In my recent podcast on diet and longevity, I mentioned in passing that I take some supplements. Many people have now asked which ones and what brands! So in this blog, I’ll list each. For background I have leaned on the work of Dr Rhonda Patrick, who is very good on determining the research basis of various health approaches (she has a podcast, website and her Twitter is worth following). Also, interviews of her are very good (you can find them on the usual circuit of performance podcasters like Tim Ferris, Kevin Rose, Joe Rogan). For ideas on alternative medicine, I find The Ultimate Health Podcast useful. All the supplements I take are over-the-counter and thought to be low risk, but you should check with your doctor if you have any special health conditions. Here’s my list and I include links to the exact products I buy :
- Vitamin D3 – the vitamin is critical to get our genes to do their job correctly. The best way to get vitamin naturally is exposure to sunlight – usually around 20-30mins of afternoon sun with your arms and face exposed. Yet most people don’t enough of the vitamin this way as we stay indoors, wear sunblock or live in overcast places like London. Also, if you’re darker skinned (like me) you need even more exposure. The right amount of vitamin D helps reduce ageing, cancer risk and depression risks. I take a supplement that gives 5000iu of vitamin D3 a day. I use the Swanson version, though I also hear Thorne is also good.
- Omege-3 – Omega-3 are fatty acids that consist of EPA and DHA and have to be come from ones diet (the body cannot produce it). The best natural source are fatty fish such as salmon. Omega-3 has major anti-inflammatory properties, so can reduce the risk of arthritis, asthma, irritable bowel disease, diabetes and depression. It is also thought to reduce cognitive decline (including lower chances of diseases like Parkinson’s) and cancer risks. EPA tends to be needed more for reducing cellular inflammation, so I tend to take a high EPA version of Omega-3. I use the Nordic Naturals version.
- Liquid calcium and magnesium – Magnesium helps things like energy creation, protein formation and muscle movements. It also helps reduce the risk of depression, ADHD, diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure and premenstrual pains. You can get it naturally from pumpkin seeds, spinach, dark chocolate and high fibre foods. Meanwhile, calcium is notably good for bone health. You can get it from dairy products, dark green leafy veg (like broccoli and kale) and fish with edible bones like sardines and salmon. As I have partial lactose intolerance, I probably don’t get enough calcium, so I take supplements. Taking magnesium and calcium together is helpful as it ensures you have the right balance between the two. Taking it in liquid form helps absorption. I take the Swanson version.
- Turmeric – turmeric roots are powdered (see picture above), have a strong orange/yellow colour (that stains!) and often used in curries (aka “haldi”). Turmeric contains curcumin, which helps reduce chronic inflammation, so can help with things like arthritis. It helps reduce cognitive decline and depression. Also, its antioxidant properties help reduce heart disease and cancer risks. Several studies also have shown that it can extend life. I used to take simple capsules that contained turmeric powder, but I’ve recently switched to taking a curcumin phytosome supplement, which have much better absorption rate, so I may switch to that – Thorne has a good version of this.
- Cordyceps – This is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the mountains of China! But supplemental forms are grown in labs. It is commonly used in Chinese medicine for kidney issues, reproductive vitality, exercise performance, anti-ageing and general health. There is some scientific research that supports these claims. I take the Swanson version.
- Milk Thistle – This is a flowering plant related to daisy and ragweed family and native to Mediterranean countries. It is thought to be good for the liver and for reducing the risk of diabetes and cancers. There is some tentative research to back this up. I take the Swanson version.
- Lions Mane – This is a mushroom also known as yamabushitake. It is often used for both culinary and medicinal purposes in Asia. It is most commonly used to help boost brain performance (reduces dementia, depression, anxiety risks), but is also thought to be good for the heart and gut. There is research to back these claims. I don’t these every day, but rather when I know I have a heavy work week. I take the Swanson version, but I hear the Four Sigma version is also good.
- Multivitamins – I would hope that my diet would give me all the vitamins and minerals I need but as an insurance policy I take a multi-vitamin supplement. I take the Pure Encapsulations ONE version which has a good balance of vitamins and minerals.
That’s my supplement list, but I still try make sure I still have a well-rounded diet with lots of veg. I also try to get make sure I get eight hours of sleep every day (perhaps more important than supplements)
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