I Just Spent $256.43 on Vitamins and Supplements — Here’s What I Bought and Why
I’m always making improvements to my diet and lifestyle in order to achieve the highest level of physical and mental performance that I’m capable of. But it’s difficult to get certain highly beneficial vitamins from the average diet. In addition, most multi-vitamins don’t do the job due to having an imbalance of nutrients or simply being of inferior quality.
So I started reading the Bulletproof blog and listening to the Bulletproof podcast to find the best recommendations for vitamins and supplements. In the end, I went on a $256.43 shopping spree, buying 15 products to improve my health.
That may seem like a large bill —and it is — however, I think of it as an investment. The investment will provide a positive ROI if having more focus and energy and avoiding sickness helps me make more money and/or lowers my medical bills.
After conducting hours of research, I’m confident that the below purchases will help me gain strength, improve my ability to focus, increase my energy levels and extend my life. I’ve experimented with most of them in the past with positive benefits and I will monitor my progress over the coming months.
Below find a list of the 15 products a decided to purchase along with their benefits.
My workout goals do not include: six pack abs, 12 inch biceps, or 500 pound bench presses. My workout goals do include: gaining strength, avoiding injuries and sickness, and improving energy and mood. I bought the below supplements to help me maintain a regular exercise regimen and achieve greater benefits from doing so.
1. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine improves energy production in muscles and helps them recover faster from exercise. As a result, creatine can help build strength and muscle faster. It’s also a nootropic that enhances memory and delays mental fatigue, which was my primary interest in buying it.
Brands: Jarrow Formulas
Timing: Morning or after workout.
2. Whey Protein
Whey is a fast absorbing protein that comes in powder form. It helps muscles recover and grow. For the past several months, I’ve done my best to get my protein from whole foods, as opposed to a whey protein supplement. However, I enjoy exercising 5–6 days per week, so I need additional calories, particularly from protein, and a whey protein supplement makes it much easier for me to do so.
Brands: Look for a product low on fillers and sweeteners. Bonus points if the whey comes from grass-fed cows that haven’t consumed hormones or antibiotics or been exposed to pesticides.
Bulletproof seems like the best option, however my local store doesn’t carry it so I bought a brand called BPI which seemed to have fewer additional ingredients than other brands.
Timing: Within an hour after a workout, or whenever I don’t have time for a full meal or didn’t properly prep my meals in advance.
Sleep and Stress
Sleep is one of those foundational practices that can improve all other aspects of your health and well-being. By getting better sleep, you will have more energy and less stress. If your get deep enough sleep, you may even need slightly less of it to achieve the same benefits — giving your more time in the day to enjoy life.
Magnesium stimulates the release of GABA and melatonin, helping you fall asleep faster, achieve a deeper sleep, and wake up less during the night.
Timing: Before bed.
4. Kava Tea
Kava increases GABA and serotonin, which prime your body to sleep.
L-Theanine helps curb your body’s responses to stress. It supports a calmer mood and improved focus. Black and green tea is a viable source of L-Theanine.
Timing: When stressed or at night, with a fat source. It’s also good with caffeine (as tea or with coffee) in the morning. I drink one cup of green tea in the morning (blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil).
Astragalus protects your mitochondria from stress-induced damage, which can help you maintain focus and energy and avoid sickness.
Timing: Any time, with a fat source.
I think of nootropics as vitamins for the brain. The workout supplements above help muscles function better, while the nootropics below help the brain function better. The result is improved focus, energy levels and mood.
7. Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Prurients is high in L-dopa, the precursor to dopamine, which improves mood. Some sources say mucuna pruriens can boost testosterone and/or human growth hormone levels, though I don’t have a high degree of confidence in those claims.
Timing: With a meal.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps improve focus and mood. Taking an L-Tyrosine supplement can improve cognitive function under pressure.
Timing: Any time. I’ll take mine with my first whole food meal of the day. On days I’m extra stressed and/or have a lot of work to do, I’ll take an additional 500mg with my last meal of the day.
9. Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC supports cognitive functioning by increase a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. This chemical helps memory and learning functions. I bought this product because my local store did not carry Adrafinil or Aniracetam.
Timing: Morning. I’ll take a second in the afternoon on heavy work days.
General Health and Well-Being
10. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supports hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It also helps immune function, calcium metabolism and bone formation. Vitamin D can be absorbed through exposure to sunlight, however most people don’t spend enough time outside.
Timing: Morning, with a meal.
11. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 supports calcium metabolism and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Brand: Life Extension
Timing: Any time, with food. I’ll take mine with my first whole food meal of the day.
12. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps you create glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C can improve immune system functioning.
Timing: Morning. I’ll also take a 2nd in the afternoon on heavy work days or when I feel a cold coming on.
13. Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil is rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that can support vision, improve skin and slow aging.
Brands: Green Pasture
Timing: With a meal.
14. Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. B-12 deficiency is very common.
Timing: With a meal.
15. Krill Oil
Krill Oil is rich in EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids that can improve mood and fight depression. They can also curb inflammation and prevent cognitive decline.
Timing: With a meal.
Beyond what I bought this weekend, I’ve been taking two additional supplements…
Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil — Concentrated MCT Oil (from coconut oil) that I blend with my green tea along with grass-fed butter (“Bulletproof Tea”) in the morning.
Activated Charcoal — I take this after eating junk food, or on an empty stomach when I’m just not feeling well or having digestive problems.
I also considered purchasing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to aid in muscle recovery. However, I decided against it because my diet already contains a fair amount of protein and I will gain more BCAAs through the whey protein supplement I purchased.
The next supplements I’ll be considering purchasing are Adrafinil and Aniracetam as nootropics to improve cognitive function.
Notes, Sources and Next Steps
Please note, I don’t consider vitamins to be a viable alternative to a healthy diet and regular exercise — they are simply a supplement. I also maintain a relatively healthy diet (high in healthy fats and low in processed carbohydrates and sugar) and exercise 5–6 times per week.
Also, I am not a doctor. In addition, everyone’s body is slightly different and can respond differently to various stimuli. I’ve experimented with most of these supplements in the past and didn’t experience any negative side effects. Please consult your doctor or a nutritionist before making significant decisions about your health.
My purchases and the information in this story was sourced and inspired by these four blog posts from Bulletproof.com…
The workout supplement industry is a dirty business. Minimal federal regulation makes purity an issue — companies that…blog.bulletproof.com
There are three groups of people when it comes to supplements. The first group is those who shun all forms of…blog.bulletproof.com
Supplements are a tricky business. With so much misinformation and no regulation, it can be overwhelming to know where…blog.bulletproof.com
Nootropics — sometimes called smart drugs — are compounds that enhance brain function. They’re becoming a popular way…blog.bulletproof.com
Have you tried any of these supplements? What was your experience? What’s your vitamin and supplement stack? Respond to this story and let me know.