People always ask me for recommendations on supplements. Here is a good starter.
Prevention is the goal of these supplements. If you have a disease see a doctor. This is about trying to help your body keep itself in optimal condition to prevent your body from getting to the point you actually have one of the conditions. I believe to do that you need to supply your body with the nutrients it needs.
First, you have to identify your interest in supplements and what drives it. You could be looking at cholesterol or other heart markers or looking at family history of heart disease or cancer. You could be looking for better brain function, better sex, better results from exercise, more resistance to disease, help with diabetes or preventing diabetes, help with your diet or just general longevity.
I have categorized all the studies I see and the supplements into these different categories. I then add up the number of studies in each category to see which supplements seem to have the strongest evidence of working. This can only be advisory since all these studies are flawed. Negative studies get a -1 or -2 if they show something doesn’t work or even produces negative results. Studies get a +1 +2 +3 depending on the strength of the evidence.
Use of supplements and all medical or health information has turned out to be very individual therefore it is impossible to say something will work for you without knowing a lot more about you and how you react. It has taken 20 years of continuous experimentation on myself to pick the recipe I like. I am certain it is helping with a number of things for me. I am hoping that they are helping with some other things that aren’t possible to evaluate subjectively or objectively with blood tests.
The strongest overall recommendation I can make are for the following. Sometimes I will call out a specific manufacturer where I think there is a substantial benefit of the formula or something about the manufacturer I think is critical to obtain the best results. In other cases I will simply refer generically to a supplement and you can experiment with finding a cheap source. I strongly advise everyone to subscribe to Comsumerlabs.com as they test supplements to see which actually contain what they say they contain. It has become apparent that not everything that is labeled as containing X contains X. Therefore it is good to support these guys and they have great information as well. For a small annual fee you are really helping the world and everybody be sure of getting quality supplements.
This is my list of the top 10 supplements to take for overall health.
1. Best One-a-day Rainbow Light Rejuvenage 40+
This supplement contains a wide array of good stuff much too long to list or talk about. If there is an all-in-one supplement my opinion is this is the best out there. You have to take 4 of these a day to get all it has but it is worth it. I use this particular supplement because it contains whole food versions. This is important because sometimes we don’t know what is causing an effect. I’d rather have the whole food as much as possible. Rainbow Light is based in the Bay Area and is reputable. Lastly, it has an incredible array of the right things and not too much of anything not so good. I like the probiotic content although not sure it is that useful. Nonetheless, I advocate Rainbow light in general and this product in particular.
2. D-3 (1000mg additional)
Do not take more than 2000mg (with the Rainbow Light included) that means only 1,000mg more. This is easily obtained for instance at Costco for pennies per dose. D-3 is associated with dramatic reductions in cancer, improvements in brain function, immune system improvements.
3. Aspirin (Ecotrin or Excedrin 250mg-325mg)
Recent studies have shown that the combined benefit of Aspirin on both heart disease and cancer makes it worth the possible complications for women and men of almost all ages. One of the main causes of heart attacks is rupture of plaques caused by infection. Infection can come from the mouth or anyplace. Inflammation has also been shown to be a major vector of cancer. Constant inflammation damages cells nuclei and genetic material resulting in eventual cancer. This is pretty well established science and the results of aspirin are also pretty well studied. It dramatically reduces both heart disease and cancer incidence as well as recidivism. If you have any concerns about these 2 diseases which are more than 50% of all deaths then you should seriously consider Aspirin. 81mg as suggested for reducing platelets is NOT sufficient to reduce inflammation. You need at least 250-325mg to get reduction in inflammation. Therefore those little aspirins won’t work. Ecotrin is sold to do this and contains 325mg aspirin. I believe Excedrin is a good substitute to take in the morning. It contains some Tylenol but liver damage cannot occur from such small doses of Tylenol at least every instance I have heard of involves people who take much higher doses. Excedrin also has a little caffeine and in the morning the combination of a little pain reduction, caffeine and the benefits of aspirin are well worth it in my opinion. Either Excedrin or Ecotrin are great products.
Studies on Turmeric have been popping up recently in quantity. Known by several names the well known compound used in Indian spices has been shown to have remarkable properties in serious studies. One could say it rivals D3 or Aspirin in some of its benefits. The problem has been that almost none of the turmeric supplements make it to the blood supply. Recently, it has been discovered that combining Turmeric with some other common compounds drastically increases its bio-availability. The combination of Turmeric with these enhancing compounds has been given the name Longvida. Strong evidence has pointed to positive effects on the brain. It has also been found to have positive effects on Cancer and heart disease. It has such broad goodness it is being touted as a longevity supplement as well.
Fat Burner EGCG (Green Tea)
Green Tea has been shown in numerous studies to have a strong positive preventative effect on cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. Everything from mouth, throat, stomach and colon cancer shows decreases when 240mg or more of EGCG is consumed. This is the equivalent of more than 10 cups of Green tea. It is therefore necessary to get this through a supplement. I like the NOW E because it also contains Caffeine. Caffeine is not a bad thing. Many studies have been done and there seems to be positive effects of Caffeine generally. Since alertness is a hugely positive benefit and assuming you don’t overdose on caffeine from other sources this replaces coffee for me in the morning. This product is sold to reduce weight as well. Green Tea has long been thought to suppress appetite. This seems to me to be a really good combination of benefits. Colon cancer has to be the worst cancer to get. It’s good to know you are doing the most you can to prevent this and other cancers so easily.
Kirkland Krill Oil (Omega-3 oils)
I have been a longtime supporter of Omega-3s and eat fish in addition to taking Krill Oil). If you don’t like fish then this is something to really think about adding. Krill Oil is a little more expensive than standard Omega-3s however it has substantial benefits over other fish oil sources. The biggest advantage is that Omega-3s from Krill oil are twice as effective at getting into the blood supply as standard fish oil based Omega-3s. So, half as much gives the same amount of Omega-3s to the body.
Omega-3s are associated with better brain function and reduction in Alzheimer’s. It is also highly correlated with better lipids, better heart disease risk and cancer risk. It seems to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation as well as help with blood sugar issues and hypertension. This is a definite one to have in your recipe in my opinion.
Nature’s Way Garlic (500mg)
Garlic is a more recent addition to my recipe. I was finally convinced by the overwhelming evidence that garlic has a significant effect on lipids, heart effects overall and increase in immune response.
Resveratrol / Pterostilbene / Astragalus
These 3 supplements have been part of my regimen for a long time. When the red wine ingredient was first tested it seemed to have remarkable longevity properties. Those studies haven’t been negated but the results have not been as miraculous on humans as in mice. The results are good but not doubling our lifespan. Since then a similar compound found in berries called Pterostilbene’s seem to produce many of the same effects of Resveratrol and maybe even more stimulation of longevity genes. The last one above (Astragalus) is responsible for helping to increase the length of Telomere’s. Unfortunately, it is unclear you can get enough Astragalus to really effect Telomere length but it’s such a potentially important indicator that it is worth taking it.
These 3 supplements are targeted at activating longevity associated genes in the cells. People who live to long ages seem to have among other things more copies and more production from the Sirtuin genes. Resveratrol and Pterostilbenes seem to increases activation of these genes associated with longevity. Sometimes you have to take something and hope it is doing good. If these 3 supplements work even a little they may increase lifespan and quality of life. I think they are worth the investment and studies back this up.
Carnitine / ALA / Coq10 / PQQ
These supplements are useful primarily from my perspective at helping our Mitochondrial function. The mitochondria are critical elements of longevity and energy as well as general health. It is seen that poor mitochondrial function results in less genetic activity and less active cell response to problems. This is not surprising since mitochondria are the “energy”
source of all the bodies cells they provide an critical function for cells to stay healthy. Degradation of cells is a well known pathway to eventual disease and death. Lower mitochondrial function is unlikely to be good and is probably one of the major vectors to eventual disease. Therefore it is important to prevention probably.
I would suggest taking a couple of these supplements to help sustain your mitochondria better. However, you may want to do your own research to identify if you think it’s worth the effort.
Carnitine is a confusing one. There is L-carnitine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Carnosine and other variations. Each of these have useful properties but the one I’m talking about here is L-carnitine. Acetyl-L-carnitine is a very interesting supplement for the brain and Carnosine is an interesting longevity supplement as welll.
Ginko Biloba 240mg
The studies on Ginko aren’t 100% but the fact is it is extremely hard to do such studies. Much of brain function is very subjective. Ginko has the best of all results for any supplements in my opinion and experience. I definitely feel a significant change in memory function when taking it than when not taking it. You need to take at least 240mg of Ginko to get an effect that studies have documented.
This is a beginners guide to supplements and what I believe is the best evidentiery based supplements to take. I have a large database of 300+ studies on these supplements and many others that I have cataloged over 20 years. I also take these supplements myself and can attest they work for me. It is important you pay attention to specific brands in some cases I’ve mentioned or doses. Below the doses I mention or significantly above may not be effective or even safe.
You can obtain all these at Amazon or Costco for reasonable prices. Some of the supplements above cost 50 cents a day, some are less than a penny a day. The total can add up but the benefits in my opinion are a much healthier life, reduced chance of cancer, heart disease a better memory, prevention of things like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, hypertension, liver disease. This is easily worth a lot more than these pills cost EVEN if they do little. Compared to the cost of traditional after the fact fix-it medical care this is like a very cheap way to save on medical costs.
I hope this was helpful. I have the spreadsheet with much of this information in more detail available on my website. Let me know if you try any of these and what your results are or have other suggestions.