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On the surface, it may seem that popular dietary supplements, such as multivitamins, fish oils, and probiotics, have not changed much in recent years. But what you might not know is that a lot has been taking place behind the scenes-and it’s exciting news for supplement shoppers. Advances in nutrient delivery systems, raw material ingredients, and customized formulations make it easier than ever to find high-quality supplements. What’s more, many supplement manufacturers are listening to consumer demands and offering products that are sustainably produced and geared toward particular segments of the population, such as vegans and those on a gluten-free diet. In fact, a growing number of supplement manufacturers are introducing transparent labels that clearly spell out whether a product is organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and/or dairy-free on the front of the bottle.
We’ve done all the digging for you-we polled health food store owners and shoppers (your fellow supplement takers), along with supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. We also consulted industry reports detailing what products are selling across the country. And we have taken many of the supplements featured here ourselves (the best part for BN staffers!).
So without further ado … our 2014 Best of Supplements award winners!
Anti-Aging & Beauty
Inspired by French health secrets, Reserveage Nutrition French Melon SOD Complex features a patented, freeze-dried melon extract (grown in France, of course) that is especially rich in SOD, one of the body’s master antioxidants. Research shows that it helps slow cellular aging and reduce oxidative stress, among other benefits.
NeoCell Super Collagen, a multi-award-winning product and company bestseller, is hard to beat when it comes to enhancing hair, skin, and nails-and promoting healthier joints. Made with Type 1 & 3 collagen, this neutral-tasting powder (free of sugar and artificial sweeteners) can be added to a smoothie or mixed with water.
Liddell Laboratories Vital Age Defiance is a homeopathic solution for age-related concerns, particularly low energy and occasional sleeplessness. With no known side effects or contraindications, this doctor-formulated sublingual spray was shown in one trial to increase quality of life by alleviating fatigue and boosting physical performance.
Bone & Joint Health
Jarrow Formulas Bone-Up, a former BOSA winner and bestselling bone health supplement, boasts a unique calcium complex (from free-range New Zealand calves) that encourages optimal calcium deposition in the bones, thereby supporting cardiovascular and arterial health. Other vital bone builders (e.g., potassium citrate, boron, and vitamins D3 and K2) are also included.
Redd Remedies, a company driven to help others put their health and lives in order (in fact, Redd means “to put in order”), offers an advanced approach to joint pain with its food-based, clinically studied Joint Health Soft Chews. One chew has 500 mg NEM (Natural Eggshell Membrane), a substance rich in joint-protective chondroitin, glucosamine, collagen, and hyaluronic acid.
Irwin Naturals 3-in-1 Joint Formula combines nutrients, oils, and botanical extracts to promote joint comfort. This powerful formula is designed to support healthy joints in three distinct ways: rebuild, lubricate, and soothe joints. Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, Indian frankincense extract, and turmeric are featured in this advanced blend.
Brain & Memory
With ingredients that sound like they were pulled from a chemistry book, NOW Foods RememBRAIN unlocks the formula to brain health with Alpha-GPC, a bioavailable form of brain-nourishing choline; phosphatidylserine, a phospholipid found in high concentrations in the brain; methylcobalamin, the most bioavailable form of vitamin B12; and Memorzine, a patented form huperzine A (shown to support cognitive function).
Want mental clarity and a better memory? Tangut Memory Fortifier, an award-winning product, is designed to promote short- and long-term memory naturally with a unique mix of herbs: ginkgo, goji, and Cistanche tubulosa, which has been shown to boost memory.
Twinlab has taken one of the top brain health nutrients, phosphatidylserine (PS), and transformed it into PS Gummies!-fun, bear-shaped “candies” featuring soy-free PS from Sharp-PS. One study showed that PS (a major phospholipid in the brain) improved memory and cognitive function in students.
Cold & Flu Prevention
Natrol Immune Boost features clinically validated ingredients that help support your body’s ability to fight and defend. Armed with the immune power of EpiCor, a super food that has been clinically shown to help activate and guard your immune function, Immune Boost helps reinforce natural immune resistance.
MegaFood Acute Defense is an unsweetened whole food powder designed for use against acute immune stressors. This potent mix delivers key nutrients and plant compounds known to help strengthen your immune response when you need it most: vitamin C, zinc, and black elderberry, as well as whole herb extracts and antioxidant-rich super fruits.
Two sprays every couple of hours of Quantum Health Thera Zinc Oral Spray is one of the tastiest ways to deliver ionizable zinc to your throat. Sprayed in the back of the mouth, Thera Zinc sends powerful nutrients to the areas requiring the most protection. Thera Zinc can be used by adults and kids.
Detox & Cleansing
ReNew Life Cleanse-MORE is a gentle laxative supplement made with magnesium and a blend of cleansing herbs. It helps restore regularity without causing cramping. No harsh or artificial ingredients are used.
Herbs excel at helping the body rid itself of excess toxins. Enter HERBTHEORY 2-Day Detox. This gentle, all-herbal blend targets intestinal and liver health with benefits to the whole body-from more energy and better elimination to stronger digestion and clearer skin.
Enzymedica Digest Gold +Probiotics offers the convenience of high-potency digestive enzymes combined with the guaranteed delivery of active probiotic cultures. This formula boasts something called “TherActive” delivery, which protects and delivers probiotics safely to the alkaline environment of the small intestine.
Gutsy Products Gutsy Chewy chewable tablets help promote oral and digestive health with a proprietary blend of natural remedies: papain from papaya, licorice root, and apple cider vinegar. An ideal alternative to over-the-counter antacids, these fast-acting chews help ease that queasy, refluxy feeling after eating. Choose from Citrus or Wildberry flavors.
Organic India Moringa is a single-ingredient leaf powder that has an alkalizing and energizing effect on the body. Moringa is extremely nutrient-dense-in fact, it contains more than 90 nutrients, including antioxidants and minerals. This non-GMO powdered form can be used in recipes. It’s USDA-certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher.
Lumina Health CELLFOOD is a proprietary ionic formula that contains 78 ionic minerals, 34 enzymes, 17 amino acids, electrolytes, and dissolved oxygen. Its unique structure helps oxygenate and feed the body’s cells-tuning up the body’s systems throughout the day for optimal health and energy. It’s made from plant substances and is gluten-free.
American Health More Than a Multiple with Cardio Essentials boasts concentrates derived from whole foods, which are easier for the body to utilize. And CoQ10, niacin, and key antioxidants are included to promote energy and circulatory health.
Wakunaga Kyolic Blood Pressure Health Formula 109 contains three proven ingredients: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, nattokinase, and Suntheanine (a proprietary form of the amino acid L-theanine). This combination encourages relaxation, promotes stress relief, and supports cardiovascular function including healthy circulation.
Quality of Life Kinoko To-Go AHCC powder packets are an easy way to support immune health-just add one packet to your water bottle daily. AHCC, which stands for Active Hexose Correlated Compound, is a proprietary mushroom extract that has been the subject of more than 20 human clinical studies on immunity.
Mushroom Wisdom Maitake D-Fraction PRO 4X is a professional-strength tincture. Prized in Asia for its significant health benefits, maitake mushroom’s “D-Fraction” extract has been shown in clinical studies to be a powerful immune nutrient that may help support the overall functioning of the immune system.
North American Herb & Spice Oreganol P73 is a classic immune aid that can be used to defend against all types of ailments-from bacterial and viral illnesses to fungal and parasitic-based infections. The oil comes from wild, mountain-grown Mediterranean oregano (handpicked!), and is free of chemicals and pesticides.
Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears Organics were the first certified organic gummy vitamin on the market for kids. Also GMO- and allergen-free, these bear-shaped gummies come in natural fruit flavors with the top 16 essential vitamins and minerals for kids.
Newton Homeopathics for Kids Allergies is a homeopathic liquid formulated for symptoms associated with food and environmental allergens, such as congestion, swollen glands, runny nose, cough, rashes, and stomach upset. It’s safe for kids of all ages and has no known side effects. Parents who have given the product to their children say it worked when nothing else did.
New Chapter Prostate 5LX is a comprehensive prostate support formula. It works by encouraging normal urine flow and overall prostate health. Supercritical, full-spectrum extracts of saw palmetto and nettle are featured, along with organic pumpkin seed oil and other nutrients.
youtheory Men’s Collagen rejuvenates hair; supports ligament, tendon and bone health; and helps create strong and healthy muscles. This advanced formula contains a mix of nutrients, including amino acids, biotin, fo-ti extract (great for stimulating hair growth in men), and collagen types 1 & 3.
Pain & Inflammation
Terry Naturally/Euro Pharma Curamin contains a highly absorbable form of curcumin (from turmeric) called BCM-95, clinically shown to ease pain and inflammation. Curamin also features a proprietary form of the anti-inflammatory herb boswellia; nattokinase for healthy circulation; and DLPA, which maximizes the effects of endorphins for pain relief.
Health Logics BioCell Collagen contains a proprietary form of collagen-BioCell Collagen-that has been clinically shown to soothe sore joints and renew joint collagen for less pain and inflammation. This advanced formula also comes with a beauty bonus: It helps boost the skin’s collagen, reduce wrinkles, and relieve dry skin.
Solaray Super IbuActin is an ideal natural alternative to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter drugs. High-potency hops extract (shown to be effective for pain in studies) is a key ingredient in the fast-acting liquid capsules.
Sinus & Oral Health
Probium Oral Blis Combo 4B delivers good-for-you bacteria right where you need it-your teeth, gums, and sinuses. These fast-melt tablets are sweetened with xylitol and stevia and are designed to promote oral health in men and women. They are dairy-, gluten-, and GMO-free.
Xlear Nasal Spray is a drug-free combination of xylitol and saline that soothes and moisturizes the sinus and nasal passages. Chemical antihistamine and decongestant sprays can leave your airways and sinuses dry. This natural alternative helps ease allergy and sinus symptoms without causing side effects.
Flora Sleep•Essence helps ensure a good night’s sleep for an energy-filled tomorrow. This liquid formula features calming chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, linden flower, and skullcap. We love the taste (it’s sweetened with apple juice concentrate, hibiscus, and passion fruit flavor).
Solgar Liquid Melatonin 10 mg is a terrific choice for people experiencing occasional sleeplessness, those with jet lag, or anyone wanting to promote sound, quality sleep. This tasty black cherry-flavored liquid is also ideal for those who may need a higher level of sleep support.
Stress, Anxiety & Mood
Developed by a doctor more than 75 years ago, homeopathic Nelsons Bach Flower Remedies RESCUE Remedy Spray can help you stress less, keep calm, and stay in control. Perfect to keep in your desk drawer or purse, the formula is a blend of five flower remedies. It’s non-habit-forming and can be used multiple times throughout the day.
Carlson Labs Nutra-Support Stress provides nutrients important for nervous system and brain health, such as B-complex vitamins, choline, and inositol. These play a vital role in cognitive function, mood, and stress. This formula is gluten- and preservative-free.
Source Naturals Theanine Serene with Relora is a sophisticated formula that combines compounds to help your mind and body relax. At the core of the product is L-theanine, which may affect alpha waves in the brain associated with states of relaxation and focused attention. GABA, taurine, holy basil, and Relora (extracts of magnolia and philodendron) also make up this anxiety aid.
“It works!” That’s what people invariably say after trying Almased, a non-GMO protein powder with just three ingredients: soy, honey, and yogurt. Hunger control, accelerated weight loss, thyroid support, and cholesterol balance are just a few of the benefits of Almased. The powder’s neutral taste allows you to customize the shake’s flavor so you never get bored. Each canister also comes with a 14 Day Figure Plan.
Bio Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia uses only the highest-quality extract of this fruit, which has been shown in studies to help maintain healthy glucose levels, boost metabolism, and support weight management through appetite control. The 500-mg capsules are vegetarian.
Creative Bioscience 1234 Diet Drops are designed for rapid weight loss and contain a blend of amino acids and herbs, including L-carnitine, maca root, rhodiola extract, and L-glutamine. Each box includes a booklet that outlines how to use the drops and what to eat to lose weight and maintain it.
Maybe your hair isn’t as thick or full as it used to be. Discover BioMed Health Advanced Women’s Bao Shi, a proprietary herbal blend for natural hair growth that incorporates traditional Chinese herbs such as ho shou wu. Women who’ve used the product rave about its ability to promote hair growth and reduce gray hairs (by returning hair to its normal shade).
Boiron Yeastaway works naturally with your body to temporarily relieve symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection, such as minor vaginal itching, burning, and discomfort. These suppositories are homeopathically formulated and do not interact with other medications. There are no known side effects.
Doctor’s Best Best EstroG-100 features a patented, clinically proven blend of three herbal extracts that has been shown to help alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, nervous irritability, dizzy spells, vaginal dryness, numbness and tingling, occasional emotional discontent, and occasional fatigue and sleeplessness.
Life Extension MacuGuard offers triple eye protection with ingredients that have been shown to promote healthy eyesight: lutein, zeaxanthin, and natural astaxanthin, which has been shown to defend against free radical-induced DNA damage. MacuGuard features proprietary, high-quality forms of each nutrient for optimal absorption.
Barlean’s CoQ10 Swirl delivers a nutrient duo for optimal heart health-CoQ10 and EPA and DHA from fish oils-in a sweet, creamy emulsion form. The Island Fruit flavor tastes like a yummy tropical cocktail, and there’s no sugar or gluten.
Tired of catching every bug that goes around? Supplementing with larch arabinogalactan, an extract from larch trees, could help. It has been shown to support multiple aspects of immune health, including increased resistance to colds and flu. Bricker Labs ResistAid, featuring larch arabinogalactan, is made via a patented water-extraction process that preserves the extract’s beneficial compounds.
Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme Pain P.M. supports a healthy pain response, in addition to encouraging restorative sleep. The herbs kava kava and valerian are added (along with pain-busting turmeric) to promote relaxation and sleep.
Health Direct SLIMit contains Meratrim, a proprietary blend of plant extracts from Sphaeranthus indicus and Garcinia mangostana, plus an advanced combination of slimming antioxidants, botanicals, and minerals including trans-resveratrol, black pepper extract, amla, and shilajit. These additional ingredients help increase fat utilization and support healthy blood sugar and insulin levels.
Hyalogic, a company specializing in high-quality hyaluronic acid (HA) products, recently introduced Hyaluronic Acid for Joints HA Gummy for optimal absorption (and taste!). This anti-aging nutrient, which declines with age, supports joint, skin, gum, eye, hair, skin, and even
Natural Factors PGX Satisfast Vegan Protein is 100% vegan protein powder from a range of organic and non-GMO protein sources: pea, brown rice, pumpkin, chia, quinoa, sprouts, chlorella, and spirulina. PGX (a proprietary fiber) helps reduce appetite, promoting a feeling of fullness.
There are a lot of ingredients in Vibrant Health Green Vibrance: 74 in all. They were put together with care to maximize the nutrients’ synergy. The result delivers nutritional support to the 11 body systems. Benefits include better immunity, energy, and aging.
One serving of Paradise Herbs Slimming Greens supplies a whopping 24 servings of fruits and vegetables-and a dose of the best-studied weight-loss nutrients, which include green coffee bean and SuperCitrimax Garcinia.
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Bitter Melon is gluten-free, certified organic, and made without magnesium stearate, an additive. Bitter melon is an herb that has been shown to support optimal pancreatic function, blood sugar levels, and kidney health.
In Nature’s Answer Kava-6, the “6” stands for six active constituents of the herb kava for maximum benefit and effectiveness. The capsules are standardized to contain an effective dosage of kava’s active ingredient, kavalactones.
Nordic Naturals Omega Boost, in Tropical Mango flavor, provides 525 mg of omega-3s in just one teaspoon. The tangy emulsion offers increased bioavailability of omega-3 fats from fish oils-without the fishy taste.
i-Health Ovega-3 is a standout vegetarian alternative to fish and krill oils, featuring the key beneficial compounds DHA and EPA from algae (a sustainable plant source of healthy fats). We like that there’s no fishy aftertaste-and the fact that you need to take only one softgel per day.
Arthur Andrew Medical Syntol AMD is a powerful daily probiotic and gentle yeast cleanse that supports intestinal balance. It contains 13.6 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) of various non-competing strains of probiotic bacteria.
Essential Formulas Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula, a former Better Nutrition Best of Supplements Award winner, combines ancient fermentation techniques with modern science. It “remodels” the GI environment to encourage healthy bacterial growth.
UP4 Women’s Probiotic Supplement is designed to support urinary tract health in women of all ages. You’ll find pure probiotics (chosen specifically for women), along with certified organic cranberry. It’s dairy-, gluten- and GMO-free.
Single Vitamins & Minerals
Bluebonnet Liquid Cellular-Active Methylcobalamin (available in 1000 and 5000 mcg) features the more bioavailable form of vitamin B12 in a delicious natural raspberry flavor. It’s great for people who don’t like taking pills, and the liquid form offers maximum assimilation and absorption.
Country Life Methylfolate 800 mcg contains the metabolically active form of folate, which is easier for the body to absorb and utilize. There are no pills to swallow-simply let one orange-flavored Smooth Melt dissolve on your tongue.
Natural Vitality Natural Calm, a former Best of Supplements Award winner, is called the “Anti-Stress Drink” for good reason-each scoop delivers muscle-relaxing and nerve-soothing magnesium in a highly absorbable powdered form. We love the sugar-free Raspberry-Lemon Flavor.
Garden of Life Kind Organics Women’s Once Daily is certified organic and non-GMO-a first in the multivitamin category. This once-daily vegan multi provides 15 vitamins and minerals extracted from whole foods, including plant-derived vitamin D3 and iron.
Nature’s Way Alive! Once Daily Men’s Multi-Vitamin & Whole Food Energizer, one of the most popular multis on the market, contains 23 vitamins and minerals, including extra B vitamins for energy. You’ll also find green foods, enzymes, antioxidants, and nutrients for prostate health.
Rainbow Light Embrace Prenatal 35+ is the only multi that caters to the growing number of women having children over the age of 35. It provides optimal potencies of nutrients that are critical to baby’s healthy development, and a 35+ mom’s unique nutritional needs, with vitamins, minerals, superfoods, and herbs.