By Dr. Josh Axe
It may feel like every week you hear about a new supplement that you “should” be taking. So how do you differentiate between the best supplements that are actually worthy investments, and those that are mostly a waste? And what are the best supplements for the entire body?
Truth be told, for most people some vitamins, minerals, probiotics and other nutrients are more valuable than others, based on both their broad benefits and the likelihood that you may be lacking them in your diet. For example, vitamin D is a highly recommended vitamin for men and women living in colder climates, while B12 supplements are required by most plant-based eaters.
Including the best supplements described below in your daily routine can help take care of your entire body — your gut, joints, skin, muscles, bones, brain and more. Let’s break down which top supplements qualify as being most important for the majority of people, and touch upon their key benefits and uses.
1. Multi Collagen Protein
Collagen is a type of structural protein that’s found throughout the body, particularly in connective tissues. As we age, our collagen production begins to naturally slow down, which can increase normal signs of aging.
Collagen supplements are used to generally support healthy skin, hair and nails, joint function and gut health. Using a collagen powder supplement each day is a convenient and effective way to help give the body the building blocks, in the form of amino acids, that it needs to make its own collagen, which supports healthy tissues and has benefits such as promoting gut lining integrity, skin elasticity and joint health.
How to use:
Collagen powder is usually unflavored and can be mixed into coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, soups, and many other recipes. Aim to consume between 1–3 servings daily, or about 10 to 30 grams of collagen protein. As always, you should read and follow all label directions as well as consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein (MCP) powder features 5 types of collagen from four real food sources, plus it contains no fillers, sugar, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, ensuring you get the highest quality collagen available. It specifically features hydrolyzed collagen, meaning the protein molecules are broken into smaller molecules, making them easier for your body to digest, absorb and use.
You can choose from a variety of MCP flavors based on your preferences— including Chocolate, Vanilla, Cucumber Lime and others — and from several formulas designed specifically to support healthy sleep, skin health and joint health, such as Multi Collagen Protein Beauty Within and Multi Collagen Capsules - Joint + Mobility.
2. Bone Broth Protein
Bone Broth Protein (BBP) powder naturally features collagen, which as you know supports healthy connective tissues throughout the body (including tendons, ligaments, bones and more), as well as a healthy gut function and healthy skin.
Additionally, BBP is chock full of minerals and nutrients that further support healthy muscles, bones and more — including glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
When made into a powdered supplement, BBP is derived from real bone broth liquid but dehydrated. This concentrated powder is shelf-stable, convenient and has many uses in a variety of recipes. It’s an excellent way to obtain more amino acids, especially the types called glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine, that are not found in high amounts in meat, fish and eggs.
How to use:
Ancient Nutrition’s Bone Broth Protein powders provide many of the same benefits as homemade bone broth, but are much more versatile and easier to consume on a regular basis, since they require no preparation or cooking.
BBP can be consumed 1–3 times daily to increase protein/amino acid intake. (Be sure to read and follow label directions for use.) BBP powders come in several flavors and mix easily with water, green juice, coffee, almond/coconut milk or smoothies, and can even be baked with or cooked.
If you prefer a more neutral taste, the Bone Broth Protein Pure flavor is mostly unflavored and shouldn’t affect the flavor of recipes. Other flavor options include chocolate, vanilla and turmeric.
3. SBO Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and other microbes, that live inside the gut and form the microbiome, which is actually where the majority of the immune system is located. Having higher levels of certain probiotic strains in the gut is associated with a range of health benefits, including support for immune function, nutrient absorption, elimination and digestive health.
Adding probiotic supplements to your daily routine can help to keep your digestion on track by maintaining normal gut transit time and reducing occasional constipation, gas and bloating. Some types of probiotic formulas can also support a healthy inflammation response, another key aspect of immune health, while others feature specific strains that are tailored for women or men.
To get the most benefits from probiotics, you want to consume a supplement that contains “hardy” and survivable microbial strains, which is what you’ll find in Ancient Nutrition’s soil based organism (SBO) probiotics.
The goal is to supplement with beneficial microbes such as SBOs that actually make their way to the right parts of the gut, without being partially killed off by stomach acid and heat. Additionally, SBO probiotics don’t require refrigeration since they can survive at room temperature.
How to use:
SBO Probiotics are best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before a meal. However you can take them with a meal if this easier for you to remember; consistency is what’s more important.
If you’re looking for a quality probiotic supplement, consider one of Ancient Nutrition’s SBO Probiotic formulas, which feature between 25 and 100 CFUs* (*at time of manufacture) of SBOs per serving in combination with organic fermented blends of superfoods for extra mind-body support. These unique formulas also feature prebiotics and postbiotics to create a “trifecta effect” that supports absorption. Prebiotics provide the fuel necessary for probiotics to grow and thrive, while postbiotics help to maintain a balance of gut flora.
A general recommendation for Ancient Nutrition’s SBO Probiotics is for adults to take three capsules daily with 8 ounces of water.
Taking a high-quality multivitamin every day is a smart way to meet your nutritional needs and fill in potential gaps in your diet. For example, did you know it's estimated that up to 70 percent (or more) of American adults don’t get enough vitamin D or magnesium from their diets alone?
A multivitamin is a well-rounded way to help fill in any key nutrient gaps in the diet, helping to support higher energy levels, bone health, eye and skin health, and much more.
Ancient Nutrition offers several unique formulas tailored to the specific vitamin needs of women and men, including: Ancient Multi-Women’s, which features 100% or more of the daily value of 14 essential vitamins and minerals plus multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by Traditional Chinese Method, and Ancient Multi- Men’s which includes functional mushrooms and herbs for extra immune system and cardiovascular support, and beyond.
How to use:
Each product is somewhat different, so always read serving and usage recommendations carefully. Most often you’ll need to take 1–3 capsules daily, usually with a meal to support absorption.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the same beneficial fats found in heart-healthy fishes like salmon and sardines. They play a key role in cardiovascular health, brain function, healthy growth and development, a healthy inflammatory response and more.
However, because most people eating a “modern diet” don’t tend to consume fatty fish very often, plus many include a lot of processed foods in their diet made with refined vegetable oils, which means most (up to 90 percent of Americans) are falling short of their omega-3 needs.
Ancient Omegas is an omega-3 supplement that makes it easy to get a balanced serving of different essential fatty acids, including omegas 3s, 6s and 9s. When consumed in a healthy ratio, these fats contribute to healthy aging, joint health and offer whole body support.
How to use:
Most adults can benefit from about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids daily. A general recommendation of Ancient Nutrition’s Omega supplements is three capsules daily with 8 ounces of water or juice for most adults.
Ancient Omegas Whole Body features a special combination of organic plant and wild ocean omega fatty acids, including from chia oil and wild-caught tuna and New Zealand hoki. It supplies you with certain unique omegas you may have never heard of, like eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), plus ancient botanicals like lemon peel oil and black pepper fruit oil to support absorption.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that’s found in very few food sources. It’s been nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin is actually able to synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
However, unfortunately many adults and children are also thought to be lacking in this key nutrient, resulting in low vitamin D levels, because most people avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight these days.
Taking a vitamin D supplement is recommended for most adults, babies and children because this is an easy and effective way to help meet your vitamin D requirement. Maintaining normal levels is important for strengthening bones and boosting calcium absorption, as well as supporting healthy immune function, a positive outlook and healthy weight management.
How to use:
Vitamin D2 and D3 are the two most common forms of vitamin D. D3 is thought to be generally more effective at increasing vitamin D levels in the body compared to vitamin D2, since it’s the more “active” and bioavailable form. Therefore, ideally you’ll want to look for a vitamin D supplement that contains vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D varies based on age. Children and adults under 70 years need at least 600 IUs per day. Oftentimes, vitamin D supplement doses can exceed the RDA, and many recommend using a vitamin D supplement with 5,000 IU or more to ensure adequate blood levels.
Ancient Nutrition’s Vitamin D supplement contains 5,000 IU of probiotic-fermented vitamin D3 per serving. Additionally, it features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method), such as bone broth and liver powder, along with 95 mcg of vitamin K for further immune, cardiovascular and bone health support.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so if your supplement doesn’t contain an oil, you should take your vitamin D with a meal that contains a source of fat to optimize absorption.
7. Vitamin B12
While you can obtain vitamin B12 from foods like meat and fish, you may not be acquiring enough if your diet isn’t rich in these sources, or absorbing it adequately for a variety of reasons. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, meaning it needs to be replenished often for you to maintain normal levels via consumption of B12 foods and/or B12 supplements.
Other than nutritional yeast, most plant foods don’t provide B12, which is why it’s generally recommended that those following a vegan/vegetarian diet supplement with this vitamin.
Getting enough B12 is important for supporting healthy energy levels, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and supporting cognitive and neurological health. Other benefits include promoting restful sleep, eye health, exercise recovery, a healthy pregnancy, and offering cardiovascular health support.
How to use:
Ancient Nutrition's B12 supplement is a co-enzymated form of methylcobalamin taken in capsule form that is formulated from real food sources, which can help to support absorption. This unique formula also features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method) — including antioxidants and reishi mushroom extract that generally helps support a healthy immune system.
The daily recommended intake (the minimum amount that people need for general health) for B12 is 2.4 mcg per day for adults, 2.6 mcg per day during pregnancy and 2.8 mcg per day while breastfeeding; however, you should always read and follow the label directions and suggested use. If supplementing to help meet your needs, B12 can be taken with or without food.
Bonus: Plant Protein
Finally, when searching for the best supplements, also consider plant protein powders, such as Ancient Nutrition’s Plant Protein+ which is made with a blend of multiple super seeds such as flax and hemp, is especially beneficial for those who are vegans and can't supplement with collagen or bone broth proteins.
This one-of-a-kind protein powder is made without animal products, dairy, grains and soy, making it suitable for those following a wide range of diet plans.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the just released Ancient Remedies.