Why Getting Your Nutrition Only from Food is A Bad Idea

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You’ve likely heard conflicting information about nutrient supplementation. With thousands of multivitamins, minerals, and other unpronounceable supplements lining health food store shelves, it’s no wonder people are confused.

Which of these pills and potions are legit, if any? Are the people that buy these just investing in really expensive pee? Even worse, can supplements damage your body?

As the Standard American Diet (SAD) shifts further and further away from nutrient-dense foods like high-quality animal protein and vegetables, nutrient deficiency is becoming a widespread epidemic.

But even if you’re following a more nutrient-dense diet full of quality protein and fats, you can no longer rely on getting all of your nutrients from food.

Nutrient deficiencies hurt your performance, causing DNA damage, making you age faster, and contributing to chronic disease. If that’s not convincing enough, here are 10 more reasons you should consider nutrient supplementation.

10 Reasons You Should Take Supplements

1. You Eat Crap a Standard American Diet

Grains, legumes, and most forms of modern dairy are not food. The purpose of consuming food is to nourish the body and mind. These foods do the opposite.

First of all, grains, legumes, and conventional dairy are low in nutrients and difficult for a lot of people to digest. Grains and legumes contain phytic acid and other compounds that can interfere with nutrient absorption and can cause intestinal damage, which makes it even harder for your body to absorb nutrients [1,2,3,4,5]. Even if you’ve stopped eating these foods, you may be in nutrient debt or have lingering intestinal damage which is interfering with nutrient absorption. Dairy, especially conventional dairy, is inflammatory and difficult to digest for many people. It also contains mycotoxins which are extremely inflammatory [6].

2. Soil Depletion

Improper farming practices deplete the soil of essential nutrients. When plants are repeatedly grown on the same land, the soil loses vitamins, minerals, and microbes faster than they can be replaced. Over time, the plants have fewer nutrients to grow. Fertilizer contains just enough nutrition for the plant to survive until harvesting, but not enough to support human health. In addition, most plants are not harvested fresh. They sit on trucks, shelves, and counters for weeks before being eaten. Over time, the nutrient content of these plants decreases.

Most modern fruits and vegetables are grown to increase their sugar content, not their nutrient value [7]. As a result, the most common fruits and vegetables are artificially high in fructose and lower in key nutrients [8].

When plants contain fewer nutrients, the animals that eat these plants are also malnourished. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Health found copper levels in the UK have dropped 90% in dairy, 55% in meat, and 76% in vegetables [9]. Copper is an essential nutrient that helps to regulate several pathways in the body, including energy production and brain function [10].

3. Water Depletion

Water is also depleted of minerals due to modern production methods. There is a huge variation in the mineral content of bottled and tap water, with tap water generally having more [11]. Most water filters remove important minerals such as magnesium, which is essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Up until recently, clean, unfiltered fresh water was the main source of magnesium for humans. Not anymore. Our water is filtered of essential minerals like magnesium, contaminated with chlorine, and fortified with potentially harmful chemicals like fluoride.

The filtration of precious minerals from water could explain why people who drink water higher in calcium than magnesium develop more myocardial infarcts and ischemic heart disease [12,13].

4. Low-Calorie Diets Are Low Nutrient Diets

I know this is a crazy idea, but starving yourself of key nutrients is bad. Consuming a low-calorie diet means you’re consuming fewer total micronutrients. As humans, we’re designed to consume large amounts of nutrient-dense calories to meet our body’s needs [14]. When you’re constantly restricting your caloric intake, it’s easy to become malnourished. When you’re consuming low-quality foods, like pasteurized non-fat milk and other frankenfoods, you have to eat even more to obtain the right amounts of nutrition. That’s how you get fat. And just one more example of why food quality matters.

Animal foods are generally higher in calories and nutrients, so it’s no surprise that’s where the majority of calories came from in early human development [15]. Since the modern trend is to reduce the consumption of animal foods, people are consuming fewer nutrients per unit of food [16].

5. Non-organic foods contain fewer nutrients

Non-organic, pesticide-treated vegetables are lower in cancer-fighting polyphenols than organic ones. This is because the plant produces polyphenols as a defense against bugs and pathogens. When there is no reason to defend themselves, the plant stops producing polyphenols and your body and brain suffer the consequences [17].

There is also evidence that glyphosate – RoundUp herbicide – chelates minerals in crops on which it is sprayed. It remains to be seen how much of an impact this effect has, but it’s safe to avoid GMO foods for a variety of other reasons [18].

Unfortunately, organic is not always possible due to financial or logistical reasons. Even when you can find organic foods, they aren’t necessarily better.

6. Grain-fed Meat & Cooked/Conventional Dairy

Compared to grass-fed meat, grain-fed meat is abysmally low in antioxidants, micronutrients, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins [19]. Grains are not a food for humans or grazing animals. When herbivores are fed grains, they become malnourished, just like humans. Grain-fed meat and farmed seafood can also serve as a carrier for more toxins, which increases nutrient needs.

Raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed, full-fat dairy can be good for you, but the kind most people buy at the grocery store is not ok [20]. The majority of nutrients in milk are found in the fat (cream). When you remove or reduce the fat, you are removing and reducing the nutrient content. Pasteurization destroys some of the nutrients in both skim and full-fat milk. Conventional dairy is also high in aflatoxin and other mycotoxins that were in the cattle’s feed [21].

7. Toxin Exposure

Your body needs nutrients to deal with toxins. When more toxins are present, you need more nutrients. If you’re living in a cave or the garden of Eden, this will be less of a concern. If you’re like the rest of us mortals – you’re exposed to a litany of toxins on a daily basis.

Here are just some of the things your body has to contend with:

    1. Xenoestrogens (plastics, BPA, some molds, petroleum products).
    2. Industrial solvents and cleaners.
    3. Unnatural lighting.
    4. Food toxins (not a problem if you’re eating Bulletproof).
    5. Stress and lack of sleep.

There are hundreds of other sources of unnatural stress that increase the body’s need for proper nutrition. Even if you’re doing everything right in terms of diet – it’s almost impossible to get all of your nutrients from food.

Our bodies weren’t designed to deal with these toxins using only nutrition from food. Instead, it’s good to support detox and methylation pathways with supplements.

8. Nutrient Absorption Declines With Age

Several studies have shown kids need more nutrients to support growth, and older people need more nutrients due to malabsorption. As you age, hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme production naturally declines, making it difficult for you to break down and absorb nutrients from your foods. As you age, you also often begin taking medications which can interfere with nutrient absorption. This means you need to take more nutrients in the most absorbable form possible.

9. Exercise Increases Nutrient Needs

Athletes often think tons of exercise is the key to a long and healthy life (it’s not). They are among the first to denounce supplementation as unnecessary, often with the idea that exercise is the best medicine. I don’t advocate high amounts of exercise, but this is an important point. If you’re doing enough exercise to substantially deplete energy reserves, you’re also using more nutrients for energy production and recovery. As a result, athletes are at an even higher risk of nutrient deficiencies. Since many athletes eat a low nutrient, high toxin diet – this is a serious concern.

10. Supplementation May Help You Live Longer

Aging is a natural process, but it’s not fun. If there are supplements that can delay this process, why not take them?  As long as there isn’t an undue risk of harm, it’s hard to justify avoiding a substance simply because our ancestors didn’t have access to it.  There is good reason to believe a higher intake of nutrients may prolong life.  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have been malnourished at certain times which is not beneficial.  If supplements can buy you a few more years of quality life, why not take them?

11. Expense & Health

Whether we like it or not, sometimes supplements are cheaper than real food. In the case of something like salmon, it may be better for you to supplement with a high-quality fish or krill oil than to settle for a farmed variety. Farmed salmon is low in omega-3s and high in toxins [22].

Farmed salmon are higher in parasites and bacteria. In order to hide the sickly appearance of farmed salmon meat, the fish are fed a pink pigment to change their tissue color. Farmed salmon contains 16 times more PCB’s and pesticides than wild [23].  Wild salmon is often more expensive than grass-fed beef, and presents more of a health risk than benefit. Grass-fed beef has enough omega-3’s by itself, but supplementation may be a good idea for some people (like kids).

The idea that you can get all your nutrients from food is fine in theory, but virtually impossible in practice. Soil and water depletion, food and environmental toxins, poor absorption, pesticides, exercise, and lack of calories can all cause nutrient deficiencies. There is evidence that consuming nutrients from food is more beneficial than supplements, which is why you should focus on a nutrient rich diet first [24]. However, it’s rarely enough anymore.

If you want to be Bulletproof, supplementation is a great start. Handicapping yourself by “only getting nutrients from food” is not a good idea, even on the Bulletproof Diet.

For your next step in Bulletproof supplementation, check out this article on the key nutrients almost everyone can benefit from.



Click to read the complete list of references.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6299329

[2] http://pmid.us/11595455

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17519496

[4] http://pmid.us/4018443

[5] http://pmid.us/11595455

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19762818

[7] http://www.organic-center.org/reportfiles/Oregon_Tilth_2008%20%5BCompatibility%20Mode%5D.pdf

[8] http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/5-18-1999.html

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18309763?dopt=AbstractPlus

[10] http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper

[11]  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495189/

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675428

[13] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1930966/

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9721056?dopt=AbstractPlus

[15] http://www.ajcn.org/content/71/3/682.long

[16] http://www.ana-jana.org/Journal/journals/ACF5FB7.pdf

[17] http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf020635c

[18] http://www.ipni.net/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/70ABDB50A75463F085257394001B157F/$file/07-4p12.pdf

[19] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19502506

[19] http://www.puresalmon.org/pdfs/human_health.pdf

[20] http://www.realmilk.com/documents/ResponsetoMarlerListofStudies.pdf

[21] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19762818

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16323755

[23] http://www.ewg.org/reports/farmedPCBs/

[24] http://www.ajcn.org/content/89/5/1543S.abstract

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By Dave Asprey

  • Curt Tigges

    Interesting article. I’ve done some experimentation with diet myself in order to see how hard it is to get sufficient nutrition through food alone. I built a program that would take recipes and analyze them according to values from the USDA food nutrient database. After analyzing a large number of diets, it seems apparent that most diets are severely lacking in nutrition.

    However, using the same program, I’ve seen that it is still possible to get all your nutrients from food. The program has designed palatable 2,500-3,000 calorie diets that provide all nutrients well in excess of the RDAs. In addition to getting a full spectrum of balanced minerals (anywhere from 100 to 200% of the RDA), it’s possible to get 300-2000% of your RDA for all vitamins from food alone.

    Since the USDA database is based on fairly recent analysis of foods, soil nutrient depletion is taken into account. This kind of diet would be hard for most people to follow, but it is basically a more specific version of the Bulletproof diet and Paleo/Primal diets.

    Can supplements still help? I definitely think so, and take some myself. But I think where possible, diet should be employed first and supplements added later based on needs indicated by personal analysis (like energy levels) and medical tests (like vitamin and mineral levels in the blood, inflammation markers, etc.). In many situations–for example, calcium and vitamin E supplementation–supplements seem to have an opposite and detrimental effect compared to consumption of the nutrient in food.

    • Dave Asprey

      Curt, plug your software here!

      The big issue with USRDA is variance; your veggies grew in a different field than the ones they tested, and your sample size is one.
      Until we can show vegetables that have the power to create minerals that aren’t in soil, I’m very leery of nutrient tables. Then we look at how bound the minerals are…can you even use them?
      The best news is that butter makes vegetable vitamins more bioavailable! 😉

      • Curt Tigges

        I’d love to plug it once it’s finished. It’s got a ways to go before it’s usable by the general public, however. Once I get a developer or two to work with to get it shipshape, I hope to release it as a product.

        That is unfortunately true about the variance in vegetables. I’m not familiar with the binding of minerals in them, however–I’ll have to look for more resources on that topic.

        Thanks for the reply!

        • Curt-

          Your program is the thing I’ve been looking for. I’m a therapist working on a nutrition in mental health workshop for the public & other MHPs for continuing education credit. I’m tired of knowing that so many “mental” health diseases are nutritional deficiencies in disguise, and I’m doing something about it. 🙂

          My email is info@jwitcraft.com if you’d like to keep in touch about this? I hope you don’t mind.

        • That software available, yet? I’d love to see it as well.

  • Meghanwatkins

    so what supplements does a girl take that works on being lean but strong and overall super healthy! does moderate crossfit workouts weekly and yoga once a week. and someone who is aiming for a high quality of living. currently stocking the house with quality grassfed, wildcaught & pasture raised protein, organic fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from olive oil, avocado, mct oil, kerry gold, carlson’s fish oil and olives…lots of olives! also on the upgraded bulletproof coffee in the mornings and 14-17 hours of if’ing/day. would love some assistance!!! love learning about all this stuff! great journey so far!

    • Rod

      Hey! If you ever get a chance, please update us and let us know your results. It’s been about 9 months. Regards!

    • Dean Zhao

      Have you think of detox your body? I know a lot of people lost weight after detox.

  • Ldyclements

    Thanks to reading the above, I feel alittlemore informed and a little more inclined to add supplements to my diet. Thank you so much!

  • Unless one raises their own vegetables and livestock, a shortage of nutrients is in the cards and supplements are needed to help close the gap. If some people don’t know the difference between “supplement” and “substitute” they will learn those definitions one way or another.

  • Great article, my 2 cents: I eat a strict form of Paleo by whole9life. Which all fits in the bulletproof diet. My meat is grass fed, wild caught, and/or compassionate certified. Eggs pastured. I grow a lot of my own veggies and get organic for those things I don’t grow. I drink BP Coffee every morning. But I still supplement. For one, Vitamin D. I don’t get enough sun, so I need it. I also take Magnesium and Potassium for the reasons mentioned in the article (I mainly drink filtered water) I also take krill and green lipped mussel oil because I would never eat those things but like to get a wide variety of omega 3. I also take certain enzymes like serrapeptase because I don’t eat japanese silk worms. And a few others I take for adrenal support because I don’t eat certain organ meats like adrenal glands. But I agree these are supplements, not excuses to eat like crap. That’s why I don’t take a multi-vitamin. I only supplement with things I feel I’m not getting enough of.

    • Dave Asprey

      Sean, you’ve got it nailed. Don’t change a thing.

    • Rod

      Thank you, this was a great example. I hope people can apply this concept. I know I will!!!

    • Alex Satina

      It’s been three years since your last post. Have you noticed any difference to your health? Do these eating habits make a positive change in your experience?

    • Dave

      Nice thx for sharing

  • Sivan Bennet

    So what kind of supplements do you recommend?

  • Thanks for the great article. This is an essential message and needs to be spread.

  • Amit Mehta

    Hey Dave, Great meeting you at PaleoFX. Wife and I just recently shifted bulletproof diet (from safe scratch paleo) after talking to you. We seeing an immediately jump in mental acuity and energy levels. 🙂

    • Dave Asprey

      Amit, that’s awesome!!!

  • This is a great post about why to supplement, but most people reading this already believe the why.

    The better question is how? What’s a formulaic list of supplements most people should consume? And where can I go to get a blood test and determine exactly what I need?

    • Dave Asprey

      Chris, it’s common for my paleo caveman friends to think kale will somehow vitaminize them. 😉
      Major bloodworm panel recommendations and a discount are in the works.

    • We’re working on a comprehensive list right now.

    • UFOJason

      There’s a testing product called GeneSNP. What it does is you send in a sample of your DNA (oral swap) and it analyzes your DNA and tells you what supplements you naturally need more on a genetic level 🙂

  • liam

    Dude can you see a problem with taking vitamin D in mouth spray form,would be handy to know as 1 less pill to take,thanks

    • Dave Asprey

      Spray is good

    • UFOJason

      There’s also an isotonic form that’s in powder and you mix it with the right amount of water and drink it 🙂

  • Robert Katz

    Well, I read and reread the posts stating that supplements are important, and it does sound convincing, but try as I might, I can’t find what supplements you’re talking about. Can you help me out with that?

    Thank you!

    • Dave Asprey

      That’s the topic of a whole book!

      D3, K2, CLO, magnesium, potassium, calcium-d-glucarate, ascorbic acid, collagen are a good start!

      • Andy H

        Hi Dave — Why do you recommend supplementing potassium? It is abundant in the food supply (fruits and veggies)

        • Dave Asprey

          Fruits aren’t a good idea because of fructose. Veggies may have potassium but it varies.

        • Curt Tigges

          From what research I’ve done, potassium supplements are highly regulated and generally are very low dose (the ones I’ve found have only 3% or less of the RDA). You’d need a lot of pills to make a difference.

          The best sources of potassium in the natural world are spinach, squash, avocados, coconut water, papaya, and various beans (but we know those are not good for other reasons). A single serving of any of those will only get you 15-25% of the way to your RDA, so it generally takes a combination of many vegetables. For comparison, though, you’d need about 6 potassium pills to compensate for one serving–and 33 to get the whole RDA.

          From what I understand, potassium is also generally replenished in the soil as it is a part of many fertilizers, so nutrient depletion isn’t as much of an issue.

        • UFOJason

          There is a Vitamin D with K2 supplement I know of. There’s also a Multi-mineral that I love 😀

  • Jay L

    Dave, can you suggest some additives to avoid in supplements? For example, what do you think of magnesium stearate, stearic acid, silica, silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, and the like? Also, what form(s) of magnesium you like to use as a supplement?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Use magnesium citrate, glycinate, or malate.

      There are a ton of additives, but that’s a good idea for a post.

      • Dave Asprey

        Or orotate or aspartate!

        • Jay L

          Thanks, Dave.

      • Jay L

        Thanks, Armi. I have heard bad stuff about several common supplement additives, so I’d very much like to hear your and Dave’s takes on them. It seems like it would be crazy to seek out high-quality grass-fed beef and butter, and then take supplements with industrially processed, toxic crap in them.

        • UFOJason

          I think another thing is to take supplements that are not in pill or capsule forms. This way, you’ll avoid the sweetener, binders, fillers, etc. that keeps them in pills or put them in capsules 🙂

  • Devon Slovensky

    The real question here is what do we really need? I don’t trust the RDA’s, some are too high and others are too low. So difficult to know what we need, particularly when some things are more important as a ratio than an absolute value.

    • Good question, I’ll start working on a post 🙂

      • Devon Slovensky

        Can’t wait to see what you come up with! I get all spun out thinking about it. D3:A, potassium:sodium, zinc:copper, omega 6:3. . . I could go on.

  • Er1kksen

    I’ve got fish oil, magnesium citrate and D3 in the cupboard, but ever since I discovered that my local beef farm (strictly grass-fed cows on soil I know is nutrient-rich) sells chopped marrow bones for a buck per pound and will save their hooves for me at no cost, I’ve been relying on that for most minerals and collagen. Scoop out a little marrow to eat raw, and the rest, as well as the bones and hooves, get boiled for a few days with some herbs (to safeguard against lipid oxidation) and vinegar. This gets a thick, rich stock. I cook with it often, and have a hot mug of it every night; I swear ever since I started I pop out of bed every morning ready to go. Maybe I’m lucky to have access to the farmers I do, but when you CAN get the nutrition via diet, I suspect that’s the best way to go. All the “right” pills never hit me the same way as good stock does.

    • cogrick2

      That’s an inspiring account. I wonder if I can find marrow bones around where I live…

    • Anon

      care to share your stock recipe? what kind of herbs?

    • Rod

      I would assume there are other nutrients/vitamins that aid absorption and a combination of them are helping you. Perhaps a placebo? maybe not but thanks for sharing that.

      • Dean Zhao

        Digestive enzymes help absorption. Also, many benefits from digestive enzymes. Google it., I now which brand is one of the best.

  • 2 Meal Mike

    I would say adding in “bone broth” (or beef broth) is the ideal way to get what you need in minerals along with the most bio-absorptive state.

    Isolating supplements are a crap shoot, you don’t know if your body is really using them or if you are lacking other necessary vitamins/minerals for maximum absorption.

    Antioxidants should be avoided as a supplement, as they have been shown to decrease the body’s (and mitochondria) ability to reduce/protect against free radicals on it’s own (mitohormesis). They make for great marketing, but the reality of their use seems to be quite different.

    Higher quality/nutrient dense real food should always be the long term focus and use supplements to help “correct” a temporary imbalance.

    • Rod

      Could anyone elaborate on “Antioxidants” please? What are some examples of “Antioxidant supplements”? You suggest “using supplements to help “correct” a temporary imbalance” are you saying this while knowing that we are in fixed variables that require us to consistently supplement? How would one fix a Vitamin D deficency temporarily if they are always indoors and hiding from the sun? This is just one example but you know where I’m going with this. Thanks.

      • Dean Zhao

        I think I always need antioxidant. I give it to my children too. Instead of visiting doctor office every week. My children visit once a year. Antioxidant keep me young and strong.
        One of the most powerful antioxidant is OPC and astaxanthin.

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  • Lisaannhomic


  • UFOJason

    I firmly believe in supplements. When you have the experience that I had, you would as well. I doubt that proper eating would have saved my grandfather from an advanced stage cancer. He followed instructions from the doctors, did chemo, and everything else just the same as others from his same age group with the same stage of the same cancer. The only thing different was he was taking these supplements, and out of all those people, he is the only one that is still breathing, now cancer free. Because of that, I would not leave the house in the morning without my daily supplement cocktail.

    • Max(CancerCoach)

      I fully agree with you that supplements are the arsenal for someone who had any disease like Cancer. I’ve survived Stage IVb “Terminal” Cancer for nearly 6 years now following a regime and protocol especially the right combination of supplements. More details at http://www.howtoconquercancer.com which has made it possible for many to live longer way past their expiry date..

  • Devon

    Under #3 it says, water filters remove magnesium. Then further down the paragraph it says if you are not using a water filter than you are likely to be deficient in magnesium.. Is it just me or is this contradictory? Am I missing something?
    What is your take on distilled water? I have been toying with the idea of getting a water distiller.

    • Rod

      Hey Devon,

      I was thinking the same thing. I just don’t know why we would be.

      Dave? Can you please elaborate?

      If you don’t use a filter and you don’t have a well, it’s likely you’re consuming dangerous amounts of fluoride and/or are deficient in magnesium. <-= why?

    • Richard Ayoub

      Distilled or purified and reverse osmosis water is ‘Dead” water, it has no mineral electrolytes and that’s what the body runs on. Every time you drink a drop of this types of waters, your body has to go and get alkaline minerals from your bones and organs to buffer the acidity of these water and process it. so the more you drink waters like these the more mineral deficient you become and eventually tired and sick.
      Best water are Natural Mineral/Spring Waters with an 8-8.5pH.
      Great Article and great info – Cheers

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  • dbr

    Prop with expense is there are six grassfed ranches within one or two hours from here but the $700+ for a side is too much. Wild caught salmon is available in a pack. But there is a trader joes two hours from here I will try.

  • Luke H

    “Wild salmon is often more expensive than grass-fed beef, and presents more of a health risk than benefit.”
    Wild Salmon is more of a health risk than a benefit? Do you mean farmed salmon or are you saying just dont eat salmon full stop?

    • Bert

      I was wondering this myself. While I know fish can have mercury, my understanding is salmon and sardines have extremely low amounts to where the benefits of eating real food (relative term these days) of this type would be more of a plus.

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  • Brad Hassett

    Love the post as always. Sometimes, however, I wish you would get a little more specific. What supplements should we be taking? How much? When? And equally important, which brands are the high quality ones?

    – A huge fan of your work. 🙂

    • Brad Hassett

      I stand corrected! This article does a great job of breaking down what supplements to take, how much, and when: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/optimize-your-supplements/

    • Dean Zhao

      What supplements should we take depend on what your body need. I know a supplement that’s iliquid form give you 90% absortion rate vs 20% from pill.

      • I knew some tab form supplement that is rated no.1 among 1700 supplements in the market…and its bioavaility, better than 90%.

  • Sean Murphy

    Hey Dave, where’s the blog post you promised us at the Sexy Back Summit?

  • These are all excellent reasons, but I’d like to add one more – “Food Fraud”. Two recent examples that come to mind are mislabeled salmon (farm raised labeled wild caught) and extra virgin olive oil that isn’t even olive oil! If what you are buying isn’t what you are getting, you’ll only think you are receiving the health benefits. Who knows – maybe the placebo effect will kick in…

  • NicoleRam

    How should i intruduce supplements into my 5 year olds diet?

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  • The Vegetarian Site

    Cooked whole grains and legumes are not “toxins.” The longest-living populations on earth eat plenty of them. In fact, beans are the one food in common among the longest living populations worldwide. There are certain legumes and grains that should not be eaten raw — that is true — but that is not what you specified.

    • Tsimsum

      Thank you. My grandparents were forced to eat mostly beans through the depression and thrived and were as healthy as people get. Grandpa live until 90 and Grandma is still rocking at 92. I don’t think you live that long if you subsisted on “toxins.”

  • Jeremy

    @BetterBaby:disqus What type of water filter do you recommend? I have heard varying degrees of which water is filtered and wanted your intake in a brand you trust and recommend.

  • Max

    That’s why I added the Kyani products to my diet and my life has changed since then!You can visit http://www.kyaniscience.com and make your own research. If you like what you see and would like to find out more, please visit my site at http://www.maxdepaola.kyaniglobal.com

  • c77

    Usana Health Sciences

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  • BuddySuperfly

    Dave..you have really become an inspiration for me. I have been bulletproof for only 6 weeks and I see, and more importantly feel, the changes. My biggest problem is what to do with all my new found brain power, and energy…i am practically jumping out of my own skin. But I do have a quick question. What is the take on marijuana and the bulletproof lifestyle ? I am okay with not drinking alcohol, and really sticking 100% to the life and hacking my way into longevity, but life without the sweet leaf, is not really what I am looking for. PLEASE ADVISE!!!!!!

  • Gerry Gildart

    If you don’t think taking supplements help, read my brother’s story… http://www.resqteam.ca/stories/rons-story/

  • Laurie Conrad

    Beware the person with zero nutrition education from an accredited program of study who wants to sell you somthing. If you want truth contact me. la_conrad@yahoo.com

  • Garrett K

    “Farmed salmon are “… … are ….

    Crap? Worthless? Toxic to eat? One of the worst things you can put in your body?

    “Are…. ” Don’t leave us hanging here, Dave! 🙂

  • Victoria

    Dave – I am curious. How does the BulletProof Diet handle those of us with fatty livers? And in my case, a gall bladder that has already been removed.

  • Ethan

    This is all the cause of the Medical Industry, this is how they make their money, by making us sick. If Corporate governments didn’t exist none of the problem above would exist either, but whatever, everyone seems to be okay with it, just like how their ancestors were okay with slavery. You people wanna play games with each, go ahead and play games. hmm and since we’re allowed to play games with each other maybe I should start a business kidnapping all your kids, cutting them to pieces and use the pieces to make supplement pills, or I can simply just sell them to the sex trade, whatever, If the Medical Industry thinks it’s allowed to make money hurting people and making them sick, then I think I’m allowed to make money by kidnapping children, it’s just a game right, that’s what life is a game. I also think Pepsi and Coca Cola should be also to add cocaine into their drinks, why not they need to make money too, the medical industry isn’t god of all businesses. When my kidnapping children business starts making more money than the government, I’m gonna bribe them, get them to change the laws and make the laws say it’s okay to kidnap children so my business can grow even bigger. hahaha one day, stupid world.

  • Bethany

    Where was #5?

  • JG

    Can you explain why “Wild salmon is often more expensive than grass-fed beef, and presents more of a health risk than benefit.”? I thought wild salmon was better than farm-raised?

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  • SteelTurner

    So for thousands of years before supplements we have been doing a dis-service to our bodies with “real food” Damn, I’m sure pre-historic man was craving some vitamin D pills after he slayed that Mastadon!

  • Morgan Bookheimer

    Most of this is dangerously misinformed.

  • Mandjaro

    What about organic salmon/fish? Bio/Organic or free range Chicken is high on omega 3 to, but is a no go because there use grain to feed them? And serious how could anyone with a normal budget survive on this kind of diet, without having a big land to grow there own greens? I find i hard to crack the code. I like the philosophy, bulletproof diet, and most of the thing your say are very interesting and many people know, but ignore, because we live in a state of willful ignorance. I still find it a little hard to swallow, that we have to use supplements.

  • Excellent article. I think it gives a definitive answer on supplements. Today is not the same as 10 years go let alone 50. Our culture is changing the way we eat and what we eat. Unfortunately for every action there is a reaction, we as humans need to be proactive in our health more than ever.

  • jack swager

    You should become an attractive person with uses of supplements products of body buildings.

  • Its really a good information to share and I personally feel If you’re focused on losing body fat or increasing the amount of lean muscle tissue you have to take care of your total calorie, carb, protein, and dietary fat intake. If you are including supplements in you body its all important but you have to take care of correct one that are all natural supplement and help your body in the positive way. Just make the correct choice is important.


  • Ron Watson

    Where did you get the idea that grain is not food? In the bible it says God fed them with the finest of wheat. But, you know better than God. Maybe He should consult you!

    • Esther Seib Shelley

      The grain we grow today is not the same grain that was available in biblical times. 🙂 Finest wheat does NOT mean genetically modified to have 4 times the amount of gluten so that the bread can be softer and fluffier. The Bible specifies it was best to eat ‘grain’ without yeast. Sort of like crackers. But I’m assuming you know that and don’t eat anything with yeast in it. 😉

  • Guest

    First of all, exercise doesn’t increase the micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals since vitamins and minerals are not an energy source (no calories). Supplements are bullshit.

    Did you really try to argue that supplements are healthier then real food? Seriously… wow… who’s paying you off

  • Very good summary. I’d perhaps add that many fruits and vegetables have had their nutrition bred out of them in order to offer sweeter products…

  • Health Nut

    I found a great supplement that combines a multi, fish oil, probiotic, and whole food blend all into one soft gel! Basically, if you’re taking 3-5 products, chances are, this is the only one you need to take! The company is called Encompass Nutrients and the product is Complete Adult. Here’s a link. http://www.encompassnutrients.com/store Best part is that they give 80% of their profits to care for orphans! Awesome company!

  • Thank you for sharing us your thoughts. A very informative and exact facts you gave. I can recommend to take a supplement that is highest rated and quality guarantee among all 1700 supplements in the market, with fast absorption rate in our body…we knew,,not all supplements are made equal, and not all supplements give what our body needs, right?..So better to take effective, potent and safe supplements. You also mention about athletes, yes..they trust this and used the product!. The only supplement that give them quality standard…..check this put. http://www.zorrobabelle.usana.com

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  • Sky

    That’s a great article very well written and some good facts in there! But you need to be aware, when taking suppliments that they are from a good source. For example, if you take normal mineral products these will most likely be chelated minerals, made from powdered rock and other materials which your body cannot absorb, it will absorb some of them but the rest will get stuck in your body creating little pockets of rock and metals that can go toxic. This is why we need to be eating plant derived minerals, with them being 7000 times smaller than a blood cell your body will absorb 100% of them and dispose of what it does not need. You can read about it here http://www.simplybrochure.com

  • Rob Apel

    12. The RDA/RDI levels are the minimum amounts needed to prevent nutritional deficient diseases. For optimal health we need more than those amounts. For some nutrients we may only need just a bit more but others require much more to have optimal health.

  • Denise Brown

    Although I agree with most points made in this article, I find some debatable unless you are an avid follower of the Paleo diet. I recommend that people ALWAYS consider their own bio-individuality when choosing what to eat and what to supplement with. The strongest and well-documented reason for supplementation is the fact that a lot of the plants we eat are grown in mineral deficient soils…even organic produce. If you buy organic hopefully it is local and you can find out directly from the farmer/ gardener how she amends the soil and what organic methods are used such as crop rotation and companion planting.

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  • Jodi Burke

    Most if not all supplements are man made – I would prefer to have something provided by nature – superfoods that are still live, organic and NON-gmo is my first choice – the body can easily digest and utilize them easily. They feed the body at a cellular level and the results people can when they incorporate them are awesome – feeding the body is different than eating food and supplements that are synthetic can’t do it.

  • The taking of supplements is more a religion that a science. You either believe in it or you don’t. I don’t. Also, like any religion some people make an awful lot of money out of it.

    • Greg Pryor

      It is not religion Dr. Rynne. People make $ on different scams and scams happen in every industry. People make $ on scam food but you aren’t going to stop buying or using food, eh? Getting enough of the “essential nutrients” from the diet is impossible. Sorry, but using the right supplements in adequate amounts is the only way to insure that you get them.

  • Lisette Cousineau Sleno

    what a great article, everything I am saying all in one paper.I also like what Sean added.

  • RYAN

    This is the biggest pile of BS I’ve seen in a while. Dave Asprey should be ashamed of his stupidity. Anyone that understands real science can read right through this BS, but sadly so many people fall for this.

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  • Amber Middleton
  • It is good if you have results from a third party that has studied particular supplements. This was done for the Peak Performance Pack, that uses a patented delivery system. Learn more at freiburgstudy.com

  • Imogene Caithness

    great article – you just have 1 paragraph repeated in your content. twice in point 7.
    ” Our bodies weren’t designed to deal with these toxins using only nutrition from food. They just weren’t. So if you plan to get your nutrition only from food, you should plan to get your toxins only from the Garden of Eden. Good luck with that.

  • Ray Treadaway

    A great article and darn good read……… make sense regardless which country you’re living in………….. I note some of the contributors here are asking after what supplements to take……….. My suggestions is to take a supplement is a multi-vitamin/mineral as vitamins on their own ‘don’t cut it’ (unless they have minerals) with them………. if anyone would like some info contact me direct via: settle4moregroup@ihug.co.nz

  • Nora Rodriguez

    I absolutely agree. I just turned 50 years old and I knew I had to do something different to feel better. Because our soil is so depleted, crop grown does not have the proper vitamins/minerals we need. I started taking Peak Performance by Melaleuca The Wellness Company, because they have an 85% absorption rate, proven effective, Freiburg Study for the consumer viewing and I feel great! If you would like more information, please contact me at whywelovewellness@gmail.com. I can send you a Freiburg study for your viewing. Thank you.

  • Ignatius

    As a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, what I see mostly with my clients is a failure to secure enough nutrient-dense foods due to busy, stressful lives packed with personal and professional activities. So while your crowd here seems to be the exception to that in a few important ways – well-informed, well-advised, and highly incentivized, which today I find to be absolutely NOT the norm “out there.” For that reason alone (and there are several important others, several of which have been elucidated in this well-written article), it’s crucial that people augment their diet with nutritional supplementation. But then the question becomes, what constitutes supplementation worth the expense, because let’s face it, high-quality supplements ain’t cheap! And there’s a WIDE variance in quality among products, and most ppl’s choices are driven by cost. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of ppl have no idea where their nutritional status stands (e.g. low priority, moderate priority, high priority). Taking a supplement in which you’re already sufficient is as unhealthy as not taking a supplement in which you are deficient. So without some sort of basic nutritional assessment (i.e asking your body via a series of well-designed questions; most blood work doesn’t give an adequate nutritional assessment), you’re flying blind. I’m fortunate in that I have such a questionnaire at my disposal, and with it I’m able to accurately gauge my client’s progress through the course of their supplementation regimen. Verifiable facts baby, and that’s not me telling them, that’s their body telling me!

  • VOR

    I take all forms of supplements. Mostly Essential fatty acids, amino acids and fibre. My daily supplement intake exceeds 15 different nutrients on a daily basis. As a result I’ve become sharper, better physically fit and my cardiovascular health has GREATLY improved. MY top recommendations: Omega 3, COQ10, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, creatin, Astaxanthin (with lutein and zeaxanthin), Vit. B100 complex, zinc (with magnesium), glucosamine sulfate, fibre, vitamin D (with calcium), and an amino acid complex. Everything else I more or less get from my diet

  • Now a days if you’re only looking to get all the extra proteins from your food then you’re doing something bad. I have totally satisfied with the Author points of view that there are some bad farming techniques which keep the nutrient value away from the farm product. Thanks for sharing all this.

  • Abcde

    I agree. But its also hard to known for sure WHICH nutrients we lack. Supplementing individual nutrients may not be so useful. Better to use an all-encompassing multi-vitamin multi-mineral tablet to fill in any unknown holes.

  • Jackie Debin

    I am concerned about the recommendation in the BulletProof Diet about taking Vitamin C ASCORBIC ACID CRYSTALS. When researching Vitamin C supplementation there are article after article warning against the Ascorbic Acid form. It is a GMO and is not good for you. Dave can you clear this up and explain why you recommend this type of Vitamin C?

  • Kate

    This article is proof that it is possible to not only talk shit but to prove it as well. So grains and legumes deplete nutrient stores and cause intestinal damage? And yet Chinese people whose main food is rice are some of the longest living people in the world. How does that work? Just because you have a link to a scientific paper after each of your points does not mean what you’re saying is correct. For example, one particular bean being toxic for rats does not mean all beans are toxic for humans. But you have been very thorough in your attempt to prove your BS is fact, that much is impressive! And yes, we have gotten this far in evolution without taking supplements until the last century, including the entire building of civilization, but of course we were all deficient in nutrients the whole time (!) Not even to mention that we have evolved specifically to get everything we need from real food, as we have evolved alongside real food. But you can convince people of anything, if they want to believe something is true then they will.

  • Karen Fourie Phillips

    7. Toxin Exposure has a paragraph repeated – when in need of a proof reader, please feel free to contact me before you publish! Best wishes : )

  • Your statements about grains and legumes, and your claim that animal meat is more nutrient-dense than plant sources, immediately and completely discredits you as informed about nutrition. Your use of paywalled abstracts to purportedly substantiate vague claims is misleading and only gives the illusion of being well-researched. Although you are correct on some parts, the aforementioned statements negates that due to how gross an error they are.

    • Ricardo Noty

      Animal products are more dense and nutritious than plants grains legumes cereals. that is undisputed.

      • That is unmitigated bullshit and you know that, or at least you should, lest you be even more ignorant about basic nutrition than the average person. If by “dense” you mean energy density, then animal products typically surpass plant products in that regard because animal products usually contain higher lipid concentrations. Even then, however, certain plants can outperform or at least rival animal products. Given that human satiety is principally triggered by volumetric pressure in the stomach, however, foods with low energy density and high volume are generally better dietary staples. Such criteria applies exclusively to plant foods.

        As for animal products being more nutritious than plants, are you being serious? That is demonstrably false and it’s astonishing that you’d say that. Only someone with a delusional obsession with animal flesh and secretions would state something so scientifically incorrect. No, animal products are categorically less nutritious than plant foods and any cursory perusal of the empirical data on the subject (or vague knowledge of what phytonutrients are) would confirm as much. I can guarantee you that you cannot give me a single instance wherein a whole food (sc. minimally processed) animal product is more nutritious in the same nutrients found in plants than are plants.

        The only thing becoming increasingly “undisputed” here is your complete and total lack of epistemic qualifications for discussing this matter. Next time, I suggest you actually do some basic research on human nutrition—even a Google search would inform you at this point—before posting drivel in a feeble attempt at implicitly justifying your indefensibly carnist and indelibly sociopathic diet and lifestyle.

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  • Esther Seib Shelley

    Hm, I am confused by this response.
    1. Our soils are depleted of nutrients. This is not a new idea, but well established. If you compare the amount of iron in spinach to 30 years ago, you have to eat totally excessive amounts of spinach to receive the same value of iron. Since no one in 30 years has decided to up the mineral content of the soil, it’s doubtful they will start now, and on time to make a difference before your next meal. Take your supplements.

    2. I’m wondering why you felt you had to add your IQ in there? If your answer was valid, surely it could stand on its own? Perhaps your logic needs some supplementary support?

    3. The article in no wise suggests that you are not to eat any food, just pop supplements, so I’m not sure why the point is made on calories. Supplements are intended to supplement food, not replace. Americans (and Canadians) understand that very well.

    4. Better farming practices is a great idea! Can you figure out how to make farmers (who make little enough already) change their practices on time for the next harvest? The soils have been depleted for decades and it will take dedicated decades to reverse that. By the time that happens this generation will be long gone…and that’s if we start today. Good luck with that.

    😉 Take your supplements.

    • Kenny 4Real

      He’s trying to state that natural FOOD is our #1 source of nutrition and no supplement in the world can replace or modify that. Nature’s foods and the nutrients within are broken down and absorbed by the body on a molecular level in ways that unnatural foods and supplements cannot mimic.

      • Esther Seib Shelley

        And how does this address the reduced mineral content in our soils…oh, wait…of course…we just eat more of it…several servings more of it, and of course, taking a greens supplement wouldn’t help with this, right? And this does NOT address any food intolerances people may have that won’t allow them to get their nutrients from natural FOOD or supplements either for that matter…but that’s a separate topic for another day. 😉

        In a perfect world you would be absolutely right! However our world is full of pollution and pesticides; buying and eating everything grown in a pristine environment without pesticides in soil with the required mineral content to produce high end foods…most can’t afford that, or can’t get ahold of it, or it’s just not available in enough amounts to make it viable.

        Supplements are a convenience, and you are right, not #1, but most people cant’ do #1 so the point it moot. 🙂 *shrug

  • Landon Gilfillan

    Nokkenbuer, While I agree with almost everything you’ve stated, it should be noted that animal foods can supply some nutrients in forms that are more readily absorbed than plant sources, such as preformed vitamin A (retinol 10% and retinal esters 90%) that are on average 80% absorbed compared to plant sources (provitamin A carotenoids), which are only 10%-20% absorbed.

    Obviously iron sources are more bioavailable and abundant from animal sources than plant sources, as well as vitamin D from fatty fish and grass-fed, well-sourced butter, eggs and dairy. But I do whole-heartedly agree that, for the most part, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes have been shown time and time again to protect against a myriad of chronic and degenerative diseases as well as numerous other conditions. Balance, I believe, is the key.

    And yes, Bulletproof, phytic acid is problematic but can be remedied by fermentation or sprouting.

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