Update 12/22/19. Have you heard of Juice Plus? Juice Plus (also called Juice Plus +) is a whole food phytonutrient supplement. The supplement contains the extracts of 17 different fruits and vegetables in capsule form. Juice Plus is intriguing not only because it comes from food but also because there are several clinical studies on this supplement. Most of them show it has benefits. In this review, let's look at the Juice Plus research. So you know, I am not a juice plus distributor and have no connection to the company which makes it.
Juice Plus Research
There is clinical research on this supplement -human research. Many of the studies can be viewed from the companies website. The company does support research. Some people take that in a bad way but I don't. I like it when companies take the time – and spend the money -to publish research on their supplements. This is rare and I appreciate seeing it.
Here are summaries of the research conducted on this supplement. To make it easier, I'll try to make reading the research easier by dividing them into different sections.
In one of the earlier studies, researchers in 1996 noted higher levels of various vitamins and antioxidants like folic acid, vitamin E and phytonutrients like B carotene and lutein when they gave Juice Plus to 15 healthy people for days. More specifically, they noted the following improvements
- beta-carotene 510%
- alpha-carotene, 119%
- lutein/zeaxanthin, 44%
- lycopene, 2046%
- alpha-tocopherol, 58%
There was no single ingredient said to be responsible for these effects. The improvements were considered the result of all the phytonutrients working in together.
Multiple studies in both healthy and unhealthy people have documented the supplement improves antioxidant levels. This is one of the most consistent findings in all of the research.
Heart Disease Research
In a separate investigation, researchers tested JP and the Vineyard Blend to see if it slowed the progression of heart disease. Specifically, they wanted to by measuring its effects on blood pressure and calcium in coronary arteries. Doctors sometimes measure the amount of calcium in coronary arteries as an indicator of heart disease progression.
The people in this study were 51 men and women with high blood pressure and pre-high blood pressure (prehypertension). They were given Juice Plus and followed for 2 years. Results showed those who received Juice Plus had:
- lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures
- reduced homocysteine
- slower increase in coronary calcium
In theory, this appears to show JP might slow down some aspects of heart disease. One problem, however, was the lack of a placebo group. Interestingly hemoglobin A1C –a sign of diabetes – also decreased. That is good.
Eating high-fat meals can cause vasoconstriction (closing up) of blood vessels. This is bad. In an attempt to see if Juice Plus might help reduce this from happening, researchers in 2003 devised a study where they took 38 healthy people and split them into the following 3 groups:
- Juice plus only group
- Juice Plus + vineyard blend (Vineyard Blend contains grape and berry extracts)
- Placebo group
After 4 weeks, those taking either JP alone or JP and the Vineyard Blend had less vasoconstriction after eating a high-fat meal, compared to people who took a placebo. In addition, the fruit/vegetable concentrate promoted a small (but significant) reduction in cholesterol levels after 4 weeks (cholesterol changed from 184 to 172).
In my own very unscientific “study” many years ago, I noticed Juice Plus alone (no Vineyard Blend) reduced cholesterol from 260 to 220 after one month. My test subject was in a friend with chronically high cholesterol levels.
One compound thought to contribute to heart disease is homocysteine, a substance that makes blood sticky and more easy to clot inside blood vessels. Investigators recruited 32 men (smokers and non-smokers) and randomly gave them either a placebo or Juice Plus for 6 weeks each.
Researchers in Tokyo saw that after 4 weeks, Juice Plus supplements reduced homocysteine levels as well as markers of free radical damage.
Reducing Inflammation Research
Chronic, long term inflammation is thought to contribute to a variety of health problems. Being overweight is one thing that can raise inflammation. To see if this supplement helped, researchers in Australia, recruited 56 overweight adults and gave them either juice plus or a placebo for 8 weeks.
The researchers wanted to see if the fruit and vegetable concentrate supplement would reduce inflammation caused by being overweight. The people took either 6 capsules of placebo or 6 capsules of fruit and vegetable supplements (4 JP and 2 orchard blend) per day.
Results showed those taking juice plus had lower markers of inflammation and reduce cholesterol and LDL.
The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are well known to reduce free radicals. But what if you smoked? Researchers in Italy recruited 101 heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes per day) who smoked for more than 10 years. 75 people completed the study. The people were randomly given either:
- A placebo
- Juice Plus
- Juice Plus + Vineyard blend (berry blend)
Those who received JP, as well as the JP/Vineyard combination, saw significant reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and free radical damage.
Boosting Immunity Research
Some research suggests this fruit/vegetable supplement may improve the immune system. In one such study, 59 healthy law students (21-53 years of age) were given JP or placebo for 77 days. Blood tests revealed a 30% increase in T cells and a 40% reduction in DNA damage in white blood cells (lymphocytes) in those who took Juice Plus.
Another study has also noted less DNA damage in lymphocytes after taking the supplement after only 60 days of use.
Prior to this other researchers noted the supplement increased the activity of natural killer immune cells (NK cells) when it was given to 53 smokers and non-smokers for 80 days. Levels of an immune substance called Interleukin 2 also improved.
Other researchers have noted fewer sick days when JP or placebo was given to 41 police officers for 28 days. While the reduction was not significant from a science perspective, in real-world terms it came to 26 fewer sick days. (108 vs. 134 sick days). I call that significant.
To reinforce these findings, at least one study has found Juice Plus caused a 20% reduction in moderate to severe cold symptoms in health care workers. This study involved 529 people who took JP or a placebo for 8 months.
Juice Plus Cancer Research
There is at least one study of Juice Plus improving the levels of antioxidants in cancer patients. This investigation involved 51 women. Other than this, no further research on the effects of the supplement involving cancer patients could be located.
Juice Plus and Pregnancy Research
Preeclampsia refers to a dangerous elevation in blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy. Left untreated, pre-eclampsia can cause organ damage and can be deadly. Needless to say, pregnant women are routinely monitored for this condition.
Researchers in the US recruited 684 women and gave them either the supplement or a placebo before their 12th week of pregnancy until delivery. The women took either 4 capsules per day or a placebo.
These researchers saw no differences in the rates or severity of preeclampsia. But, babies of the women who took the supplement had fewer respiratory problems and lower rates of admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of hospitals compared to babies born to women who took the placebo.
Can It Help Diabetes?
Insulin resistance is the term used when insulin doesn't work as well as it should. It is one of the signs of type II diabetes. To see if the supplement might help, researchers followed 30 boys (21 boys were overweight) for 6 months. They were randomly given the supplement or a placebo, along with nutritional counseling. Insulin resistance decreased in the overweight boys (that's good) and they lost body fat too. This was not seen in the normal weight boys.
Can It Help Gingervitis?
Dental health and heart health seem to be related. So, might this supplement help reduce heart disease by helping reduce gum disease? At least one study has noted JP improved gum disease compared to a placebo. The study involved 120 people who were given either the supplement or a placebo for two months. While more studies are needed, this investigation appears to show the supplement helps some aspects of gum disease fairly quickly.
Does It Improve Exercise ?
Evidence suggests naturally occurring antioxidants are better for exercise than taking isolated nutrients (like vitamin C for example). Some JP research has looked into this. In one such investigation, researchers took 48 healthy men and women and split them up into the following groups:
- Control group (placebo)
- JP supplement group
- Vitamin group (400 IU vitamin E + 1000 mg vitamin C)
Those taking Juice Plus received 1 fruit capsule, 1 veggie capsule, and 1 Vineyard Blend capsule twice a day (total of 6 capsules per day).
Everybody performed 3 exercise treadmill tests at the following intervals:
- 1 test before supplementation
- 1 test after 2 weeks of supplementation
- 1 test after a week of no supplementation
1. Both the vitamin and JP resulted in “modest” suppression of protein breakdown during exercise after 2 weeks. This is good because we don't want our muscles being broken down during exercise.
2. Neither JP or the vitamins seemed to reduce indicators of free radical damage. This is odd since both JP and vitamin E possess antioxidant activity.
3. Neither the vitamins or JP improved exercise performance.
In another exercise, study researchers gave 41 healthy people either JP or a placebo for 28 days before they performed an intense exercise program. Blood tests revealed Juice Plus reduced various markers of free radical stress but did not reduce pain damage caused by the exercise.
Who Makes Juice Plus
The company is National Safety Associates (NSA). The website is JuicePlus.com.
The company is located at 140 Crescent Drive Collierville, TN 38017-3374. They can be contacted at 901-850-3000 M-F 8 am to 5 PM central time.
According to the Better Business Bureau, they have been in business since 1970. They have an A+ BBB rating and are a BBB accredited business. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
Juice Plus Price
The cost is around $41 a month if you just purchased the original version. The cost would be extra if you also purchased their other supplements such as their Vineyard Blend, protein powder, etc.
Buy Juice Plus
You can purchase Juice Plus directly its website JuicePlus.com. The supplement can also be purchased from one of the many people who sell it. If you don't know anyone, a quick google search of “Juice Plus + your zip code” will likely reveal people in your area sell it.
Currently, this supplement is not sold in stores like Walmart, Costco, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc.
Juice Plus Side Effects
In healthy people, this supplement is safe. No published study has noted any significant side effects. While I have no connection to this supplement, I have taken it for extended periods and suffered no problems.
That said, if you have a serious health problem, it's always wise to discuss all supplements you take with your doctor. Here's a shortlist of general things to consider. This list is not complete:
- start with less than recommended for the first week.
- stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- if you take medications like blood thinners, talk to your doctor first
- As with all supplements, talk to your doctor first if have any health issues
See the Juice Plus Q and A review for more insights.
Juice Plus Alternatives
Because it was likely one of the first whole food supplements, there are now many other competitors out there.
Just a few include:
Of these, Juice Festiv appears to garner the most attention. See the review on JuiceFestive for those who want more information.
Whether or not these other supplements work the same or better than JP is open speculative. No head-to-head comparison studies between supplement could be located.
Does Juice Plus Work?
Juice Plus has more clinical studies than pretty much any supplement I've looked seen. Overall, the research on Juice Plus is interesting. From that research, I am pretty sure the supplement will raise levels of antioxidants. It will probably also reduce inflammation also. These things may lead to better health. If you want to try it and see how you respond, why not get a full blood test first. Then try Juice Plus for several months and get another blood test. That's good advice no matter what fruit and vegetable supplements you try.