Do you use a greens supplement?

If so, you’ll want to read this update! According to a report published this week on, a provider of independent 3rd party testing:

  • 19 greens products were tested for quality & safety: most contained small amounts of cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and lead. However, the levels fell below the FDA thresholds for health concern.
  • 6 supplements contained higher average amounts of lead (>.15mcg per gram). AG1 (formerly Athletic Greens), a very popular supplement among athletes, was found to contain .18mcg per gram of lead.
  • While “no amount of lead is considered safe”, the report noted that the supplements containing higher levels of lead do not necessarily pose a health concern given guidelines from the FDA. For example, a daily serving of AG1 is 12 grams so as tested, AG1 would contain ~ 2.2 mcg of lead which is below the 3mcg/day threshold for children and 12.5mcg/day for adults.
  • However, the report cautioned women who are considering getting pregnant or are pregnant and children avoid regular use of these products due to lead content.

In addition to heavy metals testing, also examined specific ingredients versus labeling and reported the following:

  • Supplements containing fruits and veggies are not actual substitutes for the real thing! Supplements typically contain a small fraction of the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables = eat your veggies and fruits!  The report highlighted that capsules contain ~1g and powders contain ~50g of the 500g RDA of veggies & fruit, a fraction of what is needed to meet baseline nutrient needs.
  • While there are health benefits from consuming concentrated fruits, vegetables, and grasses, eating the real thing provides additional benefits for gut health (e.g. prebiotics & probiotics).
  • Some of the vitamins, minerals and herbs in these supplements may cause unpleasant side effects (especially when consumed above RDA/tolerable upper limits). And more importantly, there is the potential for interactions with medications and medical conditions.

Nutrify’s Position Statement: We take a ‘food first’ approach to meeting the nutrient needs of our athletes and only use 3rd party certified, evidence-backed supplements on a case-by-case basis. While approved many of the greens supplements (including AG1), we do not recommend selecting a supplement that contains any amount of detectable heavy metals due to the potential for health issues.

Need help navigating your nutrition and supplement plan? Schedule a complimentary 15′ call to learn more.

References (2023, January 2). Fruits, veggies, and other Greens supplements (including Spirulina and Chlorella). Retrieved January 6, 2023, from