The health supplement industry is big business.
Millions of dollars are spent by manufacturers on advertising and marketing. Luckily for them, billions of dollars are spent by consumers.
And when you subtract millions from billions, you end up with a lot of profit. And, there’s nothing wrong with that…as long as the customer is getting the results they paid for.
Q: So, do consumers get what they pay for?
A: In my experience, the short answer is NO.
Most supplements over-promise and under-deliver. But, not all….
These are the supplements and supplement companies that I think are worthy of your trust and your money.
Note – If you are interested in purchasing any of these supplements, click on the image of the supplement and you will be taken to my Amazon store. Any purchases made through the Amazon store earns Health Habits a 4% commission. Thanks in advance.
I can’t say enough good things about New Chapter.
- Most multivitamins and nutritional supplements are synthetic, chemically isolated nutrients that lack the natural beneficial compounds of a whole-food complex.
- New Chapter multi-vitamins are made with 100% organic ingredients. But, unlike most multis, New Chapter’s nutrients are food. In fact, they are a whole-food complex, rich with thousands of health-giving, whole-food phytonutrients found in nature. They do not believe that people were designed to eat mega-dosages of synthetic chemicals.
- They believe that your nutrients should come in the form of cultured whole food so that you get the full benefit of Nature’s wisdom. New Chapter’s nutrients are cultured in probiotics — the healthy bacteria every human body needs. Probiotics are naturally prevalent in select foods such as yogurt, red wine and sauerkraut.
- Daily consumption of probiotics boosts the immune system, increases nutrient absorption, improves vitamin synthesis, digestion, detoxification and protection from toxins.
Sticking with the whole-food v.s synthetic nutrients argument, we have Vege Greens.
Vege Greens is a combination of over 60 land, sea and cruciferous vegetables, as well as super green foods, EFAs, pre and probiotics, enzymes and herbal extracts. One little scoop is equivalent to six to eight servings of vegetables, and offers a full spectrum of nutrient rich and highly alkaline foods.
And unlike most Green Foods, Vege Greens doesn’t taste like a mouthful of grass.
And like New Chapter, the manufacturer of Vege Greens (Progressive Nutritional) has incredibly high professional standards. At this time, I would have no problem recommending any of their products.
I have written often about the health benefits of fish oils/Omega 3s.
– Promotes cardiovascular health
– Reduces inflammation
– Supports mental focus & cognitive function
– Supports positive mood & emotional well-being
– Promotes brain, eye, & nervous system health
– Supports healthy immune system function
– Enhances appearance of skin and hair
– Promotes optimal fat metabolism
And while there are a lot of companies selling fish
oils / Omega 3 supplements, Ascenta is one of the best. They have a long track record of producing the purest fish oils on the market….that don’t taste like fish.
Recently, New Chapter came out with their own line of fish oil supplements. I am currently testing this product to see if I can notice any difference in anti-inflammatory benefits.
For the past few years, a number of progressive nutrition geeks have been singing the praises of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D researchers believe that Vitamin D is a major player in the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, etc…
Unfortunately, even with this passionate support, Vitamin D suffers from a lack of mainstream acceptance.
And that’s too bad.
Vitamin D has powerful health benefits and costs next to nothing to purchase. It’s a no-brainer.
Researchers have found that aged garlic extract (AGE) has hepatoprotective (protects the liver),immune-enhancing, anticancer and chemopreventive (disease preventative) activities. Furthermore, AGE is a potent antioxident.
It also makes your breath stink.
But, not Kyolic AGE supplements.
All the health benefits with none of the stinkiness. WIN-WIN
Zyflamend was my introduction to New Chapter.
A few years ago, I was suffering from chronic pain in one of my shoulders.
The cause of my pain?
Too many years of lifting very heavy weights with very little warm-up. (nothing like being in your twenties – invincible & stupid)
My orthopedist gave me 3 options:
- arthroscopic surgery to clean things up a bit
- take drugs for the pain
Being the contrary type of guy that I am, I went for option #4 and researched natural ways to bring down inflammation. And that’s how I found Zyflamend
New Chapter’s patented Zyflamend formulation represents a scientific breakthrough in promoting a healthy inflammation response. After extensively researching the herbal pharmacopoeia and international medical databases, New Chapter discovered that a number of time-tested herbs, properly extracted and blended in the correct proportions, contain at least 8 phytonutrients that may safely and significantly promote a healthy inflammation response.
Recent research studies suggest reducing the inflammatory response may be an effective strategy to promote healthy joint function and normal cell growth.
My shoulder is all better now, but I continue to supplement with Zyflamend because of the overall health benefits associated with reducing systemic inflammation. You should too.
According to the CDC, up to 90% of doctor visits in the US are stress related.
National Institutes of Health adds that chronic stress may shorten life expectancy up to 20 years.
Chronically high cortisol from stress disrupts endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune and neurological systems.
Regardless of whether we feel stress or not, conscientiously managing our stress response, every day, positively impacts every organ and system in our bodies.
In short, how you handle stress has a major impact on your health.
And, if you’re trying to lose weight, get stronger, faster, etc, you are piling even more physiological & psychological stress onto your already overwhelmed immune system.
But, before you get all stressed out about your stress, there is a solution.
For thousands of years, people have relied upon adaptogens (plant derived agents that help to adapt the body or protect it from stress) to help them cope with life’s little stresses.
These 3 adaptogen supplements from New Chapter have been unbelievably useful in helping some of my clients incorporate healthy living & eating into their lives. Those people who suffer from emotional eating receive a huge benefit from these supplements.
Stress Take Care is made up of 9 different adaptogens:
- Curcuma Xanthorrhiza
- American Ginseng
The next product, Rhodiola Force is made up of a single adaptogen – Rhodiola rosea
Rhodiola is widely considered to be the most powerful of all adaptogens.
Thriving in high altitudes and in nature’s most challenging climates, this most resilient herbal is intensively studied for enhancing concentration and endurance, uplifting one’s mental state, and supporting optimal immune, adrenal, and cardiovascular function even under conditions of severe stress.
The third adaptogen supplement, Holy Basil, has been a staple of ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
When New Chapter was researching Holy Basil, they wanted to know why people find that Holy Basil promotes a positive stress response and elevates their spirit. Ayurvedic masters told them that “Holy Basil delivers nutrients to the mind necessary for the experience of enlightenment.”
And that’s a big mistake.
Without enzymes, we could not exist. Our bodies’ reactions would be too slow for life to be possible. The human body makes and uses more than 3,000 kinds of enzymes that speed up chemical reactions and save energy. Digestive enzymes are like scissors that cut up the foods we eat into basic building blocks that our body then absorbs and reassembles to build cells, tissues, organs glands and entire body systems.
If our digestion is compromised then so is our health. Many enzymes on the market today are made from animal organs – hog stomach, bovine pancreas, lamb forestomach etc. These individual animal enzymes work only in a narrow pH range, and are usually only capable of digesting protein or fat.
Udo’s Choice Enzyme Blends, however, are broad spectrum plant and microbially derived enzyme supplements that have a wide pH range of activity, allowing it to function throughout the entire digestive tract.
I have been using Udo’s products for years after I was introduced to his flax seed oil and his book – Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill.
There are several reasons that people are interested in probiotics for health purposes.
First, the world is full of microorganisms (including bacteria), and so are people’s bodies—in and on the skin, in the gut, and in other orifices.
Friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protection against microorganisms that could cause disease, and to the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Each person’s mix of bacteria varies. Interactions between a person and the microorganisms in his body, and among the microorganisms themselves, can be crucial to the person’s health and well-being.
This bacterial “balancing act” can be thrown off in two major ways:
- By antibiotics, when they kill friendly bacteria in the gut along with unfriendly bacteria. Some people use probiotics to try to offset side effects from antibiotics like gas, cramping, or diarrhea. Similarly, some use them to ease symptoms of lactose intolerance—a condition in which the gut lacks the enzyme needed to digest significant amounts of the major sugar in milk, and which also causes gastrointestinal symptoms.
- “Unfriendly” microorganisms such as disease-causing bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and parasites can also upset the balance. Researchers are exploring whether probiotics could halt these unfriendly agents in the first place and/or suppress their growth and activity in conditions like:
- Infectious diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that causes most ulcers and many types of chronic stomach inflammation
- Tooth decay and periodontal disease
- Vaginal infections
- Stomach and respiratory infections that children acquire in daycare
- Skin infections
Another part of the interest in probiotics stems from the fact there are cells in the digestive tract connected with the immune system. One theory is that if you alter the microorganisms in a person’s intestinal tract (as by introducing probiotic bacteria), you can affect the immune system’s defenses.
Performance / Specialty Supplements
We have finished with the supplements that I think are important for your overall health.
Now we move onto the specialty supplements…the meal replacements, protein powders, fat burners, etc.
There is no substitute for real food.
However, sometimes “real food” just isn’t convenient.
So, when life gets a little too hectic, and you don’t have time to make a real meal, what do you do?
- Bottle of Ensure?
No, no and no.
Loaded with fast & slow absorbing (lactose free) milk proteins, digestive enzymes, creatine, healthy fats, fiber & prebiotics, Monster Milk is a great supplement for trainees attempting to gain muscle mass or attempting to cut calories without sacrificing nutrition.
Sadly, while Monster Milk is popular with bodybuilders, it is unknown amongst the general public. too bad
Muscle Milk – Light
But, maybe you don’t want the creatine in your meal replacement.
And maybe, you’re cutting back on the carbs, or don’t like artificial sweeteners.
If that’s the case, reach for Muscle Milk Light
It has the same proteins & fats as Monster Milk and it’s sweetened with stevia.
And it tastes way better than most other meal replacements / protein powders.
Harmonized protein is produced by Progressive Nutritionals. Unlike the other protein powders / meal replacements, HP doesn’t market to the bodybuilding demographic. They are all about health first.
Harmonized Protein is a synergistic blend of 5 unique proteins (whey isolate, whey concentrate, milk protein isolate, colostrum & lactoferring) designed to offer an array of health promoting properties beyond that of any individual protein source.
The cattle that produce the milk used to create these unique proteins graze in open pastures and are raised without the use of hormones, including rBGH.
New Zealand proteins are considered to be the cleanest and purest in the world.
They do not contain antibiotics and are routinely screened for over 250 agricultural and chemical contaminants including pesticides, fertilizers and PCB’s.
HP also contains:
- alpha lipoic acid for improved insulin response
- flax seed oil powder
- digestive enzymes
- organic sea vegetables (you can’t taste them)
- downey birch and corn silk for improved protein utilization
It is also sweetened with stevia
It is also responsible for:
- improving performance in high-intensity exercise,
- increasing energy levels,
- helps with fat loss and
- speeds up post-workout recovery rates.
Creatine’s ability to enhance energy reserves in muscles comes from its ability to increase muscle protein synthesis, while simultaneously minimizing protein breakdown.
This occurs because creatine has the awesome effect of super-hydrating muscle cells with water. It also enhances muscle growth – making muscle fibers bigger and stronger.
Warning – Cheap creatine can cause significant intestinal distress and cause some serious bloating.
Allmax creatine has never let me down.
Way back in October of 2008, I wrote about leucine and it’s ability to turn back age related muscle loss (buy a tub for grandpa).
According to the research:
- Leucine stimulates new muscle growth
- Leucine is the major amino acid responsible for the muscle producing capability of food
- Adding leucine to a meal increases muscle growth by 50 to 70 percent
- Leucine works best when taken with a mixed carb / protein meal. This is due to the insulin surge that comes from the carbohydrates in the meal, and the other essential amino acids that are present.
- Leucine does not work as well with carb-only or protein-only meals
- The change in leucine levels in the blood seems to be more important than the overall amount. Therefore, it is better to take a small serving of leucine with a meal (level of leucine increases), wait a few hours (let the leucine levels drop), and then take another serving with some food (levels increase again).
- Leucine supplementation has also shown to be effective as a supplement for athletes interested in adding functional muscle mass.
So, the plan is to take a small scoop (5g) of leucine with each meal of the day. (up to a max of 20g)
This supplement has worked wonders for my hard-gainers.
Branch Chain Amino Acids
- Add them to protein shakes when you’re trying to gain muscle
- Drink them at night when you’re dieting to preserve muscle mass
Simple. Powerful. You can’t go wrong
Okay…that’s the list. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you have any comments, questions or complaints.