The Truth Behind Natural Elixirs

Standing in front of a beverage case at a convenience store, the array of vitamin- and nutrient-enhanced drinks can be dizzying. Special ingredients and flavors inspired by the trendiest elixirs keep popping up — dragonfruit, mangosteen, noni — making the simple act of choosing a thirst-quencher that much more confusing.

Do you need something to help you sleep? Lose weight? Recharge your batteries? What about enhancing your "energy level (and productivity), and overall wellness," as one green tea company claims? Reading the labels can really get your head spinning. For instance, the Synergy brand kombucha bottles are patterned with the words: rejuvenate, restore, revitalize, replenish, and regenerate. Yes, please!

Click here for The Truth Behind Natural Elixirs Slideshow.

But let's take a step back — is kombucha really a good night's sleep in a glass bottle? We decided to compare the claims that popular brands make with the published research and opinions of actual health experts. The main health boost in many of the purported elixirs like green tea and pomegranate juice comes from the significant amount of antioxidants they contain, which can help "scavenge" free radicals, meaning antioxidants can lessen the cell damage that an infection, UV exposure, or unhealthy eating causes.

Whether açai or kombucha are magic potions that can elongate life and stave off disease may never be determined, but there are two truths that health experts want you to remember. As exciting as they can be, laboratory study findings don't always pan out for human ailments in the real world. And most importantly, no elixir can do what a healthy diet and lifestyle can do for you. Keep reading to find out if your enhanced beverage of choice is really doing the trick.

Click here for The Truth Behind Natural Elixirs Slideshow.