The Best Bang for Your Buck: Clinically Researched and Bioavailable Supplements
The supplement industry is booming as more people gravitate towards natural alternatives to support their health.
As with any purchase uses your hard earned money, you want to make sure you're getting the best product/ingredient that you can garner the most benefit from -- the best bang for your buck.
You may be asking yourself:
But do I even need supplements if I'm following a healthy diet?
I'll go into why you might need supplements, even if you're following a healthy diet, what ingredients to look for in supplements, and how being aware of these ingredients can save you money while providing the most benefit for you, as a consumer!
Do I Really Need to Supplement?
If you’re following a healthy diet do you really need to supplement?
Probably. Let me explain why:
Deterioration of soil, water, and air quality and conventional farming practices have led to a sharp decrease in fruits and vegetables vitamin and mineral content. Some of the most severe drops observed have been vitamin A & C, iron, and calcium.
Increasing corn & wheat planting, among other contributing factors, has also led to a significant depletion of sulfur in soils. Increasing harvest yields of these crops increases the removal of sulfur in soils. This is especially worrying for vegans, whose only source of sulfur is plants.
Other minerals that have declined (specifically after 1968) have been zinc and iron.
Food is just not what it used to be. So, getting sufficient vitamins and, especially, minerals is difficult -- which could possibly result in deficiencies.
While deficiencies may not result in dire consequences because the body will always prioritize vital processes, it can draw vitamins and minerals away from more "vain" body parts like hair, skin, and nails. The first thing I noticed when including my favorite high-quality multivitamin was significantly stronger nails! Because I was building up my nutrient stores, my body had enough nutrients to disperse to less vital body parts, like my nails.
This is why supplementing with a high-quality, high-bioavailability multivitamin can be so beneficial! It really helps to fill in the diet-gaps that our depleted soils create and support a healthy diet.
How to Make the Most of Your Supplements & Money: Bioavailability and Clinically Researched
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If you're investing your hard earned money into a product, you want to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck. This means getting the most benefit per serving. To achieve this, you need to find the most bioavailable and most clinically-researched ingredients.
Clinically Researched Ingredients
Clinically-researched ingredients are important to ensure potency. These are formulations that you can rest-assured knowing you are getting an effective ingredient that has proven benefits.
Why Bioavailability Matters
What you get out of your supplement is completely dependent on the bioavailability of the ingredients. Bioavailability is essentially the amount of the vitamin, mineral, botanical, superfood, etc. that is available for the body to use. It's unique to the ingredient being used, meaning each ingredient will have different features that impact its bioavailability. I'll go into some of these in detail:
Folate & B12
Personally, I consider supplementing with active forms of folate and B12 to be one of the most important points when looking at supplements.
The two forms of folate and B12 that are most commonly found in supplements are folic acid and cyanocobalamin (B12). The problem with these two ingredients is that their metabolism is easily down-regulated by certain genetic predispositions.
B12: Cyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, and Adenosylcobalamin
In the body, cyanocobalamin, the form of B12 found in most supplements, is absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood. It is then transported into the lysosomes of cells, then the cytosol, and subsequently converted into adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin through different chemical reactions.
Although adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, and cyanocobalamin all follow the same transport route in the body, the conversion of cyanocobalamin into adensoylcobalamin and methylcobalamin is impaired in the case of genetic mutations in the ABCD1 and LMBD1 genes.
To know if you would properly metabolize cyanocobalamin into adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin would require genetic testing to see if you have those mutations.
The way I see it, better safe than sorry! Until you know for sure what your genetic profile is, it's a better idea to invest in a product that features both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. My favorite brand has both of these forms in their multis, B12, and B-complex supplements.
Folate: Not the Same As Folic Acid
Folate is the naturally-occurring form of B9, whereas folic acid is the synthetic form found in most supplements. The active form is 5-MTHF, which can be through the conversion of folate or folic acid in the gut.
The issue is that folic acid is converted to 5-MTHF much less efficiently as compared to folate. This could possibly result in a lower 5-MTHF level when supplementing with folic acid as compared to folate. This makes folate a much more bioactive and beneficial ingredient as opposed to folic acid.
Additionally, the conversion of folate or folic acid to 5-MTHF can be impaired by genetic mutations in the RFC1-80 and MTHFR-677 genes. In this case, there are B-complexes with 5-MTHF as opposed to folate.
Chelated minerals are the most absorbable & bioavailable form of mineral supplements.
When minerals are bound to an organic compound like an amino acid or “chelated”, they are protected and can easily be absorbed by the body. Unchelated minerals have a tendency to pass through the digestive system without ever being utilized.
Minerals are often bound to glycine, taurine, lysine, and arginine. You’ll know an amino acid is chelated if, on the ingredients, it has the mineral followed by glycinate, taurinate, lysinate, arginate, etc.
Our ancestral diets included high levels of omega-3s because we actually ate brains (ew) — this is a possible reason as to why we benefit from a diet high in omega-3s. Omega-3s have been shown to increase fat burning capacity, reverse fatty liver, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, protect the brain, increase concentrations of good gut bacteria, decrease inflammation, and more.
The most bioavailable form of omega-3 to take is Antarctic Krill Oil. Krill oil is bound to phospholipids which gives it a higher absorption rate than fish oil. It also contains astaxanthin (gives it its deep red color) which protects the sensitive polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidizing and also provides a huge dose of potent antioxidants.
This krill oil supplement from Nutrigold has the most clinically researched form of krill oil, NKO (Neptune Krill Oil), and is sourced sustainably! Each clinically-backed gel cap contains 1000mg of Krill Oil for therapeutic dosing.
The benefits of vitamin C are endless & go beyond its ability to prevent colds & flu. Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in the body and has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging mechanisms. It supports transport of fatty acids into mitochondria, increasing energy production and bile acid production, aiding in fat digestion and preventing gallstones and atherosclerosis. Vitamin C’s ability to protect against the oxidative damage and neurodegenerative effects of heavy metal toxicity is also a notable reason to consider supplementing with vitamin C.
Citrus fruits are the spotlight of vitamin C imagery and are a great example of how the synergistic components of plants can enhance bioavailability.
In one study looking at vitamin C alone vs. vitamin C in a citrus extract with bioflavonoids, the researchers determined that vitamin C in the citrus extract was more bioavailable to humans. Flavonoids are also available in other vitamin C-rich foods like berries, amla, and acerola cherry!
Recommended Vitamin C Supplements
Nutrigold Vitamin C Gold: contains 240mg of whole food vitamin C plus 45mg of flavonoids for enhanced bioavailability and increased antioxidant activity.
Botanicals and Herbs
Most vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are most bioactive in their naturally-occurring form. Like I mentioned about Vitamin C, different plant compounds found in the whole plant usually work synergistically to provide the most beneficial effect.
Botanicals and herbs (along with other vitamins and minerals, in some cases) can also be paired with other compounds to enhance their bioavailability and bioactivity.
Each herb is unique in its phytochemical profile and has different implications when it comes to enhancing bioavailability. I'll go into detail about some of the popular botanicals below:
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, or an herb, that promotes your ability to cope with stress. It's amazing benefits can be seen in this high-quality, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study where the group that received ashwagandha had a significant reduction in all stress-assessment scales.
The ashwagandha used in this study was a high concentration, full spectrum extract called KSM-66. Full spectrum means it contains the full spectrum of phytochemicals found in the whole plant to enhance synergy and bioactivity.
The ashwagandha plant's active ingredient is called withanolide. There are two notable withanolide compounds in ashwagandha, withanolide A and withanolide D. The withanolide A is cytotoxic (meaning it is harmful to the cells of the body) and is mostly found in the leaves, whereas the beneficial withanolide D is found in the root. The KSM-66 extract is drawn only from the roots of the plant that contain withanolide D and exclude the leaves that contain the potentially harmful withanolide A.
This clinically-researched, full-spectrum, and high-concentration KSM-66 is the exact ingredient found in Nutrigold's Ashwagandha Gold!
Turmeric is an amazing herb with anti-inflammatory properties, attributed to its ability to downregulate the pro-inflammatory transcription factor, NF-κB.
It also has potent antioxidant activity, demonstrated in many studies through the lowering of oxidative stress biomarkers (molecules in the body that are measured used to estimate the state of the body).
The active constituents of turmeric, curcuminoids, work together synergistically to create a highly bioactive effect. The three most well-known curcuminoids are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin and they make up the C3 Complex that has been extensively studied and proven to be effective in scientific literature.
Black pepper, specifically its active constituent piperine, enhances the bioavailability and activity of the curcuminoids in turmeric.
A notable mention, Nutrigold's Turmeric Gold, contains both the C3 Complex and Piperine to provide an extensively studied and reliable product! You can also take this supplement with healthy fats to further enhance absorption, bioavailability, and bioactivity.
CBD Oil has been touted for its amazing anti-anxiety and stress-lowering properties. A high-concentration, full spectrum product that includes the synergistic terpenes is going to be the most effective.
Terpenes work synergistically with the cannabinoids in CBD Oil to create a much more bioactive product.
You also want to make sure that, since CBD Oil is a fat-soluble product, that you always buy from a company that sources from organically grown hemp. This is because pesticides and herbicides are fat soluble and can remain in the final product.
Additionally, you also want to make sure the company is transparent about their processing methods and uses minimal heat to protect the integrity of the phytochemicals. This is much more preferable as opposed to other extraction methods that utilize toxic solvents.
The mechanisms by which CBD Oil works are super in-depth and I'll likely go into more detail in another post!
Supplements can be an effective way to assist your body in achieving optimal health. In our modern day and age with depleted soils, chemicals that displace different vitamins and minerals, and the prevalence of nutrient-poor, calorie-rich diets, utilizing supplements that have been crafted with integrity, clinically-proven bioactivity, and bioavailability is definitely worth considering!
I hope you all enjoyed this lengthy blog post and I look forward to providing more and more value in the next few weeks!
xx Sophia Ruiz