This post covers Dr Rhonda Patrick supplements list as of December 2019. Looking at what she takes daily, as well as products she takes from time to time. For each supplement we will go into details further down the page.
It’s important to note that Rhonda has no affiliation with any of the brands mentioned – instead she uses them because her research, or her colleagues research, suggest they should be of quality. Whilst it’s interesting to look at what Rhonda does for herself, it’s important to note that everyone is different, and it’s essential to customize supplementation to your individual medical, genetic and dietary needs.
Dr Rhonda Patrick’s Daily Supplements
- Multivitamin – Pure Encapsulations O.N.E – 1 capsule/daily
- Vitamin D3 – Thorne Research – D3 (1,000iu) – 1 capsule/daily
- Vitamin K2 – Life Extension Low-Dose Vitamin K2 (MK-7) – 1 capsule/3 times per week
- Fish Oil – Norwegian PURE-3 DHA – 6 capsules/daily
- PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) – Life Extension – PQQ 20mg – 2 capsules/daily
- Cocoa Extract – CocoaVia – 2 capsules/daily
- Sulforaphane – Prostaphane – 1 capsule/daily
- Melatonin – Life Extension 300mcg – 1 capsule/nightly
Supplements Rhonda Uses Intermittently:
- Magnesium – Thorne’s Magnesium Bisglycinate
- Omega-3 Phospholipids – Wild Salmon Roe Caviar
- Probiotics – Visbiome Probiotic sachets – Taken intermittently to top up healthy gut bacteria
- Hyrolyzed Collagen – Great Lakes – For improved joint and skin health
- Choline – NOW – Alpha GPC – Taken before public speaking events to increase mental acuity
- Sulforaphane – via home grown broccoli sprouts
Recommended to Family:
- Beet Powder – Activz Organic – Rhonda has recommended to family members with high blood pressure
- Methylated B Vitamins – Swanson’s B Complex – Rhonda has recommended to family with MTHFR mutation
Not Currently Taking
- This section covers supplements Rhonda has taken previously (then stopped), and popular supplements she has researched. Specifically Curcumin, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Nicotinamide Riboside, Resveratrol and Metformin.
Rhonda’s Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Supplement Regimen
- See this section below for more information
- 1 Rhonda’s Base Supplement List – In Detail
- 2 Supplements Used Intermittently
- 3 Recommendations for Family
- 4 Not Currently Taking
- 5 Multivitamin Alternatives
- 6 Rhonda’s Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Supplement Regimen
- 7 Prenatal Multivitamin
- 8 Rhonda’s Method for Choosing Supplement Brands
- 9 Closing Remarks
Rhonda’s Base Supplement List – In Detail
Rhonda takes Pure Encapsulations O.N.E multivitamin daily, which contains a broad spectrum of essential micronutrients in highly bioavailable forms.
For those aware they have the MTHFR mutation which reduces folic acid absorption, O.N.E contains methyl folate instead of folic acid.
Rhonda knows the importance of consuming adequate amounts of essential micronutrients, and thus has chosen a supplement that ticks as many of those boxes as possible. The only essential micronutrients it doesn’t contain (and aren’t covered in her additional supplements) are calcium, iron & copper; which Rhonda aims to get from her diet.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 1 capsule/daily
N.B. For those outside the USA, where Pure Encapsulations O.N.E can be hard to obtain, see this section on comparable alternative multivitamins she has mentioned.
Rhonda views vitamin D intake as incredibly important to staying happy and healthy. Vitamin D plays a key role in serotonin regulation, which in turn regulates things like executive function, sensory gating, and social behaviour (see this paper for more details).
It’s not only negative to get too little vitamin D, it’s also negative to get too much. This uncomfortable truth is often ignored by supplement companies who liberally promote 5,000IU – 10,000IU capsules. It’s hard to say exactly how much each person should supplement, because it depends on factors like diet, sun exposure and body composition. To get an accurate reading it’s necessary to get a blood test, which is the same way Rhonda checks hers.
Rhonda calibrates her vitamin D dosage by aiming to maintain between 40 and 60 ng/ml blood concentration of the metabolite 25-hydroxyvitamin D. To achieve this, she suggests around 4,000IU of daily supplementation, which should be enough to bring people who are deficient up to 30ng/ml safely (source: Rhonda’s vitamin D infographic).
Rhonda’s preferred vitamin D3 source is Thorne Research D-1000. This comes in 1,000IU capsules, which allows for fine tuning total dosage.
Rhonda currently takes 3,000iu of vitamin D3 daily. 2,000IU of D3 via her multivitamin supplement (mentioned above), and then adds 1,000IU of Thorne D-1000. She says that she varies her vitamin D supplementation amount based on time of year, and how much sunlight she is getting.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 1 capsules/daily
Vitamin K is required by the body to create proteins that are pre-requisites to blood coagulation (useful!), and it’s used in efficient calcium transport for bones and other tissues.
Rhonda supplements K2, despite already getting significant amounts of K1 through her consumption of leafy green vegetables and smoothies.
When Rhonda supplements K2, its her insurance policy in case the K1 she consumes isn’t doing enough. A key worry with insufficient vitamin K consumption, is that it causes inadequate calcium transport, and thus deposits of calcium end up in the arteries. Later on this could result in higher blood pressure and risk of stroke.
In terms of supplementing K2, there are two key forms; MK4 & MK7. MK7 has a longer half-life, but MK4 is more studied.
Rhonda uses Life Extension – Vitamin K2 (MK-7) – which is their “low dose” version. She opts to take it approximately 3x per week, deciding daily dosing is unnecessary.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 1 drop/3 times per week
Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 oils, EPA & DHA, are essential fatty acids. Specifically, they are incorporated into cell membranes all over the body but are particularly concentrated in the brain and eyes (retina). They are also vital to processes that mediate lipids, which can be beneficial in the prevention of several diseases. Additionally, they are essential for proper fetal development and heathy ageing. Read more on their role here.
Rhonda currently takes an omega-3 supplement called Norwegian PURE-3, which is touted as being both extremely high quality, and having very low levels of total oxidation (TOTOX). Rhonda was previously taking the high DHA version during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding her son – with the intention that the DHA was important for her child’s developmental process. Since then Rhonda alternates between the high DHA and high EPA version.
On top of her fish oil supplementation she often eats wild salmon roe caviar (from Vital Choice) for its omega-3 phospholipid concentration. More on this further down the page.
Norwegian PURE-3 is currently only available direct from the manufacturer, who offer international shipping from their base in Norway. However, Rhonda suggests they will be on Amazon.com in the near future.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 6 capsules (3g)/daily
Prior to this product, Rhonda was taking fish oil from Nordic Naturals called ProOmega 2000. Nordic Naturals are thought to make high quality omega-3s, and are somewhat easier to get hold of on retail channels like Amazon.com.
PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone)
PQQ is a compound found in plants that has been found to decrease inflammation and improve mitochondrial efficacy in humans.1. That said, it’s still relatively under studied compared to common vitamins and minerals.
In a paper published in 2016, Japanese researchers found that PQQ improves cognitive function (measured using the stroop test), by increasing blood flow and oxygen metabolism to the right prefrontal cortex2
Rhonda takes 2 capsules daily of Life Extension- PQQ Caps. This comes in the disodium salt form that was used in the above study.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 2 capsules/daily
Rhonda recently mentioned on her December 2019 CrowdCast that she is taking 2 capsules of CococaVia daily.
Cocoa has a number of health benefits including:
- Increased cognition in young adults3
- Protection from cognitive decline in the elderly4
- Increased endurance performance – study showing improvement of 17% by reducing the amount of oxygen used when cycling5
Of course, it’s worth noting that the amount of cocoa in regular chocolate is low – so you want to be consuming high cacao content products to receive these benefits. The studies specifically reference the cocoa flavanol content as a quantitative marker, and CocoaVia contains 375mg of cocoa flavanols per serving.
In an Instagram post (link) Rhonda mentions studies have shown that many cocoa products have high levels of cadmium and lead6. That’s a blow for dark chocolate fans (myself included) who hadn’t considered heavy metal consumption might be a risk. She goes on to say that in a Consumer Lab report, the CocoaVia brand was shown to have almost undetectable levels of cadmium and lead – making it a safe option.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 2 capsules/daily
The What & Why of Sulforaphane
Plants contain chemicals which are used for their self-defence (phytochemicals). Generally, the plants evolved these chemicals to be toxic to organisms smaller than humans (for example pathogens). Thus, what may be toxic to a pathogen, has a lesser effect on a human. Ingested in small amounts, some of these phytonutrients exhibit positive effects in humans. But if you consume them at high amounts; they become toxic. This is referred to as hormesis, or, the hormetic effect – and is illustrated by the image below:
Bringing this back to sulforaphane, which is a product of a chemical reaction between glucoraphanin and myrocinase, the glucoraphanin itself is a plant-based phytonutrient that triggers a positive hormetic affect in humans.
Specifically, ingested sulforaphane activates what’s called the NRF2 pathway, which increases expression of a battery of cell protective genes, that regulate things like:
- Glutathione (GSH) – Essential in function of Glutathione peroxidase and GST for redox balance and detoxification.
- Haemoxygenase-1 (HO-1) – Redox-regulating, broad protection against oxidative stress. Anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties.
- Quinone reductase (NQO1) – A multifunctional redox-regulating and detoxifying enzyme, including protection against oestrogen quinone metabolites. Stabilises the p53 tumor suppressor protein.
- Metallothionein – Removal of heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.
- Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor – Regulator of adipogenesis and central integrator of glucose metabolism, energy homeostasis and skeletal metabolism.
And that’s just a snapshot, NRF2 affects even more. This information comes via an incredible paper by Christine Houghton et al. (source) – which is highly worth reading.
As a result, sulforaphane is under continued study for its potential role in life extension, cancer prevention and more. To learn more about Sulforaphane, see Rhonda’s highly detailed video on the subject.
Whilst the ultimate low-cost alternative to high end sulforaphane supplements is sprouting your own (see below), often this can be inconvenient. It takes time, preparation, and isn’t always possible when travelling or busy with work.
Since Rhonda had a child, her time is more limited, and at least for now she is opting to take sulforaphane as a supplement – rather than sprouting her own.
Below we’ll look at the best sulforaphane supplements on the market.
Jed Fahey of John Hopkins University, one of the leading researchers in sulforaphane/NRF2, warns us to be careful of which supplement we use. His lab, which has analyzed dozens of supplements over the years, has found that many are terrible, and don’t contain what they say they do. For more info on Jed, see Rhonda’s interview with him.
To complicate matters, there are 3 main ways to consume sulforaphane:
- Pure Sulforaphane – Average bioavailability of 70%*
- Glucoraphanin + Myrosinase – Average bioavailability of 35%*
- Glucoraphanin only – Average bioavailability of 10%*
* Bioavailability numbers come from Jed Fahey’s research at John Hopkins (source).
Below is a list of the sulforaphane supplements tested and used by Jed Fahey’s team at John Hopkins University in their clinical studies:
A French manufacturer called Nutrinov currently makes the only free-form stabilized sulforaphane supplement on the market; Prostaphane. So far it’s only available in France. Rather than containing sulforaphane glucosinolate like most sulforaphane products, it contains a free-form stabilized version of sulforaphane. They market it to help with an aging prostate, but as it’s pure sulforaphane, it has many other benefits.
For those outside of France, the easiest alternative is a product by Nutramax Laboratories called Avmacol. It contains the glucoraphanin (sulforaphane glucosinolate) extracted from broccoli seeds, alongside the activation enzyme myrocinase. Adding the myrocinase makes the glucoraphanin more bioavailable than without it.
The last sulforaphane supplement that has been tested by Jed Fahey and his team is Thorne’s Crucera-SGS. This contains glucoraphanin (sulforaphane glucosinolate, or SGS), but doesn’t contain the additional myrocinase enzyme. Interestingly, our guts do contain bacteria that convert glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. The amounts vary from person to person, and aren’t as optimal as consuming active myrocinase.
- The 3 supplements above have been tested and used in clinical trials by John Hopkins University – so we can trust they contain what they say, unlike many other broccoli sprout supplements that are ineffective.
- The most bioavailable supplement is Prostaphane, but this is only distributed in France.
- The next most bioavailable product is Avmacol, which is available in the USA.
Another benefit of using Avmacol over home grown sprouts is for situations where risk of infection must be minimized – including pregnant mothers and those with compromised immune systems. Home grown sprouts run the risk of bacterial contamination, if they’re not kept completely sterile, whereas sprouts processed into Avmacol do not carry this risk.
Rhonda currently takes 1 tablet of Prostaphane per day.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by our bodies to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. We produce melatonin as the sun sets and night sets in, and we reduce production as the sun rises and our body preps for wakefulness. Rhonda is currently supplementing a low dose melatonin supplement nightly to help regulate her sleep cycle.
She suggests melatonin can be useful as we age (particularly for those 50+), because over time our natural production decreases.
The aspect of melatonin production decreasing with age is important (see this study for more discussion). We know that good sleep is absolutely crucial to overall health, so if we can supplement melatonin and measure a noticeable positive impact on sleep, that’s a huge (easy) win. This can be coupled with exercise, which also improves sleep quality (for both younger and older people).
With melatonin, it’s easy to fall into the trap of more = better. However an MIT study found that supplementing no more 300mcg (microgram) was ideal. Doses above this induced hypothermia (being too cold during sleep) and caused melatonin levels in the blood to remain elevated the next day (which can lead to grogginess).
It’s actually not so easy to get low dose melatonin supplement, because most are measuring in mg (milligram) range (such as 2mg, 5mg etc) which is much higher than 300mcg, but a company called Life Extension do offer a 300mcg supplement – which fits into the parameters of the MIT study.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 1 capsule/nightly
Supplements Used Intermittently
In a recent podcast with Kevin Rose (Jan 2020 – link), Rhonda discussed magnesium and how she aims to get it largely from her diet, in particular leafy green vegetables.
The reason that leafy green vegetables are a good source, is that magnesium composes part of the chlorophyll molecule, the green pigment in plants that helps absorb light. So, if you see dark green vegetables, you know you’ll be getting some of the bound-up magnesium from it. Despite this, approximately 1/2 the US population are thought to be deficient in it7
When Rhonda feels she may not be getting enough magnesium from her diet, she says she will supplement with magnesium bisglycenate, at approximately 200mg. In the podcast she didn’t actually mention which brand she uses for this, but I’d imagine it’s something like Thorne’s Magnesium Bisglycinate, given that she often uses Thorne products, and they happen to make one with exactly 200mg/dose.
Rhonda’s Dosage: 200mg – when needed
Rhonda carries one ApoE4 allele, which makes omega-3 phospholipids particularly interesting. ApoE4 (and aging!) can cause omega-3 DHA uptake by the brain to become less efficient. Omega-3 phospholipids get around this because the body has a separate transporter for them (MSF2DA8), thus improving DHA uptake in a situation where it would otherwise be poor. Rhonda has written more on this subject in a paper she published, and I summarized here. Another benefit of phospholipid omega-3s are that they contain astaxanthin, which protects the omega-3s (EPA & DHA) from oxidation, and similarly protects brain cells from oxidation9.
Wild Salmon Roe Caviar
Rhonda is a big fan of wild salmon roe caviar, which is a potent source of omega-3 phospholipids (~438 mg of EPA and ~514 mg of DHA per ounce).
Rhonda buys her salmon roe caviar in 2.2lbs bulk quantity from Vital Choice. It comes frozen in quarters, allowing you to use one section at a time.
Previously she was supplementing Omega-3 phospholipids using Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids.
Side note – I’ve taken Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids as part of my supplement stack, and it’s worth noting, they’re really “strong” tasting – stronger than regular fish oil. You definitely want to throw them down with a substantial meal, don’t try them on an empty stomach!
Previous Dosage: 4 capsules/daily of Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids
Prior to the Nordic Naturals, Rhonda was taking her omega-3 phospholipids via NOW Neptune Krill Oil 1000. However she no longer believes Krill Oil to be an optimal source of omega-3 phospholipids – given the small amounts of EPA & DHA per serving when compared with other sources.
Rhonda is keenly aware of the importance of a healthy gut microbiome. Rhonda takes Visbiome probiotics sachets every few weeks to top up on healthy gut bacteria. The rest of the time she relies on her diet to meet those needs.
Last year Rhonda had a baby boy, and began breastfeeding. During this process she was taking Visbiome sachets once daily. This move was based on research from a study that showed mothers who supplement with the probiotic Visbiome during late pregnancy and while nursing, had lowered inflammatory biomarkers in their breast milk. It also improved symptoms of colic in their newborns10.
Visbiome comes in sachet and pill form. Rhonda opts for the sachets which contain 4x as many live bacteria.
Before switching over to Visbiome, Rhonda was taking VSL #3 probiotic, which had been the subject of over 25 publishes studies, showing efficacy in IBS, IBD, colitis and c. diff. However, it turns out the new formulation of VSL #3 differs significantly from the old one11, and thus should be treated with caution at minimum, and at maximum, avoided. I mention this section because for some people Visbiome is hard to get hold of, and up until now, it was thought VSL #3 was a satisfactory alternative. Below summarizes the details:
VSL #3 was originally created by Professor Claudio De Simone, and produced by VSL Inc. All the clinical studies before 2016 were performed on the "original formula" of VSL#3. However, when Di Simone parted ways with VSL Inc. in 2016, manufacturing was switched from USA to Italy and the formulation was changed. Between 2016 and 2019, VSL Inc. claimed that the beneficial effects of the formula remained the same. However in a federal lawsuit that concluded in 2019, VSL Inc. were found liable for false advertising related to the composition and clinical history of the new VSL #3 formula. This was in part backed up by a study12 performed by De Simone, showing that the new VSL#3 formula was materially different to the old one.
For those looking for the benefits of the original VSL# 3 formula, this continues to exist under the Visbiome brand.
Dosage: 1 sachet/Every 1-2 weeks
Rhonda has been using hydrolyzed collagen powder for a couple of years to help her joints. She consumes it by adding to smoothies and hot beverages.
Her original interest was inspired by a study that showed peptides in hydrolyzed collagen actually make it intact to cartilage, which suggests its beneficial for joint health (source).
More recently, Rhonda’s interest was piqued by another study showing that in 26 healthy females who displayed visible signs of natural and photoaging in the face, daily supplementation with 1 gram of hydrolyzed collagen powder for 12 weeks led to a 76% reduction of skin dryness/scaling and a 13% decrease in global lines and wrinkles. Additionally, an 18% increase in the content of haemoglobin was found in the skin dermis suggesting improved microcirculation (study source).
Choline – Alpha GPC
In a May 2017 podcast episode with Tim Ferriss, Rhonda discussed the 3 different nootropics that she uses and approves of. Nootropics are a category of drugs to enhance cognitive performance; aspects such as concentration, memory and mental alertness.
Rhonda’s approach when evaluating nootropic safety is:
- Avoid compounds that inhibit enzymes in the brain
- Avoid compounds that humans didn’t evolve alongside, because they haven’t been around long enough to fully understand their side effects
The three supplements she named were:
- Alpha GPC Choline – discussed below
- Sulforaphane – discussed here
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom – discussed here
Rhonda said she takes a Choline supplement on rare occasions when she is doing a lot of writing, or there’s an event she is speaking at. She finds it improves her focus and attention.
Rhonda also makes a point of including natural sources of choline in her diet, such as eggs, almonds, spinach, broccoli and chicken.
There are different forms of choline that can be supplemented, and Rhonda likes Alpha GPC because it is quick to cross the blood-brain barrier. She would take 600mg doses, noting that 300mg didn’t appear to be enough to make a difference.
Dosage: 2 capsules of NOW – Alpha GPC
Sulforaphane – From Self Grown Broccoli Sprouts
When Rhonda has the time, she opts to get her sulforaphane through self-grown broccoli sprouts. Sprouts are easy to grow with a bit of initiative. To emulate Rhonda’s exact broccoli sprout growing setup you’ll want:
- Ball Mason jars – specifically quart size, wide mouth
- Sprouter lids – wide mouth to fit the Ball jars
- Organic broccoli sprout seeds – a good example being Sprout House Organic Non-GMO**
**Its been pointed out in the comments that a number of broccoli seed retailers are, in fact, selling "Rapini/Raab/Rabe" seeds - marketed as regular broccoli speeds. They're actually a different family of brassicas than broccoli - despite looking vaguely similar when fully grown. Until research says otherwise, we don't know if they contain sulforaphane, so is worth watching out for (to avoid) when buying seeds. The sprout house seeds linked above, according to the seller, are "usually the cultivar Calabrese" (link) - which is a regular broccoli type that will contain sulforaphane.
Out of curiosity I bought both seed types, in case it was possible to visually tell the difference between the unsprouted seeds (it's very hard) - you can view the pictures here.
See Rhonda’s IG post for the size of mason jars she uses, and see her video on heating sprouts for brand of jars. She was previously running 6 jars in rotation, freezing them in ziplocks as soon as they’re ready. However, more recently (mentioned in her August 2018 crowdcast) she has stopped freezing them, instead opting to put them in the fridge post-harvest. This is because (for unknown reasons) her and her partner Dan were finding they had stomach distress on the sprouts consumed from frozen, compared to if they consumed them fresh.
Rhonda harvests every 3 days, based on research from Jed Fahey, suggesting the sprouts contain more glucoraphanin whilst young.
Rhonda suggests that the best data we have on dosage comes from the clinical trials done. She references these 3 in her sulforaphane video:
- 60mg sulforaphane tablets (= 140g fresh broccoli sprouts) – Study showed sulforaphane slowed the doubling rate of a cancer biomarker (known as prostate specific antigen or PSA) by 86%
- 40mg sulforaphane sprout powder (= 100g fresh broccoli sprouts) – Study showed sulforaphane lowered serum triglycerides by 18% and lower oxidized LDL ratio by 13%. Overall, this reduced the trial participants atherogenic index by 50%.
- 40mg sulforaphane sprout powder (= 100g fresh broccoli sprouts) – Study showed sulforaphane reduced inflammation in type 2 diabetics: TNF-alpha by 11%, CRP by 16%.
These studies suggest you want to aim for between 40mg & 60mg sulforaphane (100g to 140g fresh weight sprouts) if you want to emulate their results. This is based on the approximation that 1 gram of fresh weight sprouts is equivalent to 0.425mg of sulforaphane.
To put this into perspective, the quart size Ball mason jars Rhonda uses yield approximately 280g fresh weight per jar when full – which brings 1 jar close to 120mg sulforaphane content.
Rhonda said (on her last Tim Ferriss podcast) she consumes up to 4 ounces (113g) of broccoli sprouts a few times per week.
In terms of consuming them, you’ll probably want to emulate Rhonda, who adds the sprouts to smoothies and blends them in her Blendtec – to mask the taste with other flavors. You want to avoid juicing, as this will discard the pre-biotic fiber that is beneficial to our gut microbiome.
Increasing Broccoli Sprouts Bioavailability
Rhonda had previously created a video on tripling the bioavailability of sulforaphane in the sprouts via heating. However, after discussing the process with John Hopkins researchers Jed Fahey, she has since stopped it – based on Jed suggesting that this is not necessarily. This also avoids the risk of overheating the sprouts, and therefore disabling the myrocinase enzyme – which would be sub-optimal.
Recommendations for Family
Whilst Rhonda doesn’t supplement beet powder herself, she did use it successfully to lower her mother and mother-in-law’s blood pressure, and thus avoid them getting on blood pressure medication (see Rhonda’s Instagram post on this topic for more info).
Additionally, she talks about the many studies that have shown positive effects of beets on blood pressure, endothelial function, heart health, improved blood flow to the brain, and endurance performance. Beets are apparently one of the highest sources of nitrate (which then gets converted into nitric oxide) and is thought to increase blood flow to the brain. Beets are also high in vitamin C, which prevents the conversion of nitrates into nitrosamines (those carcinogens that are formed from the nitrites which are used as preservatives).
The Activz Organic Beet Powder Rhonda used for her family has the equivalent of 1 cup of beet juice per 9 gram scoop (~3 teaspoons). Her Mum was taking 9g per day for 2 weeks before she got her blood pressure re-tested.
Unfortunately Activz Organic Beet Powder appears to be out of stock everywhere, so have listed some potential alternatives below. Unfortunately was unable to find an option that’s both made in USA and organic. The options where the beets are grown in India is both organic, and well priced, I just don’t know much about the rigor of India’s organic produce.
|Product||Price per 100g||Non GMO?||Organic?||Country of Production|
|LaJoie Beet Powder||$5.93||Non GMO||Not organic||USA|
|Antler Farms Beet Powder||$15.00||Non GMO||Organic||New Zeland|
|Micro Ingredients Beet Powder||$5.94||Non GMO||Organic||India|
Vitamin B Complex
Rhonda doesn’t take B vitamins in addition to the B vitamins in her multivitamin. In part, because Rhonda does not have 677CT or 677TT MTHFR mutations that indicate poor vitamin B absorption.
However, for those like her mum who are T-homozygous the MTHFR gene (SNP = rs1801133), which leads to poor uptake of folate, they may benefit from up to 800 micrograms supplementation of 5 methylfolate. If you were to take O.N.E multivitamin, which contains 400mcg, you would need an additional source such as Swansons B-Complex, which has 400 micrograms per capsule. Other B vitamins that may be of benefit for this issue are B6 and B12.
Swanson’s B-Complex is the B vitamin Rhonda took previously (source), before she cut back on B vitamins, and its particularly useful because it contains methylated versions of the B vitamins. Which is an exception, rather than the rule for vitamin B complex supplements.
To understand your own bodies ability to absorb vitamin B, you need to sequence your SNPs. The cheapest way to do that is to use 23andMe’s $99 service (you don’t need their $199 service) or Ancestry’s $99 service. Once that’s done you can export your SNP data to services like Promethease ($10) and/or Rhonda’s genetics tool ($10).
Not Currently Taking
This section covers supplements that Rhonda has previously taken but isn’t currently. I could just strike them from the list, but I think for some this list (and the rationales) may be of interest.
Rhonda had previously discussed taking a curcumin supplement (Thorne Meriva) for its anti-inflammatory effects – initially talking about using it to help with inflammation and pain (including the discomfort experienced with PMS), and later transitioning to taking it daily as part of her supplement regime. She has now stopped taking curcumin daily.
However she still appears to be enthusiastic about the benefits of Meriva for mild pain relief, having discussed it again recently on a Crowdcast. Note there are 2 versions, the “regular” 500mg per dose version (link) and the double strength 1,000mg per version (link).
Related to curcumin, Rhonda discussed the herb it’s derived from, Turmeric, in an Instagram post (link). She expressed her concern at lead chromate being added to turmeric during processing to enhance the yellow color.
Note: the easiest way to find this comment thread on her Instagram is to open the post via the Instagram mobile app – where this is the top comment. If instead you view via a web browser, then the comment isn’t at the top, and it may be hard to locate.
For more info on turmeric and lead chromate, see these studies:
- Ground Turmeric as a Source of Lead Exposure in the United States – link
- Lead chromate pigments added to turmeric threaten public health across Bangladesh – link
Rhonda continues to utilize turmeric in its organic form (which doesn’t have lead chromate added) – both as juices and in smoothies. It has a host of potential benefits, including:
- A randomized controlled trial showed that a bioavailable form of curcumin improved memory in older people with mild memory complaints. The curcumin group had a 28% improvement in their memory/attention abilities and fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, compared to the placebo. The latter (amyloid plaques and tau tangles) affect optimal brain function, and are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Additionally a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial showed antidepressive effects in patients with major depression13
The bioavailability of curcumin can be increased with the addition of fat and a component of black pepper called piperine. For fat sources, Rhonda adds avocado to her smoothies that have turmeric (see her Instagram post on this).
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Rhonda was using Four Sigmatic’s Lion’s Mane tea for intense periods of writing and creative work up until she became pregnant in 2017. At which point she stopped all non-essential supplementation, including Lion’s Mane, in order to minimize any risk to her baby.
On her August 2018 crowdcast, Rhonda mentioned she hasn’t yet gone back to Lion’s Mane, due to concern over heavy metals, which mushrooms are good at absorbing from soil. She plans to look into it more in the future and check lab tests.
Off the back of her comment, I did look briefly into Four Sigmatic’s testing, and it appears they do indeed test for heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury) + other toxins & chemicals (source). They apparently used to provide lab reports on request, but have stopped doing so since having multiple batches live for sale at any one time, such that the report they send may not apply exactly to the batch you have. That said, they guarantee to have < 1 PPM of arsenic, < 0.1 PPM of Cadmium, <1 PPM of lead and < 0.05 PPM of Mercury.
Briefly – About Lion’s Mane Mushroom…
The Lion’s Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is generally consumed for its cognitive benefits. A study (source) showed that it can increase nerve growth factor, which is involved primarily in the growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of neurons.
Another study (source) showed that it improved cognitive impairment in a placebo controlled group of 30 adults aged 50-80. They consumed 3g per day of Lion’s Mane powder for 16 weeks. At weeks 8, 12 & 16 they showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group. Four weeks after stopping the Lion’s Mane supplementation their scores decreased significantly.
Rhonda’s Previous Dosage: 1x 3g pack of Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Elixir
Prior to having her son, Rhonda was experimenting with a Nicotinamide Riboside supplement by Thorne. However whilst pregnant, Rhonda stopped taking any non-essential supplements (including Nicotinamide Riboside) that could pose even the slightest risk to her child.
The nicotinamide riboside product she was taking before was called Thorne NiaCel (now discontinued) – which contained Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride made by Chromadex. Chromadex also produce Nicotinamide Riboside under their own brand; called Tru Niagen.
As of yet, Rhonda hasn’t come back to taking Nicotinamide Riboside, and has said she is waiting for more human research to be completed.
In her Dec 2019 Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussion, she discussed Resveratrol, saying that she doesn’t take it currently, but is considering taking it.
She says her interest in resveratrol stems mainly from preliminary clinical trials showing positive benefits in cognition for older and cognitively impaired adults, including:
- A study, 200mg/daily resveratrol supplementation improved healthy 50-75 year olds memory recall14.
- In another study, patients with alzheimer’s disease who took resveratrol saw improvements in cognition, and decreases in biomarkers of alzheimers disease and inflammation15.
Her current reservation is around a study that showed 250mg/day of resveratrol blunted the positive effects of exercise16. However, another study using 500mg showed synergistic effects in combination with exercise17. Rhonda’s current hypothesis for why is that at lower doses resveratrol may act as a mild antioxidant, which then blunts the positive effects of exercise (similar to high dose Vitamin E).
When asked what type of resveratrol she would take, she said a micronized powder form, and that a company called RevGenetics make that (noting again that she has no connection with them or any other supplement company).
For more on David Sinclair and the supplements he takes, including Resveratrol and NMN, see this separate post.
Metformin has been studied in humans since the 1950’s, and is most commonly taken to battle type 2 diabetes. In recent years its become popular amongst biohackers looking to extend their healthspan + lifespan. As this novel, off-label use has become more popular, its invited further research into whether this approach makes sense.
In a recent podcast with Kevin Rose (Jan 2020 – link), Rhonda discussed the use of metformin for longevity.
She notes that exercise is better at preventing type 2 diabetes than metformin, citing a randomized controlled trial involving 3,200 people18. She also questions the value of metformin in healthy individuals who exercise. This is because the health benefits of exercise are vast and well documented, and it appears that metformin inhibits a number of these. Namely:
- Reduction in gaining lean muscle mass whilst on an exercise program, compared to placebo19.
- Inhibition of mitochondrial adaptations and improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness by 50 percent and diminished whole-body insulin sensitivity after aerobic exercise20.
So when it comes to healthy individuals who exercise, she doesn’t see any synergy with the use of metformin for improving healthspan and lifespan. However, for people who don’t exercise, then the use of metformin may warrant further inspection. See Rhonda’s research section on metformin for more info.
Note that if you’re interested in taking the prescription drug metformin for off-label use, you should consult with a doctor on the subject. The above does not construe medical advice in any shape or form.
For those outside mainland USA, Rhonda’s multivitamin; Pure Encapsulations O.N.E can sometimes be difficult to obtain. A good alternative (Rhonda used one of Thorne’s multivitamins during pregnancy) is:
Other comparable options include:
- Thorne Research – Multi-Vitamin Elite (High end, somewhat pricey)
- Now Foods Special Two
- Optimum Nutrition – Opti-Men
The two options by Thorne contain methylated B vitamins, including folate in place of folic acid. With the Elite version containing extras such as vitamin K, curcumin phytosome and choline.
The Now Foods & Optimum Nutrition options don’t contain methylated B vitamins, but are still reasonable options if Thorne products are hard to come by.
This ends the main list of supplements. Below we’ll look at supplements Rhonda used during her pregnancy (a section which, of course, won’t be applicable to all). You can instead skip to the next section – Rhonda’s Method for Choosing Supplement Brands.
Rhonda’s Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Supplement Regimen
First & Second Trimesters
Rhonda’s regular supplement regime contains products such as Lion’s Mane mushrooms and Nicotinamide Riboside that haven’t been tested on pregnant women. Therefore to maintain absolute safety, Rhonda removed all these supplements from her diet whilst pregnant, and only used the following:
- Multivitamin – Thorne Research Prenatal – 3 capsules/day
- Fish Oil – Norwegian Pure-3 DHA – 5 capsules/day
- Vitamin D – Thorne Research – D3 1,000iu – 2 capsules/day (total of 3,000iu per day, including the 1,000iu of D3 from Thorne Prenatal)
- Rhonda continued using the products above, and added Visbiome probiotics – 1 sachet/day. She didn’t take probiotics first or second trimester.
- Her third trimester blood test results came back showing iron deficiency, so she added an extra iron supplement: Thorne Research – Iron Bisglycinate. This won’t be necessary unless your blood test results indicate low levels. The prenatal multivitamin already contains 45mg of iron bisglycinate.
Breastfeeding Supplement Regimen
- Multivitamin – Thorne Research – Prenatal – 3 capsule/day
- Fish Oil – Norwegian Pure-3 DHA – 5 capsules/day
- Probiotics – Visbiome Probiotic – 1 sachet/day
- Vitamin D – Thorne Research – D3 1,000iu – 5 capsules/day (6,000iu of vitamin D per day total, including the 1,000iu of D3 from Thorne Prenatal)
- PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) – Life Extension – PQQ – 1 capsule/day
- Vitamin K2 – Thorne Research K2/D3 Drops – 1 drop/every 2-3 days
The source for details on Rhonda’s breastfeeding supplement regime is 1hr 38mins into her October crowdcast video for Patreon supporters.
(It’s worth noting with the above study, that it was performed on people in rural China. It’s possible they were already mildly deficient in micronutrients, thus the multivitamin supplement had a noticeable impact on their children’s IQ. That being said, we know that even in developed countries like the USA, segments of the population are mildly deficient in essential micronutrients, so the study still holds value. What has not been proven is that a multivitamin could improve IQ where no deficiency exists).
Research has shown that pregnant women need more of certain nutrients than they would otherwise. Rhonda opted to use a multivitamin by Thorne called Basic Prenatal. This has a number of key benefits:
- Supplementation of folic acid reduces the risk of having a child born with brain of spinal cord birth defect21. Basic Prenatal uses the methylated form of folate (5-MTHF), which is optimal even for those with an MTHFR mutation that makes them less efficient at utilizing folic acid. Actually, for those women with the aforementioned MTHFR mutation, neural tube defects are a bigger risk than normal22
- As well as using an optimal version of folic acid, Basic Prenatal also uses a well absorbed version of iron, iron bisglycinate, which meets a pregnant woman’s need for increased iron, whilst being easy on the stomach and non-constipating.
- It contains several of Basic Prenatal’s ingredients (including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin K) have been demonstrated to benefit morning sickness.
- Lastly, it doesn’t contain any additives like stearates, colorants or preservatives – unlike some mainstream prenatal supplements.
For more information on approaches Rhonda took to her pregnancy and breastfeeding, see this detailed post I’ve written up on the subject.
Rhonda’s Method for Choosing Supplement Brands
The supplement industry, surprisingly, is largely unregulated. Especially when compared to the stringent regulations that are imposed on the pharmaceutical industry. This amplifies the importance of choosing a supplement that you can rely upon. In a Tim Ferriss interview Rhonda recommended that you check if the supplement brand you’re looking to buy is certified by the NSF (National Sanitary Foundation). Their role is to independently test and certify supplements, to ensure they do not contain undeclared ingredients or contaminants. Due to the rigorous testing and inspection, NSF certification is a useful guideline when looking for safe supplement brands. Use the NSF site to search for brands you may want to buy.
As a guideline, below is the list of brands that Rhonda often uses (either currently, or in the past):
- Pure Encapsulations – see their NSF certification
- Thorne Research – see their NSF certification
- Life Extension – see their NSF certification
- Nordic Naturals – see their NSF certification
Hopefully the above post has been interesting, and you’ve taken away something useful from it.
If you value the research and content that Rhonda is putting out, consider signing up become a premium member on her site. Firstly, this crowd sponsored support allows her to continue to work independently, without being reliant on sponsors or grants. Secondly, premium members get a number of exclusive benefits, including members only emails, monthly Ask Me Anything live streams and open access to use her genetics reports.
If you’re looking for further Rhonda Patrick related content, below are some related posts I’ve written:
- A detailed post on Rhonda’s diet – including examples of her breakfast, lunch and dinner (link)
- A post on Rhonda’s approach to exercise + examples of what she does (link)
- Notes on many of the key things Rhonda has discussed about pregnancy, breastfeeding & baby health – based on her journey into motherhood (link)
Post Change Log
For those curious, see this post for a log of the key changes to this article, starting from August 17 2018.
See Post Sources Below:
- Dietary pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) alters indicators of inflammation and mitochondrial-related metabolism in human subjects – Harris et al (2013)
- Effect of the Antioxidant Supplement Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt (BioPQQ) on Cognitive Functions – Itoh et al (2016)
- The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people – Francis et al (2006)
- Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study – Desideri et al. (2012)
- Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling – Patel et al. (2015)
- Cadmium and lead in cocoa powder and chocolate products in the US Market – Abt et al (2017)
- Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? – Rosanoff et al. (2012)
- Mfsd2a is a transporter for the essential omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid – Nguyen et al (2014)
- Amelioration of oxidative stress and protection against early brain injury by astaxanthin after experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage – Zhang et al (2014)
- Administration of a Multi-Strain Probiotic Product to Women in the Perinatal Period Differentially Affects the Breast Milk Cytokine Profile and May Have Beneficial Effects on Neonatal Gastrointestinal Functional Symptoms. A Randomized Clinical Trial – Baldasarre et al. (2016)
- P884 No shared mechanisms among “old” and “new” VSL#3: Implications for claims and guidelines - C De Simone (2018)
- P884 No shared mechanisms among “old” and “new” VSL#3: Implications for claims and guidelines - C De Simone (2018)
- Add-on Treatment with Curcumin Has Antidepressive Effects in Thai Patients with Major Depression: Results of a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study – Kanchanatawan et al. (2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29327213
- Effects of Resveratrol on Memory Performance, Hippocampal Functional Connectivity, and Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Older Adults – Witte et al. (2014)
- Resveratrol regulates neuro-inflammation and induces adaptive immunity in Alzheimer’s disease – Moussa et al. (2017)
- Resveratrol blunts the positive effects of exercise training on cardiovascular health in aged men – Gliemann et al (2013)
- Resveratrol Enhances Exercise-Induced Cellular and Functional Adaptations of Skeletal Muscle in Older Men and Women – Alway et al. (2017)
- Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin – Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group (2002)
- Metformin blunts muscle hypertrophy in response to progressive resistance exercise training in older adults: A randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, multicenter trial: The MASTERS trial – Walton et al (Sept 2019)
- Metformin inhibits mitochondrial adaptations to aerobic exercise training in older adults – Konopka et al (2018)
- Multivitamin/Folic Acid Supplementation in Early Pregnancy Reduces the Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/379576
- Association between MTHFR C677T polymorphism and neural tube defect risks: A comprehensive evaluation in three groups of NTD patients, mothers, and fathers – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23056169