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What Are Wellness Shots, and Are They Worth It?

They offer a quick boost of nutrients, but they're not a replacement for your fruits and vegetables.

Not sure what a wellness shot is? Chances are you’ve walked by them in the grocery store. Typically found in the refrigerated drinks section, they come in tiny, brightly colored bottles and contain nutrients that purport to fight inflammation and give your immune system a boost, among other things. In recent years, they’ve become popular among fitness influencers and health aficionados. But these small beverages can be pricey — so, are they worth the splurge for your health’s sake?

Hoping to find out, I spoke with dietitians Johane Filemon and Michelle Rauch and discovered the pros and cons of these supposed quick cures.

What is a wellness shot?

A wellness shot is a mini juice drink with a high concentration of nutrients. It’s usually made with a blend of juiced fruits or vegetables, extracts, herbs, and spices. Often, they don’t taste great — which is why most people drink them quickly as a “shot.” You can make juice shots at home (see below for a few easy recipes) or you can buy them pre-made at your local grocery or health food store.

What are the benefits of wellness shots?

“Juice shots can provide a boost of concentrated nutrients to supplement what you are getting from your food,” says Johane Filemon, in-house RD (registered dietician) for Splendid Spoon.

The brands selling these wellness shots claim the nutrients can help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, ease nausea and bloating, and even maintain blood sugar levels, depending on what’s in them. And to some degree, the shots may indeed offer these benefits. Here are some common ingredients and their potential advantages:

What are the downsides?

Filemon cautions that while wellness shots provide a quick nutrient boost, they aren’t a substitute for eating a healthy diet. “They should in no way replace the nutrients you get in your fruits and vegetables, as they are lacking in fiber,” she says.

“Wellness shots may be helpful, however, they are not a substitute for eating a balanced diet,” agrees Michelle Rauch, RD at The Actors Fund. “They are considered a dietary supplement. With consideration of existing laws, the FDA has no authority to approve dietary supplements for safety and efficacy, nor to approve their labeling before they are publicly sold.”

Rauch adds that buying them in a store might not be worth it. “If the total volume of the shot is only two ounces, how much of each ingredient does it really contain? Some of these shots cost $3 or more for a serving. Is it worth spending for a single shot when you can get so much more (in volume and nutrition-wise) from buying the real thing?”

Still, Rauch believes that wellness shots could be helpful in certain circumstances. “If you are eating a balanced diet inclusive of fruits and vegetables (and the rest of the food groups) and taking a vitamin to meet what you might lack in your diet, it wouldn’t hurt to add juice shots to your daily regimen,” she concludes. “Will it cure your cold? Unlikely. Will taking wellness shots on a regular basis transform your health or any other poor dietary habits you may have? Again, no.”

How many shots should you take to get the health benefits?

Ready to experience the health benefits of taking a shot? Hold your horses — it’ll take a little more consistency. “Juice shots are not a magic elixir,” says Filemon. “You won’t see an instant, [positive] change after drinking one of them. They must be consumed consistently in order for you to notice any benefits … You may need to take one shot daily to see benefits.”

The number of shots you take in a week also depends on your tolerance level. Not everyone responds well to juice shots (I tried one recently and experienced some unpleasant heartburn), so one every two or three days might be enough to start.

Who should not take wellness shots?

Filemon recommends talking to your doctor before taking juice shots if you have any sort of medical condition. You need to make sure that the ingredients aren’t harmful to you, and that they won’t interact with or amplify any medication you are taking.

If you have gastro-intestinal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for instance, juice shots may not be for you. “Those with GERD should also review labels as they might contain ingredients that would exacerbate heartburn,” Rauch confirms. “Apple cider vinegar, acidic juices, and certain minerals such as zinc could trigger reflux.”

So, what’s the takeaway? If you have certain health issues and get enough nutrients from your diet, juice shots aren’t for you. But if you want to regularly consume more ginger, turmeric, or other ingredients and don’t want to spend time making recipes, pre-packaged shots may be a good option.

What are some wellness shot recipes I could make at home?

If your doctor gave you the okay and you want to try a couple of wellness shots (without spending too much money on pre-packaged ones), test out these recipes inspired by Splendid Spoon.

Note: Most juice shots contain no fiber at all, and require you to strain out pulp and fiber. For ease, our recipes don’t include this step (and you can enjoy the added benefit of some extra fiber).

Digestion Shot

This recipe is designed to improve your digestion and soothe inflammation.


  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled or chopped
  • 3 teaspoons apple juice or water
  • 1 dash of cayenne or black pepper


Add all ingredients to blender. Blend 30 seconds. Pour into cup, stir, and serve.

Immunity-Boosting Shot

If you’re under the weather or want to up your nutrient intake going into the fall, this is the shot to try.


  • 3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled or chopped
  • 1 dash oregano extract or oil of oregano
  • sprinkle of sea salt


Add all ingredients to blender. Blend 30 seconds. Pour into cup, stir, and serve.

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