The Ultimate Supplement Guide
Searching for supplements online can be daunting. There are often hundreds of options to choose from. Many contain unnecessary additives and other ingredients that may do more harm than good. That’s why we created this supplement guide–to help you find the best products for your specific health needs.
You’ll learn which nutritional supplements actually work (according to peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled research studies) for some of the most common health struggles, including building lean muscle, losing fat, relieving stress, sleeping better, improving gut health, and boosting immunity.
Click the links below to navigate to the sections that interest you.
- What Are Nutritional Supplements?
- How Do You Know If You Need a Supplement?
- 18 Health Supplements That Actually Work
- The Best Supplements to Build Lean Muscle Naturally
- The Best Immune Boosting Supplements
- The Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease
- The Best Supplements for Stress Relief, Anxiety, Sleep and Recovery
What Are Nutritional Supplements?
Nutritional supplements are over-the-counter products that contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and/or other ingredients designed to support specific health outcomes. The U.S. FDA defines a nutritional supplements as:
A product intended for ingestion that, among other requirements, contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet.
Products sold as dietary supplements are required to have a Supplement Facts label that shows all the active ingredients and the dose or amount per serving.
How Do You Know If You Need a Supplement?
Supplements are designed to complement, not replace, a healthy diet. In fact, most people are more than capable of getting all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
But as we all know, this can be easier said than done. For those who are strapped for time, or have dietary restrictions or specific conditions that diet alone can’t ease, or who just don’t want to prepare and cook most of their meals, supplements can be a valuable tool.
Supplements are commonly used for things like:
- Improving body composition (assisting with fat loss or lean muscle gain).
- Easing digestive issues.
- Treating nutrient deficiencies.
- Relieving stress and anxiety.
- Improving sleep outcomes.
- Boosting immunity.
It’s important (especially if you have pre-existing health conditions) to meet with a healthcare professional who can run tests to see if you have any nutritional deficiencies or other areas of concern that may be treated with supplements.
18 Health Supplements That Actually Work
Unfortunately, most nutritional supplements are just marketing hype.
However, the ones below have solid efficacy/safety evidence to support energy and focus, gut health, immunity, pain and inflammation, lean muscle and weight loss, and relaxation / better sleep.
- Energy / Focus: Rhodiola, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng
- Gut Health: Probiotics / Digestive Enzymes, Turmeric / Curcumin, Fiber
- Immunity: Zinc, Vitamin D
- Pain / Inflammation: Glucosamine / Chondroitin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol)
- Lean Muscle Gain / Weight Loss: Protein Powder, Creatine, Beta Alanine
- Relaxation / Anxiety / Sleep: Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm, Reishi Mushroom, CBD
Explore each of these in further detail in the full article below.
Read More: 18 Health Supplements That Actually Work
The Best Supplements to Build Lean Muscle Naturally
Most folks who have tried to increase lean muscle have used nutritional supplements at some point. And unfortunately, there are very few legal supplements that can help you grow new muscle and recover from workouts faster.
The good news is, there are a handful that are safe, legal, and backed by solid evidence.
You need about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight if building lean muscle is your goal. Drinking a protein shake every day is an easy way to supplement your protein intake, since eating your weight in grams of protein can be quite difficult to do with solid food alone.
Supplementing your protein shakes with creatine may result in even bigger gains in muscle strength and mass.
And adding glutamine to your supplement stack can help you reduce muscle soreness and recover faster, which can speed up your gains.
If you want to learn more about the body evidence behind each of these supplements, potential side effects to be wary of, and the criteria we recommend when choosing supplements for lean muscle gain, check out our complete article on this topic below.
The Best Supplements to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Naturally
Here’s the truth: there just aren’t that many supplements or even prescription medications that can help you lose weight in the long-term without side effects or massive costs.
If you prefer to opt for a more natural solution, there are a handful of all natural fat burning / weight loss supplements that have been shown to work for some people in (admittedly small) human clinical trials: green coffee bean extract, white kidney bean extract, and garcinia cambogia.
If you want to read about the potential benefits, side effects, and what to look for when choosing these types of supplements, then read our full article on this topic below.
While the benefits of these three health supplements are not as well studied and conclusive as things like protein powder and creatine, they still may be worth a closer look if weight loss is your goal.
The Best Immune Boosting Supplements
It’s not easy to stay healthy these days (especially for those of us with young kids or who spend a lot of time around sick people).
To keep your immune system strong, it’s important to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, avoid excess sugar, and get plenty of sleep.
There are also several supplements that have been shown in clinical studies to help support immune health.
In this series of articles, you’ll discover the benefits, risks, and optimal dosing for several of the best supplements for immunity, including Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, Turmeric, Elderberry, and Probiotics.
The Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease
Between 15 and 30 million people in the United States suffer from one of the 150+ autoimmune diseases, making it the nation’s largest class of illness.
Autoimmune diseases are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat.
Further research is definitely needed in this area, and you should always talk to your healthcare professional before taking supplements for your autoimmune conditions.
In the article below, we’ll look at several supplements that may help with certain types of autoimmune disease.
Read More: The Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease
The Best Supplements for Stress Relief, Anxiety, Sleep and Recovery
We are more stressed than ever before.
According to a 2021 Gallup Poll, in 2021, four in 10 adults worldwide said they experienced a lot of worry (42%) or stress (41%), and slightly more than three in 10 experienced significant physical pain (31%). More than one in four experienced sadness (28%), and slightly fewer experienced anger (23%).
In the series of articles below, we explore some of the best supplements for stress, worry, and sleep and provide some tips and techniques for reducing anxiety and worry despite the uncertainty and negativity in the world.
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