You’re probably taking your standard multivitamin already, or even a specialized one like Ultimate Woman Gold Multi or Ultimate Man Gold Multi. But in addition to your regular supplement regimen, consider adding a few that can enhance your health in more targeted ways. There are a multitude of cutting-edge supplements that have proven effective for specific health conditions and staving off disease. Emerging in research are the amazing ways these natural compounds can boost your health and work with laser-beam precision to keep the different systems of your body in top working order. In addition, they work synergistically and in multi-functional ways for overall well-being.
For Your Eyes
Lutein: Research has found that lutein supplements improve vision in people with age-related macular degeneration. Take 20 mg daily.
Zeaxanthin: Like lutein, this carotonoid is concentrated in the retina and lens. It has been shown to reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and may help protect eyes from oxidative damage and UV rays. Take in a combination formula with lutein and follow dosage instructions.
Bilberry: Bilberry extract improves “night blindness” with anthocyanosides, antioxodants that support the regeneration of rhodopsin, a pigment in the eye that assists in night vision. Take 120 to 500 mg daily.
Omega-3s: Reduced the risk of age-related blindness by more than 30% in a study of more than 1,800 people Take 3 gm daily.
For Your Heart
Carnitine: Helps transport fats into mitochondria, where they are burned for energy. Carnitine has been shown to reduce arrythmias and risk of death. Take 500 mg daily.
Ribose: Has benefits for angina, heart attack, and heart failure. Patients with congestive heart failure who took 5 gm of ribose daily for three weeks developed more efficient heart-pumping action, improved stamina, and overall quality of life, while no improvement was seen in a placebo group. Take 1,000-2,000 mg daily.
CoQ10 (Ubiquinol): CoQ10 can significantly improve systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and even eliminate the need for some antihypertensive drugs. 300 mg daily is recommended.
Red Yeast Rice: This natural statin works in the same way as prescription statin drugs, by inhibiting cholesterol production. Take 1,200 mg daily, along with 75 mg of CoQ10 (Like statins, red yeast rice can lower CoQ10 levels).
Arginine: Because it relaxes blood vessels, arginine benefits angina. One study that treated patients with 8 gm of arginine daily found a four-fold improvement in heart function. Take 8 gm daily in divided doses.
Plant Sterols: Found in plants, sterols are added to many cholesterol-lowering foods. Research shows that 2 gm daily can lower cholesterol by 8 to 14 percent.
For Your Brain
Phosphatidylserine: This phosphorus-containing fat is essential to the health of cell membranes, particularly brain cells. Dosages of 300 mg daily have been shown to improve memory.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Taking 2 gm daily led to improvement in mental fatigue and sharper thinking in a study of 66 centenarians.
CoQ10 (Ubiquinol): Studies have found that the most energetic tissues, such as the brain, have the greatest CoQ10 requirements, and that it may protect against Alzheimer’s. Take 30 to 100 mg.
Probiotics: In tablets, capsules, pearls, and liquids, probiotics have long been used for digestive issues and to restore intestinal bacteria destroyed by antibiotics, by repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria. Follow label instructions.
Digestive Enzymes: They break down food proteins that, if left undigested, can cause inflammation in the body. They may also break down infectious bacteria in the gut, which can also trigger inflammatory reactions. Dosages range from 5 mg to 100 mg.
Fiber: Soluble fiber (like oat bran, flaxseed, glucomannan, beta-glucan, inulin, and psyllium) can relieve constipation and improve inflammatory (irritable) bowel disease. Try 2 tsp. of psyllium husk in an 8-oz. glass of water before bed or first thing in the morning.
Rhodiola: Rhodiola rosea is an herbal adaptogen that energizes by combating physical and mental fatigue and stress. Take 500 mg twice daily.
Ribose: “Ribose is what the energy molecules in our bodies are made from,” explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! Consequently, this supplement works to boost energy. Mix 5 gm ribose powder with juice or food three times daily for three weeks, then take 5 gm twice daily for maintenance.
Ginseng: The most well-known herb to improve energy and stamina is ginseng. American ginseng is traditionally used for weakness, loss of muscle tone, low endurance, loss of work efficiency, and decreased sexual function, reports Tori Hudson, ND, author of Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Take 100-200 mg of a standardized extract daily.
B-Complex Vitamins: B-vitamins are essential to energy, and deficiencies are common, especially in dieters, and people who drink alcohol or are under a lot of stress. They can be taken individually or in formulas. Aim for 800 mcg folic acid, and 50-100 mg of other key B vitamins.
Carnitine: This vitamin-like nutrient is necessary to transport fats into mitochondria, where they are burned for energy. Take 500 mg daily.
Green Foods: Spirulina, chlorella, and other algaes and grasses known as green foods, are superconcentrated sources of nutrition, including omega-3s, fiber, and trace minerals, that can give you incredible energy. Green foods powders can easily be mixed into beverages and smoothies. Follow label instructions.
Ubiquinol: This highly absorbable form of CoQ10 is used by the mitochondria, the energy-generating components of every cell. Ubiquinol can be taken to enhance energy and stamina, and even for symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Take 50 to 100 mg after age 35. Up to 200 mg daily is recommended for CFS.
For Bones and Joints
Glucosamine Sulfate: May treat the root cause of osteoarthritis by helping the body manufacture and rebuild joint cartilage. Numerous studies have shown clear benefit. Dosage is 1,500 mg daily. It must be taken for at least 8 weeks before benefits are seen.
Chondroitin Sulfate: Often combined with glucosamine, it was shown to prevent progression of joint degradation in individuals with knee osteoarthritis who took 800 mg daily.
MSM: A key source of sulfur in the body, important for joint function. A UC San Diego Study confirmed MSM relieves inflammation and protects joint cartilage. The recommended dosage is 1,200 mg daily.
Vitamin K: Prevents bone loss by helping with calcium utilization and is necessary for maintaining healthy bone. Look for it in combination products, along with MSM to protect cartilage and bones.