Progressive Nutritional Therapies' PhytoBerry

Progressive Nutritional Therapies’ PhytoBerry

Over the last decade, we’ve been bombarded by information on the value of eating more vegetables and fruits. We now know that plant foods are more than just low calorie sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals…they’re loaded with antioxidant compounds that may reduce our risk of serious diseases and slow the aging process. It seems like a new “superfood” or “superfruit” that tops the ORAC charts is being discovered every other week.

Yet, for all the knowledge we now possess, vegetable and fruit consumption is still shockingly low. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 32.6% of US adults consume fruit 2 or more times/day, and only 27.2% eat vegetables more than 3 times/day. We have a lot of catching up to do, with respect to healthy eating.

Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising to see supplements being marketed to fill the gap. One such supplement is Phytoberry – a blend of high ORAC fruit concentrates, herbal extracts and oils that’s designed to act “…as a wonderful insurance policy” against inadequate fruit intake.

Manufacturer’s Description: PhytoBerry® is a highly concentrated berry based whole food supplement that is loaded with natural anti-oxidants. Featuring a comprehensive blend of over 40 high ORAC value fruit concentrates, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids and herbal extracts, PhytoBerry® is specifically designed to offer whole body antioxidant protection. PhytoBerry® has been professionally formulated, energetically tested and contains no artificial ingredients of any kind. A single serving has the equivalent nutrient content of 6 to 8 servings of fresh fruit.

Product Label:

Calories 60
Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13 g
Dietary Fibre 2 g
Sugars 7 g
Fruit Concentrates
Goji Berry 1200 mg
Organic Acai Berry 600 mg
Pomegranate 300 mg
Indian Goose Berry 215 mg
Mangosteen (including pericarp) 200 mg
Prune 200 mg
Blueberry 175 mg
Raisin 150 mg
Cranberry 140 mg
Strawberry 125 mg
Acerola Berry 110 mg
Apricot 90 mg
Raspberry 70 mg
Cupuacu 55 mg
Blackberry 40 mg
Sea Berry (Buckthorn) 35 mg
Elderberry 35 mg
Phytonutrients
Rosehip Extract 250 mg
Green Tea Extract 140 mg
Apple Extract 70 mg
White Tea Extract 35 mg
Rosemary Extract 30 mg
Grape Skin Extract 30 mg
Olive Leaf Extract 15 mg
Bilberry Extract 15 mg
Grape Seed Extract 15 mg
Pine Bark Extract 10 mg
Corn Silk (Zea mays) 10 mg
Quercitin 5 mg
Lycopene 5 mg
Resveratrol 2 mg
Essential Fatty Acids & Oils
Organic Non-GMO Lecithin 900 mg
Organic Flax Seed Oil 320 mg
Organic Coconut Oil 55 mg
Plantain Oil 35 mg
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 25 mg
Avocado Oil 20 mg
Essential Orange Oil 140 mcg
Essential Rosemary Oil 140 mcg
Essential Clove Oil 30 mcg
Essential Thyme Oil 30 mcg
Essential Oregano Oil 30 mcg
Essential Cinnamon Bark Oil 30 mcg
Black Pepper Extract 2 mg
Other Ingredients: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Powder, Stevia Extract and Natural Berry Flavor

Comments: One of the problems I’ve seen with blended, “superfood” supplements in general, is that they feature an impressive-looking array of ingredients, but provide only miniscule amounts of each one.  Whole foods are biochemically complex, and specific nutrients are present in relatively small amounts. When only small amounts of the food are provided in the first place, the nutritional impact is debatable. Under the circumstances, it’s important to know more about what the entire supplement blend has to offer, vs. individual ingredients.

Which brings us to PhytoBerry…unfortunately, the information available on the company web site is long on buzzwords, and short on specifics.  Consider the following paragraph:

This “superfruit” blend packs a one-two punch by providing exceptional antioxidant activity while preserving the natural harmony of the whole foods, including all of the secondary and trace nutrients. This natural balance and synergy provides us with a level of protection that can’t be duplicated with isolated forms of antioxidants.

PhytoBerry provides “exceptional antioxidant activity?”  Then why isn’t the ORAC value provided on the site or product label? The blend preserves “all of the secondary and trace nutrients?”  Then why aren’t these listed on the nutritional label?  This “level of protection…can’t be duplicated” with isolated antioxidants?  How do they know this? Where’s the science behind this claim?  PhytoBerry contains the “equivalent nutrient content of 6 – 8 servings of fresh fruit?”  Which nutrients and fruits did they use to draw this conclusion? 

I found exactly ZERO data to support any of these claims.

All told, PhytoBerry provides less than 4 grams of blended fruit concentrates, which isn’t a lot.  And – needless to state – we know nothing about what might have been lost as a result of processing.  Heat, light and air can be incredibly damaging to nutrients…yet the company tells us nothing about how their concentrates were prepared or handled. Ditto the extracts, which are not standardized for any of the known, bioactive ingredients.

PhytoBerry also contains a blend of nutritional oils, but once again, the amounts are too small to be of much use. For example, consider that a teaspoon of – say – flax oil represents about 4 – 5 grams…the 350 mg in PhytoBerry represents a few drops, at best. Some of the oils are even provided in microgram amounts…in other words, they’re simply label decoration.

Ironically, it’s probably the isolated phytonutrients (e.g., lycopene, resveratrol and quercetin) added that provide the most value.  The amount of resveratrol added – while not large by supplement standards – is a healthful amount (about the same as in a couple glasses of red wine).

But does this justify the price? PhytoBerry ain’t cheap: the best price I could find for a 1 pound (30 serving) container was $35.99.  If a serving of Phytoberry really represented the nutrient equivalent of 6 – 8 servings of fresh fruit, it might be worth it, but I’m unrepentantly skeptical. The burden of proof is on the company, after all.

For what it’s worth, the sample packet of PhytoBerry I tried was tasty enough: it tasted just like berry-flavored “Juicy Juice” with a small amount of sediment/grit in it. 

Overall, I’d say PhytoBerry probably could make SOME contribution to your phytonutrient intake and is certainly benign, but personally, I’m far from convinced that it’s a viable substitute for the real thing.  In the long term, the solution to not eating enough fruits and vegetables is…to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Taste:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Quality:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Efficacy:2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
Value:2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
Average:3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

23 Comments

  1. If anything Phytoberry makes a great mixer for glutamine, or a tasty addition to fruit protein smoothies. I find it also takes the edge off some of those “off” tasting creatine mixes.

    Since I’m not a big juice fan, I find that this product is a good substitute.

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  2. I’ve been taking phytoberry for a couple of months now and I love it. My naturopath recommended that I take it every morning. Not only are my energy levels way up, but I’m getting the benefit of a ton of different kinds of fruits. I’m an apples and bananas kind of guy and don’t really ever switch it up, so I’m not getting all the antioxidants I need.

    I’m not sure if you fully understand the reasoning behind this product. I didn’t either, actually, until my naturopath explained some of it to me.

    It is meant to target every organ and key body system. I have this chart of what each ingredient does. For example, Goji (among others) targets the endocrine system and acai is (among others) for the nervous system. So in order to do so much, there needs to be a lot of different ingredients in smaller doses. It’s a lot better than having just 1 or 2 large ones.
    And another thing I like about phytoberry is that it actually lists how much of every ingredient is in there. I’ve seen other products that only list blends of a bunch of different things, which can be deceiving. I mean, they could be almost all of one ingredient with a sprinkle of a few others just so they can be on the label.

    I don’t know the full story on it, but I’ve been told that it’s bad to take in a lot of the essential oils in a day. That may be why the quantities are lower than you think is appropriate.

    You also mentioned that the company doesn’t tell its ORAC score. My bottle of capsules says “ORAC score of ~5000 units” right on it.

    All in all, I think it’s an awesome product.

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  3. Jeff – I hate to break it to you and your naturopath, but there is exactly zero scientific proof that “Goji targets the endocrine system.” Same deal with acai. Just because a naturopath says it, doesn’t make it so, I’m afraid.

    My sample of Phytoberry, which came direct from the hands of a company representative at a trade show, had no ORAC info on it. What specifically does your bottle actually say? Is the ORAC score actually the number of units per actual recommended serving? Or is it units per 100g or some other value?

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    • I have to say that naturopaths have much more nutritional knowledge than the average medical doctor. I’m sure he/she knows whether the Goji berry targets the endocrine system or not.

      My Traditional Chinese Doctor recommended Goji berries to me as highly important substances to take, and he was an MD as well as a TCM doctor. Recommended berries or herbs, or what-have-you, usually affect more than just one “targeted” area. That’s what holistic medicine is all about.

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  4. Elissa, I’m with John with this one… I use it to mix up my twice-daily 20 gram glutamine servings. BTW, my 450 gram jug has no ORAC value on it either. What it says is, “Featuring a harmonized blend of over 40 ORAC rich fruit concentrates, phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids.”

    Harmonized, eh? I think that ranks right up there with “all natural” and “wholesome” as great sounding yet meaningless terminology. 🙂

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  5. Iam still undecided on this product but I can vouch for it saying exactly this on my bottle of PHYTOBERRY. Each serving has an ORAC score of ~ 5000 units.

    So what does this account to? The Original poster is not whole truth.

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  6. I sent an e-mail to the company over two weeks ago to settle the question, seeing that neither Paul nor I have seen ORAC info on the containers of Phytoberry in our possession, nor is there any such info available on the web site. It’s nothing personal, Patrick, but I need to see it with my own eyes, or else to have this verified by someone authoritative.

    I have had no response from the company, so far. I will keep trying, of course, but I find the lack of a timely customer service response to a simple question to be somewhat troubling.

    Be that as it may, I’m not prepared to be particularly impressed, even if this number is verified. As this list demonstrates: http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/ORAC/ORAC07.pdf it isn’t hard to consume the equivalent of 5000 ORAC units/day by consuming a few common foods – no expensive supplements are needed. In addition, when you eat food, you get the additional nutrients (vites, minerals, fiber) that are limiting or unavailable in a supplement like Phytoberry.

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  7. I take Phytoberry, and had a brochure from healthfood store that states ORAC value of 5000 per serving. I have called the company twice with questions and easily got a real person on the phone to talk to, so not sure why people are having trouble getting questions answered. My bottle does not state ORAC value on it. I take the caplets-not powder.

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  8. Lrn2PubMedz. Lycium Barbarum (goji berry) has been shown to have significant endocrinological effects in murine studies. Anthocyanins (found in high concentration in acai juice and pulp) have pronounced effects on the nervous system. If you are going to toss around power phrases like “zero scientific proof”, please learn to do some research first.

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    • LOL – I used to do university research for a living – you can look me up in PubMed, if you like.

      First of all, the “power phrase” you placed in quotes appears exactly nowhere in the review. I used it only in response to a comment – and, for the record, I am aware of only a single in-vivo, Chinese study on isolated Lycium barbatum polysaccharides in semi-castrated male mice. This – needless to state, is not particularly predictive of what happens when (much larger) humans eat even a significant quantity of whole fruit, let alone a pencil shaving’s worth of fruit powder.

      Likewise, it’s a real leap to say – since anthocyanins have neuroprotective effects in model systems – that “acai is for the nervous system.” Such a thing might be useful IF enough acai is consumed, perhaps, but that is precisely the issue here.

      I do not question the fact that various antioxidant phytochemicals have positive health effects: the research is abundant and provocative (albeit incomplete). I do, however, question whether there is a sufficient amount of the various superfruits, such as acai and goji, in PhytoBerry to make any significant nutritional/health difference – this is the main question raised in the review. While the ORAC value of this supp may be high (although the sample I had did not state it, nor was this info to be found on the web site at the time of writing), much of the antioxidant activity is likely to be from the added nutraceuticals: quercetin, grapeseed extract, etc. vs. the actual whole fruit powders.

      When one looks at a supplement, one must also consider the amounts of the ingredients provided as well as what they may (or may not do). Something that produces significant pharmacological effects in larger quantities may nonetheless be irrelevant when much smaller doses are used.

      The one thing that is clear from the epidemiological research, is that the consumption of whole fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of certain diseases. Do high ORAC supplements represent a reasonable surrogate? This is something that we do not yet know for certain… which should be taken into account when a decent amount of money is changing hands. Strong claims should be accompanied by equally strong evidence – otherwise, IMHO, most people would be better off spending their hard-earned cash on actual fruit, vs. fruit-based supps.

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  9. I use Phytoberry as an addition to my smoothie mid morning or noon after my early morning fresh squeezed lemon in tepid water routine. In my smoothies I put a large yellow banana, some mango (fresh or frozen) small scoop of brown rice powder, small scoop of (gold brown mix)flax seeds and a pint of warm water. Occasionally I will add a dozen whole cashews (non-salted) and/or some walnuts (about the same amount). I like the product’s (Phytoberry) taste so fruit juices which are high in sugar are substituted with the water. Put the blender on liquify for about 90seconds and voila, a good drink which satisfies my hunger and I believe, nutritional needs. It has improved my urges (I used to go for a big Mac at noon but no longer) and aids in efficient elimination plus it is delicious. Sole dependence on one thing is probably not intended by nature so I occsionally change up the fruits – strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apple, but no citrus. I also see the ORAC value on my Phytoberry container but in the end, – not being a scientist – look upon the powder as I would a packet of Freshie. If it does some good, great! Then, like many of us, I go to work by walking out bravely into the big city streets and breathe into my lungs all the carbon particulate that it has to offer and sick bad air buildings we all work in plus unassociated dangers like bad drivers, thugs and falling buildings and hope I live. None of us can expect more. (But every week or so I eat a pizza thin crust well done, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, green olives and a half litre of red wine.) I don’t look for ORAC on the Pizza or wine – it is my diet holiday! Be well!

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  10. Purchased Phytoberry at a Health food store on the way home from work the other day. I put a few scoops in my mouth and washed it down with water. Got home a half hour later . Jumped into some running clothes and ran 3 miles . I haven’t done that for months . I usually am wiped out out when I get home from work , being 51 years old . I’ll finish out using the rest of

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  11. Does anyone know where to buy PhytoBerry at the lowest prices? Perhaps online or something. I like the product, but it’s ridiculously overpriced in my opinion.

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  12. Wow this Elissa person seems to be biting everyone’s head off. If you’re that skeptical and unsatisfied with this product, just don’t use it. No need to get excited haha

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  13. I have been using Phytoberry on and off for a couple of years now. I notice a definite increase in energy when I take two scoops of the product instead of just the one recommended. Can’t tell if it is benefiting me in other ways but the
    energy is definitely there.

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  14. I’m shocked anyone would doubt phyto betty me my husband n daughter drink this daily we never get sick all my daughters class mates will b sick and she will walk in with a smile on her face full of energy and ready to go her teachers have even noticed she’s NEVER sick and they have gone out and bought this product also,keeping in mind we are very healthy people any way my daughters favorite snack is broccoli being healthy is a lifestyle choice.

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    • The fact that the “editor” puts “this doctor” – meaning the naturopathic doctor – in inverted commas, shows her disdain for anyone who is not part of the allopathic medical establishment.

      She is prejudiced in favour of scientific double-blind studies, etc. Most of us don’t need that when we know a product is doing us good. We know our own bodies and we know how we feel. BTW, I’m not against science at all, but the Big Pharma led medical profession is against anything that doesn’t come out of one of their laboratories and sold at exorbitant prices.

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      • She is prejudiced in favour of scientific double-blind studies, etc.

        Why thank you! That’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve gotten in at least the last few months.

        And yes, I have nothing but disdain for a health professional – establishment or otherwise – that offers his/her patients such a BS, non-explanation as “goji berries target the endocrine system.” The endocrine system is a pretty large and diverse target, for one thing. And the word “target” is ambiguous and value-neutral – one does not have to be in thrall to “Big Pharma” to grasp that. Aflatoxins, for example, “target” the liver, but the results ain’t pretty. If a naturopath can’t offer a better explanation than that, s/he isn’t much of an expert, IMHO.

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  15. Thanks for all the positive feedback. We have gotten great reviews since this product came out and we’ve only continued to improve it. If you need any assistance with customer service we have a team on hand who can help you with any questions you may have. 1-888-788-3396

    As stated on the labels now and the website this product has an ORAC score of ~5000 units. All our products have hand selected ingredients, then are brought to a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who combines the ingredients and tests on humans to see the harmonizing effect. Then the Dr. averages out the doses to get the perfect balance for consumption. We proudly stand behind this process as we are one of the only nutritional therapy companies to do this. Please see our website for more info. And if the product doesn’t agree with you, we proudly back it with a 100% return policy. We know you’ll love it, that’s why! We also offer VegeGreens which is a similar product to help support your positive efforts when you can’t get all your Veggies. We love feedback so drop us a line anytime!

    http://progressivenutritional.com/

    Editor’s comments: We’d love to hear what exactly “harmonizing” effects are, and just exactly how this “doctor” determines the perfect “balance” for consumption. While we agree the product does provide some value, we’d love to see peer-reviewed clinical studies validating your product, not new age mumbo jumbo and statements that can’t be substantiated by anything remotely resembling science. If you want us to take you seriously, that is.

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  16. I am a real sceptic when it comes to “natural” stuff like this. Especially when a product is so expensive. Recently a friend of mine who owns an “all natural foods” store recommended that I try it. This year I have gotten into triathlons and I am more health concious so I thought I would give it a shot. I had the same attitude as usual… “sure, I’ll try it but it’s likely just a scam”. Besides I take a spoonful of psyllium seed every morning and I figured it would be good to mix with it in water.
    Because of my career as an overseas airline pilot and being in my mid 50’s, my sleep patterns are a mess. Sometimes on my days off I will sleep maybe 2 to 3 hours a night for 3 consecutive nights. Fatigue is something I deal with all the time. That being said, I am not sure if this is coincidence but even when I am lacking sleep I have had a sudden burst of energy during the day after taking this PhytoBerry for the last month. Sometimes I rarely enter REM and in the past I would be dragging my butt by noon. Now I seem to be able to go all day. As far as nutritional value goes, I have no idea. I’m not a rocket scientist with that stuff and leave it to those who are more educated. Those are my 2 cents worth. I rarely plug a product like this. Again, I’m not saying it’s the Phytoberry doing it but I’m not saying it’s not either. I do wish it was more affordable though. Good luck.

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  17. Hi, as an engineer and a general skeptic if not cynic about most things, I was loathe to try this concoction but gave way to it because I could not train 3 days in row, without fatigue and overtraining feeling taking over.
    I tried a mix of the greens and berry. My first impression was a surprise at the absolutely great taste and refreshing and hydrating feeling of it; that hydrating feeling you get when drinking watermelon mixes etc.

    The energy kick was almost immediate perhaps due to the sugar content. Someone should really verify the sugar content values. It tastes sweater than the low sugar value on the label, almost as sugary as any juice which we all know is really high.

    I’ve been taking it in the morning and post workout. I don’t know what’s in the but I’ve been feeling very clear minded and focused. Im normally fatigued due to lack is sleep or whatever, but I’ve been feeling very noticeably better.

    Now because I’m a cynic, i ve begun to think maybe they cut it with some kind of stimulant, perhaps just caffeine (or meth!) Don’t know. All I know is that it has an immediate and lasting effect, and an addictive one if I may add. I crave it all the time.

    If it’s really just a mix of natural things, well, congrats to the makers; they’ve found the potion of youth or something.

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