No matter what goes on in the world, nutrition is a cornerstone of good health and well-being that can help us withstand whatever stresses come our way.
With that in mind, we consulted some of our favorite naturopathic and integrative doctors to get their take on some of this year's top trending supplements.
Magnesium is required for more than 300 different processes in the human body, such as helping to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, energy production, and normal heart rhythm. A shortfall can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, PMS, headaches, lack of energy, diabetes, and heart disease. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, recommends magnesium supplements because our food is grown in depleted soil. "Many people don't realize that when the soil is depleted," she says, "then plants will not have an opportunity to take up magnesium."
2. B Vitamins
"We need B vitamins for cells to make energy," says Lise Alschuler, ND. However, she adds, "The reality is, most of us are energy-deficient." B vitamins are essential for converting food into fuel, and a deficiency can lead to symptoms ranging from confusion or nerve damage (lack of B12, especially in older people) to mood problems and skin disorders (lack of B6).
A healthy balance of gut bacteria reduces inflammation and helps to protect against infections, allergies, digestive problems, skin conditions, food cravings, weight gain, and autoimmune diseases. "The majority of the immune system lies around the gastrointestinal tract," says Chad Larson, NMD, DC. He recommends probiotic supplements because, as he puts it, "We have too many insults to our digestive tract." Culprits include bad food, lack of fermented foods, not enough fiber, and life stresses.
4. Protein Powders
For a quick breakfast or healthy snack, protein powders mixed with a healthy drink or smoothie or sprinkled on oatmeal or yogurt, can provide a clean protein boost. Plant protein powders are a simple way to transition to a more plant-based diet.
5. Curcumin and Turmeric
Curcumin is a key active ingredient in turmeric, the curry spice. "Aging is a process of cellular degeneration," says Kasra Pournadeali, ND. "Turmeric in our food and curcumin in supplements can help mitigate damage." By quelling inflammation, curcumin helps relieve pain from arthritis and other "-itis" conditions, reduces nerve damage from pollutants, and protects against inflammatory digestive conditions, neurological problems, and cancer.
The "glue" in our bodies, collagen supports the structure of every tissue, including skin. Studies have found that type II collagen, such as BioCell, lubricates joints, and smooths wrinkles. Types I and III also support skin structure, as well as tendons and ligaments. Another type, known as UC II, protects joints and calms inflammation in athletes, physically active people, and those with arthritis.
7. Biotin & Keratin
Biotin and keratin help improve the strength of hair and nails. Both are available as supplements, sometimes with other nutrients in formulas to support hair and nails. Keratin is also a popular ingredient in hair care products.
Essential for the heart and other muscles to generate energy, CoQ10 levels drop after age 40, and supplements can help restore energy and protect the heart. In addition, the nutrient is depleted by statin medications. "A lot of people who take statins can get chronic, migrating muscle pain because of a depletion of CoQ10," says Larson. It can be remedied by taking supplemental CoQ10.
9. Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogens help restore balance, boost energy, and calm stress. Often found in formulas, they include ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, bacopa, and maca.
This green superfood can help reduce body fat, lower cholesterol, and improve immunity. A concentrated form, known as Wasaka Gold, can lower blood pressure and help relieve fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis.