In part one of this series I outlined the case for five foundational supplements just about everyone would benefit from. To review, my recommendations were for a high-quality multiple (like the Rainbow Light Vibrance line, which makes multiples for both genders and all stages of life), vitamin D (like Jarrow’s), fish oil (like Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega-3) and magnesium (like Natural Vitality’s Calm). If five supplements a day doesn’t seem too daunting, and you’re ready for a little more, read on. I’m going to tell you about six additional supplements that make a great addition to your supplement program.
Curcumin is the general name for a group of powerful compounds found in the Indian spice turmeric. These compounds — called curcuminoids — have terrific effects on the human body, starting with the fact that they are highly anti-inflammatory and very liver-supportive. Curcumin has been studied for its effects on dozens of medical conditions—just go to the national library of medicine database, PubMedCentral at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ and look for yourself—and the results are overwhelmingly positive. Two brands I’m fond of are Terry Naturally and Life Extension, both of whom make excellent products.
Resveratrol is that famous “anti-aging” compound found in the skins of dark grapes and in wine. It’s known colloquially as the “anti-aging” nutrient because it’s been shown to turn on genes — known as the Sirtuan genes — that are associated with longevity. (These are the same genes that are turned on by calorie restriction, but taking resveratrol is a lot easier than starving yourself.) Subsequent to the early research on resveratrol, it’s been shown to help with a wide range of situations and is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Life Extension makes an excellent resveratrol which is 100% trans resveratrol, the active ingredient you care about.
I’ve been taking collagen since 1998, and — I kid you not — I’ve had Uber drivers comment on how good my skin looks. Obviously it’s not JUST the collagen that makes your skin look good, but it sure helps. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and yet we stop making it around age 40. It’s absolutely critical to all the connective tissue, including skin, which wrinkles and folds partially because all the collagen is depleted. Although there are 20 or so collagens in the human body you only need to worry about three of them—Collagen 1, 2, and 3. One and three are for skin, two is for joints. In my opinion, NeoCell — the oldest collagen company in the country — is also the best. I get my Collagen 1 and 3 from their 4,000 mg per serving Collagen +C Pomegranate Liquid supplemented by one serving of their Collagen 2 Joint Complex. There’s a lot of ways to do it, but make sure you’re getting both 1 and 3 for the skin, and 2 for the joints.
Sulforaphane (Broccoli extract)
One of the many reasons broccoli is so good for you is it’s a rich source of sulforaphane, an organosulfur compound found in cruciferous vegetables that has powerful antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. What’s more, it activates a pathway in the body called Nrf2 which is responsible for proteins that protect against oxidation and inflammation. (That pathway is also activated by resveratrol and curcumin, another reason they’re on this list.)
I think we’re about to see an explosion of research on — and consumer interest in — CBD. CBD — cannabidiol — works on what’s called the endocannabinoid system (ES). It’s an ancient biological system of compounds and receptors in the human body. The compounds are called cannabinoids. They come from plants (phyto-cannabinoids), and also from within our own body, (endo-cannabinoids, endo meaning “made inside”).
The endocannabinoid system (ES) helps regulate appetite, sleep, and immunity — among other things — with the goal of always trying to bring the body into homeostasis, which is science-talk for balance, something we all could use more of. The ES can mellow you out when you’re feeling hyper and cheer you on when you’re feeling draggy. CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system and can be extracted from hemp. Unlike the cannabinoid THC — found in marijuana — CBD does not get you high in any way.
Until now, it was difficult to get a high-quality, pure CBD product made exclusively from hemp, but now that Barlean’s has entered the field, CBD is becoming widely available. Barlean’s is the first nationally known company to put its name and reputation on a CBD oil — and if you’re going to try it, that’s the brand I’d recommend. I’ve been taking it since it’s been introduced and I can absolutely feel the difference.
For years, I’ve been saying in print that fiber is an unsexy but effective weight loss supplement. It also confers significant health benefits. High-fiber diets are associated with almost every good medical metric you can name. And now, with the exploding research on the microbiome, we know that fiber not only works on things like blood sugar, but also feeds the very bacteria we want to thrive and flourish in our gut. We also know that almost no Americans get enough of the stuff, which is why I’m a big believer in adding a nice, odorless, tasteless fiber powder to your shakes. My favorite is SunFiber, which you can get under its own label or as an ingredient in other company’s products. It’s mostly soluble fiber — which is really important for the gut — and it’s real easy to take.
With two columns on supplements back to back, it’s worth pointing out that supplements are supplemental. They’re one spoke in the wheel — albeit an important one.
To get the most out of them, you’ve also got to do the basics: 1) stop smoking, 2) go for a walk every day 3) sleep soundly 4) build healthy nourishing relationships.
Add clean healthy food and daily supplementation to that prescription, and I believe we could change the lives of an awful lot of people.
Jonny Bowden, “the Nutrition Myth Buster,” is a board-certified nutritionist and the best-selling author of 15 books including The Great Cholesterol Myth, Living Low Carb, the 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth and Smart Fat. To learn more about healthy living, motivation and nutrition, visit jonnybowden.com.
Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Dietary supplements do not treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer.