How to Choose the Best Supplements: A Multifaceted Approach to Wellness

To improve health and wellness, consumers are increasingly incorporating supplements into their diets. According to our global survey with the Council for Responsible Nutrition, consumers spend roughly $286 every year on vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. In fact, 24 percent of people consume more than three different supplements a week.

How do people know which supplements to take or which are the best ones to buy? Interestingly, 30 percent of respondents cited the internet and social media as a source of information on supplements, while 27 percent said they sought advice and recommendations from their doctors. Regardless of where consumers get their information, 77 percent of respondents said they would like to learn more about the benefits of different dietary supplements.

Earlier in the series, we discussed the supportive role of supplements, as well as their safety and benefits. In this guide, we’ll go over how to choose the best supplements to incorporate into your wellness plan.

What Supplement Format is Best?

Thanks to innovation and technology, consumers today have access to a wide range of supplement formats, including capsules, powders, gummies, chews, and functional beverages, to name a few.

With so many options, it may be difficult to choose the best one, but ultimately, it boils down to preference. Here are the most common forms available in the market:

Technology and innovation have enabled us to develop new and alternative formats that cater to consumers’ unique needs and preferences. More importantly, we are given choice and convenience, so it’s up to us to determine what works for our schedule and lifestyle.

Different types of supplements

Ultimately, it’s about consistency – choose the formats that help you maintain a consistent regimen that supplements a nutritious diet and exercise routine.

What Is a Multifaceted Approach to Wellness?

The average consumer may be wondering why there are so many dietary supplement products available in the market. Shouldn’t we just take a single multivitamin a day?

Nutritional needs vary from person to person; they are influenced by our age, gender, life stage, dietary restrictions, wellness goals, and so on. It helps to consider a multifaceted approach to wellness – targeted nutrition to support our organs, our sleep, and our mood – all contributing to our overall wellbeing.

While you might be more familiar with vitamins and minerals, some dietary supplements offer functional benefits that we may not obtain from our everyday diets. Bacopa, for example, may support short-term memory recall and attention, but you’re unlikely to find it in food dishes – it is an herb native to India.

And as we age, our bodies experience physiological changes; so, we may not be getting enough nutrients naturally in our diets to support such changes. For instance, CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is found in some foods and is also made in the body, but levels tend to drop as we age. If you are not getting enough from the food you eat, it could be time to supplement.

For these reasons, there are numerous supplements to consider beyond the daily multivitamin, including probiotics, amino acids, phytonutrients, herbs, and botanicals. These are often known as specialized or targeted nutrition supplements because they target a specific wellness goal.

 

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A List of Targeted Nutrition Supplements

Our survey with the Council for Responsible Nutrition found that consumers take supplements for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the goals they cited:

What are the types of supplements that specifically cater to these goals? Let’s take a deeper dive into targeted nutrition supplements.

Nutrition and supplements

Immune Support

According to a recent survey, 52 percent of US consumers cited immune support as a reason for purchasing nutritional products. Supplements in this category include zinc, certain vitamins, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and botanical supplements such as turmeric, schizandra, elderberry, and echinacea.

Brain Health

As we age, many consumers look to supplements to support various functions, including memory. Bacopa is a plant used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to help support short-term memory and cognitive resilience as people age.

Heart Health

Aside from a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise, supplements can also support our heart health. Some of these products include omega-3s, CoQ10, garlic, and supplements containing nitric oxide precursors.

Digestive Health

Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics all contribute to the health of the gut. Fiber aids in digestion, provides a sense of fullness to curb your appetite, and helps friendly digestive bacteria thrive. Many of us fall short of fiber daily intake recommendations, so taking a supplement can help.

Women’s Health

Women have specific nutritional needs that can be supported with the addition of supplements. Health experts frequently recommend that women add calcium to their diet to support bone health. Another nutrient that often needs boosting is vitamin D – also ideal for bones. Another target supplement for pre-menopausal women is iron, essential for cell growth.

Man takes a daily supplement in the morning

Men’s Health

Men also benefit from vitamin D and some products made with saw palmetto, a palm tree plant for prostate and urinary support.

Children’s Health

As many parents know, kids don’t always get the right nutrition. Many parents supplement with a nutrient-enriched shake or a multivitamin, including choline, which supports normal neurological function, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D to support healthy growth and development of bones and teeth.

Sleep and Relaxation

Rest is an integral part of a healthy, active lifestyle. It rejuvenates your body and mind and regulates your mood. Many consumers find sleep and relaxation support from herbal teas made from chamomile or other herbals such as jujube and passionflower. Other people support their sleep by supplementing with melatonin.

Elderly woman recommends supplements to a friend

Healthy Aging

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound in our bodies that reduces with age. Supplementation may help support joint health. Similarly, lutein has been shown to support eye health and vision.

How to Choose Supplements: Why the Price is Not Everything

While we all like a good deal and search for the lowest cost on many items, there are many factors to consider before investing in supplements that impact our wellness. It’s essential to choose wisely because the quality of the ingredients and manufacturing practices can vary.

Here are my tips on choosing the right supplements:

How to Stay the Course

Like many new regimens, you might not see benefits immediately when taking supplements. Results related to our wellness are not easily observable as you would with products that promote weight loss or muscle gain.

Like anything – whether it is diet or exercise – consistency is key. Supplements are not a one-and-done deal; you incorporate them into your daily routine and lifelong wellness plan.

Recent studies suggest that taking certain targeted nutrition supplements may have long-term benefits if you take them consistently. Here are a few examples:

That said, it is human nature to slide back into old habits and forget about your supplements. Here are a few tips and tricks to stay the course:

A convenient pill organizer

Community support also makes a big difference. Joining a support group with those with similar health and wellness goals or life stage can help you feel encouraged and motivated in your personal journey.

*These studies did not involve Herbalife Nutrition products. These studies are not conclusive.
Luigi Gratton

Luigi GrattonM.D., MPH – Vice President of Training

As VP of Training, Dr. Gratton is responsible for ensuring our independent distributors have a thorough understanding of Herbalife Nutrition's products, ingredients, and benefits. He holds a medical degree from Mount Sinai Medical School of New York University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.