Do you love the way that you feel all of the time? If you do, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, though, the health food stores beckon. Their vitamin and supplement aisles gleam with the promise of more energy, reduced aches and pains and ageless beauty that never fades. Do any of those supplements actually work? According to the National Institutes of Health, Americans spend close to $13 billion on health supplements per year. Studies suggest, however, that the average supplement is no better at promoting health than a placebo.
Why do we spend so much on nutritional supplements? Perhaps it's because studies also show that the average person who uses supplements regularly is wealthier, better educated and in better health than those who don't use supplements. Maybe it's also because some supplements really work. So, which supplements actually do their jobs – and which ones merely drain your bank account? I'll attempt to shed some light on the 7 hottest supplements of 2019 with real scientific evidence.
1. Cannabidiol (CBD) May Alleviate Anxiety And Inflammation
CBD oil is a THC-free extract made from industrial hemp. Unlike an extract of cannabis – which would contain THC – CBD acts upon the body's cannabinoid receptors without producing euphoria. CBD is legal almost everywhere, and CBD oils from companies such as MintedLeaf have become hot commodities. As it has virtually no known negative side effects, people are trying CBD for everything from anxiety to chronic inflammation. In addition to those conditions, preliminary studies suggest that CBD may be useful in the treatment of insomnia, pain, nausea, diabetes and more. The FDA has even approved a CBD-based medication for the treatment of certain rare seizure disorders. Is CBD a cure-all? Probably not, but it's one of the few supplements on the market acknowledged by the FDA to have proven benefits.
2. Bone Broth May Combat Skin Aging
You've no doubt seen this supplement with a somewhat macabre name in the refrigerator section at your local health food stores. Made from boiling chicken, beef or fish bones for hours, bone broth is a nutrient-dense soup containing substances such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, amino acids and collagen. Thanks to the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, some view bone broth as being good for joint health. Oral collagen is also one of the hottest supplements of 2019, with proponents saying that it promotes healthy hair and youthful skin. Unfortunately, an NIH study of 1,583 people with arthritis showed that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate do not alleviate arthritis at all. However, a 2017 study on mice produced a result suggesting that oral collagen can combat skin aging.
3. Activated Charcoal Absorbs The Bad -- And The Good
When you take a trip down the aisles at your local health food store, it may sometimes feel as though the whole world has turned black. Companies are adding activated charcoal to seemingly everything ranging from toothpaste to soap. Now that the matte black latte has made the rounds on Instagram, it's safe to say that activated charcoal has reached critical mass.
Proponents of activated charcoal say that it absorbs toxins and speeds their removal from the body – which is true. Unfortunately, activated charcoal isn't a toxin-seeking sponge. It absorbs everything – including nutrients, prescription medications and other supplements. Activated charcoal can relieve indigestion and bloating. It can even help to get toxins such as alcohol out of the body in an emergency. As a daily supplement, though, activated charcoal may do more harm than good.
4. Appetite Suppressant Lollipops Do Not Work
You can thank certain celebrities on Instagram for the sudden popularity of appetite suppressant lollipops. Infused with saffron extract, these lollipops are supposed to help you regulate your food cravings by boosting your serotonin and endorphin levels. Unfortunately, a 2018 placebo-controlled study showed that saffron had absolutely no effect on weight management.
5. Green Tea Extract Is Potentially Dangerous
After plain water, green tea must be one of the healthiest beverages known. A 2010 study of 105 peer-reviewed papers on the health benefits of green tea concluded that the beverage can help to combat obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Green tea is so healthy, in fact, that some people choose to take it in powdered capsule form rather than simply drinking it. In more than 60 cases, though, people taking green tea extract as a supplement have experienced liver failure. Some have even died. If you want to get more green tea into your life, your best bet is definitely to drink it the old-fashioned way.
6. Turmeric And Golden Milk May Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a marker of suboptimal health because it causes – or is a symptom of – a variety of undesirable conditions. With that in mind, many people around the world are looking for anti-inflammatory supplements to add to their diets. That's one reason why CBD is so popular. Turmeric – a rhizome popular in Indian food – has also seen a massive explosion in popularity in recent years. You can find turmeric coffee, turmeric smoothies, turmeric pills and more.
Golden milk is an Indian beverage that many people are now consuming as a health supplement. It's a beverage made from turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and non-dairy milk. The addition of black pepper is said to make curcumin – the anti-inflammatory component of turmeric – more bioavailable.
Does turmeric actually work? A 2017 review of existing clinical studies found that the available information does seem to support the effectiveness of turmeric in treating inflammation and fighting oxidative stress – especially when it's used in conjunction with black pepper.
7. Raspberry Ketones Will Not Make You Thin
To understand why raspberry ketones are among the hottest supplements of 2019, you need to understand the ketogenic diet – and if you haven't heard about that fad yet, I'll clue you in. The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet. Proponents of the diet consume almost no carbohydrates and focus on healthy proteins and fats instead. Eating that way forces the body into a state of ketosis. In that state, the body draws its energy from fat rather than glucose. People choose the Keto diet because they hope that it will lead to rapid weight loss.
The Keto diet may work – as long as you don't mind potential side effects ranging from constipation to liver inflammation. As for the raspberry ketones themselves, a 2017 study on mice found that raspberry ketones appear to have no effect on the reduction of fatty tissue. Losing weight the old-fashioned way might be slower than the Keto diet, but it's most likely far healthier.
Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.