I recently spent a very exciting and exhausting week at Natural Products Expo West 2022, held in Anaheim, California. This is one of the largest trade events for natural, organic and healthy lifestyle products. It’s always a lot of fun chatting with people who are truly dedicated to improving your health and quality of life.
I attend the show every year, along with about 85,000 others, but it’s not open to the public. So I want to take you behind the curtain, so to speak, to introduce you to some of the best new products either on the market or soon-to-be introduced to you, the consumer.
This year, I was on the hunt for Best in Show based on my own stringent criteria. I use the acronym STEP2: Safety, Sustainability, Transparency, Traceability, Efficacy, Evidence, Potency and Purity. Every product or ingredient I’ve selected has passed all these criteria. In each case, one happens to really shine.
Safety (Children’s Nutrition)
Not a lot of dietary supplement and functional food companies specialize in children’s nutrition. Genetics give you a range of how tall you may be, but nutrition determines where you fall in that range. Ensuring a child is nourished with the proper nutrients prior to puberty could impact their final adult height. What’s new for kids who may be a bit smaller than their peers are Healthy Heights shakes. They aren’t just extra protein or extra calories. These are based on the research and experience by Schneider Children’s Medical Center, the world-renowned experts for helping children achieve optimal growth.
Millions of dollars in research have connected sustainably sourced tocotrienols — a form of vitamin E found abundantly in the oil palm fruit — with brain health. The latest preliminary studies tie tocotrienols with improved brain recovery after a concussion. While tocotrienols aren’t new, they remain a must-have nutrient and I was happy to see them represented at Expo West.
Transparency (Stress Busting)
Stress is one thing on everyone’s mind. KSM Ashwaganda has been clinically shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, and lower cortisol levels. Best of all, for those who tend to hit the fridge or pantry when they feel anxious, this may help relieve stress-related food cravings. BUT … what I’ve come to learn is that the American Botanical Council has recently warned about a rise in adulterated ashwagandha products that contain the dry leaf, which has different and undesirable active molecules compared to the roots, and is intended for topical application only. Look for the ingredient “KSM-66” on your supplement bottle as it is made by Ixoreal Biomed, which owns and controls its entire supply chain
Efficacy (Body-Ready Wellness)
More than 2,000 papers have shown that quercetin has wide-ranging health benefits including immune health, sports performance, antioxidant, cardioprotective, chondroprotective and allergy relief benefits. The problem has always been that it can be very bitter and poorly absorbed by the body. A new ingredient from Taiyo, SunActive IsoQ has solved both of those issues. It’s soon to be available at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe.
When it comes to evidence around boosting energy and metabolism, very few products measure up. We need to avoid stimulants and go for pure energy. Based on recent evidence, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about ingredients known as “AMPK boosters.” AMPK is an enzyme that helps balance energy consumption and production. As we age, our natural AMPK activity declines. Optimal AMPK levels at any age help ensure we have ideal metabolism. Evidence shows that a special ingredient called Bioenergy Ribose, widely available in consumer products, can naturally improve energy production as an AMPK booster.
Potency (New Nutrient Delivery System)
Jelly-like Smart Chews from ConCordix are popping up in numerous high-quality supplement lines, including Childlife Essentials. Unlike gummies, they dissolve easily in your mouth so they’re easier to swallow. Each chew holds the right amount of active ingredients (for example, 15 times more EPA/DHA than average gummies) and those nutrients are easier for the body to absorb.
Purity (Sports Nutrition)
The new Spartan product line is the next generation of sports nutrition, ideal for weekend warriors. Each product for such specific benefits such as immune support, energy and focus. Each also carries Informed Sport certification, confirming that the formulas are safe, and free of contamination and impurities. That’s important whether you’re an athlete who will be tested or a weekend warrior who wants a very clean product
Stay healthy everyone!