When wheatgrass vaccines appeared in milkshake stands and health food stores, only the most dedicated nuts drank them. Now everyone is returning the so-called wellness vaccines, formulated to improve digestion, mental focus, immunity and more. They are in juice stores, supermarkets and
airport kiosks. At $ 3 or more for pop, are they worth it? The experts are skeptical. The good news: many shots use real food. “The ingredients are vegetables, fruits, roots and herbs,” says Alka Gupta, M.D., co-director of comprehensive health at the New York Presbyterian. Things like ginger and turmeric root, beets and mushrooms have proven health benefits, such as blood sugar regulation and inflammation reduction.
And the appeal is obvious: a drink of 1.5 to four ounces for better health. But that’s the problem. “The amount is probably too small to make a difference,” says Kristine Gedroic, M.D., author of A Nation of Unwell. “There is no thorough scientific research that proves that consuming ingredients in the form of an injection is beneficial.” For most, a glug will not help them reach their daily nutrient quotas.
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Therefore, surprise, experts recommend products and herbs instead of a sip. For those who have little time, even a shake is a better option, as the body digests and absorbs nutrients better from whole foods, not elixirs, says Gupta. In addition, the contained fiber helps you feel satiated.
If your diet lacks fresh vegetables and herbs, and an injection is the only option, that’s fine. “Remember, they won’t undo bad choices,” says Gedroic. And like all supplements, these are not regulated. Stable or powdered products may contain preservatives or chemicals, says Gupta. And avoid those that contain “patented ingredients”, since you don’t know exactly what they contain.
Finally, look for the sugar. “Fruit juices or sweeteners, such as agave, can add six or seven grams of sugar in a small dose,” says Gupta. You better eat a fruit, as usual.