Most supplements haven’t been proven to be effective, and some may not benefit you at all. Still, there are exceptions. In fact, some supplements are comparable to pharmaceutical drugs. Here are 4 natural, health-boosting supplements that are as powerful as drugs.
11 Red yeast rice
RYRE naturally contains several ingredients that may help control cholesterol levels. These include a number of monacolins, most importantly monacolin K. It also contains sterols, isoflavones, and monounsaturated fatty acids, or “healthy fats.”
Studies have shown that certain red yeast rice products that contain statin can significantly lower levels of total cholesterol and specifically LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. One showed that taking 2.4 grams per day reduced LDL levels by 22% and total cholesterol by 16% in 12 weeks. Another study showed that taking 1.2 grams per day lowered LDL levels by 26% in just eight weeks.
However, the results of these studies depend on the amount of statin that is in the extract, and it can vary widely. Keep in mind that the amount of monacolin — perhaps the most important ingredient — in a red yeast rice extract can vary a lot. There are many different strains of the yeast. Different types of fermentation are used.
Always talk to your doctor before you start using red yeast rice or any other supplement. Remember that not all brands are equal, and that RYRE isn’t safe for everyone.
Curcumin fights inflammation at the molecular level by blocking an inflammatory signalling molecule called NF-kB. It’s so effective that it has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs in some studies — without any major side effects.
For example, in a study in 45 people with rheumatoid arthritis, 500 mg of curcumin per day was more effective than the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.
Curcumin also has numerous other health benefits. It’s a powerful antioxidant, can improve heart health, and may help prevent cancer. It may also help fight depression. In fact, it proved as effective as the antidepressant drug prozac.
Nevertheless, curcumin is poorly absorbed, so it’s best to get a supplement that also contains piperine/bioperine, which has been shown to enhance its absorption by 2,000%.
It isn’t well known but may be one of the most powerful supplements on Earth. Berberine has been shown to lower blood sugar, cause weight loss and improve heart health, to name a few.
Berberine affects the body at the molecular level, and has a variety of functions inside cells. One of the main functions is activating an important enzyme called AMPK, which regulates metabolism.
This is the reason it is so effective at lowering blood sugar levels. In fact, its effectiveness is comparable to the popular diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage).
In a study in 116 people with type 2 diabetes, the substance reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 20% and HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels) by 12%.
Berberine has also been shown to have antibacterial effects and may protect against heart failure and cancer.
Keep in mind that this substance is very powerful and has a range of biological effects. Use it with caution and consult your healthcare provider — especially if you’re currently taking any other medications.
Studies show that garlic can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10–15%, on average. Even more importantly, aged garlic extract can significantly lower blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and early death.
In one study in 210 people with high blood pressure, aged garlic extract was even more effective than the blood-pressure-lowering drug atenolol.