While nothing can replace a well-balanced diet when it comes to your health, only a few things can be as beneficial to your overall well-being as dietary supplements. Enriched with nutrients, dietary supplements can provide a stop-gap for nutritional deficiencies in your diet. Dietary supplements are crucial to ensuring you never fall short of your needed nutrition in your daily dietary intake.
To get the most out of your dietary supplements, there are five key ingredients you need to be on the lookout for. Each ingredient has been scientifically shown to improve health and well-being, both through clinical and scientific research.
1. Nicotinamide riboside
A unique member of the vitamin B3 family, nicotinamide riboside, or NR for short, enables cells in your body to efficiently convert the food you eat into energy. This is done by converting NR into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential molecule that promotes cellular metabolism, energy production, and mitochondrial function.
The development of NAD+ levels in the body decreases dramatically due to several factors. This includes age and some lifestyle choices such as an increasingly sedentary routine. Introducing a Niagen (Nad+) supplement into your diet as a supplement enables your body to maximize the NAD+ levels it produces.
Besides maximizing NAD+ levels, the NAD+ supplement has been scientifically proven to promote mitochondrial function, support healthy skin, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
While beta-alanine may be a century old discovery, it’s only been making headways in recent years. A non-essential amino acid, beta-alanine is used by athletes to improve athletic performance and capacity. It has also been shown to build lean muscle mass and, in the elderly, improve physical functionality.
Active individuals who consume beta-alanine may find that their explosive muscle strength, aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and exercise capacity are significantly boosted and increased. The benefits result in your ability to train harder and for longer.
3. Spirulina extract
A micro-algae known for its high nutritional value, Spirulina has been consumed for centuries by civilizations the world over, including the Aztecs and indigenous tribes of Chad. A cultivated and highly valued algae, Spirulina is a superfood that is rich in beta-carotene, carotenoids, essential and non-essential amino acids, iron, potassium, phytonutrients, and fatty acids such as DHA and GLA.
Scientifically, Spirulina has been linked to the treatment of heart health issues, weight loss, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Research has shown that Spirulina also aids in a range of health problems such as lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and oral leukoplakia, oral cancer brought on through excess use of tobacco.
4. Branched-chain amino acids
A favorite dietary supplement among athletes, branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, come with many health benefits beyond the scope of athletic pursuits. Made of three essential amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine, BCAAs can only be acquired through food or dietary supplements. For active individuals, BCAAs trigger many benefits throughout the training process.
This includes protein synthesis, muscle, and energy production, training motivation, the reduction of muscle soreness, and improved glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity among metabolic markers. For the average individual, BCAAs have been scientifically researched to improve the immune system, prevent fatigue, and boost metabolism.
While pterostilbene may be seen as a dimethylated derivative of resveratrol, research has shown pterostilbene to be superior to resveratrol. Packed with nutrients, pterostilbene is a powerful compound known for supporting healthy cellular function. Pterostilbene has also been scientifically linked to improving blood flow and circulation, cognitive function, and cardiovascular health.
Pterostilbene may also offer longevity benefits making this an ideal supplement to promote and protect overall well-being.
Individuals should be wary of false or fraudulent dietary supplements claiming benefits not supported by scientific research or evidence. To derive maximum effectiveness from your dietary supplements, use dietary supplements that are supported by well-documented research evidence.
It’s important to discuss what dietary supplements you are taking or plan to take with your physician. Their knowledge of the human body’s chemical makeup and the effects of supplementation on health will help you make informed decisions on what you can do to best support your health.
Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.