ENERGYbits Product Review

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I first heard of ENERGYbits on Twitter, and being intrigued by their name, I wanted to learn more about this Boston-based business.  Not knowing anything about them, I contacted them and asked for a sample.  Jonathan Levitt immediately replied to my request and sent me some samples along with literature about their products.  I was a little nervous about trying them, expecting them to be some kind of protein bite that you pop in your mouth and chew up. To my surprise, ENERGYbits are tiny tabs that you can either chew up or swallow whole.  They contain ONE ingredient, Algae.  It is suggested that you swallow or chew 30 bits before your activity.  This was the first I had heard about consuming Algae for energy.  

According to the literature:

“ENERGYbits are 100% pure, organically grown, certified NON GMO algae that contains no sugar, caffeine, gluten, additives, animal products, chemicals or fillers of any kind.  ENERGYbits are 100% pure spirulina algae that consit of 64% protein, 40 nutrients, antioxidants, nitric oxide, and GLA (an Omega 3), all for just one calorie per tab.  They are not pills, but BITS of green food (algae is a crop that is grown hydroponically, harvested and air dried like other crops).ENERGYbits boosts mental and physical energy and endurance naturally.  The very best for: athletics/fitness, energy, endurance sports, heart health, healthy snack, jet lag, mental vitality, performers, runners and triathletes."

I decided to give them a try even though I was still very nervous to consume them as I was not sure if they would have a strange after-taste, or if they would cause any strange side effects.  To my surprise, I was able to swallow 30 tabs (5 at a time) pretty easily.  I experienced no offensive after-taste and no indigestion.  I had been training clients all morning and was a little depleted, needing a little something before heading out for my run, I was doing nine hills of various inclines; perfect conditions to test and see if they gave me energy.   My run went great!  I was able to maintain a nice steady pace up each hill, and I had the mental clarity to stay focused and not give up on those long, hard inclines.  After my run, I continued to feel great!  There just may be something to these little bits after all!  I tried them again, under the same circumstances, but this time I was going for a tempo run of six miles.  Again, the ENERGYbits delivered.  I was impressed and needed to find out more about algae.

Not being educated in nutrition, I decided to contact my friend and dietitian, Stephanie Bouquet, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE.  I asked her to help explain more about the ingredient in ENERGYbits. 

 

Hi Jody,
This was a tough one because there isn't much evidence based research out on Chlorella and Spirulina.  They both fall under the blue-green algae family and are touted as high protein, high vitamin/ mineral natural products to aid many aliments.  I printed out the consumer information from the Natural Medicine database I use quite a bit for further explanation and effectiveness ratings.  It does talk about the possibility of contaminated blue-green algae and the side effects.  I tend to worry about supplements like this unless you have established it is a reputable company that follows stringent guidelines.  The whole problem with the dietary supplement industry is that there is no regulation by the FDA so each batch of the ENERGYbits could have a different concentration of the algae in them."


"Keep in mind that this is all the scientific aspect, as I haven't used them personally.  It's interesting that the literature also pointed out that blue-green algae has comparable protein amounts to milk or meat which I'm sure are a lot less expensive."
 
"I'm not sure if the algae was the magic ingredient when you used the ENERGYbits, or if it was just an energy source to your body when you needed fuel."

Stephanie Bouquet, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE

SB Nutrition

 

For the purpose of objectivity, I gave Jonathan the opportunity to respond to Stepanie's contents:

"In regards to the contamination, you can find cheaper spirulina, but you risk contamination (due to quality issues with the water in Japan and standards in Chinese production) and the need to take even more.  The reason ours costs a bit more is due to quality – we have the highest quality control standards and the spirulina is the best of the best. In virtually all cases, other companies are mass distributors who sell hundreds of products at very low prices. They rely on volume not quality for profits and in almost all cases, they have used inferior strains of algae, inferior growing or production methods, inferior faster drying techniques (that destroy the enzymes and the nutrition) and inferior packaging methods, etc."

"In a nutshell, you get what you pay.  Algae is ALL we do. We are specialists. You always get the best from a specialist. We think people’s health is worth it. "

ENERGYbits are sold at a hefty price of $115.00 for 1,000 tabs.  That works out to be about $3.48 per 30 tab serving.  Quite a bit more than I would like to pay.  Personally, I am not ready to make the switch to fueling exclusively with ENERGYbits, but as an endurance athlete, I would like to find out more about using algae.  Definitely intriguing, and I think you need to make the decision yourself.  I would suggest you at least give them a try and see how your body responds to them.  If you are on any prescription medication, I would check with your doctor before taking algae, because it can cause drug interactions.