10 Most Popular Alternative Supplements

Posted: November 27, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Alternative medicine is a multi-million dollar industry, with one in four Americans taking alternative supplements or seeing a non-traditional medical practitioner for their healthcare needs. Traditional doctors have begun to embrace the benefits as well, as dozens of well-respected studies have shown that alternative medicine can be safe and effective. There are hundreds of supplements out on the market, but there are ten that stand out as the most requested and regularly used. Keep reading to find out the 10 most popular alternative supplements. . . 

These 10 supplements are popular in the alternative health world . . . and are making their way into the “modern medicine” world as well:

1. Multivitamins. Multivitamins are combinations of various vitamins and minerals, rather than single supplements, and are thought to work better because of their synergistic effect. While the make-up of multivitamins varies, the most contain elements included are magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, D, C and E. Some multivitamins are chemically produced and fragmented, but there are all-natural multivitamins available. Among the most popular are multivitamins aimed at specific groups such as children, pregnant women, and senior citizens.

2. Fish oils. A rich source of vitamins A and D, fish oils also contain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which have a proven protective effect on heart health as they help discourage the formation of blood clots. Many studies have also shown the benefits of EPA and DHA for maintaining joint health and they are commonly used by those with arthritis and rheumatic pain. Fish oils have also become hugely popular for children, following studies that showed they helped to improve concentration and were useful for children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Fish oil supplements may include cod liver oil or oils taken from a variety of fish.

3. Saw Palmetto.
 The fruit of this North American palm tree is used to treat symptoms associated with prostate enlargement and mild urinary tract infections in men and women. Saw palmetto contains fatty acids and sterols.

4. Echinacea. Well-known for its antiviral properties, Echinacea is thought to work by increasing the white blood cell count, strengthening the immune system to help fight infections such as colds and flu. More and more people are taking Echinacea as a preventive measure to try to avoid developing colds and flu.


5. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA). 
Found in evening primrose and borage oil, GLA is an essential fatty acid that is important for the production of prostaglandins (fatty acid hormones), which occur throughout the tissues and body fluids. Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to help relieve pre-menstrual breast pain and menstrual cramps. It’s also good for improving skin condition and for joint pain.

6. Glucosamine.
 This natural substance is taken from shellfish such as lobster and crab. It is essential for growth and repair of joints, ligaments, and tendons. However, only small amounts are found in fish and animal products and glucosamine has to be synthesised by the body—a process that becomes more difficult as you age. 

7. Ginseng. There are two types of ginseng: Panax ginseng is taken from the root of the panax species of ginseng plant, which is found in the Far East and North America, while Siberian ginseng is taken from the root of the Eleutherococcus senticosus plant found in Russia. It has been used for centuries as a tonic to improve stamina and stress resistance. Ginseng may also help boost immunity and the body’s ability to fight off infection. In a society where we just don’t have time to take sick days, immune boosters are often taken as “health insurance.”

8. Valerian.
 The extract from the roots of this plant has natural sedative properties. It is non-addictive and doesn’t produce any hangover type of effects, making it a popular sleep remedy for people with short-term insomnia who don’t want to take prescription sleep aids.

9. Herbs for joint pain. Several herbs are used to alleviate joint pain (common among athletes and people with osteoarthritis), but some of the most popular include arnica (a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, traditionally used for bruises); devil’s claw (an anti-rheumatic and analgesic), and willow bark (the source of the active ingredient in aspirin and a natural anti-inflammatory).

10. Herbs for menopause. 
Traditional hormone replacement therapy has received a lot of bad press as of late, prompting more women to seek alternative treatments for the hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, and other common symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh, sage, and soya isoflavones are among the most popular natural remedies. Black cohosh has natural hormone-regulating properties and is widely used for treating hot flashes, and sage is used for controlling night sweats. Soya isoflavones are natural hormone-regulators, which may help control menopause symptoms.


You can find information on these and other natural supplements on Alternative Health Journal.com!

If you’re thinking of turning to a more alternative path when it comes to your health, these supplements are a good start. Just be wary of any interactions that may occur with current medications you are taking.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and Live Long!)


  1. […] Hope to share knowlege on health, wellness and fitness through experiences as Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, Strength/Conditioning Specialist and current PhD student in Holistic Nutrition. Original post […]

  2. Philip says:

    Hi Chris, reading on from your blog you will be very interested in a natural anti-inflammatory cream called PERCUTANE. Developed in New Zealand and used by the ALL BLACKS rugby team, it contains no acids, therefore can be used by young and old alike. It contains Arnica, Burdock, Aleo Vera and Capsacin, all plant extracts.

    If you would like me to send you some samples just email, also there are a number of articles they you may find interesting on the site.



  3. Chris says:

    Hi Chris,

    It’s quite interesting that you mention Fish Oils and GLA as extremely popular alternative supplements. Have you heard of hemp seed oil wich contains Omega 3 as well as having a high GLA content, there are various oils such as Good Oil on the market.

    Another interesting health fact is that compared with other culinary oils hemp seed oil is also low in saturated fatty acids.

    The main take out is probably that even when consumed in small amounts (10ml) per day it will make a substantial contribution to the intake of essential fatty acids more specifically gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the active ingredient in evening primrose oil.

    I should disclose GOOD OIL are a client of mine.

    If you’d like to sample some GOOD OIL, then drop me an email and I’ll send you some over to sample.

    Keep up the good work!


  4. Jacqueline says:

    Great list — definitely sharing it. I’ve been doing more research into WHY these supplements work so well — especially for menopause. Here is the best article I’ve found so far about the effectiveness of “phytotherapy”, another name for herbal supplements: http://www.womentowomen.com/menopause/phytotherapy.aspx

  5. Daniel Young says:

    From the list of above, the most essential supplement is multi-vitamins. Other supplements can be taken for your specific health needs, but a good multi-vitamin formula is a common need. Vitamins and minerals work together to create a synergy of health benefits. Look for a formula that contains bio-flavonoids. These help in the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. MultiVescense contains vitamins, minerals, bio-flavonoids, amino acids, antioxidants and CoQ10 for heart health. It is an effervescent multi-vitamin formula which means it comes in a powder that is to be mixed with water to form a bubbly refreshing drink. Effervescent technology offers 100% bio-availability. I’ve enjoyed taking this type of multi-vitamins and it gives me the essential nutrients I need for the day!

    • chriskolba says:

      The multi vit/min is a key component and it is important to find a good quality product from a reputable manufacturer.
      Thanks for the comment and hope to hear from you again.

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