*I do not keep this article updated. More info on these supplements and others not in this list and their strategic use are in my book.
When I was 26 I heard about an exciting study which showed that an elusive compound isolated from the skins of grapes could extend lifespan by a whopping 50%. The article also claimed it had the potential to cure many diseases. A future in which I no longer felt constant pain, nor struggled to stay lean sounded within reach. Though I did not yet know from what I suffered (turned out to be thyroid disease, which later progressed to thyroid cancer), I was driven by instincts to get well, and immediately jumped on the Resveratrol bandwagon. A friend at the time cautioned me against using supplements I didn't know much about. I ignored his warning, partly from a desire to get well at any cost (which is both stupid and counterproductive), and partly suffering from the disease of imagined impunity, from which most western civilization suffers.
The resveratrol had an immediate effect. I began waking at 6:00 am every day, from a surge of energy, and began a regular jogging regimen. I lost 30 pounds in just two months, and had the slimmest waist of my adult life. My hair became thick and lustrous. I had so much energy I felt like I was bouncing off the walls at all hours of the day. But something wasn't right. I had also just gone through a breakup, but only having dated a guy for a few months I felt ravaged on the inside. I could never sleep, let alone sit still. I resorted to heavy pot smoking to calm my abnormally turbulent emotions. One day while swimming I began to tire quickly, and after the workout experienced my first heart palpitations. It terrified me, thankfully they stopped quickly, and I realized then what I had expected for some time, that although resveratrol had a definite effect on my physiology, it was not necessarily good.
It turns out that resveratrol's effect on human physiology is to dramatically raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In a healthy body cortisol has a helpful but limited function in sustaining life. Artificially increasing cortisol causes its function to happen when it's not needed, and cortisol's effect is to catabolize tissue protein into useable sugars. This effect of cortisol is what causes physical agitation, even if the end result is to supply the body with more energy, it does so at the expense of muscle and internal organs, making me lose muscle mass and experiencing a rapid decline in my physical health. In a young person who has not yet been exhausted by cortisol, it will first work on fat as well as lean tissue, which accounted for my dramatic weight loss. But it quickly loses that effect, as the body becomes more sensitive to the elevated levels, and eventually it stops catabolising fat and only works on muscle and internal organs, eventually causes hair loss and serious metabolic diseases, stretch marks, dead skin, and increasing risk of cancer and death. Before I was finally diagnosed with thyroid cancer (and learning the true nature of resveratrol) I tried it once more in a desperate attempt to lose weight. It did not have the same effect as before and made my pain and suffering, and my waistline, increase dramatically. The effect of such cortisol exposure is to stimulate weight gain, rather than loss, because the body feels it is under stress and so much lean muscle wasted away. I finally learned about the true mechanism of resveratrol and the science of human biology and why things work or don't work for health. Because people don't understand health, and disease and illness seem nebulous and exotic, they wrongly equate the same vague parameters of new and nebulous, exotic therapies to be the hoped panacea. But healing does not come from such places nor interesting therapies. It comes from the basic foundational principles on which our biology functions. Simple things like good, appropriate food, the B vitamins, minerals, and light.
DEFICIENCIES AND THERAPUTIC DOSES
Everything you put in your body, even water, has an effect on your physiology. But not everything has a desirous effect. For instance, alcohol will raise testosterone levels after taking it, but the body is creating testosterone in response to the estrogenic nature of alcohol. It is a stress reaction, and repeated administration will not raise testosterone long term nor improve health. Many supplements are this way, especially herbs and plant-based compounds. They may have an effect, but it is not necessarily a desirous one. When using supplements, it's better to not use them at all than risk using one which will ruin your health. Make sure you know exactly what something does before putting it in your body. It will also do you no good to avoid real food and try to get nutrients artificially. Whole, good food should be the main focus of any health regimen, and supplementation should only come after certain needs cannot be met through diet.
A deficiency is usually defined by what is less than the daily recommended value, but this is incorrect and unhelpful when confronting suffering and health issues. Basing intake on the recommended values is extremely foolish in a disease state where deficiency is defined as less the amount needed to correct health problems, not by a preset numerical value. Many factors can increase the body's requirement for certain vitamins and minerals. For instance, Iron destroys many vitamins and so the high-iron content associated with many disease states would require a greater amount of any vitamin to not only provide the vitamin's needed benefit but to overcome the destruction of some of it caused by the iron. With safe vitamins it is okay to start with a high dose and come down to the lowest effective dose to maintain its benefit. But with others which are less safe, supplementation should start with a small amount and wait to see any benefit, and only increase it slowly after no side effects are perceived, until a dose is reached which shows benefit to the sufferer.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a reflection of my personal experience using each one, mixed with the knowledge I have about biochemistry. The most important thing I have learned when it comes to supplements is that very few are innocuous, and that synthetic do not replace natural vitamins. Excessive doses of one synthetic vitamin can deplete other natural or synthetic versions. The most effective way to use supplements is to get as much of a needed nutrient from natural food, then make up the difference in synthetic with the lowest effective dose. I see many people shirking food and using supplements to make up for it. This will prevent healing. Do not be afraid of food. And with all supplements, the fewer exciptients and preservatives, the better. Some excipients, like silica, are in most of the supplements on the market, but free silica can cause a host of health issues itself. I also do not recommend brand names nor point out good sources, as the consumer should be taking care to read labels and understand products themselves. Do your own footwork.
VITAMIN C The powerhouse, famous, notorious vitamin C is the cornerstone of human health. One of just a few species on this planet who cannot synthesize it, vitamin C is arguably the most important vitamin for our physiology. Vitamin C is involved in many physiologic processes in addition to protecting the rest of the body and other vitamins from the oxidizing effect of iron and copper. Not all vitamin C is made equally, however, and care should be taken to get as much of your vitamin C from natural sources at possible, only making up the difference with a synthetic, high-quality vitamin C made by a manufacturer who uses good practices. By protecting other vitamins from oxidation, high doses of vitamin C can help reduce the needed amount of other vitamins, and thus extending their effectiveness, in addition to doing a lot of health-heavy lifting of its own and you can learn from my book how to leverage vitamin C to help cure conditions like thyroid disease and cancer.
NIACINAMIDE (B3) Increases NAD (Nicontinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which raises body temperature and supports thyroid function. Sustaining levels are most beneficial, so low to moderate doses two times a day is most beneficial, although it can be used in slightly higher doses during emergencies like insomnia, cold, fatigue, cancer, etc., although high doses can cause headache. In non emergencies is best used in the morning to wake up the metabolism. The body can then usually assimilate its own from food. B3 raises metabolic rate as well as inhibits fatty acid oxidation, and thus should be accompanied by generous carbohydrate intake or discomfort can ensue. Although supplementing B3 can be therapeutic, a deficiency is often actually related to a deficiency of B2 and B6, which is required by the body to create B3, and thus a B3 deficiency can be remedied by B2 supplementation. I have also noticed a marked difference between brands of niacinamide. Some are actually better than others. If a brand you try doesn't have a noticeable effect, try another. A chapter in my book discusses how to get your body to synthesize its own B3, a process which is crucial for things like regrowing hair which cannot be replicated through taking a supplement (because while supplementation is often very helpful and necessary it also downregulates our own production of B3).
BIOTIN (B7) Is probably the most important B vitamin. It is involved in the breakdown of nutrients which enables us to use them, and helps synthesize good fats which stabilize mitochondrial respiration, stabilize thyroid, and improve the look of skin and hair. It can also help lower ammonia, which is a constant problem in reduced health states, but bacteria can interfere with our ability to absorb biotin, so taking a supplement sometimes doesn’t actually help and the process for restoring biotin levels is discussed at length in my book.
THIAMINE (B1) Raises cellular respiration and thus levels of CO2. Helps eliminate excess mitochondrial iron and lowers lactic acid. Take with meals for greatest benefit. Its short half-life requires frequent supplementation (two or three times a day) in order to get any real benefit. May cause body odor (this is a sign of excess tissue iron and the need to eliminate it. Supplementing Cilantro and/or Vitamin B2 can minimize, or eliminate odor as it binds to the thiamine/Iron compound in the gut and thus eliminates skin excretion. When excess Iron is all eliminated odor stops). Can also help rescue sleep if suffering insomnia.
RIBOFLAVIN (B2) Restrains free and excess tissue/dietary Iron, helps absorb and balance dietary metals, reduces excess Iron, stimulates glycogen storage and prevents fat accumulation. Necessary for and improves levels of B3 and B6 in the body. Take with meals for greatest benefit. May cause insomnia if taken at night, as some people are allergic to corn-sourced riboflavin, and is best had through natural B vitamin sources like brewer's yeast. It also wards off mosquitos.
SODIUM is lost easily from the body whenever excessive stress is present, as in excessive exercise or prolonged chronic disease. Supplementing from merely table salt will provide and excess of chloride, though, so the use of sodium acetate as discussed in my book can be a very useful and safe way to get sufficient sodium.
SELENIUM is one of the primary protective minerals for general health, although a deficiency is extremely difficult to develop if not residing in a known selenium-deficient region in the world. If suffering from metabolic issues a small selenium supplement may benefit. Among other things, Selenium is incorporated into two very important groups of enzymes. One helps to release active thyroid hormone (T3) into cells. With a selenium deficiency the body cannot utilize thyroid hormone at all. The other important group that uses selenium is an enzyme which destroys harmful metabolic byproducts like lipid peroxides which result from the metabolism of fat. Without this selenium enzyme these peroxides destroy other fats and vitamins. It is also the body's primary defense against the harmful effects of UV rays, and studies show it to protect the skin entirely from UV damage when present.
CALCIUM is also lost during the night, but it's difficult for the body to use or absorb calcium if the metabolic rate is low. So care should be taken to first turn on the metabolic rate with carbohydrates and other supplements before consuming calcium. Adequate vitamin D is also necessary for normal calcium metabolism, so effort should be made to get generous amounts of exposure to sunlight. Some people have lost the ability to synthesize vitamin D (this is made obvious when sun exposure doesn’t help improve sleep quality) and so taking a supplement can sometimes be necessary to improve health, but restoring the ability to synthesize vitamin D is also discussed in my book. Some forms of calcium supplements can actually harm health. Calcium carbonate, food-grade calcium sulfate (also sold as food-grade gypsum powder), or calcium glycerinate are good forms. Forms like calcium orotate and calcium citrate are not helpful.
VITAMIN B12 Can be used to detoxify industrial and agricultural pollutants such and dioxins and pesticides, which can often be the underlying cause of chronic illnesses. There has been some evidence that excessive B12 can cause depletion of other B vitamins (although I think the risk is minimal), it is important to have good sources of the other Bs from good food as well, and a biotin deficiency as discussed in my book also interferes with our ability to metabolize B12. Vitamin C also helps protect against B12 deficiency. Natural sources of B12 like clams, clam juice, or oysters is best, but a good synthetic can often be helpful taken occasionally.
VITAMIN E Directly combats excessive estrogen. It can help raise androgens and improve the quality of skin, hair, energy, sex drive, sleep, etc., but synthetic vitamin E is not at all the same as natural Vitamin E. If taking as a supplement care should be taken to use only naturally derived sources of vitamin E, preferably without extra oil added. I also have not found any benefit from taking the brands which come from soy.
ASPIRIN Is the most therapeutic medicine available. It helps to reverse cellular DNA damage and repair deranged protein in tissues, accelerates the metabolic rate, helps to lower Iron and combat cancer and is often necessary to help improve metabolic therapy. Excessive use of aspirin can cause vitamin K and glycine deficiencies, which are easily remedied with a supplement of each (or use of gelatin in the case of glycine).
BREWERS/NUTRITIONAL YEAST (FROM SUGAR BEETS) Is the best source of B vitamins, the only one it's deficient in is biotin (which is an important B vitamin though). Natural vitamins are always more effective than synthetic ones. Brewer's yeast also has tons of good protein. It is important that the yeast come from being grown on something other than the typical grain like barely. When it's grown on grain the yeast has metabolic byproducts that cause stomach discomfort (like gluten, etc). Some yeast products have synthetic vitamins added to make it seem like it has more vitamin content than it really does, and would be no different than taking the Bs in synthetic form. This would be apparent in the ingredients panel and would list the vitamins by name as ingredients. Brewers or nutritional yeast grown on sugar beets is the absolute best way to get therapeutic levels of b vitamins, some brands/types having higher amounts of one or the other b vitamin. The most crucial to obtain are B2 and B6, so I'd buy the brands which have high amounts of those two. Yeast is slightly estrogenic, and I have found with excessive use it contributed slightly to bloating, so I only take it once a day.
LACTOFERRIN Lactoferrin is a protein found naturally in mammalian milk which powerfully binds iron. Its role in nature is to prevent iron from being used by bacteria and viruses (which need Iron more than we do to proliferate), and also has the added benefit of preventing Iron from inappropriately oxidizing other nutritional components like the sensitive B vitamins. Unfortunately lactoferrin is destroyed by the homogenization process (not by pasteurization though). Homogenization is when dairy is forced at high speeds through a nozzle to break up the fat globules to mix the fat with the mostly aqueous milk solution. This also destroys lactoferrin. So to supplement lactoferrin requires non-homogenized milk, but is also available as a supplement for purchase, extracted from whey products. It is very beneficial in restraining free and excess Iron.
HESPERIDIN Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid in citrus fruit which has a similar effect as other Iron binding compounds. It is somewhat like lactoferrin for fruit, and in our bodies has the added benefit of protecting internal organs from elevated iron toxicity. One study of Hesperidin treatment almost completely reversed the toxic effects of injected Iron in rats, using high doses over just ten days. The dose was 80mg/kg of body weight, which means a 150 lb adult would use 5.5 grams in a dose. Since hesperidin is often sold as a complex with chloride ions this is a very large amount of chloride to ingest at once, if using high doses of hesperidin hydrochloride it's a good idea to also supplement some bicarbonate (such as baking soda) to help the body offset the high amount of chloride or else neurological/breathing problems can result (it is a good practice to understand chemistry when using supplements, or to NOT use high doses of anything). Hesperidin would have the same effect at moderate doses over a longer period of time, but of course would not be much point in using it with Iron heavy foods since it would react to the iron ingested rather than chelating it from the body.
PREGNENOLONE is the master hormone of the human body from which all other hormones are derived. As such, it doesn't have very specialized functions, but can be taken to help aid the production of whatever other hormones your body is in need of. Usually the body directs it to beneficial hormones, especially if the metabolic rate is high, and it is extremely useful for helping to restore health and reverse aging. Using other strategies concomitantly with pregnenolone, such as aspirin, coffee, and b-vitamins will ensure its direction to good hormones. Pregnenolone is especially helpful for severe insomnia.
PROGESTERONE is THE hormone of youth. Primarily a feminine hormone, it can rapidly increase the health of all women, especially if the diet is good. In men it can be used therapeutically, but does suppress testosterone production in large amounts and the complications of this are discussed at length in my book. This effect is not negative, however, as health is usually improved as well and testosterone returns to normal after cessation. Is especially good for cancer and other severe metabolic diseases, and to slow or reverse aging.
GELATIN is a stabilizing source of beneficial amino acids. It should be a staple in all diets.
GLYCINE can help to turn off cellular excitation and restrain aging. Is best consumed by use of gelatin, but can be supplemented alone if needed, though caution is needed if used as glycine can combine with reactive agents in the digestive fluid, such as calcium, iron, zinc, etc. and an overdose can interrupt nervous system function and cause major discomfort, so don’t exceed 20 grams a day.
ANTIHISTAMINES are more than just allergy medications. Antihistamines work by quieting an overactive parasympathetic nervous system, which includes reducing histamine but also has benefits against the over-excitation states of cancer, alcoholism, learned helplessness, anxiety, etc. Over-the-counter brands work well, especially first generation types like Doxylamine Succinate. They are best used before bed to do their work while you are sleeping, as they naturally cause drowsiness. Excessive use can overburden the liver, so they should be used strategically and in moderation.
VITAMIN D is more like an active hormone than a vitamin. Its natural synthesis by sunlight is best as sunlight generated Vitamin D can last in the body as long as six weeks, whereas supplementary vitamin D only lasts about a week and doesn't seem to have quite the health benefits as our own endogenous form. Natural, high vitamin D levels help to maintain good weight, lean muscle, raise beneficial hormones, induce relaxation, and prevent many metabolic diseases, but many people have lost the ability to synthesize vitamin D naturally, which is discussed in my book.
VITAMIN K/K2 is a little more elusive in its effects, but vitamin K2 is very important to help prevent bone diseases and calcification of tissues (we get enough vitamin K1 from foods). Normally we get enough vitamin K2 from our intestinal microflora, but in disease states it is easy to get a deficiency. Vitamin K2 can help with kidney stones, hypothyroidism, hair loss, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases. If taking aspirin, it's a good idea to have vitamin K2 somewhat regularly. An easy way to determine vitamin K status is by the color of urine. Darkly colored urine is a sign of vitamin K/K2 deficiency. Lightly colored generally means sufficient. It is best to get vitamin K from food, however, to support a healthy gut microbiome who need vitamin K just as much as we do.
UNRIPENED BANANA PEEL is a great way to supplement Dopamine. It blends into smoothies well. One unripe peel can contain as much as 800 mg of dopamine (the dopamine levels drop as the fruit ripens). Unfortunately the interior of the banana contains hormones which lower dopamine. It's fine to have the whole banana including the peel, but frequent ingestion of only the interior part of the fruit can contribute to depression and other metabolic diseases in people with health problems.
COCOA BUTTER/SHEA BUTTER are some of the most stable fats in all of nature. Their supplementation internally or applied to the skin can help to reverse aging, stabilize health, and restore the integrity of compromised tissue, and are just plain nice.
MAGNESIUM is one of the most therapeutic minerals to keep handy. I apply topically on any aches or injuries, and it helps resolve pain within minutes. There seems to be some difference between topical and oral administration. A muscle strain won't heal as quickly from oral administration, but applied topically around the source will push magnesium through the skin and directly to the area affected. Supplementing orally is helpful for general health, and needn't be excessive. As with all supplements, some forms are healthful and others can be harmful. Magnesium bicarbonate is the best, magnesium sulfide (epsom salt) and magnesium chloride are decent, as is magnesium glycinate (or biglycinate). Magnesium citrate is not healthy.
MOLYBDENUM is a trace mineral that is essential in assisting the body's management of iron and copper. A molybdenum deficiency causes excess tissue deposition of copper and iron which can ruin cells robust cellular respiration. Molybdenum is also involved in the detoxification of aldehydes and ammonia, and for this reason it is important that anyone drinking alcohol, which degenerates into aldehydes, should supplement low-dose molybdenum. It can also be helpful in cases of candida and SIBO to detox ammonia and aldehyde products that result from those infections. The refreshing, invigorating taste of spring water is actually the taste of molybdenum.
SUGAR is needed by every cell in our bodies. Whenever sugar is deprived from the diet, its absence creates large surges of stress hormones which catabolize our tissue proteins into sugar. Low-carb only breaks down lean muscle and compromises important organs. Using sugar regularly as a therapeutic agent will increase the metabolic rate and help restore or maintain youth and health. If suffering from sugar metabolism diseases like diabetes and hypothyroidism, care should be used to restore normal sugar metabolism, rather than avoid this necessary energy source.
SILICIC ACID is the plant form of silica which is greatly helpful for reducing aluminum toxicity and probably some other toxic metals. Silica as it occurs in supplements is different and our body cannot regularly metabolize raw silica the way it can other minerals like calcium, and raw silica is aggravating to the nervous system and can even cause skin problems. Silicic acid is safe to use and usually sourced from horsetail, and any silica supplement that is sourced from plants is silicic acid .
SUPPLEMENT WITH CAUTION
COCONUT OIL is extremely helpful to combat metabolic diseases, especially thyroid and weight disorders. The ONLY reason it's listed under "use with caution" is because coconut oil (lauric acid) can quickly use up our stores of vitamin A. Coconut oil is quite effective in elevating levels of pregnenolone, testosterone, and body temperature as long as sufficient vitamin A is in the body. Supplemental vitamin A is actually quite toxic, so vitamin A is best had through natural food sources like carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, or liver, where natural vitamin A and its related carotenes have a far broader action on the health than can be replicated by supplements anyway. Coconut oil is often indispensable in restoring the metabolic rate, and is a good idea to use as a primary cooking oil instead of the more harmful, cheap, vegetable oils. It's better tasting too.
ZINC is extremely important for thyroid health and in protecting against the effects of bad fats, but supplementing it can cause oxidation of sensitive vitamins. Zinc is also best derived from whole foods, but if you suffer from thyroid disease and aren't seeing improvements from food sources, especially if you suffer insomnia or hypogonadism, it is a good idea to supplement every day in low doses, just don't take supplemental zinc at the same time as vitamin supplements (it can oxidize them in the stomach). Adequate vitamin B3 helps the body assimilate and retain zinc, as does progesterone, so using niacinamide can help retain zinc. Estrogen causes zinc to flush from the body (causing copper and iron to rise instead), so balancing hormones helps retain zinc. Zinc is also very effective in promoting sleep, as it is involved in the enzymatic disposal of ammonia and ammonia is a potent sleep disruptor and byproduct of protein digestion.
CALCIUM is often necessary to supplement, but it comes in quite a few forms. Dietary recommendations are over 2 grams a day, but taking that much at once can send you to the hospital. Calcium, like many supplements, is of more benefit taken in smaller doses regularly and consistently. CALCIUM ACETATE is hands down the best form of calcium to supplement, but it's not available to purchase. It can be made at hone by purchasing calcium carbonate and mixing that with vinegar (for the acetic acid), but it's a little volatile so should be done slowly and do not take high doses. Calcium acetate is fully absorbed and the acetate is more readily converted to bicarbonate in the body than even dietary bicarbonate. Studies have shown it to be superior in lowering excess phosphate, among other benefits. Never mix in a sealed container. I mix mine in a bowl to allow the carbon dioxide to escape more easily and avoid excessive foaming. CALCIUM ASCORBATE is also excellent and delivers vitmain C (ascorbic acid) at the same time, and calcium carbonate is also good.
SODIUM ACETATE is extremely helpful in managing metabolic issues, and like calcium acetate must be made at home using vinegar and baking soda, and directions and use are in my book.
MANGANESE is is also sometimes helpful to supplement. It prevents activation of the enzymes which further desaturate unsaturated fats into the more toxic forms, DHA and EPA, fats which just so happen to inhibit the endogenous synthesis of niacin from tryptophan and thus slow the metabolism and even cause hair loss. It is also protective against excess iron but supplementing should be done in small to reasonable doses. As with most supplements consistency is more helpful than excess, and manganese excess can actually be toxic too.
BORON has a controversial status in nutrition research, but I have come to regard boron as very helpful and necessary as a nutrient. In some studies boron has been shown to increase estrogen, but I believe this to be the natural aromatization of the increase in Testosterone in those who have a reduced metabolic rate, as boron achieves a rise in testosterone quite effectively. Getting up the metabolic rate will reduce or eliminate aromatization. Boron is also important for health in that it prevents the excess loss of other minerals like potassium and magnesium, or more importantly, a deficiency of boron increases the loss of these minerals. Most stone fruits and raisins are naturally high in boron, but in those who are metabolically ill a supplement of boron can be quite helpful. I particularly like the form calcium borogluconate or the use of Borax. As borax is marketed as a cleaning agent, use caution in choosing a product which is only borax and doesn’t have other cleaning ingredients, which can be very harmful. Borax use instructions and benefits are discussed at length in my book.
TAURINE Is not a true amino acid, although it is referred to as one it is also required for normal protein and hormone synthesis. The problem is that Taurine is not available in therapeutic doses from dietary sources. It is synthesized by the pancreas, and in nearly all serious pathologies Taurine synthesis is severely deficient. Since no sufficient dietary source exists to restore Taurine levels, it is often useful and sometimes necessary to supplement, helps to maximize protein use as well as increasing energy and eliminating depression. Taurine can at first cause a stomach ache, as it stimulates bile production, so doses should start small and gradually increase until this effect vanishes (can take up to a few months and is, I think, reflective of excess body Iron stores. Afterward even high doses have no side effects). Since Taurine increases metabolic rate, care should be taken to fuel the metabolism with generous carbohydrate and protein consumption. AS with all supplements, Taurine should probably not be supplemented for an extended period of time without taking a break.
CASCARA SAGRADA can be used somewhat as a surrogate for thyroid hormone, but I don’t really like it very much. It helps to raise body temperature and metabolic rate, but prolonged use can stress the intestinal system, so breaks should be taken if used long term (though it is only helpful for metabolic diseases if used consistently. Intermittent use will only work as a laxative). Is most helpful in low doses and takes about eight hours to exhibit laxative properties (so don't time it to wake you in the middle of the night or during an important outing, per se). I also greatly prefer pregnenolone, coconut oil, and vitamin C to cascara for restoring metabolic health.
POTASSIUM is rarely deficient in people, but can appear in hypothyroidism. It's best, and easily obtained from whole food, made especially easy from sources like dried apricots, raisins, potatoes, or pistachios, but can also be supplemented with potassium bicarbonate which is widely available as a culinary ingredient online. Potassium should never be taken without sodium, because tipping the potassium ratio higher than sodium can result in stopping the heart.
IODINE is necessary for thyroid health, but supplementing can sometimes produce symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which is more an inability of the body to meet the demands of an increase in metabolic rate and is best dealt with by using low doses of iodine and eating plentiful calories of nutritious foods. Selenium also protects against iodine toxicity, so selenium is important too when taking iodine, and some regions of the world like North America are quite deficient in selenium, while others such as China have so much it can actually produce an overdose from food. Iodine also complexes with polyunsaturated fats and can be used to remove them from the body, and this can sometimes create discomfort and oxidation. Vitamin C and aspirin can help with these side effects. Iodine starts to become toxic at doses of 1 gram or more, so doses up to 100 mg are actually pretty safe, and iodine is indispensable in the hypothalamus/pituitary/thyroid function.
LITHIUM is very helpful to combat emotional issues such as malaise, depression, and anxiety, by binding to excess ammonia produced in the body from normal protein metabolism. Small amounts are very effective, and don't necessarily need to be the high doses as in prescription, although some people might benefit from higher doses. Lithium in high doses can suppress thyroid and testosterone production, however, so the alternative to lithium use is to raise metabolic CO2 production by using vitamin B1 daily, where CO2 binds ammonium instead of lithium. But don't let that deter you from using lithium, as it can be superbly beneficial.
LYSINE competes with other amino acids which cause the production of stress hormones. For this reason it is useful to combat cancer, herpes viruses, insomnia, and sometimes hair loss. But since Lysine interrupts the stress response, it can leave a person feeling weak or lacking endurance and can even interrupt the immune system when used long term. It can also cause forgetfulness, disorientation, and lack of attention. Use caution if using lysine when driving or out in public, cooking, or anything that requires undivided attention.
TYROSINE is a precursor to dopamine, so use it short bursts can sometimes help mood and energy, but in my experience it increased my production of adrenaline, which it also does, which is exhibited by increased feelings of anger and frustration.
THEANINE is the calming amino acid in tea, and it can also be taken supplementally. It helps to calm cellular excitation but in my experience can also cause some problems such as restlessness and irritability, and even insomnia as it can powerfully interrupt circadian rhythms. I prefer other strategies.
CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE functions by inactivating an enzyme created by bacteria which causes bound estrogens and other toxic byproducts to be reabsorbed in the intestine, when they were already determined for excretion. To be effective it has to be used constantly and in fairly high amounts, however, and so I have found it more useful to use other, more powerful therapies such as vitamin B1. But it is still effective and seems to have no real side effects.
FEVERFEW can be used to lower the stress hormone serotonin, but it may actually be a bit estrogenic, and the cessation or inconsistent use of feverfew can produce an extremely painful rebound migraine, which happens easily after meals containing tryptophan.
INOSINE and URIDINE are both nucleosides that can be helpful in restraining metabolic diseases. Uridine specifically relaxes cells and can cause sleepiness (or help with sleep), and Inosine directly stimulates the production of Uric acid and will act against sleepiness. Uridine was the most helpful in my experience, especially when dealing with severe insomnia.
KAVA KAVA is helpful for boosting GABA function which makes it useful for feeling relaxed and helping to promote sleep. Kava is interesting in that it becomes more potent the more you use it, with initial doses not really doing much. Your total GABA function will also determine how much kava works, but with regular use it can often help take the edge off nighttime restlessness.
VALERIAN ROOT is also a GABA promoting herb, but unlike KAVA it is not better in larger doses, and if your GABA production is shot, valerian root will actually cause irritation. In my book I promote valerian in the use of GABA therapy, and in conjunction with restoring GABA function it can be a helpful tool to induce relaxation and sleep as well as overall GABA function. Lemon balm is also a GABA promoting herb.
DHEA is another youth-associated hormone (not to be confused with the omega-3 DHA which is highly toxic), and it's use can be therapeutic in very small amounts concomitant pregnenolone or progesterone, otherwise DHEA can convert into unwanted stress hormones. In my experience I prefer to use pregnenolone, which is safer and shows more desirable results.
VITAMIN B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID) is certainly necessary for health, but can usually be obtained well through diet, and I have not seen any convincing reason to use it therapeutically, though it does not appear to have real toxicity it can increase the levels of acetylcholine, which is often undesirable. Natural sources are best.
VITMAIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE) like all vitamins is highly important, but supplementation of this B vitamin can prove toxic, and a deficiency is usually caused by a deficiency of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which is actually involved in the assimilation and utilization of B6. So a deficiency of B6 can usually be corrected by supplementing B2, and supplements of B6 can cause toxicity, whereas food sources will not. If B6 needs to be used, it should be kept to small amounts.
CREATINE is often used as a body-building, athletic supplement, but creatine raises levels of phosphate in the body (by reducing its elimination) and supplementing it can dramatically alter the balance between calcium/phosphorus, which does have stimulatory effects but in the long term will have undesirable effects on health like reduced skin resiliency and premature aging. It is best avoided.
E CIGARETTES (nicotine) Nicotine can have some therapeutic uses, particularly in restraining the conversion of hormones into excess estrogen. It also produces calm in individuals by aiding in the proper metabolism of calcium. But it also constricts the blood vessels and can cause dramatic premature outward aging, so other therapies are more desirable. If you smoke, using natural tobacco and avoiding cigarettes with filters will prevent cancer because it is the fiberglass shards in filters and the chemicals added to tobacco that cause cancer, not tobacco itself.
CAFFEINE is a wonder drug, and can help fill the gaps in many metabolic conditions. But many people do not understand how to properly use caffeine. It should never be taken on an empty stomach as is so common in the mornings as this will increase stress hormones. Caffeine always raises the metabolic rate, so if you don't have adequate blood sugar and protein it will raise stress hormones to catabolize your own tissue. This is what occurs during caffeine "jitters." Having adequate blood sugar and protein (or in other words, food) can entirely eliminate those effects. Coffee is also better brewed without a paper filter, such as with a french press or percolator, or a wire mesh filter, because a paper filter removes the helpful fatty acids in coffee which can help increase steroid production. Caffeine also speeds the use of some vitamins and minerals, and is another reason to never use caffeine on an empty stomach. I also suspect caffeine of increasing turnover of zinc in the body, and a small zinc supplement can probably help anyone with metabolic issues using caffeine (or prevent them). Along with a good diet, caffeine is also helpful in preventing diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
FISH OIL is designed by nature to be pliable in low-oxygen, low-temperature environments, and so when it is introduced into high-oxygen, high-temperature environments like our bodies, it causes massive metabolic damage. Supplements of fish oil have been deodorized and refined to subvert our natural warning systems which are offended by the smells and sights of rancid fats. Taking fish oil has finally be shown by a study to increase the risk of sudden death. Any benefits shown by studies are most likely from the stress response induced by the introduction of such an unstable substance.
LACTOBACILLUS PROBIOTICS are not generally useful for the restoration of gut health. Most studies on lactobacillus species focus on the antibacterial effect of lactic acid and its effects on pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli. But lactic acid can suppress our other varieties of gut bacteria which produce necessary short chain fatty acids and B vitamins (and which acids are also antibiotic). Aside from the variety L. plantarum, all Lactobacillus species are also auxotrophic for folate, meaning they cannot produce it and thus consume it for their own growth, robbing us of this necessary nutrient with the potential to destroy certain metabolic pathways due to folate deficiency. Bifidobacterium probiotics are safe and effective and lactobacillus strains should be avoided.
COLLAGEN this product is advertised as being more easily digested than normal gelatin, but the process by which it is often made—sitting in a vat in chemicals or minerals to break down the proteins, has the side effect of turning proteins into peptides, which are fragments of protein. All peptides and proteins and amino acids have stimulatory effects, and in different combinations cause different effects depending on the particular combination of amino acids. Randomly breaking proteins into peptides and amino acids has the danger of creating random peptides which can cause unwanted stimulatory effects, and collagen side effects of headaches are a very real consequence of collagen products. I have seen so many people have migraines, bloating, and other problems from using bad collagen and only really good collagen products should be used, or choose normal gelatin instead or a glycine supplement.
VITAMIN A many people think that because something is a vitamin they can take it without consequences, but no where is this more true than with supplemental vitamin A. Vitamin A is only supposed to be made as needed within the body, and taking extra can have very detrimental side effects, not least of all because vitamin A stimulates the release of iron from tissue storage, which means that high circulating iron due to vitamin A supplementation can cause serious oxidative damage, not to mention contributing to acne and other skin problems. Vitamin A should always come from food—primarily from vitamin A equivalents of carotenes, which are converted into vitamin A on an as needed basis, and dietary carotenoids play important roles in the health of our digestive system which can’t be gotten from supplements (this is discussed at length in my book). Vitamin A also stimulates the rapid use of vitamin D, so you can actually deplete your vitamin D stores by taking too much vitamin A.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID can be used to reduce iron but can also be dangerous to supplement, as it does not actually bind to iron but rather dislodges it from tissue storage as well as increasIng the production of nitric oxide, which accelerates the aging process. I used to recommend it but I discovered that it also raises nitric oxide which in turn causes premature aging. Using ALA can create metabolic damage in areas of the body which harbor high-Iron storage. If for some reason you decide to use it, high amounts of riboflavin (B2) and vitamin C should also be administered to help bind and control the dislodged iron, or lactoferrin which is also excellent for Iron control. If aches, pain, or inflammation develop from ALA administration, cease immediately and wait for the pain to subside completely, before resuming, and never use it for longer than two weeks at a time nor in high doses.
FOLIC ACID is the synthetic form of the vital B vitamin folate and is commonly added to flour and other food stuffs. The problem is that folic acid can feed folate auxotrophic bacteria in the gut, which means bacteria that do not produce their own folate, and this can in turn promote their numbers to a degree that out-competes our natural flora which produce natural folate and thus diminish our own supplies of natural folate. It can also have serious health effects and there is much evidence that the addition of folic acid to foods has been a source of many health problems in developed countries. It is best to avoid folic acid and foods which are fortified with it and to instead promote bifidobacterium species growth in the gut (lactobacillus strains are those which consume folate).
CUCURMIN is a popular spice that is often used as a supplement, but like many herbs and spices cucurmin is highly estrogenic, which means it will lower your metabolic rate and make healing more difficult. It's fine in the small amounts which occur in cuisine, just don't use it as a supplement.
WHEY contains high ratios of the amino acid tryptophan, which easily converts into stress hormones. It is best to use other sources of protein like Casein, Bone Broth, Gelatin, etc.
COPPER is rarely needed as a supplement, and can be problematic from supplement sources as it can displace zinc and cause problems with sleep and GABA function. It is best obtained only from foods like oysters. Excess copper can interrupt many body processes and I would avoid taking any extra.
IRON is highly reactive and destroys vitamins. It is easy to obtain more than enough Iron through a normal diet, and care should be taken to avoid it in supplements and fortified food. It is easy to acquire iron excess, and when this happens the metabolic rate slows and diseases develop as the Iron oxidizes valuable vitamins.
SILICA is regarded as inert or even beneficial by the nutritional community, and in it's natural, food-bound form it is. But silica as it occurs in supplements is a very large, hard molecule and can actually get lodged in places it shouldn't be because our bodies cannot readily use the form which occurs outside of plant life, and when it's included in supplements it can cause irritation, skin disorders, and contribute to neurological problems. It SHOULD NOT be taken as a supplement and supplements which include it as an ingredient should be avoided. SILICIC ACID is the form which occurs in plants and is actually helpful as a supplement, although it is sometimes sold as "horsetail sourced" silica. Plant-sourced silica supplements are silicic acid and are safe to use.
ARGININE is a nitric oxide promoter, and while nitric oxide can dilate blood vessels and help in certain, acute situations, nitric oxide actually inhibits mitochondrial respiration and thus accelerates the aging process. Artificially elevating nitric oxide is merely speeding up the clock of your eventual aging. To get a natural boost in nitric oxide (which is still not great but also not bad) consume shrimp, which are naturally high in arginine, but in this case they also have nutrition and a more balanced amino acid profile which is less harmful. They're a good aphrodisiac if you want to guarantee a good erection.
BUTEA SUPERBA is a libido enhancing herb originating out of Thailand. It does raise DHT and improves erectile dysfunction, but it does so by increasing nitric oxide and thus can accelerate the aging process quite profoundly. It's much better to restore a healthy sex drive by maintaining a high metabolic rate through a good diet and a few safe select metabolic aids.
PRE-WORKOUT is also engineered to promote excess nitric oxide and is even more age-promoting than taking arginine, which is why young body builders are declining in their appearance so much more rapidly than their predecessors. Avoid at all costs. If you really need a boost for your workouts you might want to determine if you're pushing yourself too hard. Things do break, you know? There is great value in rest when it comes to building muscle.
DMSO, like many artificial compounds, is outright toxic for the human body. I personally tried some products with DMSO and each time my body temperature dropped and my physical wellbeing altered for the negative (aches/pain/etc.). It turns out that DMSO is not harmless, as some manufacturers have led us to believe and even cherry-pick studies to support its use. DMSO has many negative side effects, and worst of all has a very long half-life, so it accumulates faster than the other parts of a product and takes a long time to clear out of the body. It can increase the potentially neurotoxic acetylcholine and stimulates histamine release. Even Ray Peat warns against using it. This one is a strong NO.
MELATONIN is involved in sleep and a few other metabolic states, but it is a stress hormone, and supplementing it will very quickly destroy your brain and cause serious mental health issues. DO. NOT. TAKE. If suffering from insomnia, antihistamine sleep aids (and my article on sleep) can help induce sleep in healthy ways.
HYALURONIC ACID is lauded by the cosmetics community and included in many beauty products or as supplements, and while hyaluronic acid has its place it is also a stress-inducing compound, so excess of it as occurs in supplements or cosmetics can actually cause long-term damage to cells.
5HTP is another form of serotonin, which in excess also causes a breakdown of metabolic health. Supplementing it will worsen depression and anxiety, trigger fatigue and malaise, and cause cardiovascular problems.
TRYPTOPHAN is a precursor to serotonin and is often used in an attempt to increase it. But as a stress hormone, serotonin causes severe metabolic disease. Tryptophan should not be used actively as a supplement.
TURMERIC Most herbs are at least somewhat estrogenic. Turmeric is fine in the small amounts that occur in cuisine, but supplementing it high amounts can actually induce stress reactions.
QUERCETIN is highly estrogenic and should not be used as a supplment.
CHROMIUM is a toxic heavy metal.
SOY OIL similarly to fish oil, soy oil is designed to function best in low-temperature, low-oxygen environments. As well, plants never cease growing, and as such are often benefited by highly estrogenic compounds. Humans are not designed like this, and soy is one compound in extreme opposition to human biology.
RESVERATROL works by choking off sugars and raising cortisol. Short term use will induce high levels of stress hormones, causing irritability, emotionality, and insomnia. Long term use will contribute to an increase of degenerative disease.