In general, I think less supplementation ought to be the goal, in favor of eating the best quality diet of "Real Foods" you can. That said and with the precautionary principle in mind, I think there are a few that deserve consideration. For the most part, there is an evolutionary basis for these, i.e., possible deficiencies, the result of living in modern society. I'm skeptical of and generally reject the notion of so-called "superfoods" (ok, liver is one superfood), or that we really know what we're doing with massive supplementation a-la "Life Extension" like models. They may be more right than wrong, but I don't want to be a human guinea pig with very expensive pee -- with so much uncertainty, variables, unknown synergies, and interactions.
The photo above constitutes the entirety of it for me. You have fish oils (krill, salmon and cod liver), fat soluble vitamins (A, D and K2), and minerals (magnesium, selenium and zinc). Some may consider this too much already, and some, not enough.
In terms of how I take them, the small pile you see is the extent of it. The D is encapsulated in a gel cap with 500mg cod liver oil. I alternate days taking either a 1 gram gelcap of salmon oil or 1 gram of cod liver oil. When the salmon is done, I'll probably just stick with the CLO going forward. Then there's 500mg of krill oil. Somewhere I read that less is more with krill, so that's what I do. I have been taking LEF's Super K Complex but just decided to go back and try Green Pastures' "Activator X" butter oil for K2, 2, 500mg caps. I'll take one of the K Complex per week until it's gone. In terms of magnesium, one tablet is 140mg magnesium malate, and 830mg malic acid. The dose on the bottle says 1-3 tablets, so I take 1. Selenium and zinc is 50mg each.
So Why These?
- Impressive body of research showing both the ill consequences of deficiency and the benefits of higher levels (see GassrootsHealth and Vitamin D Council)
- The vast majority of people do not spend anywhere near as much time in sunshine as did your ancient ancestors
- Deficiency is implicated in a host of diseases, including cancer. (see my 17 search pages of past Vitamin D posts)
- Works in synergy with fat soluble vitamins A and K2, particularly with regard to mineral utilization (see Chris Masterjohn: Is Vitamin D Safe? Still Depends on Vitamins A and K!)
- Contraindications: dont overdo the supplementation (I take 4,000IU now; see Chris Masterjohn: Are Some People Pushing Their Vitamin D Levels Too High?) and try to get some actual sunlight, as natural is likely better.
Vitamin A in CLO: See bullet number 4, above.
- See bullet number 4 under vitamin D
- K2 is a fat soluble vitamin that is synthesized from K1 in ruminants, but not well by humans, possibly because we eat ruminants. As Dr. Stephan Guyenet has said, "K2 is made by mammals, for mammals." However, K2 is richest in the parts modern humans don't eat much anymore: bone marrow & organ meats. It's also most concentrated in other foods not consumed much, like fish eggs.
- It boasts some amazing properties in terms of mineral utilization: making them go everyplace they should (bones & teeth), and no place they shouldn't (arteries); (see my 7 search pages of past Vitamin K2 posts)
- Vitamin K2 is Weston A Price's "Activator X" (see Chris Masterjohn: On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved and Vitamin K2 Content of Selected Foods)
- K2 has been found to reverse arterial calcification in rats (see Dr. Stephan Guyenet: Can Vitamin K2 Reverse Arterial Calcification?)
- Fish oil contains various levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that purport many benefits (see Omega-3 Institute)
- Modern diets or those like mine that tend to favor meats could benefit with modest supplementation
- Ideal in my view is modest supplementation along with seafood in your meals at least once or twice per week, to include shellfish and things like raw oysters, mussels and clams
- Soils are deficient in this most important of minerals
- Magnesium is an essential mineral in over 300 enzymatic reactions in metabolism (see search link for the importance of magnesium)
Selenium and Zinc: These two are implicated in general thyroid function and since I'm hypothyroid (without symptoms), I take these along with my Armour thyroid meds.
Alright. So there you have it. Let's open it up for discussion in comments. What are you taking different, and why? Or, any other good reasons to take, not take, take more of, or take less of those listed above.