If you’ve got a cabinet full of vitamins and supplements, then you’re not alone. Many of us are in search of anything that can improve our health and well-being. But what about the so-called super supplements that are becoming so popular? Are they worth making space in your medicine cabinet? To help you decide if super supplements are right for you, here are a few of the most popular ones and their potential benefits.
When rice is fermented with a type of yeast called monascus purpureus yeast, red yeast is born. This super supplement is already popular in Asian countries and is gaining ground here for its use in treating high cholesterol. Red yeast has a compound called monacolin K, and research has shown it can help lower blood cholesterol levels. The challenge? Red yeast supplements must contain a significant amount of monacolin K to be effective, yet product labels often only list the amount of red yeast rice they contain. So it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting.
Collagen peptides are made by breaking down collagen into small chains of amino acids. Our bodies use amino acids to help perform functions like digesting food, repairing tissue and more. Collagen peptides are easy for the body to digest and absorb, and they have been used for everything from improving joint health to decreasing wrinkles and cellulite. While they’ve shown promise in some studies (particularly for reducing cellulite), more research will need to be done to prove the overall effectiveness.
Chlorella is a type of algae that, in supplement form, has been used for many health concerns, including hormone function, heart health, cold prevention and constipation. While some people believe chlorella helps boost their energy, long-term studies have not been done. A warning: Chlorella can have a laxative effect with side effects like diarrhea, nausea and gas.
Adaptogens are substances that are thought to strengthen your body and boost your tolerance to stress. While there’s still much to be learned about their usefulness, some have shown positive results. For example, studies show that one adaptogen, Siberian ginseng, could help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, as well as lower cholesterol. And another, ashwagandha root extract, may improve symptoms related to stress.
Bottom line: As health coaches, we always recommend caution with supplements – super or otherwise. Your first line of defense for good health should be maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly and working to lower your stress. If you are taking good care of your health and want an added boost from supplements, then be sure to talk with your doctor first. Just like other supplements, these super versions can have unwanted side effects or interact with medications.
Cheers to your good health,
Your Healthy Lifestyles Coach
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health – nlm.nih.gov