In the early days of nutritional supplements, many products, other than multivitamin/minerals, were single ingredients. Think of protein, glutamine, and creatine as examples. Then we entered the era of what the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnical Information) calls multi-ingredient supplements. Still the most prevalent, the multi-ingredient prework or MIPS features an array of ingredients to support your workouts, including creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine, citrulline, and so forth for energy, vasodilation, focus, stamina, and endurance.
Today, we review two multi-ingredient dietary supplements in a different space, the greens/superfoods category. Unlike MIPS, these products, from Athletic Greens and Vibrant Health, address whole-body wellness in one easy-to-use powder. AG 1, with 75 ingredients, and Green Vibrance, with approximately 70 components, go well beyond the intent of a normal greens product and deliver formulations designed to provide “foundational nutrition,” replacing the need for multiple other supplements such as multivitamins, probiotics, prebiotic fibers, adaptogens, and antioxidants.
Which is better? Each has its advantages, as we detail below in our comparison of Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance; comparing formulations, ingredients, price/value, taste, and corporate practices.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: The Products
You’ll note we referred to the product category as greens/superfoods. To clarify, superfood is a marketing term for a food that confers health benefits and aids in disease prevention due to its exceptional nutrient density. The primary components for most greens products are superfoods such as spirulina, wheat grass, chlorella, barley, and alfalfa. Although some manufacturers market their green superfoods separately and pair them with a Reds product, our subject brands include additional superfoods such as apple powder, acerola, pineapple, papaya, and grape seed in their formulations.
The average American consumes too many calories from the wrong sources, excess sugar and refined grains, and too much sodium and saturated fats. Yet three-quarters of people don’t eat the recommended servings of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, at least two-and-a-half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day for the average 2,000-calorie diet.
AG 1 and Green Vibrance are dietary supplements formulated to help you achieve your recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, an insurance policy, to provide energy and support your immune system. And, as you’ll see, these sophisticated formulas are designed to do much more to support your overall well-being.
AG 1 by Athletic Greens
AG 1 is a powdered dietary supplement formulated to deliver the health benefits of nine different products, which the company’s founder refers to as your “daily nutritional foundation.” Since its introduction in 2009, the company has updated and improved the formulation more than fifty times. Although incorporated in the USA, AG 1 is manufactured in New Zealand in a TGA-registered facility. TGA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, is the equivalent of the FDA in the U.S. It is the Australian agency responsible for regulating medicines and vitamins.
The Supplement Facts panel includes vitamins (11), minerals (10), pre-and probiotics, Superfoods, Herbs & Antioxidants, and Enzymes & Mushrooms proprietary blends. Each 12-gram scoop delivers the antioxidant equivalent of twelve servings of fruits and vegetables. Unlike Green Vibrance, AG 1 comes in only one flavor, a slightly sweet taste due to its vanilla and pineapple ingredients, as well as the other fruits and vegetables in the blend. The taste and texture are pleasant, if somewhat grassy. Some users add a bit of lemon or juice to improve the taste.
Athletic Greens adheres to industry best practices. Its manufacturing facility is certified as cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices), and AG 1 is certified as Safe for Sport (free of banned substances). Both certifications are from the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF), a premier third-party, non-profit certification organization.
AG 1 is gluten, dairy, eggs, and nut free. The product contains no herbicides, pesticides, or preservatives, and its non-GMO ingredients contain no added sugars, flavors, artificial colors, or sweeteners.
How to Take Athletic Greens
Simply mix one 12-gram scoop of AG 1 in eight to ten ounces of cold water once daily, preferably on an empty stomach, before your first meal.
Green Vibrance, by Vibrant Health
Green Vibrance is a plant-based greens powder formulated to support the four primary foundations of health: nutrition, digestion, circulation, and immunity. AG 1 replaces up to nine different products, including multivitamins, multi-minerals, superfood blends, phytonutrients, greens blends, adaptogens, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics. Green Vibrance contains ten different categories plus vitamins and minerals:
- Cereal Grasses
- Plant-Based Micro-Nutrition
- Immune Support
- Skeletal Support
- Dietary Fiber
- Liver Support
Vibrant Health’s continuous improvement program has reformulated the product twenty-one times since its introduction in 1992. Manufactured in the U.S. in Connecticut, the company’s facilities are cGMP compliant. We find no mention of third-party testing or certification of the finished product. The website claims Vibrant Health is the most award-winning nutritional supplement brand, and Green Vibrance is America’s #1 superfood.
Each eleven-gram scoop of Green Vibrance delivers the equivalence of four and one-half servings of fruits and vegetables plus 25 billion probiotic CFUs from twelve strains, prebiotic fibers, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. All the Cereal Grasses and many of the Micro-Nutrients in the product are certified organic. It is gluten, soy, and dairy-free, non-GMO, and Vegan Friendly. There are no proprietary blends in Green Vibrance – a company motto is “Truth, Trust, Transparency.” As such, each ingredient and its dosage are clearly listed on a jam-packed Supplement Facts label.
Green Vibrance is available today in several different flavors and formats:
- Powder in Original, Blueberry Lemon, and Chocolate Coconut
- With Added Protein
Flavor and texture are frequently mentioned as grassy and earthy, effectively offset by adding fruit, oats, or juice.
How to Take Green Vibrance
One scoop daily, preferably 30-45 minutes before eating, mixed with eight ounces of water or your favorite beverage. Stir briskly or shake in a closed container to achieve the appropriate texture.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: Which Multi-Ingredient Superfood Supplement is Better?
AG 1 and Green Vibrance have much in common. Both are greens powders first, with sophisticated blends of superfoods, albeit identified on their Supplement Facts panel differently. Both go beyond their superfood formulations to include other compounds that support gut health, immunity, and overall well-being. AG 1 enjoys certain advantages, as detailed below. Green Vibrance also has its selling points, led by the price/value relationship at roughly half the cost per serving of AG 1. AG 1 is the clear winner in most comparisons of greens products due to its extensive advantage in the number and quality of ingredients; however, in this instance, Green Vibrance’s robust formulation at the reduced price point wins the day.
Although Green Vibrance has been on the market longer and enjoys far greater reach, Athletic Greens has the advantage in corporate practices with its NSF certifications. NSF is one of the premier third-party testing companies, along with USP, Consumer Lab, and Informed Choice. Especially important for athletes who may be tested for banned substances.
Both companies use organic ingredients extensively in their formulas. Green Vibrance states “certified organic” on several components; however, we did not find the USDA Certified Organic seal on the package or in the company’s marketing materials. Both products are non-GMO, gluten, soy, and dairy-free, as well as vegan-friendly.
With 145 ingredients between the two products, it is challenging to make a direct comparison. AG 1 has a slightly larger serving size, twelve grams, versus eleven in Beyond Greens. Although we respect the AG 1 formulation, they use proprietary blends, further increasing the difficulty of comparing compounds. Green Vibrance has a fully transparent Supplement Facts panel, a distinct advantage in our opinion. The AG 1 Superfood Complex (7.388 grams) and its Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidant Blend (2.732 grams) seem more robust than the Green Vibrance Cereal Grasses (3.675 grams), Plant-Based Micronutrition (2.506 grams), and Antioxidant Blends (1.580 grams). However, Green Vibrance has additional blends to address dietary fibers, Immune Support, Skeletal and Liver Support. Essential ingredients also appear differently on the two Supplement Facts panels.
There are two areas where Green Vibrance has a distinct advantage in formulation:
- Probiotics. Although neither product has sufficient strains of probiotics, or CFUs (Colony Forming Units), Green Vibrance has twelve strains delivering 25 billion CFUs versus AG 1 with only two strains and 7.2 CFUs.
- Green Vibrance also has a slight edge in digestive enzymes, with six enzymes versus one (Bromelain), in AG 1; however, the AG 1 blend is a much larger dose and includes a Mushroom Complex not found in Green Vibrance.
Green Vibrance also has an edge in convenience as the product is available in more locations, more e-commerce sites, and 8,000 brick-and-mortar specialty and big box stores.
Taste is very subjective, and the customer reviews of both products are love/hate. We would give a slim advantage to the slightly sweet taste of AG 1 versus the more grassy/earthy taste of Green Vibrance. Regardless of your choice, you can improve the taste by adding a bit of lemon, another flavored juice, or mixing it with your smoothie. I’ve tried a bit of Real Lemon and adding AG 1 to a protein shake; the taste is palatable. As previously noted, Green Vibrance also offers Chocolate Coconut and Blueberry Lemon flavor alternatives.
Finally, as mentioned, Green Vibrance is far more budget-friendly than AG 1, with a cost per serving of $1.65 versus $3.30 for AG 1, giving it the edge in this comparison.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: The Promised Health Benefits
Like fresh fruits and vegetables, Green Vibrance and AG 1 are nutrient-dense and lower in calories, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that help combat illnesses. Green Vibrance has only forty calories and no fat, and AG 1 has fifty calories and no fat per serving. Both brands include dietary fibers. An extra dose of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables helps reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which are associated with chronic disease and aging.
In addition to those health benefits attributable to fresh fruits and vegetables, AG 1’s nine products in one positioning promises to deliver overall health. Specific areas of emphasis are increased energy, immune function, digestive health, balanced hormones, the nervous system, and healthy aging.
As previously noted, Green Vibrance is formatted to support the four pillars of health: nutrition, digestion, immunity, and circulation.
Nutrition – with its array of plant matter Green Vibrance provides micronutrients and phytonutrients absent in the typical American Diet. The product also improves nutrient absorption.
Digestion – 25 billion CFUs of probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and dietary fiber support normal, healthy digestion, alleviate GI discomfort, and help curb appetite.
Immunity – some 70% of your immune cells reside in the gut, thus Green Vibrance supports healthy digestion, gut health, and boosts immunity.
Circulation – Spirulina and beetroot modulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and also improve blood flow.
Other benefits include enhanced energy, stress reduction, and improved cognition/clarity.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: The Companies and Their Practices
Perhaps one of the areas where the two brands differentiate most is in their practices, such as third-party certifications, go-to-market strategies, financing, and pricing.
Athletic Greens was founded by New Zealander Chris Asherton in 2009 to bring a comprehensive, daily nutrition solution to the masses. Their “foundational nutrition” product replaces multiple other products.
A key differentiator is Athletic Greens’ third-party GMP certification for their facility. Although many companies, including Vibrant Health, claim their facilities are cGMP compliant, most do not go the extra mile for certification. The company is also certified as being Climate Neutral. The AG 1 product is also certified as Safe for Sport by NSF, an important consideration for competitive athletes. In fact, the product was initially targeted for athletes before gaining broad appeal and a celebrity following which has helped propel its popularity and sales growth.
From a marketing perspective, the company is still an online, subscription-driven entity. AG 1 is only available on the company website, or you can find an Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily product on Amazon.com. The Ultimate Daily product on Amazon is priced higher, significantly, yet has the exact formulation and ingredients as AG 1. AG 1 and Ultimate Daily are still the only products the company markets.
The company, now valued at over $1.2 billion, is considered a “unicorn” in finance. Celebrity investors include the likes of Cindy Crawford, Hugh Jackman, and musician Steve Aoki. With the completion of its latest round of funding, the company is investing heavily in advertising, improving its supply chain, and expanding into new relationships and markets.
The pricing strategy includes a one-time-only purchase or subscription auto-ship program. The product is not available on other e-commerce sites or in brick-and-mortar stores.
Vibrant Health was founded by nutrition scientist Mark Timon in 1992 in Great Valley, New York, as a means for people to achieve optimal health through whole-food nutrition, herbs, and natural extracts. The company was subsequently acquired in 2007 by industry experts Ted and Paige Parker, who grew the company exponentially with Green Vibrance line extensions, other new products, and a sophisticated e-commerce platform.
Vibrant Health products are manufactured in a cGMP-compliant facility, and a foundation of the company is its transparency in product labeling. The company does not use proprietary blends and lists each component and dosage in plain view on the Supplement Facts panel.
Vibrant Health employs an omnichannel marketing strategy, retailing its products on its website, through other online retailers, and in some 8,000 brick-and-mortar stores in seven countries. In addition to the Green Vibrance franchise and its various flavors and formats, the company manufactures and sells other products focused on:
- Urinary Health
- Joint Health
- Weight Management
The company has won more than fifty industry awards to date and positions itself as the world’s most award-winning brand. It has been featured as one of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses and in Forbes magazine.
Although still relatively expensive in the greens space at $49.60, it is about half the price of AG 1. Amazon retails the 30-serve at $46.00, the best price we have found, other than the subscription service on the company website, $43.40.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: The Formulations
With more than 140 compounds in the combined two products we highlight just a few of the more important ingredients in each brand.
As mentioned, AG 1 has seventy-five ingredients. Each serving (twelve-gram scoop) delivers 50 calories, six grams of carbs, two grams of fiber, and less than one gram of sugar.
Many of the vitamins (11) in the formulation, plus one of the ten minerals, zinc, meet or exceed the recommended Daily Value.
The Superfood Complex (7.388 grams) includes Wheat Grass, Spirulina, Alfalfa, Chlorella, Grape Seed, Green Tea Leaf, Apple powder, and more. Many of the more essential ingredients are organic.
The Herbs and Antioxidant blend (2.732 grams) contains Pea Protein Isolate, Milk Thistle, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, and Dandelion Root.
There is a 154 mg Digestive Enzymes (Bromelain and Astralagus) and Super Mushroom Complex (Reishi and Shitake).
There are two strains of probiotics in AG 1, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, delivering 7.2 billion CFUs. Although these are two of the best probiotic strains, 7.2 billion CFUs seem underdosed.
First, we applaud Vibrant Health’s transparency, allowing us to identify each ingredient and dosage. Like AG 1, Green Vibrance has a multivitamin/mineral presence – nine vitamins and seven minerals, with several meeting or exceeding the recommended Daily Value.
The Cereal Grasses (3.675 grams), Barley, Oat, and Wheat Grass are certified organic. These compounds appear in the Superfood Complex in AG 1.
Likewise, the Plant-Based Micronutrition (2.506 grams) are all certified organic and include superfoods such as Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley, Broccoli, Kale, Beet Root, and Spinach. Many of the same compounds are found in the AG 1 Superfood Complex.
The Antioxidant Blend (1.580 grams) features Acerola, Goji Berry, Turmeric, Ginko Biloba, Grape Seed, and Green Tea. This blend aligns more closely with the AG 1 Antioxidant Blend; however, the companies classify ingredients such as Green Tea differently. Many of these compounds are anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant.
Although there is no direct comparison to the Immune Support (246 mg) blend in Green Vibrance, the key component Astralagus is found in the Enzyme Blend in AG 1 in a similar dosage.
The Skeletal Support (228 mg) blend in Green Vibrance features Calcium as its essential compound in approximately double the dose found in AG 1. Calcium is essential to maintain bone health.
The Fiber blend (2.175 grams) contains Acacia, Flaxseed, Apple, and Fructo-Oligosaccharides prebiotic fibers to support your probiotics and healthy gut microbes.
The Eleuthero found in Green Vibrance’s Adaptogen blend is the same compound as in AG 1 in the Herbs and Antioxidants. Adaptogens help to regulate the body’s reaction to stress.
Liver Support (187 mg) compounds Burdock Root and Dandelion Root are also found in AG 1; however, once again classified differently. These compounds help to detoxify the liver.
The Enzymes and Tonics blend includes six types of enzymes, including Protease, Lipase, Amylase, and Cellulase, for digestive health.
Green Vibrance has a robust probiotic blend with twelve strains delivering 25 billion CFUs; however, it is still not a sufficient dose to replace a true probiotic product.
Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance: Price Comparison
Pricing is one of the key issues in our comparison, as the thirty-serve price of AG 1 is roughly double that of Green Vibrance.
On the Athletic Greens website, a one-time purchase price for 30 servings is $99.00. The price drops to $79.00 per container for a single subscription, monthly auto-ship. The company also offers a “double subscription,” 60 servings (two pouches monthly) at $149.00 or $74.50 each. There is also a $9.00 shipping and handling charge on all deliveries.
As previously noted, AG 1 is only available on the company website.
Although the company sells Green Vibrance in additional sizes: 15-, 60-, and 83-day containers, or 15-serve packets, we cite the thirty-day supply pricing for comparison purposes. The standard 330 grams container retails for $49.60 on the company website for a one-time purchase. The subscription price is $43.40 (auto-ship every 30 days), plus free shipping.
Pricing in brick-and-mortar stores appears to be the same as the one-time purchase price on the website; specialty channels such as Vitamin Shoppe and big box food, Fry’s, are $49.60 for a thirty-day supply. The best price appears to be on Amazon.com at $46.00.
A Word of Caution
Side effects or reactions may occur with some of the adaptogens in these products. Further, given the sheer number of compounds, there is the potential for adverse interactions with prescription medications. So, as always, we recommend you consult with your healthcare provider before adding either to your supplement regimen. Not recommended for those breastfeeding, pregnant, or under 18.
Summary: Athletic Greens Vs. Green Vibrance
As detailed, both are excellent products with much in common, and each has certain advantages. You cannot go wrong with either product. If you are a competitive athlete tested for banned substances, AG 1 is the preferred option due to its NSF Safe for Sport certification. If price is a consideration, we suggest you try Green Vibrance first.
For those who do not regularly achieve their recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables from your diet – these products are an excellent insurance policy to ensure you get your essential nutrients, plus much more.
One last caveat, if your regimen already includes a multivitamin/mineral, pre-and probiotic, antioxidant/anti-inflammatory, or any of the other compounds in AG 1 or Green Vibrance, you may be better served with a more straightforward greens product. It may even save you some money.