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Which supplements might be beneficial as a temporary therapy for someone new to paleo?

by (432)
Updated about 22 hours ago
Created October 20, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I assume food is the best way to obtain all necessary nutrients (for the most part); however, for those of us recovering from the typical american diet, which vitamins, minerals, or other supplements might be beneficial for short term therapy? (no multi-vitamins or multi-minerals please)

{brand names might be helpful too, if you think you've found an exceptional quality in any one brand}

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435 · November 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

At least the edits are saved. You can't hide, Zaitz!

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10490 · November 12, 2012 at 4:05 AM

Doing this to a bunch of questions, especially community wiki questions, so that none of the responses/comments make sense thus taking away the knowledge that was shared, and flooding the front page is pretty obnoxious! What gives?

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41544 · October 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Link, jake? Always interested in claims that anions make a huge difference in cation use. Particularly when introduced to the electrolyte milieu.

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41544 · October 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Yeah, I'm not a fan of supplementing vitamin E myself. N=1, I've always had adverse reactions to supplements.

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10214 · October 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

It might be a risk for some, but as a non-smoker, for my 6 Willapa oysters a week fried with bacon I'm not concerned. However the following convinces me to stay away from beach collecting oysters on Hood Canal: http://www.pacshell.org/pdf/CadmiumAC.pdf

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78422 · October 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM

+1 Awesome post

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10919 · October 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I totally disagree. Calcium needs are much lower when you are getting enough vitamin K2, A, and D. Magnesium is much more deficient in our food supply than calcium. Americans get more calcium than any other nation yet we have a lot of osteoporosis and and then there's that whole calcified arteries issue... hmmmm http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartHealth/calcium-supplements-linked-heart-attack-risk/story?id=16413252

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788 · October 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM

While I agree that its always better to use food it is not hard at all not to get enough of certain nutrients. Magensium and K2 are not overly present even on a Paleo diet, neither is Vitamin D.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:49 AM

I second the need for potassium. You can get a good deal of it, though, through low-sodium V8, which has 800 mg/cup, and *cooked* spinach, which has 838 mg./cup (a cup of raw spinach has only 167mg).

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:45 AM

The magnesium sulfate of Epsom salts, although excellent to relax muscles, is quickly eliminated by the body and not useful for the over 300 internal reactions in which magnesium plays a part. If magnesium oil is also magnesium sulfate, then the same comment applies.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Salmon has variable amounts of omega-3, because that fat is concentrated around the gills, along the stomach, and around the gonads/ovaries. If you're not eating those parts of the fish, you're getting scant omega-3 fats.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Krill oil's alleged superiority over other omega-3 supplements is based on studies done by the manufacturer, never peer-reviewed, and never published in a journal. Claims of superiority, therefore, are speculative.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:09 AM

The risk with oysters is that they frequently have a fair amount of cadmium, which displaces zinc ??? first in the oyster, and then in you.

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432 · October 27, 2012 at 1:32 AM

What do you think a person new to paleo might be particularly deficient in?

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432 · October 26, 2012 at 3:49 PM

It was meant to be a broad survey of what others are thinking about supplements.

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2328 · October 24, 2012 at 2:27 AM

how convincing...

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4304 · October 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I dunno, i've been taking 400IU of mixed tocopherols for years. http://products.mercola.com/vitamine/ a Mercola link. Obviously there are millions of pages on the internet about Vitamin E.

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594 · October 23, 2012 at 8:17 AM

I've noticed you've put up a bounty for your question. What other details are you specifically looking for to answer your question? Just curious.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Some of us are sick, and certain supplements could prove beneficial, even miraculously so. Who are you to say that all supplements are made equally bad? That there's not one or three among them that have true healing potential (even if its only for a few of us)?

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Some of us are sick, and certain supplements could prove beneficial, even miraculously so. Who are you to say that all supplements are made equally bad? That there's not one or three among them that have true healing potential (even for a few of us)?

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Some of us are sick, and certain supplements could prove beneficial, even miraculously so. Who are you to say that there's no benefit? That all supplements are made equally bad? That there's not one or three among them that have true healing potential (even for a few of us)?

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM

I hate everything supplement. Do they really even work? If they do work, how do you even know? If they do work, and you know, do you really need it? And the cost, GOD HAVE MERCY, THE COST! No, I definitely don't want to get caught up in that mess. Because once you purchase one, it doesn't stop there, you've bought into a whole new life for yourself. You think that if this one has enhanced your life, then maybe another will too, and then another until you're not a person any more; you're an addict, a hoarder even. And we all know you can't get much lower than that.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:01 PM

I myself hate the notion of using supplements (on principle), but if it helps beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I won't hesitate to bite the bullet for the sake of a better self.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I myself hate the notion of using supplements on principle, but if it helps beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I won't hesitate to bite the bullet for the sake of a better self.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:59 PM

I myself hate the notion of using supplements on principle, but if it does help beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I wont hesitate to bite the bullet for the sake of a better self.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Sounds like you might be at least a little insecure about the degree to which your diet is complete.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM

I can only think of two supplements thus far that might be of help to me (although one of them might be considered a hybrid supplement/food). I will publish them here when enough others have had their say.

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716 · October 22, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Fish has omega 3 and vitamin D. Eggs have vitamin K2 (more than butter) and vitamin D. Grass-fed meat has omega 3.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Its merely a survey to see if I myself have have forgotten something. (Also, it might help some other like-minded individual out there.)

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:40 PM

youre right and youre also wrong

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716 · October 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

It is very, very hard to not get all the nutrients you need if you eat good quality food (especially important are the above three categories), and enough calories (i.e. you're not on some crazy diet for weight loss). So forget about those supplements and spend your money on better quality food instead. Buying any three supplements just for the sake of it makes no sense whatsoever.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM

I would rather get 100% of what I need nutritionally, than be dogmatic and risk missing out on something my body really needs.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I wholeheartedly agree that food is key, but I try to keep an open mind on CERTAIN supplements since I'm still learning how to get 100% of the nutrition I need.

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41544 · October 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Why Vitamin E ?

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41544 · October 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Why astaxanthin?

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161 · October 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Why 3? Why ask about supplements after acknowledging food is the best way to obtain all nutrients?

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10214 · October 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I suppose you could top salads with smoked oysters, and you would get the minerals and protein if not the vitamins. Fresh oysters are shipped fresh all over the country, packed in jars and sold in the meat department. I've seen Goose Points in the Chicago area.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM

It seems like different chelates work better for different people. I have no trouble with magnesium citrate pills, but of course they sell that bottle of "soda" with magnesium citrate that is definitely a colon blow. I don't know why the pills are different for me. You could try low doses of various ones and see what happens. I think if you take it regularly this effect diminishes somewhat, but only to a point. It's a shitty experiment to conduct (pardon the pun), but maybe worth it if you benefit from magnesium supplementation.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM

@thhq: Excellent observation. I used to try to include oysters in other dishes (minced up and added to a stew, for example), specifically for this purpose. It only takes one or two--they are like super-food. Too bad the ones I have easiest access to are so nasty (canned). I live in Chicago, I'm not getting good fresh ones any time soon.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM

I did notice I got downvoted for this answer, despite trying my best to acknowledge that there are criticisms of my approach, and to not suggest I knew best what to do, but encouraging individual personal research. I don't care about the downvote, per se (I don't need reputation points for any purpose), I just don't understand why, or what was wrong with what I said. I wish downvoters would comment and challenge, instead of lurking, so we could have a conversation about it.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM

@thhq: Insurance, maybe? Maybe/likely nothing would improve for you. You may have better diet/fewer bad habits than I, or different needs. Not trying to push supplements at all. But I know that I fail to account for everything with food alone, because of tastes and laziness. Mg is most easy to detect, because the "working" is something I can sense bodily: a calmer relaxed feeling, particularly at times of stress/tension. Cod liver oil is more theoretical, assuming need for omega-3 and D (and no negative response after long term use). Pretty subjective, right? "n=1," as folks like to say.

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10214 · October 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Out of all this discussion I come to the conclusion that I should eat more oysters. Nature's living supplements full of minerals and vitamins A-D, already animal-solubilized. I just broiled up a few cuts au gratin for a snack. Mmmmm tasty mud bay freshness..

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25467 · October 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM

http://www.uwhg.org.uk/reports/uwhg_meetings/01_apr_10/01_apr_10.html

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41544 · October 21, 2012 at 4:06 AM

Always wonder how Paul Jaminet knows everything??? but a degree in PubMed does that for you. :)

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32518 · October 21, 2012 at 3:10 AM

+1. I prefer Neptune Krill Oil for Omega 3.

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10214 · October 21, 2012 at 2:51 AM

What does "works" mean Christopher? What are the measurable benefits of supplements? I'm not being snarky because I'm sure you've given it a lot of thought. I don't take any, and am curious what might improve if I did.

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2688 · October 21, 2012 at 2:44 AM

You could eat a lot of seafood like salmon and eat a lot of pastured butter and them you could get rid of the fish oil and go with k2. Paul Jaminet says fish oil is almost always damaged in supplements and recommends against fish oil supplementation. He recommends half a pound of salmon per week for omega 3.

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24538 · October 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Transdermally, with magnesium oil, or taking an Epsom Salt bath will bypass the digestive tract and make diarrhea less likely (although people who have dumped a ton of Epsom salt into a bath and soaked for a long time can still get diarrhea). There are sources less likely to cause diarrhea too, like magnesium malate, I believe glycinate (not certain about that one though), and orotate. Magnesium citrate and sulphate can be total colon blow though.

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1495 · October 20, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Exactly the three I was thinking as well.

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2978 · October 20, 2012 at 4:17 PM

This would be my list too if you substituted Fermented Cod Liver Oil for the Fish Oil...and then if you take the combo caps w/ butter oil, you get the K2 as well.

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I think youre right. How do you feel about that?

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I think you're right

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41544 · October 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

K2 should be in the list as well, though I wouldn't know which of the 3 you named to remove for it. Eventually you could remove the fish oil I think, but it's good for starting out.

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41544 · October 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Those four are the top ones to try first.

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434 · October 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

he/she is implying that you dont need supplements when starting out on paleo, you need to focus on diet first.

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM

you silly geese, i said supplements not foods

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6117 · October 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Exactly the three I was thinking of too.

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

you silly goose, i said supplements not foods

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Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
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25467 · October 20, 2012 at 3:55 PM

  1. DHA/EPA: The reason is simple. Most people start off their lifestyle change with excessive omega 6/3 ratio???s in their diet and tissues. I strongly recommend everyone getting a O6/3 blood assay done prior to making the shift. I did and mine back in 2006 was 37:1. Today its 4:1. I do not believe this would have been possible without the use of supplements in the beginning of my transformation, because of how badly our food supply is loaded down with O6 and stripped of O3. The biggest change I made was altering my version of the paleo diet I ate based upon my labs. I based this also on the outstanding work of Dr. Stephen Cunnane as well. We must consider that the 06 content may not just be from dietary sources. It could be caused by a modern mismatch in mammalian cell membrane biology that most are unaware of. When you read about his work you begin to realize there is a lot more to the story of what is best for modern human. I cover his work in the Brain Gut series.

Even the food sources naturally high in O3???s, like fish and meat, have been stripped by feeding farmed fish and cows corn and soy pellets loaded with O6???s. The levels one should shoot for is based upon your current O6/3 level and your highly sensitive CRP. Most people will fall between 1-4 grams. The more inflammation one has, the higher dose I should consider. If you want to increase your seafood intake that would be a fine move as well. I think the ideal 06/3 ratio is below 6 to 1, and I think we should be careful before we bash 06 to the ground. I think that maybe unwise. I have a theory that may explain why modern humans concentrate 06???s as a by product of all neolithic disease. One caveat, I am a much bigger fan of eating seafood in its evolutionary biologic package than I am in using Fish oil or Krill Oil. Moreover, when one begins to understand what DHA is used for in humans (brain function) we begin to understand how this PUFA is protected best in its evolutionary package (seafood) by Iodine in synapses and in many critical areas like the adrenal gland. Other chemicals that protect the double bonds of this PUFA are made from DHA called resolvins, lipoxins, and protectins. I cover these extensively in the Brain Gut Series. The paleo solution may not be Homo???s solution. A paleo template is a great option to regain your health from a western diet but there is a level above it when you have a large brain that may be riddled with inflammation. A paleo diet may not go far enough for some of us. We need to be mindful of that.

2.Minerals Selenium, Iodine, and Iron: This threesome are critical for thyroid function. The most important mineral for a human with a large brain is Iodine. I cover this later in the blog in the massively important Brain Gut series. The most common clinical scenario I see is thyroid disfunction. This is unusual to me now because back in my pathology book from the 1980???s it said thyroid disorders were quite rare. Now they have become ridiculously common. The reason is simple. Our epigenetics have been altered dramatically because most food is now man made and processed, our light is artificial light, and environmental toxins of all sorts have gone through the roof over the last 100 years. When we eat man made foods we get illnesses like neolithic diseases. This is critical because if the thyroid is not working well free T3 levels will be low and likely not going to be available to convert LDL cholesterol to the hormones the brain uses to control our 20 trillion cells in our body. Remember that T3 and Vitamin A is co factors in the conversion of LDL cholesterol to the steroid cascade. We covered this in the Hormone 101 blog. Thyroid dysfunction is epidemic in the world where a western diet is entrenched. One in ten adult American women have been diagnosed with thyroid disorders and some endocrinologists suggest that as many as 25% of adult American women are afflicted with clinically detectable thyroid dysfunction. I think this number is conservative and gets worse with every subsequent generation to the effect of epigenetics. Severe iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. But many physicians believe iodine deficiency is rare in the United States and other developed countries since the addition of iodine to salt. I am not so sure about this. Again, just because its in salt does not mean we absorb it. The WHO estimate between 1.5 to billion humans are iodine deficient. The more red meat one eats the more iodine deficient you can expect to become. Iodine is bountiful in seafood in its primordial evolutionary package. It is also found in sea vegetables and seaweeds. Considering the work or Drs, Remko Kuipers, Cunnane, and Crawford about the importance of seawater in human evolution it would make sense this is where our best supplies come from. (Kuipers is due to speak at AHS 2012 @ Harvard)

I have found women are most at risk for poor absorption of iodine. After the thyroid gland needs, the distal portions of the human mammary glands are the heaviest metabolic concentrators of iodine in the body. Iodine is readily incorporated into the tissues surrounding the mammary nipples and is essential for the maintenance of healthy functioning breast tissue. This plays a huge role in fibrocystic disease and the the development of breast cancers in my opinion.

One clinical finding I always ask about is the presence of fibrocystic breast disease.When it is present I immediately think the woman is likely suffering from an undiagnosed iodine deficiency. I distinctly remember in medical school seeing a woman???s fibrocystic disease cured in less than an hour by an ancient physician who taught us how to examine a women???s breasts. She had volunteered to be a guinea pig for us during our medical education, and on this day we could not examine her without making her scream and cry because her breasts were so tender to palpation. Our MD proctor was about 80 years old and he too was a volunteer helping us learn our craft. He stopped me from examining her breasts and asked her a few questions and then he asked us to leave the room. He applied Lugol???s solution to her vulva and her nipples and we were able to examine her without any pain a half hour later. It made a huge impression on me. He asked her if she was on any thyroid meds and if she had bad energy or weight gain. A lack of iodine was the source of her painful breasts! Her labs did not reveal any major issues when we saw her either because we are taught to just screen for a TSH and not a free T3 or free T4 level. I never forgot this lesson on the thyroid.

When one begins eating a paleo diet your nutrient density and food substrate improve so your iodine needs go up as your mitochondria are being asked to do more. So with a paleo diet you get a relative iodine deficiency for the first 3-6 months of the adaptation of the diet. I always as my patients to eat shrimp twice a week for the first 6 months or to supplement with a kelp pill every third day. That seems to do the trick for most people. Iodine 200-300 mcgs every other day if you eat seafood once a week. If you eat it more frequently you likely don???t need any supplementation.

The next one we will discuss is iron. Clinically, Iron is not important to supplement because the paleo diet is extremely robust in iron. But many of us forget our diet is only as good as what we absorb. If gut dysbiosis is present (usually is to some degree) or there is a lot of fructose in the diet iron absorption is a real problem. When one eats a lot of fructose in juices or in fruit (or HFCS products) you will increase your absorption of iron in the gut while also increasing your serum albumin. High iron levels are not good. High albumin levels can cause our free testosterone or estrogen levels to dramatically fall because the increased albumin binds them much like SHBG does in obesity or in hypothyroidism. None of this is good for optimal.

For the thyroid gland to produce the most active form of the thyroid hormone T3, selenium is essential but also helps regulate the amount of hormone that is produced. Remember T3 is a co factor in steroid cascades and also in reversing muscle leptin resistance at UCP3. We need 200 mcgs a day. Most don???t eat it. One brazil nut a day can do the trick. If you don???t eat them then I recommend a supplement every other day of 200 mcgs. Its dirt cheap and easy to find. Selenium is also critical in many stress related processes. Selenium is active in prevention of oxidative stress. Selenium works with a group of nutrients that include vitamin E, vitamin C, glutathione, and vitamin B3, to prevent oxidative stress. I wrote about selenium here in more detail. Se is one brazil nut a day or 200 mcgs a day. Fe is 325 mgs a day and take it with a vitamin C to increase its absorption and make you less nauseous.

The last supplement is Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is a pro hormone, and is vital to immunity and to other physiologic functions. Vitamin D3 is an important neuro-steroid hormone responsible for many elements in brain development and behavior as well. Vitamin D3 increases brain levels of glutathione, a powerful natural antioxidant that is the body???s most important tool for detoxifying and excreting heavy metals, and one that is rapidly consumed during oxidant stress from toxins and other sources. Vitamin D3 is made from LDL cholesterol in the steroid chain. Most vitamin D3 in the American food chain is added and is D2, not D3. This is especially true in dairy products. The active form of vitamin Dis D3 ,and is made in our skin by sunlight. The best dietary source is from fatty fish or other animal products. Few people have good dietary sources of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 can also be made from sun exposure, but the dermatologists have done a masterful job of convincing many they will succumb from skin cancer if this is their major source. So most Americans do not get vitamin D3 this way either. This is why we have an epidemic in patients with low vitamin D levels. Most Americans fail to even get the low RDA of 400 IU from all sources. I would suggest you read my Vitamin D post here. For this vitamin, I suggest a basal dose of 5000IU for most patients. For those who are suboptimal, I will push this big time. And I am no fan of 50K of Vitamin D2 a week???.its suboptimal dosing with a suboptimal form of Vitamin D for humans.

This came from here:http://jackkruse.com/what-are-the-top-ten-paleo-supplements/

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78422 · October 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM

+1 Awesome post

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25467 · October 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM

http://www.uwhg.org.uk/reports/uwhg_meetings/01_apr_10/01_apr_10.html

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594 · October 20, 2012 at 9:48 AM

  1. Omega 3 Fish Oil (high quality, without soybean oil). This supplement will help to balance out your omega 3 to omega 6 ratios, especially if all your meat isn't pastured.

  2. Vitamin D - most people don't get enough sunlight, and therefore, don't get enough Vitamin D.

  3. Magnesium - helps most people with sleep quality and anxiety

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6117 · October 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Exactly the three I was thinking of too.

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32518 · October 21, 2012 at 3:10 AM

+1. I prefer Neptune Krill Oil for Omega 3.

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2978 · October 20, 2012 at 4:17 PM

This would be my list too if you substituted Fermented Cod Liver Oil for the Fish Oil...and then if you take the combo caps w/ butter oil, you get the K2 as well.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Salmon has variable amounts of omega-3, because that fat is concentrated around the gills, along the stomach, and around the gonads/ovaries. If you're not eating those parts of the fish, you're getting scant omega-3 fats.

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41544 · October 21, 2012 at 4:06 AM

Always wonder how Paul Jaminet knows everything??? but a degree in PubMed does that for you. :)

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1495 · October 20, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Exactly the three I was thinking as well.

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716 · October 22, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Fish has omega 3 and vitamin D. Eggs have vitamin K2 (more than butter) and vitamin D. Grass-fed meat has omega 3.

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2688 · October 21, 2012 at 2:44 AM

You could eat a lot of seafood like salmon and eat a lot of pastured butter and them you could get rid of the fish oil and go with k2. Paul Jaminet says fish oil is almost always damaged in supplements and recommends against fish oil supplementation. He recommends half a pound of salmon per week for omega 3.

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41544 · October 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

K2 should be in the list as well, though I wouldn't know which of the 3 you named to remove for it. Eventually you could remove the fish oil I think, but it's good for starting out.

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Krill oil's alleged superiority over other omega-3 supplements is based on studies done by the manufacturer, never peer-reviewed, and never published in a journal. Claims of superiority, therefore, are speculative.

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6117 · October 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I approached supplementing methodically, because I too believe it best to obtain nutrients from food as much as possible. Tracking what one eats, and reviewing the nutrients consumed, seems like the only way to target things so one doesn't take unneeded supplements.

After tracking my food in Cron-o-Meter for awhile, I realized no matter what I ate, I never got enough vitamin D, nor omega-3. My geographic location and work life generally prevent me from producing enough vitamin D from sun exposure, so I wanted to supplement. I also don't seem to enjoy fish enough to eat it as often as I perhaps should.

So I did some research, and settled on fermented cod liver oil, which offers a twofer: lots of omega-3, and vitamin D. I use Green Pasture high vitamin butter oil/fermented cod liver oil blend, cinnamon flavor gel. If you find the notion of fermented cod liver oil as revolting as I did, my experience showed the cinnamon overpowers any other flavor. It also comes in capsules.

This suggestion has it's detractors here on PH, but like all things, I do my own research and feel satisfied with my choice. Someone will likely mention the possibility of too much vitamin A from cod liver oil, but this may not be much cause for concern when it occurs in natural balance with vitamin D, as it should in a natural cod liver oil product. You might need to do some research to satisfy your own concerns.

I also notice benefit from magnesium supplementation. I use magnesium citrate, but I understand glycinate or other "-ate" forms work well. Magnesium oxide, perhaps more ubiquitous, seems less absorbable.

This works for me, and actually, I still take these (not just in the beginning), but it may not suit others.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM

@thhq: Insurance, maybe? Maybe/likely nothing would improve for you. You may have better diet/fewer bad habits than I, or different needs. Not trying to push supplements at all. But I know that I fail to account for everything with food alone, because of tastes and laziness. Mg is most easy to detect, because the "working" is something I can sense bodily: a calmer relaxed feeling, particularly at times of stress/tension. Cod liver oil is more theoretical, assuming need for omega-3 and D (and no negative response after long term use). Pretty subjective, right? "n=1," as folks like to say.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM

I did notice I got downvoted for this answer, despite trying my best to acknowledge that there are criticisms of my approach, and to not suggest I knew best what to do, but encouraging individual personal research. I don't care about the downvote, per se (I don't need reputation points for any purpose), I just don't understand why, or what was wrong with what I said. I wish downvoters would comment and challenge, instead of lurking, so we could have a conversation about it.

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10214 · October 21, 2012 at 2:51 AM

What does "works" mean Christopher? What are the measurable benefits of supplements? I'm not being snarky because I'm sure you've given it a lot of thought. I don't take any, and am curious what might improve if I did.

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454 · October 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Probiotics, fermented cod liver oil, and vitamin D

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716 · October 20, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Free range eggs, grass-fed meat, wild fish. They are good for long term use.

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I think you're right

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

you silly goose, i said supplements not foods

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I think youre right. How do you feel about that?

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434 · October 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

he/she is implying that you dont need supplements when starting out on paleo, you need to focus on diet first.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I wholeheartedly agree that food is key, but I try to keep an open mind on CERTAIN supplements since I'm still learning how to get 100% of the nutrition I need.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM

I hate everything supplement. Do they really even work? If they do work, how do you even know? If they do work, and you know, do you really need it? And the cost, GOD HAVE MERCY, THE COST! No, I definitely don't want to get caught up in that mess. Because once you purchase one, it doesn't stop there, you've bought into a whole new life for yourself. You think that if this one has enhanced your life, then maybe another will too, and then another until you're not a person any more; you're an addict, a hoarder even. And we all know you can't get much lower than that.

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432 · October 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM

you silly geese, i said supplements not foods

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788 · October 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM

While I agree that its always better to use food it is not hard at all not to get enough of certain nutrients. Magensium and K2 are not overly present even on a Paleo diet, neither is Vitamin D.

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716 · October 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

It is very, very hard to not get all the nutrients you need if you eat good quality food (especially important are the above three categories), and enough calories (i.e. you're not on some crazy diet for weight loss). So forget about those supplements and spend your money on better quality food instead. Buying any three supplements just for the sake of it makes no sense whatsoever.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM

I would rather get 100% of what I need nutritionally, than be dogmatic and risk missing out on something my body really needs.

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432 · October 22, 2012 at 7:40 PM

youre right and youre also wrong

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80 · October 20, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 and Magnesium. Don't take advice from me though, I'm just starting to learn, can't even count, and am interested if others with more knowledge think I'm right?

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM

@thhq: Excellent observation. I used to try to include oysters in other dishes (minced up and added to a stew, for example), specifically for this purpose. It only takes one or two--they are like super-food. Too bad the ones I have easiest access to are so nasty (canned). I live in Chicago, I'm not getting good fresh ones any time soon.

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10214 · October 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Out of all this discussion I come to the conclusion that I should eat more oysters. Nature's living supplements full of minerals and vitamins A-D, already animal-solubilized. I just broiled up a few cuts au gratin for a snack. Mmmmm tasty mud bay freshness..

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10214 · October 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I suppose you could top salads with smoked oysters, and you would get the minerals and protein if not the vitamins. Fresh oysters are shipped fresh all over the country, packed in jars and sold in the meat department. I've seen Goose Points in the Chicago area.

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41544 · October 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Those four are the top ones to try first.

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10214 · October 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

It might be a risk for some, but as a non-smoker, for my 6 Willapa oysters a week fried with bacon I'm not concerned. However the following convinces me to stay away from beach collecting oysters on Hood Canal: http://www.pacshell.org/pdf/CadmiumAC.pdf

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:09 AM

The risk with oysters is that they frequently have a fair amount of cadmium, which displaces zinc ??? first in the oyster, and then in you.

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78422 · October 28, 2012 at 12:58 AM

3 factors that are most underrepresented by modern diet/lifestyle:

  1. Vitamin D - distinguish between supplementation and synthesis by the sun; sun is obviously better but supplement when you cant get enough; monitor vitamin D levels with blood test; there are genetic differences in vitamin D metabolism
  2. Omega 3 - distinguish between animal and plant sources and aim to choose what is best for you
  3. Potassium - the one that didn't make it on the list; RDA is 4g/day but most people consume less than 2g/day

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:49 AM

I second the need for potassium. You can get a good deal of it, though, through low-sodium V8, which has 800 mg/cup, and *cooked* spinach, which has 838 mg./cup (a cup of raw spinach has only 167mg).

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24538 · October 20, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Celtic sea salt

Magnesium

K2

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244 · October 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

A high quality probiotic, fermented cod liver oil (only from Green Pastures), and high vitamin butter oil.

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8 · November 07, 2012 at 6:35 AM

Vitamin K2 Supplement K is a list of structurally identical, fat-soluble organic vitamins that are needed for the posttranslational adjustment of certain necessary protein needed for blood vessels coagulation and in metabolic routes in cuboid and other cells. They are 2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (3-) types. This list of organic vitamins contains two organic vitamers: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, phytomenadione, or phytonadione, is produced by vegetation, and is discovered in maximum volumes in for example because it is straight engaged in photosynthesis. It may be believed of as the "plant form" of vitamin K. It is effective in creatures since creatures can quickly turn it to the kind creatures use in their enzymic responses (vitamin K2).

Vitamin K2, the kind used by minerals in creatures, has several subtypes, which vary in isoprenoid sequence duration. These vitamin K2 homologs are known as menaquinones, and are recognized by the variety of isoprenoid remains in their part stores. Menaquinones are shortened MK-n, where M appears for menaquinone, the K appears for vitamin K, and the n symbolizes the variety of isoprenoid part sequence remains. For example, menaquinone-4 (abbreviated MK-4) has four isoprene remains in its part sequence. Menaquinone-4 (also known as menatetrenone from its four isoprene residues) is the most everyday sort of vitamin K2 in creature items since it is normally straight produced by desaturation from vitamin K1 in certain creature cells (arterial surfaces, pancreatic, and testes). It originates its four isoprenoid remains from the point that phylloquinone/vitamin K1 from vegetation has adequate as well as atoms (20) in its part sequence to create four isoprene models, thus producing menaquinone-4. This homolog of vitamin K2 is accountable for the traditional features of vitamin K in creatures, such as its action in the of blood vessels clots necessary protein.

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10919 · October 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM

k-2 mk-4 and mk7 (life extension makes a good mixed one)

Magnesium (either from good natural source mineral water or a high quality supplement)

Cod liver oil (for fat soluables and EFA's, I think Blue Ice Fermented CLO is best but Carlsons super 1000mg gems are decent enough)

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365 · October 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM

  1. Omega 3 Fish Oil - Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas are two of the best I've found. I suggest 5 - 8g a day for great performance.

  2. B Complex (200mg per day) - Solaray, Jarrow Formulas.

  3. Calcium - I seem to run low on my calcium intake, and extra won't hurt :)

As long as you get adequate sunlight each day, don't worry TOO much about the Vitamin D3, but it does help with skin damage, so if you're worried on that front, grab it.

Additionals:

Vitamin C- So you don't get scurvy :P

Psyllium Husk - For extra fibre if you feel like you aren't getting enough.

Magnesium to help sleep at times

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3221 · October 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

VITAMIN D and FISH OIL, no need for a third one

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270 · October 26, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I think that it???s hard to throw a top 3 supplements up without the specific details / context. Meaning, it???s hard because people are coming into the paleo lifestyle from different places and with different profiles??? plus people jump into the lifestyle at different rates and via different approaches.

That said, in my very limited experience (and I???m not a Dr), I???ve noticed that when a person jumps into this lifestyle they tend to do two things: (1) They tend to go overboard with the low carb meme (particularly fruit consumption), and (2) They tend to hit the gym / workout way too hard (when they also tend to be the most out of shape or are still tweaking their fitness routines).

Assuming that the individual in question is starting out by taking their food intake and sources seriously, is reading up on the subject matter, and is in the process of tweaking the lifestyle to suit such persons specific needs, my top 3 supplements for the initial / short term are (in no particular order):

  • Vit D3: most folks are deficient, and you can???t consume it enough via food, etc etc etc (all of the reasons stated herein);

  • Vit C: if your diet consisted of a lot of sugar, then there is a high probability that you are deficient. Additionally, people tend to immediately drop to virtually zero their consumption of fruit (which for most folks is their only source of the vitamin) and haven???t really picked up eating proper quantities of Vit C veggies (as they tweak the diet or transition). It???s a hugely important antioxidant (particularly if you???re working out, in excess or otherwise), in amino acid metabolism (collagen), absorption of iron, etc etc etc.

  • Magnesium: Quite a few folks are deficient (particularly due to excessive sugar consumption), and once they drop flour (and as they tweak their new diets) they tend to magnify this because it used to be a source of it under poor diets. Magnesium is key in atp metabolism, protein synthesis, muscle relaxation, cardiovascular health, insulin resistance and production, calcium absorption, etc etc etc.

The last two have laxative properties in excess. Spread the dosage throughout meals, I use concentrace mineral drops to control /spread the dosage as appropriate.

It???s important to note that I did not throw up O3 supplementation because it tends to be abused, harder to really shoot for optimal ???ratios???, and quality (or ability to control it) of the products (oxidation). I recommend a can of atlantic sardines every other day instead ??? O3 laden with tons of other minerals, nutrients, and vitamins to boot.

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10 · October 22, 2012 at 3:30 PM

  1. Iodine/iodide as in the brand Iodoral. This one supplement had, by far, the biggest impact on improving my well being of anything I've ever done. Very noticeable improvement in muscle discomfort within about 5 days. After 3 months of regular use I was so happy with how much better I felt. I still use it regularly 7 years later.

  2. l-glutamine powder. Put about a half scoop (~1 gram) in each cup of your warm morning beverage. I don't notice any taste from it. Helps heal the gut lining so you can better absorb the nutrients in your food. "It's not what you ingest, it's what you absorb." 10 grams is not too much. The gut endothelium cells will use all that you ingest. See, for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12531438

  3. Vitamin D3. If you don't have a job in the sun and even if you do in the winter time, you're probably way too low in Vitamin D3. A couple thousand I.U. a day. I like to use the ones in gel caps that are obviously liquid because it's a fat soluble vitamin so I want to ingest it in a fat substrate. You can't get enough in food unless you're eating yellow pastured leaf fat (fat from around the kidneys of animals who have been eating grass regularly), fat from pigs getting regular sun exposure, unrefined red palm oil, pastured liver, fish, shellfish and fish eggs several times a week.

You will probably be getting enough selenium if you're eating paleo/primal through most fish, shellfish, meat and eggs (yolks).

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15443 · October 20, 2012 at 11:06 PM

When I typed everything I ate into fitday.com for a few weeks, I found that even though I was eating a good Paleo diet, I was low on magnesium, manganese, zinc, and potassium. This isn't terribly surprising since grains are a good source of minerals.

I am not a fan of supplements, and only take them if I am pretty certain that I have a specific deficiency, and only until I think the deficiency is cured.

Also, I think the US RDA is influenced by the grain-based diets that we are "supposed" to eat, so just because I am low in these things according to the RDA doesn't necessarily make me believe that I need to have them.

So I wanted to supplement carefully, and took a magnesium, manganese and zinc supplement for a few days. I did notice an immediate improvement in sleep, mood and relaxation. I only took it for a few days and generally feel fine, I don't think I "relapsed". I make it a point to eat foods that are high in these minerals now.

I definitely wouldn't worry about supplementing vitamins A or B, and if you eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamins C or K. One serving of liver gives you your RDA of vitamin B for the week, for example.

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5201 · October 20, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I probably take too many supplements and would like to take fewer but not sure that I would do ok if I took out most of them. I have an appt with the rheumatologist next week for my osteoporosis which I hope I have made a dent in correcting and perhaps then I can cut back on some of the minerals. But if I had my choice I would definately just be taking the vitamin D3 and the mag cit. I know that it is only two and you asked for three, but these are the ones I feel have made the biggest difference in my health.

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5650 · October 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

vit d3, astaxanthin, and fish oil.

for those of you that pick magnesium, i have noticed it's laxative qualities. is there a way i can take it or a certain kind that won't do that?

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41544 · October 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Why astaxanthin?

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2401 · October 28, 2012 at 1:45 AM

The magnesium sulfate of Epsom salts, although excellent to relax muscles, is quickly eliminated by the body and not useful for the over 300 internal reactions in which magnesium plays a part. If magnesium oil is also magnesium sulfate, then the same comment applies.

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24538 · October 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Transdermally, with magnesium oil, or taking an Epsom Salt bath will bypass the digestive tract and make diarrhea less likely (although people who have dumped a ton of Epsom salt into a bath and soaked for a long time can still get diarrhea). There are sources less likely to cause diarrhea too, like magnesium malate, I believe glycinate (not certain about that one though), and orotate. Magnesium citrate and sulphate can be total colon blow though.

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6117 · October 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM

It seems like different chelates work better for different people. I have no trouble with magnesium citrate pills, but of course they sell that bottle of "soda" with magnesium citrate that is definitely a colon blow. I don't know why the pills are different for me. You could try low doses of various ones and see what happens. I think if you take it regularly this effect diminishes somewhat, but only to a point. It's a shitty experiment to conduct (pardon the pun), but maybe worth it if you benefit from magnesium supplementation.

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41544 · October 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Link, jake? Always interested in claims that anions make a huge difference in cation use. Particularly when introduced to the electrolyte milieu.

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4304 · October 20, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, coconut oil.

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41544 · October 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Why Vitamin E ?

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2328 · October 24, 2012 at 2:27 AM

how convincing...

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4304 · October 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I dunno, i've been taking 400IU of mixed tocopherols for years. http://products.mercola.com/vitamine/ a Mercola link. Obviously there are millions of pages on the internet about Vitamin E.

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41544 · October 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Yeah, I'm not a fan of supplementing vitamin E myself. N=1, I've always had adverse reactions to supplements.

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468 · October 21, 2012 at 2:39 AM

Vitamin D and Calcium. People say calcium isn't important, or its not as important as Vitamin D and Magnesium. Get magnesium! I can soak my hand or foot in a bowl of water filled with epsom salts for 15 minutes a few times a week and get plenty of magnesium. Also helps me sleep. CVS pharmacy has a huge amount of calcium/vitamin D pills (Get the Citrate, not the Caltrate!) for a low price. I think I got 400 count for less than $15.

Calcium IS important. For bone health, sleep quality, and joint/muscle health, among other things!!!! You can not get enough calcium from just eating your occasional broccoli and kale! I tried that and eventually all my joints really hurt.

Vitamin D and Magnesium help calcium absorption. Calcium is not much without vitamin D and Magnesium. So take all 3!

The rest are easy to get from food.

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10919 · October 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I totally disagree. Calcium needs are much lower when you are getting enough vitamin K2, A, and D. Magnesium is much more deficient in our food supply than calcium. Americans get more calcium than any other nation yet we have a lot of osteoporosis and and then there's that whole calcified arteries issue... hmmmm http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartHealth/calcium-supplements-linked-heart-attack-risk/story?id=16413252

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