I’ve done several reviews on my website for various companies, whether they’re MLM, protein products, meal replacements, whatever. You can find those reviews here (they include Isagenix, Plexus, Herbalife, Juice Plus, Advocare, Arbonne and a few others). Here is my unbiased review of It Works.

A few days ago on my Facebook page I did a poll on which company I should review next. Lucky (actually, unlucky) for It Works, they were the overwhelming vote. I do these reviews because people deserve to know what’s in these products. Most people aren’t able to look at an ingredient label and know whether or not the massive amount of ingredients are safe, healthy or toxic. That’s where I come in.

I don’t do these reviews because I’m paid to do them (I get accused of this a lot – who would even pay me? I work for myself!). I don’t do them to bash the company. It’s not personal. It’s not my opinion. It’s a scientific review of the ingredients.

The fact is that people spend their hard earned money on these products. And then people join the company to sell these products to other people. And all the while, most people are completely in the dark on the science and nutritional information behind the ingredients used. So I chose a few products to evaluate. Enjoy!

Before it’s asked, this is the protein I use and recommend. I couldn’t find one good enough on the market, so I made my own. Grass-fed collagen with six organic superfoods: kale, spirulina, wheatgrass, broccoli, spinach and turmeric. I drink it in my daily smoothies and it gives me LIFE. Aka a healthy gut, glowing skin, strong digestion and energy for DAYS. Use code 10OFF for 10% off!

An Unbiased Review of It Works

Ultimate ProFit

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I’m a big fan of whey protein. I occasionally use it and my husband uses it regularly post-workout. But if and only if it is grass-fed. We use this one, which is undenatured, grass-fed and from small farmers in California (because I’m an American! I’m going to support our small, grass-fed farms and you should too!).

And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that if these cows are not grass-fed and organic, they’re eating genetically modified corn and soy. Cows are meant to eat grass, the bovine consumption of corn and soy – which are two of the highest genetically modified crops – causes infections in the cow and raises the omega-6 content while lowering the omega-3 content (making the whey much more inflammatory). In fact, this study demonstrated how organic dairy contains 62% more omega-3s and 25% less omega-6 fatty acids than inorganic dairy. Vitamins, particularly A, E, D and K are also higher in grass-fed dairy.


Soy protein isolate is one of the most disturbing ingredients in these products. Despite being marketed as a health food, soy is actually quite the opposite. And before anyone tries the “Asians have been eating soy for thousands of years” argument, let’s set that straight. No, they haven’t. Asian cultures have traditionally eaten fermented soy, like natto, which reduces the phytic acid, goitrogens and enzyme inhibitors that are naturally present in soy. Soy was only traditionally used as a condiment, like in soy sauce. Never, has it ever traditionally been used as an overly processed protein supplements.

First, to extract the oil from soy, it undergoes a incredibly amount of processing. It is heated to high temperatures, bleached, deodorized and treated with hexane – a neurotoxin – to extract the oil. The soy industry then had to find something to do with the leftover garbage once the oil was extracted. And what they came up with was marketing genius. They turned soy into a health food. They sold what was leftover as a healthy alternative to meat and dairy – mock meat and cheap protein. And you ate it up.

But once we delve deeper, the science is not kind to soy. This study from Harvard found that men consuming the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had 50% lower sperm count than men who did not consume soy (even accounting for other factors like age, caffeine and alcohol intake, etc).

This study found that soy stimulated the growth of estrogen dependent tumors found in breast cancer. And this one found the same thing.

This study found that,

“…this pilot study indicates that prolonged consumption of soy protein isolate has a stimulatory effect on the premenopausal female breast, characterized by increased secretion of breast fluid, the appearance of hyperplastic epithelial cells, and elevated levels of plasma estradiol. These findings are suggestive of an estrogenic stimulus from the isoflavones genistein and daidzein contained in soy protein isolate.

The fact is, soy contain phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the body, lower testosterone and aren’t go great for cancers that develop due to estrogen dominance (like breast cancer).


While not as bad as corn, canola or soy oils, sunflower oil still isn’t my favorite. Consumed once in a while is fine, but daily in a protein shake or snack bar? That’s when this seemingly innocuous oil becomes an issue. Sunflower oil is extremely inflammatory. We know that there needs to be a proper balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. An abundance of omega-6 fats lead to inflammation (which has been linked to everything from cancer to heart disease).

It’s difficult to determine what kind of sunflower oil It Works is using exactly, but let’s assume it’s similar to this. The omega-3 content would be around 27mg and the omega-6 content 5374mg per tablespoon! That’s an incredibly inflammatory oil.


A processed food additive derived from corn. It can also be aggravating to the digestive tract, particularly if you’re consuming it on a regular basis. Overall, I’m most concerned with the possibility that the corn is genetically modified. Read more about the detriments of genetically modified corn here and here.

Greens Powder

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More of that pesky soy protein isolate. And GLUTEN.

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The above response when I enter “GMO” leads me to believe the only ingredient in the entire line of these products that is GMO-free is the soy found in the Greens.

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The proprietary ingredients look pretty good right? But consuming this is akin to chasing a green juice with vodka. Let’s not forget about the pesky list of “other ingredients.” The redheaded stepchild of this product that It Works is just hoping you’ll overlook.


I take issue with anything listed as “natural flavors.” Because chances are, it’s not all that natural. Hell, even monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be masquerading as a natural flavor. The labeling is loosely regulated. InFood Rules: A Doctor’s Guide To Healthy Eating, Dr. Shanahan discusses a study in which 95% of ingredients listed as “natural flavor” contained MSG.

As for “natural” vanilla flavor, it could even be secretions from a beaver’s butt. Beavers secrete castoreum, which smells and tastes remarkably similar to vanilla.

Castoreum is a chemical compound that mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, which are located between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Because of its close proximity to the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine…Still concerned you’re chowing down on beaver-bum goop? Because of its FDA label, in some cases, manufacturers don’t have to list castoreum on the ingredient list and may instead refer to it as “natural flavoring.” Yum. Source

I’m not saying that It Works definitely uses beaver butts or MSG in its products, but without transparency in labeling, it’s not possible to know.


A dangerous and unhealthy food additive. One study showed it is genotoxic to white blood cells. Another study showed that when combined with vitamin C (which is definitely present in Cleanse due to the citrus) it caused mutagenicity damaged DNA.


From Be Food Smart,

This additive contains phosphorus which is an essential nutrient, but when consumed without the balance of other minerals, may affect kidneys, heart and bones. In animal studies, the following effects were reported: pale and swollen kidneys, increased kidney weights, bone decalcification, muscle fiber size changes, hyperplasia and severe skin irritations. 


Sodium benzoate is a truly horrible preservative that has no business being in food. When combined with vitamin C, it can form benzene, which has been linked to cancer and DNA damage.  It can also increase hyperactivity.

WOW – Wipe Out Wrinkles

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The products contain crystalline fructose, derived from corn that’s most likely genetically modified.

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Stop looking at me like that.

Ultimate Body Applicator

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You know the adage – don’t apply anything to your skin you wouldn’t eat? Well, that’s pretty good advice. Skin is the body’s largest organ and it absorbs whatever is applied to it.

This study found that BHT promotes tumor growth. And this one found it’s completely toxic for a variety of reasons (take your pick, I’ll pass).


Has been linked to both liver issues and cancer. From National Toxicology Program at National Institutes of Health,

“Exposure to triethanolamine by dermal application resulted in increased incidences of eosinophilic focus of the liver in males and females. Dosed mice developed treatment-related nonneoplastic lesions at the site of application.”


Retinyl palmitate is rated a whopping 9 on the Environmental Working Group database rating system on skincare products, Skin Deep. That’s really high, and the higher the rating, the more toxic. From EWG,

“A study by U.S. government scientists suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight (NTP 2012). Officials in Germany and Norway have cautioned that retinyl palmitate and other vitamin A ingredients in cosmetics could contribute to vitamin A toxicity due to excessive exposure (German BfR 2014, Norwegian SCFS 2012a).”


“Scientists have found that vitamin A can spur excess skin growth, known as hyperplasia, and that in sunlight retinyl palmitate can form free radicals that damage DNA (NTP 2000).”


“Too much pre-formed vitamin A, including retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate, can cause a variety of health problems, including liver damage, brittle nails, hair loss, osteoporosis and hip fractures in older adults. Excessive vitamin A can cause skeletal abnormalities in a developing fetus. For that reason Norwegian health authorities have cautioned women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to avoid products with vitamin A (Norwegian SCFS 2012b).”


  1. *An unbiased comment/question on It Works*

    I am very open to learning that I am doing things wrong, but this confuses me. Based on your review, the It Works Greens sound pretty bad. Marketing gimmick and worse. But I have been taking them for years. Prior to the Greens, I was struggling to control several chronic conditions naturally. This was one of the things that make a world of difference! I temporarily stopped them, because I was continuing to have dietary issues, and wanted to try AIP(Autoimmune Protocol); Greens don’t match those dietary guidelines. 6 months later, my immune system had plummeted, my chronic fatigue was at an all time high and rising, and my endometriosis pain had returned. Not knowing what else to do, I started Greens again, and then began reintroducing foods. Since then, my pain is under better control, the fatigue is improving, and I am once again fighting off viruses. Based on that, I feel the Greens are something my body cannot function without. Which is why reading this review confuses me. Thoughts?
    P.S. Prior to Greens, I was already eating very well(no gluten or most other grains, no sugar, caffeine, white potatoes, unhealthy fats/oils, processed junk, etc), lots of organic, real food, cooking from scratch, inconsistent yoga, regular chiropractor, and in the process of converting to toxic-free living. In theory, I was and am doing all the right things….

  2. Could you please analyze the It Works! Stretch Mark Cream? I gave a bottle to my pregnant friend and now I fear there may ne potentially dangerous chemicals in that product as well!

  3. So, your “unbiased review” is missing one thing. That’s actually trying the product. I’m sure some people are willing to put even the craziest of things in their bodies (including “beaver-bum goop”) if it worked to give positive results. I’m not saying that I am a pro “beaver-bum goop” fan, however, I just don’t think you can give an “unbiased review” on something you didn’t try.

    • I know this comment is 4 years old.. but I just have to say, if I knew facts that the ingredients ate linked to cancer and tumo8.. I definitely wouldn’t be trying it out just to see if I like it. The risks of harming my body are too powerful. I mean, would you jump off a cliff because you should try it first, just in case it’s actually fun and not deadly? 🙂 just a thought.

    • JENNIFER COE Reply

      I think that’s the point…most of us want to understand the breakdown of ingredients because we care about what we put in our bodies and we want to know BEFORE we ingest the product. If it’s toxic, I don’t care if it’s effective, I don’t want to consume it. You simply start a vicious cycle and end up trading one list of issues for another in many cases. I appreciate the review.

  4. I’m just wondering what is the safest and gentlest cleanse for someone to use if they have never done one before

  5. Thank you so much for doing research on this company’s products.
    I have a sweet friend who I want to help
    teaching a company promotion and asked to please send me some products with ingredient labels to read up on the ingredients.
    Your blog was truly a life saver!!!
    I am one who searches for complete truth and transparency in products.
    This was very much appreciated.??

  6. I became friends with someone on fb and they make a full time living promoting and selling for It Works.
    I was informed of a hair, skin and nails vitamin that supposedly helps you grow your hair faster and thick and strong. Your told to take pictures before and after.
    I purchased the vitamins which were on a promotional salesperson discount.
    I purchased a 3 month supply.
    I reviewed the ingredients and did not see any of what to me the top toxic ones. BHT and also EDTA. What did I know.
    I took the first set of pills incorrectly according to the instruction on the container, take two per day to see maximum results.
    I finished the first container.
    I received the second container and shortly after taking the pills I read I needed to take two not one pill. They smell and taste amazing. Seem natural. They have a minty spearmint taste and smell.
    After about week 2nd of taking two pills per say. I started to feel tired.
    I couldn’t understand as I had made adjustments to my diet. Cut back sweets, candy sugar drinks and daily consumption of sweet breads in the morning.
    Yet after a work day I was feeling more tired than ever. Unusually more tired than I did after work. I had also started to work out every week.
    It wasn’t until the same friend I purchased the hair, skin, nails from was needing to hit a certain promotion. I wanted to help. I asked what products I can purchase.
    I requested she send me ingredients to some products I had expressed interest in. As I did my investigating of the ingredients I realized there were so many toxic harmful chemicals in each and every product my friend sent me.
    Horrified I ran to grab the container of vitamins I had religiously been taking daily.
    I found so many ingredients that were toxic, not meant for human digestion.
    There is an ingredient that could be said is completely natural because it is. Microcrystalline cellulose. It is wood dust which cannot be breaker down by the human body. Termites eat wood just to name one.

    I sadly informed my friend of my findings and explained I would not be able to purchase any of the products. I also explained that the products she is promoting was full of harmful toxic ingredients, chemicals. This friend apologized and stated she understands and thanked me for the information stating she appreciated the heads up and that she would look into this.
    I stopped taking the It Works hair, skin and nails vitamins. I feel so much better.
    This was a huge wake up call for me. Don’t be lax when purchasing products read labels always always. Do your research if you care about your health.
    Thank you so much for posting this review it came in Super Helpful!!

  7. I see this post is from 2016. It would be awesome if you would do an updated review of It Works! products. I feel like I am definitely seeing the products being used and marketed more and more lately. Many of my friends have been sucked in. Seeing their results makes it so tempting but I know better. I know the ingredients are most likely crap and the promises are just marketing.

    I would be curious to know if their products and/or ingredients have changed since your last review. Especially since I think there is definitely a stronger consumer push for “clean” products in the last few years.

    Also, I would love to be able to have a recent (which I haven’t been able to find) unbiased review of the products to show my friends and family that have been sucked in so they know what they are truly doing to their bodies.

    Thanks for your time!

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