OK, I don't actually worship the supplements that I consume every day. So it's arguable whether they're sacred to me. But I sure spend a lot of time genuflecting in their health-giving direction.
I've decided that it's time to share my supplement list with a not particularly interested world. However, likely there are some supplement geeks in the blogosphere who share my fascination with finding just the right combination of concoctions for optimum well-being.
Which sort of is like the quixotic medieval search by alchemists to turn base metal into gold, because no supplement can hold back the inexorable tide of aging and death.
Still, this 59 year-old male and his wife want to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible. Thus we've been researching the pros and cons of various supplements for many years.
We've added to and subtracted from the pills and capsules that fill several plastic boxes, neatly divided and labeled, which accompany us wherever we go. I won't attempt to justify what's included on the list below. The links usually lead to my purchase source – and more information about the product.
About ten years ago I had a good-natured argument with my family physician at the time, a man my age. When I told him about some of the supplements I took, he said "But those haven't been proven to be effective."
I told him, "Well, there's considerable evidence that they are. If I wait for scientifically exact double-blind studies to be conducted on everything I take, I'll be dead. So I'll take my chances on persuasive, though not proven, information about the supplements' benefits."
Nothing since has changed my mind about the wisdom of this approach. I'm in generally excellent health. At my last eye exam, my optometrist said, "It's amazing that you don't need reading glasses at your age. You must be eating something that's causing your eyes to stay so flexible."
Could be the lutein. Or bilberry. Or maybe the DHA and EPA. I don't know. Could also be the luck of the genetic draw. I'm not particularly concerned about which supplements are doing what for me. Just the end result: better health.
Not highly scientific. But practical. And good for the bottom line of the companies that make and sell the supplements below, because I'm reluctant to stop taking any of them even though I've got doubts about the efficacy of some.
Do your own research. Make up your own mind. Here's my list:
Acetyl-L-carnitine 620 mg
Alpha lipoic acid 100 mg
Aspirin 81 mg
Bilberry fruit extract 120 mg
Celadrin 1050 mg
Co-Q-10 60 mg
DHA, algae oil 400 mg
DHA and EPA, algae oil 345 mg
DHEA 25 mg
Garlicin 350 mg
Gingko biloba 60 mg
Glucosamine, vegetarian 1000 mg
Green tea extract 725 mg
Kyodophilus 3 billion cells
Lutein 12 mg
Melatonin 200 mcg
Multi-vitamin ("Doctor's Choice for 50-Plus Men," I take 1/2 of recommended)
Pomegranate extract 500 mg
Pygeum 200 mg
Resveratol 100 mg
Saw palmetto 320 mg
Vitamin D 400 IU
Have you considered working raw local honey into your diet?
There are many good local beekeepers that pack honey from a variety of floral sources.
Make sure it is raw (unheated) so that you get all of the good enzymes....blah, blah, blah.
Posted by: HarryVanderpool | January 23, 2008 at 05:57 PM
I agree that the benefit of nutritional supplements is fairly subjective. In my experience, a few have a noticeable beneficial effect and the rest are rather indistinguishable. I use Acetyl L-Carnitine frequently and with significant effect upon my mental acuity. Curiously, I notice this most when I skip a day or so. My personal favorite nutrient cocktail consists of Coenzyme Q-10, Acetyl L-Carnitine and DMAE, all of which I use regularly.
In the past, I owned a small business supplying "smart-drugs" to students and professionals who were seeking a legal chemical aid to their studies or abilities. Curiously, the most popular supplements I sold were combinations of caffeine and B vitamins. These were probably the most familiar and acceptable to most people at the time, but I sensed that there was much more potential in the realm of cognitive enhancement.
One of the most interesting books in this field is "Life-Extension, A Practical Scientific Approach" by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. These two were also responsible for a successful lawsuit against the FDA preventing excessive government regulation of nutritional supplements. We can thank them for our ability to buy these foods without a prescription.
Long ago, I met a chemist at Parke-Davis who taught me about his research into various cognitive enhancement compounds. He believed strongly in the ability to enhance and improve human cognition and longevity. I have observed many of these experimental compounds becoming commonplace in our current pharmacopoeia.
I feel we will likely have to address a few new moral quandaries that will accompany our enhancement of our abilities. What will it be like to grow smarter and live longer as humans? How will human competitiveness affect our choices for improvement?
Will our children have to "enhance" to survive?
We thus embark on yet another fascinating journey...
Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 at 01:05 AM
I cannot help agree with this analysis because I know people who can argue both ways. Both the fact that supplements do not have double blind studies to prove their effectiveness and that fact that we do not have forever to wait are compelling views. I think there is a moderate approach that should be taken that will incorporate both views equally.
Another point that I have to consider is are these supplements economically available on my budget. As sad as this is, I am forced to incorporate this into my supplement taking pholosophy. This often provides more weight to the argument that many supplements do not have enough proof to justify the expense.
Anyway, I digress. What I would like to find out is if any websites like nutritionaltree.com will ever be proven usefull in choosing qaulity and effective supplements. Or is the time for these sites gone with the lack of honesty on the web and the plecebo effect. Any opinions on this would be great.
Posted by: Luis | January 24, 2008 at 05:48 AM
Some contrary opinions to daily aspirin use:
Posted by: Tucson | January 24, 2008 at 12:18 PM
I used to take supplements, many of which are on Brian's list, but now I supplement only to address specific issues if they come up. There is something about taking handfulls of manufactured supplements on a daily basis that doesn't feel right anymore.
I like fresh juice. Combinations of fresh organic vegetables like carrot, beet, parsley, celery, spinach, turnip, chard, garlic and ginger. These have the benefits of many supplements with the advantage that they are fresh and alive. It is best not to overdo sweet veggies like carrot and use more leafy veggies to avoid high sugar intake.
It is important to eat according to your metabolic type. Some people do well with more carbohydrate, while others thrive on more protein and fat. There is no "one size fits all" diet. Find out what works best for you. Don't go by food charts and guides.
High blood glucose is universally destructive. Even carb types should avoid excessive sugar, too many sweet fruits and refined carbs like white rice. Just keeping your blood sugar stable will do more for your health than thousands spent on supplements. Heart disease is more often related to faulty insulin metabolism than fat consumption.
Also, lower the caloric intake. Many harmful metabolic by-products are produced when we eat too much. Again, this will also do more for you than thousands spent on supplements. The calories you eat should be nutrient rich.
Don't fear meat, fear wheat. Vegetarians won't like this, but most humans thrive on quality animal food, raised naturally and not agri-business style. Wheat, is high in gluten and a certain lectin in the germ and bran is destructive to the digestive tract to varying degrees in different individuals. Refined wheat has less of the lectin, but still has gluten and raises blood sugar too fast. Gluten was scarce in the evolutionary diet and we are poorly adapted to it while animal food sources were commonly used. Sorry, but those are the facts.
If you are vegetarian, then supplement with L-Carnitine, B12 and coleus forskolii, an ayurvedic herb which increases cyclic-AMP to increase intra-cellular energy exchange efficiency. Also consider brewer's yeast for B vitamins and other nutrients. Consider eggs which may eliminate the need for the supplements above. Nothing need be harmed by eating them. Chickens, while messy, are entertaining.
Excercise is great, but there is a great deal of oxidative stress from heavy exertion like running 10 miles a day at 5 or 6 minute per mile pace. Still, the endorphin rush may be worth it and it's fun. Do it while you can. For me, nothing was more fun than playing hard. Marathons are not good for your health, but do one anyway just for the experience. When your body finally breaks down, hopefully you can still walk which our ancestors did for miles daily with great benefit.
Most people should eat more meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and fewer grains, dried beans, dairy products and sugar. I don't have time to explain about grains, beans and dairy. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
Did you know there are no essential carbohydrates? You can live your life without any carbohydrate sources as long as you have sufficient protein and fats/fatty acids. Some Inuit groups thrived for generations on nothing but caribou. Others had taboos on eating anything but fish. I am not recommending this. It is just to illustrate my point.
Fortunately, trans-fats (hyrdogenated oils) are gradually being phased out like smoking. I would eat butter anyday instead of margarine.
Posted by: Tucson | January 24, 2008 at 04:49 PM
Quite a list. One tip for people that might find the number of choices overwhelming. Find good sites for research that do not sell products. WebMD is a good choice. NutritionalTree is also good because it collects consumer reviews on these kinds of products and has a five star rating system.
Posted by: Greg Howlett | January 25, 2008 at 06:10 AM
Don't have time to do it but I wonder how your essay would read if you substituted "Sant Mat" for "supplements."
I've given up all supplements as they seem to require too much blind faith. Yet, there seems to be quite a cult surrounding them. I calculate that ingesting the amount of supplements on your list would take approximately two and a half hours a day.
Posted by: Randy | January 25, 2008 at 09:55 AM
Randy, it's more like two minutes. If that. I divide up my supplement taking into morning and evening.
The sacred capsules are in "tackle boxes," neatly labeled as to whether each is a morning only or morning/evening supplement.
Admittedly, it'd take more time if I had to open every container and take out a capsule or two. The tackle box approach works well. When I run out, I pour in a bunch more capsules, which last several weeks or longer.
On the "cult" question, I'll admit that some faith is involved. But like I said, if I waited until double-blind studies were done on each of the supplements, I'd wait a long time.
There's decent effectiveness evidence for each of what I take. Some more convincing, some less convincing.
Posted by: Brian | January 25, 2008 at 11:28 AM
I'm sticking with my power drink in the morning: four tbls of raw hemp seed, one of wheat germ, one of ground flax, one of maca root powder, and two of Dr. Schultz's Superfood in apple juice and water. Yum.
Posted by: Randy | January 25, 2008 at 07:22 PM
Great list, i use some of those myself
my whole list is on my profile at trainhero.com/joe8
Posted by: joe | March 16, 2008 at 10:34 AM
Just wanted to share my story. In Sep 07 I went into ER for a headache that words can't describe. The end result of this visit was I was placed on oxygen to wear 24/7. I was 52yrs old. Two months ago I went to a friend of mine, a body builder, who provided me with the following to take: B Complex (2 per day - once bottle is done go off for one month to not become dependant), Cranberry - 2 per day, Cinnamon - 2 per day, Chromium Picolinate - 2 per day, L-Carnitine and a One-A-Day multiple vitamin. I couldn't handle swallowing one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar each day - found this in tablet form so am happier. I haven't had to wear oxygen in 6 weeks, I have lost 17 pounds and have energy to do things now. I am so happy and glad to have my life back. Next step is an exercise plan - UGGGGHHH - but it needs to happen. Thanks for sharing your plan with us. Debbie
Posted by: Debbie Simpson | April 13, 2008 at 04:39 PM
Very interesting, it goes along with the idea that good nutrition can be better in preventing and fighting illness than modern medicine and technologies, like chemo. Vitamin D http://www.naturessunshine.com has been shown to make cancerous cells heal and makes the cancer itself regress.
Posted by: Sean | July 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM