Have you heard of Nitric Oxide? Did you know it was awarded Molecule of the Year in 1992 and the Nobel prize was awarded for its discovery in 1998?
These are high accolades.
It’s important for your body as it is a signaling molecule, involved in vasodilation – the opening of your blood vessels to allow optimal blood flow. This can be helpful for those with existing high blood pressure, or for performance enhancement and increasing energy levels.
There are scientific studies that have shown that nitrates in vegetables are a particularly important way of getting nitric oxide into your body.
But why is this important in terms of my research around Green juices, super greens powders and optimal nutrition?
Well, as with most products I’ve come across, there has to be a consumer angle, and someone is usually cashing in.
This has led me to research Superbeets, a powdered nutritional supplement produced by the labs at HumanN. I want to look into the company, the product, and its claims to see why and how this special metabolic molecule has been linked to supplements and why we are being told we should buy them.
Taking a look at the HumaN website I can see that they are taking a Science-based approach to their marketing and using branding that would lead consumers to think they might be shopping at an on-line pharmacy store.
The brand HumanN uses a strong link to the molecule Nitric Oxide and, along with the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre, have used research to create a range of supplements which aim to improve the intake of Nitric Oxide, believing it to be the most useful functional supplement for ‘every human across every phase of life’.
Background on Humann (Human Power of N, Co)
First, as Neogenis Laboratories, rebranded as HumanN, the company was founded in 2009.
In 2011 they brought out Neo40 to both consumer and medical markets. In 2014 a clinical study was undertaken looking at Neo40 and prehypertension. Their claim on the site is that they are recommended by Physicians for this product (by Physicians recommending a Nitric Oxide supplement product).
In 2013 BeetElite was released to the sports nutrition market and SuperBeets (the ‘concentrated beet crystal circulation functional food’). into the functional foods market.
One of their takes on this molecule is that it becomes particularly hard to compensate for declining levels of NO in the body as you age. This makes their supplement particularly useful if you are not able to access enough vegetables in your diet (foods such as beets, spinach, nuts, and artichokes are highest in dietary Nitrates).
They say of themselves ‘Consulting with the top N-O scientists, doctors, registered dieticians, and healthcare thought-leaders, there is no other company more committed, or qualified, to bringing the best N-O functional foods’ to the market.
There’s even a 2-minute test on their website to tell you if you are Nitric Oxide deficient!
So, HumanN SuperBeets looks like a fairly accessible product for us laypeople, but what is it? What does it claim to do? And most importantly what goes into it?
If I am to compare this to other powdered greens or vegetable supplements I would be looking directly at the label to see what the manufacturer has chosen to tell us about their formulation. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you what they say it is and does first:
“SuperBeets is highly concentrated, scientifically formulated to provide optimum levels of essential Nitric Oxide, and clinically researched. Just one teaspoon of SuperBeets, the recommended daily serving, is verified to provide the Nitric Oxide equivalent of three whole beets and helps:
- Promote Nitric Oxide production
- Support healthy circulation
- Support healthy blood pressure levels
- Promote improved natural energy and stamina
I wonder what’s inside this highly concentrated powder? Looking at the images on their site, the ingredients listed on the tub are as follows:
Non-GMO Beetroot Powder, Non-GMO Beetroot Powder (fermented), Natural Back Cherry flavor, Malic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbate, Stevia Leaf Extract.
There aren’t a huge number of active ingredients in this list, in fact, I can only see that you are getting, basically, beetroot. But they haven’t said how much of each of the two main powders are included. A suggested serving is 5g but I don’t know if that means you are getting even 4g of beets in that teaspoon serving, as they haven’t said what is included in the proprietary blend.
So, even if I am convinced that beetroots are a superfood, is this really enough to say you are getting your Super Beets?
How Does SuperBeets Taste?
SuperBeets comes in Black Cherry flavor and Original flavor. I’m not sure what the Original flavor is as they haven’t shown the ingredients listing for this product, only the ingredients for the Black Cherry flavor.
I found out later that it is a Natural Apple flavor.
If you are not used to having beets in your diet you may experience that your urine and other waste body products are colored red or pink after taking any supplement containing this root, this is quite common when you increase beetroot intake and HumanN include information on this in the FAQ pages of their site.
There are some concerns over whether supplementing with beets can lower calcium levels and exacerbate kidney damage. You are advised to take supplements only after consulting with your medical physician.
Does SuperBeets Actually Work?
Here’s the same issue that I have with most products formulated using a proprietary blend: the manufacturer tells you what they think the product does but then they don’t tell you how much of the active ingredient you’re getting.
I’m going to reiterate that there is A LOT of science quoted on the HumanN SuperBeets pages and general pages (not to mention the other product pages), but to go to an external authority for a moment, Examine.com tells us:
Beetroot tends to be dosed on the nitrate content, with around 0.1-0.2mmol/kg (6.4-12.8mg/kg) being the target for nitrate. This is about 436mg for a 150lb person, which is comparable to half a kilogram (500g) of the beetroots themselves (wet weight).
I’m pretty sure I’m not getting half a kilo of beets in this 5g serving.
This isn’t of course to say that the whole concept of eating a varied diet and including beets and other nitrous vegetables is not advised, rather than in order to see any marked effects or benefits you might need to take a huge amount into your diet.
SuperBeets Customer Reviews
On Amazon there are 1095 customer reviews giving an average of 3.8 out of 5 stars. 48% of reviewers give 5 stars, 20% give 1 star.
A sample of the reviews is below:
Didn’t give me the energy that it claim to . Did not lower my blood pressure’ – 1 star
This material is a joke……as an older athlete and retired physician , I noticed absolutely no boost in energy or change in my blood pressure…which I monitor daily’ – 1 star
I have been taking this beet powder for 5 months and I have lowered my blood pressure. My blood pressure was running 160 over 90. it is now running 114/74. I am not on blood pressure medicine and my doctor is amazed.’ – 5 stars
Both my husband and I have felt a difference in energy. as a matter of fact, I dare not take it too late in the day or I will be too keyed up to lay down and sleep at night. So I take mine very early in the morning.’ – 5 stars
There is the usual range of people agreeing that it does what it says, and those who are disappointed. Some have an issue with flavor, others like it. Of course, reviews are highly subjective and you are advised to take caution when considering others’ opinions of these products.
Money Back Guarantee / Returns Policy
HumanN has a 90-day money-back guarantee, where you can return your product (used or unused but in good condition in the original boxes, having received a Return to Manufacturer Authorization).
Where to Buy SuperBeets?
Is It Worth the Price?
This is not a particularly expensive product in the market of super greens and supplements including vegetables and powdered super greens. You can buy one tub of SuperBeets on the HumanN website at $39.95 (USD), buy 2 get 1 free for $79.90 and buy 4 get 2 free for $149.90.
Despite the relatively low cost of one tub (in comparison to other super green type supplements) I am not convinced you are getting a lot of value for money, nutrition-wise.
The research seems to support the hypothesis around Nitric Oxide and cardiovascular health, and even sports performance, but how do we know how much is being ingested from the SuperBeets ingredients, and how do we know it’s a potent enough dose?
The Bottom Line
I wanted to like this product as I do believe there’s some good science backing some of the claims, and I’m personally very interested in the performance-enhancing aspects of Nitric Oxide (there’s a reason it’s become a difficult grey area in terms of banned substances in elite athletics).
But again I’ve been disappointed by the proprietary blend effect and am struggling to see that you are getting enough of the main potent plant ingredients in this product to have any kind of effect.
Perhaps a better way to increase beetroots in the diet would, in this case, be to juice beetroots yourself, or buy pre-made beetroot juice.
LifeHacker Guy Greens Recommendation
Please give me a few moments to shamelessly introduce my brand, SuperGreen TONIK.
I have researched a lot (and I mean a lot) of super greens out there but was disappointed with most of the ones I tried.
So, I went out and created my own with the help of a USA manufacturer because I wanted to ensure I got all my veggie goodness in the right amounts, and of course within a no-fuss single serving each day.
None of the other brands offered that.
Its the best out there (of course I would say that about my own), but let me tell you why...
- No hidden ingredient amounts - we have full disclosure labelling, so you know EXACTLY whats inside
- Sufficient ingredient amounts to make a difference - we include at least (if not more of) the minimum effective amounts supported by research
- Ingredients that also could boost mental clarity and shake off brain fog - to boost my at work and home
After many months I finally got a greens formula that fuels my body and mind for the day ahead.
But please dont JUST take my word for it, make up your own decision by checking out my review. (I TRY BE BE AS UNBIASED AS POSSIBLE )