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
Turmeric is a popular spice known for giving curry its yellow color.
It has been used as a medicinal herb in India for thousands of years.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful substance that has been studied thoroughly in recent years .
Curcumin fights inflammation at the molecular level by blocking an inflammatory signaling 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
According to one study, curcumin may also help fight depression. In fact, it proved as effective as the antidepressant drug Prozac
Berberine is a bioactive substance extracted from certain plants.
It isn’t well known but maybe one of the most powerful supplements on Earth.
It provides various health benefits but is particularly effective at lowering blood sugar levels.
These effects are thought to be due to numerous mechanisms. In particular, berberine is believed to reduce glucose production in your liver and improve insulin sensitivity (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Studies show that taking berberine can lower blood sugar levels to a similar extent as the popular diabetes drug metformin (4Trusted Source).
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% (5Trusted Source).
Berberine is also very effective at improving another health marker
Garlic is a popular ingredient in cuisines worldwide, but it has also been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years, including by the Greeks and Romans (28Trusted Source).
The main effects of garlic are due to one of its active compounds, allicin, which is highly beneficial for heart health
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 people with elevated levels, garlic can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) by 8.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by 7.3 mm Hg, on average.
In one study in 210 people with high blood pressure, aged garlic extract was even more effective than the blood-pressure-lowering drug atenolol
- Red yeast rice
Statin drugs are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world.
They inhibit the production of cholesterol in your liver, leading to significantly reduced blood cholesterol levels.
Interestingly, an extract of a type of fermented rice called red yeast rice may have similar effects.
It contains small amounts of monacolin K, which is the active ingredient in the statin
According to a review of 93 studies, red yeast rice lowered total cholesterol by 34 mg/dL on average, LDL (bad) cholesterol by 28 mg/dL, and triglycerides by 35 mg/dL. Plus, it increased HDL (good) cholesterol by 6 mg/dL
What’s more, in a study in 5,000 people in China who had experienced heart attacks, red yeast rice reduced the risk of subsequent heart attacks by 45% and the risk of dying during the study period by 33%