Alphabet Supp’s

Confused by the miles of store aisles dedicated to vitamins and supplements? We don’t blame you. Dietary supplements are a $41 billion industry, and there are tens of thousands of products on shelves. Get started with these 30 game-changing nutrients—they can boost your health in surprising ways.


Aloe Vera Capsules

WHAT IT IS: Aloe is a spiky, cactus-like plant. Its leaves contain clear gel and yellow juice (also known as latex), both of which have healing properties.

OFTEN USED FOR: You probably know about applying aloe gel to the skin to treat burns and irritation, but people also take it in pill form to lose weight and to treat diabetes, digestive problems, and high cholesterol. Aloe latex also works as a laxative.

American Ginseng

WHAT IT IS: This herb grows in North America. It has bright green leaves and red berries, but it’s prized for its medicinal roots.

OFTEN USED FOR: Boosting energy, immunity, and brainpower— and helping to manage stress.

GOOD TO KNOW: American Ginseng is considered a threatened species and there are laws about when and how it can be harvested.

Apple Pectin Capsules

WHAT IT IS: A type of water-soluble fiber. Pectin turns into a gel when mixed with water and is often added to jams and jellies.

OFTEN USED FOR: Relieving constipation, supporting intestinal health, and keeping cholesterol levels in check.

Bee Pollen Capsules

WHAT IT IS: Bees collect pollen grains on their legs as they land on flowers. The pollen gets mixed with saliva and other secretions to form crunchy granules. Bee pollen offers protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It also has natural anti-inflammatory properties.

OFTEN USED FOR: Boosting energy and immunity, warding off allergies, and improving athletic performance.

GOOD TO KNOW: Bee pollen is food for the hive, so an ethical beekeeper will only harvest a small amount at a time. Bee pollen is also found in raw, unfiltered honey. It can trigger a serious reaction if you’re allergic to bees or pollen, so check with your doctor first.


WHAT IT IS: A mineral that helps your heart to beat and your blood to clot, among other things. Your body stores 99 percent of it in your teeth and bones.

OFTEN USED FOR: Making up the difference when you don’t get enough calcium through food. This may be a concern for vegans (because they don’t eat dairy) and people with celiac disease.

GOOD TO KNOW: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so make sure you’re getting enough of that, too.


WHAT IT IS: Made from coal, wood, shells, and other substances, activated charcoal is heated up until its surface becomes porous and able to absorb toxins.

OFTEN USED FOR: Relief for gas and bloating, hangovers, high cholesterol, and detoxing from stuff like environmental pollutants, bacteria, and heavy metals.


WHAT IT IS: A single-celled green algae that grows in fresh water. It offers nutrients like protein, vitamin A, iron, and zinc.

OFTEN USED FOR: Detoxing (especially from heavy metals like mercury), losing weight, boosting immunity, and fighting the aging process.

Chlorophyll Capsules

WHAT IT IS: The bright green pigment that plants use to make food.

OFTEN USED FOR: Losing weight, combatting yeast overgrowth, detoxing, fighting body odor, and protecting against cancer.

GOOD TO KNOW: Chlorophyll can make your skin more sun-sensitive, so don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.


WHAT IT IS: A protein found throughout your body, including your skin, hair, nails, muscles, and joints.

OFTEN USED FOR: Post-workout recovery, improved digestion, and healthier skin, hair, and nails.

Cranberry Fruit Capsules

WHAT IT IS: Made with cranberry concentrate, these pills pack tons of berries into one tiny capsule, so they’re much more efficient than chugging juice.

OFTEN USED FOR: Preventing or treating urinary-tract infections, supporting the kidneys, and boosting immunity.


WHAT IT IS: Turmeric has become a trendy spice with the wellness crowd. This is thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin, which can help fight disease (and is also what gives turmeric its golden color).

OFTEN USED FOR: Battling inflammation and aging, aches and pains, arthritis, and improving brain function.

GOOD TO KNOW: Curcumin works better if you take it along with some black pepper. That’s because your body metabolizes curcumin rapidly, but black pepper contains a substance called piperine that slows this process down, allowing curcumin to circulate in your system longer.

Dandelion Root

WHAT IT IS: The slightly bitter-tasting roots of the ubiquitous dandelion flower, which—depending on who you ask—is either an herb or a weed (it’s technically both).

OFTEN USED FOR: Treating digestive problems such as upset stomach, gas and bloating.

Dong Quai

WHAT IT IS: A fragrant herb grown in China, Korea, and Japan and used in traditional Chinese medicine. It may behave like estrogen in the body.

OFTEN USED FOR: PMS and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.


WHAT IT IS: A flowering plant native to North America. The roots, leaves, and flower are all used to make medicine.

OFTEN USED FOR: Fighting infections, especially the common cold, and boosting immunity.


WHAT IT IS: An edible bulb that is a member of the lily family. There are a variety of garlic supplements on the market, including ones made with garlic powder, garlic oil, and aged garlic extract. They offer slightly different benefits, so it’s worth talking to your doctor to decide which one best suits your needs.

OFTEN USED FOR: Combatting high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, yeast infections, and the common cold.

Ginkgo Biloba

WHAT IT IS: One of the oldest living tree species. Most supplements are made from the leaves.

OFTEN USED FOR: Improving memory and brainpower, relieving PMS symptoms, and easing tinnitus (ringing in the ears).


WHAT IT IS: The knotty brown root of this plant is used to make supplements and spices. There’s a lot of research on the health benefits of ginger and its two main active ingredients—gingerols and shogaols.

OFTEN USED FOR: Relieving pain from headaches and arthritis, and for stomach problems such as nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, and gas.

Kelp Capsules

WHAT IT IS: A brownish seaweed that’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as iodine, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

OFTEN USED FOR: Weight loss plus healthy skin and hair.

GOOD TO KNOW: It’s possible to overdo it with iodine and put yourself at risk of thyroid problems, so check with your doctor about dosage.


WHAT IT IS: A mineral that keeps your heartbeat steady and regulates your blood pressure and blood sugar. It’s essential for proper nerve and muscle function, too.

OFTEN USED FOR: Making up for a deficiency in the diet, magnesium can ease constipation. It also boosts heart health and energy, and can treat migraines, leg cramps, and anxiety.

GOOD TO KNOW: There are lots of different types of magnesium supplements. Research has shown the body absorbs magnesium chloride, lactate, aspartate, and citrate better than magnesium oxide or sulfate.


WHAT IT IS: A hormone found naturally in the body that controls your sleep and wake cycles.

OFTEN USED FOR: Jet lag and insomnia.

GOOD TO KNOW: Dim the lights and avoid screen time before bed when using melatonin, as bright lights can interfere with the way it works.


WHAT IT IS: A combination of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, usually designed to be taken every day. If you have trouble swallowing pills, there are now many gummy options available.

OFTEN USED FOR: Filling in the gaps when you’re worried your diet may be falling short.

Omega-3 Fish Oil

WHAT IT IS: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in two important omega-3s: DHA (docosa-hexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapen- taenoic acid). They help keep your heart and brain healthy, and stave off inflammation throughout the body.

OFTEN USED FOR: Heart and eye health, and to prevent or treat depression, anxiety, and chronic inflammation.

Oregano Oil

WHAT IT IS: A member of the mint family. Oregano oil, derived from the leaves, has natural antibacterial properties.

OFTEN USED FOR: Alleviating coughs, cold and flu symptoms, asthma, fatigue, bloating, food poisoning, parasites, and arthritis.

GOOD TO KNOW: Oregano oil is such a powerful germ-fighter that it’s the key ingredient in many botanical-based disinfecting cleaners.


WHAT IT IS: A plant that grows in cold mountainous areas like Siberia. Its roots have been used to make medicine for generations.

OFTEN USED FOR: Boosting energy and mood, enhanced concentration and memory, losing weight, and coping with stress.


WHAT IT IS: Also known as elderberry, this fruit is usually sold in (delicious) syrup or lozenge form. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and have natural antimicrobial properties.

OFTEN USED FOR: Treating colds and flus, and giving the immune system a boost.

Saw Palmetto

WHAT IT IS: A small palm tree that grows in Florida and other areas of the southeastern U.S region.

OFTEN USED FOR: Treating the symptoms of enlarged prostate, migraines, low libido, and hair loss.

GOOD TO KNOW: Saw palmetto can slow blood clotting, so if you take it along with another medication that is known to do the same—such as aspirin or ibuprofen—you could be more likely to bruise and bleed.


WHAT IT IS: A blue-green algae that grows in both fresh and salt water. It’s surprisingly rich in protein, B vitamins, copper, and iron—and it’s packed with antioxidants, too.

OFTEN USED FOR: Treating inflammation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and allergies. It also boosts the immune system.


WHAT IT IS: A yellow-orange spice that’s used to make curry. It has been used as medicine in India for hundreds of years.

OFTEN USED FOR: Alleviating depression, inflammation (including inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s), arthritis, pain, diabetes.

GOOD TO KNOW: Supplements made with turmeric extract are less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals like lead and are also more potent than pills made with turmeric powder.


WHAT IT IS: A flowering plant that grows in grasslands. The root of the plant is used to make medicine. It’s not known exactly how valerian works in the body, but one popular theory is that it stimulates the production of GABA, a brain chemical that has a calming effect.

OFTEN USED FOR: Insomnia and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.


WHAT IT IS: Also called chaste berry, this pretty shrub grows in the Mediterranean and central Asia. It has large spikes of purple flowers and small berries.

OFTEN USED FOR: Treating women’s reproductive health issues such as irregular periods, PMS, and breast pain.