Well hello! Welcome to another stressful and unsettling week 😟 All jokes aside, I hope everybody is having a healthy week… I keep seeing this meme running rampant on social media and the meme goes something like this...
Ha! I sure hope not. But in keeping with the theme of scarcity, COVID-19 and CDC uncertainty, I thought, now more than ever would be a wonderful time to address a question that I get asked so often - “Louisa, what supplements do you take” and “What does your day look like”.
Then I get the follow up question: “So why would you need to take supplements for health, fitness, and longevity? Doesn't nutrient-dense food, good water, and relatively clean living give you enough crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants”
I get the question: life is already complicated, there is a dizzying array of supplements to choose from, and the expense can add up fast, as can the clutter and confusion from eight billion bottles of capsules, tinctures, powders, oils, tablets and packets in your pantry.
Before we get into it, I think it's helpful to understand what I'm about to say because it, to a great degree informs other opinions I may have about different approaches on diet. I think the specifics of diet will eventually be better understood to not be a one size fits all. That said, I found some things that have worked for me personally and some of them are probably still relatively generalizable enough as to be useful for others.
I know most people are focused on macronutrients, instead, I just mainly follow a rule of thumb that I should eliminate refined carbohydrates and in particular refined sugar, and then I try to eat with a special attention to nutrient density. I don’t subscribe to the carnivore diet nor do I subscribe to a plant food diet. So without going into too much detail on diet and food I thought it would be better to focus just on supplements and protocols.
So team, get ready as I take you through the journey of my daily protocols from sunrise to sunset.
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I wake up at the same time every day and record my wake time (2 hrs before was temperature minimum).
First thing I do is get bright light exposure for 25-30 minutes. I do this in the form of a morning walk- no matter what the weather is, I am outside walking. If i get caught up or have a super early morning meeting I can’t get out of I use a 10,000 lux light box to kick start my circadian rhythm.
My workouts in the morning are usually cardio based and since I do a 30 minute walk each morning I ramp up the speed and then I will do 30 minutes of cardio either on a stationary bike or on my road bike.
I drink 22 oz water with 0.5 tsp salt and I rarely drink coffee anymore. I used to be a huge coffee drinker I until I moved to NYC.
I fast until 12pm daily and therefore my first meal is pretty much like my lunch.
I then take 2mg of EPA/DHA with food. If you want to read more about this and why I supplement with EPA/ DHA read this article. You should also check your Omega 3 levels via a “omega-3 index test” to get a baseline understanding of what your score is. I never skip my EPA and DHA, it is so embedded into my routine now.
Once a week I make a smoothie and have that instead of a meal and when I do this I use Moringa Powder. It doesn’t taste the best but it is packed with nutrients that my body loves.
I usually work for 3 hours non-stop and uninterrupted and then take a 15 minute walking break. I try to get outside as much as I can during the day.
I am experimenting in the New Year with a 90 minute work cycle followed by a 15 minute walking brain and repeating this a few times a day to see if there are any changes in my focus and attention.
5000 IU of Vitamin D- Thorne
Zinc Bisglycinate 15 mg
120mg of magnesium via Thorne- Magnesium Bisglycinate. 120mg is only around 30% of the RDA, so I aim to get the majority of magnesium from my diet.
2g of EPA/ DHA (this is my second dose so I am getting 4g/ day)
1g (1,000mg) of Ascorbic Acid
L-Tyrosine - this is a precursor to dopamine that I use on occasion to enhance focus and attention. It is a popular dietary supplement that many use to improve alertness and attention. It is believed to help nerve cells communicate as well as possibly regulate mood.
Three times a week I will do strength and resistance training which I get done in the afternoon at about 4pm.
I stop eating three hours before sleep
I optimise my sleep with Magensium L-Threonate and on the rare occasion, I have 5mg of melatonin. 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 big (easy) win.
Theanine – 200-400mg
Apigenin – 50mg
I tend to eat my biggest meal at dinner time. I don’t shy away from carbs as I do whatever I can to help my sleep so I tend to eat a high-starchy carb dinner with some protein to improve sleep
I take a hot shower 20 minutes before I go to sleep.
Risks of Supplements
When it comes to supplementation, brand is the most important factor as supplements are not regulated. There are tonnes of supplements out there that are not high quality and some of these companies are putting fillers/ cheaper ingredients inside them and claiming they contain what it says on the bottle.
There are peer reviewed studies showing that alot of the herbal supplements sold on the shelves of groceries stores and at pharmacies only provide a small percentage of what the label says it has in it. So it’s super important that you do your research!
In these cases it is so important to know your brands and only buy from reputable companies. I get 90% of my supplements from Thorne. They are by far the best quality supplements on the market.
There’s two services I use when checking the quality of a product:
Many of you know that I sleep on an Eight Sleep Mattress to optimise my core body temperature while I sleep. I have been tracking the time spent in each sleep stage (Light, Deep, REM Sleep) for years and it has been so exciting watching the wearables industry grow each year. Temperature triggers sleep and influences sleep depth therefore I manipulate my core temperature with the mattress.
To fall asleep and stay asleep, the body's core temperature needs to drop by about 1 degree Celsius, roughly 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler indoor temperatures mimic the natural pattern of cool evenings and are essential to reducing the body's core temperature. Manipulating the core body temperature through hot baths, showers, or saunas – which can have a paradoxical effect on reducing core body temperature – can have dramatic effects on our ability to fall asleep.
What did I do prior to sleeping on the Eight Sleep Pod Pro? Well, I used to take a hot bath which was filled with epson salts aiding in my sleep pressure making me feel relaxed and tired.
Questions I ask myself regarding sleep
How did I sleep last night?
How much sleep do I need?
When should I start winding down?
What time did I start to get sleepy yesterday?
What was my sleep score for each stage?
As stated in my email last week, please go and get tested if you want to add anything into your diet. You cannot expect to guess the dosages of what you may or may not be deficient in.
Oh and one last thing….
If you enjoyed the last episode of The Neuro Experience Podcast, you will love this weeks episode which is short, sweet and to the point.
I fly solo to discuss Vitamin D and touch on the following important themes:
A crash course in Vitamin D- from precursor to active form.
Vitamin D and its link to sleep.
VItamin D values and daily doses.
You can listen to the full episode here on the podcast website.
That's all for this week!
Have a great sleep, stay hydrated and as always… see you next week!
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