If you’ve never used supplements, this guide is for you.
I had someone ask me recently (when they saw my cabinet full of supplements): “What supplements should I be taking?”
This person had never used any kind of supplements before, wanted to take better care of their health, and didn’t know where to start.
The answer I gave them might be helpful if you’re in the same position.
There is a lot of health advice online for hardened “gym bros” or “biohackers” who know what they are doing, but less for those just starting out.
If that’s you, this is your guide.
Disclaimer: I’m not your doctor. This isn’t absolute health advice, just what I’ve found in my own personal experience.
Supplements are meant to supplement, not replace.
First: supplements are meant to supplement, not replace.
Most of your nutrition should come from whole foods.
If you can supplement a vitamin, or get the same vitamin by adding more of a leafy green to your diet, eat the greens.
For example, if you’re low in selenium, you could supplement that or add a few Brazil nuts to your diet. Brazil nuts will be cheaper and better for you.
You might not even need supplements if your diet is good.
That said, the best thing you can do is:
Get comprehensive blood testing.
You can get a blood test that will tell you every nutrient you are deficient in or need to more of.
You can get these through your doctor, or a company I did video for a few years back for called WellnessFX (not affiliate).
For around $200, they will give you a report with everything you are deficient in and set up a phone consultation where someone walks you through what you need to get more of in your diet.
This way you’ll know what you need to supplement and why. (Plus, you won’t waste money on supplements you don’t need.)
The Two Supplements You Probably Need
If you can’t afford a blood test, these are the two best places to start:
Vitamin D – Almost everyone is Vitamin D deficient because Vitamin D only comes from the sun.
If you spend all day indoors or live in a part of the country where it’s cloudy (like the entire Bay Area) or it’s winter and there is not much sunlight… you might need more vitamin D.
Basically, if you aren’t out in the noon-day sun on a regular basis, you might be vitamin D low.
Vitamin D affects mood, testosterone, and a bunch of other things. If you get “low energy” or depressed during the winter, it’s probably vitamin D deficiency.
Greens Supplement – A comprehensive greens supplement is the best thing you can add. I use Green Vibrance, but there are many like it.
These supplements have extracts of all the major greens. Instead of adding vitamin A, they just use spinach extract, which is high in vitamin A.
Drinking this is like taking a pile of extra greens each day.
If you get Vitamin D and a greens supplement, it’ll probably cost you $80 every three months, and cover most things. Best bang for your buck in supplementing.
Supplementing For Specific Goals
But wait – don’t I have a bunch of supplements in my cabinet? Am I deficient in a lot of things?
The other reason to supplement is to reach specific goals or challenges.
For example, if you have trouble sleeping, try adding magnesium before bed. If you are depressed, many people have found HTP5 helpful. If you want to concentrate, there are a range of nootropics.
Don’t even get me started on testosterone supplements. Too many to count.
Here, we go beyond this intro guide. If you want to supplement for specific problems, you’re getting into deeper territory you’ll need another guide for.
But if you’re looking to start… try these:
- Get comprehensive blood testing
- Vitamin D
- Greens supplement