Whether it’s your weight, spotty skin, or those fine lines threatening to turn into full-blown wrinkles, we all have those nagging body issues that we wish we could get rid of by snapping our fingers or popping a pill. While, without the benefit of some Harry Potter-level wizardry, you’ll be unlikely to turn those fingers into magic wands anytime soon, the right supplement could very well fix those little flaws you see when you look in the mirror or feel when you step out of bed in the morning.
Although many of the miracle weight loss cures and wrinkle-fighters gathering dust on the shelves of your local drugstore are likely little more than well-packaged snake oil, plenty of the supplements on the market can actually help you shave off that spare tire, slow the aging process, or heat up your sex life — that is, of course, if you find the right one to suit your needs.
Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out half your paycheck testing every vitamin at the store to find out what will actually work for you — that’s where Eat This, Not That! comes in. We’ve identified best supplements for every health issue, from heart disease to less-than-lustrous hair, making it easy to figure out what to purchase and what to pass up on your next shopping trip. Check out these recommendations and be sure to consult your healthcare professional before starting any supplement to determine if it is right for your needs. And if pills aren’t your thing, check out these whole food options via 16 Secret Weight Loss Weapons.
Your Goal: You want to lose that spare tire, feel better about yourself, and show those skinny jeans who’s boss.
Try This!: Green Tea Extract
Fighting the battle of the bulge can often feel like a futile effort when you see those pounds creep back on just months, weeks, or mere days after you lost them. Fortunately, there is a supplement that can actually help you shed those unwanted weight and keep them from coming back: green tea extract. The results of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition reveal that supplementation with catechin-rich green tea yielded a 12 percent increase in fat oxidation over a 24-hour period. If you’re worried that the potential caffeine jitters you get from green tea will outweigh the supplement’s benefit, never fear; research suggests that green tea has plenty of fat-burning potential in both its caffeinated and decaf forms.
Buy This: NOW EGCg Green Tea Extract, 400 mg
$15.74 per 180 count ($0.09 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: That second (or fifth) cup of coffee isn’t cutting it and you need some energy fast.
Try This!: Vitamin B12
There’s no denying we’re in an energy crisis — and we’re not just talking about oil prices. Adults are sleeping less and working longer, barely making it through most days with their head above water. While you could just hand over your credit card and open up a tab at your local coffee house, taking some B12 might just help you get the energy you need without all that extra caffeine. B vitamins have long been heralded for their energizing properties, and it’s no wonder why; B vitamins help your body extract nutrients from your food, turning them into usable energy. Even better, vitamin B12, or cobalamin, can help you fend off iron deficiency anemia, a major cause of energy suppression.
Buy This: Nature Made Vitamin B12, 500 mcg
$11.11 per 200 count ($0.05 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Your job is stressful. Your family’s stressful. Your finances are stressful. You need some serious decompression.
Try This!: Magnesium
While you can’t pop a pill to quiet the sound of your neighbor’s barking dog or lighten your workload, you may still be able to find some stress relief in a bottle (and one that doesn’t contain any alcohol, at that). The results of a study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion found that, among a group of 264 patients, those given magnesium and plant extract supplementation reported significant improvements in their anxiety, and researchers in Poland have demonstrated magnesium having a similar effect in rodent test subjects.
Buy This: Sundown Naturals Magnesium, 500 mg
$4.73 per 180 count ($0.03 each) at Amazon.com
Increased Brain Function
Your Goal: Boost your brainpower and channel your inner genius (or, at the very least, stop losing at Words With Friends).
Try This!: Resveratrol
If given the choice, who wouldn’t opt to be a few IQ points smarter, or retain their mental focus as they age? While we can’t promise that any supplement will help you figure out cold fusion, resveratrol seems like a pretty great choice when it comes to boosting your brainpower. A study by researchers at Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders and North Shore-Long Island Jewish Institute for Medical Research reveals that resveratrol helped reduce memory loss and preserved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. Resveratrol has also been linked to reduced belly fat and reduced overall weight, which research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism links to improvements in the brain’s metabolic rate.
Buy This: NOW Natural Resveratrol, 200 mg
$24.12 per 120 count ($0.20 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Skin so soft babies will be begging for your secrets.
Try This!: Alpha Lipoic Acid
Forget shelling out hundreds of bucks at Sephora for skin products; the right supplement could be all you need to get that soft, smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Research suggests that ALA can attract and help your body filter out free radicals that can cause skin damage, and a study conducted at the Mayo Foundation Department of Neurology found ALA effective at increasing blood flow, potentially plumping up your skin and making it appear healthier and more youthful. Get the luminous complexion you’ve always wanted today by adding the 25 Healthy Foods That Give You Glowing Skin to your menu!
Buy This: Nutricost Alpha Lipoic Acid, 600 mg
$14.95 per 240 count ($0.06 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: You want stop fine lines and wrinkles before they start and make those existing indicators of the aging process disappear.
Try This!: Vitamin C
We can’t turn back the clock, but we can make sure that the years aren’t being etched into our skin as we age. Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science suggests that vitamin C may be an effective means of boosting skin’s natural collagen production and increasing the linking of fibroblasts, improving skin’s firmness and texture, too. Fortunately, Nature Made’s vitamin C supplements contain more than enough of the stuff to keep your smooth —just one pill packs as much vitamin C as you’d get in 20 oranges.
Buy This: Nature Made Vitamin C, 1000 mg
$25.69 per 300 count ($0.09 each) at Amazon.com
Better Heart Health
Your Goal: A healthier heart so you can stay active well into your golden years.
Try This!: Omega-3s
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more people than Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, and car accidents combined, according to WHO data. Fortunately, fighting back is easy: just add some omega-3s to your routine. Research from the American Heart Association suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are an effective means of improving heart health and reducing your risk of heart disease. Even if you’re already dealing with heart disease, omega-3s may still provide some relief; a new AHA study published in March, 2017 reveals that omega-3s reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among people with heart disease by as much as 9 percent.
Buy This: Dr. Tobias Triple Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil, 700 mg
$28.47 per 180 count ($0.16 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Getting a smile so bright your friends will have to wear shades.
Try This!: Folic Acid
While we’d never suggest you replace regular dental check-ups with a supplement, a little folic acid in your routine may make those trips to the dentist a whole lot more pleasant. Research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology suggests that supplementation with folic acid can help aid healthy tissue growth in the mouth while reducing the risk of oral lesions, thrush, and gum disease. For those who are trying to become pregnant, folic acid is particularly important; not only can it reduce the risk of spina bifida and neurological issues, it can also foster the development of healthy teeth and gums in utero.
Buy This: Spring Valley Folic Acid, 800 mcg
$8.58 per 250 count ($0.03 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Getting your cholesterol in such good shape that your doctor high-fives you on the way out of your visit.
Try This!: Garlic
It may be less-than-ideal for your breath, but when it comes to your cholesterol, garlic can’t be beat. Fortunately, you don’t have to risk scaring off others with your garlic breath to get those benefits; garlic pills will do the trick, too. Research published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture suggests that garlic can help lower bad cholesterol, slashing your risk of heart disease and stroke along the way. And when you’re ready to get those cholesterol numbers down even further, add these cholesterol-lowering 30 Best Foods For Fiber to your menu.
Buy This: Nature’s Bounty Odorless Garlic, 1000 mg
$9.64 per 200 count ($0.05 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Hair so silky and shiny you could use it as a mirror.
Try This!: Vitamin E
Those lush locks you’ve always wanted can be yours before you know it —no pricey shampoos or salon treatments required. Popping a couple vitamin E capsules can help promote the growth of healthy scalp tissue and reduce inflammation that can lead to flaking, dryness, and dull hair. Even better, you can break open those capsules and rub the vitamin E directly on your hair for a deep conditioning treatment that can help ward off split ends.
Buy This: Solgar Vitamin E, 400 IU
$13.28 per 100 count ($0.13 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Skin that’s clear, calm, and bears no resemblance to the hormonal mess you were dealing with in high school.
Try This!: Vitamin B2
From hormones to sweat to environmental pollutants, there are countless factors that can keep even the most vigilant face-washers seeing spots pop up on their skin. The good news? Vitamin B2 might just be what you need to heal what ails you. A deficiency in B2 (also known as riboflavin) has been linked to breakouts, as well as redness and inflammation of the skin.
Buy This: NOW B-2, 100 mg
$4.38 per 100 count ($0.04 each) at Amazon.com
Improved Gut Health
Your Goal: A healthier gut, improved metabolism, and a stronger immune system, to boot.
Try This!: Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Hosting 70 percent of your immune system, your gut is a major control center in your body, but not everyone knows how to keep their gut bacteria happy and fruitful. Fortunately, supplementing your usual food with some lactobacillus acidophilus can help you keep your immune system, belly, and metabolism healthy by promoting better gut health. Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacterium which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, making your body more effective at digesting your food, improving your immune health along the way as the good guys in your gut grow in number.
Buy This: Nature’s Bounty Acidophilus Probiotic, 100 million organisms
$6.95 per 120 count ($0.06 each) at Amazon.com
A Healthier Vegan Diet
Your Goal: A complement to your vegan diet that ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Try This!: Iron
Yes, you can get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, including protein, despite all the family members, significant others, and strangers on the internet who insist that’s not the case. However, a vegan diet can leave some adherents low in iron, putting them at risk for energy-sapping iron-deficiency anemia and other health issues. The good news? A vegan-friendly iron supplement, like VegLife’s Iron Tablets, can help boost your iron levels, your energy, and keep you feeling healthy and strong. If you do need a protein pick-me-up, the 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes will send your energy levels soaring in no time.
Buy This: VegLife Iron Tablet, 25 mg
$10.97 per 100 count ($0.11 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Some relief for those blues that have been getting you down.
Try This!: Vitamin D: depression
That low mood may be an easier fix than you expected. Not only has vitamin D deficiency been linked to low, depressive moods, research published in Psychopharmacology reveals that study subjects provided vitamin D supplements had significant improvements in their mood over just a five-day period as compared to a placebo group. While vitamin D supplementation may help some, if your depression is feeling too big for you to handle on your own, make sure you consult your doctor.
Buy This: NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
$10.55 per 360 count ($0.03 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: A sex life so hot you can barely drag yourself out of bed for work.
Try This!: L-Arginine
The only thing that can spice your relationship up more than some lacy lingerie and a little mood music? L-arginine. A study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy reveals that L-arginine can help fight erectile dysfunction, and other research links it to reduced stress, helping you relax and get in the mood. And make sure you’re not killing your sex drive before you get things started by nixing the 27 Foods That Kill Your Sex Drive from your routine.
Buy This: Havasu Extra Strength L-Arginine, 1200 mg
$17.75 per 60 count ($0.30 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: The ability to walk past a bakery window and not give those croissants a second thought.
Try This!: Citrus Polyphenols
A little spritz of citrus in your water can help you fight those cravings, and adding a citrus polyphenol supplement to your routine can help you say no to those salty and sugary snacks tempting you, too. Studies suggest that the scent of citrus can help reduce food cravings, and even if you’ve already indulged, those polyphenols may be able to reduce the impact of your less-than-perfect food choices. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry & Nutrition reveals that citrus polyphenols can actually help reduce the damage caused by diet-induced obesity.
Buy This: Solgar Citrus Bioflavonoid, 1000 mg
$22.28 per 250 count ($0.09 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: The ability to break free of those headaches, whether triggered by hours spent at your computer… or a bar.
Try This!: Niacin
While it may be impossible to eliminate headache triggers entirely, you can head them off at the pass by adding some niacin to your routine. Niacin can help dilate blood vessels, reducing your headache symptoms along the way.
Buy This: Swanson Niacin, 500 mg
$13.80 per 250 count ($0.06 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: Clearer vision and a reduced risk of macular degeneration as you age.
Try This!: Beta-Carotene
Keep those peepers clear and bright by adding a vitamin A supplement today. Beta-carotene is not only an effective means of lowering blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of cataracts, the 2001 Age-Related Eye Disease Study found beta-carotene effective at slowing the rate of age-related macular degeneration, so don’t bust out those bifocals just yet.
Buy This: Swanson Beta-Carotene, 25,000 IU
$9.94 per 100 count ($0.03 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: An easier time conceiving so you can start on the road to parenthood stat.
Try This!: Selenium
Having kids can be stressful, but making them shouldn’t be. To improve your chances of conceiving, try adding some selenium to your supplement round-up. Research published in the International Journal of General Medicine found that selenium supplementation increased sperm motility in more than 52.6 percent of study subjects with fertility issues.
Buy This: Zhou Selenium, 200 mcg
$12.32 per 100 count ($0.12 each) at Amazon.com
Your Goal: A better night’s rest so you feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to face the day.
Try This!: Melatonin
Sleep is relaxing, it’s energizing, it’s great for your metabolism, but every year, the amount of sleep the average adult gets is waning. Before you go to your doctor for a prescription pill, head to your local pharmacy and grab some melatonin instead. Multiple studies confirm melatonin’s effectiveness at increasing sleep quality and duration, so if you’re finding yourself tossing and turning at night, it’s high time you pick up a bottle. For more ways to sleep soundly tonight, discover the 20 Ways to Double Your Sleep Quality!
Buy This: Nature’s Bounty Melatonin, 3 mg
$5.19 per 240 count ($0.02 each) at Amazon.com