1. My involvement with Zija. Many people think that I am involved with Zija because I appeared in a promotional video that the company uses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9e2WNPdN-I). The video was made by an excellent documentary producer, and I was pleased to work with him on the video. Note that no one in the video says anything about Zija; the entire video is about Moringa oleifera. I appeared strictly as a botanical expert on the family, not as someone promoting the product or receiving any compensation from the company.
2. Zija’s products include a mix of dried moringa leaf, “seed cake” (normally this refers to the solids remaining after the oil has been pressed out of the seeds), and “fruit powder,” i.e. ground up dried fruits. Why this mix and not just leaves? Leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, and the parts with the highest antioxidant activity, so there’s no reason to eat seed cake or dried fruits. I suspect that added seed cake and dried fruit is to give their products a “proprietary mix” to distinguish them from other moringa products that are just leaf. That way they can promote their products as having a special plus that other just-leaf products don’t have. But for nutrition, and at least judging from studies in the laboratory in cultured cells and in animals, for nutraceutical applications like cancer chemoprevention and glucose regulation for diabetes, pure leaf is by far the best part of the moringa and I can’t see any health advantage in adding seed and fruit to the mix.
3. As I have mentioned in other posts, dry powder may be a convenient way to transport moringa, but it tastes like hell. Broccoli or spinach are also nutritious vegetables. Why don’t you take them in dry powder form as well? A lot of us burp dry leaf powder all day. It is just as silly to “take” moringa as if it were a medicine when it is a nutritious vegetable. Better to eat moringa as a vegetable and receive all of its benefits.
4. On my desk I have a packet of Zija Xmam capsules that someone gave me. It says that the capsules contain 495 mg of stuff, including caffeine, coffee, Seville orange, and a species of stonecrop, plus, of course, moringa. The Zija web page about the product (accessed 1 July 2014) says that “Zija’s proprietary Moringa oleifera blend provides a healthy dose of 90+ verifiable, cell-ready vitamins, minerals, vital proteins, antioxidants, omega oils, and other benefits.” Let’s see how much in the way of “vital proteins” you get from your daily Xmam pill. The moringa leaf powder that’s in the product is, remember, diluted with seed cake and dried fruit powder, so who knows really how much nutritious leaf powder is in it. Let’s be generous and imagine that all 495 mg in the capsule is moringa leaf. Remember that moringa leaf powder contains about 25% protein. 25% of 495 mg = 124 mg protein. From a previous post you will remember the World Health Organization guideline that an average adult needs about 105 g protein /kg body weight /day, so about 8400 milligrams/day. So 124/8400 X 100 shows that an Xmam capsule would provide about 1.5% of the “vital proteins” that you need in a day, provided that the capsule is pure moringa leaf, which it isn’t. The claim is true—the capsule will provide protein of high quality, it just isn’t a significant amount. The moringa in Zija won’t hurt you, but it won’t provide much nutrition either.
So, the message, as always with moringa, is that moringa is a vegetable and it should be eaten that way. Products such as pills, drinks, extracts, and other nonsense misunderstand what moringa offers and in some cases, especially concentrates, could even be dangerous. But moringa has been eaten as a vegetable for thousands of years. To receive the full benefits of moringa, cook up some leaves and have a nice big helping with your next meal.