How do you choose your supplements? In our latest episode, Kamal Patel, Director of Examine.com, joins Jay Campbell for a wide-ranging conversation on supplement quality, chronic joint pain, ketogenic dieting, intermittent fasting and other high impact lifestyle changes that are more effective than any supplement.
Be careful not to dip carbs too low – There’s no huge benefit and your immune system and joints needs carbs for optimal function
Getting blue light exposure in the morning and limiting blue light exposure at night is more important than ALL supplements
There’s no need to take the same supplement every day for the rest of your life
We started with Kamal’s story, how he came to the world of fitness and nutrition and eventually became Director of Examine.com. Kamal explained “Like a lot of people, I got started in nutrition to simply look better…Up till probably sophomore year of college I had never lifted a weight in a gym.”
First Kamal gave his opinion on ketogenic and other forms of low-carb dieting. “You require carbohydrate for joint health especially when it’s injured. But that’s not even the primary thing, your immune system needs, say, 100 grams a day of carbs for optimal function in most people…So I’d be very careful not to dip carbs too low…There’s no huge benefit.”
Next we go into intermittent fasting: Kamal pointed out that it’s reasonably effective for body fat loss but the best reason to use intermittent fasting is longevity. Jay pointed out, “The neuroprotective effect of fasting is amazing” Gut and intestinal tract health is getting more attention, and Kamal explained that it’s probably more important to look at gut health more any other individual element. He mentioned that there are a couple great elements of a low-card diet on the gut, but on the whole, a vegan diet is much better for gut health.
Next we cover how to handle the chronic joint pain, and Kamal have an interesting recommendation “You don’t want to take supplements while you’re doing other things that have a higher chance of working…taking micro-breaks during work… or even incorporating standing for maybe a half hour or hour a day, that’s probably greater than any individual supplement for knee and ankle issues.” He also pointed out that Vitamin D, K2 and magnesium are the holy trinity of things people overlook for joint health.
Then we turn to common supplements like creatine and protein. Kamal pointed out that creatine may have mental health benefits such as preventing Alzheimer’s and depression and potentially have some pain-reduction effects. As for protein Kamal prefers to experiment but has not seen major differences but prefers cold-processed to get glutathione benefits.
We finished out the interview with thoughts on limiting or blocking blue light at night, wearing blue blocker sunglasses for 30 minutes before bed is a great way to prepare your body for sleep. We also covered mindfulness meditation, it’s effectiveness and taking first steps into that method.
Kamal made a couple important distinctions – quality of supplement doesn’t mean effectiveness, and how you handle blue light can have a greater effect than any supplements.
Kamal Patel is a nutrition researcher with an MPH and MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and is on hiatus from a PhD in nutrition in which he researched the link between diet and chronic pain. He has published peer-reviewed articles on vitamin D and calcium as well as a variety of clinical research topics. Kamal has also been involved in research on fructose and liver health, mindfulness meditation, and nutrition in low income areas. Visit for independent analysis on supplements and nutrition.
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