Supplements

Some supplements we take to support healthy aging and longevity. (See also COVID Digression.)

Lifestyle factors important to longevity include healthy diet, exercise, good sleep, not smoking, not drinking in excess, and staying on top of health issues (like high cholesterol or blood pressure). What do we do? We're vegan for health reasons, though also glad that it helps animals and the planet. Plant-based diets confer some of the longevity benefits of calorie restriction, plus we practice intermittent fasting. Exercise gets at least an hour/day (walking, cardio, strength). Sleep gets 8 hours in a dark, quiet, cold room with an open window, and no food 4 hrs before bed. In addition, we take some supplements - ones that show meaningful effect sizes in studies and are (importantly) safe. I've included a few research links below; search evidence-based sources like pubmed and nutritionfacts for more info. Also, many thanks to my brother Jeff, a psychobiologist who shares with me longevity research findings and protocols for countering aging - including exercise, fasting, and supplements.

Supplements

Most I get from Trader Joes (TJs), Costco, or Amazon (e.g., Bulk Supplements for powdered). The fat in the yogurt should help absorption. We also took NMN briefly, but stopped for now; supplementing with NAD precursors seems promising but research is needed (esp. on safety) in humans.

In our morning homemade yogurt, we take:

Flaxmeal - 1/2 tsp for omega 3's and more

Resveratrol - 1/4 tsp powder (400 mg) for longevity and more 

Quercetin -1/4 heaping tsp powder (~400 mg) to boost resveratrol absorption and more, including inducing autophagy and aptosis (cellular senescence), and anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, and antiviral activity.

NAC (N-Acetyl L-Cystine) - 1/8 tsp powder (300+mg), antioxidant that replenishes glutathione (GSH) and reduces damage from oxidative stress. (Adding this May 2020 mainly because of recent COVID research.)

I also sometimes add a half a tsp of beetroot powder to mine for cardio (e.g., blood pressure) benefits.

COVID-19 DIGRESSION
We started taking quercetin in December for other benefits (see above). In February, I googled "quercetin coronavirus" given its benefits for respiratory health and found that it;s one of many things being tested for protection against COVID-19. Then it appeared as #5 in a supercomputer computation to identify chemicals that could slow the virus. Quercetin is a zinc ionophore, which means it transports zinc into the cell -- and zinc shuts down the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that replicates the virus. (Zinc is an ion, and ions can't get through a cellular membrane without a transporter that lets it in. Chloroquine, which was all over the news re: COVID because it's also a zinc ionophore, appears to have more negative side effects.) So everyone in my family started taking quercetin in March. In addition, we're all taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and small amounts of zinc (in a multivitamin) daily, and melatonin before bed, since all have some protective promise and are super safe (and cheap). (If any cold/flu symptoms appear, I'll increase quercetin and add zinc lozenges.) Fast forward to April, EVMC and others are recommending these supplements (e.g., daily: quercetin 500-1000mg, C 1000+ mg, D 2000+IU, zinc 30mg, melatonin 1-3 mg) to aid in COVID-19 prevention. For research updates, I follow (and LOVE) MedCram medical lectures. The videos are super - e.g., see Medcram on Vitamin D and on the molecular biology behind the virus + zinc transport) -- and later lectures (e.g., episodes 60 and later) that explain how COVID looks like a disease of the endothelium (cells lining blood vessels). ACE2 plays a huge role in keeping our blood vessels healthy. COVID appears to degrade ACE2 in our blood vessels (by attaching to and occupying it), leading to an increase in oxidative stress, coagulation, and clots (resulting in stroke, heart attack, and pulmonary embolisms). This may be a particularly good time in to be plant-based to lower oxidative stress in your body.

May/June Update: Research suggests that N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) may reduce COVID-19 severity and blood clots. NAC is an antioxidant that is protective of endothelial cells, breaks up VWF, and is a precursor to glutathione (GSH), a powerful antioxidant our bodies make less of as we age -- and low glutathione has been found to be correlated to high COVID severity. I had been considering NAC for other reasons, so this propelled me to order bulk powder NAC and add it to our morning yogurt. I also changed our nightly magnesium pill to one chelated with glycine, since glycine and NAC are both precursors to glutathione -- and glycine aids in sleep, too, so win-win. Dr. Seheult, the pulmonologist who runs Medcram and treats COVID patients in ICU, also confirms that his daily supplement regime includes Vitamin D (2500 IU), Vitamin C, Quercetin, NAC, Zinc, and a multivitamin (see roughly minute 5 of this COVID Q&A).

We take additional supplement pills (late morning or lunchtime, with food) frequently, like 4-5 week. (Don't worry about forgetting some days... research suggests that pulsing is actually good, so your body doesn't habituate. Yay for a rationale ;)

Vitamin D3  2000 IU (sometimes up to 4000 IU)

Turmeric 500 mg

Bioperine 10 mg - extract of black pepper that improves absorption of turmeric and other supplements

Vitamin B-12 - methylated (esp. if taking NMN) - something all vegans need (as it only come from animal sources) - at most 2-3 times a week is all that's needed.

Vitamin K-2 100 mcg, to help with calcium absorption and more

I also chew Smarty Pants multivitamins for omega 3, iodine,  CoQ10, and K2. Larry takes a different multi (see below).

(2021 update: I don't take separate CoQ10 or K2 anymore, as I'm getting both from the multi chews; Larry continues to take the K2 since his multi doesn't have it. The multis don't have enough D, either, so we continue take D separately. I also used to take Astragalus for anti-aging benefits, but it just fell off the list for me, as I'm trying to minimize what I take and the research findings on it were less strong.)

Evening (partly for better sleep)

Magnesium
 - 100-200 mg after dinner (best to take with food). We take TJ's magnesium, but have also taken Doctor's Best Magnesium chelated with the amino acids glycine and lysine (which optimize bioavailability,  and glycine is a precursor for glutathione; see COVID discussion above). Magnesium helps sleep (and all my researchy friends take magnesium in the evening), and has other health benefits, including possibly reducing R-loops that contribute to unstable genome and aging. Glycine also benefits sleep so taking Doctor's Best brand gives you two for one :)

Melatonin - 1.5 mg half an hour before going to bed. I get TJs chewable and eat (bite) half a pill. Research shows that besides helping folks fall asleep, it's an antioxidant and increases expression of SIRT genes - and we generate less melatonin as we age. (Note: melatonin may also confer some protection against COVID; see above.)

Colds/Flu - as needed

If we're feeling under the weather, we pop the following. Note that Vitamin D is also important -- see a nice Medcram review of relevant research here -- but we get in in the sun & supplement regularly. Research shows regular supplementation of D--not a single bolus dose-- is better.

Oil of oregano 150 mg, a couple at start of any signs of cold/flu symptoms, for it's antiviral activity

Elderberry - a couple of chews is 100 mg; want closer to 500 mg a day for antiviral activity

Vitamin C - because it supports immune function (and w/COVID, taking this more regularly even without symptoms)

Zinc lozenges 23 mg - suck 1 or 2 a day, for antiviral immunity

Quercetin 500-1000 mg for antiviral activity (taking regularly in morning yogurt, but boost if sick)

Larry's Supplement Adjustments

Larry takes mostly what I take, with a few adjustments.

First, he does the same morning yogurt regime (I mix it for him!) and evening magnesium and melatonin. Like me, he takes other vitamins periodically (recall that pulsing is probably good :) In particular, he adds:

Women's Formula Multivitamin from Trader Joe's - it's the best one we've found, without copper (we all get more copper than we need from our pipes, and copper is implicated in Alzheimer's)

Glucosamine - Chondroitin - for his knees; he's been taking it for more than a decade and thinks he has less pain as a result

Vegan omega 3 - especially for DHA, 250 mg (Gregor recommends 250 mg/day; read more) - though we're both getting a LOT of omega 3 (as ALA) in our morning yogurt with flaxseed (and I get EPA & DHA in my multivitamin chews, which he doesn't take cause they aren't stricktly vegan).





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