As expected, supplement brands showed up in force at Expo East, but even with such a deep reserve, we’re confident after talking to these four brands that we correctly identified the best in the convention center.
From customizable probiotic supplements (shoutout to Ombre) to the wonders of a 20-month-aged garlic extract and a whole lot more, we were delighted to see how supplement brands are striving to deliver innovative, transparent solutions for real people.
Sure, maybe they weren’t as fun to sample as chicken chips and chocolate oatmeal, but these supplement brands have it where it counts – clean, targeted supplements that work.
Speaking of sampling dozens of different foods in a day, let’s start with Enzymedica, who provided a much-needed service to expo attendees with their next-level digestive enzyme products.
Enzymedica: Clinically Supported Digestive Enzymes
Definitely one of our most edifying and interesting encounters took place across the front counter of the Enzymedica booth, where East Coast Director Silvia Solaun poured out a quick, but very informative schooling on digestive health (and Enzymedica’s digestive enzyme products) into the mic.
Silvia’s spiel was built around an issue that many digestive enzyme supplements gloss over: the variability in the acidic environments of different parts of the digestive system.
“In your stomach, which I like to call ‘uptown,’ you need a pH of 1.0 to 3.5,” Silvia quipped, adding that the pancreas (midtown) needs a pH of 8.0 to 8.3 and the small intestine needs a pH of 7.5 to 8.0.
In other words, if you’re taking a digestive enzyme product that has not accommodated for this variability in acidity, then you’re giving the enzymes an uphill battle, as some enzymes are only activated in certain pH ranges, to name just one of several reasons this connection is important.
So, what’s Enzymedica’s answer? They call it Therablend.
Therablend is what Enzymedica has dubbed their clinically proven, patented formulation that allows each product to work optimally throughout the digestive tract by incorporating enzymes that thrive in each acidic environment mentioned above.
“That’s exactly what you get in every product we make,” Silvia proclaimed, using GlutenEase and Digest Basic – two of their most popular products – as examples.
Speaking of, most of their products come in capsules that you take with each meal – or at least, with each meal you know is going to be a doozy. You get the idea.
Thanks for the info, Silvia of Enzymedica!
Ombre: Customizable Probiotics
We simply cannot overstate the awesomeness of the highly active approach that Ombre is taking to determine the best probiotic products for their customers.
As Ombre Head of Science and Microbiome Specialist Kimberly Griffith explained to our team, Ombre offers gut wellness tests that provide a detailed readout on the condition of your gut’s bacterial makeup.
With this information, each customer can work with Ombre to determine the perfect combination of “clinically backed [probiotic] strains” for them.
Speaking of, Ombre offers a variety of targeted probiotic (and prebiotic, by the way) products, such as their Metabolic Booster and Endless Energy supplements.
But if you’re lost in the jargon (gut microbiome, probiotic, etc.), let’s backpedal for a moment and cover the basics of the gut microbiome.
As we explain in this beginner-friendly article on probiotics, the healthy human gut has roughly 100 trillion bacteria in it, both benevolent and not-so-benevolent – it is called a “microbiome” because of the insane density and variety of species within such a small space.
When you take probiotics, you are supplementing your “good guy” bacteria population by directly adding/replacing these good bacteria, and when you take prebiotics, you are giving the benevolent bacteria what they like to eat.
Considering the number of bacteria homesteading in our stomachs and the many ways in which we can alter these populations (diet, lifestyle, environment, and more), having a brand like Ombre that actually customizes products according to real test results is a huge win.
Sure, it’s not the sexiest product on the surface, but there’s simply no arguing around the power of individualized, scientifically proven supplements versus overhyped catch-alls.
Kyolic: Aged Garlic Extracts (20 Months!)
As we described Kyolic Director of Sales Jay Levy in our Expo East Day 2 Recap, the “world’s most passionate garlic enthusiast” has plenty to stand on in terms of the research supporting Kyolic’s aged garlic extracts.
Eastern medicine has relied on aged garlic for millennia – in fact, Kyolic is owned by a Japanese company called Wakunaga – and thanks to the philosophy of Kyolic’s founder to reinvest significantly into research, there are now more than 1000 peer-reviewed studies focusing on the healing properties of garlic.
As Jay explained to our team, the most consistent and dramatic benefit in the research has to be in the “vein” of cardio health (we had to).
As mentioned, the studies are plentiful, but the TL;DR is that aged garlic extract can both increase the amount of good cholesterol in our bodies and prevent (and possibly even reverse) oxidized cholesterol, i.e., plaque formation.
That said, the Kyolic product catalog certainly isn’t reaching by including bone and immune health products, digestion products, and more.
Speaking of Kyolic’s products, it was fascinating to learn how Kyolic ages their garlic – for a whopping 20 months, by the way – in huge tubs (think beer brewery) mixed with water and ethanol alcohol.
This promotes a bioconversion process that enhances the beneficial properties of the garlic; a more dramatic version of the example Jay gave us of an apple turning brown.
We can give you a sample of Kyolic aged garlic extract, and you can take it yourself to know that you won’t smell like garlic. I know that’s very important.Jay Levy, Director of Sales at Kyolic
And no, to address the elephant in the room, Kyolic will not make your breath smell like garlic.
Quick to nip that one in the bud (bulb?), Jay told us, “We can give you a sample of Kyolic aged garlic extract, and you can take it yourself to know that you won’t smell like garlic. I know that’s very important.”
Better Being: A Family of Innovative Wellness Brands
It quickly made sense to us why Better Being needed a bigger booth at the expo, as this family of brands has a whole lot to showcase.
Formerly Nutraceutical, Better Being owns Zhou, Solaray, Nu U Nutrition, Zand Immunity, Nature’s Life, and several more health and nutrition brands, covering a huge range of high-quality supplements and wellness products from vitamins to deodorant.
You would have to eat 50 cups of kale to get 350mg of magnesium.Max Willis, Chief Innovation and Science Officer at Better Being
Thankfully, Chief Innovation and Science Officer Max Willis and Nikita Austen of the Innovation Team were there to hone us in on a few of their newest and most impressive products as we gawked at what looked like a store within the expo.
Highlighting Solaray’s “Food Is Not Enough” campaign, Max featured Solaray’s Magnesium Glycinate, which delivers a powerful 350mg of magnesium.
“You would have to eat 50 cups of kale to get 350mg of magnesium,” explained Max, adding that the highly absorbable form of magnesium Solaray has developed is a key component in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, aiding in muscle performance/recovery, stress, and much more.
The focus on readily absorbable nutrients stood out again as Max walked us through the liposomal delivery system used in a new multivitamin rolled out by Solaray as part of the same campaign.
Finally, Nikita Austen talked up Zhou’s Plant Complete Protein, which, using pea and rice protein, was able to achieve a perfect PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) of 1.
This means that, though the product is completely plant-based, combining the amino acids from the two plant sources provides a complete protein with enough of each (and every) essential amino acid to sufficiently meet daily requirements.
If you haven’t noticed the theme at work in choosing our favorite supplement brands from Expo East yet, we’ll just lay it out for you: real science. Testable, proven formulations versus “micro-crystal action” nonsense. And out of dozens, these four brands delivered the most.