Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Power of Herbs, Supplements, and Natural Remedies

I wrote several blogs about supplements, herbs, and natural remedies that I take or experiment with. I am interesting in slowing down aging and want to live a long, fulfilling life devoid of illnesses, diseases, and health problems. The blogs are:

After reading passages from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, I begin wondering whether the passages contained a speck of truth - many of the early biblical figures easily lived to 900 years old. I began searching for herbs, supplements, and natural remedies that could extend life and prolong longevity. Even if I could not extend my life, I would at least want to live a quality life devoid of afflictions, illnesses, and health problems.

I became shocked after seeing my former high school friends suffer from debilitating health problems. For example, I tried to visit a friend in January 2014, and he would not open the door. As I peered through the living room window, he lay on the floor, as he strained for every breath. A plastic tube chained him to a nearby oxygen tank. He became enormous and could barely move. After he had spotted me in the window, he shooed me away. Another good friend from high school has deteriorating and collapsing vertebrae disks along his spine. Unfortunately, all the drinking and smoking during high school had caught up to them. Finally, after browsing through Facebook, the former cute high school girls have turned into grandmothers. Now, I know I am quickly advancing towards old age.

I worry about becoming afflicted with a debilitating health condition, so I started experimenting with legal herbs and supplements. I also do not want to rely on expensive, potent prescription drugs. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have no incentives to sell and market herbs and supplements because they cannot obtain patents to restrict sales and charge high prices. For example, patients could pay between $15 and $175 for a month supply of generic Plavix. Some refer to Plavix as the Cadillac of aspirins. On the other hand, aspirin costs less than $10 for 300 tablets or more. Originally, an inventor, Felix Hoffmann, created aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid from willow bark.

I search for good supplements for another reason. Pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to cure diseases. For example, Company X sells a 30-day medication that cures diabetes. The company knows each customer would buy a 30-day supply of medication, and after the person is cured, then the company loses the customer forever. However, if the company only sold the customer insulin, the customer would need to take insulin daily for the rest of his or her life. That translates into long term profits.

Pharmaceutical companies, furthermore, have a strong financial incentive to discredit the healing properties of herbs and supplements. They give grants to scientists and researchers who find problems with the herbs or discredit the herb's effectiveness. Remember, the pharmaceutical companies pay researchers to scour the world in search of new, exotic plants and species. Then chemists isolate and concentrate various chemicals and molecules from these plants and animals checking whether these molecules help a medical condition. Then the companies replicate these chemicals in the laboratory and obtain patents on them.

Niacin stories, for example, circulated in the news during the summer 2013. The news reported niacin causes infections, internal bleeding, and ulcers and in extreme cases, liver and heart failure. However, the news never reported the dosage level. The recommended daily dosage ranges between 14 and 18 milligrams. Some users would take 1,000 milligrams or more to alleviate diabetes, improve arthritis, and reduce cholesterol, and combat heart disease and atherosclerosis. So taking anything in massive doses would never be healthy to a person.

I limit the herbs I take because I do not want to overdo it and have one herb interfere or cancel another herb's power. If I keep my herb usage down to a minimum, then I pay less from the pocketbook. However, a company manufacturing supplements could charge greater prices on herbs and supplements that are gaining popularity. I do not worry about the costs of supplements because prescription medications usually vastly exceed the prices of herbs and supplements.

My Core Supplements

Hyaluronic acid and astaxanthin comprise my core supplements. I discovered hyaluronic acid first when I hit middle age and started encountering problems. My wrinkles were deepening and spreading while my complexion had an unhealthy reddish tint – a sign that constant inflammation was wreaking havoc on my body. I would experience dizziness if I stood up too quickly, and I often felt something pinching a nerve on the left side of my chest. After I had started taking hyaluronic acid, all these symptoms had disappeared. I started sleeping better while my thinking became more lucid. I began taking a 100-milligram tablet every day. Currently, I take a 100-milligram tablet every day. I vary the brands, so my body does not become used to one supplement. I rotate among:

After taking hyaluronic acid for five years, I started experiencing constant eyestrain and a constant pain in my feet. I accidentally came across astaxanthin and decided to try it. So I started taking the 12-milligram tablets from Healthy Originals. At first, I felt dizzy within an hour of taking astaxanthin, but this disappeared after two weeks. However, my foot pain and eyestrain had vanished overnight. I also have more energy, and jogging became much easier. I tried to reduce my dosage to 4 milligrams per day, but that dosage seems too weak. Currently, I take between 8 mg and 12 mg daily.

My Secondary Supplements

Although I added derivatives of B3, krill oil, and spirulina to my regimen, I feel well and have loads of energy. Unfortunately, I cannot tell whether these supplements are working but I provide a reason for taking them.

I started taking derivatives of vitamin B3 because scientists injected nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (abbreviated NAD+) into mice to reverse aging. It may be difficult to get NAD+, but I ordered reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) from iHerb. I sometimes take 10 mg of NADH, and I feel a burst of energy after taking it. At this time, I do not understand how reduced NAD differs from NAD+. Currently, I take 100 milligrams of niacinamide daily because the human body can more easily convert niacinamide into NAD+ than niacin. Niacin comprises the other form of B3, which can cause niacin flush. Niacin dilates the blood vessels near the skin, causing a tingling sensation of the skin and giving the skin a reddish flush.

I started taking fish oil tablets long ago because they contain the omega 3 fatty acids: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Then I switched to Krill Oil in February 2014 because I wanted to try something different. The supplement industries extract Kill Oil from a tiny shrimp-like crustacean. Krill Oil also contains traces of astaxanthin as a bonus.

I take Spirulina because every large tablet is loaded with natural vitamins, minerals, and other healthy ingredients. I consider it my natural multivitamin and take one 1,000-milligram tablet daily.

Experimental Supplements

I am always searching to expand my knowledge of herbs, natural remedies, and supplements. Currently, I started experimenting with Lingzhi, a mushroom the Chinese associate with longevity and long life. I occasionally drink a tonic or tea made from it. I hope that I do not have to drink Lingzhi daily, or I will live a short life. The drink packs quite a nasty punch. Besides, I am interested in other traditional Chinese mushrooms such as Cordyceps and Yunzhi. These mushrooms help promote longevity and slow down the aging process.

I also heard about French Bark Extract that contains pycnogenols – powerful antioxidants contained in tree bark. Unfortunately, the extract is gaining popularity, and GNC sells it for a premium. However, I buy Asta-Pycnogenol from Cosway, a Malaysian pharmacy chain. Each tablet supplies 50 mg of Maritime Pine Bark extract and 100 mg of haematococcus pluvialis containing 4% of astaxanthin.

I started taking resveratrol and grape seed extract daily. I found the brand, Reversage, in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Every tablet contains 100 mg of grape seed extract and 200 mg of Japanese Knotweed extract. Knotweed supplies resveratrol, another anti-aging compound.


  1. Hi Ken! Thanks for such a useful information. i always used herbal supplements whenever i need cure from my health issues. It will surely help its readers.

    1. Thanks, I agree. I feel like a young man again. Even the gray is disappearing from my hair.

  2. Great article Ken,

    You can take a closer look at a few of these supplements:

    NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) (improves methylation process, increases glutathione, reduces homocysteine levels). I'm still digging into the methylation cycle more, but I like what I have read so far on NAC. If you decide to get some, make sure there is a little bit of methylate selenium (another necessary ingredient in the methylation process) and piperine (to increase absorption/bioavailability).

    Gelatin/Collagen Hydrolysate (my favorite supplement)-many of us eat a western culture type of diet, only the muscle meat. We miss out on vital amino acids (proline, glycine, arginine) that make up the cartilage, tendons, skin, hair, nails, teeth, even bones (our bones our calcium-phosphate but held together b a collagen scaffolding). most people are woefully depleted of these amino acids. it is by far the closest thing to a panacea as I have found.

    Intermittent fasting (resveratrol is thought to mimic the biology of this). not a supplement, but this increases BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which is important for neurogenesis, apoptosis (programmed, healthy cell death). A few days a week i just skip breakfast. counter-intuitive to some, but the science is very strong in support of IF's benefits. it mimics the biology of caloric restriction. This is actually close to what I am researching (the neuropeptide ghrelin)

    Fat soluble vitamins (A-retinol, D, E, K)-check out the weston A price foundation for a lot of great info on vitamins A/D/K.

    Turmeric (i like to make a turmeric tea, with heavy cream and black pepper)

    Jiaogulan tea and Yerba Mate tea-I add some fat to my tea (cream usually) to increase absorption.

    Beet/Celery shake (i mix it with stevia and a fat for better absorption, like coconut oil) The natural nitrates in beets/celery are converted into nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator, it expands the blood vessels and relieves (blood) pressure. This is great for many things, heart health, reducing risk of stroke, and just making all of the nutrients/oxygen in the blood more available to every living cell in the body.

    The supplement world can be pretty overwhelming, I enjoy the biology of this stuff so i go into detail, but keeping things simple and avoiding stress is really important.

    Good Luck!

    1. Interesting but have no time to try all these, unfortunately.

  3. What spirulina brand do you take? Thanks for all these articles! I have chronic pain and want to get off all the toxic pills!

    1. I take one tablet of 1,000 mg of spirulina per day. The brand, Kordel's, is from Australia in dark, stained glass bottles.

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