best supplements

Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

In many shapes and sizes, these pills and powders promise us the world. But which are best for helping us sleep, exercise and maintain a balanced diet?

Supplements take many shapes. Pills, powders, capsules and caplets. Bars, droppers, gums and shakes. If you can think of a delivery system, it’s likely that one of the hundreds of emerging supplement brands has distilled vitamins, minerals – and all other manner of purportedly good stuff – into it. And they’re more than happy to sell you them at a hugely inflated price.

Why are we so skeptical? Because the supplement world is a shady place — a one-a-day, vanilla-flavoured grey area that seems scarily ungoverned by any official bodies. These aren’t medicines, so the FDA or MHRA don’t have to sign them off. But nor are supplements as powerful as medicines. They’re not intended to cure or heal you. Instead, as the name suggests, they’re meant simply to supplement an already healthy lifestyle.

So let’s cover our backs with a quick disclaimer: while some supplements will undoubtedly benefit you, none are necessary. With a balanced diet, your body will already get everything it needs — with supplements just a way to give you a little extra oomph in certain areas of your daily life. So, from sleep supplements to fitness boosters, these are the ones that will actually make a difference…

Sleep supplements will help you nod off, but not knock you out

Who doesn’t have a bit of trouble drifting off now and again? Tossing and turning your way through half the night and feeling far too dependent on coffee the next day as a result? Thankfully, our first family of supplements offers a solution. Sleep supplements may help you catch your forty winks, but they are not sleeping pills. Instead, they work by relaxing the body with naturally de-stressing ingredients, rather than knocking you clean and chemically out. Think of them as your late-night cup of chamomile tea distilled into a capsule or dropper.

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s vegan Sleep Food capsules are among the best — but they come with a considerable price tag. At over £1 per capsule, you’ll be treated to a blend of St. John’s Wort, valerian and purslane — that promises to promote the production of serotonin and dopamine in your body. Form Nutrition’s cannily named ZZZZs take a simpler approach; focusing on giving you magnesium; a mineral that helps to maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Or, if you want a subtler nudge to nod off, The Nue Co.’s Sleep Drops dissolve in water, and calm the mind with a formula of passion flower and catnip.

Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Dr. Barbara Sturm Sleep Food

£80

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Fitness supplements will boost protein alongside a balanced diet

You’ve seen those men in your gym, right? The ones who don’t seem to be pushing themselves as hard as you are — but are twice the size? Well, regardless of what you’ve been saying behind their ludicrously muscular backs, it’s likely not steroids — and more likely a savvy supplement. Most protein and toning supplements take the form of powders, and work by introducing a more concentrated source of protein into your already balanced diet. A 100g steak, for instance, has around 25g of protein. But 100g of protein powder? That could contain up to 85g.

That’s precisely what Innermost’s The Strong Protein Powder contains. Created using seven protein-rich ingredients, this is a healthy, sustainable way to heal your body quicker and build muscle faster. Bodyism similarly uses pea protein to create its vegan offering — also infused with fibrous greens to flush toxins from your body, and formulated with spices including cinnamon and ginseng to combat sugar cravings. Or, if sweetness is what you’re after in a supplement, look no further than Form Nutrition’s Performance Protein, in Tiramisu flavour. Containing brown rice, hemp and whole algae protein, you consume this fitness supplement the same way as the rest — by simply mixing with milk or water.

Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Bodyism Body Brilliance Supplement Shake

£50

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Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Innermost The Strong Protein Powder

£29.95

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Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Form Nutrition Performance Protein

£26

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Vitamin supplements can help vegans, vegetarians or those with intolerances

Our final recommended category of supplements delivers extra vitamins into your body. Whether you’re allergic or intolerant to certain types of food, or have decided to go vegetarian or vegan, there will likely be certain essentials your diet is lacking. Vegans, for example, should be supplementing Vitamins B12 and D, Omega 3, Zinc, Calcium, Iodine and Iron to ensure their bodies still function at their full potential. Thankfully, many wellness brands have cottoned onto this newfound demand.

From The Grey Men’s Skincare, this Daily Vitamin Intake System may sound intimidating — you take eight different pills per day after food — but the nifty blend helps target muscle strength, premature wrinkles and calcium intake, among other issues. Anatomē’s Daily Essentials + Wellbeing Support Supplement goes one further; tailoring its formula to men with Bioflavonoids, Bromelain and Complex B Vitamins to enhance clarity of thinking and protect muscles. Or, for a simpler approach, Perricone MD’s Omega 3 supplements simply use wild caught Alaskan salmon oil to quench your body’s need for the most skin-hydrating, heart-supporting, brain-boosting super mineral there is.

Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

The Grey Men’s Skincare Daily Vitamin Intake System

£90

Buy Now
Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Anatomē’s Daily Essentials + Wellbeing Support Supplement

£28

Buy Now
Do supplements actually work (and which should you be taking)?

Perricone MD Omega 3 Supplements

£21

Buy Now

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