Decode Your Supplements

Good Health LifestylesHerbal Helpers

Your favorite health food store has plenty of supplements. But trying to figure out which nutrient is the best – decoding them – can be tricky. Here is a codebook for three widely used and important supplemental ingredients.


Vitamin: B6 (Pyridoxamine)

What it is: There are various forms of Vitamin B6, including pyridoxine, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, and pyridoxamine.

Where it comes from: Vitamin B6 is present in bananas, spinach, walnuts nuts, eggs, tuna, turkey, and beef, just to name a few sources. The pyridoxamine form is naturally synthesized in the body from pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P), so boosting levels of that form of B6 provides a natural way to get more pyridoxamine to work.

Main uses: Pyridoxamine may help a variety of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cognitive impairment, chronic kidney disease, and schizophrenia. That’s because it reduces levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). High levels of AGEs create excess inflammation and oxidative damage.

Typical dosage level: 10 mg to 50 mg daily


Mineral: Magnesium

What it is: Magnesium is an essential mineral for mental well-being, daily energy, a healthy heart, bone density, and strong joints.

Where it comes from: Magnesium is naturally found in spinach, chard, broccoli, avocado, kiwi, bananas, almonds, cashews, salmon, halibut, brown rice, and yogurt.

Main uses: Magnesium strengthens your heart and arteries, helps prevent migraines, promotes focus and clear thinking, builds bones and teeth, and speeds recovery from exercise.

What to look for: Magnesium bisglcyinate chelate, a bioactive form bound to the amino acid glycine for better absorption.

Typical dosage level: 100 to 400 mg daily.


Botanical: Grape Seed Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs)

What it is: Specific compounds from grape (Vitis vinifera) seed that have been recognized for their health benefits.

Where it comes from: Generally from the same types of grapes cultivated in vineyards.

Main uses: Research shows it reduces high blood pressure, improves overall cardio health, protects vision, stops lung inflammation, and reduces tumor size. Preliminary research suggests that a specific French grape seed extract (VX1) may help guard against cancer by inhibiting cancer growth, eradicating cancer stem cells, and may help to prevent cancer recurrence.

What to look for: A standardized grape seed that provides easily absorbed, tannin-free OPCs. Make sure it is verified to be 100 percent authentic; some OPC supplements are adulterated, so it pays to be selective.

Typical dosage level: 150 mg to 400 mg of tannin-free grape seed extract.


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