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Balance of Nature Review: Effectiveness, Safety, Pros and Cons – WellnessVerge

3,6 · Rezension von Markita Lewis, MS, RD
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Pros

  • Could be convenient to improve nutrient intake
  • Products don’t contain fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Offers free health coaching to subscribers

Cons

  • Expensive line of supplements
  • Returns only available for subscribers
  • History of FDA controversy

What Is Balance of Nature?

Balance of Nature is a supplement company that aims to combat the lack of nutrition in the modern diet.

The creator of Balance of Nature is Dr. Douglas Howard, a now-retired chiropractor.

He became interested in nutrition, and later on, in phytochemicals after witnessing nutrient deficiencies in Russia during the Cold War.

In 1997, Dr. Douglas Howard developed Balance of Nature’s Fruit & Veggies supplement as a replacement to multivitamins while providing servings of fruits and vegetables.

Though some extol the benefits of his products, Balance of Nature has had its history of controversy with the FDA.

In 2019, the FDA sent Balance of Nature a warning letter due to serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. (1)

Balance of Nature had supplement labeling claims and media (on YouTube and the brand’s website) that implied the ingredients in Balance of Nature products had effects similar to a medication.

Since I last reviewed Balance of Nature’s website, they have added the Supplement Facts label of their products onto their website and removed some of the problematic messaging that used to be there.

I am glad that the brand is doing better in that regard, and I hope they continue to improve.

This article dives into the Balance of Nature supplement line and reported benefits to help you decide if they are right for you.

Overview of the Product Line

Balance of Nature offers two products: Fruits & Veggies and Fiber & Spice. Together, these products make up Balance of Nature’s Whole Health System.

If you choose to purchase Balance of Nature products, it may be more beneficial to buy both products because they have different functions.

Fruits & Veggies is primarily focused on adding phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables to your diet to support the immune system, cells, and DNA repair.

Fiber & Spice has some phytonutrients due to the spice blend but is primarily for promoting gut health.

Evaluation of Fruits & Veggies

In this review, the Fruits & Veggies supplements will be evaluated together because they are only available for purchase as a set.

Balance of Nature’s Fruits & Veggies is a combo of two whole food supplements meant to provide the nutritional equivalence of 10 servings (5 cups) of fruits and vegetables.

The nutritional equivalence is reportedly due to the surface area of nutrients being increased from having finely ground fruit and vegetable powders.

This is reported to allow your body to absorb nutrients more easily than traditional fruits and vegetables.

The dosage of Fruits & Veggies is three capsules of the Fruits supplement and three capsules of the Veggies supplement daily, amounting to 6 total capsules.

Balance of Nature states that you can either chew the Fruits or swallow them whole with water. Consumers may open and sprinkle the Veggies capsules into foods or swallow them with water.

You can take these supplements at any time of the day, but Balance of Nature recommends taking them before 2:00 pm to get extra energy during the day.

Ingredients

The Fruits & Veggies supplements both contain proprietary blends consisting of flash dried and ground ingredients.

The Fruits supplement contains 16 fruits and aloe vera.

It has cherries, lemons, pineapple, apples, cranberries, mango, raspberries, bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes.

These ingredients contribute to the product’s proprietary blends: Maintain (731 mg), Protect (719 mg), and Repair (561 mg).

The Veggies supplement contains 15 vegetables.

Its ingredients include broccoli, celery, soybeans, cabbage, garlic, spinach, carrots, kale, wheatgrass, cauliflower, onions, yams, cayenne peppers, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini.

These ingredients are also in proprietary blends: Maintain (720 mg), Protect (713 mg), and Repair (576 mg).

Some ingredients contribute to multiple blends within both the Fruits & Veggies supplements.

Clinical Trials

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There is limited research available on the efficacy of the Balance of Nature Fruits & Veggies powder specifically.

The only available clinical trial found that triple-dose supplementation with Balance of Nature for 90 days improved clinical features of cirrhosis in individuals with chronic hepatitis. (2)

This study was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, limiting the credibility and strength of the results.

The other studies on Balance of Nature are animal studies on lactation and tumor growth, neither of which were published in peer-reviewed journals. (3, 4)

Cellular and DNA Protection

The major health benefits from Fruits & Veggies are related to the phytonutrients that they provide.

Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are natural compounds found in plant foods that support the function of our bodies and help protect against diseases. (5)

Fruit and vegetable-concentrated powders provide phytonutrients that can reduce inflammatory markers and oxidative stress within the body.

A 2013 study found that obese women taking a fruit and vegetable antioxidant supplement had reduced oxidative stress and inflammation and improved blood circulation after completing aerobic exercises. (6)

A 2011 review examining the benefits of other mixed fruit and vegetable concentrate supplements found that daily supplementation reduced DNA oxidation and serum homocysteine levels. (7)

Excessive homocysteine levels may lead to DNA hypomethylation, a pattern that may increase the risk of some diseases. (8)

Immune Function

Fruit and vegetable powders can be beneficial for immune function.

Studies find that phytonutrients may support a healthy immune system by reducing inflammation and modulating the immune response for a variety of conditions. (9)

In a 2011 clinical trial, healthcare professionals were given either a fruit and vegetable supplement or a placebo for 8 months. (10)

After the trial, researchers found that individuals taking the supplement reduced days with moderate or severe common cold symptoms by 20%.

Some research also suggests that food-based antioxidant supplements may decrease the risk of upper respiratory illnesses in elite athletes. (11)

Studies on other fruit and vegetable powder supplements find that they may help with immune function, DNA protection and repair, and cellular production.

The research on the Balance of Nature Fruits & Veggies specifically is lacking, but there may still be benefits to this product based on studies on other fruit and vegetable powders.

Safety and Side Effects

There are no noted side effects from taking the Fruits & Veggies capsules, but individual ingredients may be of concern to certain people.

The Fruits capsule contains grapefruit, which is known to interact with a significant number of common medications (including those taken for heart health, autoimmune conditions, and psychiatric medications). (12)

The Veggies supplement contains soybean, which is a major allergen. People looking to limit soy in their diets may also want to take caution. (13)

Fruits & Veggies is free of GMOs, gluten, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, synthetics, extracts, and fillers.

While Fruits & Veggies is non-GMO, these supplements are not certified organic.

Balance of Nature claims that their products are independently tested for pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals, and nutritional content, but there is no third-party seal on their labels.

They claim to do additional qualitative testing for the phytonutrient content of the chosen fruits and vegetables used in their products.

The qualitative testing for phytonutrient content is somewhat questionable – it is based on the color, taste, and smell of the dried produce.

I would trust this product more if other, more rigorous quantitative methods were used to measure phytochemical content.

Fruits & Veggies is reported to be safe for children at the same adult doses. Speak with your child’s pediatrician before they start any new supplement.

Adults should also speak with their primary care provider before starting a new supplement to see if it is right for them.

Comparisons to Alternatives

Fruit & Veggies are fruit and vegetable supplements that are unique in their formula, and the manufacturing of a filler-free product.

Balance of Nature products are quite expensive compared to other fruit and vegetable capsule supplements.

If you’re looking for an alternative whole food supplement, Juice Plus+ is an acceptable option. In addition to their main line of fruit and vegetable powders, they have gummies for kids.

Juice Plus+ also has several clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals to back up its claims. (14)

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Because Balance of Nature is a proprietary blend, it is difficult to determine if it truly has a higher concentration of nutrients than other products.

The Fruits & Veggies supplements also require you to take 6 capsules total to obtain the recommended daily dosage.

Other whole food fruit and vegetable supplements usually only require two capsules per day or can be easily mixed into beverages.

Takeaway

Fruits & Veggies is a whole food supplement that may have benefits for health, but it does have drawbacks.

It is an expensive supplement that requires consumers to take many capsules per day, and the supplements contain ingredients that may cause side effects or allergies in some.

Evaluation of Fiber & Spice

Fiber & Spice is a fiber drink that contains a blend of fibers and 12 spices made to support your gut health.

To take Fiber & Spice, mix two scoops (13 g) with 16 oz of water and take daily. This supplement can be taken at any time of the day.

Ingredients

Fiber & Spice consists of two proprietary blends.

The Balanced Whole Fiber Blend contains a proprietary blend of psyllium husk, flax seeds, apples, and monk fruit that is 10 g per serving.

The Protect & Repair Whole Spice Blend is a proprietary blend containing allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek, ginger, mustard seeds, nutmeg, and turmeric, amount to 3 g per serving.

1. Balanced Whole Fiber Blend, 10 g

Dietary fiber is an umbrella term for low-digestible carbohydrates that pass through the intestines and provide benefits for the gut and microbiota.

Psyllium husk is a type of fiber made from the Plantago ovata plant and is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.

A 2017 review of the effectiveness of fiber in gastrointestinal health found that psyllium supplementation improves the composition of healthy bacteria in the gut, reduces both constipation and diarrhea, and improves global symptoms of IBS. (15)

Pectin is a type of fiber found in apples and is considered a prebiotic.

It helps balance gut microbiota, strengthens the intestinal barrier, and may prevent pathogenic bacteria from sticking to cells in the intestines. (16)

Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.

The research on flaxseed and gut health is somewhat limited, but studies find that it may help treat constipation and diarrhea, reduce symptoms of IBS, and potentially improve the gut microbiota. (17)

Monk fruit is high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber supports gut health by balancing the gut microbiota and helping stools pass through the body more quickly. (18)

2. Protect & Repair Whole Spice Blend, 3 g

Spices are full of phytonutrients, including polyphenols, and may serve as prebiotics to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Turmeric contains active polyphenol curcumin, which is known to be metabolized by the gut microbiota.

Curcumin may improve gut health by strengthening the intestinal barrier, reducing inflammation, and balancing the gut-brain axis. (19)

Ginger also contains polyphenols that are beneficial for gastrointestinal health by reducing inflammation, acting as an anti-oxidant, and reducing ulcers and tumors in the gut. (20)

One pilot study found that a mixed-spice supplement containing culinary doses of garlic, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, and black pepper improved the composition of gut microbiota compared to a placebo. (21)

Safety and Side Effects

When starting a new fiber supplement, there may be some temporary side effects within the first week. These effects are local to the gastrointestinal tract and may include gas, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. (22)

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to herbs and spices, with symptoms including asthma, oral allergy syndrome, rhinitis, and gastrointestinal symptoms. (23)

If you are sensitive to spices in foods, then this supplement may not be right for you.

Fiber & Spice is free of GMOs, gluten, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, synthetics, extracts, and fillers.

Balance of Nature claims that their products are independently tested for pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals, and nutritional content, but there is no third-party seal on their labels.

Before starting this supplement, you should speak with your doctor to see if it is appropriate for you or your children.

Comparisons to Alternatives

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Fiber & Spice is unique in that it is the only fiber supplement that contains a blend of spices to provide phytochemicals and additional prebiotics.

There are many fiber supplement alternatives available with similar ingredients. Metamucil and Benefiber are two popular and affordable fiber supplements.

Metamucil also has an extensive line of products that go beyond powders and capsules, which is appealing for customers looking for new ways to get fiber in their diet.

If you’re looking for ways to get more beneficial spices into your diet as a supplement, golden milk is very popular. Gaia Herbs, Garden of Life, and other brands sell golden milk powders that you can easily use.

Takeaway

Fiber & Spice is a unique supplement that contains different types of fiber and phytonutrients to support gut health.

While it is expensive, it may be worth the cost for many consumers.

Cost and Where to Buy

Fruits & Veggies and Fiber & Spice supplements are available as a one-time order or as a subscription through the company’s website.

You can also purchase them on Amazon through Balance of Nature’s storefront.

For additional savings, you can purchase the Whole Health System, which includes both Fruits & Veggies and Fiber & Spice.

Fruits & Veggies:

  • Retail (one-time) customers: $89.95/month
  • Preferred (subscriber) customers: $69.95/month
  • Amazon: $99.95

Fiber & Spice:

  • Retail (one-time) customers: $69.95/month
  • Preferred (subscriber) customers: $49.95/month
  • Amazon: $79.95

Whole Health System:

  • Retail (one-time) customers: $159.95/month
  • Preferred (subscriber) customers: $109.95/month
  • Amazon: $169.95

Customer Service

In addition to their supplements, Balance of Nature offers free health coaching to provide education and accountability to Preferred Customers (subscribers).

The health coaching is based on Dr. Howard’s philosophy called “The Triad of Health,” which involves balancing physical, spiritual, and chemical health.

On the Balance of Nature website, there was no information about the background of these health coaches, only that they were trained in Dr. Howard’s philosophy.

According to the website, the health coaches do a personal health evaluation, educate on aspects of the Triad of Health, and suggest optimal ways to take Balance of Nature supplements.

Something that stood out to me was one of their anecdotes, where a person was recommended to take 9 Fruits and 9 Veggies capsules per day to support their health issues.

The standard dose of Fruits & Veggies seems excessive to me, so I could not imagine taking 18 capsules per day. Beyond that, a dose of that magnitude would require you to purchase significantly more products, which can add up quickly.

The coaching may add value for some subscribers who would like additional support for healthy habits.

Balance of Nature also has an FAQ on their website, but some answers seem incomplete and not very helpful.

For example, for the question “Is Balance of Nature safe for children?” the answer is “Yes.” However, no additional information is provided.

As you can see, there is a lot of room for improvement for the FAQ section.

Returns can only be made within 30 days of your first “Preferred Customer” purchase of the Balance of Nature supplements.

Balance of Nature does not offer returns on Retail (one-time) purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Bottom Line

Balance of Nature aims to combat the lack of nutrition in the modern diet through fruit and vegetable powders and fiber supplements.

There is research supporting the use of fruit and vegetable powders for general health, as well as fiber and spices for gut health. The research on Balance of Health products specifically is a bit shakier, and actual peer-reviewed studies should be done on the products.

Balance of Nature’s Whole Health System may be a good option for people who have difficulty getting enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber into their diet and want an easy way to help improve their nutrition.

I have some clients who take fruit and vegetable supplements at the beginning of their journey to eating healthier. They find that these supplements are beneficial when they haven’t been eating enough fruits and vegetables daily. But they know that it’s not the only thing they need for their bodies.

A fruit and vegetable supplement may be a great way to help increase the phytonutrient content of your diet, but it will never be a true replacement for eating whole fruits and vegetables.

If you already have a well-balanced diet and get sufficient fruits, vegetables, and fiber regularly, this product may not provide additional benefits on top of that.

Lastly, if you are on the budget, you can find cheaper, high-quality whole food supplements elsewhere.

Before starting Balance of Nature, speak with your doctor to see if it is right for you.

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