By Leo Gura - March 18, 2014 | 30 Comments
How to supplement properly, with a review of over 25 of the best supplements
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video we’re doing something a little bit different. I’ve been getting some requests from people asking me about supplementation. I’ve been giving you guys some recommendations about nutrition and what you should be doing there. Also, people have been asking about what kind of supplements should you take.
Optimize Your Body and Mind
I think I’m a good person to ask because I’ve been taking a lot of supplements lately. A few years ago I really got involved with bio hacking which is the idea that you can start to optimize your body in various ways through nutrition and fitness. With little life hacks you can start to optimize your body to give you the best performance for work and for life. You can also start to optimize your mind as well, so your cognitive performance. I really got interested by this idea that you can optimize cognitive performance and actually become more creative, increase your IQ, become sharper, become more clear-minded, become more conscious through various things you can do besides just mental work.
I give you guys a lot of ideas about personal development work that you can do, which is all going on inside your psyche, but there’s also stuff you can do on the outside, stuff you can do physically with your body, and stuff you can do physically with your brain which aids you in doing that. I am excited about finding every little possible optimization that I can, so in an effort to do that I really got involved with supplements. I started researching them and I started taking a little bit of supplements here and a little bit of supplements there until eventually I got to the point where I’m taking all these.
Look at this. This right here is all the supplements that I take every day. I counted about twenty-five bottles. That’s about twenty-five different supplements here. This is a little bit overkill. I don’t recommend you take this many.
I did this for some very specific reasons. First of all, I was kind of experimenting. Second of all, I had a thyroid issue, I had a low thyroid and because of that I started researching causes of thyroid and one of the concerns that I found was there could be various insufficiencies with vitamins and minerals and so I started to go through this trial and error process of trying different vitamins and minerals and seeing if they improve my energy, improve my mood.
When you have a low thyroid, the symptoms of that are really sleepiness, grogginess, low energy, not wanting to work as hard, lack of motivation, problem controlling body temperature because your thyroid controls your metabolism, and so I wanted to find a natural solution to this. I started doing a lot of research and kind of went down this deep little rabbit hole of supplementation. What I thought I would do with you guys here is I would take you through each one of these supplements I take, explain each one a little bit and as I’m going through, you’re going to get some insights into how to supplement properly.
Let’s just crack into it. Before we do let me show you what this actually looks like. It’s actually one of the things I did is, this is a good little time-saving technique, is you get a large, large, large pill box. When you get this many supplements, it just became too big of a hassle every day to open twenty-five bottles and pull one out. What I found myself doing was not taking my supplements.
What I found as a solution is you get a pill box. I got one originally that was significantly smaller and it was so small that I could only fit a couple of different supplements into it and so I had to go on Amazon and specifically find the largest pill box constructed by man. This is it. This guy can probably fit a hundred pills. I haven’t really filled even half of it. Let me show you what it kind of looks like, what we’re talking about these supplements.
It kind of looks like that as far as quantity goes. Some of these supplements you take double pills of because you just need more of them than one. That’s about right. So I take a handful of those every day.
Let’s get into each supplement. I’m going to go through them and I’m going to tell you the ones that are more iffy and probably ones that you don’t need to take and I’m going to tell you some other ones that are pretty essential and I think that everyone should take because there’s actually some solid science behind them.
The Number one: omega 3
The first one that we should start off with that fits that bill is omega 3. Omega 3 fish oil. This one is probably the number one supplement that you should be taking, everyone should be taking. The ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s in your body is directly correlated to the disease that you experience. Inflammation to cardiovascular health, to all sorts of other nasty problems.
If you’re eating this standard American diet which is just garbage and complete shit, then you have a ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s that’s totally, totally out of whack. That means you have so many omega 6’s and so little omega 3’s that it’s destroying your body from the inside out pretty much. You obviously want to clean up your diet but you also want to supplement with a high quality omega 3 supplement.
This one has five hundred EPA and two hundred fifty DHA and that comes as two pills. You take two of these. To get the daily dose you take two of these per day.
This one comes from, I don’t know where this is coming from. From cod liver oil or something like that. Okay, so this is from sardines and anchovies and mackerel. You want to make sure that it’s a highly filtered source of omega 3 because fish can contain various toxins, mercury and other stuff so you want to make sure this is highly filtered. Buy a high quality one.
Even better is you might want to invest in krill oil. Krill oil is a source of omega 3 that’s the highest quality that you can get but it tends to be a little pricey. This is just regular fish oil. That one I recommend you to take.
Guard Against Colds
The next one I think that is important is Vitamin C. Vitamin C right there. This is a hundred milligrams per pill so this is what a pill looks like. You take one of these so it’s a hundred milligrams. I take one of these a day.
Vitamin C is good for strengthening your immune system. Basically it makes all the chemical processes in your body run smoother. This will help you from catching colds if you catch colds a lot, it will help you from some of the aches and pains that you have. So this one is good.
I definitely recommend you take it, especially if you’re having a cold or you feel a cold coming on. I’ll start taking these in large quantities like I’ll take five or ten a day. You can take a lot of Vitamin C without overdose. It’s not something that’s going to say in your body, it’s going to flush out and your body can actually use a lot of Vitamin C. This is good stuff.
This brand, this Solaray brand, what’s nice about it is that these are two-stage time release capsules. This is a more expensive brand, but what’s good about it it releases in stages. It’s going to release in one stage when it gets in your stomach and then it’ll still stay not completely dissolved, then hours later when it goes into your lower intestines it will dissolve again a second time.
So this gives you a more steady and consistent flow of that Vitamin C rather than getting one large hit of it. This will stay with you for the whole day. So that’s a nice little extra feature of that one.
The Sun Vitamin
The next one I’m going to recommend is – I want to do them in order of importance for you guys – so it’s going to be Vitamin D3. This is a crucial, crucial, crucial vitamin that you in fact are probably right now lacking. You might be severely lacking in it. When you lack in it, you get all sorts of problems. Energy problems, just bad stuff starts to happen.
What you want is you want to get a blood test for Vitamin D3 at your doctor’s office. You should do this every year. It’s a simple test, it will cost about fifty bucks, but what it will tell you exactly what your D3 level is. It is possible to have too much D3, although that’s probably not the case for you unless you’re taking extraordinary quantities of supplements.
The way Vitamin D3 is synthesized in your body is through sunlight contacting your skin. Since most of us are not out in the sun very often, what happens is we don’t get enough Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D3 is not found in foods. That means that you either go out into the sun more or you start taking supplements.
I recommend taking a large dose. The recommended doses that most websites out there or books are telling you about are too low. That’s why you need to get tested. I am taking, this is one pill is five thousand IUs which is already a lot, but I take two of these a day so that’s ten thousand IUs.
That’s way above all the recommendations, but I actually get my D3 tested and I’m a little bit low. I’m not low but I’m on the low end of the normal range. So that means that I could still be taking even more of it. This is what it looks like. It’s a really small pill so it’s easy to swallow that sucker. Definitely check yourself there, especially if you’re having any sort of energy problems or health problems, you want to check that your D3 level is solid.
The Miracle Worker
All right. The next one I’m going to recommend is and this one is actually probably my favorite of all, this one is one of the miracle discoveries that I found in the last two years. This one is my well-kept little secrets. This one is called Maca. Maca root.
This is a root from South America I believe and it’s called the energizing herb, but actually what it does it acts to boost your libido so this is really good for reproductive health and oh my God does it work! This is like natural Viagra. This works actually for both men and for women.
I stumbled upon it when I was reading the reviews on Amazon for this Vitamin or for this Maca supplement and most of the reviews are actually there from women who were having problems with their reproductive system or menstruation problems, irregular periods, other stuff like that. They say that taking this helps but it’s also great for men because it makes you ridiculously, ridiculously horny. It gives you super strong sex drive.
When you take this, your woman is going to be pleased. What you can do in bed on this is ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Just beyond that, I think it’s healthy for you because this is an actual, this is not like Viagra, it’s not a chemical. This is going to not only make you more energetic and more vigorous, it’s also going to strengthen your immune system, make sure that everything is firing on all cylinders for you. I recommend this for men and for women at least one a day. This is five hundred milligrams and it’s just a normal sized pill, I’m not going to show it to you.
What else? Vitamin A. I love Vitamin A. This is another one that I love because I can actually feel the effect of it. What this one does for me, I actually don’t have good vision, I actually wear contacts.
Even when I wear my contacts I’m not at 20-20 vision because it’s hard to focus in contacts if you get a really strong prescription so what this does is this actually improves my vision when I take it. I can feel my vision get sharper when I’m on Vitamin A. So if you have vision problems or you have problems with your eyes, then definitely start to take this stuff.
Vitamin A you’ve got to be a little bit careful with because you can overdose on it. Ideally you want to get blood tests for it. I don’t get blood tests for it, but I just make sure that I’m not really going overboard although I do take a pretty high dose. This one I take here is ten thousand IUs.
I found that that’s a safe dose to take without having to really do blood tests. This Vitamin A comes from fish liver oil, which is actually important because if you get Vitamin A that comes from a plant source, and many of the Vitamin As out there do come from plant sources, then they are not going to have the same effect as the animal-based Vitamin A.
They are really different compounds. So you want to make sure that you’re getting one that’s coming really from fish liver oil ideally. So that one is great.
Improve Your Digestion
Let’s see, what else do I like? Magnesium. Magnesium is important especially if you’re having any sort of issues with your bowels, bowel movements, especially if you have constipation problems, then magnesium is really going to help you out.
I remember when I was doing heavy Paleo and I was eating very low carbs, I was having some issues with that, with digestion and magnesium really, really helped me out. Until I stumbled upon this I was really having a lot of difficulty. So magnesium will just make everything kind of flow through your system very nicely and this is just like one of those natural elements that you need and you need quite a lot of it.
That means that I take six of these pills a day. Six of these guys. Magnesium is kind of like a big molecule so you need a lot of these to get the daily dosage you want.
What’s important about this is that you want to get a magnesium source. There are various forms of magnesium, you want to get one that’s chelated. What that means is it’s a more bioavailable form of the molecule than other forms. That means it’s actually going to be absorbed by your intestines easier.
This is actually a common theme among all the supplements here, is that you want to make sure that you get forms of these supplements that are highly bioavailable. A lot of the cheaper brands, a lot of the cheap stuff that you’ll get at Wallmart or at one of the grocery stores, what’s going to happen there is that yes you’re saving some money, but you’re actually wasting money because what you’re getting is you’re getting a non-bioavailable form of it. That means most of it is going through your system and it’s not getting absorbed. There that means that you really are wasting a lot of your money. What I found is important is to get chelated magnesium.
All right. What is next? Okay, here’s a good one. EGCg. What is EGCg?
It’s an extract from green tea. It’s basically giving you a lot of antioxidants. Green tea has been studied in a lot of research and it’s been shown that green tea, drinking just a cup of high quality natural green tea every day, helps with antioxidants and giving you anti-aging and all sorts of health benefits.
So the next best thing, unless you’re going to drink a cup of green tea every day, is perhaps to take it in a pill form. It’s not quite clear whether the pill form is as effective as actually drinking the tea, so ideally you would drink a cup of green tea and I’ve actually been doing that. That’s nice, but you can also take it in pill form. This is four hundred milligrams. Recommend that one as well.
All right, what else have we got? Natural Resveratrol. What is that? Resveratrol is good for cardiovascular support and also antioxidants and anti-aging. This is coming from grapes.
This is coming from the compound in red wine that studies have been showing has been having a good, positive effect on heart health and anti-aging. If you take that and you take the wine out of it and you take all the alcohol out of it and you reduce it and you get the Resveratrol which is the key compound then you get it as a pill form. This is two hundred milligrams and so that might be something that you’re interested in.
What else do I have here? Ooh I love this one. This one is called Astaxanthin. A little hard to pronounce. Astaxanthin and the brand of it is called BioAstin.
I recommend the brand and the supplement itself is called Astaxanthin. What is that? This is actually one of the most potent antioxidants that’s been found. It has a potent biofacter of a hundred greater than other antioxidants.
What this is is, if you know anything about salmon and you know that salmon has pink flesh. The reason that salmon has pink flesh, at least the wild salmon, that is because it eats little krill and other shrimp and little fish from the sea which give it that red coloration. That red coloration is the anaxanthin.
If you’re eating salmon, a high quality source of wild Alaskan salmon that’s not contaminated by mercury, then you’re getting some anaxanthin there. What this company did is they actually found a way to develop it from various algae. They farm algae and then they extract the anaxanthin from it somehow and they give you this very pure, this highly concentrated form of it.
This is supposed to be an overall awesome antioxidant, one of the most powerful ones out there. That’s why I like it and I take a really high dose. I take twelve milligrams and it comes in a black pill that looks kind of cool like this. A little pill, not too hard to swallow.
The other nice thing that I like about it, if you’re fair skinned like me and you burn easily in the sun, supposedly, I haven’t proved this myself, but supposedly this acts as a natural sun screen. It makes your skin actually resistant to sun burn which I find really cool if that’s true. I haven’t really tested it myself yet.
Okay, what else do we have? I’m going to go through and give just basic minerals for example copper, that’s kind of like an essential mineral. You might be missing it, so you might want to supplement.
Also, zinc, make sure you’re getting your zinc in an absorbable form. I get zinc picolinate. It’s also kind of a basic mineral.
What else do we got? We’ve got Vitamin K. This is a K2 complex so it’s a mix of Vitamin K’s. It’s got Vitamin K1 and K2 and this is good also if you’re lacking in Vitamin K. You might get a blood test for that and check.
What else do we got? Manganese. It’s also kind of just a basic element that you might be missing.
Then we’ve got MegaFolonic. This is folonic acid. This is actually a more bioactive form of folic acid. Folic acid is something that you really shouldn’t be taking from what I’ve read so folonic acid is better. So this is something you might be interested in.
Iron. Now iron you have to be careful with because you don’t want too much iron in the blood. It will actually cause cancer so you want to be careful with this.
Women should be supplementing iron because they’re menstruating every month. For men iron supplementation usually not required unless you have heavy bleeding for some reason. Actually I found my blood to show a little bit low iron and that’s related to low thyroid so I figured that I would supplement a little bit with it.
It’s not something that you want to be taking constantly. This is something that you take when you need it. The form of iron I take here is called ferrochel which is actually important because iron is hard for your body to absorb so you want to get the most bioavailable form that you can get.
Next, what do we got? Rhodiola. You’ve probably heard of that one, it’s a pretty popular herb. Rhodiola is a pathogenic herb and what it does is it kind of smoothes out your cortisol levels and your hormones and it gives you energy and it really stabilizes your energy so your energy is consistent and high. So check that one out if you’re having energy issues and sleepiness issues.
The other one that’s nice is selenium. This is a basic element that your body needs and sometimes we don’t get enough of it. It is possible to overdose on selenium so don’t take too much. I take two hundred micrograms a day, one of these pills that’s it. Don’t take too much of it.
What else? Here’s a little one. This one is called Pterostilbene. Kind of like a Pterodactyl. Kind of a weird name.
What this is, it’s actually an even better version of Resveratrol. This is extracted from grapes, from the seeds of red grapes. This is supposedly the ultimate compound that is responsible for all the health benefits of wine. So that one is even better than Resveratrol.
What else do we have here? I’ve got Vitamin B6 except this is the best form of it and it’s called P-5-P. Pyridoxal 5-phosphate.
It’s a form of Vitamin B6 that’s the most bioavailable and this is just if you have low B6. What else do I have here? Super bio-curcumin.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Turmeric actually has been shown to have a lot of positive benefits on colon health and the digestive system. Really turmeric and curcumin have been used for millennia in Indian cultures and Asian cultures in the east. This is an awesome one because it prevents colon cancer and other nasty things like that and just makes your digestive system good.
The trick with curcumin though is that’s it’s really difficult for your body to absorb it and so most forms of curcumin, like eighty percent of it, doesn’t get absorbed it just comes out of your system. Of course that’s a waste of money and you’re not getting any of the benefit. What I got is super bio-curcumin. This is actually a patented new form of curcumin that’s been specifically designed for high bioavailability and most of this like eighty percent or ninety percent of it gets absorbed so it’s a great investment even though it costs a little more.
Boost Your Immune System and Increase Your Brain Function
The next is MyCommunity Host Defense. What is this? This is a combination of fifteen different exotic mushrooms and it’s supposed to help your immune system. The mushrooms listed here include all sorts of weird things but the more familiar ones are maitake, reishi, lion’s mane, shiitake…there’s a lot of mushrooms, literally fifteen different types and they’re all blended together.
This comes from Paul Stamets, he’s a mushroom expert. This is recommended by him for improved immune system. I take these when I’m having a cold. People say that this helps them get over colds faster so you might want to check that one out.
What else do we have? Extra strength ginkgo biloba. You’ve probably heard of this. This is a classic herb that helps with mental function and memory. This is actually one of the ones that I was interested in because I’m always interested the most in anything that will improve my cognitive performance. This is supposed to improve clear thinking and memory.
What else do we have? Huperzine A. That’s another one that’s for your brain. This one’s supposed to improve learning and memory. Might want to check that one out.
Acetyl-L Carnitine. That is also one for your brain. That’s a chemical that your brain uses to run more smoothly and so this is going to give you sharper, clearer thinking. Five hundred milligram tablets.
The final two. We’ve got Beta-Glucan. This is a cool one because I heard a lecture by one guy that was talking about how farmers what they’ll do, farmers and ranchers who mass produce cattle and feed cattle a lot of corn in order to get the most yield from the cow at the least cost, what that ends up doing is it ends up sickening the cow. Literally what’s happening is they’re feeding the cow the lowest possible quality of food and so that cow can barely live on that food.
They feed it just the right quantity of food and the quality of food so that that cow can live just enough days for it to get slaughtered. If it had to live any more than that it would die naturally because of the horrible food that they feed it. In order to actually make that happen what they do because the cows get diseases and all sorts of problems, what they do farmers will buy but the ton load, literally by the ton.
They will buy Beta-Glucan and they’ll feed it to the cows because this helps the cow’s immune system. It helps them live long enough to actually get slaughtered. The farmers know that this works and they use it by the ton load to feed to their cattle to keep it alive.
What is Beta-Glucan exactly? It’s a complex polysaccharide so it’s composed of glucose molecules extracted and purified from cell walls of common baker’s yeast. It’s kind of like a form of sugar but apparently somehow it helps your immune system.
Last is an interestingly called herb called Gymnema Sylvestre. I got interested in this one because supposedly what it does is it supports your glucose metabolism and it helps even out your blood sugar and it reduces sugar cravings. I actually got on this when I was eating very strict Paleo and I was doing super, super low carbs. I was under fifty grams of carbs per day.
If you’ve ever tried that it’s really difficult because almost everything has carbs in it. You also start to get cravings for sugar because everything you’re eating has no sugar in it. To do that I started taking this to see if it would reduce my sugar cravings.
All right, so that is it. That’s about twenty-five different supplements. I’ve already showed you what they look like in my pill box. I just take them all every day. That’s about it.
Not Too Many Without Good Reason
Ultimately what you want to remember from this, you don’t want to probably get this deep. First of all this is expensive. This is twenty-five different supplements and these need to be replaced every month.
What does this cost? This costs about a hundred forty dollars per month to maintain this. That’s a pretty big expense. So don’t do it unless you have reasons.
I had some important reasons because I was working out my thyroid and honestly I’ll probably scale back from some of these because some of them I don’t know, I don’t really feel the effects. I’m not sure if they’re working or not and it is an expense that I don’t want to be spending money on something that isn’t working.
There’s also the case to be made that this is your health and if you have viable research that shows that this is something that’s important to you, that’s going to help you, then I say go out and do it and spend the money. You’re wasting that money elsewhere anyways. Instead invest it in your health. Make sure that you’re living healthy.
I think the most important for you guys, if you’re just kind of a layman and you’re not going to get too heavy into bio hacking, then I would recommend a couple of these. I would say definitely the omega 3, have a high quality Vitamin C, Maca, everyone should be taking maca, this is going to make you so much happier in the bedroom, and definitely Vitamin D3, super critical, I also think Vitamin A is good for eye health and I would recommend Anaxanthin because this is the highest antioxidant that there is known to man. If you’re going to take an antioxidant this is the one that you should be taking.
As far as the rest of them, I would say hold off. Unless you have good reasons then don’t take them. Unless there’s blood work or you have energy problems or something like that. I think Magnesium is also a good one to recommend generally because it helps with digestion.
Really you don’t need to go all out and be crazy. You can just pick the ones that you need. If you find yourself getting more involved and looking for ways to really optimize yourself and maybe look into enhancing your brain function, then you can try some of these other ones . There’s literally hundreds of other ones out there.
The Key Tips
I think the key tips are (a) do your research. Make sure you do the research on each one that you take. As you can see here, I didn’t prepare for this talk. I did so much research on these supplements over the summer that I know them all by heart. I know exactly what they do, I know the quantities, the volumes etcetera. Make sure that that’s what’s happening. Don’t just take a supplement not knowing what it’s doing.
Also, point (b) is that I want you to find the most high quality supplements that you can. Not necessarily the most expensive, but the high quality ones. Make sure that this is a bioavailable form of the supplement and that it has good reviews and this is something that there’s been studies on.
The next tip I actually have for you is use Amazon.com to research supplements. I found this is an awesome tip. What you do is you just go and you search your supplement and then you can look at all of the different brands and look at the reviews. People there will tell you a lot of anecdotal evidence and about how it’s working for them, what kind of problems it’s solving for them and I found that’s a good way to do research.
The problem is that actual science on this stuff right now is pretty limited aside from stuff like fish oil and maybe Vitamin C and Vitamin D. There’s just not that much evidence out there. Just the state of nutrition science and health science right now is quite limited so we’re very much in the dark ages I feel. Maybe fifty or a hundred years from now all this stuff will be really figured out and we’ll know exactly what every one of these does or does not do, but right now you’re just kind of gambling a little bit.
None of these are going to hurt you, not if you get a decent source of it. I’ve been taking this stuff for a couple of years now and there’s no negative effects from it. It’s just that you might be kind of wasting your money, wasting your time.
Start with the ones that give you a bang for your buck and the rest of them you have to experiment. You have to really become a bio hacker and you have to look and see, will this actually improve your mood, will it improve your energy, will it improve your libido or you digestive problems or whatever. You’re going to have to go out and try this stuff out.
All right, this is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. I’ve actually been waiting to shoot this video for a long time because friends have been asking me about what I take supplement-wise. This is it right here.
I’m signing off, please leave me your comments down below, like this and share this, spread this around maybe you can get other people into supplementation. Of course check out our free newsletter at Actualized.org where I release more videos that really talk about how to master your life, how to understand your psychology. Sometimes I’ll be going into nutrition, other stuff like that, but generally nutrition and supplements are not my forte. This is kind of something I kind of dabble in on the side. Really my forte is getting you to live an extraordinary kind of life.
I think to do that, the reason I’m talking about it here, this nutrition stuff, is because you need a healthy body and a healthy brain in order to have a healthy mind, in order to develop a high quality psychology, in order to master everything that you’re doing in your life and to have a really high performance to be out there living on your edge. You can’t do that if you’re sick, you can’t do that if you’re tired, you can’t do that if you have digestion problems, you can’t do that if you have cancer, you can’t do that if you have anything else, if you’re impotent. You’re just missing out on a lot of the awesome stuff in life.
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