Prevention is truly the best medicine. And as we head into cold and flu season, it behooves us to use every weapon in our arsenal to fight not only common bugs, but also new, more frightening strains, namely H1N1, or "Swine Flu." In addition to eating a healthful diet, managing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise, taking supplements can provide the extra boost we need to stay healthy and productive through the long winter months.
Last year we launched our first annual Best of Supplements Awards, and we are even more excited to introduce readers to our picks for 2009. Here at Better Nutrition, we are fortunate to be able to sample the newest high-quality supplements all throughout the year. In fact, our staff uses and loves many amazing supplements that we didn't have room to mention in this year's awards. Publisher Joanna Shirk has been taking Natrol Biosil in orange juice every morning to combat slight hair loss. West Coast Sales Manager Cindy Schofield takes Olympian Labs Coenzyme Q10 softgels every day to keep her blood pressure in check and strengthen her heart. Lisa Dodson, midwest sales manager, uses 1 oz. of Maximum Living Mineral Rich every day for a great energy boost, and managing editor Tracy Rubert pours a little Barlean's Flax Oil for Animals onto her dog's food a few times a week to keep his coat healthy.
Although you may not have a steady supply of supplements arriving in your mailbox daily, we hope you will use the following list of 2009's most outstanding nutritional supplements to shop the aisles of your favorite natural food store. It's there that you will discover your own favorites to help you stay happy and healthy throughout the coming year and beyond.
Winner: Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears Multivitamin & Mineral is a tasty and fun way to give kids all the essentials, plus it's GMO-, allergen- and gluten-free.
Winner: Nature's Plus Animal Parade Kid Zinc Animal Lozenges, Tangerine Flavor have whole-foods concentrates, plus echinacea and slippery elm to keep winter germs at bay and ease sore throats.
Winner: Bioforce USA/A. Vogel Echinaforce Junior Orange-Flavored Chews fend of kids' colds, flu, and is especially beneficial for respiratory infections.
Two-Time Winner! Garden of Life fücoTHIN turns up your metabolism with a proven mix of seaweed.
Winner: Sprunk-Jansen WEIGHLEVEL works like a charm at reducing appetite and contains pharmaceutical-grade herbs.
Winner: New Chapter Bone Strength Take Care boasts highly absorbable calcium that helps slow bone loss and even heal broken bones faster.
Two-Time Winner! Jarrow Formulas Bone Up is a favorite among nutritionally oriented doctors for those with osteoporosis for its supreme mix of herbs and nutrients.
Two-Time Winner! Natural Factors Estrosense helps balance and metabolize hormones with the help of indole-3 carbinol, calcium d-Glucarate, and other nutrients.
Winner: Enzymatic Therapy Remifemin AM/PM relieves symptoms of menopause with proven herbs plus green tea, and has no hormones.
Winner: Natrol 5-HTP is a natural alternative to antidepressants that naturally raises serotonin levels (for a mood lift) while also reducing appetite and promoting deeper, better sleep.
Winner: Country Life Sharp Thought contains phosphatidylserine (PS for short)-one of the best (if not the best) nutrients for boosting memory and brain power, and reducing Alzheimer's risk.
Winner: Wakunaga Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Blood Pressure Health Formula 109 protects against cardiovascular disease, and it's organic and odorless.
Winner: Bluebonnet CellularActive CoQ10 Ubiquinol has the form of CQ10 you want (absorbs better than other forms) for a stronger, more resilient heart.
Two-Time Winner! Natural Factors Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep combines three potent sleep inducers-5-HTP, melatonin, and L-theanine.
Winner: Gaia Herbs Liquid Phyto-Caps Aller-Leaf quiets upper-respiratory and sinus problems with a host of anti-inflammatories and natural antihistamines.
Winner: Herb Pharm Adrenal Support Tonic nourishes your adrenal glands, which translates to more energy every day.
HAIR, SKIN & NAILS
Winner: Diamond Herpanacine Skin Support for Hair, Skin and Nails with Zinc is a classic, diamond-standard formula that just got better with added zinc (a key nutrient for nail and hair health).
Winner: Irwin Naturals Healthy Skin & Hair Plus Nails is the best beauty secret around, providing necessary nourishers to fortify hair, skin, and nails.
Winner: ReNew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50 Billion's high Bifido count is ideal if you just took a course of antibiotics or have especially troublesome digestive problems.
Two-Time Winner! Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics 12 PLUS contains a unique blend of 12 strains of lactic acid bacteria, including proprietary TH10, for optimal GI health.
Winner: American Health Chewable Acidophilus Wafers (with bifidus) in Strawberry Flavor are a convenient, easy, and yummy way to populate your gut with beneficial intestinal flora.
Two-Time Winner! Emergen-C Vitamin C Packets (various flavors) are convenient, fizzy packets providing 1,000 mg of easily absorbable and energizing vitamin C.
Winner: Twinlab B-12 Dots dissolve under the tongue for maximum absorption and an energy boost anywhere.
Winner: Carlson Ddrops give you 2,000 mg of vitamin D3 per drop-an easy way to get your D, and they absorb instantly.
Winner: EuroPharma Terry Naturally Curamin relieves pain and quells inflammation from all types of causes (e.g., injuries, illness) via curcumin, a miracle compound from the spice turmeric.
Winner: Quantum Health MigreLief is a must-have supplement for anyone with migraines, as it's star ingredient, feverfew, offers a daily defense against migraines.
Winner: Navitas Naturals Twister Power is a mix of super-nutritious seeds-brown rice, flax and chia seeds-that is also sprouted, vegan, raw, and organic, and makes any smoothie amazing.
Winner: Himalaya USA Ashwagandha is an organic ayurvedic herb that's fantastic for helping your body deal with stress or extra physical demands.
Winner: North American Herb & Spice SinuOrega is all you need for sinus infections. This nasal wash uses proven herbs in a saline base to really clear sinuses.
Winner: NOW Foods Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM provides the three most popular and well-researched joint health supplements in one fantastic formula.
Winner: Doctor's Best Best Hyaluronic Acid with Chondroitin Sulfate has a combination of ingredients that work together to cushion joints and promote elasticity.
Two-Time Winner! Boiron Oscillococcinum is great to have on hand for the first signs of flu or run-down feeling, and is supported by clinical studies and 60 years word of mouth.
Winner: Hyland's Calms Forté eases stress, tension, and insomnia without that "groggy" feeling.
Winner: Jarrow Formulas Vision Optimizer is an eye-health superstar with a host of powerful nutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin.
Two-Time Winner! Carlson Labs ACES combines vitamin A from plant sources, a non-acidic form of vitamin C, and natural source vitamin E, the biologically active form.
Winner: Genesis Today Açai100 is 100% açai-no added sweeteners, water, or anything else-with more than 3.5 times the anthocyanin of red wine.
Winner: Enzymedica Digest Gold represents the highest activity digestive enzyme blend available in a vegan, Kosher formula.
Winner: Gaia Herbs Reflux Relief is a natural alternative to antacids that really works, with ingredients like aloe, licorice, and marshmallow that soothe the stomach.
BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Winner: Carlson Labs Nutra-Support Diabetes provides specialized nutritional support for people with diabetes and prediabetes.
Two-Time Winner! Natural Factors PGX Daily can reduce glycemic index from a meal by half, a true ally for anyone watching their blood sugar and insulin levels.
Winner: Nature's Way Sambucol Black Elderberry Original Syrup tastes yummy and can dramatically shorten the duration of the flu while easing symptoms.
Winner: Source Naturals Wellness Fizz lets you drink away cold or flu symptoms (use at first sign and watch symptoms lessen or completely fade) in a convenient, grab-and-go form.
Winner: New Chapter Host Defense, a favorite at health food stores nationwide, gives your body that extra boost for fighting off an array of viruses and bacteria.
Winner: HerbaSway thre. This super-concentrated, all-natural, calorie- and caffeine-free energy supplement is a fantastic alternative to sugar- and chemical-laden energy drinks.
Winner: Source Naturals Mucuna Dopa. You've got to love an herb that powers brain function, libido, and muscle development, plus lifts your mood. This high-quality formula uses a potent extract of the Mucuna pruriens seed.
Winner: Paradise Herbs ORAC-Energy Protein Greens contains the equivalent of 24 servings of fruits and vegetables, a serving of protein, and an ORAC score (antioxidant capacity) of 12,000-all in just one Tbs.!
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Winner: Garden of Life Oceans 3 Beyond Omega-3 combines antioxidants fucoxanthin and astaxanthin from sea algae and seaweed, plus fish oils that have been distilled to remove toxins while retaining oil integrity.
Two-Time Winner! Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega provides highly concentrated, molecularly distilled EPA and DHA in their naturally existing ratios.
Winner: Barlean's Pomegranate Blueberry Total Omega 3•6•9 Vegan Swirl allows vegans to get their omegas without fish or fish oils, and has a fantastic fruity taste.
Winner: Trace Minerals Research ConcenTrace provides a concentrated, full-spectrum blend of trace minerals from natural sources, including alfalfa and kelp.
Two-Time Winner! Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality Natural Calm contains highly absorbable magnesium to ease tension and help promote an even keel.
Winner: Greens + Orange Greensicle Flavor boasts two servings of fruit and vegetables, and can be mixed with cold water for a mega-healthy boost on the go.
Two-Time Winner! Vibrant Health Green Vibrance is a great-tasting powdered green superfood loaded with nutrients essential to good health and vitality.
Winner: ReserveAge Organics the World's Finest Resveratrol has a proprietary blend of resveratrol from organic red grape skins and Japanese knotweed.
Winner: Natural Vitality NutraRev! revs up energy and neutralizes free radicals with powerful antioxidants from whole foods including açai, ribose, and acetyl-L-carnitine.
CLEANSING & DETOX
Winner: Flora Flor•Essence combines nutrients that work to gently flush toxins from cells to support any detox regimen.
Winner: ReNew Life CleanseSmart includes a unique blend of nine 4:1 and 5:1 powdered extracts that cleanse deeper than whole herbs.
Winner: Rainbow Light Just Once Men's One includes ingredients specific to men's health like saw palmetto and lycopene, plus enzymes for digestive support, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Winner: Solgar Omnium is miles above ordinary multis, offering an advanced phytonutrient-rich formula and all-vegetarian tablets.
Winner: New Chapter Organics Perfect Prenatal is a comprehensive prenatal with whole-food nutrients and probiotics to nourish mom and baby, and to promote mom's stamina and emotional well-being.
Winner: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw One for Women is made with food-created nutrients so the synergistic compounds remain intact, and it's 100% vegan.
Meet Our Editorial Advisory Board:
How did we pick the winners of our Best of Supplements Awards? In addition to surveying health food store owners and shoppers and using data from SPINS, a company that tracks natural product sales, we utilized doctors and health care experts in the natural products industry to help us select the products within this section. Our advisory board members include:
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. He is a board-certified nutrition specialist, a life coach, motivational speaker, and former personal trainer with six national certifications. Bowden, who has a master's degree in psychology, is the author of The Healthiest Meals on Earth, The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, and other books. To learn more, visit www.jonnybowden.com.
Jack Challem is a personal nutrition coach and one of America's most trusted nutrition and health writers. He is the author or coauthor of more than 20 books, including Stop Prediabetes Now, The Food-Mood Solution, Feed Your Genes Right, The Inflammation Syndrome, and the lead author of the best-selling Syndrome X. Jack writes The Nutrition Reporter newsletter and has written for many magazines, including Better Nutrition, Body & Soul, Experience Life, Functional Foods, Natural Foods Merchandiser, and Natural Products News. His scientific articles have appeared in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Medical Hypotheses, and other journals. Jack is also a columnist for Alternative & Complementary Therapies. He frequently speaks to consumer, medical, trade, and international nutrition organizations. Free, downloadable excerpts from his books, and sample issues of his newsletter are available at www.nutritionreporter.com.
A graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, Emily Kane, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist specializing in gynecology, counseling, herbal medicine, and naturopathic manipulation (body work). She worked as a licensed massage therapist in Seattle during her medical training for 7 years. She regularly leads retreats and therapeutic fasts, and teaches health classes through her local community college. Kane maintains an active clinical practice in Juneau, Alaska, where she sees patients of all ages. She is the author of Managing Menopause Naturally. Visit her online at dremilykane.com.
Vera Tweed is a veteran health writer, author of several books, and a contributing editor for Better Nutrition. She has written extensively about health care, nutrition, fitness, dietary supplements, and other aspects of healthy living. She is the former editor in chief of Great Life magazine. Her book, Hormone Harmony, was just released.
Beauty Editor Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii's Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands (the first book to feature aromatherapy in its pages). Writing about beauty, spas, health, cuisine and travel, her work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks and Web sites, such as Elite Traveler, Gourmet, Health, The Los Angeles Times, Men's Fitness, Shape, Spa, USA Today, and Westways. Based in Honolulu, Strausfogel is spa devotee who has traveled to more than 50 countries and visited many of the leading spas in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia.
Karolyn A. Gazella is a respected health writer in the field of natural medicine. She has co-authored several books and written hundreds of articles on the topic of integrative medicine. Her latest book is Boost Your Health with Bacteria, co-written with Fred Pescatore, MD.
Laurel Vukovic, MSW, is an Oregon-based psychotherapist, herbalist and teacher who has been researching and writing about natural medicine for more than two decades. She is the author of several books, including 14-Day Herbal Cleansing, Herbal Healing Secrets for Women, and Overcoming Sleep Disorders Naturally.
Lisa Turner has been researching and writing about nutrition, and cooking great natural meals, for almost 20 years. She's the author of five books on food and nutrition, including Mostly Macro and Meals That Heal, and writes monthly food columns for national magazines. She has appeared on national and local television and radio shows, taught cooking classes at Cooking School of the Rockies, and has lectured across the United States on food, health and nutrition. Lisa has degrees in natural healing, shiatsu and acupressure, has studied macrobiotics extensively, and has been a traveling chef with The Kushi Institute. She is also a certified yoga instructor and Shiatsu practitioner, and has been practicing yoga and meditation for more than 20 years. Visit her online at inspiredeating.com, where you can email her and learn more about her work.
Melissa Diane Smith is the author of a number of nutrition books, including Going Against the Grain, and an internationally recognized nutritionist who specializes in therapeutic gluten-free diets. To learn about her online Going Against the Grain Group membership and packages or to sign up for her free newsletter, visit www.againstthegrainnutrition.com. For info about her books, consultations, or nutrition coaching programs, visit www.melissadianesmith.com.
Vermont Naturopathic Clinic is the office of Sam Russo, ND, LAc, who is licensed as a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist with a specialty in musculoskeletal medicine and pain management. Russo completed his master's degree in acupuncture and doctorate in naturopathic nedicine at Bastyr University.
Mark Stengler, ND, known as The Natural Physician to his patients, readers, and audiences across North America, is a licensed naturopathic physician, author and lecturer with expertise in nutrition, herbal therapy, vitamin therapy, homeopathy, natural hormone replacement and integrated medicine. His passion is to combine the best of conventional and natural medicine to achieve optimized health and wellness for his patients at his holistic clinic in La Jolla, California. Read the recent testimonial of an 88-year old woman who suffered from a digestive disease for over 40 years on his Web site at www.lajollawholehealth.com. His newest book is Prescription for Drug Alternatives.