The best supplement for overall health, Part 1

One of the new topics I’d like to talk about here on this blog is maintaining overall health, not just health as it pertains to tendons. I’m in my mid-50s now, still in the gym, still about as strong as I’ve ever been, and aside from a finasteride tablet that I take once a day to stave off prostate cancer (it runs in my family), I take no medications whatsoever. Basically, I’m in pretty good shape. (If you want to see a picture taken at age 52, check out this post.)

I do, however, take a few supplements. Notice that I said “a few”… I’m not a guy who thinks that taking a shovel full of pills every morning is the way to go. 98% of your nutrition needs should come from eating good food on a consistent basis. But there are some areas where a few supplements can have a very beneficial effect. I want to talk about the one that I think is the absolute best in this next couple of posts.

I have to warn you, though: I’m going to get a little sciency here. If you’ve read about or purchased my tendon pain product, you know that I like to have a firm scientific grounding for any product that I recommend, and this one won’t be any different. So I’m going to get into the weeds a little bit, and while I’ll try to simplify things as much as possible, I’ll also list a bunch of primary research sources (in Part 2) for those who want to do a little further investigation for themselves.

But I promise you, it will be worth it. This supplement can really have a noticeable, long-lasting positive impact on your health. So let’s get to it.

If you wanted to design a supplement that would have the greatest impact on general health, what effects would you be looking for? Well, the first one would obviously be preventing sickness. If you’re sick, you’re not healthy, right? Aside from inherited genetic disorders, most sicknesses are caused either by viruses or bacteria. So you would want your supplement to protect against both.

A second desirable feature of our dream supplement would be to increase “healthspan”, which is the number of years that you live in a healthy and fully functional way. And a third might be extending overall lifespan (assuming that healthspan is taken care of). I don’t know of anyone who would turn down extra years on their lives, assuming that those years were healthy, productive ones.

So is there a supplement that does all of the above? Amazingly, there is. Not only does it exhibit a strong anti-viral and antibacterial effect, it activates Nrf2 (it stands for “Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2”), which is an age-reversing gene.

In fact, Nrf2 is probably the single most important age-reversing gene. When activated, it starts a whole bunch of anti-oxidant activity in your body, and more anti-oxidants floating around means that you don’t accumulate as much “rust” as you get older. Calorie restriction, which a lot of people have probably heard about, activates Nrf2. (And in fact most of the benefits of eating less come from Nrf2 activation.) Rapamycin and resveratrol, both touted as anti-aging substances, activate Nrf2. Basically, at this point, the Nrf2 pathway looks like it holds the key to any sort of successful anti-aging supplement strategy.

(If you want more detail about Nrf2 you can read the Wikipedia entry here.)

Not only does this miracle supplement help kill viruses, not only does it help kill harmful bacteria, and not only does it activate a very important anti-aging mechanism, it also:

  • kills cancer cells
  • helps to control the accumulation of copper in the body (too much in the way of minerals in the body is another culprit in aging)
  • is anti-fungal, and
  • helps lower cholesterol.

Pretty good, huh?

So what is this miracle substance? Don’t worry, in Part 2 I’m going to tell you (and I’ll give good references for all of the claims I’ve made above). Stay tuned…