Decode Your Supplements

Good Health LifestylesGet Healthy

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: Choline

What it is: Choline is a vitamin that works closely with B vitamins in the body.

Where it comes from: Eggs, spinach, wheat germ, and shrimp are good food sources of choline. One review found that adding even one egg per day to the diet would lift the numbers of pregnant women meeting the adequate intake of choline from 10 percent to 50 percent, and older men and women from 5 percent to 20 percent.

Main uses: Choline is a key nutrient for neural development at an early age and cognitive strength as we get older. It is also a required ingredient for physical stamina and muscle recovery after exercise. Plus, it reduces homocysteine, a harmful protein that can lead to high blood pressure, and helps prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

What to look for: A choline supplement that also includes niacin, folate, and other bioactive B vitamins. These nutrients work synergistically to promote daily energy plus cardiovascular, brain, and muscle health.

Typical dosage level: 150 mg to 450 mg daily.


Mineral: Molybdenum

What it is: Molybdenum is an essential mineral for proper DNA replication, building muscles and bones, and detoxification.

Where it comes from: Natural food sources of molybdenum include yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, pinto beans, peas, asparagus, whole grains, nuts, eggs, beef, and chicken.

Main uses: While deficiencies are rare, molybdenum has been used to treat Wilson’s disease, a disorder that allows too much copper to accumulate in the body. This same form of molybdenum may also inhibit tumor formation and inflammatory cytokine levels. For overall daily health needs, supplemental molybdenum is often included in multivitamin and mineral formulas.

What to look for: A glycinate chelate form of molybdenum (bound to the amino acid glycine) improves the absorption of the mineral in the digestive tract.

Typical dosage level: 45 mcg to 62.5 mcg daily.


Botanical: Rosemary

What it is: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a woody perennial herb used in cooking and traditional medicine.

Where it comes from: Rosemary originates along the Mediterranean, but is now cultivated worldwide.

Main uses: Rosemary is known as the “herb of remembrance” because of its traditionally recognized ability to preserve memory and boost mental recall. It is also known for halting headaches, improving circulation, and reducing inflammation. In addition, rosemary has been studied for its liver-protective action against drug-resistant bacterial infections. Rosemary oil is a source of camphor, pinene, and carnosic acid compounds that neutralize free radicals.

What to look for: An oil made of the aerial (above-ground) parts of the plant, including leaves and stems.

Typical dosage level: 250 mg to 2,000 mg daily.

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