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I recommend these 5 supplements to everyone. This includes omnivores, carnivores, keto dieters, and vegans.

Scroll down to the “Supplements for specific needs” section to see if you might need more.

Smart supplementation: Vitamins, minerals, and superfoods (see below). Most (but not all) other supplements are a waste of your good money at best and harmful at worst.

Vitamins & Minerals EVERYONE Needs

1) Multivitamin

2) Vitamin D

  • The RDA of D is 200-400 IU per day which is far too low. So even though many multivitamins have D, many do not have enough.
  • How much? Between 2,000 and 5,000 IU daily. More than 8,000 IU daily could cause overdose, with elevated calcium levels and increase risk of seizure. If you spend a lot of time outdoors with sun on exposed skin 2000 IU will likely be enough. Most folks need 4-5,000 IU daily.
  • Brand example: Carlson Labs Super Daily D3 Vitamin, 2000 (if you spend a lot of time outdoors) or 4000  (if you are mostly indoors) IU these drops should last 1 year, recommended due to the oil. 
  • Reason: We used to get D from sunshine before we built houses and moved indoors, another source no longer available to most of us is liver or fatty tissue from animals that themselves got sunshine: 

Minerals EVERYONE Needs (To counteract soil depletion)

3) Magnesium Oxide.

  • How much? 240-400mg. Much more than 400 can irritate the digestive system
  • Brand example http://www.naturemade.com/minerals/magnesium/magnesium-oxide 
  • Why mag oxide versus chelated magnesium or other formulations? The absorption benefit to chelated magnesium is about 10% but the size of chelated magnesium pills is much larger so you have to take more pills or pills so large that not everyone can easily swallow.
  • Why do we need magnesium? Every cell in the body needs magnesium. Key functions include antioxidant defense (as a cofactor in antioxidant enzymes), bone and teeth, as well as brain and nervous system operations.

4) Zinc Picolinate, 22 mg- 50mg.

  • Brand example:  Solgar  
  • How much? 22-50mg. Much more than 50mg can irritate the digestive system.
  • Notes on formulation: Zinc picolinate contains 20% elemental zinc. Therefore 50 mg of zinc picolinate contains 10 mg elemental zinc. The RDA for men and women is 11mg and 8mg respectively, and the upper tolerable limit is 40mg of elemental zinc. Too much gives many people digestive upset.
  • Why do we need zinc? Every cell in the body needs zinc. Key functions include antioxidant defense (as a cofactor in antioxidant enzymes), immune system function, and DNA replication–making supplementation especially essential during pregnancy.

5) Bone Broth – Collagen

The nutrients in home-made bone stock are unique and represent a missing food group from most American’s diets.

RECIPES: Luke and I made a couple of how-to videos ourselves here. It’s not the easiest recipe, there are many others, but it’s the tastiest!

How much? The answer truly depends on what recipe and how much of the nutrients are concentrated in each cup. If you follow our recipe and the stock turns to gelatin in the fridge 1/2 cup per day is enough. If it does not gelatinize, then you need more, roughly 1-2 cups.

If you don’t have time to make bone stock from scratch and don’t like the boxed products (Kirkland brand organic chicken stock or Pacific Organic chicken or beef stock). I highly recommend these stand in products. 

Cartilage 

  • Food Science of Vermont Superior Cartilage
  • Ancestral Science Bovine Tracheal Cartilage

BEST!! Collagen + Cartilage Combo

  • CB Supplements Multi Collagen Protein. Use promo code drcate to get $5 off this premium grade collagen powder. This is the only supplement I actually endorse. 

For help understanding how seed oils and other nutritional issues may have affected your health, and how to recover the fastest, please schedule a consultation.  


Supplements for Specific Needs

Read carefully to see if any of these apply to you. This information is not meant to be a complete detailed replacement for a consultation for specific nutritional advice

Vitamins for Carnivore dieters and (most) NON VEGANS

Vitamin E

Most vegans get a good deal of vitamin E from foods like soy and other nuts and seeds that contain a good deal of vitamin E. However, unless you are very plant strong this way, you probably don’t get enough. Animal foods that are high in vitamin E are rare in our food system, today and some are illegal–like brain. Testicle and bone marrow are probably good sources of vitamin E, but research is limited. So supplementing is a good idea. NOTE: bone marrow is fat from inside the bone. Bone broth is not the same thing.

This is the most natural form of E available on the web. https://www.amazon.com/NutrastanXP-Vitamin-Wheat-Germ-Supplement/dp/B07VBN7G28/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=NutrastanXP&qid=1688402887&sr=8-5/?tag=drcate09-20

Vitamin K

Carnivore diets likely only contain adequate amounts of K if you are getting liver from pastured animals, particularly cows, or eating 4 ounces of certain high vitamin K cheeses daily, like gouda and Emmental. If not, it’s a good idea to supplement with K1, and two forms of K2 called MK4 and MK7.

Example product: https://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-Spectrum-Complex-Supplement-Capsules/dp/B01K33AQNO

Minerals for PEOPLE WHO CAN’T EAT CHEESE, YOGURT or OTHER DAIRY

Calcium

.

Minerals for VEGANS, former Vegans, and folks with THYROID disease

Iodine

Potassium,

  • Not everyone needs this but vegans and former vegans will benefit. Particularly s if you have leg cramps, in which case you may actually benefit from 2 or 3 of the 99mg type. Never take potassium if you have kidney disease without a doctor’s direct approval. Example of quality 99mg dose brand

Selenium

  • Brazil nuts are very high in selenium.
  • 10 nuts per month will get you what you need. Red meat eaters get lots of selenium because most grass is high in selenium and most cows are still at least weaned on grasses and can bioconcentrate this mineral in their tissues.

Vitamins for VEGANS And PEOPLE WITH COMMON DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

Vitamin B12

  • Who needs? Mostly vegans who don’t get fermented foods on a daily basis. The non-live culture ferment food source for vegans is nutritional yeast. I recommend Foods Alive brand.
  • How much? 100% of the RDA is plenty. More than 1000% of the RDA daily is likely too much.
  • Example supplement: Mason One a Day has 250% of the RDA of B12 so you don’t need additional supplementation unless testing has showed you are deficient.

Vitamin K2

  • Who needs? Folks who do not eat full fat cheese from pastured cows, liver or eggs from pastured and well-fed chickens.
  • How much? The RDA has not yet been set.
  • Example supplement: Innovix Labs MK4-MK7

Superfood Supplements

Cartilage and Collagen (see #5 above)

 

Liver pills…A good idea?

These do offer the most bioavailable form of iron and several B vitamins. However, they’re just dehydrated liver, so there’s not much nutrition in each capsule. The liver is 50-75% water. So if you spend $40 for a typical bottle of 180 or so capsules, you’re getting 8 to 12 ounces of liver. That’s $60 to $80 per pound. Quite a markup! No wonder there are so many companies now selling this stuff.

They also sit around for a long time and may oxidize. So the benefits are far less than what you get from actual liver.

That said, I have seen liver pills possibly correct longstanding anemia and other blood cell level abnormalities like high or low white counts for example. Of course, folks were also cutting out seed oils at the same time, so I can’t be sure what helped most.

Try to get something organic and pasture-raised. Two of my favorites are

Omega-3 Supplements

Look for supplements that say their refining process controls for oxidation, for example, this product: https://www.amazon.com/BodyBio-Kirunal-Non-Oxidizing-High-Dose-softgels/dp/B0788YFZWW

More information in my article here:  https://drcate.com/should-i-take-fish-oil-supplements-benefits-and-harms/

PRENATAL VITAMINS (PNV)

There simply is no PNV that is properly balanced, so you gotta reverse engineer it. I would follow the same 4 vitamin and mineral supplement recommendations above for non-pregnant women and add a folic acid supplement.

Why add folic acid? That’s the vitamin with evidence to support its benefits, which are primarily reducing the risk of neural tube defects but also reducing the risk of birth defects generally.

How much? Most prenatal vitamins contain 400-800 mcg folic acid or a little more.

The MVI I recommend above lists 400mcg of folic acid. And it seems prudent to consider a little bit more than that, like another 400mcg or so.

If you’ve previously had a child with a neural tube defect however the folic acid dose should be higher, 4 to 5 mg (1 milligrams=1000 micrograms) per day.

How much is too much? Well, given that folks who are high risk (see above paragraph) are often advised to take 4 to 5 mg, I would say that might be the upper limit.

Inflammation-Fighting Supplements

Turmeric supplements

Sleep Aid Supplements

  • Pure Encapsulations has a track record of actually containing what the container promises. Many different formulations exist, and it’s really tough to know what will work for a given person so if you don’t have good luck with one, try another.
  • Here’s an example, from a company that promises your satisfaction or your money back. (Check their 45 day return policy for details): https://supplementfirst.com/products/pure-encapsulations-best-rest-formula

Please note: Please do not share personal medical information in a comment on our posts. It will be deleted due to HIPAA regulations.

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. I’ve been using brick house field of greens for a year. Once a day as a smoothie. I’m not a vegetable eater. Any thoughts on them? I can say my triglycerides dropped 100 pts. since using them,but I also cut way back on sugars and junk food. May be the combo.
    I’m new to your site and info.

    1. Most supplements are a waste of money. Not only is the industry unregulated, the idea that some supplement company owner knows exactly what nutrient your body is missing is just silly.

  2. I love the CB Multi Source Collage ! Could you tell me if this product is free of glyphosates.
    Thank You much appreciated!

  3. little confused on the seed oils? I recently read that Black Seed oil is healthy for you. in reading you articles on Seed oils I have not seen any particular discussion on black seed oil. the question is does this oil fall into the bad or good category? and if good what consumption should be considered? Thanks

    1. The article refers to cooking oils. I believe Black seed oil is not sold as a cooking oil, correct? Its sold as a supplement. And it’s not a supplement I recommend.

  4. The multivitamin you recommend contains a few harmful food dyes – should we be concerned about that at all? Thank you!

    1. I don’t think so, no. For one thing, the dose is miniscule. What’s more, I’m not entirely sure they’re even harmful. Dyes are often derived from plants and we’re getting such things by eating veggies. Our liver and kidneys are designed to eliminate them.

    2. Check out Seeking Health and their multi vitamins. They are wonderful and if you are sensitive to vitamins they have different formulas.

      1. Hi Kathleen, sorry to say this but when I checked out their best seller it’s got the typical problems of wildly imbalanced vitamin content. I can’t recommend it but I’m leaving the comment here in case anyone wants to scratch this particular brand off their list.

  5. Hello!

    The Vitamin E supplement you recommend is no longer available on Amazon and I couldn’t find the product by using a basic Google search.

    Any other brand recs?

    Best,

    1. I’d look for a wheat germ oil that is unrefined. I’d give you brand recommendations but I’ve used two different ones in the past year and they seem to run out and go offline.

  6. Looking at Magnesium. You recommend Magnesium Oxide. Our local store had Magnesium Citrate. Is one better than the other?
    Thank you for your good work and sharing.

    1. Magnesium oxide is a much smaller molecule and safer than taking a huge pill. The supposed better bioavailability of other formmulations is a not very impressive 10%.

  7. Dear Dr. Cate,

    I have an 11 month old which has been raised on formula.
    Currently, she eats food and still gets 4 bottles daily.
    As formula is full of veg oil, I would like to wean her off of it.

    My concern is two-fold:

    1) What kind of milk could I give her instead? I was thinking of giving her goat’s or sheep milk.
    Can you make any recommendations?
    2) I am concerned about her not getting enough vitamins and minerals (e.g. iron) as formula contains these.
    Would you recommend a multivitamin and if yes, which one?

    Thank you! Please keep up the good work.

  8. Multivitamin

    I see your recommendations for multivitamin.

    Is there a product that contains all vitamins and minerals in one tablet? I personally use centrum men and take one capsule of fish oil (which I will stop after reading your article on fish oil)

    I am not opposed to get supplements separately as you suggest but I wonder I about those multivitamin including minerals

    Thanks

    1. Our mineral requirements are on the order of grams, so you would have to eat a grape or maybe golf ball sized pill to get all minerals in one. That’s why I break them up.

  9. Hi Kate,
    I already take magnesium but it’s in the citrate form to help regularity. Does it have to be oxide?

  10. What supplements do you recommend for children? My 10-year-old drinks raw milk. I feel he needs vitamin D because we live in the extreme north and he also needs zinc and other minerals.

    1. Yes good point. The need for supplementation is the same for kids, just at slightly lower doses depending on size/weight. If he’s roughly half an adult weight he can do half the supplement doses.

  11. Lifting weights & getting stronger is important to me. I thought Creatine was the one supplement universally agreed to help, but if memory serves, you gave it a thumbs down in Fatburn Fix. Can you explain further and provide any thoughts on supplements for folks who are in my situation?

    1. Your body makes creatine when and where you need it. You can’t force the system. It’s not like a hormone, which if you eat there’s at least a chance it might change your body (assuming your liver doesn’t break it down, which often happens–hence testosterone injections rather than pills). The supposed research supporting creatine is rife with conflicts of interest.

  12. I heard you on Megyn Kelly’s show recently and you said the protein powder is not good to put in smoothies because it is so processed. Do you feel the same about bone broth powder? Is bone broth powder a good replacement for protein powder in smoothies. You mentioned substituting greek yogurt and I tried that but did not like the taste at all.

    1. Bone broth powder is different from other protein powders, yes.
      It could make a great replacement but it’s not a complete protein so I wouldn’t rely on it for more than one meal per day.

      1. It was so nice to get a reply from you. I really appreciate it. I currently put a serving of multi-collagen protein powder in my coffee in the morning. I recently bought some bone broth protein powder and put a serving of that in my smoothie. Am I wasting my money buying both. Are the benefits similar enough that I could just buy one of them as buying both plus other supplements is quite a large monthly expense? If so, which do you think is more beneficial. If you think there is great benefit in taking both I will and just bite the budget bullet.

        1. Oh dear, whenever I hear someone spending more than a few bucks a month on supplements my heart sinks. So much money is made on these mostly worthless products. Please save your money for food! While bone broth powder may be fantastic, it’s likely redundant to the multi collagen. You don’t need both.

  13. Please could you tell me your opinion on MCT 8 oil – it’s coconut oil but do you consider it refined or not?
    I put a tablespoon in my coffee every morning.
    I also put a tablespoon of collagen powder in my coffee – what are your thoughts on this? Is it too processed to be of benefit?

    1. Yes it is definitely refined. In fact MCT oil is beyond refined, it is extensively processed to select out just the fatty acids of a certain length. I don’t recommend it because it has zero nutrients and the more I’ve looked into it the more I find reasons to worry. So I don’t think MCT oil is a good idea for your health–it can overload your mitochondria that’s possibly partly why it causes disaster pants.

    1. The main ingredient in prenatal supplements is 400mcg folic acid (higher if you’ve previously had a child with a neural tube defect). That’s the one with evidence to support it. So I would follow the same recommendations for non-pregnant women consider add a folic acid supplement. There simply is no MVI that is properly balanced that’s why you gotta reverse engineer things with multiple little pills. The MVI I recommend above lists 400mcg of folic acid. But it seems prudent to consider a little bit more than that, like maybe up to a total of 1mg (1000mcg).

Note: Please do not share personal information with a medical question in our comment section. Comments containing this content will be deleted due to HIPAA regulations.

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