Balance of Nature Review: Revolutionary or Waste of Money?

Balance of Nature Review: Revolutionary or Waste of Money?


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Balance of Nature is a popular supplement company that sells fruit, vegetable and spice supplements, and suggests on their website that the supplements can replace the intake of fruits and vegetables from diet: “Easily get 31 Fruits and Veggies with Balance of Nature!"

But are fruit and veggie supplements as healthy as eating whole fruits and veggies, or are they a waste of money? Does Balance of Nature contain any unhealthy additive ingredients? Why did the company receive an FDA warning letter? And how do real customers rate and describe the effects of Balance of Nature supplements?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we highlight some strange health claims on the Balance of Nature website, analyze medical research to give our take on whether fruit and veggie supplements are actually healthy, and share our concerns about the "research" backing Balance of Nature.

We'll also give our personal, unbiased review of the supplements after trying them, analyze the ingredients in Balance of Nature, explain whether the products will cause side effects and document which retailer has Balance of Nature pills for the cheapest price.

Strange Health Claims on Balance of Nature Website

What Balance of Nature sells is not complicated: it’s freeze-dried powder from fruits and vegetables in capsules. This isn’t revolutionary technology; it’s been around for decades.

However the page on their website titled "Our Process" makes very strange claims about the benefits of powdered food: “The scientific blend, or recipe, developed by Dr. Howard does not use a full serving of each fruit and vegetable. Through trial and error, research, and experimentation, a precise and balanced combination was discovered. This balance is what gives us the wonderful results we enjoy today.”

The above quote seems to suggest that the proprietary formula is more effective than the equivalent doses of whole foods, but that claim is not cited nor does it make any logical sense.

The third claim on this page is even stranger:

Balance of Nature questionable health claim

With some of the fruits and vegetables you eat, as little as 5 percent of the available nutrition will be absorbed because it has not been properly masticated, or chewed. For example, when we eat an apple we chew it; but it’s still swallowed in chunks. To some degree this inhibits the absorption of the nutrients within the apple.”

There is no citation for that 5% figure and it doesn't make any sense. Balance of Nature seems to be suggesting that there’s barely any point in eating whole foods because they can't be absorbed. We consider this claim to be highly unscientific and illogical given that humans have been getting nutrition exclusively from whole foods for millennia.

Is Balance of Nature Healthy?

Are powdered fruits and vegetables actually healthy or do they provide too small of a serving to have any health benefits? This has actually been studied in medical trials.

A clinical trial from 2009 found that a fruit and vegetable powder supplement improved blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure, but the study participants were consuming 24 grams (g) of powder daily, or 12x the dose in Balance of Nature Veggies.

A recent medical review published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine concluded that fruit and vegetable concentrate supplementation “would result in the reduction of the burden of [cardiovascular diseases]”. Some of the trials referenced in this review used doses lower than that in Balance of Nature.

A clinical trial published in the Microorganisms journal found that a fruit and vegetable supplement combined with a fiber supplement improved gut health and blood sugar metabolism in healthy adults.

Overall we do consider Balance of Nature to be healthy and believe that its use is likely to improve health outcomes in those who consume a diet that doesn't contain many fruits and vegetables.

Highly Questionable Research Backing Balance of Nature

Balance of Nature questionable research example

The research page on Balance of Nature’s website links to three “studies. We put studies in quotes because none of these documents appear to be published in legitimate medical journals, and are instead just PDF documents uploaded to the Balance of Nature website.

The first “study” is published by a Russian doctor and claims that Balance of Nature supplements inhibit cancer in rats.

The second “study” is published by two people at a Russian medical academy, and claims that Balance of Nature supplements can increase lactation in rats.

The third “study” claims to be the results of a clinical trial, but is just a four page word document with no author or medical journal associated, which claims that Balance of Nature supplements can help patients with severe liver damage.

We recommend that consumers disregard health claims based on "clinical research" that isn't published in any actual medical or scientific journals. This set of "clinical research" is some of the strangest for any supplement that we've reviewed on Illuminate Health, and we fail to understand how a study on lactation in rats has anything to do with health benefits for humans, or why Balance of Nature shares this information.

FDA Warns of "Adulterated" Balance of Nature Supplements

In August of 2019, the FDA sent (and made public) a warning letter to Balance of Nature indicating, among other things, that they had “adulterated” dietary supplements. The products were not manufactured to meet Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), and more specifically Balance of Nature failed to implement a system of processes to ensure the quality of their dietary supplements, according to the FDA.

The FDA letter also states that Balance of Nature failed to properly investigate product complaints, which is a consumer safety issue: "You failed to establish and follow written procedures to fulfill the requirements related to product complaints."

The FDA also described Balance of Nature supplements as "misbranded" due to label information not complying with regulations. Balance of Nature apparently mislabeled certain ingredients such as "wild yam" being labeled "yam" although these are entirely different plants.

We consider this to be a red flag in regard to Balance of Nature as a brand, because this is an extensive number of violations.

We Personally Tested Balance of Nature

Illuminate Labs Balance of Nature test

One of the writers of this article (Calloway) purchased and tested Balance of Nature. His thoughts:

I already eat a healthy diet, so I didn't notice any physical or mental benefits from taking Balance of Nature daily, but that was to be expected. It's like a natural multivitamin, not a supplement designed to make you feel good.

The product arrived somewhat slowly (6 days after order). The Fruits capsules smell and taste great. The Veggies capsules smell bad in my opinion, but they're unflavored so it's not that surprising. The capsule size is quite large and this may be an issue for the elderly. They're larger than the majority of supplements I take.

One benefit of Balance of Nature was having a backup when I was too lazy or ran out of fresh produce. There were a few days when I was eating dinner after grocery stores had closed, and I was out of vegetables. Taking the Balance of Nature caps to get my micronutrients was convenient in those situations.

I wouldn't personally buy these supplements again. Spending over $85 for two fruit and veggie supplement bottles feels overpriced to me. Every time I took them I thought about how much fresh fruit and vegetables I could buy for $85.

Ingredient Analysis

Balance of Nature Fiber and Spice ingredients

The above ingredient list from Balance of Nature Fiber & Spice shows why we consider Balance of Nature supplements to be well-formulated.

The supplements contain entirely whole food ingredients, and there are no questionable additives like added sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavoring agents. The Fruits & Veggies supplement has a similar formulation of dried fruits and vegetables without questionable additives.

From purely a formulation perspective, we have no issue with Balance of Nature supplements and consider them to be superior to some other fruit and vegetable supplements that contain additive ingredients.

Where to Buy Balance of Nature for the Best Price

Here's the cost breakdown for the two Balance of Nature supplements at the time of updating this article:

Fruits & Veggies

Walmart: $114.64 (third-party seller, link)

Brand website: $89.95 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $89.95 (free shipping -- link to official Amazon listing)

The price is the same across all retailers but we consider Amazon to be the best option, because of the free shipping and because the Walmart listing is from a third-party seller and only has 9 reviews, while there are more than 10,000 on Amazon).

Fiber & Spice

Brand website: $69.95 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $69.95 (third-party seller, link)

Amazon: $67.18 (free shipping -- link to official Amazon listing)

Claims of Third-Party Testing Without Proof

Balance of Nature third-party testing claim

The Balance of Nature website claims that the supplements are third-party tested. This is a great measure in theory, because third-party testing of dietary supplements has less bias than manufacturer testing (which is why we contract a third-party laboratory to test all of our supplements and publish the test results right on each product page), and because the testing process can ensure label accuracy and purity.

However, we cannot locate test results of any Balance of Nature product anywhere on their website. 

We urge Balance of Nature to publish the third-party test results they claim to have or to remove this claim that their products are tested, because it's unfair to consumers to make such a claim without proof in our opinion.

Real Customers Review Balance of Nature

A YouTube creator named Antoinette Nora has a video with over 60,000 views discussing her experience with Balance of Nature supplements and whether or not they've benefited her health:

A TikTok user named Forrest shares his concerns about the smell of Balance of Nature caps (like our tester did):

@forrestfrank0028 #vitamins #nutrition #health #healthyliving #supplements #foxnews #tuckercarlson #hanityfoxnews @Balance of Nature ♬ original sound - Forrest

Will Balance of Nature Cause Side Effects?

Balance of Nature does not appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, so it's impossible to say for certain whether or not the supplement will cause side effects. However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.

We do not believe that Balance of Nature is likely to cause side effects in the average consumer. It's composed of whole food ingredients and has no harmful filler ingredients, so other than a food allergy, we don't see the potential for any serious side effects.

High fiber intake can cause minor indigestion in those who eat an unhealthy, low-fiber diet. It may be worthwhile for those individuals to slowly increase the Fiber product dose rather than taking one (or more) full servings the first day.

There is no mention of side effects on the Balance of Nature website.

Our Clean Green Powder Picks

Complement Daily Greens is our top green powder pick.

This greens powder is extremely nutrient-dense without any added vitamins, providing 50% of the iron Daily Value (DV), 46% of the chromium DV and 35% of the vitamin A DV in one serving.

This powder uses organic stevia leaf extract and organic natural flavors to add flavoring, which meets our formulation standard given that organic natural flavors provide a higher standard of ingredient safety in our opinion than natural flavors or artificial flavors according to USDA flavoring guidelines.

Interested consumers can check out Complement Daily Greens at this link, where the product costs only $49 for a one-time purchase.

Green tea is a nutritionally-rich green powder that's shown in a 2006 medical review to have a number of health benefits, including:

"anti-hypertensive effect, body weight control, antibacterial and antivirasic activity, solar ultraviolet protection, bone mineral density increase, anti-fibrotic properties, and neuroprotective power."

Pique Japanese Sencha Green Tea is our top brand pick, because it only has one ingredient (organic green tea), is packaged in a convenient stick pack so it can be mixed into water and doesn't need to be prepared, and only costs $16. 

Interested consumers can check out Pique Japanese Sencha Green Tea at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.

    Balance of Nature Complaints

    Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

    The top negative review of Balance of Nature from a verified Amazon purchaser comes from a user named "J. Lam" who claims that the supplement caused acid reflux:

    "One thing that has bothered me in the last few years was a serious increase in heart burn, acid reflux. It was taking a toll on my quality of life and required a huge change in diet, which had almost zero effect on the heart burn. After reading the review where the person mentioned their own heart burn, I decided to take a month off of the BN. Within a few days my life was already better. I've been off BN for exactly three months and I don't even think about heart burn."

    Balance of Nature has a 1.4 out of 5 star rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, with many complaints. 

    A BBB user named "George B" describes the company as a scam:

    "They are liars! When I get my first order, they told me that it would not be a recurring order. I got my first order and started taking it and then I broke out in hives and am obviously allergic to the product. When they called me to see if I wanted to order again. I told them no and they still went ahead and charged my credit card and sent the product."

    Balance of Nature FAQs

    Is Balance of Nature a hoax?

    No. A hoax implies an outright scam, like a company that accepts a customer's money and fails to ship product. By all accounts, Balance of Nature is a legitimate company that manufactures and sells supplements.

    We don't recommend their products, but we wouldn't consider the company a "hoax."

    Does Balance of Nature work?

    Balance of Nature may be effective for improving health and nutritional status for those that don't consume enough fruits and vegetables from diet. There is no proof that the supplement treats any disease or condition, and we don't believe it's likely to be effective for individuals that already consume a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

    Is Balance of Nature a Mormon company?

    We have not come across any evidence that Balance of Nature is a Mormon company, nor is there any mention of the word "Mormon" on the brand's website.

    Balance of Nature is based in a city called St. George, Utah which is a predominantly Mormon area. This is probably what causes this confusion.

    Is Balance of Nature made in China?

    Balance of Nature is not made in China. It is manufactured in the USA.

    Some of the individual ingredients may be sourced from China, but the brand does not publish what country each individual ingredient is sourced from.

    How long has Balance of Nature been on the market?

    Balance of Nature has been on the market for 26 years. According to a page on the brand's website titled "Our Story," the company launched in 1997.

    What is comparable to Balance of Nature?

    Balance of Nature is a fruit and vegetable supplement, often categorized as a "green supplement" or a "green powder supplement."

    There are many green powder supplements on the market made from fruits and vegetables. Any of these products which contain no filler ingredients like added sugar or artificial flavoring are comparable to Balance of Nature.

    Is Balance of Nature FDA approved?

    Balance of Nature is not FDA approved. It is a dietary supplement, which is not subject to FDA approval. Only pharmaceutical medications and medical devices are subject to FDA approval.

    Balance of Nature Pros and Cons

    Here's our take on the pros and cons of Balance of Nature overall as a brand.

    Pros:

    • Free of harmful additives
    • Clean supplement formulations
    • Can improve health of consumers with poor diet

    Cons:

    • Received FDA warning letter
    • No proof of third-party test results
    • Relatively expensive
    • Questionable health claims
    • Highly questionable research backing
    • Large capsules
    Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

    Conclusion

    We do not recommend Balance of Nature supplements due to all of the questionable attributes of the brand as a whole. Balance of Nature has received a warning letter from the FDA over adulterated and misbranded products, and the brand also has a highly questionable research section on their website that cites a study on whether their supplements can improve lactation in rats.

    The brand also makes claims about third-party testing but provides no proof of those claims.

    The actual ingredients in Balance of Nature are fine. The supplements contain a wide variety of botanical ingredients and no questionable additives, so we do believe that Balance of Nature supplements can improve the nutritional status of many Americans who don't consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet.

    One of the writers of this article tried Balance of Nature supplements and found them to be convenient when he was out of fresh veggies, but described the Veggie caps as tasting bad and the product not being worth the money.

    In our opinion, Balance of Nature is relatively expensive per serving for the dose provided, and we believe there are better fruit and vegetable powder supplements on the market.