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Functional nutrition is one of the newest buzzwords to hit the wellness world—but these products are more than just hype; they actually walk the talk.
With additional ingredients that make their nutritional value go above and beyond just vitamins and minerals, items like medicinal mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, and collagen-loaded broths fit the bill for superior functional nutrition products.
We know you’ll love these six brands we saw at Expo East 2022 as much as we did—and your body will thank you, too.
If you’ve ever downed a pre-workout drink before heading to the gym, you know that common ones on the market tend to cause jitters and itchiness due to high amounts of caffeine and beta-alanine, respectively.
4 Gauge rectifies these issues by adding a relatively-moderate amount of caffeine—150mg per serving, or the amount found in a double shot of espresso—plus several other high-quality ingredients that help you both during and after your workout.
It tastes great, but more than that, it feels great when you drink it—it’s got everything you need to get a good workout.Connor Southworth, Chief Fitness Officer at 4 Gauge
A smart pairing found in 4 Gauge is caffeine plus L-theanine—an amino acid found in green tea—that actually changes your brain waves to create calm and focused energy without the jitters.
Plus, 4 Gauge incorporates Rhodiola rosea—a cognitive-supporting adaptogenic herb—and the muscle builder’s best friend, creatine monohydrate, which also increases hydration and reduces fatigue.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t briefly mention the other ingredients in 4 Gauge that were designed from clinical research to energize, build muscle, and aid in post-exercise recovery, including beetroot extract, L-citrulline, coconut water powder, and acetyl-L-carnitine.
As CFO—that’s Chief Fitness Officer, not financial—Connor Southworth tells us, 4 Gauge “tastes great, but more than that, it feels great when you drink it—it’s got everything you need to get a good workout.”
And what you need is three things: balanced energy, vasodilation to improve blood flow, and nutrient support for better post-exercise recovery—all wrapped up in hyper-masculine packaging with plenty of gun puns (both the firearm and the bicep varieties).
P.S. They’ve also got a “4 Women” line with clinically-researched doses for females looking to improve their gym performance (but don’t worry, it’s not pink).
Although some people might be averse to drinking mushrooms, Om is quick to dispel this fungi-phobia.
Om Mushroom Superfoods has a wide variety of functional mushroom products, ranging from shroomy lattes to hot chocolate to protein powder—but if you’re still not sold, you can take their mushroom capsules to reap all of the same benefits.
“Our goal is for people to eat mushrooms every day,” said Om Mushroom Founder Sandra Carter, who, by the way, has an impressive lineup of letters behind her name, including an M.A., MPH, and Ph.D. in preventative medicine—NBD.
Sandra and her co-founder, Steve Farrar—a mycologist with over 30 years of ‘shroom experience—grow 11 varieties of mushrooms in an environmentally controlled, cGMP-certified facility in Carlsbad, California, ensuring that the mushrooms are free of toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals.
The fun-guys (and girls) at Om shared with us some of their Master Blend Plant-Based Protein, which contains ten functional mushrooms (bet you didn’t even know there were that many) plus 150mg of organic botanical adaptogens like ashwagandha, turmeric, and ginkgo biloba.
These superstar functional mushrooms are more potent than the ones you’d find atop a veggie pizza or salad bar—but not as strong as those other types of ‘shrooms (no psychedelic experiences here).
Our goal is for people to eat mushrooms every day.Sandra Carter, Founder of Om Mushroom Superfoods
Some of the most well-known functional mushrooms are chaga, lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps, which may support sleep, mood, and cognitive, immune, and gut health.
If you’re curious about the taste of these products, don’t worry—besides a pleasant and slightly earthy flavor, it won’t taste anything like you’re chugging a blended portabella smoothie first thing in the morning.
In fact, if you gave us a protein powder taste test, we doubt we’d be able to pick out the mushroom-loaded one in the line-up.
You know a ginger shot is potent when you can feel the burn (and the sinus-clearing) on the way down—and Remedy Organics’ “Heal Me” Wellness Shot definitely fits the bill.
With a wide array of functional wellness beverages and immunity shots, Remedy Organics is full of organic and herbal ingredients designed to support digestive and immune health.
The inspiration to start all this began in my home kitchen—I’m a big believer in using food as medicine and natural remedies for healing and prevention, so everything you see in this is my innovation.Cindy Kasindorf, Founder of Remedy Organics
Founder Cindy Kasindorf was clear on her commitment to never compromise on ingredient quality, and the samples we tried were boldly flavorful—even their traditional strawberry shake had leveled-up ingredients, including dragon fruit, prebiotics, adaptogenic herbs, botanicals, and mushrooms.
With her background as a holistic nutritionist, Cindy tells us that her “inspiration to start all this began in my home kitchen—I’m a big believer in using food as medicine and natural remedies for healing and prevention, so everything you see in this is my innovation.”
All Remedy Organics products are organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher—and they also have a line of Keto Wellness Shakes in cold brew and chocolate varieties.
As we head into cold and flu season, we’d recommend the “Protect Me” shot—full of elderberry, zingy ginger, and cayenne, providing vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc to support your immune system all winter long.
If you want the benefits of bone broth without having to simmer cow knuckles and chicken feet on the stove all day, Dr. Kellyann has got you covered with her selection of highly nutritious, ready-to-drink bone broth products that give you all the nutritional benefits without the hassle.
More than bone broth, Dr. Kellyann also offers collagen bars, shakes, super smoothies, and even collagen-boosting face masks.
They’re great for gut health, intermittent fasting, or just a daily sipping drink.Andrew Baldwin, Vice President of Sales at Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth
Dr. Kellyann Petrucci founded her namesake company after studying biological medicine at the Marion Foundation and Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland, where she realized the ancient power of collagen and “liquid gold” bone broth to heal the gut and slow aging.
As Andrew Baldwin, Vice President of Sales, tells us, Dr. Kellyann’s bone broths are “great for gut health, intermittent fasting, or just a daily sipping drink.”
He continues, saying, “They’ve got 15 grams of protein and up to 5.5 grams of collagen, so you’re going to get a great snack replacement or coffee replacement that’s going to nourish you.”
And with tasty flavors like French Onion, Rosemary Thyme, and Thai Lemongrass, this bone broth is anything but boring—plus, they come in both liquid and powdered form, allowing us to stash some collagen-loaded goodness in our carry-ons.
No one knows garlic better than Kyolic Director of Sales Jay Levy, who touted Kyolic’s aged garlic extract products as a research-backed promoter of better heart health.
We walked away from our brief meeting with Jay with the clear impression that this brand’s products are among the most well-researched in the industry.
Levy generously provided us with a ton of amazing insights into the health benefits of garlic—in addition to cardiovascular health, it also supports cognitive and immune function— and how Kyolic brings those benefits forward with over 900 peer-reviewed published scientific articles that demonstrate its efficacy.
Namely, aging the garlic for 20 months allows it to undergo a bioconversion process that enhances its nutritional value.
We know you don’t want to smell like garlic, but you can take it yourself just to know that you won’t smell like garlic.Jay Levy, Director of Sales at Kyolic
One of the downsides to other garlic products is the odor—but Kyolic’s proprietary 20-month garlic aging process eliminates both that “garlicky” odor and potentially harsh side effects.
And while most people love the smell of garlic cooking, we don’t usually love it on our breath (although some Italians might disagree).
As Jay told us, Kyolic is “continuing to educate and research the product for the good of the population, [and] we want everybody to take it…. We know you don’t want to smell like garlic, but you can take it yourself just to know that you won’t smell like garlic.”
The future of gut health is here with Ombre—an at-home, easy-to-use microbiome test that merges science and self-care into an experience that provides personalized diet and probiotic recommendations.
Sharing all the details with us were Liza Jacobus (VP of Operations) and Kimberly Griffith (Microbiome Specialist, Head of Science), with the latter being the research-loving mastermind behind all of Ombre’s evidence-backed probiotic supplements.
If you’ve ever wanted a probiotic specifically targeted for heart health, mood enhancement, immunity, and more, Ombre is the one-stop shop for strain-specific probiotics and microbiome reports made just for you.
All you have to do is take a simple at-home gut microbiome test (there’s minimal ick factor here, don’t worry), and in less than three weeks, you’ll get a unique gut bacteria report and personalized food and probiotic recommendations tailored to your results.
[Ombre provides] probiotics based on clinically backed strains, [and] all of our probiotics are targeted for metabolic health, immunity, and gut health.Kimberly Griffith, Head of Science at Ombre
Kimberly told us a bit more about their process, explaining that Ombre provides “probiotics based on clinically backed strains, [and] all of our probiotics are targeted for metabolic health, immunity, and gut health.”
Gone are the days of blinding popping probiotic pills with no idea if they’ll work for you—as Kimberly states, “We can tell you the best probiotic based on your microbiome.” Sign us up!
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