The supplement world is a scary one—filled with false advertising claims and minimal to no vetting or testing.
The FDA does not regulate supplements the same way it does prescription drugs. So, supplement companies can—and do—make all sorts of wild claims about their products and they don’t have to back up those claims with any scientific evidence.
Furthermore, most supplements are not tested for safety or efficacy. Many include “proprietary blends” that can include any range of ingredients that are not disclosed. Even worse, there’s no guarantee that the ingredients listed on a supplement’s label are actually in the product. A recent study found that only 45% of supplements tested contained the ingredients listed on the labels.
However, it’s not all bad. There are some supplements that have plenty of clinical evidence that support their efficacy. And when the proper ones are used, they can indeed improve health, wellness, and aid in fitness goals.
Below are supplements that I have used personally and recommend to my clients. Clinical research has deemed all of the following supplements to be effective. The specific formulas I have selected are third-party tested and include clinically effective doses and no proprietary blends.
- General Health and Wellness Supplements
- Muscle Growth and Recovery Supplement
- Fat Loss Supplements
- Digestive Health Supplements
General Health and Wellness
I suggest that everyone take a multivitamin daily. It can alleviate the stress of trying to hit micronutrient targets by filling gaps in your diet. An effective multivitamin can prevent deficiencies also aid in immunity, sleep quality, energy, and other metabolic functions.
Best Multivitamin for Women – Legion Triumph Women’s Sports Multivitamin
This one in particular, is the best multivitamin that I have found. Most of the ones on the shelf at the pharmacy include such small doses that it is not going to make a difference. This one requires you to take 8 capsules a day…which is a lot. But it includes quantities that are proved to be clinically effective.
Best Multivitamin for Men – Legion Triumph Men’s Sports Multivitamin
I love this multivitamin for men for the same reasons I love the women’s version. Although this blog is geared toward women, I know I have some male readers and once you fall in love with the women’s version, you will want to get your husband, boyfriend, brother, etc. on the same one. This is the best one on the market for men. It’s what I suggest to all of my male clients.
Fish oil is another supplement I suggest to my clients. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a plethora of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and aiding in brain function. High quality fish oil supplements (made with the proper oils) can also improve blood pressure, enhance fat burning, improve muscle growth and aid in exercise recovery.
Best Fish Oil Supplement: Legion Triton Fish Oil
No, I am not sponsored or affiliated with Legion (although, I have shamefully tried), they simply have really good supplements. This one is my favorite fish oil supplement because it delivers clinically effective doses (it requires 4 capsules…so make sure you take the recommended quantity). And it uses all natural ingredients and re-esterified triglycerides (rTG), which is the omega 3 form that has the most clinical research to support its efficacy.
Muscle Growth and Recovery Supplements
If you read my protein article, you know that protein is a critical component of any diet, and its even more important when body composition goals are top of mind. If you are trying to lose fat or build muscle, protein is a crucial component of each strategy. However, when you are trying to eat 150+ grams of protein per day, it can be a challenge to do that without supplementation. (As it turns out, the carnivore diet is not a healthy one). So, enter the world of protein supplements.
Best Whey Protein – Isopure Dutch Chocolate
Isopure is my favorite brand of whey protein. They fortify their formulas with additional micronutrients and have zero added sugar or saturated fat. Plus they taste great.
Best Caesin Protein – Ascent Native Fuel Caesin
Ascent has my favorite Caesin powder. It has no added flavors, sugars or saturated fat. It’s also fortified with Potassium, Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron.
Best Plant Based Protein – Vega Sport
As far as plant based protein supplements go, Vega is my favorite. This formula. is fortified with BCAAs and essential aminos (both of which are generally a shortcoming of plant proteins).
Best Protein Bars – RXBAR
While you’re not going to get the 25 grams you will get with the why shake, if you prefer to eat your protein rather than drink it, these are for you. Made from all natural ingredients, these are the best nutrition bars on the market.
Creatine monohydrate is the most studied ergogenic aid on the market and has plenty of evidence supporting its anabolic, strength -enhancing effects. It can also aid in recovery. Clinical reviews have indicated that those who supplement with creatine can gain as much as 1 to 2 more kilograms per month than those who do not. Additionally there is a growing body of research to support creatine’s potential to prevent inflammatory diseases, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Best Creatine – Thorne
Thorne is a trusted supplement manufacturer and its products, including this one are NSF Certified for sport. They make all of their products in the U.S., and use only safe ingredients that improve efficacy. It also has been third party tested.
HMB is a metabolite of the essential amino acid, Leucine which is the key indicator in muscle protein synthesis. HMB has been shown to cause moderate improvements in strength in muscle mass when paired with resistance training.
Best HMB Supplement – Nutricost
This is my the HMB supplement I personally use and suggest to my clients. Like everything else on this list, it is GMP compliant and third party tested.
Beta alanine is an amino acid that has been shown to increase muscle synthesis and reduce fatigue by buffering intramuscular acidosis—particular in higher endurance activities. It can also improve anaerobic performance and help with recovery. While I would rank this at the bottom of the list of supplements to add to your stack, it may help improve results.
Best Beta-Alanine – Bulk Supplements
This Beta-Alanine supplement is what I suggest to my clients. It doesn’t have any fillers or artificial flavors. It’s third party tested and manufactured in an FDA registered facility.
Pre Workout Blend
Certain pre workout supplements combine ingredients that can effectively improve workout output, recovery and enhance the results from your workouts. Notably, there are many pre-workout formulas out there that include banned substances and other harmful fillers and ingredients so you need to do your research before making any pre workout purchases.
Best Overall Pre-Workout – Legion Pulse
This is a great pre-workout that can be purchased with and without caffeine. It is made with all natural ingredients and is supported by peer-reviewed studies.
Best Pre Workout for Cutting – AminoLean
This is the pre-workout I suggest for those looking to cut (lose fat), it includes the two fat burning supplements. have listed below along with BCAAs and EAAs. It’s also third party tested
Fat Loss Supplements
Carnitine is an amino acid that can help increase fat metabolism and improve exercise performance. There is research to indicate it can enhance fat loss. It’s been shown to be particularly effective in helping to burn stubborn fat deposits. It also has been show to improve reproductive health in men.
Best Carnitine – Thorne L-Carnitine Capsule
I suggest this Carnitine supplement to my clients. It doesn’t have any fillers, is made in the United States. It’s third-party tested and comes in pill form so you don’t have to worry about drinking a powder.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract has been shown to aid in fat loss and offer other health-promoting benefits. It contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which can help boost metabolism, increase fat oxidation, and reduce cravings. It’s also loaded with antioxidants which can help improve overall health.
Best Green Tea Supplement – ZenWise Green Tea Extract
This is my favorite green tea supplement because it contains 95% polyphenols and 50% EGCG for optimal potency. It also is enriched with vitamin C for additional antioxidant support. As with all other supplements on this list, ZenWise also does 3rd party testing and manufacturing takes place in an NSF certified facility.
Digestive Health Supplements
While not essential for everyone, I suggest digestive enzymes to those who suffer from food sensitive, chronic GI issues, and chronic bloating. Digestive enzymes are beneficial for improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and supporting overall gut health. They can help break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, aiding in nutrient absorption.
Best Digestive Enzymes – ZenWise Digestive Enzymes
This is my go-to digestive enzyme supplement that contains the enzymes to aid with the most common intolerances (lactose, fructose, galactoste). It also comes with prebiotic/probiotic strands to help support a healthy gut biome.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help promote digestive health by helping to maintain a healthy environment in your gut. They can help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, improve digestion, and reduce bloating. A probiotic supplement is an alternative to the digestive enzymes for those who do not have chronic GI symptoms or malabsorption.
Best Probiotic – HUM
This is my favorite probiotic supplement because it is quite reasonably priced compared to alternatives and it contains 10 strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which are both well supported by clinical research.
Disclaimer: I am a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, not a registered dietician or physician. The information in this post are meant to be for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult a licensed professional for specific dietary guidance
Please also note that some of the links above are affiliate links so I may earn a small commission off of purchases made through them. All thoughts and product selections are my own