1

votes

How many supplements are really necessary?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 23, 2011 at 3:38 PM

There have been several threads on supplements, but not much evidence indicating how useful they really are. Chris Kresser just wrote a piece about how he doesn't recommend supplements for most people, but at the end, notes a couple things people can supplement with if they don't have an ideal diet for some reason.

Other than magnesium, all of the micronutrients Kresser mentions at the end can be obtained from a fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) and butter oil blend. So really, that's only two supplements we ought consider.

What other compelling evidence is there to take supplements beyond this?

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:25 PM

@thhq - We don't live in the world our ancestors did. Today's society demands we have workers inside, not getting the same exposure to sunlight as their forefathers. It's not as easy as simply saying that because out ancestors did it, we can too.

99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on August 24, 2011
at 11:17 AM

This. Supplements are intended to replace what you're not getting through food. If you CAN'T get it through food or produce it within your body, I'd say odds are it's not something we evolved to need.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:07 AM

Well, if you live near arctic circle its quite hard to get sunshine... Its like 6 months of darkness here.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:05 AM

Have you tried fish livers? You would be surprised how mild they usually are.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:03 AM

If you have good fish monger in town, i can buy fish livers and all kinds of guts for next to nothing. Oil is ok if you cant get fresh fish at all.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 24, 2011
at 05:09 AM

Great answer. I agree on the magnesium as well.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:55 AM

hasn't this thread been on South Park already

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:52 AM

hasn't this thread been on South Park already I admit it. I'm about a quart low. Bring me a spoon.

A6e2b231f69366ce825476c5a6dcfff6

(1967)

on August 24, 2011
at 12:52 AM

I only use two supplements... liver and vitamin D (During the 6 months of winter)

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 24, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Clearly you've never had mag wheels on your lawn mower. The health benefits are undeniable once you've tried it.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:45 PM

@thhq - You dare to question the mythical holy fermented cod liver oil? :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:22 PM

In principle I agree with you, tthq, but in practice what you're saying amounts to telling people to quit or change their jobs. It seems a little "let them eat cake" to me.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Well wyldkard maybe it just doesn't matter. My ancestors in the Northern Hemisphere didn't have access to the brown bottles that you enjoy drinking. They ate what they had to eat to live, and walked or rowed wherever they had to go to get more. Not every problem is worth solving. I am 58 and healthy and have never touched fermented cod liver oil. I spend as much time outside as I can.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on August 23, 2011
at 06:21 PM

If you live in the northern hemisphere, during winter, you won't be getting sunlight on much more than your face and maybe hands. That's not adequate exposure. What's the solution?

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:02 PM

You don't replace going outside with a bottle of oil. You go outside. Paleo isn't just a diet.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:46 PM

@thhq - How does one replace being 2 hours in the sun topless every day..? You may have a point about "a bottle of oil in a dark bottle that has to be refrigerated" but I will second @primordial thoughts

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Primordial the benefit is clear when I take penicillin, aspirin and when I got a tetanus shot. But fermented cod liver oil is about as necessary for survival as mag wheels on a lawn mower. It's a prop for that great disease of civilization hypochondria. And the main beneficiary is the guy selling the stuff to suckers for $50 a bottle.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on August 23, 2011
at 03:56 PM

wrong assumption. Not all what is modern is bad.

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6 Answers

3
2ab6415f5f20b8fe1d34a94c7be85e6a

on August 23, 2011
at 11:28 PM

ZERO are Necessary. You will be fine without any as long as you balance your diet to get adequate vitamins and minerals that many people are deficient in like magnesium, vitamin k2, iodine etc. To get vitamin d get some sunshine. Just eat a clean paleo diet and limit nuts and seeds and you don't need fish oil because then you won't need to balance omega 6-3 as much. Eat seaweed and offal occasionally as well as bone broth. This and getting adequate sleep and exercise should keep you covered.

99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on August 24, 2011
at 11:17 AM

This. Supplements are intended to replace what you're not getting through food. If you CAN'T get it through food or produce it within your body, I'd say odds are it's not something we evolved to need.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:07 AM

Well, if you live near arctic circle its quite hard to get sunshine... Its like 6 months of darkness here.

2
Medium avatar

on August 23, 2011
at 11:18 PM

A good reason to take supplements is a likely need to replete a chronic deficiency you may have developed over the years. If we evolved to take in X mgs of Y nutrient every day and you have been consuming .1X for your whole life and just start taking X at age 25, odds are that you will continue to be deficient forever unless you address the nutrient debt. For some things it won't matter, but for others you'll have to rebuild various structures with a surplus.

As such, we have to find out what an appropriate amount is and then overshoot for some period of time and then go back to that appropriate amount. It may not always be practical to do this with food.

For those who don't eat dairy, calcium will likely be necessary and I'd be surprised if anyone were getting enough bioavailable magnesium from food, but I suppose it's possible. D3 during the winter or if you don't like going out in the sun. The rest can be sourced from food fairly easily, unless you do ZC or VLC, in which case it becomes quite a bit more difficult to get potassium and vitamin C. If you eat a lot of pastured egg yolks you probably don't need to supplement with k2, vitamin E or omega-3s unless you're attempting to force the omega-6 surplus out of your cells, but I really doubt that actually works. Selenium and iodine are something you may have to pursue in food or supplemental food if y ou live in certain areas.

A lot of it is just semantics because a lot of the time a certain food (like liver) isn't particularly palatable and is just a supplement itself. Most of the time you'll obviously encounter greater bioavailability with foods that we evolved to digest rather than a concentrated zinc picolinate pill for example.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:05 AM

Have you tried fish livers? You would be surprised how mild they usually are.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 24, 2011
at 05:09 AM

Great answer. I agree on the magnesium as well.

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 23, 2011
at 03:50 PM

I'm of the as few supplements as necessary camp. Only supplement what you truly can not get through nature or diet (like vitamin D in the winter maybe). If you have specific SAD related deficiencies some supplementation may aid you to improve quicker, but once your onto lifetime health maintenance you shouldn't need them any longer.

2
Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 03:43 PM

None. If you need a fermented cod liver get used to eating rotten fish. I'm all for reenactment here. What could be more Neolithic than a bottle of oil in a dark bottle that has to be refrigerated?

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on August 23, 2011
at 06:21 PM

If you live in the northern hemisphere, during winter, you won't be getting sunlight on much more than your face and maybe hands. That's not adequate exposure. What's the solution?

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on August 23, 2011
at 03:56 PM

wrong assumption. Not all what is modern is bad.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:52 AM

hasn't this thread been on South Park already I admit it. I'm about a quart low. Bring me a spoon.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:22 PM

In principle I agree with you, tthq, but in practice what you're saying amounts to telling people to quit or change their jobs. It seems a little "let them eat cake" to me.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Primordial the benefit is clear when I take penicillin, aspirin and when I got a tetanus shot. But fermented cod liver oil is about as necessary for survival as mag wheels on a lawn mower. It's a prop for that great disease of civilization hypochondria. And the main beneficiary is the guy selling the stuff to suckers for $50 a bottle.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:02 PM

You don't replace going outside with a bottle of oil. You go outside. Paleo isn't just a diet.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 23, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Well wyldkard maybe it just doesn't matter. My ancestors in the Northern Hemisphere didn't have access to the brown bottles that you enjoy drinking. They ate what they had to eat to live, and walked or rowed wherever they had to go to get more. Not every problem is worth solving. I am 58 and healthy and have never touched fermented cod liver oil. I spend as much time outside as I can.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:46 PM

@thhq - How does one replace being 2 hours in the sun topless every day..? You may have a point about "a bottle of oil in a dark bottle that has to be refrigerated" but I will second @primordial thoughts

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 24, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Clearly you've never had mag wheels on your lawn mower. The health benefits are undeniable once you've tried it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:55 AM

hasn't this thread been on South Park already

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:45 PM

@thhq - You dare to question the mythical holy fermented cod liver oil? :)

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:03 AM

If you have good fish monger in town, i can buy fish livers and all kinds of guts for next to nothing. Oil is ok if you cant get fresh fish at all.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on August 24, 2011
at 01:25 PM

@thhq - We don't live in the world our ancestors did. Today's society demands we have workers inside, not getting the same exposure to sunlight as their forefathers. It's not as easy as simply saying that because out ancestors did it, we can too.

0
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:12 AM

We have a really long winter where i live, so there is no pastured beef, eggs or dairy available most of the year. And even in summer the chickens propably spend most of the time inside, so the eggs are not that great. So i assume we are deficient in K2. We have so much osteoporosis with highest consumption of milk in europe. (Ok mostly its low fat crap but anyway). Thats why i prefer to get the protein from wild fish.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 23, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Personally, I don't think fermented CLO is a balanced source of micronutrients. Too much A, too little D3 and too easily oxidized, IMHO.

In my case, with a dark complexion, it was impossible to get sufficient D3 in the Pacific NW from sunlight, so I took an oil-based D3 supplement. The noon-time sun is so strong here in Santa Fe that I still need to supplement, just to save my skin!

I also take Neptune Krill Oil for my Omega 3s and get my vitamin A/iron/folic acid from liver once a week.

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