What weird ass supplements are you taking lately and why?
July 30, 2020 12:11 AM   Subscribe

I’m feeling the need to waste my money on marginally impactful health supplements. Because I like to play guinea pig with myself. Because Covid boredness. Don’t come in here if you’re going to pooh-pooh my money wasting pass time for any reason. I need this.

Normally I would just go to Sprouts and wander the aisles for a couple hours but I can’t do that!
So tell me what you take. The more obscure the better. Fish oil is passé. Activated charcoal is so last year. Tell me about the drinkable algae, the special mushroom powder, the micro nutrient moon dust. Anything to build health, mood improvement, Fine tune my immune, make my children behave or balance my chakras. Love you all 💗 hang in there
posted by St. Peepsburg to Health & Fitness (45 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
How about L-theanine to reduce anxiety? I am not a supplement guy at all, but I love it.
posted by Literaryhero at 12:31 AM on July 30, 2020 [7 favorites]

Circumin is orange, which is cool, and has some mild evidence of being good, and almost certainly won't worsen you. Seconded L-Theanine, especially in combination with coffee. Or pour your money into some Bacopa, which also has some mild evidence, Reddit likes it, and it's vaguely ayurvedic.
posted by tmcw at 12:35 AM on July 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'd recommend this "snake oil supplements" visualisaiton from Information Is Beautiful. Each blob on the graphic represents a particular supplement together with a particular intended use for that supplement. The buoyancy and size of each blob represents the volume of published evidence supporting that particular use. The y axis is then graded from "strong evidence" at the top extreme to "harmful" at the other.

You can see that there are a few solutions: vitamin D for general health and for bone health, folic acid for birth defects - which are very well backed. About 50 supplements make it above the "worth it " line. There are maybe another 100 or so listed supplements and uses which have at least mild evidence in their favour. Nothing really makes it into the "Harmful" category - although the makers of the chart probably assume you would be taking the correct dosage that has been prepared in the right way - and that you don't have any preconditions or parallel medicines that are going to cause problems.

Aside from all this, if you can, I'd recommend growing some herbs: its easy to get the various seeds delivered. Most of them have claimed health benefits going back a long way - and they are usually pretty tasty in a salad at any rate.
posted by rongorongo at 1:30 AM on July 30, 2020 [37 favorites]

It sounds like this is the right time for you to look into CBD?
posted by like_neon at 1:41 AM on July 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

I am considering taking French maritime pine bark for antioxidant purposes.I have used it in skincare products but have never taken it orally.

Disclaimer: I am no medical professional and will not be responsible for any side effects you may experience.
posted by whitelotus at 1:56 AM on July 30, 2020

I’ve been drinking this stuff that my pal makes for gut, dental and mental health. Your gut flora makes serotonin! I didn’t know that! I was quite scared of it at first but cannot report any ill effects and my temperamental tum does feel a bit smoother...
posted by Balthamos at 1:56 AM on July 30, 2020

Sitopaladi churna is delicious. I drink it instead of chocolate milk sometimes.

Chyawanprash also great.

Bonus: by and for Indians, so you aren't paying a premium to some white lady who named her kid Lake. (No offense, but worth noting the cultural politics of the wellness industry, you know?)
posted by athirstforsalt at 2:01 AM on July 30, 2020 [15 favorites]

I've been taking Astragalus daily for years, and I almost NEVER get sick.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 2:04 AM on July 30, 2020

The one supplement I swear by is collagen. It instantly made my hair and nails beautiful and my skin dewy and plump! As an upper 30-something woman, it’s my miracle.

Finding a supplement to make my kids behave though... that would be the holy grail!
posted by katypickle at 2:40 AM on July 30, 2020 [10 favorites]

Horsetail extract! It's a wonder for fingernails and hair. Basically a silicone supplement that gives your body good material to build both.

Artichoke leaf extract for liver health and general metabolism boosting.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 3:14 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Moringa was heavily promoted during my Peace Corps Service in Togo. It’s very high in many vitamins and the most common (and effective) form of consumption is drying the leaves, then grinding them into a powder and adding the powder to sauce or soup at the end of preparation.
It’s now very popular in the USA as well and it’s not hard to find it in a pill form.
posted by raccoon409 at 3:56 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you wanna go fancy, try this new Probiotic. Here is an interview with the company founder that I found pretty compelling.
posted by pyro979 at 4:11 AM on July 30, 2020

I actually do have one for the kids: Good Day Chocolate Calm. It's got that L-theanine mentioned above, and it's tasty chocolate! You may note that I linked the adult version, and that's because each little ball is the exact same thing as the kids' except slightly cheaper (do the math on the active ingredients if you'd like confirmation) and with a less patronizing label. Halve the dose (2 not 4) and you're all set to (maybe) have sleepy guinea piglets. We do two with dinner and have noticed significantly improved ability to fall asleep a couple hours later.
posted by teremala at 4:43 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Kratom. Used conservatively, it is similar to that "first cup of coffee in the morning" feeling. But different. Clarity, energy. But not in a caffeine, buzzed-feeling, speedy way at all.

Edit- the pure, powdered leaf form... DO NOT buy concentrates or "shots". Do not buy from head shops (extremely overpriced and often combined with other things). Buy online from a reputable source.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:07 AM on July 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who enjoys doing this from time to time...

I also came in here to recommend a fancy, supposedly evidence-based probiotic. I tried it for a month and feel like it actually might have made a difference, but I ultimately wanted to spend the money elsewhere.
posted by unannihilated at 5:10 AM on July 30, 2020

You maybe really don't need it, but in case someone is reading who does, a tincture of torbangun to increase breastmilk supply.
posted by Temeraria at 5:33 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Balance of nature has been advertising a ton on my local radio station. They are very careful to not directly claim it cures anything, but apparently its magic for everything according to testimonials. Dehydrated vegetables and fruits in capsule form.

(I dont take this, but it seemed the type of thing you were looking for).
posted by TheAdamist at 5:45 AM on July 30, 2020

Hardy Nutritionals has a supplement that is supposed to effectively treat neurodiverse conditions, anxiety, depression, etc. They do have some clinical studies. I tried it and it did help but it stinks and is pricey.

Maca root is fun for sexual health and extra energy.

If you want to explore other weird-for-Westerner activities, look into nasya oil from ayurveda. You can probably make your own. You basically sniff the oil up your nose, but Google the recommended use case vs precautions before you do it. They also have a practice where you put ghee on your eyes but I haven't tried it and I'm not actually recommending it.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:58 AM on July 30, 2020

melatonin is maybe too fuddy duddy for this question, but just in case you aren't using it yet, for sleep: it works.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:52 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Larch arabinogalactan for immune-boosting benefits.

Undenatured type II collagen for joint support and flexibility.

Magnesium to manage Restless Leg Syndrome at night.

Psyllium husk powder after dinner to improve digestion (I have IBS).

A vegan probiotic, again for IBS management.

Ajwain seeds in water when having an IBS flare-up, to ease symptoms.

Raw cacao powder for a feel-good burst of energy as needed (do not drink at night, it will keep you awake).

Natural Products Insiderr is an industry publication with lots of interesting information about up-and-coming supplement ingredients and the science behind them. Def worth a lunchtime browse!
posted by guessthis at 7:05 AM on July 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

A broad-spectrum probiotic
Methyl B12, cause I get neuropathy otherwise and cause you never have too much B12
Palmitoylethanolamide for pain and inflammation
Melatonin is in fact wonderful stuff, and you can get it in lozenges for those 3am times when you're awake and your brain has run out of it.
Cannabis! If you can't hack THC, try some CBD! It's good for what ails you.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2020

I take chaga for immune system maintenance and many other things.

Inositol (4000mg twice a day) for reducing anxious looping thought patterns, helps with OCD as well though I dont have it myself.

Methyl B12, magnesium, and D supplements for mood and energy stability.

Passionflower tincture is great for managing your cortisol (stress). Nervines are cool and many people haven't heard about them!

Oregano oil and elderberry tincture when I feel like I might be getting sick.
posted by ananci at 7:23 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I take sour cherry supplements to prevent gout.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2020

If you're taking collagen for hair/skin/nails, you might also take biotin.

(Balance of Nature advertises a ton on my local far-right talk radio station. Like most things that are advertised on there (Relief Factor, MyPillow, Medi-Share, AMAC, investing in gold, Trumpism, etc.), I figure it's at least half a scam.)
posted by box at 7:51 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Since I started taking D-Mannose, I get a lot fewer UTI’s.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:51 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I was going to say melatonin. Not sure if it’s weirdass, but your pal capricorn has never slept better.
posted by capricorn at 8:45 AM on July 30, 2020

Echoing what others have said about collagen: I got a coupon code for one month of a daily vitamin pack subscription service, so I tried it out and started taking "eggshell membrane" collagen pills.

I seriously cannot believe that they're actually working! I'm super skeptical when it comes to supplements, but this damn company has got me hooked and paying full price at this point. I'm in my third month of taking them, and my skin and nails are looking the best they've ever been. I'm one of those people that gets horrible acne from biotin supplements, so this has been a nice discovery.
posted by miserable-mild at 10:42 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Psyllium husk makes bathroom times easy and predictable, and I take a peppermint oil capsule for relief if there's an IBS flare.

This Charlotte's Web CBD oil puts me right to sleep and helps me sleep through the night without waking up; I love it and it's worth every penny.

Also, not sure if this fits into your question, but I often think of an interview with Cate Blanchett (or Julianne Moore, I forget) where she's asked how her skin is so luminous and she responds with something to the effect of "I only drink chamomile tea and I drink it by the gallon." So I enjoy a lot of chamomile and I pretend it helps me to have "luminous" skin instead of just pale.
posted by witchen at 11:08 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm taking Coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) basically as a super antioxidant. My acupuncturist told me it would help with the production of ATP and cellular metabolism as well. I also take Omega 3 oil to help with oxidative stress and inflammation. You can buy Omega 3s and CoQ10 together in one supplement.

I am doing all of this in pursuit of a health pelvic environment for reproduction, but these are interventions I think most adults would benefit from, since oxidative stress and inflammation benefit no one, and are linked to a lot of the unpleasant things that can happen as you age. I did a stint working with the elderly recently, and it reinforced for me that I want to be healthy when I'm old.
posted by unstrungharp at 12:02 PM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

For years now I’ve been drinking a packet of emergen-C dissolved in plain seltzer every morning. It’s delicious - what is not to like about orange soda :D - and I hardly ever get sick.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:11 PM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I get bouts of fatigue and brain fog on the regular, so I've been taking CoQ10 and NAC most days which seems to help me be able to stay alert and focused better. I also drink a glass of soy milk daily in case the brain fog is menopause related. The soy milk also seems to help with the weird random breast pains that come on every now and again.

I just picked up a bottle of alpha lipoic acid in hopes that it will help with the diabetic neuropathy in my feet and legs, which has been getting worse lately. I've not tried it before so I can't vouch.

I'm a big fan of l-theanine for anxiety, it makes me feel calmer but not sleepy (but it also seems to help me sleep if I take it near bedtime.) For BIG anxiety I add a GABA capsule along with the theanine.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2020

I take 4g of NaCl daily because my blood pressure is so low. I also regularly take magnesium to help with muscle spasms. I take Calcium + D for osteopenia due to breast cancer treatment and B12 and a multivitamin because I had bariatric surgery and I don't adsorb B12 efficiently.
posted by kathrynm at 4:23 PM on July 30, 2020

A friend of mine takes what we jokingly refer to as dog pills, largely because they are marketed as an anti-inflammatory supplement for dogs. The active ingredients are sulfur and lignin sulfonate. As far as I can tell it hasn't given him a glossy coat.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:02 PM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Supplements that changed my life for the better in dramatic ways include:
* Vitamin B12 - I developed an apparently lifelong serious, chronic deficiency in my 20s, and daily supplements and routine injections have been essential to maintaining a semblance of normal life.
* Psyllium husk - for reasons stated above in the thread
* Milk thistle - I have chronic gastritis (probably related to the B12 thing), and milk thistle is a miracle supplement for relieving discomfort. I've thought about getting a tattoo of it, it's been that helpful in reducing GI pain over the years.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 6:07 PM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like this Liver support crap if I've been drinking too much lately - or sometimes just milk thistle instead!

I also like k2/d3 for.. bone health I guess? I think d3 makes me feel less wretched in the winter, anyways!

I like those thorne supplements because their labels are nice, and if we're benefiting from the placebo effect, I think "attractive design" helps too! :)

If you're the kind of person who menstruates or gets low iron for other reasons, Floradix is my favourite iron supplement - I inexplicably like how it tastes a lot. Very medicinal.

I put a couple tablespoons of toasted carob and maca powder into my coffee or hot milk sometimes, mostly because I just like how they taste, but there's some benefits to both!
posted by euphoria066 at 6:35 PM on July 30, 2020

Magnesium. Magnesium malate is my favorite for anxiety. Magnesium glycinate (or cheated magnesium) for body aches and pain.

Take magnesium malate in the morning at the same time as Vitamin D + K and OTC lithium (yes, that’s a thing) and you got yourself a happy pill!

Magnesium l-threonate at first made me sleep like a log. I was out almost immediately, it was amazing. But pretty soon it started giving me these crazy, vivid nightmares. They were pretty creative and artsy, though. Too bad they freaked me out and messed up the rest of my sleep. I had to stop taking it.

Probiotics. Always.
posted by Neekee at 7:49 PM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seconding everyone who has said Vitamin D3, magnesium glycinate, CBD (oil tinctures seem to have the most bang for the buck for me, ymmv), l-theanine to curb anxiety. Fish oil has done me a world of good as well.

The one I'll have on auto-ship until the end of time, though, is L-methylfolate with cofactors from Methylpro. Not taking it vs. taking it feels a lot like this.
posted by Vervain at 9:35 PM on July 30, 2020

Zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold (sore throat, sneezing). For me, it reduces the duration/severity of the congestion associated with the cold.
posted by chiefthe at 9:04 AM on July 31, 2020

Y’all did not disappoint! Thank you 💗
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

Totally forgot. I've been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar for metabolic support. I personally mix 1 table spoon with one can of flavored seltzer. My brother takes shots. Up to you.
posted by pyro979 at 5:33 AM on August 1, 2020

Does he just inject cider vinegar straight out of the bottle? IM or subQ?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:51 AM on August 1, 2020

Uhhh I assumed that meant shots as in whisky, not shots as in needles.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Passionflower tincture is great for managing your cortisol (stress).

I tried this recently and ended up with a rash (probably a rare reaction but not unknown) so be careful and check this one. I was also recommended hops and lemon balm for nerves, so you can look at them as well.
posted by ch1x0r at 3:41 PM on August 1, 2020

>Does he just inject cider vinegar straight out of the bottle? IM or subQ?
>posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:51 AM on August 1

>Uhhh I assumed that meant shots as in whisky, not shots as in needles.
>posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:27 PM on August 1

Shots, like whiskey 😮 please don't inject
posted by pyro979 at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2020

Shots, like whiskey 😮 please don't inject

Whew! That’s so much less crazy than what I was imagining!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:03 PM on August 1, 2020

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