The Supplements I Take and Why I Take Them

The Roundup

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?

Vitamin D:

  1. Impressive body of research showing both the ill consequences of deficiency and the benefits of higher levels (see GassrootsHealth and Vitamin D Council)
  2. The vast majority of people do not spend anywhere near as much time in sunshine as did your ancient ancestors
  3. Deficiency is implicated in a host of diseases, including cancer. (see my 17 search pages of past Vitamin D posts)
  4. 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!)
  5. 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.

Vitamin K2:

  1. See bullet number 4 under vitamin D
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. K2 has been found to reverse arterial calcification in rats (see Dr. Stephan Guyenet: Can Vitamin K2 Reverse Arterial Calcification?)

Fish Oils:

  1. Fish oil contains various levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that purport many benefits (see Omega-3 Institute)
  2. Modern diets or those like mine that tend to favor meats could benefit with modest supplementation
  3. 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


  1. Soils are deficient in this most important of minerals
  2. 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.

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  1. lydia on August 19, 2011 at 13:28

    I think this is a pretty good supplement regime! Considering you eat real food and aren’t bogged down with carbs, I am sure this is great for you!
    I think it stinks, but we may need to supplement regardless, in this day and age we are up against so much and the toxicity in our environment is plaguing us even if we are eating a superior diet. (chemicals, emfs, stress, recovering from a lifetime of having processed foods etc….)
    I would add to that list a whole foods vitamin c complex and vitamin b complex. I’d also considered reading up on aminos even if you think you eat enough protein. I’d also consider a probiotic if you are not consuming fermented foods. Also, maybe add mineral drops or a high quality sea salt like celtic.
    I think magnesium is a must for everyone anymore and am learning that topically applied is often a better route, or an ionic form – more absorbably and more likely to get enough that way.

    Anyway that’s my 2 cents – can’t wait to see what other say!

  2. Eimear Rose on August 19, 2011 at 13:53

    At the moment, I take cod liver oil with added D and E, 2.5 teaspoons mag cit and 1000mg Vit C as sodium ascorbate, but I don’t remember to take them everyday…I am going to start taking Bio Kult probiotic (just ordered it earlier today). I have constipation probably due to dysbiosis and have spent a while researching probiotics before making my choice. I am still skeptical that a probiotic will build gut flora but I’m going to give it a shot. Very interesting info re Vit K2. I eat all my fat as grass fed ruminant meat, bones and organs and grass fed butter so I imagine I get plenty.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 19, 2011 at 14:02

      I love Ikura, salmon roe sushi (my fav for 26 years). Also a very high source.

    • Jack kruse MD on August 20, 2011 at 06:57

      I have not found one person with the optimal K2 amount in my clinic upon direct testing……..paleo or not. I think it is really deficient in our diets with mag and selenium.

      • Ned Kock on August 20, 2011 at 08:01

        Mine was supposedly high on a lab exam a few months ago. It is not very common for it to be measured.

        I don’t know the reason, but my guess is that it has something to do with my eating about one pound of aged raw milk cheese per week.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 09:20

        I began unsung Green Pastures butter oil back in 2008 after reading Masterjohn’s Activator X article and Stephan blogged about it andPrice’ NAPD.

        Was already taking D and CLO and saw immediate results in smooth skin and smooth teeth and greatly diminished calculus buildup. And later, my fingernails got thicker, more like real tools. I later used the Thorne drops for a while, 1mg per day and then switcher over to LEFs K2 complex, with both -4 and -7 subforms. Now I’ve just got the butter oil again and I’ll see if there’s any difference. Of course, it has other stuff beyond just the K2.

  3. Jim Jozwiak on August 19, 2011 at 13:53

    I’m suspicious of supplementation solely because it is supposed to be good for you. If there is a nutrient deficiency, it will be apparent in the present, and if a supplement does some good, it will be apparent in the present. You can usually tell what water-soluble vitamins are doing in only a day or so, and you can feel the minerals and fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids within a month if they are doing anything. If they are not doing anything, then either one is not deficient or the dose is too homeopathic. Only a few nutrients are actually synergistic in any noticeable way. For instance, I got a lot of side-effects from meaningful amounts of omega-3 fatty acids until I realized I needed to eat more raw egg yolks to supply the choline so that the omega-3 could actually be incorporated into phospholipids, and only then did I feel the pleasant mood effects and improved cognition.

  4. Nico B. on August 19, 2011 at 13:55

    This looks more or less like the stuff I take. At the moment I use:
    in the morning:
    25 mg amino acid- zinc chelate i combination with 60mg time released vitamin C (it comes in the mix, otherwise I might not take it)
    150 mg magnesium carbonate
    5 tabs of brewer’s yeast as my Vitamin B complex

    in the evening:
    multi vitamin complex (containing almost every vitamin and mineral I’ve ever heard of)
    150 mg magnesium carbonate
    5 tabs of brewer’s yeast as my Vitamin B complex

    I also use BCAAs before and after workouts, as well as creatin and a protein powder. I know that these aren’t very “paleo” but they help me recover, which is important if you work out five to six times a week with several “double days”.

  5. rob on August 19, 2011 at 13:58

    My supplements

    1. Multivitamin one per day, Costco brand meant for physically active people
    2.Vitamin D 6000 iu
    3. Fish oil 3 grams per day
    4. Whey protein (ON Gold Standard) enough for 80-100 grams protein per day
    I go through several pounds of it per month
    5. Creatine about 10g per day, NOW brand
    6. pre-workout energy drink — I switch the brand up from time to time, most have so many ingredients that I couldn’t begin to list them all

  6. Swedish on August 19, 2011 at 14:14

    I don’t take any supplements and as long as I feel great I’m not going to start taking any supplements. Maybe I would feel even better taking vitamins but I don’t really like taking pills even if it’s vitamins. I exercise regurarly, try to get as much sunshine as possible and I eat a LCLC (low-carb, low crap) diet, I get less exposed to chemicals because I don’t use soap and tootpaste so I think I’ll be alright without supplements.

    • Gene on August 19, 2011 at 19:54

      Just out of curiosity, how often do you get sick?

      I assume you are in Sweden with low sun levels.

      The reason I ask is because I live in California and still have pretty low VitD (just got blood tests), and I think I get PLENTY of sun, and I still get sick a lot.

      • Jack kruse MD on August 20, 2011 at 06:58

        That means you likely have high cortisol levels causing pregnenolone steal syndrome

  7. Josh on August 19, 2011 at 14:18

    This is really similar to what I take. I also take CLO and Flax oil, which seems to help with some ear inflammation. I also take a sublingual B-12. There’s a family history of depression, so I want to make sure the ol’ brain is taken care of.

  8. Keoni Galt on August 19, 2011 at 14:45

    Here’s my supplemental regiment:

    2-3 servings of liquid caffeine and polyphenols in the morning.

    1 serving of tetrahydrocannabinol, ingested via water filtration of combustible exhaust
    1 serving of nicotine from combustible exhaust, absorbed through the mucous membrane
    2-3 serving of barley-malt distillate, aged in charred oak barrels

    Combined with a real food diet, these supplements work just fine for me. YMMV

  9. Mountain on August 19, 2011 at 15:34

    Hey Richard, don’t you mostly eat grass-fed beef and avoid high n-6 foods altogether? I figured that would be sufficient for your 3:6 ratio without supplementation, but I may be wrong.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 19, 2011 at 15:38

      Beef is totally insignificant to the equation. Even if you eat grained meats, total quantity of PUFA is minuscule.

      • Ned Kock on August 20, 2011 at 07:55

        Some data here on this point, supporting Richard’s statement:

        See also the comments there. A lot of interesting stuff, including some issues regarding other types of meat.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 09:38

        Yep, Ned. Exactly why I never talk about grass fed vs grain fed in terms of 6/3. It’s simply irrelevant and there are plenty of valid reasons to go with grass fed including more variation in flavor and texture between breeds, producers, and environment. Plus the humane factor, sustainability, etc.

        Great to hear from you again. We listened to your Jimmy Moore interview on the drive down to LA for AHS and I must say it was one of the most interesting I have heard in a while. Told lots of people at AHS to have a listen and also suggested to Brent and Aaron that you be invited to present at AHS12. Your input is always interesting and relevant.

      • Ned Kock on August 20, 2011 at 13:22

        Thanks Richard. I would have liked to attend AHS, speaker or not, but my travel schedule has been awful during most of the summer.

        In fact, I mentioned this to Aaron a while ago when he mentioned the AHS. I am glad to know that AHS was such a great experience for all involved.

        I am still catching up with what’s been happening online lately, apparently a lot, and a mountain of work at my full time job.

  10. Tin Tin on August 19, 2011 at 15:36

    I take magnesium, zinc and selenium as you do. I have no need for vitamin D or fish oil as I spend a lot of time outdoors fishing – plenty of sun and plenty of fish (5 to 15 meals a week are fish). I also take kelp (for the iodine which helps thyroid function), spirulina and chlorella. I’ll probably add K2.

  11. Monte on August 19, 2011 at 15:59

    Richard, I would think that eating the amount of meat that you do, zinc and selenium supplementation would be completely unnecessary. A pound of beef has 231% Zinc and 135% selenium RDA. Why the extra?

    BTW, I have the exact same products and brands including the Green Pastures stuff. That FCLO was the strongest fish oil I’ve ever had. It puts all other fish oils to shame.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 19, 2011 at 16:11

      Monte, onh because of the thyroid in my individual case. They’re cheap supps, so just a bit of tinkering.

  12. Jack kruse MD on August 20, 2011 at 07:00

    There are vitamin k dependent clotting factors I use to assess levels in LFT panels…… non animal source of vit k2 is organic kale

  13. Remnant on August 19, 2011 at 17:04

    Just two points / questions:

    1. Are you concerned at all about the possible rancidity / oxidation of capsuled fish oils? I originally supplemented more but now try to get fish oil just by eating more fish (although I still eat a D capsule that contains fish oil).

    2. I don’t get the sense that you eat a lot of seaweed. Given the hypothyroidism, why no supplementation of iodine or more eating of sea vegetables?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 19, 2011 at 17:32

      I eat sushi often enough I get plenty of Nori. and sometimes I’ll put shredded on a salad. I also have Iordoral, but haven’t taken any in a while. I don’t thng thyroid prodbs are iodine.

      In terms of oxidation of fish oils, zero fear.

  14. Scott Miller on August 19, 2011 at 19:57

    >>> If there is a nutrient deficiency, it will be apparent in the present, and if a supplement does some good, it will be apparent in the present. <<<

    This sort of thinking is wildly misguided. Nutritional deficiencies can go unnoticed for years and even decades, slowly accelerating the overall degradation at the cellular level.

    But just as important, numerous supplements currently available are potent in the reduction of aging processes, such as inflammation and glucose damage (glycation), as well as numerous others.

    My top 10 supplements: pterostilbene, resveratrol, D2, K2, CoQ10, magnesium, all B's, pomegranate extract, fish oil, and pyridoxamine.

    These play a role in the significant reduction of systemic inflammation, glycation, lipid oxidation, and neurological degradation. Some of this can be handled via food, but not nearly to the extent that can be improved by good supplementation. For example, to get pharmacological doses of resveratrol, a person would need to drink 100 to 300 glasses of good quality red win. Per day! Yet, resveratrol is the most potent anti-cancer molecule yet known to humans, which is why GlaxoSmithKline paid over $700 BILLION for a company during research on resveratrol. (Note that pharmacological companies cannot make money selling resveratrol itself, they need to create a non-natural version of this molecule that still has the benefits, and can then be patented in order to make money. They yet to pull off this difficult feat. But who cares, we already have the real thing — I take 300mg per day.)

    The other supplements I've listed are all equally potent in their own areas. And, I take over 25 other supplements a day. All super well researched and part of a smart regimen that will help me live much longer than average.

    • Jim Jozwiak on August 19, 2011 at 22:16

      It seems improbable to me that my cells would be deteriorating and I would not notice anything. How is that supposed to work? I think if I were not paying attention to my current state, but rather focused on the great By-and-By with faith in a supplement regime that has no discernible current benefit, perhaps my cells could deteriorate unnoticed. But I would still have the problem that if something started to go wrong, I would have to figure out which of my 25 supplements might be causing it. Isn’t getting all the essential nutrients in the right quantities already complicated enough?

      • Scott Miller on August 20, 2011 at 09:50

        Go to to see the seven currently known causes of aging. Here’s a good summary:

        The recent book, Ending Aging, provides a more detailed summary.

        Mitochondria health, glucose management, inflammation pathways, tissue stiffening, hormone maintenance, DNA damage — these are all partially improved through good supplementation. Diet plays a role too, but supplements can significantly improve over anything possible with a diet.

        Richard, you don’t actually begin to die as soon as you’re born. Generally, signs of aging at the cellular level do not begin to appear in normal humans until after puberty, such as intra- and extra-cellular “junk” accumulation.

        All of the supplements I take (about 50 pills daily, or about 35 different supplement types, for example I take 5 fish oil pills daily), address these key areas of aging, and are backed by legitimate science.

        As an aside, I’ve invested significantly in funds (like the MPrize: that supports longevity research.

        Paleo lifestyle and eating is merely a subset of what we can all do to improve our chances of living a long, healthy life. Perhaps the most significant single thing to embrace. But supplementation is far too important an area to also not embrace, if maximizing your health-span is a priority.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 19, 2011 at 22:33

        In fairness to Scott, who has been around these parts for long time and I suspected he might show up, you begin to die as soon as you’re born. Cellular degeneration is ongoing. I’ve been hearing lately, however, that if you make into the late 90s, cellular aging stops. I have to look more into this.

        Scott, your top 10l lost has changed from a few years back. I could look up the comment, but care to explain?

      • Scott Miller on August 20, 2011 at 09:58

        Oops, I should have written D3 above, not D2.

        Richard, I don’t think my list has changed much over the years. At least 6-7 are the same, I’m sure.

        Also, cellular aging doesn’t stop in the 90’s. The accumulation of intra- and extra-cellular waste is always ongoing. Likewise, DNA and mtDNA damage never ceases. Glycation never stops. Tolemere length continues to shorten (leading to a point when cells stop renewing themselves and permanent die). And so on. Nothing stops. I’ve heard this before too, but I’m not sure where it came from.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 10:23

        I’ll dig up the old comment and compare. It seems there is a difference of about 3 supps.

        As to aging stopping, I recently listened to a Jimmy Moore podcast interview with evolutionary biologist Michael Rose on a new book, “”Does Ageing Stop” or something like that. Here’s an article by him.–Stone-Age-diet.html

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 12:22

        Not sure why this one doesn’t show up on that search, but here’s the one about the cessation of aging.

        “Does Aging Stop? reveals the most paradoxical finding of recent aging research: the cessation of demographic aging. The authors show that aging stops at the level of the individual organism, and explain why evolution allows this. The implications of this counter-intuitive conclusion are profound, and aging research now needs to accept three uncomfortable truths. First, aging is not a cumulative physiological process. Second, the fundamental theory that is required to explain, manipulate, and probe the phenomena of aging comes from evolutionary biology. Third, strong-inference experimental strategies for aging must be founded in evolutionary research, not cell or molecular biology.

        “The result of fifteen years of research bringing together new applications of evolutionary theory, new models for demography, and massive experimentation, Does Aging Stop? advances an entirely new foundation for the scientific study of aging.”

        Hs website:

        Jimmy Moore interview:

      • Scott Miller on August 20, 2011 at 11:34

        If aging stopped at 90, then people who reach 90 should have a significant chance to live for decades upon decades longer — merely by avoiding trauma deaths, like a car wreck.

        Evidence shows that there’s no age hurdle that, once crossed, somehow means the aging process (primarily a process of accumulated damage and waste/gunk) comes to a halt or even a reduced rate. Again, people over 90 still die from the normal progression of aging — failing organs due to all the normal aging processes.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 12:11

        Sounds a bit dismissive, Scott. But given his library of work on the biology of aging, I certainly am not going to be so quick to do so.

      • Scott Miller on August 21, 2011 at 09:23

        I’ve read through Dr Rose’s website, and I’ve followed his work for several years — he’s been a hot topic in the longevity community. He addresses he thesis on the cessation of aging with Thesis #30, based on forces of natural selection plateauing. But, he’s thesis seems to ignore the basic principle of entropy. Cells must produce energy, and this process produces harmful byproducts that continue to degrade cellular processes. This is why, of the 100’s of thousands of people who’ve reach 90+ years of age, practically none live 20 years longer. If Rose is right, then the sample size is plenty large enough for there to be ample radical outliers, living 50-100 years longer.

        Maybe Rose’s “forces of natural selection” stop being a factor in the 90’s, but entropy pulls us into the grave nonetheless.

      • Robert on August 20, 2011 at 01:27

        Richard is right. Cellular degeneration is ongoing. You don’t notice it because it is slow. Damage accumulates in the cell’s DNA leading to decreased function and finally death(of the cell). Also aging cell’s stop dividing. All this leads to aging. Supplements can reduce the damage done to the cell’s DNA and extend life. As it is a slow process you wouldn’t notice dramatic benefits imminently. (and you wouldn’t notice negatives anyway, I.e not getting cancer is something that can have many causes(or absence of).)

        But your right, it is difficult to know which vitamin is really helpful and which is not. Besides, vitamins cost a lot of money. I can barely pay the minimal supplementation I use now.

      • Jim Jozwiak on August 20, 2011 at 10:50

        Well, my point is that the efficacy of anti-aging supplements for a particular individual is unknown. We can’t do experiments on our own longevity. We can, however, pay attention to the present. If I found myself seeking the uber-placebo, I would consider I was doing so to ameliorate anxiety, and anxiety is usually the brain complaining that carbohydrate metabolism is not right.

      • Robert on August 21, 2011 at 01:52

        Well, not completely unknown. Let’s not pretend people are that different biologically. N=1 is nice, but let’s not go overboard and dismiss N=>1

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 13:21


      Here’s that comment from about 2 1/2 years ago. Mostly the same, but some differences.

    • Matt Tagg on February 17, 2012 at 18:40

      Mostly agree.

      Small correction: GSK paid $720m for Sirtris, not “over $700 billion”.

      Furthermore “Recent studies from rivals Amgen and Pfizer have failed to reproduce the findings that resveratrol is an SIRT1 activator”

      I think resveratrol is overhyped personally. Oh and GSK has abandoned it’s trials.

  15. William on August 19, 2011 at 19:57

    Living in the PNW, I have upped my vitamin D intake to 5,000 mg’s., and 6,000 mgs., alternating the dose every other day. A Costco multi vitamin, magnesium 400 mgs., and fish oil 2,000 mgs. rounds out the picture.

    What I have noticed is that I feel more mentally, and emotionally balanced with vitamin D; no signs of depression, or anxiety which was the norm before going primal. Vitamin D seems to enhance what primal/paleo eating started, which is to say, life just seems easier.

  16. Oingo Boingo on August 19, 2011 at 23:18

    What is your dosage of K2 and how did you decide on that?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 01:42

      Don’t really know because it’s not spelled out in the butter oil, probably because as a concentrated food, it varies. Dose it two 500mg caps. For the LEF predict, there’s 1mg mk4 and 100mgm mk7, plus some K1

  17. peachy on August 19, 2011 at 23:40

    How do you take the butter oil? I have some but find it almost impossible to just swallow by itself so sometimes I try to mix it in with mashed potatoes and regular butter but that also doesn’t taste the best. Any advice would be appreciated!

  18. Robert on August 20, 2011 at 01:12

    I take :

    1) One multi vitamin. I think I have one of the best, but you really never know as the science on this is just very complex. It’s to cover all my bases in one easy way. I hope it is enough.

    2) Two fish oil capsules.

    3) Magnesium with taurine.

    4) Whey protein. I find it hard to get enough protein without supplementing.

    5) I’m thinking about supplementing D3 all year round. (now I do it only in the winter)

  19. Mallory on August 20, 2011 at 09:05

    i cant survive without

    ZMA- i was out 2 weeks and i lost sleep/mental well being

    other than that i occassionally pop krill, swig cod liver oil and vitamin D but only a couple times a week. i would take K if it was affordable.

    i dont ever get sick. i even tested and exposed myself to all sorts of shit at work and its like impossible. when i eat a huge meal sometimes a digestive enzyme and usually 3 bottles of kombucha a week and i <3 sauerkraut

    i use to be 100% anti supplement and i am still scared of pills but the ZMA was a godsend

  20. Dave on August 20, 2011 at 10:33

    I go on and off Cod Liver Oil. I’m out now and will be moving soon so for now my main source of omega 3s are sardines – I’m cheap. :)

    I take a multi pretty regularly. I use the Mega Men from GNC and it seems to have a decent mix of vitamins and minerals (D3, A, K, Zinc, Selenium, etc). I also eat organ meats once a week, this week it was beef heart.

    I take primal defense just as a precautionary measure to try and get the most out of the real food I eat. Mega Men multi doesn’t have much magnesium so I take a Carlson liquid magnesium supplement at night before going to bed.

    As far as workouts go I stopped using whey and only take creatine and BCAAs. It seems to be working pretty well for my workouts.

  21. J. Stanton - on August 20, 2011 at 10:50

    Tip: One-A-Day Men’s (or the generic knockoffs/equivalents) has a solid complement of minerals/metals like chromium, copper, selenium, and zinc.

    Magnesium is always a red herring in multis, as it’s always magnesium oxide, which has nearly zero bioavailability.

    Add a magnesium chelate, iodine, and K2-MK4, and you’re pretty well covered unless you don’t eat fish, at which point you should probably add a bit of EPA/DHA.


    • Antti E on August 20, 2011 at 15:08

      “Magnesium is always a red herring in multis, as it’s always magnesium oxide, which has nearly zero bioavailability.”

      What about magnesium citrate?

    • dryad on September 9, 2011 at 17:33

      Zinc MUST have copper with it and it should be chelated to be absorbed. You’ll need around a 15 mg zinc to 1-2 mg copper ratio. It doesn’t have to be exact, I take 30 mg zinc bisglycinate chelate and 3 mg copper bisglycinate chelate by Bluebonnet: the factory is only a few hours away and all the products have fantastic allergen labeling.

      Oh, and a comment I meant to make months ago, coconut is a laxative. You’re not having diarrhea because of too much fat, in fact, only the opposite will cause it; it’s too much coconut products. Think of your aunt’s rhubarb pie. One slice keeps everything moving along nicely, two and well, your moseying pace became a race.

  22. WyldKard on August 20, 2011 at 11:04

    Richard, have you tried Greem Pasture’s Royal Blue CLO/butter oil blended capsules? Going this route means you can probably cut down on the number of supplements.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 11:32

      I just might give that a shot next order.

      • Sue on August 21, 2011 at 18:45

        Sweet Jesus! That Green Pastures is some expensive shit. For that my nails better grow out solid gold. I guess you get what you pay for. Where have you found the best price Richard?

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2011 at 20:54

        I get it direct from them. I have heard it may be a bit less through others though.

      • WyldKard on August 23, 2011 at 08:30

        My last order was through Amazon, and it was a bit cheaper. It’s still pricey stuff, but it’s considered a much higher quality than most of the competition.

        As an aside, other than magnesium, the FCLO/butter blend addresses all the supplements Chris Kresser recommends as worth spending money on. )

  23. Dave on August 20, 2011 at 11:11

    J. Stanton thanks for the heads up on magnesium. I’ll need to make sure I get the good stuff when I get more!

  24. tom quinn on August 20, 2011 at 16:13

    Richard, you might want to check out Standard Process supplements. They are made from whole organic foods including cow and pig organs. They aren’t single bullet molecules but whole foods which include all the enzymes and cofactors. The company farms all the inputs themselves so there’s no hanky panky. The company’s marketing/legal plan is to not sell them directly to consumers but some stores carry them. Otherwise you can get them through your doctot/chiropractor etc.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2011 at 16:41

      Tom, I’ll check it out. That makes sense. For example, a multi vitamin or, capsules of desiccated liver?

  25. Tomasz R. on August 21, 2011 at 12:23

    Joseph Mercola has some issues with fish oils; claims they are too contaminated with metals and too rancid. Advocates krill oil – cleaner and not rancit thanks to astaxanthin content.

  26. Anthony on August 20, 2011 at 22:57

    I have been wanting to get feedback on this for quite a while. I have been supplementing with the following for the past 9 mos since starting losing weight, eating paleo, etc.

    20 g Vit C (in divided doses 3x/day, powder dissolved in H2O)
    3g Niacin (same as above)
    4g Magnesium gluconate (same as above)
    D3- 5,000 IU

    I have done a lot of reading on benefits of vitamin c, so that’s the reason for the high dose. It has cleared up a whole host of problems for me. Although I’m wondering what is attributable to that and what to the overall lifestyle changes. The niacin I take for cardiovascular health and anti-anxiety. Magnesium for muscle spasticity and general health benefits I have read about here and elsewhere. I have cerebral palsy, so I bumped up the mag to a higher level to help with muscle tightness. My CP is a mild/moderate severity that effects how I walk mainly.

    Does this seem reasonable? I’m pretty happy with it, and have been feeling great, but any feedback or tinkering that you would recommend would be helpful. I’m really wanting to add in k2. I did supp fish oil for a while, but I had a fishy taste in my mouth because of it, so now I just eat fish/sardines 2-3x a week. Not using soap, shampoo or toothpaste either and my dentist is blown away by how good my teeth look!! (I haven’t told her I’m not using toothpaste yet, but it’s funny that it doesn’t seem to do anything at all when you’re eating the right foods.)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2011 at 01:04

      Sounds good to me, and I’d definitely add the K2, and probably a bit of CLO just to make sure you’re getting enough A.

      I love the niacin rush, BTW. I don’t take it because I doubt I really need to. But I do love the rush.

    • TB on August 30, 2011 at 17:06

      You don’t use soap or toothpaste? What do you use to clean and brush your teeth with then??

      • Richard Nikoley on August 30, 2011 at 18:04


        The implicit horror, shock and misgiving implicit in your comment fills me with total joy.

      • TB on August 31, 2011 at 08:20

        lol I wasn’t horrified…shocked maybe but not horrified….mostly curious as to what you might use instead of soap. I’ve read all the articles and I agree that this stuff isn’t good for us. Not sure I can do it only because waiting for my skin to ‘balance’ itself could be frustrating since i’m SO oily. I have very short hair so it wouldn’t be any trouble. The gel I use on it might not want to come out.! Maybe massaging my scalp more would help regrow some of the hair i’ve lost from being hyperthyroid turned hashimotos though! Being a 51 yr old female and going bald isn’t my idea of a fun time…..I need to work on my insides as well as my outside….going Paleo might help….????

  27. Anthony on August 20, 2011 at 23:06

    Also, what do you think about ALA and L-carnitine? I’ve heard good things, but it doesn’t seem like people on here take them.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2011 at 08:24

      I’ve never looked into those. As I wrote in the post I’m aiming for an evolutionary basis to supplement, ie lack of sunlight, diet with less emphasis on organ meats, inadequate seafood, mineral depletion in the soil.

  28. Josh on August 21, 2011 at 08:58

    Don’t we always pick on vegan’s here for taking “boatloads” of supplements?

  29. tom quinn on August 21, 2011 at 10:21

    Richard, a quickie intro read( like 80 pages) is”Going Back to the Basics of Health” byMary Frost.Lots of mentions of : Weston Price, Royal Lee, Michael Eades and even Gary Taubes.

  30. Dave on August 21, 2011 at 13:09

    Hey Richard. I’m hypo. Stopped taking Synthroid about a year ago. Been taking Iodoral [12.5mg/day] for last year. No hypo symptoms. Expert opinion on high dose iodine is bi-polar. Either dangerous or absolutely critical. Where do you stand on this? Why do you take Iodoral occasionally and not daily? Your opinion is appreciated. Thanks.

  31. Sue on August 21, 2011 at 18:55

    Right now I only take Armour, fulvic minerals, and a bit of mag. And I am experimenting with Earthworm enzymes to battle a possible brain infection that Jaminet has convinced me I have!

    I tried some Brewers Yeast for Bs but my brain does not like it, nor fish oil, nor D3. My brain goes “off” from most supplements, and I have a lot of reverse reactions, i.e. depression from D3 and fish oil and excitement from supps that are supposed to be calming. My brain is probably very confused and permeable from many years of abuse.

    • Dave on August 21, 2011 at 20:49

      Thanks Sue for the response. I understand the n=1 thing. Seems like there are so many variables at play with the thyroid. Very confusing. Thyroid issues run in the family [including mine]. Diet clean. No Synthroid. The Question: “Is this as good as it gets?”. Frustrating.

  32. Jordan M. on August 22, 2011 at 07:46

    Hey Richard,

    I was wondering what you thought of fish oil and its connection to methyldialdehde (MDA).

    As for supplements, I’m going to uni right now so I decided I’d stop taking supplements (don’t want to bother parents with more money). But if I had picked five to keep:

    Organic Multivitamin
    R Lipoic Acid
    Vitamin K2
    Magnesium glycinate

    When I was out of college I ate mostly grass-fed red meats like beef steak and lamb chops. I had the occasional organic pork as well. I lost 80 pounds eating mostly the aforementioned, along with small amounts of fruit, the occasional calf liver, and some asparagus.

    According to my dietetics book (I’m going to get a BS in dietetics) I should have died, as I ate almost everything with that “artery-clogging” saturated fat. I’m glad I went into this with knowledge from your site and other sites, showing that most of what you hear in heart disease/diabetes/weight management is rather bizarre once you look at the cold hard facts.

    Anyway, I love your site, hope to learn more from you!

  33. AllanF on August 22, 2011 at 21:51

    Hey Richard & all,

    I and the family were taking a mega K vitamin once a week. It was 1mg K1, 1.3mg K2-mk4, & 0.1mg K2-mk7.

    This last Apr or May my 7 y.o. son switched dentists for insurance reasons and the new dentist said he had a couple cavities that would need filling. I was skeptical so decided to double the K2 dosage to twice a week and give it a few months. I did it to all of us for consistency. Within a just a couple weeks I noticed I noticed I wasn’t getting any plaque on my teeth anymore. I’d brush with the Soni-care like I’ve been using for years and after brushing my teeth were as smooth as if I’d just gone to the dentist for a cleaning. The affect was remarkable.

    I’ve since seen (I think at Guyenet’s blog) that too much K1 is associated with gum disease and complications, so I’m a little concerned there and am looking for a K2 supplement without the K1, but the K2 seems to make an incredible difference to our teeth. I haven’t had our son back to the dentist. It’s hard to imagine he’s having any real problems given he has the same diet and genes as his parents who aren’t having any problems.

    So there you go, an N=3 & k2 for you all.

    • Hilary on August 23, 2011 at 13:50

      I highly reccomend checking out the book Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. I read it in two days, its just that interesting. Your dentist was probably jsut trying to make money off of you at the expense of your child. With a lot of tooth ailments, as with many health problems I believe, you can cure them with the correct diet.

  34. Hilary on August 23, 2011 at 13:45

    I suggest that, with any supplementation, you do A LOT of research as to which ones are the best and to the bioavailability of the vitamin/mineral you are taking. There is A LOT of industrialized crap out there, causing people to literally put “rocks” into their body, since the vit/min cannot be absorbed by the body in that form. The best way to get your minerals and vitamins is by eating healthy and eating enough of the right foods. I use to be on a plethora of supplements, but now only take the following:
    – Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil – liquid, 4-5mg a day
    – 1tbsp of Grass Feed Ghee (for K2, A and D)
    – Solaray Liver SPF-13 (homeopathic support for liver function since I have Gilbert’s Syndrome)
    – Solaray Indole-3-Carbinol w/ Vit C – (women’s health; supplmental for cruciferous veggies)
    – Vit B Complex w/ Folic Acid (1 pill 3x a week)

    In addition to this, I largely follow a primal, high nutrient density diet, with organ meats and fish, pastured eggs, homemade whole milk yogurt, raw milk cheese (goat and sheep), some nuts, kiwis, occasional bananas, coconut and specific vegetables with low levels of anti-nutrients and always properly cooked. Another thing to keep in mind is also how and when you eat your food. For example, you should eat fruit in the morning, or before noon, which helps to keep sugar levels from getting out of control (at least for me). This, I find, helps me sleep much better at night and have better, prolonged energy througout the day. Eating the fruit, and vegetables, for that matter with a fat (ie. Coconut butter or regular, grass-fed Butter) helps with digestions and the absorption of minerals and vitamins from said food. I also began taking a Perfect Food Raw Organic by Garden of Life mix, 1 scoop a day in the morning, and that also helps with a bit of an energy boost, yet it also has an odd calming effect, too.
    I use to take a magnesium supplement, but found that I didnt need it (I accidentally overdosed on my 2 pills a day; its called hypermagnesia, go ahead, look it up :) ). Apparently, magnesium, IF you have a health diet, is not something you are likely to be deficient in.
    All in all, just listen to your body. If you feel better taking something or eating a certain something, and it benefits your health, then do it. Everyone’s body is different and requires different amounts of things to feel better. I, personally, run the best off a meat/fish and veggie diet, so I try to focus in on those food groups. When it comes down to it, just do what is best for you!

  35. john on August 23, 2011 at 19:33

    I’ve never had success with any supplement, especially the Life Extensions ones. I’ve tried the K complex and a couple of the Es, and every time, I get a slightly sore throat or a bit of a cold. With others like D3 or Mg or fish oils or butter oil, I simply haven’t noticed anything. I actually think my skin got better the first time I tried butter oil, but perhaps now my diet is good enough to where it doesn’t make a difference.

  36. Diane @ Balanced Bites on August 24, 2011 at 23:07

    This post just reminded me/kicked me in the ass to finally get myself some fermented, emulsified CLO from Green Pastures. I’ve been putting it off for a while, but now it’s time to get my supplement game ON. I’ll come back and post (or post on my blog and then link back) what I’m up to when I get it all squared away!

  37. Sue on August 25, 2011 at 10:21

    FYI – the FLCO is now on sale for 25% off on Green Pastures own site. The CAPSULES ONLY for $35 per bottle versus $47, much cheaper than anywhere else I found. Doesn’t say when the sale ends.

    • Case on August 26, 2011 at 08:28

      For high-dose K2 (MK-4), check Vitamin Research Products 15mg Ultra-K2.
      There is a lighter K version too, mix of MK4 K2 and a little K1.

      I’ve runa “remedial” supplementation regimen of 2x Ultra-K2 per day for myself, wifey and a few friends. I can confirm clearing of skin, significant for a smoker friend’s case. These went along with D3 supplementation (5k to 10k IU per day, again from VRP. This for the duration of a single package.

      It’s important to get both together at meal time as they are capsules and need fat to be properly absorbed.

  38. Gilles on August 29, 2011 at 15:16

    There is a pretty good reason to add Vitamin C to the mix:

    Otherwise that is a pretty good regime.

  39. The Top Ten Paleo Blog Posts in August | The Paleo Network on September 8, 2011 at 22:36

    […] 10.   Free the Animal on The Supplements I Take & Why I Take Them […]

  40. Jaime on September 8, 2011 at 22:54

    Richard, just after your opinion on vitamin c supplementing. I’ve read up on it a bit and its based on the fact that nearly all mammals except higher primates (ourselves included) and guinea pigs (poor little buggers) can synthesise their own vitamin c, which drastically increased when the animal is sick or stressed. I have read that many higher primates in the wild consume as much as 6 to 10 grams of vitamin c in their diet, but this would be virtually impossible for humans to do given even the best diets (which I include paleo…)

    Linus Pauline was a big advocate of supplementing Vit C (as well as some of the vits you’re currently taking) and there are many primary resources listed on the vitamin c foundation website ( demonstrating dramatic improvements to many health concerns with c (including some anecdotal evidence for circulatory improvement and helping cold feet and hands).

    Given that paleo is based on what our ancestors were consuming, and one of our poor ancestors lost the ability to synthesise their own vit c, it would seem that these …philosophies… would sit well together. What do you think?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 10, 2011 at 09:50


      I really haven’t thought much about it. I just don’t know. On the other hand, I don’t think it can hurt, so if you feel better with it, go for it, I’d say.

  41. hggh on September 11, 2011 at 07:59

    I have heard from DrGreger that 20-30ng/ML of Vitamin D is now recommended:

  42. Andrew on October 7, 2011 at 18:11

    you have to be careful not feed bad gutbugs with mineral supplements , for example magnesium malate and citrate are biofilm (bad gutbug) feeders and magnesium taurate is not !

    do you supplement iodine at all? again iodine is tricky, but selenium and iodine are a supplement pair, if you supplement one then you need to supplement the other !

    that would be 50 “micrograms – mcg” of selenium, not mg which is milligrams ! 50mg of selenium might kill you ! i know this might seem like nitpicking but i think it’s important to be accurate in a matter like this since “the dose makes the poison” !

    the best zinc in my experience is the L-optizinc from vitabase as it feeds gut bugs the least, but even that is not ideal as you need a smatter of different chelates to match what the diet might provide that do not seem to be satisfactorily supplied by the supplement market









    important !

    my website gives my experiences with supplements !

  43. Andrew on October 9, 2011 at 17:42

    corrected website link referred to in post!







    will !

  44. Andrew on October 9, 2011 at 17:44

    left the l off html ! could the owner please remove the above post with the broken links YET again !

    the website with htis link on my name WILL work !

  45. Steven on November 11, 2011 at 13:26

    I think it is important to note with the information provided regarding Magnesium supplementation that Calcium plays a huge role in increasing the bioavailabilty of the magnesium in your small intestines among other factors. Calcium can ussually be found supplemented in a 2:1 ratio by some supp designers.

    Along witht ensuring you have the proper amount of calcium to process the magnesium there are a plethora of factor that deplete levels of magnesium in your lower intestine, many of which are not plaeo but may be used from time to time for some. Just know what your bad habits do to you.

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