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Step 2: Upgrade Your Energy Supply: Optimize Your Supplements

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There are three groups of people when it comes to supplementation.

The first group are those who shun all forms of supplementation because “it isn’t natural” or because “cavemen didn’t have supplements.”  They often say, “I don’t need supplements because I get all my nutrients from food.”
My somewhat obvious reply to that misguided belief is, “Then you must get all your toxins from nature.”

The second group are those who think supplements can make up for a poor diet, high stress levels, and pretty much everything else.

The final group is somewhere in between.  This is where we want to be.

Supplements are a double edged sword.  The wrong ones can do more damage than good, but the right ones can massively improve your health, even if you eat a great diet.  In this article, you’re going to get an overview of the problems with generic supplements, how to pick the right supplements, and the list of supplements almost everyone should be taking.

Throw Away Your Multivitamins

With half of the U.S. population taking a multivitamin, many people seem to think multivitamins are the first line of defense against malnutrition and disease.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Multivitamins can actually do more harm than good.  We won’t go into the full details here, but here are two reasons to choose targeted supplements over multivitamins.

1. Imbalance of nutrients.

Most multivitamins have too much of some nutrients (like vitamin A or B6) and not enough of others (like magnesium).  The result is over dosing and under dosing at the same time.  In order to get enough of some vitamins and minerals, you would have to take far more than you should of others. It is a common practice to use very small amounts of expensive nutrients, which allows manufacturers to still list them on the label. Average consumers don’t notice there are meaningless amounts of some nutrients, and they only want to take one pill anyway. There is no way to fit “a complete spectrum” of nutrients in one single pill.

2. Low quality.

Nutrients come in different forms that behave differently inside your body.  Folate is an essential B vitamin, but folic acid, the kind found in generic multivitamins, increases your risk of cancer.  This may be why many studies show no benefit to taking multivitamins (although honestly, that’s more likely because pharmaceutical companies funded those studies…)  In fact, much of the research shows an increased risk of mortality.  This is assuming you even absorb the ingredients.  Many multivitamins are made with fillers and additives which are poorly utilized by the body – to the extent some nursing homes call them “bedpan bullets”.  Even if they have the right amount of a nutrient on the label, very little may reach your cells.

In the end, you get what you pay for with supplements.  You can delude yourself and buy the generic multivitamins at Costco, or you can spend a little extra and actually do something to improve your health.

Before we get into the exact supplements you should take, here are some general criteria for supplementation.

  1. Get the majority of your nutrients from food.
  2. Consume supplements in their highest performance form.
  3. When in doubt – go without.
  4. Recognize that some supplements can help your performance – and health – more than food.

Get the majority of your nutrients from food.

You don’t eat nutrients – you eat food.  Whole foods behave differently from their individual parts.  The nutrients from a piece of meat are more bioavailable than consuming the equivalent nutrients from a pill.  Studies have shown that grass-fed meat boosts plasma omega-3 levels far more than what could be explained by the actual omega-3 content of the meat.  Antioxidants from food are usually beneficial, but taking mega-doses of some synthetic antioxidants increases your risk of death.  The nutrients in food work together in a process known as food synergy.  In short, this means food is more powerful than the sum of its parts.  The good news is the Bulletproof Diet is the most nutrient packed diet in the world.  If you haven’t yet, take the time to read the first article in this series to learn more about the Bulletproof Diet.

Consume supplements in their highest performance form.

Artificial forms of nutrients are not as effective as the real thing.  When you do supplement, you should still try to get them from whole food sources.  Isolated nutrients often compete for the same absorption pathways.  For example, iron and calcium inhibit the absorption of one another, but  synthetic nutrients are often damaging.  For these reasons, nutrients should be consumed in their most natural form possible.

When in doubt – go without.

There is always a risk with supplements.  Even the most natural forms can contain high levels of heavy metals, contaminants, and byproducts from processing.  Food is not guaranteed to be free from these substances, but it’s far less likely to contain them.  In many cases, the biggest downside to taking supplements you don’t need is simply expensive urine, but in other cases it’s better to go without than to take something you shouldn’t have.

What Supplements You Should Take

I take over 40 pills a day, carefully selected for my own needs using testing over the last decade. That’s why this isn’t called “the complete guide to supplementation.”  This list does not cover my recommendations for smart drugs or most brain enhancing nutrients.  Those topics will come in a later post.  These are the basic supplements that most everyone should be taking.

For each nutrient, you will get a:

  • Dosage recommendation.
  • The correct form it should be taken in.
  • The time it should be taken.
  • A recommended brand.

I have no relation or affiliation with any of these companies.  They are simply the ones I trust with my health and use on a daily basis.

Here are the ten nutrients (almost) everyone should supplement with.

  1. Vitamin D
  2. Magnesium
  3. Vitamin K2
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Iodine
  6. Krill Oil
  7. Vitamin A
  8. Selenium
  9. Copper
  10. Folinic Acid with B12

Vitamin D

Vitamin D isn’t just the most important supplement – it is possibly the most important biohack.  Vitamin D acts on over 1000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen.  It moderates immune function and inflammation.  It assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation.  It’s no coincidence this is one of the few vitamins humans can make on their own.  Without it – we’d be dead.  It’s true that you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, but for non-nudist non-equatorial dwellers it’s not enough.  If you’re getting adequate vitamin A, it’s almost impossible to overdose on D.

Dose: 1000 IU / 25 pounds of body weight.*

Form: D3

Time Taken: Morning

Recommended Brand: Purity Products vitamin D3

*People with brown/black skin don’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as quickly as lighter skinned people.  If you’re brown skinned, a safe bet is 1500 IU / 25 pounds of body weight, but you should always test your blood levels because individual response to dosage varies.

Magnesium

This is almost as important as vitamin D, and almost as under appreciated.  Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP production.  It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.

Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem.  Symptoms include heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, and pretty much everything else you don’t want.  It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease diabetes, asthma, anxiety disorders, and PMS.

Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium.  The majority of people don’t meet the RDA, which is already too low.  Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from your diet.  Without a doubt – everyone should supplement with magnesium.

Dose: 600-800mg / day

Forms: Citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, or orotate

Time Taken: before bedtime.

Recommended Brand: Natural Calm or VRP

Vitamin K2

Unless you grew up eating only grass-fed meat and raw milk – you’re deficient in vitamin K2.  Vitamin K2 is a fat soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism.  Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function.  This is why vitamin K2 prevents atherosclerosis and heart attacks, and strengthens bones.

Vitamin K1 is the kind of vitamin K found in leafy vegetables, and vitamin K2 is the kind found in grass-fed animal products.  Humans don’t convert vitamin K1 into K2 efficiently.  Ruminant animals like cows and sheep convert K1 into K2 in their stomachs.  This is another reason you should eat grass-fed animals, because they can only get K1 from grass – not grains.

There are two subsets of vitamin K2: MK-4, and MK-7.  MK-4 is the kind shown to produce the most benefit, but MK-7 is still important.  You should consume a total of at least 2,000mcg per day of K2, at least 100mcg of which should be the MK-7 form.

Dose: 2,000mcg / day (100mcg MK-7 form)

Forms: MK-4, and MK-7

Time Taken: Doesn’t really matter, but it’s best to take this with vitamin D, so morning is best.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

Vitamin C

This is one of the safest, most effect supplements you can take.  Vitamin C is needed for collagen and connective tissue formation.  It’s used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body.  Vitamin C can enhance immune function and help quench free radical damage.  Studies have shown you can take up to 120 grams of vitamin C a day with no side effects (besides loose stool).

It’s hard to get enough vitamin C from food, which is why 30 percent of the population is deficient.

Some fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, but cooking and storage methods can deplete vitamin C content.  Supplementation with at least 500mg per day is optimal.  You should take a lot more if you are suffering from chronic infections or healing from injury.

Dose: 1-2 grams / day

Forms: Ascorbic acid crystals or time release capsules.

Time Taken: Morning and evening, but it’s best not to take it after a workout as isolated antioxidants can negate the insulin sensitivity gained from exercise.

Recommended Brand: Solaray

Iodine

Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid function and metabolism.  It also enhances immune function and prevents brain damage.  Iodine deficiency is widespread, so supplementation is wise.  You can get some iodine from seafood, but risk of deficiency is still high. Iodized salt won’t get you optimal levels. The toxic limit for iodine is also extremely high, meaning you can take a lot.  A good starting point is 1mg / day from kelp powder or as potassium iodide.

Dose: 1mg / day

Forms: Kelp powder or potassium iodide capsules

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Pure Encapsulations potassium iodide

EPA/DHA (Krill oil)

This is a tricky one.  Small doses of high quality fish oil reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and even enhance muscle growth, but poor quality or high doses can cause more problems than they help to solve. Not all fish oil is created equal.  Most of the brands you are likely to buy at your local grocery are contaminated, oxidized, and low potency.  If you can’t find a good fish oil  – you’re much better off avoiding it all together.

That’s why I recommend krill oil over fish oil altogether. Krill is more stable and it is phosphorylated, meaning it’s easier for your brain to use. It also comes with astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant.

There are real benefits to taking EPA and DHA, but most of these are strongest if your diet is deficient in omega-’3s, or too high in omega-6’s.  If you’re eating a Bulletproof Diet, this won’t be a problem.  Humans only need 350mg of DHA and EPA a day to have optimal brain function.  If you’re eating grass-fed meat and wild caught fish, this is easily obtainable.  If you can’t find grass-fed meat or wild caught seafood, you should supplement with at least 1000mg of krill oil per day.

Dose: 1000mg / day

Forms: Krill Oil

Time Taken: With meals.

Recommended Brand: Jarrow Krill oil

In addition to these basic supplements, there are a few you should also consider taking.

Vitamin A

This is essential if you aren’t eating organ meats like beef liver, kidney, and heart (you should).  Vitamin A is an important cofactor for numerous metabolic reactions and bodily functions.  A quarter of Americans consume less than half the RDA, which is already too low.  An important thing to remember is that you can’t get vitamin A from plants.  Plants don’t have vitamin A, they have beta-carotene.  Beta carotene is poorly converted into vitamin a which is why some populations develop vitamin A deficiency despite consuming far more than they should have required.  Sorry vegetarians and vegans, carrots don’t count.

Dose: 10,000-15,000 IU / day.

Forms: Retinol (A good source of vitamin A is cod liver oil, which also has vitamin D)

Time Taken: With meals.

Recommended Brand: Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil (Arctic Mint flavor)

Selenium

Selenium is a heavy metal with numerous beneficial effects on the body.  It boosts immune function, prevents cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and protects against thyroid dysfunction.  It is possible to get enough selenium from wild caught fish and animal products, but most people don’t.  If you can’t find real meat, you should supplement with 200mcg per day.  Be careful, too much selenium can cause negative health consequences.  Take 200 micrograms, not milligrams.

Dose: 200mcg / day

Forms: Se Methyl Selenocysteine or selenomethionine

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

Copper

Copper is needed for proper vascular and heart function.  Most of the U.S. Is woefully deficient in copper, consuming only .8mg per day.  This is worrying since less than 1mg per day is enough to cause heart attacks.  Copper intake has fallen over the last century due to modern farming and dietary practices.  Modern fruits, vegetables, and conventional meats are low in copper, containing 75 percent less than they used to.

Luckily, beef and lamb liver have a massive amount of copper.  If you’re eating at least four ounces of beef liver per week, you can meet your copper needs.  Other good sources of copper include cocoa (dark chocolate – look for low toxin Bulletproof Chocolate Powder soon!), cashews, and lobster.  If you aren’t eating beef or lamb liver weekly, you should supplement with at least 1mg per day.

Dose: 1mg / day

Forms: Capsule

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

B-12 and folinic acid

Most people are deficient in B12.  B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. B12 lowers homocysteine and protects against atherosclerosis. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer. One of the most crucial areas for B12 is the brain.

Folate deficiency can also cause mental symptoms, although B12 is more likely to be a problem. Folate and B12 are both required for mental function, and a deficiency in one produces a deficiency in the other, but folate will not correct a B12 deficiency in the brain. If you make the mistake of treating B12 deficiency with folate, you can get permanent brain damage. (hear that, vegans?)  Likewise, high amounts of folate without adequate B12 can cause neurological conditions. That’s why I take them together.

Dose: >5mg of methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin and >800mcg of folate (5-MTHF or folinic acid, NOT folic acid)

Forms: Capsule

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: varies

Supplementation is something everyone should do, but how much depends on your diet and other lifestyle factors.  Athletes need more of some supplements than other people.  In general, you should try to get as much nutrition from food as possible.  You should consume nutrients in their most natural form.  When you do supplement – you get what you pay for.  If you aren’t wiling to spend money on quality supplements – you’re compromising your health and it will cost more in the long term.

Looking for more?

The list above was a small portion of supplements to consider taking.  This will provide you with a foundation for further supplementation with things like smart drugs and sleep hacking supplements.  And don’t forget the post about calcium-d-glucarate!

Learn about 11 more advanced biohacking supplements when you sign up for the Bulletproof Toolbox:

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  • cogrick2

    Thank you for this excellent summary.

  • Zack_Leman

    Does avoiding “isolated antioxidants” after a work out also mean avoiding ALA and EGCG? These two are know to increase GLUT-4 transporters on cells to help facilitate the transport of carbs and other nutrients into cells.

    • Dave Asprey

      Take them before lifting!

      • Josh

        Dave have you seen the recent post on ALA over at Suppversity?
        I believe his basic conclusion is – it is likely beneficial for overweight people trying to lose weight, but for those already lean it may impede muscle growth.

    • http://armilegge.com Armistead Legge

      ALA increases insulin sensitivity of fat cells too. Take them as far from workouts as possible, preferably with real food.

  • http://twitter.com/msavastano77 Mark Savastano

    Excellent post, been waiting for a supplement list. It’s funny, just from following the podcasts, blogs, and forums I have been taking everything on this list already.

    Dave – I have been taking this multi-mineral from Vitamin Shoppe – Do you think this is good? http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=VS-1689
    .
    I know it’s a multi, but i figured since you generally need less trace minerals you could probably get what you need from a multi. I’m just concerned with the quality and the form.

    • Dave Asprey

      Discount in house brands rarely make the cut. Oxide and carbonated are hardly very absorbable!

  • Josh

    Great list Dave – And I like the fact that certain foods eg. liver can lessen or eliminate the need to supplement with certain things.

    I am going over your past podcasts and did you ever ge Takashi’s raw liver recipe from Chris Masterjohn?? Really want to give that a go.

    • Dave Asprey

      Missed takashis raw liver recipe but had it there live last month!

      • Josh

        How wow lucky you!
        Was it as good as everyone says?
        I’ll see if I can find the recipe and let you know.

        • Dave Asprey

          It was awesome. I’d have had it again last night if my flight wasn’t delayed.

        • Josh

          Awesome, I hope it was a productive trip.

  • Howard Lee Harkness

    You left out B12. While you are at an age where B12 is probably not a problem, some of us have trouble absorbing enough, and the absorption problem generally starts getting worse in your mid-50′s. It’s cheap, and safe (no known LD50). There are no known side-effects from getting 1000x RDA or more. See my articles at http://nequals1health.com/could-it-be-b12/ and http://celtic-fiddler.com/fiddler/2011/07/could_it_be_b12/ about the significant improvement I experienced in my hearing after starting high-dosage (2.5mg) sublingual B12.

    Also, B3 (niacin). 1500mg/day will significantly boost HDL. It will lower LDL better than any statin drug currently on the market, without making you feel like you’ve had the crap beaten out of you (at least in my case). It does have one harmless, but uncomfortable, side-effect: Flushing. It took me a year of gradual increase to get to 1500mg/day with only minor flushing.

    Copper: Ouch. I tried taking 1mg/day, and immediately started having severe leg cramps at night. I tried taking it every other day for a couple of weeks, and consistently got leg cramps only on the nights that I took the copper. I’m not doing that any more.

    • Dave Asprey

      It’s hard to write these because of individual variations. Excess copper vs zinc is bad news but more people supplement zinc than copper so that is a more common imbalance. Niacin almost made the list and I take it, but Jaminets work in it has me on the fence. B12 is on the list; wasn’t in the unedited one that leaked out!

  • MT_Dreams

    Hello, regarding copper, which type of copper is the best choice (Copper Sebacate, copper bisglycinate chelate, copper gluconate, copper glycinate, etc)? is there any difference?
    thanks in advance,
    Michael

    • http://armilegge.com Armistead Legge

      Copper gluconate and chelate work well.

  • Jacidi

    I’m looking forward most to your nootropics/brain supplement list — please don’t hold back!

    • Dave Asprey

      Definitely not holding back, just balancing all this with being a dad and in NYC on a business trip. I could write about this for years if I wasn’t keeping my family fed! ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/philgeorge Phil George

        Excellent level of detail! I am also keen to read your smart drugs. Calcium D-Glucarate would definitely be on my top 10 recommendations. It is very hard to write these generalised posts and keep them relevant to everyone!

        Have you ever tried Poliquin supplements? I use them for everything and believe them to be exceptionally high quality and potency. Specifically EPA/DHA, D3 and

        Finally, I’m sure you will rehash your article about Modafinil and it’s uses, but have you found much variation between brands and have you read about Armodafinil? I (along with many others here I’m sure) would be keen to hear your thoughts on it.

        Thanks!

        • Dave Asprey

          Never tried the Poloquin stuff but Upgraded Whey will do more based on its formulation vs. Poloquin. Armodafinil causes liver problems so Provigil/Nuvigil is better. ?

        • http://www.facebook.com/philgeorge Phil George

          Thanks for the response. Glad I ordered the Provigil!

          To clarify, I definitely think Bulletproof Whey is superior (I recently bought 6 packets!), I was actually asking about the supplementation you have outlined in the article being purchased from Poliquin, as he intentionally sources high quality ingredients.

        • Dave Asprey

          Oh, I get it. I agree – his standards appear to be very high. ?

        • Caleb

          David, any comments re: the above claims that it’s Adrafinil and not Nuvigil/Armodafinil that causes liver problems? Thanks.

        • Winslow

          Dave, I think you mean that Adrafinil can cause liver problems. If armodafinil did, then so would modafinil, as armodafinil is 50% of modafinil (it’s one of the two enantiomers of the molecule).

        • Dinkus

          I think you mean adrafinil causes liver problems. Nuvigil IS armodafinil.

  • Jade

    Dave — Please be very careful about implying that folic acid causes cancer! The study states that folic acid “could be associated with additional risk for colon cancer.” OK, however, it is widely known and accepted that woman taking folic acid supplementation at least 3mn prior to becoming pregnant reduce the risk for neural tube defects in their babies by 50-70%. We’re fighting hard to get women in the habit of taking good — folic acid — prenatal vitamins in order to save babies. This needs to be said before we scare people away by claiming it causes cancer.

    • Dave Asprey

      The problem is that many people aren’t capable of converting the synthetic form (folic acid) into the active form (folinic acid), so the synthetic form builds up. That’s bad news. So while some people can benefit from folic acid, many do not. However, everyone benefits equally from taking folinic acid (folate), so that’s what we recommend for everyone.
      Put another way, if you have one supplement that always works, and one that sometimes works but is dangerous the rest of the time, which would you recommend? ?

  • Joshua Whiteman

    What about cycling these supplements? Is there any benefits to taking them for 1-2 days then taking 1 or 2 days off?

    • Dave Asprey

      Yes, cycling aids hormesis.

  • Guest

    Dave, what’s your view on “Nutreince” by Calton Nutrition?

    • Dave Asprey

      Have a sample but haven’t tried it yet.

      • E.A.

        Hi Dave,
        Im wondering if you tried the Nutrience yet and if you have any opinions and thoughts on it.

        • Willow

          Same here, have you tried the nutreince yet Dave? Thanks

  • John

    I’d opt for the Nutrigold D3 as a quality replacement for the purity products. Purity is $40 for 30 servings of 5000 IU. Nutrigold is $14 for 360 servings of 5000 IU. I understand the whole ‘get what you pay for’ mantra but these ingredients look identical and no possible way to justify that price, unless I am missing something?

    • Dave Asprey

      I don’t know that brand – it may be fine. Strength and absorbability of D3 varies widely – an in-house “cheap” D3 raised my blood levels half as much as a name brand.

      • Joshua Titus

        Dave, what are your thoughts on NOW Foods vitamins, in particular they have a 5000 IU 240 softgels Vit D3 for about $13 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-Vitamin-5000-Softgels/dp/B0032BH76O

        Is this an example of the “cheap” vitamins you’re talking about, or do you use NOW products?

        • Nick_FPH

          If you look above, Dave recommends NOW for Iodine. Just bought myself some and tried it for the first time. Interesting stuff!

          For D3, I went with Life Extension (another brand Dave recommends above for vit K)

        • Dave Asprey

          NOW is like a Honda. Not the best you can get, but good quality for the money. I use basic supplements like carnosine from them. Compared to Upgraded Aging type supplements, they are pretty different.

        • Christian Lobaugh

          Here’s an idea for a post. List some of your favorite supplement providers, with notes like you did here.

  • Dr.House

    Hi Dave, whatdo you think about “Alpha Brain” by Onnit??

    • Dave Asprey

      Not a huge fan. Pterostilbene is at marketing-level (very low) doses, and other ingredients are ho-hum except one I haven’t heard of with limited research. In the brain vitamin mix, it’s probably a 5/10. Not bad, but not amazing either. Certainly not harmful.

      • Dr.House

        Thanks, so what nootropics do you suggest in order to improve memory and concentration???

      • http://twitter.com/eccalkins Eric Calkins

        Your assessment of it seems to jibe with the way I felt when taking it, i.e., I didn’t feel different at all. Finished the bottle, but won’t be buying again.

  • Kevin Crawford

    Any thoughts on to why magnesium supplements are keeping me awake when taken close to bed time? I usually have no issues falling asleep, but when taking magnesium (happens with either 200 or 400mg doses), I seem to just lay there.

    Taking the 100% chelated tablets in the morning seems to have a similar effect as coffee (not sure how to actually test this, i suppose it could just be confirmation bias).

    Any thoughts/ideas? I’ve only tried this one product and haven’t tried epsom salts or other brands.

    • Josh

      I remember Robb Wolf mentioning for MOST people Magnesium relaxes but there are some people where it has the opposite effect. So morning would probably be best for you.

    • http://armilegge.com Armistead Legge

      How are you sure the magnesium is causing your sleeplessness?

      • Dave Asprey

        This one is obvious! The yeast chelate is something you’re allergic to!

  • Georgialorge

    Thank you. I would love to see a info graph like you created for the diet… Just a thought. :)

  • http://twitter.com/evilpaul evilpaul

    Thankyou for taking the time to make this post, I know a lot of people have been looking forward to it – it’s hard to piece it together just from listening to the podcasts.

  • http://twitter.com/dvhaley Daniel Haley

    I’m interested in hearing about how you implement this for your kids since dosing for a little person is bound to be different.

    I have a 2 year old daughter and she gets Vitamin D3 based on the 1000 IU / 25 lbs of weight but I’m curious about how to scale K2 and magnesium specifically.

    BTW, thanks again for the recommendations back in FebruaryMarch. I’m still doing well with sleep on magnesium citrate :)

    • Dave Asprey

      So glad to have helped. I generally does my kids based on body weight for k2 and magnesium.

      • Thea

        What are your recommendations for weight for magnesium and k2. I have found mixed dosages with online searches and different advice from nutritionalists.

  • Eric Ripa

    Thanks a lot for this great article. I have a question. Is there anything to think about or that I should adjust for my pregnant wife? Today she supplements with Omega 3 and Vitamin D3+K2

    I have been trying to get her to supplement with some magnesium but she’s afraid that too much is dangerous for the fetus.

    • Nick_FPH

      Dude, I hear everywhere that cod liver oil is excellent for having a healthy baby. I know dave recommends that (perhaps on his betterbabybook site) and Chris Kresser recommends this as well (healthy baby code).

      Look up a couple articles and then order some up! They all recommend Green Pasture brand (expensive, but should be worth it for 9 months!). The only other brand that I’ve heard good things about is Quantum. Just ordered my first bottle today at radiantlifecatalog.

      Good luck!

  • Bdm4

    Is it necessary to supplement with Vitamin K2 if you’re already eating lots of grass-fed meat and butter?

  • http://jaredcamarata.com/ Jared C

    Thanks for this list. I am in the process of figuring out why I feel like crap all the time. Cutting out wheat really helped but I am not totally there yet. I’m thinking some minerals/vitamins are what I need but I don’t have the cash to get an expensive vitamin/mineral blood test performed. You’ll probably be disappointed to know I’m about to go to Costco to get these items because they are on sale right now… (D3, K2, and Mag specifically). I think the magnesium will be interesting to see if it makes my headaches/nausea go away.

    My question is – is it best to take the K2 in the morning with food? Specifically fatty food such as a coconut oil fried egg?

    • Nick_FPH

      Dave says time doesn’t matter for K2, but it’s better to take it with vit D (which he recommends taking in the morning). So morning!

      Headaches and nausea? Are you getting enough water and calories?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000737186229 Sarah Martin Neuse

    Thanks for this super informative list. Just forwarded it to my parents, hopefully it will help bring them into the fold…

    • Nick_FPH

      I did the same! My dad ordered some B-12 and Folinic right away… even before me, and I had a head start!

      • Dave Asprey

        Even better if this helps people’s parents! It took years for me to get mine on good vitamins!

        • Nick_FPH

          My parents are in their mid 50′s and I had them both read your excellent article. I’m still trying to convince my mom to cancel her New Chapter 1 daily multi and her CalMag and replace them with your list above. It’s absurd how low/far away they are from the recommended dosages!

        • TimR

          I take a small amount of Natural Vitality’s CalMag twice a day (morning/evening.) Is that okay? The thing is I don’t eat much dairy besides butter (seems to inflame acne) so I get very little calcium through diet (I’d like to make bone broth soups but it just doesn’t happen.)

        • Nick_FPH

          You know… I really don’t know on that one because we don’t know how accurate the RDA for calcium is. I’d say you could probably do without if you ate more dark leafy greens and supplemented with vitamin K (necessary for calcium retention).

          I am curious what Dave’s take is on getting enough calcium on the Bulletproof diet… he doesn’t seem to have any info on that topic! Dave?

        • TimR

          I do eat greens fairly often, though not in vast quantities. I also eat sardines and salmon that have some small bones in them.
          Looking at a list of calcium-rich foods just now I was surprised to see sesame seeds are high in calcium – and I think they’ve got a bunch of other micronutrients too so maybe I need to get some.
          I think I might drop the CalMag for a while and just do a powdered magnesium drink. And re-try K2, that will test if it was indeed Life Extension’s K2 causing those weird foot flushing symptoms I had.

        • TimR

          Life Extension’s Super K I should say, it has K1 and K2.

  • Zack_Leman

    1. Are there any foods we should not eat after a workout, which will slow recovery?
    2. Should we avoid selenium, B-vitamins, and Vitamin K2 the night after a workout if they function as antioxidants too?

    • Dave Asprey

      Don’t do coffee right after a workout because of mtor. The other vitamins appeared to be okay.

      • Zack_Leman

        Could vitamin E found in my selenium suppement have any adverse effects taken post workout at dinner?

        • Dave Asprey

          Prob not

        • NobHillSF

          Sorry, what’s mtor? funnest part of the ride stopping for a coffee at Mojo….

        • Dave Asprey

          It’s in the BP intermittent fast post. Mammalian target of rampamycin, muscle builder.

      • DS

        How long after workout can you drink coffee? + Are there any multivitamins youd recommend?

        • Rod

          I would assume at least a couple hours to be on the safe side, maybe even 3. Dave doesn’t recommend Multivitamins because of over and or under dosage of some vitamins in the pill.

  • Zack_Leman

    What do you think about Magnesium Stearate as an additional ingredient in supplements? Do you think that it inhibits the full absorption of certain supplements? Would you go out of your way to avoid it in specific supplements?

    • Dave Asprey

      I’m okay with that

      • Karen

        According to Dr. Mercola, a highly respected and knowlegeable physician IMO, I found in of his recent articles on the web, that he is of a different opinion regarding magnesium stearate. He states that it is a potentially hazardous ingredient. “Magnesium stearate is essentially a chalk-like substance, which prevents the supplements from sticking together and allows the machinery to run smoother and faster, which equates to cost savings during the manufacturing process. Magnesium stearate is not a source of magnesium and has no benefits, but may have a detrimental effect on your immune function as stearic acid has been linked to suppression of T cells. The filler also stimulates your gut to form a biofilm, which can prevent proper absorption of nutrients in your digestive tract…”

        • Dave Asprey

          Highly respected? Hardly. http://www.bulletproofexec.com/its-official-dr-mercola-just-copied-the-bulletproof-diet/
          Funny, the Mercola page includes an interview with Dr. Klinghardt, who is the source of the biofilm idea. I respect him a lot – in fact I shared a hotel room with him at an American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine conference once. I’ve taken some courses from Dr. K. too. Now HE is credible…
          Mercola says, “I realize that there is very little research published on this…but some highly respected clinicians like Dr. Klinghardt and others have extensive experience with this issue. Magnesium stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but it is a form of stearic acid and is used as a flow agent. The ONLY purpose of it in the supplement is to help the raw materials become more slippery and flow through the machines that create the supplements.”
          I agree with Dr. Klinghardt about titanium dioxide (it’s not safe). But magnesium stearate is the magnesium form of stearic acid, which is a common fatty acid in meat. Without some sort of study about it, it’s hard to believe this is dangerous.
          To prevent the biofilm hypothesis, always take your vitamins with food so it will mix before hit hits the small intestine.

        • Karen

          Thank you for replying to my comment. I appreciate that you took the time and offered a more thorough explanation regarding magnesium stearate.

  • J-Rizzle

    Very good post! I only have one issue. While I agree that iodine is important. I’ve read that too much or the improper kind can build up in the body and actually have the opposite effect. I experienced severe dizziness when I accidentally took just one drop too much.

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  • Joshua Titus

    A couple more suggestions for your advanced supplements list:

    Alpha GPC (L-alphaglycerophosphatidylcholine, Cholinergic Nootropic)
    Huperzine A (Cholinergic Nootropic)
    L-Tyrosine (N-Acetyl Tyrosine, Dopaminergic Nootropic)
    CoQ10 (works well with PQQ)
    Rhodiola Rosea (Adaptogenic herb)

    These might have already been on your list, but just thought I’d throw them out there in case!

    • manom

      what is the purpose of l-thyrosine in here?

  • Bouh

    Fantastic post Dave. Clear, simple and to-the-point. Much appreciated.

  • Gartur6162

    good article. do you take your magnesium dose all at once? or spread throughout the day?

    • Gartur6162

      also im interested in supplementing iodine, but have read that kelp is not a safe method of doing so.
      could you please provide some more information…

    • Dave Asprey

      At night.

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  • Jules

    Dave, great post. I have 3 questions:

    -You recommend 1-2 grams of Vitamin C here, but in your podcasts you say you yourself take 10g a day. Why the discrepancy? Could you add to the list the doses you personally take for each?

    -Can you explain why you recommend such and such brand? Have you been testing with blood work or…?

    -Many of these brands aren’t available in Asia and Amazon won’t ship here. Any suggestions on how to ascertain a brand’s quality, when you can’t get the ones you recommend here?

    Many thanks!

    • Stef Brin.

      Yeah, I’m also unsure about this. Some of what he said he was taking in the podcasts is different from what I read here (different by a factor of 5x, not by a little bit).

      As a result I’m not sure what to do. Hope he answers.

      • Dave Asprey

        Too much vitamin c will cause you to get the runs. You can take it up to bowel tolerance. Individual needs vary greatly depending on how stressed you are or how sick you are. I can go from 3 g to 10 g very easily, but if I get a cold or something, I can often new 50+ grams a day without getting runs. The short answer is that your mileage may vary but you need enough vitamin c to make glutathione in your liver and collagen and the rest of your tissues. A couple grams does that for most people.

        • Reka

          well, call me naive but I can hardly imagine that you still get a cold sometimes :D

        • Dave Asprey

          LOL keep in mind that I fly 100 times a year, around the world 2x/ year at least, and sleep odd hours in hotels. But it’s unusual! ?

  • Marisa Schwartz

    Dave, what about magnesium oil? It seems like that’s the best way to get it in your body – do you agree?

    • Dave Asprey

      Mag oil is a good source for sure, but it’s inconvenient in the extreme for lots of people compared to capsules. I use both, but oil more rarely.

  • SW

    Dave,
    In one of the podcasts you mentioned that you don’t take B-Complex formulas because they usually have too much B6 in them. I’ve read from several sources that the upper limit for long term B6 intake is 100 mg per day. Is this what you also believe is the upper limit or do you think 100 mg per day is too much? Thanks for the great work here at the Bulletproof Executive.

    • Dave Asprey

      Depends on individual biochemistry. P5P is probably superior.

  • Tug4u

    A colleague recommended this site, and after witnessing the positive benefits of the bulletproof diet, I thought i’d give it a go.

    July 1st is D-Day! (Not procrastinating, (honestly!), just difficult to get the recommended supplements here in the UK, and incredibly lengthy delivery from elsewhere.)

    But after spending over 600 GBP for 3/12 supplement stock, I’m almost good to go!

    But a wee heads up to the like minded…

  • Tug4u

    …the Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver…

    They don’t label the concentration of Vitamin A or D! A bit perturbed at first, but on checking out their site, they explain the considerable discrepancy in results, via certified lab testing, which makes it difficult to stick an absolute on a label. (There’s a very informative recorded call from a customer asking about this on their website, check it out!)

    Quite understandable, but also making it terribly difficult to supplement effectively without overdosing

    • Rod

      Yea, I’m trying to figure out how much Green Pasture Blue Ice FCLO would equate to the recommended 10-15,000 IU for Vitamin A. There must be a conversion of how many mg of X= IU…I’ll report back If I find anything.

      • Steve

        Have you found out anything in regards to this?

  • Tug4u

    It’s a great company tho, and a great product! But as I’ll be taking a D3 and am unsure of the Vit A content, I’ll resist for now! (So have free bottle of the Arctic Mint flavour to anyone that wants it! :-))

    Maybe more importantly, the informative owner states that CLO naturally contains D2 rather than D3, and the Vit A is Palmitate rather than Retinol. Tho CLO has been doing folk good for centuries, so no matter what, still seems rightfully listed.

  • m walk

    How do these supplements that are best taken with food work in with BP intermittent fasting?

  • http://jaredcamarata.com/ Jared C

    One of the amazon reviews for Life Extension K2 says that it is derived from natto, or soy beans. Is there another you would recommend? I want to stay away from soy products. Thanks!

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Extension-Advanced-Softgels-90-Count/dp/B004GW4S0G/

    • http://jaredcamarata.com/ Jared C

      Has anyone tried this brand? It’s a really high 15MG dose of k2 in MK4 form.

      http://supplements.relentlessimprovement.com/vitamin-k2-menatetrenone-p285.aspx

      • Robert Katz

        An outfit in Canada, Advanced Molecular Research, cited studies showing the benefit of 45mg (milli, not micro) of MK4 for bone health. For quite a while, I took three of those 15mg capsules from Relentless Improvement. I didn’t break any bones, and it didn’t seem to be harmful, but I’ve cut back to 5mg capsules from Carlson Labs.

        • Dave Asprey

          It’s Advanced Orthomolecular Research, and they are very good vitamin formulators.

    • http://www.fitnessprohealth.com/ Nick

      I don’t see how the reviewer could determine this. Just got my order today and checked the label. It only says “contains tree nuts (coconut).”

      I would think they’d be required to include soy if it contained any…

  • Robert Katz

    HI Dave,

    What is the K2 solution if one is on coumadin? Just stop the coumadin?

    Thank you.

    —Robert

    • Dave Asprey

      Replace Coumadin with serrapeptase and nattokinase with your doctor’s permission and guidance, then take k2. ;-0

      • Robert Katz

        Thank you, Dave!

  • TimR

    Very useful, and this is not meant to be critical but I have to say I’m extremely wary of supplements these days. I’ve been trying to follow Paul Jaminet’s protocol (whose work is great by the way) but I’ve run into so many side-effects and reactions it’s difficult.

    For instance I started getting this warm flushing feeling in my feet, which then became a hard-to-describe semi-tingling in my arms as well. I started cutting all my supplements to see if that was the cause. Finally I cut the K2 (from LE) that I was taking every four days. Did not seem likely based on supposed low risk of side effects, but my symptoms did stop and have not returned even as I’ve added back some other supplements. There are so many variables maybe I’m wrong, but I’m wary of starting K2 again. Could it be that the high K2 aggravated an A deficiency? (I’m not good about eating beef liver because it seems to coincide with bloating/ constipation/ digestive issues. Other A sources have their own issues, though I’m trying to get at least weekly chicken livers.)

    You see what I mean though, it gets quite complicated!

    Not only do you have to understand the supplements themselves, you have to understand their “co-factors” and interactions with other minerals and nutrients, and your body’s current status, or risk “drawing down” something that’s low by suddenly introducing a high dose of something.

    Another time I was having bizarre nightmares that would cause me to wake feeling anxious and very uneasy and sleep fitfully after that. I definitely pegged it to liquid Vit D3 supplements, because it would reliably happen that night after taking D3 in the morning, and not happen if I skipped the D3. Also it happened with multiple brands of liquid D3. Still don’t know what this response really means, I just know I’m only getting D from sunlight for now..!

    • SW

      Sounds like your warm flushing feeling could be a niacin flush which is actually harmless. But it is a common side effect of taking niacin.

      • TimR

        Well it’s gone now – but I wasn’t / don’t take niacin. I don’t even eat niacin enriched products (isn’t niacin a typical “enrichment” nutrient for bread, rice, etc…?)

      • Dave Asprey

        Weird. Jaminet doesn’t like niacin so that’s not it. Could be a return of circulation or nervous system function, or it could be an excess of b6.

  • Tracy

    Thanks for the supplement list. My Gynecologist suggested I take Vitamin E for cystic breasts. What are your thoughts on women and vitamin E? Do you know any research sources on this? Thanks,

    Tracy

    • Dave Asprey

      I would read Wiley “Sex Lies Menopause” for that…

    • sunnysideup

      I have mild hypothyroidism and my doc started me on kelp (600mg/day). I had also been experiencing some significant breast cysts. They disappeared completely after a month on kelp, and I was cyst free for 2 years. Now that my thyroid seems to be perking up, my doc said to go ahead and skip the kelp. Within two weeks of no kelp I have a cyst. Coincidence?

  • Robert Katz

    Well, I’m neither an nudist nor do I dwell at the equator, but I get one hour of solar-noon sun on my face, back, legs, and chest right here in Little Arkansas. I decided to test my levels. The report just came back:

    Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy 49.1 ng/mL; reference interval 30.0 — 100.0

    Is that high enough? What’s a good level? Is it a good idea to take 1,000IU/25lb-bodyweight in addition to the sun?

    Thank you,

    —Robert

    • TimR

      On Paul Jaminet’s site he says around 40 ng/ml is ideal, so yours sounds fine to me. See http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/nutrients/vitamin-d/

      (I’m sure Dave has addressed this somewhere, I’m just more familiar with Jaminet’s site.)

      On the supplementation, I think it’s only recommended if you’re not getting enough through sun.

      • Dave Asprey

        I tend to favor 70-90, but anything 50 or above is going to help. Above 90 may cause more inflammation.

  • http://jaredcamarata.com/ Jared C

    Has anyone tried out https://www.consumerlab.com?
    They review vitamins and report on the best brands. I want to know if it is worth a membership.

  • Nick_FPH

    Dave, my parents and I are getting loose bowels/diarrhea, we are taking all the recommended supplements except copper. What can we do?

    • Dave Asprey

      Back off on mct, don’t stop it, just give your body time to get used to it. Add betaine hcl and lipase with fatty meals. Your bodies are getting used to burning fat for energy. This is a very temporary problem.

      • Nick_FPH

        We’ve been doing well with MCT for the last month, and have been eating paleo for about a year now. The only recent change has been adding in vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, b12 and folinic acid, and an increase in vitamin D intake…

        • Dave Asprey

          Then the culprit is probably excess magnesium. Take it in divided doses or back off a bit!

        • http://fitnessprohealth.com/ Nick_FPH

          Thanks!

        • Rod

          Hey Nick, any update? Did that work out for you?

          Thanks!

      • Laura Grace

        My girlfriend experiences the same from coffee w/ gf butter and coconut oil. Is the solution the same? Powering through the temporary problem combined with taking lipase and betaine hcl? Our coffee is not upgraded yet although that is definitely the plan.

  • Jeff Miller

    So I need some help here. The doctor has asked me to up my fish oil intake (and by that, I assume he meant omega 3) to 4g daily. Let’s assume I eat a less than perfect BPD…which is true. If I wanted to substitute krill oil for the fish oil, what should my daily dosage be? 1g of krill oil won’t provide an adequate amount of omega 3, at least that’s what appears to be the case by comparing fish/krill labels.

    Should I be more concerned about the total krill oil dosage, or the amount of omega 3s I’m getting?

    • Dave Asprey

      Since your dr. is recommending the omega-3, you should work with him on this. He is going to have a much more complete picture of your health. I would be concerned about 4 g of fish oil because it can be easily oxidized in your tissues.

      • Jeff Miller

        The good news is that by taking the fish oil, I’ve managed to pick up an extra 200mg of CoQ10 and 2000IU of vitamin D3 a day.

        And the magnesium suggestion has been a life saver! That was enough to recommend this article to others.

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  • Julia

    Wonderful list of supplements. Why do you recommend Jarrow krill? I’ve been looking for a brand of krill oil that is not rancid, but not sure where to find this information.

    • Dave Asprey

      Mix of price and performance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tracy.Bradley1 Tracy Bradley

    Very helpful list – thank you! I’ve been taking a combo D3/K2 from Thorne, wonder if you know anything about it quality-wise? (Not sure if I can put a link in here – don’t want to get flagged as a spammer)

    • Dave Asprey

      Thorne is pricey but very high quality. Recommend highly.

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  • NobHillSF

    Dave,
    just wondering what you thought of Grass-fed raised whole milk. Whole Foods carries it as”Grassmilk”- Organic Valley brand from Humboldt, about twice the price of regular milk. Same fat, application as Kerrygold butter? Use it plain or for protein drinks…
    Thanks,
    NHSF

  • Elle

    Hi Dave, Is there a less expensive substitute for D3 you could recommend? Its $60 for purity products’ D3.
    What about life extension’s D3? That’s the one I was on last and its much more affordable……Thanks so much

    • limone

      Pure Encapsulations d3 1000iu $27

    • Naomi

      Garden of Life’s Raw D3 is quite affordable and high quality. 60-ct 5,000 IU caps for about $16. Great company. I’ve been taking them since discovering the BP lifestyle and I feel pretty great!

      • Gina

        Ditto this! Garden of life products are excellent!

    • shark

      Seeking Health has the simplest and cheapest D3 supplement, shipping international with MyUS is expensive though.

    • onewitness

      If you go to your doctor and get tested for vitamin D deficiency (most are), then you can get a prescription of up to 50,000iu per pill. Take one a week and they are around $1 a pill with insurance.

      • John V

        Why do my replies always get deleted? Vitamin D by prescription is ironically of the inferior synthetic D2.

  • manom

    Dave,

    Two questions

    1. Dr Mercola mentions in one of his auditions oral Vitamin D is not a good idea to supplement with, He recommends Vitamin D sulphate. The best way to get it, according to him, is from sun beds that are magnetic field free. Whats your take on that?

    2. Many supplements, including PS-100 or whey contain small amounts of soy (GM free) or are derived from soy. Are they not contributing to estrogen elevation?

    thanks

    • Alex James

      You might be referring to this article: ‘Taking Oral Vitamin D? Avoid Making This Serious Mistake’ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/23/oral-vitamin-d-mistake.aspx

      Dr Mercola doesn’t recommend against taking vitamin D. He does say that sunlight or safe tanning bed exposure are preferable to oral supplementation, because it promotes natural synthesis of cholecalciferol AND other compounds he believes beneficial (cholesterol sulphate, cholecalciferol sulphate). But, in his own words “if neither of these are feasible options, then you should take an oral
      vitamin D3 supplement. It will certainly be better than no vitamin D at
      all.”

      This comes with the caveat that you are supplementing D3 (cholecalciferol) specifically, and not artificial D2 (ergocalciferol), which has been shown to marginally increase mortality. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22552031)

  • Olav

    Would it be possible to obtain an optimal VITAMIN D level merely by a tanning bed?

    • http://www.facebook.com/DocWellness David Orman

      Absolutely not. In addition, you are risking skin damage and potentially cancer.

  • Olav

    What if folinic acid is not available where I live? Should I take folic acid? In my country it’s named “Vitamin B11″ by the way.

  • Jason

    Dave, awesome write up and props for interacting with your readers, very refreshing. Quick question – what you think of the Albion chelated minerals/vitamins by Vitacost?

    Much appreciated.

  • sam

    Hey dave, I have been Following your blog in the last few months, and I was curious about something. My girlfriend had a thyroidectomy about a year ago(recently got her medication right), now eats a bulletproof diet, and exercises and sleeps well but still seems to carry a lot of bodyfat around her glute region to the point of cellulite wheras the rest of her body is very lean. We thought it was and estrogen problem but blood tests proved otherwise, Testosterone was about 24ng/dl and estrogen was about 64. Overall, I was curious what your thoughts on normal ranges for testosterone levels for women should be. Various studies seem to go all over the place.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/DocWellness David Orman

    The problem with the dated suggestion of “getting everything you need from food” is that the food is no longer real. It lacks considerable amounts of nutrition that we need. Correct and personalized supplementation is a must in today’s world.

    • Garrett K

      If you’re following the Bulletproof Diet, then the foods that you eat are, in fact, real.

      This being said, it’s still a good idea to supplement, even when switching/switched over to Bulletproof, since most people have been eating food which is ‘no longer real’. Thus the people are nutrient deficient. So they need to make up for lost ground, even when beginning to consume high quality food (Bulletproof).

      • Rachel Fleming

        But even the ‘real’ foods have changed correct? So, supplementation can still be very important for many even on the whole foods diet/ Bulletproof diet/ Paleo/ etc.

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  • madrid

    I’m finding it hard to find the forms of magnesium mentioned above where I live. To improve sleeping, would other forms such as carbonate, chloride or hydroxide do?

    • Dave Asprey

      Chloride is very potent so do research before using it internally (works as a soak). Oxide is better than nothing but poorly absorbed.
      Sent from an iphone. That means it’s spelled wrong…and I’m probably lost. You understand… -Dave

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  • Ash

    Hey Dave,

    Any update on the advanced supplements for biohacking post? Really looking forward to it.
    By the way, the Magnesium is a major biohack for sleep! Consistently wake up refreshed after only 4-5 hours of sleep. Amazing! Real good work.

  • sam

    Im curious about the iodine supplementation. I do not have a thyroid as i had radio active iodine treatment many years ago. Any idea how an iodine suppliment would effect me?

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.ott.14 Aaron Ott

      Taking too much iodine can actually over stress your thyroid. Do you have Hashamotos?

      • Molly Tinsley

        THIS ! If you have autoimmune thyroiditis under NO circumstances should you take iodine supplementation – it can cause a thyroid storm. Its one of the most common forms of hypothyroidism and its really, really important to establish if you have it (via Thyroid antibody testing) before supplementing with iodine. Iodine deficiency is rarer than you’d think as cooking salt is iodised. (And bread flour here in Australia, not that we eats grains :) I would honestly suggest eating more small, oily fish and using iodised cooking salt if you want to increase your iodine intake. I seriously wouldn’t supplement – apart from anything else, too much kelp can actually cause hypothyroidism….

  • nuzzi

    Is anyone using Magnesium Chloride? If so, in what form? bath salts, oil etc

    • Steve

      Using magnesium chloride flakes in the bath along with magnesium sulfate.

  • Charles

    B12 dosage: is it really 5 MILIGRAMS? Shouldn’t that be MCG?

    5MG is an insane megadose?

  • Jade

    Not trying to be a dick coz I am a big fan of your diet and biohacking tips. But why did you basically praise Alpha Brain on Rogan’s podcast yet you say on here that you are not a huge fan? I have recently started taking it but given the price would gladly switch over to something else if there’s a better nutropic product on the market.
    Cheers

    • Palo Alto Savage

      Brah Try Nuero Optimizer by Jarrow Forumulas

    • Steve

      Where does he say that?

      • Dave Asprey

        Right here, Steve.

        Alpha Brain is an overpriced rip-off. You can get even more brain nutrients in a fresh load of grass-fed semen. I’ve been taking loads of it in my mouth every day for the past ten or so years now, and I feel great!

        I’ve been tinkering in my kitchen trying to make a good jizz smoothie recipe to put on my blog. But whenever my wife catches me jerking off into the blender, she doesn’t sleep with me for the next week.

        Asprey out.

    • Adam

      If you’re that far off from spelling ‘because’ and ‘nootropic’ I’d suggest that some schooling would be your best bet for now.

      • Mitts

        Jade does have a point: Dave does praise Alpha Brain on Rogan’s podcast. He did it int he most recent episode Nov/2013.

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  • Rasputin

    Any thoughts on Calcium Pyruvate?

  • Jack

    Hey Dave, I read that Kelp, being often grown in polluted oceans might contain high levels of arsenic. What do you think about that?!

  • Michele

    What form of supplements are best – Gel/Capsules/Tablets?

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  • Brett

    Does anyone know much about ordering vitamin K in Canada. iHerb.com says it cannot be imported into Canada, but it is hard to find this documented anywhere on a government website. I’ve heard that the import restriction is 120mcg and noticed that among Canadian online retailers, I only see vitamin K supplements being sold with 120 mcg or less. Why the restriction? Why is it okay to take the 2000 mcg recommended above given this restriction? How can one order vitamin K in Canada. Dave – you live in Victoria… what is your experience with this?

    • thea

      I order life extensions Super K from iherb no problem…ships find to canada.

  • TianZarco

    Hey Dave,

    For the Cod Liver Oil, you mean Green “Pastures” as the recommended brand right?

  • TianZarco

    How worried are you about taking supplements like the Life Extension K2 you’ve suggested or something like nattinokase considering they’re derived from Natto which is itself derived from soybeans?

    Are the phytoestrogenic properties of these an issue or do the benefits outweigh the cost?

  • http://www.facebook.com/maria.burbano.9 Maria Clemencia Burbano

    Dave is this the Vitamin D3 you recommended in your article? I don’t see where it says D3– please confirm. I did see a D3 for men by Purity Products, but I want to buy one for both genders. Thanks in advance :)
    http://www.amazon.com/Purity-Products-Cannells-Advanced-Capsules/dp/B0043YY46A/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3C7ZQYCNVJWSO

  • Pat

    Is that a typo for K2? 2,000 mcg seems high. Is it 200 mcg?

  • http://contrast2.wordpress.com Brandon Adams

    Looking for Purity Products Vitamin D3 and all I find is “Dr. Cannell’s Advanced D” which says it includes magnesium, but doesn’t say how much. I’m looking to supplement both (looking at Jigsaw Health Magnesium w/SRT as recommended by The Magnesium Man). Any clarification on the inclusion of magnesium with Advanced D?
    Thanks!

    • http://contrast2.wordpress.com Brandon Adams

      Purity Products has 125mg magnesium per serving

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  • Molly Tinsley

    Comes to $106 if ordered from iHerb + $10 shipping to Australia. I didn’t count the D3 as I already have a huge jar of them – I get the Healthy Origins Brand at $16.95 for 360 at 5,000iu per capsule. I also wanted some NAC and went with the Jarrow non-slow release.

    Speaking as someone with Hashimotos, who has to take huge amounts of supplements due to a malfunctioning autoimmune system, I actually don’t think this is too bad in terms of a supplementation regime. I’ve walked out of a Doctors with $300 worth of supplements before – and often for a 2 month supply. The above order will last me 3 months at least, and some, like the D3 are a year’s supply.

    I also take the Solar sublingual b12, the Now Milk thistle (I do a course once or twice a year) and the Now borage oil. I find Optimoz do the best prices for the MCT Oil, coffee etc http://www.optimoz.com.au/

    Its all good, but I have to say that most of my friends think I’m nuts. I was showing my girlfriends my pill case yesterday and I got some raised eyebrows. I think that unless you’ve had a chronic illness which doesn’t respond well to medication, you can’t really understand what a difference it makes to find a supplement which allows you to function better.

    I don’t got to all this trouble and expense so that I can hone a finely developed physique and mental performance….. I do this so that I can function without falling asleep at 1pm in the afternoon, or hitting 300 pounds.

    I find it very useful to have Bodyhackers do the footwork for me. Hell, maybe one of these days I may even lose some weight :D

    Thanks Dave!

    • Lauren

      Hi Molly,

      I am new to the site, and am very interested in improving my mental and physical well being. Unfortunately, I fall in the same boat as you with my diagnoses of Hashimotos. It was discovered in my sophomore year of highschool, and I am now 20 years old. My doctor seems to think it may have been caused by a virus because my thyroid levels are now stable. I was just curious as to what supplements you are taking specifically for the maintenance of Hashimotos.

      Thank you,

      Lauren

    • Alex James

      I hope you’ve been careful supplementing iodine with a preexisting thyroid condition. Some people do not respond well to sudden increases/decreases in iodine intake, even without a compromising health condition. I’d recommend anyone with even mild symptoms of problematic thyroid be tested before supplementing iodine or kelp products.

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  • Eric C

    I’ve heard Dave say no to all mushrooms, but I’ve heard great things about mushrooms, especially lions mane to induce brain growth, can anyone shed light on this topic?

    • David N.

      I believe he meant to avoid them in large quantities as a food source because of the carbs. He’s mentioned using medicinal types like reishi, cordyceps, lions mane, etc. and my friends and I use these as part of our BP protocol.

  • Vee

    I’ve read that the best way to supplement magnesium was transdermally (sp?) I use a homemade magnesium lotion made from mag oil (also homemade), beeswax and Shea butter. Is this ok or is a pill better?

  • Vee

    Iv’e read that the best way to supplement magnesium was through transdermal absorption. Is this true? I use a homemade lotion that is made from magnesium oil (also homemade). I appreciate your thoughts.

  • Maggie

    I noticed you recommend Natural Calm as a magnesium supplement. I recently read online that it was tested by ConsumerLab and found to have high levels of lead. Has anyone else come across this information as well?

    https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Magnesium_Supplement_Review/magnesium/

  • walter

    Be careful with vitamin C as ascorbic acid because it kills the bad and the good gut bacteria. It is being added to juices and other foods as preservative because of that reason. Even a couple grams is enough to wipe out most of your good flora you worked so hard for – than it’s effect is more detrimental to your health than it does good! Try rose-hips and other natural sources, they don’t have that effect.

  • alex

    Hey Dave, how young to do suggest for people to start taking these supplements?

  • ray

    I take mark sissons damage control master formula+his fish oil+his vitamin d+ his probiotic. Shouldn’t this be enough and cover every vitamin supplement needed?

  • Evan Dahme

    Do you really mean 5MG of B12 or did you mean mcg? Mg seems like a extremely high dose and I can’t find a supplement even close. Can you clarify?

    • Armistead Legge

      5MG = 5,000 mcg.

      Also, you’re a dumbass.

      • Evan Dahme

        Very mature. No wonder your not on the podcast anymore.

        I know 5mg = 5000 mcg. My question was did he mean 5mcg. There’s no B12 supplement that comes even close to 5mg.

        Man, had no idea you were such a prick.

        • Armistead Legge

          Whatever, homo. You’re the one who doesn’t know that most B12 supplements come in 5000 mcg form. I have no idea how with the entirety of the internet and a drugstore on every corner you haven’t figured that out yet.

          And I have my own podcast, thank you very much. It’s called impruvism, and it’s way better. So go fuck your mother.

        • Evan Dahme

          Did you get beat up as a kid? Seems like it. I can always tell when I’m talking to a teenager (and a virgin). Makes sense due to your unprovoked hostility. Grow up.

          Again, kicked off your own podcast.

        • Armistead Legge

          Whatever, dickbag. I get more pussy than Dave gets grassfed butter. When he keels over one day due to stuffing his arteries with cholesterol, my podcast will still be going strong.

        • Evan Dahme

          Right, I’m sure.

          I feel sorry for you.

        • Jesse Ryan

          LOL what did he say the comments are deleted!

        • Thor
  • Sarah Boxer

    I heard some amazing things about Dr Max Powers Burn Pills on a forum website so I decided to purchase it.

    Weight loss? I am already a healthy eater and dieter, so I’m losing weight regardless. But the Dr Max Powers Burn completely took away my sleeping problems. I wake up about 4-5 times a night. After the first day of using this product in my morning drink I slept soundly the whole night, and continued to sleep wonderfully as I used it.

    Energy? It replaced coffee for me. It keeps me energized and I’m surprised. I haven’t felt this good since high school.

    • Ben

      what ingredients do you think took away sleeping problems and increased energy? Im curious…

  • Dawn

    I know if you are looking to boost energy and focus there are two great all-natural supplements with vitamins and minerals that you could take. To find out more information on this please visit http://silvelf.blogspot.com/2013/07/best-supplements-for-energy-and-focus.html

  • Mark

    I think it is silly to recommend a retinol dosage that is above the upper limit.

  • Miriam Hyde

    Hi Dave, just found this while searching for different things. I have a LOT of physical issues. I’m taking a number of supplements (which I will now review!) but have question on heavy metals and iodine. I had a defective hip replacement, and three years after three revision surgeries, my Cobalt levels are too high; chromium goes up and down. So, I’m a bit concerned about taking any others. I developed CKD from the Cobalt (I’ve been stable at 40%), and wondered about these or other supplement I should take or avoid. And I have had hypothyroidism for many years, resulting from lots of years of lithium…which I stopped in the early 2000′s, after having urinary issues. And what about Iodine?

    Can you respond via email? I don’t know when or if you may respond without notice. Thanks!

  • Mark

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34517/

    A good reason NOT to take that much retinol.

    • Mark

      I’m just curious where did you get the idea that that much retinol is good for you? Weston Price foundation?

  • Rick Yarussi

    Can you comment more on the folate to B12 ratio? Some quick googling (yeah, dangerous, I know) pulls up a 2:1 ratio:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14584018
    http://www.laurapower.com/page25.html

    Maybe it’s only 2:1 up to a certain point? The ratio given in the post is 1:6, or 12x more B12.

    Steve Fowkes mentioned that the ratios of the B vitamins in the RDA are about right, but the overall doses are 10x-20x too low.

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  • Rick

    Great article, just one small nit to pick. Calling ascorbic acid “Vitamin C” is like going to a tire store, pointing to 4 tires and saying you have a car. They’re assuredly part of a car, but if that’s all you’ve got, you’re not going anywhere. When the body receives ascorbic acid it’s also expecting to receive a number of other phyto-compounds that allow the body to properly utilize it. Taking ascorbic acid by itself is essentially taking a drug, not a nutrient. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but if you want “Vitamin C”, I’d suggest a food-based product like the excellent one from The Synergy Company, Pure Radiance C. I don’t work for them, I’ve just used the product for a few years and found it to be very beneficial. I”ll occasionally use straight ascorbic acid when dealing with certain issues, but I use the above product as my daily vitamin C supplement.

  • Nathan Corbett

    I can vouch for the toxicity of Folate supplementation gone awry. In an attempt to remediate low energy from what I suspected was a B12 deficiency, I grabbed a normal B12 supplement (Jameson’s, I think) and started dutifully taking it as recommended each day. Initially, I felt a more energetic and on the ball, but within a week I was experiencing brain fog, mild dizziness, and visual distortions. On stopping, things returned to normal, but what a surprising effect!

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  • Ryan Critchett

    Love it. Been really feeling the benefits of Vitamin D lately. One question Dave: what’s your take on Choline supplements? I’ve heard you say some people are choline dominant, and shouldn’t take choline supps. – Sure, I eat eggs, and GF steak, but I’m an entrepreneur, burning acetylcholine daily, and a runner (burning more acetylcholine 3 times weekly, in runs). CDP Choline, about a gram, restores a lot of my brain function depleted from running and the demand from my business endeavors. — What’s your take on that?

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  • Luke

    Magnesium citrate is recommended but from a little bit of research all i have seen about Mag citrate is that it is used as a laxative. Please could you say why its recommended and if indeed it is a laxative, that would be much appreciated.
    Luke

  • Trent

    I just started vit D, K2, iodine, C, mag & fish oil liquid. This all costs quite a bit especially when grouped in with crazy expensive food. My biggest question is Vitamin D. This will cost me about $80 a month alone to buy those you recommended for my weight (240 lbs). Can you recommend another one or is this much better?

    • Tracker

      Get something like http://www.iherb.com/Nature-s-Answer-Vitamin-D-3-Drops-4000-IU-15-ml/20745. 300 servings of 4000 IU for about $12. Even if you take 5x that daily it should still last you 2 months.

    • Hudson

      D3 is D3. you can get it for pennies a day if you buy liquid. Go with a good brand like Life Extension and there are no issues. don’t know why he mentioned the most expensive one– not everyone is a Silicon Valley executive.

    • GM

      Trent,
      is this stuff working for you? gotta be more than $80/mo..! I’m thinking Vodka is much cheaper..!

    • Prudence Noble

      Trent, you can also try something called Sundew Transdermal D3 Crème. It’s put out by Longevity Warehouse. Runs about $60 for the jar. You apply topically; 2,000IU per application.

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  • reed

    my wife is nursing. can she take all these supplements and the recommended doses?

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  • Blair Ellertson

    How do you feel about Vitamin D-3 injections. I have some from a pharmacist and for 1 ml is 100,000 iU’s which is obviously way too much. Would love to know if the dosing is the same for liquid injectables.

  • Kyle K

    Hey, I can’t seem to justify putting isolated vitamins that were made in a lab into my system (have you ever read the work of Brian Clements). I want to upgrade myself as much as possible, but this seems like it could be downgrading your body. Just doesn’t seem like it would help your body or be beneficial. Where is the proof? I know multis have shown to lead to shorter lifespans. Sounds like the pharma companies are just trying to make another buck off this conspiracy. Your insight would be greatly appreciated Dave/guys

    • Kyle K

      Dr. Brian Clement sorry

    • Rachel Fleming

      I think being aware of the fact that you can screw up what is going on in your body if you take isolated supplements is important. Having said that, I think there are very specific reasons for the ones mentioned above.

      I also think you have to know what deficiency you are treating in your body and why… and follow up with blood tests. As my friend Kevin says, you SHOULD be able to get everything you need through diet. But there are also factors that make food less nutritionally satisfying today than the food we ate many years ago.

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  • Liat

    Has anyone experienced difficulty locating Natural Calm or VRP magnesium online? I’ve done quite a bit of searching, but to no avail. Any help is appreciated. Thanks :)

  • Mort

    What’s your opinion on “synthetic vs. Natural” vitamin forms. is there any benefit from taking B-vitiamins derived from Whole food/YEAST as opposed to an isolated form….for instance?

  • Frasier Linde

    As others have mentioned, 5 mg seems like a very high dose of B12 for most people. I was taking 0.5-1 mg per day and eating rare beef liver weekly, and ended up with a blood level of 1474 pg/mL, almost double the high end of most reference ranges. Where did you get the 5 mg recommendation?

  • Rolf Rau

    viva labs krill oil seems way better than from jarrows… look at the amazon reviews

  • Michael Attanasio

    Just thought I’d share this Vitamin A supplement for those who do not feel like spending an arm and a leg. It does NOT have soybean oil but it is a mix of retinol and palmitate which is kind of a let down. Cheap as dirt though ($4.76 for 100 soft gells and a serving is 1 soft gel): http://www.iherb.com/product-reviews/Country-Life-Gluten-Free-Vitamin-A-10-000-IU-100-Softgels/11689/?p=1&fr=4

  • Abed

    For some of the vitamins, such as K2 and D, your recommendations are a few or many times the recommended daily allowance. Why do you recommend people to buy expensive vitamins in amounts they don’t need?
    Plus, Vitamin A in high doses as recommended by you might cause side effects and can even turn toxic if taken regularly for a long term.

  • http://xanview.com Roman Gaufman

    2 supplements I take right now are biotin and ginkgo biloba. I was surprised not to see either mentioned on this or the top 11 list. The former promotes cellular energy production and the latter improves cognitive grain function and short term memory. I was wondering what your thoughts are on those 2 supplements?

  • Mike

    Im surprised Zinc, SAM-e, and NAC isn’t on the list…

    • Rachel Fleming

      I’ve heard about NAC before, what is the benefit?

  • Thaddeus

    Does anyone know where can I get a K2 that has MK-7 and MK-4 without the K-1?

  • Amanda

    Overwhelmed myself a bit trying to tackle all of these at once, but it turns out life extension makes a vitamin D – vitamin K – iodine (all in one) supplement in just about exactly the forms and amounts you suggest. Not sure if anyone else found it, but thought it was worth the mention! Got it on amazon.

  • Rachel Fleming

    Has anyone read anything about magnesium stearate in supplements? I’m in France right now and I seem to only be able to find ‘Solgar’ branded vitamins at Naturalia. I thought I remembered hearing that magnesium stearate could be detrimental to your health/ prevent you from actually absorbing vitamins.

    Anyone have any insight into this?

  • Pedro feilke

    Dave, my girlfriend is becoming paleo, and I am reading your work. She has growing cysts in her kidneys, do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

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  • Rachel Fleming

    Could eating canned cod liver replace the need to get a Vitamin A supplement?

    The first two times I ate it, I noticed I felt really great. After that, however, I felt normal. Of course, it depends on the brand, where it came from..etc. I am curious about what I can expect in terms of nutrient content from canned fish, however…

    Thanks!

  • NewYorker

    Amazing list. Thank you Dave for all your work. Have a dilemma now and looking for help. I have been taking these vitamins for a year, so recently I did various blood tests to measure my vitamin levels and ran into a problem of not being able to read the results properly. My doctor has no idea of what is normal. He uses lab’s ranges to track “normal.”. So…perhaps someday you will update this vitamins page with what “normal” vitamin levels should be in the tests for someone who is BP healthy? Million thank yous once again.

  • ff

    would disagree with respect to copper. zinc and copper are antagonists. most people get way to much copper relative to zinc nowadays and should instead of supplementing copper be supplementing zinc.

  • getwell

    Thanks so much for this info, its invaluable, and in a very easy to read format. Could you comment on some of the risks that have been published on Vit C, D, and DHA contributing to kidney stones? As a guy who just had a 1 cm stone removed, I have stopped most of my supplements in fear. K2, FCLO and vit A are still in the mix, but I dropped high doses of D and C. Thank you.

  • noelle federico

    Thanks for sharing the nice information with us. I am agree with you that in market there is use of low quality supplement also. But if we choose the good brand company which provides the best energy supplements it will help us alot. As I know one of the best brand leading in USA is Natures youth which provides the best energy pills with 100 percent natural ingredients and it helps alot to the person.

  • gnoober

    You should really mention that magnesium citrate =/= magnesium.
    1,9 grams of magnesium citrate equal about 315 mg of magnesium.

    I was a little concerned at first about the high dosage of my supplement since you only recommend up to 800 mg, but then I realized I need to take 4-5 grams of magnesium citrate to reach 700-800mg magnesium from it.

    So definitely room for confusion there.

  • noelle

    Thanks for sharing the nice article on energy supplements. Always take the natural energy pills which can boost up the energy level all day. For that we can consider natural energy pills.

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  • Suan

    HI BPE team,
    You may want to put a warning/contraindication on the B-12 & Folinic Acid supplement recommendation. If someone who is undermythelated takes that recommendation, they might deteriorate and not know why. I just finished reading Dr. Walsh’s book.

  • Luke

    Hi Dave for B12 do you said 5mg is this correct or is it 5mcg? all the supplements I can find here in Spain are 5mcg..
    Thanks

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