4 supplements I take

1. Creatine

This is probably the only supplement I really feel any effect from, the others are not so obvious. Creatine is almost the only supplement whose effectiveness (and safety) has been proven in numerous studies. It is probably one of the most studied supplements in general. We reviewed the creatine findings in the Creatine Guide (also available there – who needs it, how much, how long and other answers).

Creatine is especially important for those who do weight training (I do it twice a week). It replenishes the amount of creatine phosphate in the muscles, which allows for rapid production of ATP for intensive exercise. Creatine helps you work out more and recover faster.

Creatine also retains fluid in the muscles, which makes them appear larger and stronger. This is partly true. When you start taking creatine in a few days your muscles gain 1-2 kg mostly due to water retention.

Finally and most importantly – creatine improves brain function: for example, it helps with short term memory tests and logical reasoning.

Creatine monohydrate is available from nearly every manufacturer of sports nutrition and costs only about 300-1000 roubles per jar for a long time.

2. Vitamin D

My beloved dank Peter, where I live, is the world’s northernmost city with a million inhabitants. It’s getting a bit dark here at 4pm and so on until 10am.

Vital vitamin D is produced by our bodies in more than sufficient quantities when exposed to direct sunlight. But it looks like we won’t meet them here in St. Petersburg any time soon.

There are details: in general, “vitamin D” (as well as any other) is not a specific substance with a formula, but a group of substances: cholecalciferol, ergocalciferol, sitocalciferol, 2,2-dihydroergocalciferol and others. Cholecalciferol is a vitamin D3 – it is synthesised in the skin by UV rays, and is also taken in with food. Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) comes only with food. That’s why it’s important to remember to eat fish, to read vitamin composition carefully, and to remember the principle of ‘moderation and variety’.

3. Caffeine

I am a caffeine addict and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’ve always been surprised by the negative image of coffee – after all, it’s essentially just water passed through the ground beans of the plant. Oils and nuts are good, but for some reason, coffee has not pleased many people. Many even try to reduce their intake to zero in the name of a healthier lifestyle. And the sacrifice will be in vain.

Our caffeine guide has a list of positive aspects of caffeine intake.

The Ministry of Health of the pack western countries has adopted a safe dose for any adult – 400 mg per day, that is 4-5 cups of strong coffee, which I happily and without a shadow of regret drink every day.

And yes, coffee is not dehydrating (after a week of regular consumption – there are studies). And yes, I am not familiar with its negative effects, nor have I ever experienced them.

4. The hedgehog mushroom, aka the Lion’s mane

Paul Stemets – wearing a mushroom hat.

This is pure experimentation. I was so taken by the video interview Joe Rogan did with mycologist Paul Stemets (and you won’t regret 2 hours – it’s extravagant!) that I immediately ordered on iHerb the mushroom he advised me to take.

Prior to that, I had watched several lectures by our homegrown incredibly cool mycologist Michael Vishnevsky and realised how little science has yet advanced in the study of mushrooms and their active ingredients. The vast majority of mushroom poisons, for example, have no antidote, simply because scientists still have no idea what works in them and how. Similarly, their positive properties are poorly understood. I foresee a great future for practical mycology.

Anyway, Healthline.com has an article titled “9 positive effects of urchin and side effects”, with several links to scientific sources for each. So far, I can’t say I’m feeling anything. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. (:

By the way, mycologist Paul Stemets has his own company producing various Host Defense mushroom supplements (and he also saves bees from extinction with mushrooms, but that’s a separate story) – and he makes this urchin in capsules and sells it on iHerb:

I hold physical proof that Paul Stemets sold me his hedgehog.

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