Update 9/10/19. The Zeal Wellness Drink is said to be an “all in one formula” that that “combines core vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables” which can“boost energy” “optimize health” and help people “maintain a healthy weight.” I got interested interested in the Zeal Wellness Blend after looking at its ingredients and noticing that it contained something that I had not seen in a long time. So, in this review, we'll look at the ingredients and try to find human research for them in the hopes of helping you decide if this supplement is right for you.
Zeal Wellness Nutrition Information
For this review I'll look at the Tropic Dream flavor. A serving size is 1 scoop which equals 14 grams (1 half ounce). A container of the Tropic Dream flavor has 30 servings per container and contains the following nutrition information.
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Calories From Fat||15|
|Total Fat||1.5 g||3% DV|
|Saturated Fat||0.26 g||<1% DV|
|Sodium||1 mg||0.0% DV|
|Total Carbohydrates||11 g||4% DV|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g||16% DV|
|Protein||< 1 g||1% DV|
|Tocotrienols & Tocopherols||192 micrograms||N/A|
|Gamma Oryzano||14 mg||N/A|
Looking at the table above, overall it looks pretty normal too me as far as the protein fat and carbs listed. The highest percentage appears to come from fiber (4 grams per serving) which provides 16% of the amount of fiber that's recommended per day.
If the Zeal Wellness drink does anything, I think that answer lies mostly in its “Key Ingredients.” From the table above, we can see that there are 6 different key ingredients listed. They are:
- Tocotrienols & Tocopherols
- Gamma oryzanol
Let's take a closer look at these now and try to make sense of them.
Tocotrienols & Tocopherols
Both of these words refer to vitamin E. Because both are mentioned, I take that to mean that the Zeal Wellness Drink contains all of the different types of vitamnin E. Depending on who you talk to, there are between 8 – 10 different types of vitamin E. If I'm right, then this might be a good thing considering that most vitamin E supplements only provide one type – alpha tocopherol. Providing all the different types, might be better than only one type.
The Zeal Wellness Formula contains 192 micrograms of Tocotrienols & Tocopherols (vitamin E). While that's not much (the RDA for vitamin E is about 15 milligrams per day), I'm personally ok with this as I think vitamin E is over hyped.
Inositol is sometimes said to be one of the B vitamins but since the body can make it, it's really not a vitamin. Some may have heard of a similar compound called inositol hexaphosphate (also called “IP-6”) which is found in many different foods, such as nuts and citrus fruits. When we consume IP-6, it releases inositol into our bodies.
There are many different types of inositol. Of those, myo-inositol is one of the main types in the body. While I can't know for sure, my guess is this may be the form of inositol in the Zeal Wellness Drink.
Some research shows inositol might help PCOS and there is some interest in depression and anxiety too. There is not much inositol in the Zeal Wellness Drink. Each serving only provides 3 mg. This is less than studies tend to use.
Inositol is found in many foods. According to this study of inositol in foods, 1 serving of grapefruit juice can have as much as 468 mg of inositol per serving.
Phyto means plant and sterols refers to compounds that “look” like cholesterol. As such, there is evidence that they can reduce cholesterol levels. As mentioned on this page of the Cleavland Clinic website, the FDA has approved a heart disease reduction health claim for phytosterols if the food provides at least 1.3 grams per day. Each serving of the Zeal Wellness Formula provides just 5 milligrams of phytosterols.
The Linus Pauling Institute has a list of foods rich in phytosterols. At the top of this list is wheat germ – and right below it is rice bran oil, which is where we get gamma oryzanol – the next ingredient in the Zeal Wellness Formula.
This ingredient comes from rice bran oil and refers to a diverse group of individual ingredients. I remember gamma oryzanol being popular with weight lifters in the 1990s. Back then, people thought it might help make weight lifters bigger and stronger. Unfortunately, what research I could locate on exercise, doesn't seem to show it helps. This 2014 exercise study also shows it doesn't help exercise either, even when as much as 600 mg per day is used. Each serving of the Zeal Wellness Formula provides 14 mg of Gamma Oryzanol.
The bran is the hard, outer shell of some foods, in this case rice. Rice bran oil refers to to the fatty oil derived from rice bran. It's from the oil of rice bran that gamma oryzanol comes from. For more on this, see the Rice Bran Oil Wikipedia page.
There is some evidence that gamma oryzanol might lower cholesterol levels although most of the research I saw on this issue involve lab animals.
I noticed that gamma oryzanol is spelled wrong on the Zeal Wellness Formula PDF flyer. They spell it “Gamma Oryzamol.”
This is a class of phytonutrient that are antioxidants. They are found in a variety of things you might already be consuming including coffee, fruits and vegetables, red wine and even chocolate. Each serving of the Zeal Wellness Formula contains 840 mg of polyphenols. While this is nice, it's still not clear how much is best for us. My guess is that most fruit/veggie smoothies contain more than this. Here's my smoothie if you want to try to make one.
For an in-depth review of polyphenols see this paper from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This is the scientific name for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are made of many sugar molecules linked together. There are many types of polysaccharides such as cellulose and glycogen.
The prefix mono means one while the prefix poly means many. So polysaccharides are made up of many monosaccharides (sugars) linked together.
Carbohydrates do provide us with energy. During exercise, carbs are one of the main types of fuels our muscles use.
Wikipedia has a nice review of polysaccharides for those who want to learn more.
Each serving of the Zeal drink provides 2016 mg (just over 2 grams) of polysaccharides which makes this the most abundant of the “key ingredients” in the product. In the grand scheme of things, 2 grams of carbs is not much especially if we are talking about exercise. Remember 28 grams = 1 ounce.
Zeal Wellness Blend Ingredients
Here, in order as they appear on the product label, are all the ingredients in the Tropic Dream flavor of Zeal Wellness Blend.
|Soluble stabolized rice and bran germ||fructooligosaccharide from chicory root||crystalline fructose|
|natural orange flavor||citric acid||natural pineapple flavor|
|natural lemon flavor||natural lime flavor||stevia (leaf)|
|guarana seed powder w/ natural caffeine||aloe vera powder w/ aloe polysaccharides||moringa oleifera powder|
|chlorella powder||broccoli powder||cranberry powder|
|milk thistle powder||bacopa powder||ashwagandha powder|
|green tea powder||wild blueberry powder||red ginseng powder|
|grape seed powder||yerba mate powder||kudzu powder|
|fennel seed powder||gogi berry powder||acai berry powder|
|noni juice powder||natural color from tumeric and beta carotene|
Read the table above from left to right. This gives you an idea of the ingredients present the most and those present the least. For example, since beta carotene is the last ingredient listed, it's probably present in the lowest concentration.
The ingredients list includes quite a few things I've looked at before including:
Personally, I'm not too impressed with any of these ingredients. I'll refer you to the reviews above for more information on them.
Let's now look at a few other ingredients I noticed that were listed.
The scientific name for this herb is Withania somnifera. In some supplements it may also be called “Indian ginseng.” This herb has been in a few products Ive looked at previously including:
- Shakeology (click to read review)
- Avesil (click to read review)
- 1 Db Goddess (click to read review)
While I can't say the specific reason why this herb is in the product, given that a few other ingredients contain caffeine, I wonder if the reason might be due to claims that this herb can increase thyroid hormone levels? More thyroid hormone might mean more energy to get through the day. I looked into this but unfortunately only found lab animal research.
One study of ashwagandha did appear to show it might help cartilage in people with osteoarthrits but I believe better research needs to be done. Another study noted that ashwagandha might reduce anxiety levels in people. This anxiety study used 600 mg of ashwagandha per day. I dont know how much is in the Zeal Wellness Drink.
This ingredient contains caffeine and as such is sometimes found in products to boost energy. What I find disturbing is evidence that yerba mate is associated with several different types of cancers. Since many of these studies involved looking at people who drank hot liquids that contained herba mate, could the temperature of the liquid play a role in this? Maybe, but I think this potential connection is worth considering and speaking to a doctor/pharmacist about to see if it is applicable to you.
For more on this, I'll direct you to the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Weil's website. Notice that both of these sites state that occasional drinking may not be an issue but rather regular drinking of yerba mate. The Sloan Kettering Cancer Center also has a review on yerba mater worth looking at.
In some supplements, kudzu is called “Pueraria.” This herb (pronounced “cud-zoo) is a rapidly growing contains plant-derived hormone like compounds called isoflavones. You may have heard this term used with soy as it also contains isoflavones.
Because it has isoflavones, kudzo has been investigated to help menopause. It's also been investigated to help several conditions ranging from alcoholism to weight loss. I think better human research needs to be done on kudzu.
Turmeric is listed at the end of the list. The spice, tumeric, has been accumulating a lot of research that its not only a natural antiinflammatory but also that it might help cancer too.
How Much Caffeine?
I'm not sure how much caffeine is in the Zeal Wellness Drink. The lable does mention “natural caffeine” but I can't find an amount listed. I did see references stating it contains a level of caffeine similar to a “cup of premium coffee.” This is similar to the vague caffeine claim for 5 hr Energy. See that review for more on that product.
Ingredients With Caffeine
While I do not know the amount of caffeine, here are the ingredients in the Zeal Wellness Drink that I believe might contain caffeine:
- Yerba Mate
- Green Tea
It is said the green tea in the product is considered decaffeinated. That means it probably has very little caffeine. Either way, I believe it's the caffeine content that's at the heart of the “boosts energy” claim for the product.
Looking at the ingredients list above, I believe these are the sweeteners in Zeal Wellness Drink (Tropic Dream flavor):
- Crystalline fructose
- Natural orange flavor
- Natural pineapple flavor
- Natural lemon flavor
- Natural lime flavor
Crystalline fructose is basically another name for the sugar, fructose. I noticed that this was also an ingredient in the Zeal Protein shake. When I reviewed Right Size Smoothies, I also saw this in the ingredients. Is crystalline fructose healthier than high fructose corn syrup? Personally I don't think it is and I question its use in health products. For more on this see this LA Times review and Nutrition Action.
Is It Vegan?
Yes, the label states Zeal Wellness Formula is vegan and gluten free.
Who Makes Zeal?
The company is called Zurvita. Another name is Zurvita Holdings. I listed more about them in my review of the Zeal Protein Shake. See that for more information.
I was unable to find published clinical evidence for the Zeal Wellness drink demonstrating that it infact improved health and wellness in humans. I searched both ClincalTrials.gov and PubMed.gov for research but could not find any.
Here are some things that I thought were worth mentioning based on the ingredients. This list is not complete. Speak to your doctor if you have any health issues or take any medications.
Stop taking the wellness drink at least 2 weeks before having surgery. This in case some of the ingredients have blood thinner properties.
Speak to your doctor first if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Because it has caffeine, avoid drinking close to bedtime.
Fructose might raise triglyceride levels.
One study I located noted that gamma oryzanol might reduce TSH levels in humans. This might be an issue for those with hypothyroidism.
Drinking yerba mate beverages regularly may be associated with an increase in the risk of some cancers. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for more specific information on this.
Some animal research hints that kudzu might interfere with estrogen levels. Could this mean kudzu might also interfere with birth control pills? I'm not aware of any human evidence for this.
Does It Work?
The Zeal Wellness Blend has a lot of ingredients but without human clinical evidence, it's difficult to say if it actually improves wellness or not. It has some exotic ingredients but does exotic always mean better? Is the Zeal wellness drink better than a smoothie you can make in your kitchen using regular fruits and veggies you get at your local supermarket? That's the question I would like to know.