How do you know if health supplements are actually working?
Whether you’re a padawan at the beginning of your biohacking and anti-aging journey or have attained a modicum of mastery, you’ll occasionally ask yourself, is the latest supplement I’ve tried actually working?
This is, of course, an important question; you don’t want to waste your money and precious time on supplements that don’t work. Lots of supplements out there aren’t going to work, either because they are low-quality fraudulent fraudulent crap or just because of human biodiversity, my body doesn’t need or utilize them. Since I eat a lot of Broccoli I probably don’t need to supplement much potassium. There are certain Nootropics that I just don’t have much of a response to, while others find they totally empower their cognition and productivity.
Of course, you don’t really know until you try them. This is why Biohackers stay pretty open-minded to trying new things. About a third of health supplements you try you’ll be pretty impressed by, 10% - 20% you’ll dislike and the rest will fall into this grey zone where you don’t really know if they are doing much for you. I’d urge you to try a lot of things because if you try 20 different supplements in a year you’ll find at least one or two things that are gamechangers, that really improve your life, and wellbeing along with, importantly, your economic productivity or progress in your career which often pays for the less effective things you bought. You should think about health supplements as an investment and seek the best investments that will ROI.
While researching the science, reading books and considering anecdotal evidence is important to figuring out what’s going to work for you, sometimes you’ll be surprised when you just try random things. For the longest time, I was really into the Racetams which are a synthetic class of quintessential cognitive enhancers that have a pretty impressive effect on brain power. But I thought, what the heck, I’ll try some adaptogenic natural herbs and I found that I really liked them. They helped me manage my stress better and improved my sleep a lot, like a lot of ambitious Entrepreneurs I was a pretty mediocre sleeper for the better part of a decade. Stellar sleep is, of course, the often ignored master lifehack for health, productivity, and happiness. So stay open-minded, the great thing about the majority of supplements is that they have liberal money-back guarantees which you should take advantage of if you’re underwhelmed.
Some practical ways of knowing if a supplement is working...
You’ll feel something. With a lot of Nootropics or anti-aging supplements in the first day or week of usage, you’ll feel a bit more energetic and motivated. You’ll be a bit more creative, you won’t find words on the tip of your tongue and your problem-solving ability will improve. Life will feel just a bit more peachy. You want to be a bit more conscious of how you feel day-to-day...
- Exercise, can you push yourself a bit further? Does workout fatigue you less?
- Go out and socialize - are you a bit more confident, witty or verbose?
- Read a book, are you more focused and interested?
- Does it affect your libido? Is making love to your partner more pleasurable? More intense?
- Do you have any chronic health issues or pain? Does it improve on the days or weeks you’re using a new supplement?
With many quality health supplements you should notice something after a week or two of using them, if not earlier. If you don’t do a little more research first to ascertain if they have noticeable effect. Supplementing Vitamin D is not likely to change you way you feel much, unless you’re really deficient, it just maintains a number of important bodily systems - You don’t expect your car to be faster as a result of getting an oil change. Whereas, taking a little bit of Nicotine is going to be VERY noticeable within moments. Have some informed expectations of whatever you take.
Sleep quality often improves notably as a result of taking health supplements. Better sleep is the universal biohack for brain power during the day, stress management, mood and immunity to disease. There are some biohackers who don’t touch anything stimulating and simply focus on cultivating quality sleep. Most people are crappy sleepers, here are the signs...
- It takes you awhile to get to sleep, you lay in bed for an hour (or two!) tossing and turning before you nod off. You have occasionally (more than once a month) bouts of insomnia where you simply can’t get to sleep for much of the night.
- You wake up in the middle of the night, either to get up and go to the bathroom or just to lay to bed for a few moments wondering why the heck am I awake now?
- You feel very tired when you wake up and remain tired or groggy for more than an hour.
- You’re not all there during the day; you forget exactly what you’re doing in the middle of a task. You get the mid-afternoon blues. You’re a bit impulsive checking social media mindlessly or buying things you really don’t need.
- You’re totally frazzled by the end of the workday and have the energy for nothing other than watching TV or browsing the internet.
Disciplined sleep hygiene and good habits in about a 2-hour window bed will make a big difference in mitigating costly mediocre sleep. If you want to take this to the next level there are some safe, natural and very effective sleep hacking supplements...
- Magnesium - Taking several hundred milligrams of Magnesium, either capsuled or the powdered stuff has just a barely perceptible tranquilizing effect. It won’t knock you right out, so you can enjoy reading or spending time with loved ones before bed but you’ll sleep more deeply on it and awake feeling better. The more bioavailable forms of Magnesium, like L-Threaonate are better, but almost any Magnesium is helpful.
- C60 Olive Oil - This is a special super-antioxidizing form of carbon emulsified in super-premium olive oil for absorption. The anti-aging benefit it confers is due it’s remarkable capacity to scavenge free radicals in the body but interestingly most people who use it report getting amazing, recharging sleep on the stuff. We don’t quite know why but it’s a consistent effect, people wake up feeling really motivated and reinvigorated when they use C60 in the evenings.
- CBD - This legal and non-addictive pharmacological molecular component of cannabis won’t make old episodes of South Park raucously hilarious but it will seriously soothe your autonomic nervous system. 80 milligrams of CBD will get you about as relaxed as you can legally get depending upon where you live - expect it to knock you right out after about 30 minutes.
If you want to get more granular about your sleep quantification and experimentation...
Sleep Cycle App - Place your smartphone on your bed and it will use your phone’s internal accelerometer to measure how much you’re moving and it speaker to measure your snoring and nocturnal utterances. While it seems a little gimmicky, I did find its measurements pretty accurate with if I felt like I got great sleep.
Oura Ring - is the Cartier of sleep quantification devices, it’s a ring that measures HRV during sleep giving you highly accurate data about your sleep quality.
If you’re using Nootropics you’re concerned with cognition, memory, and brainpower. There are a couple of cool ways to get some objective and subjective feedback of the cognitive uptick that may be imbued by what you’re taking...
- Brain training - You should notice your brain training scores improve while on effective Nootropics. I like the Dual N-Back task the most as it has the strongest evidence of transfer effects to general intelligence but Luminosity-style brain games are fine as well (and more fun!)
- Meditation - Any mindfulness practice will test your attentional-control capacities. Nootropics should make you more focused which will become apparent during meditation.
- Heartmath devices - These not-inexpensive devices measure and monitor your heart rate variability, they can give you some helpful feed on the coherence of your autonomic nervous state.
If you’re using immune enhancers to fortify your system against disease you may not notice anything either. Beyond blood testing of immune factors, you won’t know whether or not they are working until you get sick.
Many take supplements to address nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, correcting these may not result in anything you can feel, measuring this requires blood testing that your doctor can do for you.
Infinite Age is a boutique American Anti-Aging Outlet
One of the most important ways of making sure that your supplements are working is to make sure that they are the real thing before consuming them. You should demand to see a 3rd-party lab certificate verifying purity and lack of toxicity before ordering anything and that’s what we offer.
NMN - The Epigenetic Vitamin for Telomeric Tranquility
C60 Olive Oil - A Super-Antioxidant for Biological Antifragility
BPC - The Anti-Aging Peptide and Gut-Brain Optimizer