial parts)||Black berry fruit|
|Acerola||Billberry fruit extract||Cranberry|
There are 28 ingredients in this blend of ingredients. Here are some of the more exotic and interesting ingredients.
Eleuthero Root Extract
Eleuthero is also called Siberian ginseng. There are many different compounds in Siberian ginseng.
One investigation noted Siberian ginseng did not raise testosterone nor did it have any positive effects on the immune systems of people.
Goldenseal (no longer in the product)
Goldenseal is also known as Hydrastis Canadensis. In the past, people used to think goldenseal would help them pass drug tests. The idea was that goldenseal would mask illegal drugs from being detected in urinalysis tests. For the record, it doesn't do this.
One of the compounds in goldenseal is berberine . There is some evidence berberine may help the immune system work better. In one investigation, both Goldenseal and Astragalus (which is also in Greens) seemed to stimulate some immune system cells.
White Willow Bark
It's now called just “white willow” in the ingredients. White willow bark contains compounds that appear to “look like” aspirin and because of this, it may also be in arthritis supplements.
Pau d'arco Bark (no longer in the product)
The scientific name is Handroanthus impetiginosus. This is the bark of a tree that grows in South America and Florida. While some of the ingredients in Pau d'arco bark may have antibiotic effects. Pau d'arco bark was looked at as a possible cancer treatment in the 1960s until it was found that the amount that might help, overlapped with the amount that might cause internal bleeding. Granted, this effect was seen in amounts much more than is in this product.
My personal opinion is I wish they would remove Pau d'arco bark from this product. Update. It has been removed.
Turmeric is now in It Works Greens. This spice has a lot of healthy benefits. Unfortunately, turmeric is listed toward the bottom of the list so there might not be much in the product.
Another name for Amla is Indian gooseberry. It's very popular in Ayurvedic medicine for many reasons. It's sometimes touted to grow hair and restore hairs natural color but I doubt if that's why it's used here.
It Works Greens Questions (FAQ)
1 Is It Gluten-Free?
The promotional material I have states that Greens contains a small amount of gluten. According to the FDA, to be called “gluten-free,” products must have less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Since I don't see “gluten-free” on the label, I'll assume it has more than that amount.
2 Does It Contain Soy?
Not anymore. Soy lecithin and soy protein isolate have been removed.
3 Are The Ingredients GMO?
No, It Works Greens contains only non-genetically modified ingredients. Even the soy is non-GMO. For those wanting to limit their exposure to genetically modified foods, this is a good thing.
4 Can Kids Use Greens?
The Greens supplement are for adults only. The It Works company says not to give this product to kids.
5. It Works Greens vs. Organifi Greens
Does Greens Only Contain Greens?
From the list of ingredients in the proprietary blends, the supplement contains more just fruits and vegetables. Yes, there is broccoli, spinach and kale, but it also has white willow bark and Siberian ginseng, and other things I doubt are in most of kitchens. I mention this not to slam the supplement, but just to point this out in case you were thinking this might be a vegetable supplement.
Does It Works Greens Alkalize The Body?
The idea of being more alkaline as a way to promote health has been around for a long time. Acid foods – such as meats and grains- are said to be bad, while eating more alkaline foods – like fruits and vegetables – are said to be good for us. The amount of alkalinity (or acidity) is measured by the pH. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. A pH of 1 is very acidic while a pH of 14 is very alkaline.
A neutral pH (neither too acid or too alkaline) is 7.0.
Here’s the thing: the pH of our blood is about 7.35 to 7.45. In other words, the pH of healthy human blood is normally slightly alkaline.
So whether it alkalizes the body or not, know that your blood pH is always slightly alkaline.
It Works Greens Side Effects
The supplement is probably safe in most people. For those, not healthy here are some considerations. This list is not complete.
- Start with less than suggested for the first week
- Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
- The company says to not give the supplement to kids
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- If you take any medications, speak to your doctor first.
Does It Works Greens Work?
There's no clinical evidence the supplement can “alkalize the body.” While you could use it as a “supplement” to eating food, it should not be used in place of fruits and vegetables. If you are healthy and the product starts you on the road to eating more fruits and vegetables, then I’d say that is a step in the right direction. If you are already eating this way, then it's up to you if need it or not.