Last Updated on by Natalia Bickell

There are a lot of types of supplements available and it is our job to help you find the best of those supplements. Besides your multivitamins and omega supplements, there are many other supplements such as Superfood powder supplements, mental focus supplements, lean muscle supplements and BCAA supplements.

Supplements, such as vitamins, are fantastic for helping our bodies stay in harmony naturally and efficiently. In this article, we will dig deeper into the topic of supplements and what exactly they do. But our main focus will be in helping you find the best supplements for your personal needs. We know how difficult of a task it can be, and we’ve got your back. So don’t worry, we will get you through this as quickly as possible. Let’s jump right into it.

Where can you buy online supplements?

I almost always buy my supplements online. You often find the best deals (even better than your local stores) and can do the comparative research quite easily. Before you purchase any online supplements, make sure you do your homework. Check the labels, check the size bottles, the ingredients. Make sure you are purchasing from reputable sources that you can trust. Supplements can be the wild, wild west online (I know, I’ve bought some dubious supplements in my time), but that doesn’t mean you can’t get high-quality products, with ingredients and brands that you know and love. One of my favorite places to buy supplements online is Thrive Market. Below is my review for Thrive Market, as well as some comparisons for some other great places to shop online for supplements and health products.

Why do our bodies need supplements anyway?

Our body has several requirements. Different types of enzymes, catalysts, metabolites and other hard-to-say words that need to be efficiently formed for the effective functioning of the different systems in our bodies. We get these nutrients through the food we eat. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people that don’t have the best diet. While we should all try to eat healthy food, supplements are a great way to get those nutrients when you slip up on your diet.

For example, you need sufficient protein for your body to function optimally. Protein is taken in through food. The food cannot be directly utilized and utilized as protein. So the body breaks down the food into tiny particles in the mouth through chewing. These food particles are then sent to the stomach, where they undergo dilution from acids in the stomach.

Then these diluted food particles meet up with an enzyme called pepsin, which breaks down this protein into simpler forms and then gets utilized by the body. The proteins are then sent to the small intestine where they get digested and sent to the blood vessels where they get transported to different parts of the body and utilized for all kinds of things that keep you going.

Even a simple function needs coordination of organs as well as all the necessary substances. You need sufficient calcium to move your body efficiently. So if you don’t have enough calcium in your body, you will probably feel it! A lot of people don’t realize that simple aches and pains are usually caused by inefficient nutrients in the body.

Although the body is able to produce everything it needs when you eat a healthy diet, when you want to be as efficient as possible, it’s a good idea to introduce extra nutrients to crank your performance to 10.

Antioxidants

We’ve heard a lot about ‘antioxidants’, so we thought we’d have to take a brief moment to discuss. While they are supplements or vitamins, they are important in our overall health and wellbeing. Antioxidants are substances that work inside and outside of the body’s cells and help our cells protect themselves. They are a key part of our overall health and nutrition. I’ve chosen 4 of my best Antioxidant Supplements here.

Amino acids and Iron

But before we dive into what supplements we love and where to get them, let’s keep focusing on the body, what it needs to thrive, and how it reacts to a good diet.

Let’s look at amino acids.

Amino acids are useful as they are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids also help in the formation of nucleic acids like deoxyribose nucleic acid or to simply say, DNA and ribose nucleic acid which is also called as RNA. These functions make amino acids a very important molecule in the body.

There are 21 different types of amino acids. These are divided into essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids and lastly semi-essential acids. These categories are not based on the importance of one over the other. Both the essential and non-essential are just as equally important for the body. Here are The Aminos We Adore! MyProtein BCAA Review!

The essential amino acids cannot naturally be produced by the body and that’s why these need to come from your food. Semi-essential amino acids can be produced in the body but during internal deficiency, they can be acquired from your diet as well. The non-essential amino acids can develop in the body without the help from your diet.

This means that you need to take the essential amino acids from outside sources, and optimally, from the food you eat. There are 8 essential amino acids. If your body does not get enough of these essential amino acids then there will be a deficiency and all the functions performed by these essential amino acids will be less efficient.

When there is a deficiency created by a lack of nutrients, the corresponding system pretty much goes haywire. When this happens, you will feel the effects of it in your entire body.

Now let’s take a look at iron.

Iron is a very important molecule in the body. It forms the important components of the blood. The red color of the blood is due to the presence of hemoglobin, which is made of iron proteins. When there is a deficiency of iron in the body, the blood stops producing new cells and you get a condition called anemia. In order to prevent that condition, it is important to remember to eat foods rich in iron like spinach, celery, and other green leafy veggies. So many people struggle with anemia, and most of the time, it can be completely avoided by eating foods rich in Iron.

This is one of the reasons why physicians and nutritionists stress on having a well-balanced diet. A great diet is supposed to give your body all the nutrients it requires to function smoothly. A balanced diet incorporates all the food groups but in limited quantities.

Now we are learning that healthy fat is amazing for the body. A lot of people still have the misconception that all fats are bad for the health. This, however, is simply not true. There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are unsaturated fats and fatty acids. These are required by your system for various roles. The fats that can be damaging are saturated fats. In high quantities, these can be detrimental to your health.

man taking a supplement pill

A general rule of the thumb when it comes to a balanced diet is that on average the total caloric content in a day should be composed of 45% to 65% of carbohydrate, 10% to 30% of proteins and 25% to 35% of fats. In addition to this, it is also recommended that you load up on fruits, vegetables and do not forget to stay hydrated with plenty of water.

It is considerably harder to control or cure a deficiency than avoid one. For this reason, it is always a good idea to be conscious of the food you eat and what sort of nutrients they provide for your body. But just in case you suffer from a deficiency or know that your diet is unable to provide you with a particular nutrient, then you may consider incorporating supplements in your diet.

Other Supplements and Articles Key to Your Health Choices:

Nutrients and their deficiencies

Let’s take a moment to discuss a few essential vitamins and minerals required by your body and the deficiencies associated with them.

Vitamin A – This is an important vitamin which is responsible for eye health. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eyes to form rhodopsin which helps in the absorption of light. Vitamin A is also important for overall growth and development of the body. Foods like sweet potato, cantaloupe and orange-colored foods like carrots are a rich source of vitamin A. The deficiency of vitamin A is called hypovitaminosis A. It causes blindness, impaired immunity leading to ear infections, urinary tract infections, and other such conditions.

Vitamin B complexes – There are several types of vitamin B. There is vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B7, and vitamin B12. All though they are all called vitamin B and coexist together in many foods, they are different from each other in structure and function. Generally speaking, vitamin B complex plays various functions such as DNA and RNA production, helps in the release of energy through metabolic pathways, fatty acid oxidation, regulation of the immune system and iron absorption. You can find vitamin B complexes in foods like bananas, lentils, potatoes, grains, and beans. Deficiency of vitamin B can cause several medical conditions including edema, beriberi, high sensitivity to sunlight, acne, pellagra and so on.

Vitamin C – This vitamin is especially useful in the strengthening of blood vessels, reducing the effect of aging on skin by making skin more elastic. Vitamin C also plays an important role in iron absorption and also acts as an antioxidant. Foods like guava, peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, and strawberry are packed with vitamin C. Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy which is marked by symptoms like bleeding gums, tooth loss, malnutrition, muscle weakness, bruises and pain in the muscles.

strawberry, lemon, and berries on a plate

Vitamin D – The major role of vitamin D is to strengthen and maintain the healthy functioning of the bones. The sunlight during the early hours of the morning is a great source of vitamin D. Also foods like eggs and mushroom have a good amount of vitamin D in them. Vitamin D deficiency is called hypovitaminosis D. You will experience symptoms like muscle weakness, fatigue, bones losing their shapes, brittle and thin bones.

Vitamin K – This is one of the most important vitamins in the body. Vitamin K helps in the coagulation of the blood. Remember the times you had bloody knees or elbows as a child? Did you notice how sometime later the bleeding would stop on its own? This process of clotting the blood is called blood coagulation. Green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach and even sprouts are essential sources of this vitamin. Deficiency of vitamin K can cause disruption in the blood clotting process causing excessive bleeding and delay in wound healing.

Calcium – Calcium is an inorganic mineral. The responsibility of healthy bones and formation of bone marrow is of calcium. Our bones are made of this mineral. Calcium also helps in muscle movement and serves as a cofactor for some enzymes. Milk and eggs are the richest sources of calcium. Hypercalcemia is the condition caused by a deficiency of calcium. It is characterized by fatigue, frequent muscle cramping, muscle weakness, deterioration of bone health.

sources of calcium

Zinc – This inorganic element mostly plays a role in immunity, overall growth of the body and even maintains the health of the reproductive organs. Food like oysters, beans, cashews, spinach, and dark chocolate – yes, you heard that right – are rich in zinc. Deficiency of zinc causes a delayed response of the body to infections, hair loss, loss of appetite due to a reduced sense of taste and smell. If zinc is not sufficiently present in your body, you will be highly susceptible to infections because your body will not be able to efficiently fight the infections or the disease.

What are supplements?

Before we begin with the supplements, let’s take a moment to define exactly what a supplement is. A supplement, according to The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, is a manufactured product intending to supplement a diet with necessary nutrients. These can be ingested in the form of a pill, tablet, capsule, powders, shakes, and even liquids.

Supplements are made in an FDA approved manner in laboratories using various sources. These supplements can be extracted from the appropriate food sources such as plants or animals, created synthetically or it can be a combination of both the methods. Most of these supplements are fortified with minerals, vitamins, plant products, amino acids, and even enzymes.

Types of supplements

Minerals like inorganic elements such as magnesium, calcium, zinc etc. are usually present in most supplements. Vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin A and all the other vitamins are also some of the main targeted nutrient group of most supplements.

Some supplements also incorporate plant-based products like seeds, bark, leaves etc. A good example would be Spirulina. It is an algae that grows in the water. Spirulina is not only a good source of chlorophyll but also of magnesium and vitamin B12. Spirulina extracts are commercialized as supplements. Of course, Spirulina is part of the ‘supergreens’ which have become super popular late. Check out Battle of the Supergreens: Wheatgrass vs Spirulina to compare two powerful sources.

Some supplements are a good source of essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by the human body. Some examples of essential amino acids are histidine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, lysine, and methionine and so on. These amino acids perform a lot of important functions like the synthesis of proteins and therefore in muscle formation, maintenance and repair. I’ve given lots of advice here, like what to look for in a joint supplement (a key supplement as we age), or check this resource out: Love Your Joints Again: The Full Joint Juice Supplement Review.

Enzymes are a very important part of the human body. We have hundreds of enzymes, all doing different functions like digestion, energy manufacturing, synthesis of some compounds within the body and so many more. There could be serious repercussion if there is a deficiency of any of these enzymes. That is why there are certain supplements that have enzymes as the main ingredients.

Sometimes glandular extracts also form part of a supplement. Extracts like bile from liver extracts, hormones, thyroid gland secretion etc. can be present in supplements. These can come from animals like cows, sheep or pig or they could be synthetically prepared in a laboratory. If they do come from animals, the glands are dried and ground raw glandular tissues of the animal.

Some supplements can also contain metabolites or constituents like omegas, creatine, green coffee and so on. These types of ingredients help boost your normal metabolic rate. These types of ingredients are very prevalent in weight loss supplements.

Each supplement is manufactured for a different purpose. Some supplements are nutritional supplements whose main function is to provide vitamins or minerals. Some are for other specific functions.

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the different types of supplements available!

Vitamins: are carbon-based compounds which are required by the body in limited amounts and that cannot be synthesized by the body. There are thirteen vitamins that are required by the body. These are vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (biotin), vitamin B7 (folate), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Supplements rich in these organic substances are called vitamin supplements.

There are several different types of multivitamins, all for different diets and preferences. Here are my Top 3 Best Vegan Multivitamins that I happen to love.

Mineral supplements: As the name suggests, these supplements are meant to provide the body with important minerals. Some of the essential minerals required by the body are potassium, chlorine, sodium, calcium, nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine etc. These minerals can be marketed simply as dietary mineral supplements or in combination with vitamin supplements. There are many amazing mineral supplements that you can try, here’s some info on The 3 Best CoQ10 Supplements Worth Considering That You’ll Love.

Proteins and amino acids: Some supplements are targeted solely for amino acids and proteins. Even the simple protein powder that you may be familiar with or drinking on a daily basis is also a type of supplement. Some of the examples of these classes of supplements are whey protein, amino acid supplements, casein protein powders, bone broth, matcha and wheatgrass powders and so on. You can find our best of lean proteins guide to help you find the best lean protein supplement.

Bodybuilding supplements: These supplements are used mainly by athletes and bodybuilders. These supplements are used to increase the muscle mass and therefore most have a major protein base. Of course, protein powders alone might be enough, you can see my comparision here: Mass Gainers vs Protein Powders and compare for yourself. Steroids can also be considered as a bodybuilding supplement although it is not a good idea to use them. Examples of these types of supplements will be glutamine, arginine, branched-chain amino acids or what most people call BCAA. Here are what I can definitely say are the top 3 Best BCAA Supplements on the Market today.

Other types of workout:

Check out these bodybuilding supplement articles:

Creatine supplements: Let’s talk a little about creatine since it’s a popular supplement in today’s bodybuilding realm. Actually, it’s become more mainstream due to the quality products now readily available on the market today. It is used to increase muscle mass and a lot of people swear by it. It’s an amino acid that naturally occurs in your body, of course, taking the supplement form (in powder or pill) can be an effective way of increasing your efforts at the gym. There are ways to take creatine monohydrate effectively, of course, one the biggest questions I get from others is — Do I take it before or after a workout?

Weight loss supplements: These supplements facilitate weight loss by several methods including increasing metabolism, reducing hunger, destroying cravings etc. These supplements generally have a high amount of ingredients like green tea extracts, green coffee extracts, cinnamon extracts, herbs, methionine and many such substances.

A few notes about weight loss supplements. You have probably heard that most weight loss supplements don’t work, but I would disagree. There are many really great thermogenic fat burners that really can help (they are not made equally though!). Many people ask me: Do Fat Fighting “Magic” Pills Really Work? Well, yes and no.

Listen. There are no magic ‘supplement’ cures, but there are tools out there that can help you lose weight. Here are 3 of my favorite CLA supplements, as an example. One of the best things you can take for weight loss is a decent probiotic: 5 Best Probiotics for Weight Loss for 2018 (That Won’t Make You Sick).

Check out these weight loss supplements here (not all are great!):

Keto / Paleo Diet Supplements to Keep You Going

These days you’ve probably heard a lot about the keto and paleo diets. They are all the rage and I discuss them quite a bit in the best diets here on Alt Protein central page. While there are many keto and paleo products that are complete garbage, there are a few that I can safely endorse. Of course, not everyone will thrive on these diets, but these products might help some:

Food as Supplements?

Probiotic supplements: We have several bacteria present in our system. While most people may think that all bacteria cause disease although the truth is the exact opposite. Some bacteria are beneficial for the system. You might have heard of gut bacteria. These bacteria help in the process of digestion and also maintain the overall health of the gut or the large intestine. Fermented foods like curds, pickles, kimchi, kefir etc. help maintain the gut microbiota. The probiotic supplements contain specific and harmless live bacteria usually yeast which help improve the gut functioning.

Here are some probiotic supplements to check out:

Superfood powder supplements: These supplements contain the powdered form of foods that are so beneficial to the health that they are called Superfoods. Examples of these foods are spirulina, kale, chocolate etc. You can check out our guide on the best superfood powders available on the market.

One of the biggest trends in superfood powder supplements is ‘greens‘. We’ve all heard the good news about greens, haven’t we? Well, many of the manufacturers of greens claim that their products are like 32, or 42 vegetables and fruits in one scoop. Nutrient-dense is a keyword they throw around. It is true that many of us struggle to get the recommended amount of nutrients in our diets today, and these ‘greens’ can really help, of course, do your greens research, like comparing these two brands: Athletic Greens vs Green Vibrance – Which is the Better Super Greens Supplement?

Here are some more superfoods/greens products and comparisons to check out:

Mental stimulation supplements: There are supplements available that enhance your mental abilities like focus, attention, memory and more. These supplements are loaded with healthy omegas and other such brain stimulants. A while ago, we wrote about the best mental focus supplements out there, so be sure to give it a read.

More mental stimulation supplements to check out:

The choices for supplements are vast in which you can choose depending on your lifestyle and health conditions. Here are a few specialized supplements you may be interested in learning more about:

Forms of supplements

Supplements are also present in different forms. You have the normal pill form that almost everyone is familiar with. There is also the capsule version of supplements. Some supplements especially omegas are marketed in the form of gel caps. These gel caps are made of gelatin and easily dissolvable in your body. These gel caps are generally made of gelatin acquired from animal sources such as cow, pig or fish but there are also vegetarian gel caps available. These vegetarian gel caps are made of agar.

oHGel caps are generally more preferable over the pill form or the capsule form. This is due to the fact that the gel is the non-active ingredient, also the nutrients through the gel caps are much easier to digest than the pill or the capsule. Another reason for the superiority of gel caps over the other form is that there are much lesser non-nutritive chemicals in comparison with pills or capsules. You can also check out my full article: My Super Colon Cleanse Review – The Best Cleanse on the Market? However, a large number of people do choose the pills supplement such as creatine and colon cleanse pills.

Supplements are also available in the form of powders like protein powders. These powder supplements can be mixed with milk or water. Supplements are also available in the form of gummies. These are aimed towards kids to make taking their supplements more fun. These gummies are sweet and made of either gelatin or fruit pectin.

So now we know about the importance of several vitamin and minerals in the body. We also have a general idea about what supplements are, what type of supplements are present in the market as well as in what form. Now we can discuss how to find the best supplements for you!

How to find the best supplements

If you are someone who has to stop by a drug store pretty often, then you have seen the shelves filled with all kinds of supplements. All boasting different perks and talking about their merits. If you were to even go online and search for supplements, saying you’d be overwhelmed would be an understatement. The sheer amount of variety is sure to make your head spin.

So we thought we would help you out a bit. We found certain factors that can help you to find the best supplements for you. These factors are guaranteed to make your search – and your life – a little easier by helping you weed out the real deal from the fake promises. So, let’s begin.

Do you really need supplements?

That is probably the first thing you should ask yourself. Do you really need a supplement or are you searching for one because a lot of people you know are taking them? If you eat a balanced diet and get enough of required nutrients then you may not need a supplement. So before you begin searching for the supplement version of Waldo, ask yourself this question.

Analyze your plate

Now you might be thinking “How can I know whether I am getting enough of all the necessary nutrients?” The simple solution to this is to Keep track of everything you eat and look up the nutrient content. The best way to go about this is to keep a meal tracker. You can enter everything you eat here including the ingredients you used to cook your meals. If you are eating out or from a box, then try to guess what ingredients it contains or look them up. You can even ask the chef if you are eating out at a restaurant or a hotel.

Once you get your data, search their nutritional content and add it all up. Now find out how much nutrients you require in your body and check whether you are getting enough. If you are getting enough nutrition, great! You are eating a balanced diet and do not really need a supplement. However, if you are not getting the recommended amount of nutrition then you should go for that supplement shelf.

The more detailed you are with recording your meals, the more accurate your results will be.

Look for symptoms

If you still cannot determine whether your diet requires any additional supplements, then try to look for any symptoms or any abnormality that was not there before. Are you having excessive hair loss? Do you keep losing weight without making any significant changes to your diet? Do you feel more fatigued than usual or has your sexual appetite reduced? Do your bones or muscles ache?

If you find yourself suffering from any such condition then try to get a blood test done as soon as possible. It could be nothing, but it could be a deficiency. Never take unnecessary risks.

Consult an expert

This is something you should do if you are having doubts about your diet. Consulting a nutritionist or a physician allows you to get correct information from a trustworthy source. Together you can discuss your daily diet or your tests and decide if you do need a supplement. It might seem expensive but it is much better than suffering a deficiency or a side effect of taking the wrong supplements.

Shop smart

If all the signs point to a big YES and you are sure that you need a particular supplement. Then always be conscious about the process of buying the said supplement. Buy from reputable drug stores or online sites. Always look up the names of the companies that are selling these supplements. Study the supplements, their ingredients.

Look up each of the ingredients and how they work in the body. Keep a sharp eye out for any side effects or risks. The internet is the best place for this, take advantage of it and do thorough research.

Additionally, always be sure to check whether the supplements are FDA approved or have approval from other such organizations. If not, then why? Trust me, you do not want to end up with an over-expensive product that does absolutely nothing. So get through this process to get to get the best supplements.

Dosage

Always look for the appropriate dosage of the supplement. Not all supplements have to be taken daily. Whether you are using a weight loss supplement or a dietary supplement, they both work differently. For example, you can have your protein powders even twice a day, every day and it will not be detrimental to your health. But other supplements in excess can be detrimental. So always be sure about the dosage, if necessary, ask your nutritionist or physician.

Use online resources

As we mentioned, look up the companies whose product you are interested in. Use Consumer Labs to look up the ingredients and the company. Consumer Labs are a third-party test organization that weed out the good and genuine products from the sea of bad products. Look up reviews of the products, ask in supplement-related forums for even more honest answers. You can always check out our myriad of articles on different types as well as the best of different supplements money can buy. We never let you astray as we try all the recommended products before we tell you to give it a shot.

Other medical conditions

If you are suffering from other medical conditions like obesity, thyroid, and goiter defects and so on, then be extra vigilant when it comes to supplements. Always consult your doctor before you start taking these supplements.

If you are pregnant then ask your OBGYN about which prenatal supplements to take and how much. Try to get enough iron because most often new moms suffer from anemia.

Follow all these points and your search should be far less frustrating. Once you make an educated and informed purchase, you will rest well knowing that you wound up with the best supplement for you.

If you are taking weight loss supplements then take them for a week or two. If you notice any signs of weight loss then continue with them but now couple them with exercise. This will make your weight loss journey shorter, faster and more effective. Do not exercise the first few days, this way you can check the effect of the supplements on your body. Once you are sure they work then you can begin an exercise routine.

If you are using muscle gain supplements like protein powders then pair them with enough gym time and a healthy diet. This will ensure even more effective results.

Always try to consult a physician first. Some supplements may not work well for your system or maybe the brands or even type of supplements are not well-suited for you. If this is the case then you might have a lot of other side effects. An expert will guide on the correct path of supplements and help you choose the one that’s best for you.

Always keep an eye out for side-effects. If they persist way beyond the adjusting period or if these side effects are severe then stop taking the product immediately. Switch to another product or nothing at all.

Lastly, remember that all that shines isn’t gold. A decent supplement does not have to burn up your bank account. This does not mean that the supplements need to be dirt cheap either. Every supplement is appropriately priced based on their availability, effectiveness and how easy they are to make. So always correspond the price of the supplement with their average price and make the smart choice.

Try to avoid going for multivitamins tablets. You might need only one vitamin supplement the rest of the vitamins may be balanced. By taking the extra vitamins you are basically creating an overdose of then in your system which may not be good. So always make sure you are buying a really well rounded and well-researched multivitamin if you really want them.

And that’s a wrap for today’s article! We hope to have helped you in your journey of finding the best supplements for YOU. If you have any other suggestions or experience regarding supplements then do share it with us. We will love to hear from you.

Also, please enjoy the rest of the articles all about supplements! We have a ton of information on all sorts of supplements available for our readers. Thanks for reading, and always remember to treat your body with respect and love!