9 Super Supplements
As many as 75 percent of all Americans use nutritional and herbal supplements to treat everything from the common cold to high cholesterol. But with so many products on the market, it's hard to know which ones really work -- and whether any of them work at all. The truth is, some studies on these products don't meet the scientific standards for research set by modern medicine. And unlike medications, dietary supplements are classified as foods, and lack the strict government controls for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a result, supplements may be uneven in their quality.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make some supplements part of your diet, says Mark Stengler, ND, a naturopathic physician in San Diego and coauthor of Prescription for Natural Cures (Wiley, 2002). Some supplements, he says, have been used for several decades -- even centuries -- and are backed by plenty of scientific research as well as anecdotal reports of their effectiveness.
To help you determine which ones might have benefits for you, we've compiled a list of super supplements for your mood, brain, heart, and bones. For more information, check out www.consumerlab.com, which tests and evaluates health and wellness products, including supplements. Always check with a physician before taking any supplement. Some supplements have significant interactions with other medications.