1. Wild Nutrition food-state supplements
‘Have you ever wondered why your urine turns fluorescent yellow after taking B vitamins? Most people think it means it’s working. It is, in fact, the body excreting what it can’t absorb and process,’ explains nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton, co-founder of Wild Nutrition, the first food-state supplement brand in the UK. Most supplements are produced synthetically – so a vitamin or mineral, such as calcium, is isolated from its natural food or plant source, replicated, then reproduced synthetically in tablet form (it will have ‘isolate’ on the label). However, the problem with this is that all of the co-enzymes and co-factors that would naturally be found in the whole food or plant are lost.
‘Food-state provides nutrients as close as possible to nature, so they exist within a food matrix of real contributing edible parts of natural food,’ Norton says. ‘This helps the body to recognise them as food, and allows them to be identified, absorbed, delivered and used far more efficiently than synthetically processed nutrients.’ More than 25 independent studies have found food-state supplements have higher bio-availability (the body absorbs and assimilates them efficiently), and are retained for longer within the body. Crucially, this also means that doses can be smaller and yet more effective.
Our verdict: I’ve been taking Wild Nutrition Food-State Magnesium, £16.50/60 capsules, before bed (it’s estimated that up to 80 per cent of us are deficient in magnesium), and have seen a marked improvement in stress and energy levels, and improved, restful sleep. And the new ranges for children, menopause and fertility are ground-breaking, too. For more information, see wildnutrition.com
2. Skinade collagen drink
Skinade says that if we ingested the equivalent amount of collagen in tablet form, we’d need to swallow 20 large tablets a day. Skinade’s high-grade hydrolysed marine collagen peptides, from the skin of freshwater fish, is low in sodium and free of mercury contamination, and comes in a convenient daily shot that’s perfectly palatable (it is sweetened with a small amount of sucralose). The drinks use special enzymes to gently hydrolyse the collagen peptides, which boosts absorption by the body.
Our verdict: Team Psychologies take their testing duties seriously, and when we furnished Lynne Lanning, acting art editor, with a 30-day supply of Skinade, we asked her to keep a note of how her skin felt, looked and any marked differences. At the end of the trial, we all agreed that her skin looked healthy and vital, and Lynne herself also felt that there had been a noticeable improvement in the smoothing of necklines. From £60 for a 20-day course; see skinade.com
3. Bloom matcha tea powder
Harnessing the extremely high antioxidant power of matcha green tea, these all-natural powdered teas deliver a big energy kick. Because the whole leaf is used (not just stewed as with green tea), matcha tea powder is 10 times higherin antioxidants than the equivalent amount of green tea, along with a high dose of L-theanine and caffeine.
Our verdict: A small spoon (included) mixed into warm, filtered water is easily drinkable with no pondy aftertaste. I have relied on this several times when I’ve had full days of events and family gatherings, and find that a single glass in the morning really does keep me perky and alert. But as someone who drinks very little caffeine, it did affect my sleep later that night – a low after the high! From £16.99 for 30g; see bloomtea.co.uk
4. Beauty & Go bioactive beauty drinks
Spanish skincare company Natura Bissé has teamed up with AMC Innova, a research and development company that produces bioactives and sports drinks, on this new Beauty & Go range. On the surface, this looks like a smart ‘super’ juice – but having worked for 10 years (and employed 106 scientists) to extract and preserve potent macro-antioxidants from the skins of fruit, this is actually a pioneering delivery system for nature’s best active ingredients.
Our verdict: In four pleasing flavours (sweetened with stevia), the targeted actions are Detox, Anti-Ageing, Radiance and Vitality. Suitable as a one-off health-boost, but best taken as a course – Detox, for example, contains pomegranate and lemon macro-antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, collagen, spirulina, and the toxin-eliminating extracts of nettle, dandelion, artichoke and broccoli. I have not taken it consistently but, at £2.99 a bottle, I do like the idea of hydrating with this rather than another ‘juice’ and getting the additional antioxidant benefits to boot. Available exclusively at Selfridges
5. Symprove probiotic drink
This is one of only three successful probiotics identified in a study by University College London. How does one assess success? 1) UCL tested that the number of claimed bacteria made it into the gut in a live state. Symprove delivered 100 per cent of its claim. 2) UCL tested the stomach survival time – did Symprove survive the stomach acid shock? Most of the tested probiotics were ineffective after five minutes. But after 120 minutes, Symprove remained intact. 3) Does the probiotic thrive and grow, successfully colonising the gut? After 10 hours, Symprove did just that – detectable as alive, growing and thriving.
Our verdict: I have just finished the full 12-week introductory course and noticed the benefits from the second week in. I’ve been far less susceptible to an upset stomach (having had IBS in the past), have come through the winter without compromised immunity, and have felt a lot more comfortable after meals. I drink a shot every morning on an empty stomach – the zingy tropical flavour isn’t the nicest, but it’s fine – and then have breakfast after 15 minutes. I will be taking this one indefinitely! From £21.95 for one week; see symprove.com
Photograph: Peathegee Inc/Blend Images/Corbis