I recently read a good article about supplements for low-carb/ketogenic eaters. The article presented a thoughtful list of product categories targeting keto/low carb eaters, and got me thinking about the big picture of the best strategies for nutritional and performance supplements. I’ve taken a ton of different supplements and performance nutrition products for decades, always in quest to recover faster and shore up dietary deficiencies. It can become pretty fatiguing to try and stay on top of your supplement ambitions and also manage your budget, wondering if the big expenditures really work.
Yes indeed, I believe there is such a thing as supplement fatigue! I’ve had to toss dozens of expired bottles over the years that I simply forgot to take on a regular basis. I’ve spent a lot of money on products that may or may not have been valuable. I’ve been sent cupboards full of free stuff from prospective sponsors and ancestral health associates that I’ve been able to road test.
One thing I really like about Male Optimization Formula with Organs is it transcends the definition of performance supplement. This is not a laboratory extraction of a specific agent or group of agents touted to boost recovery, brain function, or hormone production. It is a true superfood supplement of 100% grass fed animal organs: testicle, prostate, heart, liver, and bone marrow. This delivers incredibly high levels of many vitamins and minerals and also the specific proteins, peptides, enzymes, co-factors and molecular bio-directors to optimize your natural internal testosterone production. Ancestral health enthusiasts know how important it is to try and consume organ meats ― widely regarded as the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet ― instead of the narrow focus on muscle meats (steak, burgers, turkey, and chicken breast) that is today’s norm.
Unfortunately, even the most devoted eaters score between fair and extremely poor when it comes to organ meat consumption. I’ve definitely been in this category for many years. Today I’m doing much better with my inclusion of frozen grass-fed liver. Pro tip: I thaw it barely enough to thin-slice, then coat with tons of salt. It has a much more pleasant taste and texture than the cooked liver! Besides pounding the MOFO, I’m also taking tons of Ancestral Supplements 100% grassfed organ supplements, such as Beef Organs, Prostate, Trachea, and Heart. My organ game is finally strong, and I definitely feel a difference with faster recovery from high stress workouts or training periods and energy lulls that are shorter and less severe than past experience.
Beyond my enthusiasm for organ supplements, I have several other key products that have remained in my starting lineup over the long-term. The article covers most of them, so I thought I would go down the list and offer my color commentary.
- Magnesium: This seems to be the most commonly cited deficient nutrient so I think it’s a great recommendation and I am all over it. I try to take transdermal magnesium chloride. I’m told to spray on the bottom of my feet at bedtime. It’s a little slimy, so I put socks on after. I also have a magnesium citrate powder that I include in my morning electrolyte concoction along with numerous other agents (potassium, glycine, collagen, mineral salt, ketones, MCT oil and Organifi Gold Powder).
- MCT Oil: Medium-chain triglyceride oil is a favorite among keto enthusiasts because it’s been proven to help boost ketone production in the liver. It’s a great source of energy that is preferentially burned instead of stored. I added some organic MCT oil to Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece so you get covered there!! I also order Mickey T8 MCT Oil on Amazon and chug a tablespoon straight in the morning, or pour into hot beverages or my smoothies.
- Omega-3: This is a huge supplement category and I’ve taken them over time, but I also make a point to consume sufficient amounts of SMASH Fish, the #1 dietary source of Omega-3. I love wild caught salmon (get frozen if you don’t like the high price of fresh), and also sardines, the most economical superfood on the planet. I buy lots of canned mackerel to feed my dogs, but it’s quite tasty for humans too. If you want a supplement make sure it’s good quality like Primal Kitchen Omega-3, because it’s easy for some cheap stuff to go rancid and be actually bad for you.
- Vitamin D: Try some Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece and we’ll send you a fantastic eBook called The Primal Blueprint Definitive Guide to Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Health. You’ll learn all about vitamin D, including the skin cancer misinformation that creates a longtime irrational fear of the sun, and how healthy sun exposure provides the vast majority of your vitamin D needs, with diet only a small contributor. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your order page and we’ll send you the book directly, a special, newsletter reader-only offer! Bottom line: Expose large skin surface areas of your body to direct sunlight during the times of day and year of peak solar intensity in your area. This will make boatloads of Vitamin D that you will actually store up and utilize during the winter months when you can’t make vitamin D from sun. If you live a severely sun challenged lifestyle, consider taking supplements. Don’t buy cheap stuff with lots of additives and fillers. Look for a quality D3 product like Primal Sun.
- Digestive Enzymes: My recent podcast guest Wade Lightheart, founder of BiOptimizers just sent me several digestive enzyme products to test out and they seem very helpful. Listen to our interesting interview about his amazing background as a Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competitor and how he healed huge digestive problems and became an expert in digestive enzymes. Check out his website, BiOptimizers.com.
- Exogenous Ketones: I have used Perfect Keto products for a long time and they do a great job with education and making extremely clean products with no offensive ingredients. I really love their exogenous ketone base and keto nootropics products.
- Greens Powder: Organifi Greens is a high quality product if you are interested in a green boost to your diet. I’ve been less concerned about this in recent years as I become more carnivore oriented.
- Electrolyte Supplements or Mineral-Rich Foods: I like Redmond Real Salt for the highest quality ancient sea salt and a full complement of trace minerals to help with hydration and electrolyte balance. I add a very generous pour of Real Salt into every giant water bottle I drink throughout the day. I drink a blend of sparkling mineral water or Lake Tahoe Sodastream sparkling water with 1/4 homemade lemon-lime flavored kombucha. BiOptimizers.com has some good products and information too.
- Performance Supplements:
Creatine: a proven success for muscle growth. I’m also interested in research recommending creatine for older athletes and make a practice of taking 5g every day for the rest of my life.
Caffeine: My friend Jon Stahley says a little caffeine can provide a much needed boost during long hikes. He knows what he’s talking about, with extreme performances such as trekking to high camp on Aconcagua (highest peak in So. America), doing the Grand Canyon double crossing (50 miles!) and repeatedly conquering the legendary Cactus to Clouds in Palm Springs, rated the single most difficult hike in the United States at 13 miles with 10,800’ elevation gain. I played around with caffeine on long bike rides as a triathlete and I remember a strong effect. I’d crush up 200mg of caffeine into a water bottle at mile 80 of a 120-mile ride for example. In a race setting I would never use it because the adrenalin effect of peak performance negates the need for taking anything. On my next long hike I’m definitely trying some!
- BCAA, HMB, beta-alanine: Too many acronyms for me. Haven’t tried this stuff. I believe a healthy and rested body performs well when asked to deliver, but it’s also likely that these products can have beneficial effects as reported.
Well, I hope this stuff helps. I scanned through my entire cupboard to make sure everything I take was covered. One additional supplement I’ve been hitting hard recently is Primal Collagen and Ancestral Supplements Grassfed Collagen. Mark Sisson recommends that older athletes like me take 30g/day for the rest of my life, as this stuff helps with connective tissue and skin health, areas where aging is especially relevant. I’ve had little to no complaints about joint pain or connective tissue injuries for many years, but in recent times I notice more issues and longer healing time. Collagen is known to have a heliotropic effect in the body, meaning it deposits in areas where it’s most needed. Consume supplemental collagen and make a point to consume more joint material such as bone-in cuts of meat and bone broth, and you can literally target healing in that creaky knee or shoulder area.
If simply reading this article overwhelms you, start by taking MOFO as directed and see if you notice a difference after 60 days. Remember, it has good doses of magnesium and collagen in it, which would be the other two agents I would prioritize. Email us if you have questions about supplementation so I can cover them on a Q&A podcast episode.