The Battle of Nutrition: Greens Powders vs Multivitamins

Fact Checked By Dr Mark Watson M.D.

In the quest for optimal health, many individuals turn to dietary supplements to bridge nutritional gaps and support their well-being. Among the wide array of supplements available, two popular options are greens powder and multivitamins. But which one is truly superior? 

As a quick answer generally speaking greens powders are going to edge out a multivitamin in most cases, but they do cost more. And here's the kicker, the cheap greens powders aren't going to cut it, in fact a lot of these will be worse nutritionally than a multivitamin. So, it is really going ot come down to budget. It's also going to vary a little bit from person to person. 

For example, decent greens powders like Super Green Tonik or AG1 can meet most of your needs when it comes to Vitamin c, d, e, k, iron, zinc selenium and the various b vitamins. And whilst multivtiamins often do get a decent amount of some of these, they commonly lack enough functional vitamins (despite what the label says). 

Certain compounds can be misleading as you can can say you have enough of a certain vitamin to meet recommended daily intake, but in some cases the body will only actually be able to absorb 1-5% of it. We'll talk about that a bit more shortly. Greens can also have a host of other benefits ranging from anti oxidants through to flavanoids other herbal compounds that are good for you health.

As such if you can stretch to $60/month we'd recommend Super Green as the best option. However, if you're price range is below $30 there aren't really any good options in the greens powder space as the ones that do exist use the cheapest ingredients leaving them nutritionally vapid. We've got a good list of greens powders here, broken down by which one is best for different needs.

If that's outside your budget, then stick to a multivitamin.

What Do We Mean By Bioavailability

When we say bioavailability, what we mean is making sure that the ingredients are in an absorbable form. For example Calcium can come from multiple sources, [1] but the only ones that you can effectively digest are only about 14% calcium, meaning you'd need a full tablet to get very much from a multivitamin. It's not that greens tend to have huge amounts of it, but the amount in multivitamins is functionally around 0 in terms of what's absorbable. 

See, you'd need a large tablet (1000mg) of calcium to deliver just 21% of your RDI in a bioavailable form [2] which means if you see a multivitamin that is a 1 capsule serving as most are, they're likely using calcium carbonate or calcium oxide which are 40-50% calcium respectively. The problem is that you only absorb 11-20%. [3] This allows them to say that they cover 10% of your RDI, in that there is technically that much calcium in the pill. But, that will only actually deliver about 1% that's absorbable for use towards your RDI. 

This is just one example of this, but calcium isn't the only ingredient that has this issue. 

Understanding Greens Powder

What is Greens Powder?

Greens powder is a powdered supplement that provides a concentrated dose of essential nutrients derived from various fruits, vegetables, and superfoods. As the name suggests, greens powder typically contains a blend of leafy greens like kale, spinach, and spirulina, along with other nutrient-dense ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and algae. These powdered supplements are designed to be mixed with liquid, making them convenient and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. And of course they've been shown to have numerous health benefits and be well tollerated in most cases. [4,5.6]

The Benefits of Greens Powder

The allure of greens powder lies in its ability to deliver a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in a convenient and concentrated form. The specific benefits of greens powder can vary depending on the ingredients used, but some common advantages include:

Nutrient Density: Greens powder provides a concentrated dose of essential nutrients that may be lacking in your diet. It can help ensure you meet your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, supporting overall health and well-being.

Antioxidant Support: Many greens powder formulations contain antioxidant-rich ingredients such as berries, which help combat oxidative stress and protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals. [7]

Digestive Health: Some greens powders include ingredients like probiotics and digestive enzymes, which can support a healthy gut microbiome and aid in digestion. [8] 

Energy Boost: The blend of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in greens powder can help enhance energy levels and combat fatigue, promoting overall vitality. [9]

Detoxification Support: Certain ingredients in greens powders, such as chlorella and spirulina, are known for their detoxifying properties, helping to eliminate toxins from the body and support liver health. [10]

There are certain ingredients that are better than others for greens powders. As we've mentioned you'll need to do a bit of research before purchase.

Exploring Multivitamins

What are Multivitamins?

Multivitamins are dietary supplements that contain a combination of vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining optimal health. [11] They are available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and gummies, and are designed to provide a comprehensive array of nutrients in one convenient package.

The Benefits of Multivitamins

Multivitamins are widely popular due to their ability to address potential nutrient deficiencies and support overall health. Here are some key benefits of multivitamins:

Nutritional Insurance: Multivitamins act as a safety net, ensuring that you receive adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, even if your diet falls short in certain areas.

Convenience: Taking a single multivitamin can save you time and effort compared to consuming multiple individual supplements. It simplifies the process of meeting your daily nutritional needs.

Customization: Multivitamins are available in specialized formulations tailored to specific populations, such as men, women, seniors, and athletes. These variations often provide nutrient profiles that cater to the unique requirements of each group.

Targeted Support: Some multivitamins contain additional ingredients like antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, or herbal extracts, offering targeted support for specific health concerns such as cardiovascular health, cognitive function, or immune support. [12]

Prevention of Deficiency-Related Conditions: Multivitamins can help prevent deficiencies in key nutrients, [13] which can contribute to various health conditions. For example, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to bone disorders, while iron deficiency may result in anemia. 

Comparing Greens Powder Vs Multivitamins

The differences between Greens Powder and Multivitamins

While both greens powder and multivitamins offer a range of benefits, there are some fundamental differences to consider when deciding between the two:

Nutrient Profile: Greens powder typically provides a broader range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients derived from whole food sources. Multivitamins, on the other hand, focus primarily on delivering essential vitamins and minerals in their isolated form.

Bioavailability: The bioavailability of nutrients refers to the body's ability to absorb and utilize them effectively. Greens powder, derived from whole foods, often contains nutrients in their natural form, which may enhance bioavailability compared to multivitamins. [14]

Additional Ingredients: Greens powder formulations often include additional ingredients like probiotics, digestive enzymes, and herbal extracts to enhance overall health benefits. Multivitamins, while customizable, typically do not contain these extra components.

Convenience: Multivitamins are generally more convenient to take, as they come in pre-dosed forms and require no preparation. Greens powder, on the other hand, needs to be mixed with liquid, which may be less convenient for individuals on the go.

Choosing the Right Option for You

When determining whether greens powder or multivitamins are the best choice for your needs, consider the following factors:

Dietary Gaps: Assess your diet to identify any nutrient deficiencies or areas where you may fall short. If you consistently struggle to consume an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods, greens powder may be a suitable option to supplement your diet.

Health Goals: Consider your specific health goals and areas where you could benefit from additional support. For example, if you are looking to improve digestive health or boost energy levels, a greens powder with added probiotics and digestive enzymes may be beneficial.

Preference and Convenience: Think about your personal preferences and lifestyle. If you prefer the simplicity of taking a single supplement or find it more convenient to have pre-dosed pills or gummies, a multivitamin may be the better choice for you.

Budget: Consider your budget and the cost-effectiveness of each option. Greens powder can vary significantly in price depending on the brand and quality, while multivitamins generally offer more affordable options. And as we mentioned in the intro, cheaper greens powders are not always a good option, in fact we've only found one decent one under $40/month and we've tested and analyzed 100s.

Ultimately, the decision between greens powder and multivitamins depends on your individual needs, preferences, and health goals. It may also be worth consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

Conclusion: So, Which Is Better Multivitamins or Greens Powders

In the battle of greens powder vs multivitamins, it ultimately comes down to budget. If you can afford a good greens powder then it's better, if you're looking for something cheaper get a multivitamin. 

Both options have their merits and can play a valuable role in supporting overall health and bridging nutritional gaps. Ultimately, a well-rounded approach to nutrition should prioritize a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.

While dietary supplements like greens powder and multivitamins can provide additional support, they should not replace a healthy and varied diet. Consider these supplements as tools to enhance your nutritional intake and support your well-being, but always strive to prioritize whole foods as the foundation of your diet.

If you're interested in reading more about which greens powders are actually good, and not pulling a fast one, then we recommend you check out our list of the best greens powders available right now.

About Fact Checker

About Author

Dr Mark Watson is the founder of Center TRT, having graduated from stamford more than 20 years ago, he is an expert in the field of supplemental health, focusing on long term benefits of complimenary treatment. View Profile


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