[ Question ]

What supplements do you use?

by ioannes_shade1 min read28th Jul 201921 comments



Cross-posted to my personal blog.

There's a rationalist tradition of thinking carefully about supplements & nootropics: 1, 2, 3

However, I haven't seen a record of what supplement regimens people end up using in practice.

I've been fooling around with supplement stacks for a few years now and feel pretty good about my current regimen (outlined below), but want to see if there's any low-hanging fruit I've missed.

So I'm curious... what supplements do you use? (Reply below, or shoot me an email)

Also curious to hear about obvious mistakes and/or oddities in my current stack.

My supplement regimen

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, this isn't medical advice, etc. etc.

Background: 27 years old, biological male, ~200 lbs, BMI of 25, pescatarian

Supplements I take:

Supplements I'm considering:

  • Apparently Tyrosine boosts cognitive performance during stress. There are noticeable subjective effects when I take 1.0 - 2.0 g on an empty stomach. I tried some recently and enjoyed it. It's safe, cheap, and legal so I may start using it regularly to complement my caffeine use.
  • Following this post, I may start taking Vitamin K2 in the morning to complement my Vitamin D3 supplementation.
  • Romeo has told me that Choline is a good daily supplement (apparently many people are deficient & deficiency is associated with depression). I haven't poked the literature on this yet.

Supplements I don't take any more:

  • I used to take fish oil daily. Gwern likes it, but I didn't notice any effect & was scared off by the potential negative effects. Also I eat sushi sometimes which probably does some of the work fish oil would do.
  • I used to take a small aspirin daily but stopped after a large RCT found that the downside risk probably negates the benefit.
  • For a while I took lithium to boost mood, but stopped after my replication of Gwern's RCT failed to show an effect.


New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

7 Answers

I'm curious why you mentioned the health risks of fish oil while linking to a page saying fish oil doesn't contain Mercury. Is that not the health risk you were thinking of?

I take creatine, D3 and fish oil. (Only five days a week because I take them at work. When I keep them at home I forget.) I don't remember exactly why those. When I stopped taking them all for a while I thought I felt a bit worse in ways I no longer remember, so I started again, and possibly I then started to feel better.

I take anti inflammatories though I haven't blinded subjective effects. Berberine (similar in action and effect size to metformin), ginger, curcumin phytozome. Rest is the same. D3+k2. Theanine + ashwaghanda if I'm having a stimulant. Melatonin if sleep is disrupted. If one gets a subjective effect from a supplement one should investigate why this might be the case and try to solve the root cause. ie for me I had above normal inflammation from foods I didn't know I was allergic to (mild).

Daily supplements:

  • 10mg pregnenolone: sometimes a bit more, aiming for blood levels around 60-80 ng/dL. Seems to increase my mental energy.
  • 25mg dhea: I'm uncertain about the dose, and I'm experimenting a bit to see if I can detect effects.
  • ~3000 IU vitamin D: aiming for blood levels just over 50 ng/mL.
  • 100mcg vitamin K2 mk7
  • 1mg folate: I'm homozygous for MTHFR C677T; it seems to improve my mood.
  • 1mg B12: it's keeping my blood levels around 800 pg/mL, compared to < 500 before supplementing.
  • 1g omega-3 (currently in the form of Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex).
  • Stem Cell 100, once per day
  • 500mg N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine: possibly helps lower my homocysteine, but my results are pretty noisy.
  • ashwagandha: I had very interesting thyroid effects when I was getting too much iodine from kelp, but now that I've fixed my iodine levels, I don't detect any effects.
  • ResveraCel (Thorne), contains Nicotinamide Riboside, Quercetin Phytosome, Trans-Resveratrol, Trimethylglycine.
  • curcumin (Life Extension Bio-curcumin): I suspect I have inflammation due to a temporary problem, and will likely go back to taking this less regularly in a few months.
  • caffeine: from tea, green tea extract pills, or occasionally a 100mg pill.

Supplements taken less than once per day:

  • creatine, 1 or 2 grams (no clear effects).
  • melatonin, typically 300mcg, timed release version.
  • liver, and organ meat pills, from Ancestral Supplements.
  • green mussel
  • kratom: typically 0.25 teaspoon of Maeng Da, mildly stimulating with reduced anxiety?
  • phenibut: taken about once a month, for the anti-anxiety effect, with a bit of stimulation.

A majority of these choices are influenced by Bredesen's book The End of Alzheimers, or by a prior source with similar advice.

You might be interested in Testa's omega-3 supplements. They contain both DHA and EPA but come from farmed algae, so they don't have the mercury issues that fish oil does.


I take two per day based on some advice from someone on the LessWrong Slack.

I take Creatine (as a vegetarian), Tyrosine (because I notice increased cognitive energy -- may be placebo), and 5HTP (seems to promote a sense of calm, may be placebo).

I recommend everyone take a full amino acid supplement, and see if it seems to make a difference subjectively. If it does, you might be deficient in one or more particular aminos, and you can further experiment.

  • Omega3 from algae, 750 mg a day
  • Vitamin D, ~2000 IU a day
  • B12, 2.5 mg per week
  • Melatonin 0.4 mg as needed for sleep
  • Creatine, 4–5 g a day
  • Planning to get Ashwaganda
  • Coffee, but that's more of a drug than supplement

I, too, take Metformin but then again I have diabetes and it's prescribed for me.

I also take COQ10 300mg. I was having bad leg and foot cramps at night, probably from the statins I take. I read that COQ10 would help and indeed it does seem to have done the trick.