SuperGreens is a greens product designed to do two things: somewhat compensate for a lack of fruit and vegetable intake in the diet AND enhance performance. Now if you’re looking for a “greens” product that actually going to provide...
SuperGreens is a greens product designed to do two things: somewhat compensate for a lack of fruit and vegetable intake in the diet AND enhance performance. Now if you’re looking for a “greens” product that actually going to provide you some performance benefits in addition to clearing your guilty conscience - SuperGreens is your way to go!
Methods Behind the Madness: SuperGreens by Glaxon
SuperGreens was designed to help compensate imperfect diets to ensure that you obtain sufficient levels of fiber, antioxidants, and anthocyanins to keep your body performing at optimal levels. To see how and why this product works we’re going to be delving into four main categories: greens and their effects on alkalinity, prebiotic fibers, performance effects of mushrooms, and various fruits berries and their effects on the cardiovascular system.
What are the benefits of Drinking Your Greens?
There’s plenty of logical reasons why most people would drink powdered vegetables in a “greens” drink. Maybe they have a not-so-great diet and want to compensate for their lack of consumption. But how are we supposed to believe that having a scoop of “greens” powder is supposed to compensate for not consuming 3-5 servings of fruits & vegetables per day? Well most of these “greens” ingredients are mostly various kinds of grasses, cruciferous vegetables, and algae that are concentrated into a juice form, which does pretty much strain them of all their nutrients, but it leaves behind some essential fiber that we still need to obtain in our diet. However, something in common that these plants do have is a sufficiently high concentration of chlorophyll. It is the high concentration of chlorophyll that makes these products somewhat difficult to flavor and why more often than not, people get repulsed by these products. But why would people care so much about chlorophyll? Why do people do wheatgrass shots? Isn’t chlorophyll pretty much for detoxifying body odor? (True story.) There is a reason why some people call greens “alkalizing”, and it’s not because they have a direct effect on the pH of the body (a very tightly-regulated process), but do have an impact on the redox status of a few, very important reactions.
This is Vitamin B12. I show you this to point out some structural similarity between this essential nutrient, its job, and how that’s going to connect these dots into a much broader picture. Notice how B12 here (vaguely “cobalamin” - on right) has this centrally located metal ion, Cobalt. This Cobalt is bound by four 5-sided rings that contain nitrogen and stabilize it there in the center. As you probably already know, Vitamin B12 is frequently used in catalyzing hemoglobin (left) synthesis, which also shares this similarity in structure, but the main difference here is the centrally located iron. Now still, how is this tied to plants? Well...if you actually look at the structure of chlorophyll (right), you’ll find this same similarity playing out again, but this time with magnesium. This interesting structural similarity is called a tetrahydropyrrole complex where these 5-sided rings containing nitrogen coordinate around a centralized metal atom. Now, where does the alkalizing part come in? Well, it turns out that chlorophyll and chlorophyll like compounds can actually induce what are called mammalian “phase 2” enzymes, and the majority of what composes phase 2 enzymes are the enzymes responsible for endogenous antioxidant activity such as Catalase, Superoxide Dismutase, and Glutathione S-Transferase.1 Now are these really alkalizing? Well...kinda. Now these greens and the chlorophyll won’t help you completely shift your body’s pH, but in a very small and more localized environment they are contributing to the neutralizing of free radicals which are acidic in nature, but end up getting reduced (alkalized) by the phase 2 enzymes that are activated through the use of chlorophyll-dense beverages like SuperGreens.
SuperGreens contains NP Nutra’s Green Balance® Alkalizing Blend, which contains Wheatgrass, Oat Grass, Alfalfa Grass, Kale, Spirulina, and Chlorella as sources of Chlorophyll, which should have a positive effect on the use and utilization of the body’s endogenous phase 2 enzymes. This can trickle into other areas of performance such as buffering against lactic acid, but also contributes to the constant battle against free-radical damage to your cells.
Why Fiber is so important.
Most greens products that you will see on the market today, may cover you in whatever fruits and veggies you might be missing out on in a day, but will still lack the fiber that would normally come along with actually consuming those foods - except SuperGreens. SuperGreens actually provides up to 5000mgs of dietary fiber in the form of Acacia. This does put a pretty good dent in your daily fiber consumption, considering that most dietary requirements for fiber are in the 25-30g range. Furthermore, Acacia fiber has beneficial effects on hydration of stools, and also has a prebiotic effect on bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and total lactic acid-producing bacteria.2 Prebiotic fibers act as a food source for probiotic bacteria that colonize the large intestine where they ferment these indigestible starches into short-chain fatty acids. The acacia fiber that is found in SuperGreens, is actually complemented by further functionality found in SuperShroomTM, a functional mushroom blend that also contributes the fibers contained within it to also be a source of prebiotic fiber from another source. Mushrooms in general contain carbohydrates like chitin, hemicellulose, beta- and alpha-glucans, mannans, xylans, and galactans making them perfect candidates for prebiotic use.3 Not only do prebiotics like fungal polysaccharides and acacia fiber depress endogenous pathogens within the gastrointestinal tract, but also allow increased competence of the immune system to resist exogenous pathogens.4 This is absolutely bolstered even further by the presence of beta-glucans found within the mushrooms’ cellular structure.
Get ready to 1up with the SuperShroom!
Now, aside from being a simple prebiotic, there’s actually a lot of complexity to consuming mushrooms and seeing what kinds of benefits you can get out of them. Their function as a “prebiotic” is merely a structural thing. It just so happens that bacteria love to eat the stuff that mushrooms are made out of, which is interesting, because since we humans share some physiological functionality (breathing oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide, the storage of glycogen, etc.) we also share similar pathogens. However, since fungi have been around on earth for considerably hundreds of millions of years more than human beings have, they’ve developed their own ways of protecting themselves from these potential pathogens like bacteria, other fungi, and some viruses. Furthermore, there have also been combinations of mushrooms that have been studied for their effects on performance. One of the most common underlying themes for studies conducted for the effect of mushrooms on performance is the fact that long-term use is a requirement. This is true for the use of Lion’s Mane mushroom for its cognitive benefits, just as it is for the performance benefits desired from mushroom blends. Though some improvements have been seen in VO2max and time to exhaustion in as little as two weeks, these particular studies have explored a dose range of 1-12 grams of mushroom blend per day - which is quite a range of dosages.5 However, even these studies mentioned that greater benefits are likely to be achieved with more consistent chronic use.6 This seems to be in-line with the use of other mushrooms for performance, showing best results after 12-weeks of supplementation.7 However, aside from these potential adaptations in time to expenditure and VO2max, mushrooms have been traditionally used for millennia to help support overall immune function.
Now, when we work out, we are actively participating in a natural process of growth that goes through distinct phases of damage and repair. We deliberately damage our muscle tissue with the hope that with proper nutrition and recovery time that we can return to the gym bigger and stronger before...to essentially repeat the damage and repair process to be able to perform tougher and tougher bouts of strength and conditioning. So how can mushrooms help facilitate this? How can a mushroom actually assist in my recovery? Well, when we work out and cause this damage to our muscle cells, there’s actually several types of inflammatory cell infiltration in skeletal muscle after exercise. It’s been speculated that the first cells to enter the damaged fibers are neutrophils and then macrophages that come in to remove debris. This is then followed by another subpopulation of macrophages that are actually associated with fiber regeneration.8,9 The neutrophils and first wave of macrophages are responsible for maintaining the proinflammatory environment, as well as the phagocytic activity that essentially cleans up the damaged tissue before regeneration, usually around 48-hours post exercise.10 Now it has been previously shown that maitake mushrooms, when in combination with shitakke mushrooms - actually cause a significant increase in phagocytic activity.11 Now, the way that we know that medicinal mushrooms work really isn’t all that magical, and originally stems from two schools of thought: those in the Eastern hemisphere studied the effects of medicinal mushrooms on the immune system, while those in the Western hemisphere studies the immunoregulatory roles of yeast - and yet both of them were actually talking about the same thing: the immunostimulatory role of alpha- and beta-glucans. These collectively termed “glucans” are actually pretty ubiquitous polysaccharides that are found in many plants, fungi, and yeast. The glucans have an interesting relationship with the body’s immune system in the sense that they can recruit various complement proteins that either trigger the immune system to phagocytize various pathogens, or to recruit various cell types to sites of repair. Damaged muscle tissue fragments leaking across the myocellular membrane are recognized by the complement protein C3b, resulting in activation of the alternative complement pathway. Other complement proteins generated through this pathway, such as C3a and C5a, attract neutrophils to the site of inflammation and tissue damage.12 So, as a means of further facilitating this process of breakdown, recovery, and rebuilding - SupershroomTM also includes Turkey Tail mushroom, which has also been shown to increase phagocytic enzymes in macrophages, while stimulating their activation.13 And as stated previously, these macrophages are also crucial in the clean-up processes the body undergoes before tissues can be rebuilt. So, can mushrooms help with recovery? It sure is possible because they are actually a crucial component in the process of damage, recovery, and reconstruction.
Berries, and Berries, and Cherries, oh my!
So now what does SuperGreens have in store next? Berries! And Betta BerriesTM, and Pomegranate, and Montmorency Tart Cherries. Now some of you may be familiar with the fact that berries have several different shades of color: some are red, some are purple, some are blue, and some are black - and these particular color pigments are related to various compounds found in berries called Anthocyanins. Now berries, themselves, have been associated with various health benefits like having a positive impact on glycemic response, a possible anti-inflammatory nature, and are packed with antioxidants that can fight off free radical damage.14 Though these are all interesting points, it’s not as remarkable as the mechanisms that Anthocyanins have on vasodilation. It’s not a very direct mechanism, but several studies have shown that there’s not just one, but many types of anthocyanins that can actually have a positive impact in increasing the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS).15, 16, 17 eNOS is the enzyme that is responsible for the conversion of the amino acid L-Arginine into Nitric Oxide (NO) and L-Citrulline. The effect that these berry anthocyanins have on increasing eNOS levels actually means that potentially, you would have an increased ability to actually create more NO. It is this increase capacity to create more NO that would actually translate to better muscle pump (and therefore more efficacious muscle damage), better muscle repair (as NO is one of the main radical species utilized by macrophages in phagocytosis), and better reconstitution of muscle fibers (because more NO also means better vasodilation and nutrient delivery).
When we were initially looking at how we at Glaxon could create an actual “greens” product that helped with performance, we also ran across one particular berry worthy of note: the Montmorency Tart Cherry, which goes under the brand name CherryPure®. Now CherryPure® actually has some interesting clinical data in the sense that it has actually been studied both for resistance training (basic anaerobic weight lifting) and in aerobically trained individuals (marathoners and triathletes).
In the study investigating acute supplementation of CherryPure® for resistance training, subjects were instructed to supplement 7-days before, the day of, and two days after a bout of intense resistance exercise. The goal here was to see if CherryPure® had an impact on muscle soreness, but not only did the subjects have reduced perceptions of muscle soreness - they also had reduced markers of muscle catabolism - suggestive of either a protective or anti-catabolic effect.18 Paradoxically, even though cherries in general are a great dietary source of Vitamin C and Anthocyanins - the study failed to demonstrate any definitive effects on oxidative damage or inflammation - meaning that Tart Cherries quite possibly have a mechanism that benefits muscle recovery outside of what would be expected of a typical berry.
Now, the endurance study with CherryPure® however had some even more compelling endpoints. This study actually looked at several pro-inflammatory biomarkers and how those might somehow unveil a potential mechanism behind CherryPure®. There were significant differences in the expression of IL-2 and IL-13 (lower than placebo) , but not IL-6; there was also a more moderate effect on cortisol levels compared to placebo -in the sense that it didn’t fluctuate as high, and remained more steady than the placebo group. This moderation of cortisol, they speculated, might modulate endogenous cytokine secretion and that this reduced cytokine production might have resulted from the actual anthocyanins inhibiting various mechanisms that are associated with the pro-inflammatory cytokine NF-kB.19 It’s quite possibly the combination of these effects that bridge a relationship between the expression (or decrease thereof) of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a decreased perception of muscle soreness. Because of this possible relationship between muscle soreness and pro-inflammatory cytokines, it is probable that there might be a reduction in secondary muscle damage as a result of Tart Cherry supplementation.
Now with all that considered, I would say that on SuperGreens - we’ve actually tried really hard to really elucidate how these products actually work and also how to potentially maximize their benefits. SuperGreens isn’t just something for your guilty conscience to rely on after a night at the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet, but what it actually is - is something that certainly checks all the boxes of other “greens” products and then goes even further to actually help augment performance.