If you’re looking for a list of supplements/nutrients to support overall health, manage weight, or to boost your athletic performance and endurance, you’ve come to the right place. With so many products and formulations on the market and more coming out each day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re browsing the vitamin aisle. We’ve asked the experts to help identify a few key supplements you may consider adding to your regimen. Check out our line-up and see which of these nutrients with science-backed results is right for you!
1. Ashwagandha Root Extract
Ashwagandha is well-known in Ayurvedic medicine for its adaptogenic or stress-relieving properties.
According to Jeanette Kimszal, a registered dietician nutritionist, health benefits of ashwagandha also include lowering and controlling cholesterol levels, combatting inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and as a fertility supplement for men.
Good news for endurance athletes: an 8-week study following cyclists showed that the root (also known as Indian ginseng) improved cardiorespiratory rates when compared with the placebo group.
Kimszal warned that large doses of ashwagandha should not be taken, as this could lead to digestive issues including stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The root may also lower blood sugar levels and further decrease blood pressure, so anyone with diabetes or low blood pressure should take precautions when using ashwagandha.
Try CorTix with ashwagandha root extract to support healthy cortisol levels and manage weight.
2. Collagen Peptides
Collagen production starts to slow down as early as our mid-20s. After that point, we lose about 1 percent of the collagen in our bodies every year. Collagen is one of the main proteins in cartilage and is essential to joint health.
A new clinical study has shown that collagen peptides in particular have the ability to reduce joint discomfort, as well as improve joint function and flexibility.
What’s more, a recently published randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study showed that after 12 weeks, subjects who ingested collagen peptides had a 45 percent increase in lean body mass, a 55 percent decrease in fat mass, and a 118 percent increase in muscle strength when compared to subjects in the placebo group.
Try Max Skulpt with type I and III collagen peptides.
A daily probiotic helps maintain a healthy gut, which can keep the immune system humming all the way through cold and flu season.
Current research shows that supplementing with a probiotic may do much more. In clinical studies, the live bacteria in probiotic strains have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in those suffering from arthritis, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.
The most well-researched probiotic species are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and you’ll find strains of these two species in most supplements on the market.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine guide, physicians recommend choosing a probiotic that provides between 1 to 15 billion colony forming units (CFUs) for maintaining gut health.
For your probiotic needs, try Naturliga Probiotic Plus.
4. Vitamin D
“Vitamin D’s primary benefit is for bone health and proper immune system function,” shared Dean. Research also suggests that a vitamin D deficiency can play a role in cancer risk, heart health, mood disorders, and fertility to name a few.
A panel of experts who comprise the Vitamin D Council believe that vitamin D deficiency has become a pandemic due to the limited time we spend outdoors with our “8-to-5” lifestyle and the precautions taken to avoid skin cancer by using sunscreen.
A simple blood test can tell you if your vitamin D levels are lacking. Since few foods contain enough vitamin D to maintain healthy levels, supplementation is recommended.
From the pea family, fenugreek is commonly used in cooking – particularly curry dishes. As a sports supplement, fenugreek is known for its ability to reduce exercise-related fatigue and promote recovery.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study following resistance-trained men for eight weeks, the researchers concluded that a daily supplement of 500 milligrams of fenugreek for eight weeks in conjunction with a resistance training program significantly impacted body composition as well as upper and lower body strength when compared to a placebo group.
To experience the body recomposition benefits of fenugreek, try MaxiCOR.
6. Cognizin Citicholine
As we get older, a certain degree of memory loss is to be expected as part of the normal aging process. Diets rich in fish and olive oil have been linked to a lower risk for memory impairment in adults.
Citicholine is known as a nootropic substance, meaning that it works to enhance cognition. Several clinical studies have revealed the positive effects of citocholine on memory. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Food and Nutrition Sciences, subjects saw positive results after just four weeks of citocholine use when taking doses between 250 and 500 milligrams per day.
Try NeuroVEX, a powerful supplement from Max Muscle with CDP choline and other ingredients to support brain health and mental clarity.
While omega-3-fatty acids are primarily known for their heart health benefits, studies on omega-3s are numerous and support taking an omega-3 supplement for brain health, eye health, immune support, and for prenatal health.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming a minimum of two servings of fatty fish per week. For vegetarians or those who don’t eat fish, a fish oil supplement is recommended.
If you’re concerned about mercury or the typical fishy aftertaste associated with omega-3s, an ultra-pure, high-quality supplement erases these concerns.
For 2,000 milligrams of fish oil per serving with 1,500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, try Naturliga Triple-Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to weight loss is ingesting the right amount of key nutrients. The average person tends to eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. As a result, we aren’t able to maintain muscle mass, which can lead to excess fat storage.
Experts recommend eating about 30 grams of protein three times a day to keep metabolism humming and promote a healthy weight loss. For vegans and vegetarians, this can be particularly challenging.
One great option for those looking for a plant-based protein powder is pea protein. “[Pea protein] is loaded with amino acids that decrease muscle breakdown from exercise and competition,” stated Dean. “It also supports a healthy heart, regulates blood sugar, and reduces the risk of kidney disease.”
For a non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free pea protein powder, try Naturliga Protein.
Related: Why Should I Drink a Protein Shake?
L-carnitine is an amino acid that plays a key role in energy production. It works by sending fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cell to be used for energy. According to Dean, this is what makes carnitine such a powerful fat burner.
Studies have also shown the benefits of l-carnitine on heart health. A review and meta-analysis article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that l-carnitine reduced ventricular arrhythmia by 65 percent and angina-related symptoms by 40 percent in those who had previously suffered from a heart attack.
Dean also shared benefits of this supplement with regard to brain health. “Carnitine is a precursor to acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in maintaining healthy brain function and memory as we age.”
Try LiquiCarn for 1,250 milligrams of fast-acting liquid l-carnitine per tablespoon.
Wondering if that tired feeling you have all the time might be a sign of iron deficiency? If so, you may want to visit your doctor for a blood test and see if a daily iron supplement is in order.
“Hemoglobin and iron go hand in hand,” explained Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a Medical Advisory Board Member at the Nutritional Magnesium Association. “Hemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen from the lungs throughout your body and contains roughly two-thirds of the body’s iron,” she continued.
Dean further described that without enough iron, our bodies can’t produce enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells. If this occurs in athletes, both performance and endurance will suffer.
Too much iron can be toxic, Dean warned. If a blood test doesn’t indicate an iron deficiency, you may be better off including iron sources like red meat in your diet.
Try IronELITE with Iron Protein Succinylate (IPS) that’s very gentle on the stomach.
By Karen Morse, MPH