Ideally—and this should not surprise you given the name of our brand—you should be getting most of your vitamins from healthy foods. But that hasn’t stopped the billion-dollar supplement industry from selling vitamins and minerals to complement your diet. The most popular ones in America, according to the latest ConsumerLab survey, are a mix of ones you know (Vitamin C) and ones you should know (CoQ10). Read on to see what everyone is buying these days—we’ve ranked them from less to most popular—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.
19.1% of survey respondents say they bought this
Your body runs better on coconut oil. Our bodies would rather burn coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides as energy, rather than store it as fat. A classic study of 30 men in the journal Pharmacology found that those who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day shrank their waists by an average of 1.1 inches in one month. You can use coconut oil almost any place you’d use butter—for eggs or stir-frys, for healthier pancakes, or in a belly-burning smoothie.
19.5% of survey respondents say they bought this
The protein supplement market was valued at $18.91 billion last year, according to one report, and is expected to grow annually by 8.4% every year through 2028. Powders can be used to build muscle, blast fat or add flavor, and come in countless varieties. “I love anything plant-based,” says Zero Belly Smoothies author Dave Zinczenko. “Pea-based proteins, for example, have all of the benefits without the bloat of whey.” And find one without added sugars, he advises. “Elevated glucose and fructose in your body weakens collagen and elastin, the structural supports that keep skin tight. The sugar links to amino acids in the skin to produce advanced glycation end products, whose acronym ‘AGEs’ aptly describes what they do to you.”
19.5% of survey respondents say they bought this
Dark chocolate has many heart-healthy benefits and your sinful indulgence can actually help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Talk to most any registered dietician and he or she will tell you that the worst thing you can do when trying to lose weight is to adopt a strict no-eat list of your favorite foods. In a study at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, researchers found that dieters who give in to their strongest cravings are more successful than those who don’t. Here’s why: Once you make “watching what you eat” less strict and, well, utterly depressing, it becomes a lot easier to stick to a healthy eating plan.
20% of survey respondents say they bought this
Collagen supplements have been proven to promote healthy skin. “This randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial confirmed that skin aging could be addressed using nutrients that are able to restore skin hydration, elasticity, and density,” says a study from 2019. “Objective dermatological measurements, such as cutometry and corneometry, have proven that oral collagen peptides together with other dermonutrients significantly improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density after three months of intake.”
20.9% of survey respondents say they bought this
Among the numerous benefits of green tea, one is weight loss. In one study, participants who combined a daily habit of four to five cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute workout for 12 weeks lost an average of two more pounds than the non-tea-drinking exercisers. It’s the power of the unique catechins found in green tea that can blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), then speeding up the liver’s capacity for turning that fat into energy, according to the 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse.
21.3% of survey respondents say they bought this
“You can incorporate this ‘flat belly elixir’ into your salad dressings, meat marinades and even baked goods,” says Zinczenko. “In The Super Metabolism Diet, I recommend drizzling apple cider vinegar on cucumbers—that’s a terrific and delicious food pairing for weight loss. Or sip your way slim by combining one glass of water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp of lemon, a dash of cinnamon and Stevia—yum.”
21.8% of survey respondents say they bought this
Vitamin K was once thought to help prevent against severe COVID because it helps protect your lungs; findings may show “a link between deficiency and the worst coronavirus outcomes,” according to The Guardian. “Covid-19 causes blood clotting and leads to the degradation of elastic fibers in the lungs,” explains the paper about the findings. “Vitamin K, which is ingested through food and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, is key to the production of proteins that regulate clotting and can protect against lung disease.”
22.2% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Zinc, a nutrient found throughout your body, helps your immune system and metabolism function. Zinc is also important to wound healing and your sense of taste and smell,” says the Mayo Clinic. “With a varied diet, your body usually gets enough zinc. Food sources of zinc include chicken, red meat and fortified breakfast cereals. People use oral zinc to help treat colds, but it can decrease the effectiveness of certain drugs and cause side effects.”
23.6% of survey respondents say they bought this
“One of the best uses of sleep medication is the use of melatonin, which is endorsed by the sleep academy,” says Alcibiades Rodriguez, MD, assistant professor of Neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center—Sleep Center. Just don’t overdo it. “It’s medication that should be taken as needed. You might take it 2 to 3 times per week or when you’re traveling. There is nothing bad about using it, but if you’re [relying on it too much or for a long period of time] you should consult a sleep physician to [look into a potentially larger problem],”
27% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat,” reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “About 99% of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. Our bodies cannot produce its own calcium. That’s why it’s important to get enough calcium from the food we eat. When we don’t get the calcium our body needs, it is taken from our bones. This is fine once in a while, but if it happens too often, bones get weak and easier to break.”
30.3% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.”
31.2% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Vitamin B complex contains all the vitamins in the B group. B vitamins are water-soluble. This means they are dissolved in water and your body doesn’t store them. The B vitamins are related to each other and work closely in your body. For this reason, having all the B vitamins in your body helps your body work better,” reports the University of Rochester Medical Center. “B vitamins are found in many foods. So most people don’t have a high risk of developing a deficiency if they follow a balanced diet. There are many B complex supplements. They all have different amounts of the common B vitamins. Some also contain vitamin C and bioflavonoids. These are often called B complex with C.”
34.5% of survey respondents say they bought this
Just like the name implies, immune boosters will help boost immunity so you can fight off infection. “Vitamin C, D and Zinc are important for appropriate immune response,” Dr. Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, explains. Just don’t forget the basics. “There are things we do that can increase our vulnerability to infections,” he says. A few examples include poor sleep and stress, which “increases cortisol secretion and may adversely impact immune defense” and smoking. In addition to getting your Zs, avoiding stress, eating a healthy diet, and exercising, taking immune boosters can also help build immunity.
34.8% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Curcumin has received worldwide attention for its multiple health benefits, which appear to act primarily through its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. These benefits are best achieved when curcumin is combined with agents such as piperine, which increase its bioavailability significantly,” says a study from the NIH. “Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people. In addition, a relatively low dose can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions.”
38.9% of survey respondents say they bought this
“Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements, and beauty products,” says the NIH. “Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful ‘germs,’ many are actually helpful. Some bacteria help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, or produce vitamins. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.”
42.4% of survey respondents say they bought this
“The researchers concluded that multivitamins don’t reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline (such as memory loss and slowed-down thinking) or an early death. They also noted that in prior studies, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear to be harmful, especially at high doses,” reports Hopkins Medicine. “Pills are not a shortcut to better health and the prevention of chronic diseases,” says Larry Appel, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “Other nutrition recommendations have much stronger evidence of benefits—eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar you eat.”
45.7% of survey respondents say they bought this
There’s been a lot of interest in this one lately. “Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that is naturally present in the human body, with the highest levels in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement,” says the NIH. “CoQ10 has not been shown to be of value in treating cancer, but it may reduce the risk of heart damage caused by one type of cancer chemotherapy drug.”
52.5% of survey respondents say they bought this
The NIH breaks it down:
“Extensive research has been done on omega-3s, especially the types found in seafood (fish and shellfish) and fish oil supplements,” they report. “What do we know about the effectiveness of omega-3 supplements?
- Research indicates that omega-3 supplements don’t reduce the risk of heart disease. However, people who eat seafood one to four times a week are less likely to die of heart disease.
- High doses of omega-3s can reduce levels of triglycerides.
- Omega-3 supplements may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Omega-3 supplements have not been convincingly shown to slow the progression of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration.
- For most other conditions for which omega-3 supplements have been studied, the evidence is inconclusive or doesn’t indicate that omega-3s are beneficial.”
53.5% of survey respondents say they bought this
“A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies found that higher serum levels of magnesium were significantly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and higher dietary magnesium intakes (up to approximately 250 mg/day) were associated with a significantly lower risk of ischemic heart,” says a brand new study from last month, reported by the National Institutes of Health.
66% of survey respondents say they bought this
It’s no surprise that Vitamin D is the Most Popular Vitamin of the Year. None other than Dr. Fauci got behind it last year. “If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection,” said the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements.” Talk to your doctor before starting any big supplement regimen, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.