Last July I posted Thinking About Supplements – 2012 Edition. Although I still fancy myself as someone who is mostly anti-supplements, the evidence suggests otherwise. I do take supplements daily, but what I take changes over time. Someday I fully expect we will have gadgets that alert us to every nutrient deficiency in real time, but in the meantime we guess. I could spend hundreds of dollars on tests to get snapshots, but I’d rather direct that money on a nutrient-dense and diverse diet and then self-monitor as best as I can.
The 2012 post explains why I don’t like fish oil, multi-vitamins, or whey protein powder. Those views have not changed.
Supplements I Lost Faith in Last Year
5-HTP – I was enamored with the brain supplements last year, especially L-Tyrosine. But I learned from Dr. Dan Kalish why L-Tyrosine needed to be balanced out with 5-HTP. See the post Safe Uses of 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine. The problem is that even at the lowest dose, my sleep quality was worse with 5-HTP. Not at first, but I have enough data to confirm that fact now. Without 5-HTP, I cut way back on L-Tyrosine and only use it on days when my caffeine levels are low and my mood is poor.
I also became concerned that using 5-HTP might not be safe and using it to boost serotonin might be unwise. Here are some links to articles that question the conventional understanding of serotonin.
- Serotonin: The Misery Hormone by Danny Roddy
- Serotonin, depression, and aggression: The problem of brain energy by Dr. Ray Peat
- The Sadder Side of Serotonin by Matt Stone
Melatonin – I almost never take melatonin, because I fall asleep effortlessly 99% of the time. However, I have kept melatonin on hand for those rare occasions when I can’t get to sleep. Not anymore. It doesn’t help me fall asleep faster and when I do wake up I feel terrible, If that isn’t enough of a reason not to take it, I learned another yesterday. In the post Thyroid Deficiency & Common Health Problems, Matt Stone and Danny Roddy linked to an audio interview of Ray Peat discussing how melatonin lowers body temperature which can make it more susceptible to infections.
Supplements I am Testing or Considering Testing
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – I started taking B5 after Pauline tipped me off that it could help with adrenals. Too soon to tell if it is helping, but it is cheap insurance.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) – I was taking this as a tea during my caffeine detox period, but I’ve found making the tea too inconvenient, so I am considering using the supplement version. Rhodiola is supposed to help with stress and muscle recovery.
MSM – Glenn tipped me off to this supplement for helping with tight shoulders. At a low dose, I felt nothing, but at a high dose, I think it is working. Since going from 1 capsule a day to 6-8 capsules, my shoulders are far less tight. At the time I upped the dose, I didn’t try anything else new, so I’m going to keep using this supplement because it appears to be working. 🙂
Creatine Monohydrate – I stopped taking creatine almost immediately after last year’s post because I wanted to isolate all weight gains to the ice cream experiment. Then I forgot all about it until last night when I listened to SportsCoachRadio’s podcast show Creatine: All About The Go-To Sports Nutrition Supplement (DEC 2021: link broken). Now I understand the supplement more and will resume taking it.
Calcium-D-Glucarate – Dave Asprey recently talked about this supplement in a podcast. I’ve never taken a calcium supplement because I figured I was getting plenty with my higher-than-average dairy intake. However, the problem with dairy is it can be high in estrogen What is interesting about this article is that this form of calcium is it supposedly removes excess estrogen from the body. To what degree it does it better than other forms of calcium, I am not sure. Because it is cheap, I am considering taking it.
Supplements I Still Take
Mostly the same from the 2012 Edition, which included magnesium, copper, selenium, and Vitamin D3. I also still consume food supplements of gelatin powder and kelp tablets.
I still think whey protein is a rip-off. You are better off eating ice cream or dairy kefir.
How about you? Any new supplements you like? Any you lost faith in?