Optimize Your Supplements

Standard
  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

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.

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.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/optimize-your-supplements/

Advertisements

The Benefits of Vitamin B Complex

Standard

Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. While many of the following vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits — from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory lossor migraines.

So is it time to start stockpiling B complex? Not necessarily, says registered dietitian, Tanya Zuckerbrot. “Taking a B complex vitamin will not create heightened alertness or energy the way caffeine does,” says Zuckerbrot, author of The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear — with Fiber. The good news? “Chances are the average person is already getting plenty of B vitamins from the food they eat.” Read on to find out why each B vitamin is so important, and make sure you’re eating the right foods to get plenty of them in your diet.

B1 (Thiamine)

B1 helps the body make healthy new cells. It’s often called an anti-stress vitamin because of its ability to protect the immune system. When carbo-loading (either to prepare for a big race or just because pizza tastes that good), studies say this vitamin is necessary to help break down those simple carbohydrates.

Get it from: Whole grains, peanuts, beans, spinach, kale, blackstrap molasses and wheat germ

RELATED: What 200 Calories of Nuts Looks Like [INFOGRAPHIC]

B2 (Riboflavin)

This B vitamin works as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals (particles in the body that damage cells) and may prevent early aging and the development of heart disease. Riboflavin is also important for red blood cell production, which is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Several studies suggest B2 can help stave off migraines, but more research is needed to be sure. And be careful, while sunlight does the body good, ultraviolet light reduces the riboflavin content in food sources. Milk, for instance, is best purchased in opaque containers in order to keep this vitamin from breaking down.

Get it from: Almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, spinach and soybeans

B3 (Niacin)

One of the primary uses for niacin is to boost HDL cholesterol (i.e. the good cholesterol). And the higher a person’s HDL, the less bad cholesterol he or she will have in their blood. Vitamin B3 deficiency is very rare in developed countries, though alcoholism has been shown to lower B3 levels in some individuals. Niacin, used topically and ingested, has also been found to treat acne.

Continue reading