This chapter provides a brief overview of some supplements that have empirical support for the idea that they do something beneficial for fat and sick people. Of course, if you happen to buy something via one of my links, I get a small kickback from Amazon, which helps keep this site up and running.
Boron: Boron beneficially impacts the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. It also boosts magnesium absorption and reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers. It is considered essential for bone health. The most common dosage recommendation is 3mg per day.
CoQ10: CoQ10 is a powerful enzyme that helps the body convert food to energy. It is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are good not because they attack oxygen as the name suggests, but rather they attack things called free radicals. Think of these as little bouncy balls of death that tear up your cells from the inside. It’s good to get rid of them, so antioxidants are good. A side effect of statin drugs is to get rid of this stuff, so if you take statins you should probably supplement it. It may also lower blood pressure and blood glucose, but the data are inconclusive. This one is generally regarded as safe and has very few negative side effects. There is no well-accepted magic dose for CoQ10. Recommendations range from 100mg to 300mg per day.
DHA: DHA is a species of Omega 3, and usually comes in a gel cap. This one is very good for your brain and made it onto Dr. David Perlmutter’s list of supplements you should take. DHA can actually help lower homocysteine, which is a culprit in heart disease.
Hibiscus Tea: The fruity flavor of hibiscus is tangy and sweet. Tea made from this flower is reddish-pink and makes you think you should be drinking it with rum on a beach, probably out of a glass with a little umbrella in it. This tea is high in antioxidants, which is good. There is some evidence that it is an anti-inflammatory, which is good since inflammation is the culprit in most incurable diseases such as heart disease and arthritis. There is fairly strong evidence that this stuff can lower blood pressure, which is why I started using it.
Iodine: Iodine is an essential nutrient. You need it to live, and you will get sick without it. Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function. This is why they put the stuff in salt. There is a lot of this stuff in most seafood, including kelp. If you eat a Japanese diet, you get plenty already. If you eat the standard American diet, you probably don’t get enough. An easy solution is to take a supplement. More isn’t better. Don’t take more than 500 micrograms per day.
Low iodine manifests as low thyroid function, which has fun symptoms like fatigue, swelling in the neck, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, and feeling cold. in other words, you lack “get up and go.” Whether or not you get enough of this vital nutrient depends on where the food you eat grew. If the plants or animals you eat are grown in an area with iodine-depleted soil, then they will be iodine depleted as well. Much of the northern United States is known as the “goiter belt” because the soil in these areas is notoriously iodine depleted, so people eating food grown there tend to develop a goiter, which is a disease of iodine deficiency. Sea kelp supplements are high in iodine, as is seafood such as sardines.
L-Arginine: L-arginine is an amino acid. Your body uses it to release nitric oxide (gear heads will want to note that this is not the same as nitrous oxide). Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that does some pretty cool stuff. It relaxes smooth muscles, so it can help with high blood pressure. Increasing nitric oxide can also help with erectile dysfunction. It is theorized to improve immune function, as well as blood flow to the brain and lungs. It also increases growth hormone, which is antiaging and fat burning. A common dosage recommendation is 3 grams twice per day. Another supplement called citrulline malate is a precursor to L-arginine and supports synthesis within the body.
Luteolin: Helps eliminate uric acid at 100 mg per day. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and suppresses neuroinflammatory responses in the brain.
Magnesium: These days, food tends to be low in mineral content. That includes the important mineral magnesium. Despite the conventional wisdom that muscle cramps come from potassium deficiency (and the bad advice to eat bananas), it is more often magnesium that is deficient. Sleeplessness is often caused by a lack of magnesium, especially if it is a new development and no obvious stressors are causing it. Magnesium has been tied to dealing with stress and high levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is notoriously implicated in weight gain, and you need magnesium present to naturally get rid of it. Weak joints and bones are also a tell-tale sign of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is tied to high blood pressure because it is tied to nitric oxide production. Low magnesium is associated with heart attacks, so it’s pretty serious. Yet about half of Americans are deficient. Acid blockers (like Prilosec) can cause lower levels of magnesium. Your doctor can check your serum magnesium level, but the body’s ability to regulate blood levels means that the body can be low while the blood looks fine. Best to just make sure you are getting plenty. Green leafy vegetables usually have a lot, as do nuts and seeds. Avocado has some too.
Melatonin: You’ve probably heard that a melatonin supplement can be used to help you sleep. It does that, but it also does a lot more. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Don’t underestimate this stuff; it is a psychoactive hormone. If you want to take a supplement, be sure to choose a very reputable one. Also, don’t exceed the recommended dosage.
Niacin: Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is an important nutrient. it was once thought that high doses of niacin were protected against cardiac events such as heart attacks. Systematic reviews of the research suggest that this particular treatment isn’t very effective. It is very important in energy metabolism, and the body doesn’t store it. Its key role is in the formation of NAD and NADP, which help your body process food into usable energy. So if you worry that you aren’t getting enough in your diet, a supplement can provide a safety margin.
Omega 3 (Fish Oil). Fish oil supplements contain fish oil, which contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing heart disease. They lower blood pressure, and cholesterol, and are generally magical.
Quercetin: Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that might help reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease. Quercetin is most commonly used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels and to prevent cancer. It made Dr. Perlmutter’s supplement list for its ability to lower uric acid.
Tart Cherry: The antioxidants in tart cherry fight oxidative stress and may provide other potential health benefits. This made Dr. Perlmutter’s list because it has powerful effects in reducing uric acid.
Tumeric: Tumeric, the famous Indian yellow spice, contains curcumin. Because curcumin can help fight inflammation and keep blood sugar levels steady, it could be a useful tool to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes. It is purported to lower LDL, but the research results are mixed. The anti-inflammatory effects, as well as the effects on glucose, make this one an easy choice.
Vitamin B Complex: The B vitamins help enzymes in our bodies do their jobs and are important for a wide range of cellular functions, like breaking down carbohydrates and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
Vitamin C: Does a massive amount of stuff, but it also helps eliminate uric acid. As Dr. Perlumtter states, “Vitamin C works in tandem with the polyphenols quercetin and luteolin to provide antioxidant protection against the damaging effects of free radicals. But what’s really exciting about the synergy of these supplements, along with tart cherry, is that they all contribute to lowering uric acid.”
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is important in immune regulation and especially in limiting inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent around the world while chronic, degenerative inflammatory conditions like coronary heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are now the number one cause of death on our planet. Vitamin D is not just as a modulator of inflammation; it is an antioxidant, a central player in bone health, a regulator of gene expression related to cancer development, and an important influence on insulin sensitivity. Too much of this one can make you very sick, so be sure to take it as directed. More isn’t better.
Vitamin K-2: K-2 is involved in both bone health and heart health. It reputedly removes calcium from where it doesn’t belong, which has major implications for heart disease. Some nutritionists say you absolutely must take this one, and others say the evidence isn’t clear yet. Absent any evidence that it’s harmful, it is probably a good risk-reward.
Zinc: Zinc is a utility mineral, that is associated with over 300 important enzymes. Zinc is a potent antioxidant.
Last Modified: 07/11/2022