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When it comes to shopping in the supplements aisle, you have so many options. And they all hold promises: Get more energy! Score shiny hair! Live longer! But which promises should you believe, And just how much should you self-prescribe? “If you're looking for just some basic health and beauty benefits, collagen is going to be a fairly safe bet to bring into your daily routine,” says Kate Cline, RD, a functional medical nutrition practitioner in Dublin, OH. “If you are looking for therapeutic benefits, such as dealing with osteoarthritis, it may be best to work with a trained health practitioner who understands some of these nuances and can help you personalize the best type, dosage, and duration for your situation and goals.”
Whichever supplement you choose, check that it’s third-party tested. “If a product claim seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Jay Sirois, PhD, senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington, DC. “Some bad actors are selling illegal products that promise miracle benefits or cures. You should avoid any product with exaggerated label claims, especially from companies you have never heard of being sold via online marketplaces. And please know, ‘natural’ does not always mean ‘safe.’”
Meet the Expert
- Kate Cline, RD, a functional medical nutrition practitioner in Dublin, OH.
- Jay Sirois, Ph.D., senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington, DC.
- Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, is a dietician and the CEO of NY Nutrition Group and a medical expert board member of Eat This Not That.
- Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist at Cheerful Choices.
- Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, CDCES, a registered dietitian at Net Luxury.
- Ashley Larsen, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Fresno, CA.
What to Look For in a Beauty and Health Supplement
When it comes to choosing a supplement, Moskovitz recommends looking for a product that’s been tested by a third-party company. “While most supplements are relatively safe, they're not regulated by the FDA,” she says. “For that reason, some products may not have all the ingredients listed on the label. Fortunately, there are third-party testing companies that check for product quality or safety issues. Look for a USP, ConsumerLab, or an NSP seal on the back of the bottle to guarantee quality control."
Thoroughly read the ingredient list
Specifically, Moskovitz recommends looking for any unusual or unfamiliar ingredients on a supplement’s ingredient list. “Many supplements will contain some well-known nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium; however, there are also a plethora of herbs and extracts that are often bundled in to enhance the results and marketability of a product,” she says. “Most of these are innocuous, but if you're taking any prescription medications or have certain medical conditions, these extras might do more harm than good.” Her advice? Always consult with a dietician or your prescribing MD to ensure that the supplement is safe for you.
Check the claims
Supplement brands often make lofty claims about their products, but they’re usually not as life-changing as they’re sometimes marketed to be. That said, Moskovitz says it’s up to you to do your own research. “Supplements are expensive and can eat up a lot of your paycheck, especially if you’re committing to daily consumption,” she says. “For that reason, before you go to your cart to check out, make sure you fully check out all the claims and associated research. Supplements can be helpful, but their results are often subtle and are certainly not a quick-fix cure. They are only effective when they are truly filling in a gap, targeting a specific issue, or contain specific ingredients that are well-studied—and in some cases, you’re not getting more than false hope in a well-packaged bottle.”
To clear up the confusion, we tapped nutrition experts to get the scoop on which supplements actually work—and are safe to consume. Read on for the best beauty and health supplements on the market now.
Best Overall: Nature Made Multivitamin Complete
No artificial flavors
When choosing from dozens of multivitamins, which should you opt for? “The vitamins aisle can be overwhelming, with tons of different options to choose from,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist at Cheerful Choices. “If you’re looking for a well-rounded vitamin to take every day, I recommend Nature Made’s Multivitamin Complete. Although we should strive to get all our vitamins and minerals through food, this type of vitamin is helpful for someone who thinks they may have some nutrient gaps in the diet. Plus, you can feel confident about your purchase because Nature Made vitamins are third-party-tested and USP-verified. This ensures they are science-supported, contain quality ingredients, and follow strict manufacturing processes.”
Key Ingredients: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 soft gel | Certified: USP Certified
Best for Skin: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Minimal ingredient list
No added sugars
Free of gluten and dairy
Not for vegetarians or pescatarians
Collagen is a favorite supplement for beauty fans. “I personally use this supplement, says Diana Gariglio-Clelland RD, CDCES, a registered dietitian at Net Luxury. “One serving provides 18 grams of protein, including all of the essential amino acids. I also like that there aren't any added ingredients or fillers besides collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C— which can all support healthy skin. Plus, it easily dissolves into warm and cold liquids without being gritty or clumpy. I stir a scoop into my latte for a protein boost every morning!”
Key Ingredients: Bovine hide collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C | Age Range: Adults | Dosage: 2 scoops (20 grams) | Certified: Whole30, USDA0-certified, non-GMO, NSF Certified cGMP facility, approved by ConsumerLab, kosher
Best for Joints: BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin
Turmeric is a go-to supplement for its anti-inflammatory effects. “It’s important to note that although cooking with turmeric is good, you likely won’t get nearly enough curcumin for therapeutic benefits,” says Lisa Leslie-Williams, PharmD, a holistic wellness expert. “Hence, supplementation is key. And although curcumin is impressive, it’s not readily absorbed by the body without the addition of piperine, also known as black pepper extract. Piperine increases the availability of curcumin in the blood by 2,000 percent.”
Thus, it’s important to choose a turmeric supplement that contains both turmeric and black pepper. “Bio Schwartz Turmeric Curcumin is affordable and uses turmeric root powder, along with 95 percent curcumin extract and black pepper,” says Ashley Larsen, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Fresno, CA. “Since the capsules contain the root powder, you can open them up and make a tea.”
Key Ingredients: Turmeric, turmeric extract, and black pepper fruit extract | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 3 capsules | Certified: cGMP compliant
Best for Anti-Aging: NOW Super Antioxidants NOW Super Antioxidants
“There are two primary causes of accelerated aging that appear on the skin,” says Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “These include excessive unprotected sun exposure and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs form as a result of sugar combined with fat or protein—a description that fits most processed convenience foods like potato chips, baked goods, and ice cream. Vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients work to counteract this damage. For this reason, I recommend supplementing with antioxidant-specific supplements, like NOW’s Super Antioxidants. Antioxidants are plant compounds that stimulate the immune system and are also responsible for reducing inflammation by preventing clumping of blood platelets.”
Key Ingredients: Green tea extract, milk thistle extract, turmeric root extract, quercetin, bromelain extract, rosemary, grape seed extract, ginkgo biloba extract, ginger root, hawthorn extract, cranberry powder, bilberry extract | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 capsules | Certified: cGMP compliant, Underwriters Laboratories Dietary Supplement Certification
Best for Hair: Jarrow Formulas Biotin
Google “beauty supplements,” and biotin is sure to come up. “Biotin is a B vitamin that helps convert food into energy,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “It is especially important for healthy hair, skin, and nails—and plays a critical role in fetal growth and development during pregnancy. Adequate biotin intake may also help regulate blood sugar levels. Jarrow Formula’s Biotin has been third-party tested and provides 5,000 micrograms of the naturally occurring form of biotin.”
Key Ingredients: Biotin, calcium | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 capsule | Certified: NSF Certified cGMP facility, Quality Assurance International
Meet the Expert
- Lisa Leslie-Williams, PharmD, a holistic wellness expert in the Washington, DC metro area.
- Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.
- Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet.
- Mona Fahoum, ND, owner of Meridian Medicine in Seattle.
- Emma Willingham, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Best for Sleep: Natural Vitality Calm Sleep Magnesium Citrate
Not for long-term use
When you need a little help sleeping, a product with magnesium could be a great choice. “This is a powdered mix to be stirred into a small glass of water before bed,” says Gariglio-Clelland. “It contains nutrients scientifically proven to promote relaxation and sleep, such as melatonin, magnesium, and L-theanine. The dose is customizable from ½ teaspoon to 2 teaspoons, allowing you to find the right dose for your individual need.”
Key Ingredients: Magnesium carbonate, magnesium glycinate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, L-theanine, melatonin | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 teaspoons (4 grams) | Certified: Non-GMO
Best for Stress: Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager
“Our hormones are like a big ball of yarn,” says Mona Fahoum, ND, owner of Meridian Medicine in Seattle. “They are organized in and of itself, but you can quickly get a tangled mess. Thyroid, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and insulin are all responding and reacting to one another—creating nutrient and hormone imbalances in the body. Getting the tangled mess back into an orderly ball of yarn is sometimes easy and is sometimes difficult. Adaptogens are powerful supplements that can boost those imbalances and deficiencies.”
Featuring ashwagandha and L-theanine, Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager is designed to reduce stress. "Ashwagandha is a rejuvenating adaptogen,” adds Fahoum.
Key Ingredients: Ashwagandha, L-theanine, magnolia bark extract, phosphatidylserine | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 tablets | Certified: Certified Vegan, NSF Certified, Emerson Quality Program
Best for Heart Health: Nordic Naturals Omega-3
Third-party purity tested
Consult doctor if allergic to iodine or take blood thinners
If you’re not eating several servings of fatty fish a week, a supplement containing EPA and DHA omega-3s is a good idea. “Most people could benefit from consuming more protective, anti-inflammatory omega-3's,” says Emma Willingham, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital. “A lot of times, this can be accomplished through supplementation with fish oil. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 is my preferred omega-3 supplement. Many people report that they notice a difference in their hair and skin quality when meeting their omega-3 needs with fish oil.” Per two soft gels, you get 330 milligrams EPA and 220 milligrams DHA. These omega-3s not only offer beauty benefits but are beneficial for heart health, too.
Key Ingredients: Purified deep sea fish oil | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 soft gels | Certified: Non-GMO
Best for Bones: Nature’s Way Vitamin D3 Gummies
Contains added sugar
“I look at the risk of deficiency for vitamin D, which affects a lot of people,” says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition. “I advise any clients who have lactose intolerance; avoid dairy or eat minimal amounts; are over the age of 50; have a history of osteopenia or osteoporosis; or have any type of autoimmune, liver, pancreatic, or kidney disease to get their vitamin D level checked. If they're not having labs done soon, I suggest a minimum of 1,000 IU a day or more depending on their history.” Vitamin D helps keep bones healthy and strong, helps your body absorb calcium, and is beneficial for immune health, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin D3 is better absorbed by your body, versus vitamin D2.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin D3 | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 gummies | Certified: Quality Global Sourcing
Meet the Expert
- Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition.
- Michelle Gautreaux, RD, a registered dietitian at Real Meals Delivered.
- Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN, owner of Cultivate Healthy in the Washington, DC area.
- Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT, the Nutrition Twins and creators of The 21-Day Body Reboot in New York City.
Best for Immunity: Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Capsules
Who doesn’t want to help their immune system function better? “The rich antioxidant content of elderberry may help support the immune system,” says Palinski-Wade. “In addition, elderberry has been associated with reducing inflammation. Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry is a great choice, made from concentrated organic black elderberry extract. It’s been both purity and third-party tested. And this supplement is vegan and free of soy, dairy, and gluten, making it a great choice no matter what your dietary restrictions.”
Key Ingredients: Organic black elderberry fruit extract, acerola | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 capsules | Certified: B Corporation
Best for Protein: Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake Coconut Almond
Made in a facility that handles dairy and egg
“I like this product because it has a great taste and provides 20 grams of vegan protein from pea protein powder and seeds,” says Michelle Gautreaux, RD, a registered dietitian at Real Meals Delivered. “Plus, it’s easy to digest—some other protein powders cause gas or bloating. I also prefer this product because it contains greens and a multitude of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3s and prebiotics.”
Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN, owner of Cultivate Healthy in the Washington, DC area, agrees. “Using seed and pea proteins, and stevia as a sweetener, this protein powder is tasty and loaded with nutritious plant-based ingredients without all of the junk some other products contain.”
Key Ingredients: Pea protein, veggies, and fruit blend, golden flaxseed, pea starch | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: X | Certified: Vegan, USDA organic, non-GMO
Out of the hundreds of beauty and health supplements out there, a handful shine bright. Of note, a multivitamin like Nature Made Multivitamin Complete can help support overall health, while one like Jarrow Formulas Biotin can help you achieve healthy hair, skin, and nails. If you’re looking for an immune health boost, Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry also received top scores from Team Byrdie.
How do beauty and health supplements work?
“Beauty and health supplements work by promoting health inside your body, by boosting antioxidant status, and fighting inflammation and/or stimulating collagen growth,” say, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT, the Nutrition Twins and creators of The 21-Day Body Reboot in New York City. “This is instead of being used topically like cosmetics.”
As well, health supplements can help address underlying nutritional deficiencies that are difficult to correct through diet, adds Willingham. “Sometimes we experience physical or aesthetic consequences from nutrition deficiencies, such as decreased hair quality or thickness,” she says. “If needed and used correctly, supplements can indirectly improve aspects of our aesthetic appearance.”
How often should you take beauty and health supplements?
For a beauty or health supplement to be most effective, it’s best to follow the directions on the product’s label.
Do beauty and health supplements expire?
“Dietary supplements do not require an expiration date, but if there is no expiration date, there needs to be a manufacturing date,” says Lakatos and Lakatos Shames. “However, many companies choose to have an expiration date for the convenience of the consumer.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Amy Gorin, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She specializes in plant-based nutrition and is one of the most recognized nutrition experts in America. For this story, she interviewed 15 additional experts to recommend their go-to products and advise on how to choose the right beauty supplement for your needs and budget.