Supplements for Optimal Health: Dr. Peter Attia's Supplement Routine

Choosing the right supplements can be challenging, especially with the vast array of options available. While there's no one-size-fits-all plan, taking a deep dive into the supplement regimen of a respected physician like Dr. Peter Attia may help you get on the right track. As a physician known for his work in health optimization and longevity, Attia is deeply versed in the mechanics of human health. He integrates supplements into a comprehensive, holistic health strategy to optimize longevity and physical performance.

Who is Peter Attia?

By education, Dr. Peter Attia is a physician trained in traditional medicine with an early desire to go into surgery, specifically cancer surgery. However, as he started to see the limitations of healthcare, his perspective evolved, and he left medicine for a few years only to return with a fresh idea.

Still as a physician, now he dedicates his career to pioneering what he describes as Medicine 3.0., a term he coined in his best-selling book Outlive. The goal of Medicine 3.0. is to shift the model of care from a reactive approach to treating disease to a proactive approach through prevention — with a higher focus on longevity. His focus is on optimizing various aspects of daily life, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, and emotional health, to not only extend lifespan but also to enhance the quality of life, or "healthspan."

This transition to preventative medicine as his primary focus leads to a pivot toward exploring and advocating for proactive health measures. It took him down the road to kick off several projects, including hosting a podcast, writing a book, and creating other types of content — all aimed at educating the public to take control of their health in a more informed and proactive way.

The philosophy behind Petter Attia’s supplementation

Attia’s approach is rooted in tailoring supplements to individual needs and choosing ones that have scientific evidence proving their efficacy. Through his advocacy for Medicine 3.0., Attia believes that we can improve patient outcomes long before traditional medical interventions would typically occur. This philosophy also extends to his own life, shaping how he manages his health and longevity.

He helps his clients find a more holistic approach to health by dialing in health practices, such as good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, first before adding supplementation into the mix. His approach stands tall on the notion that supplements should support, not substitute, those essential health habits.

What supplements does Peter Attia take?

Attia’s supplement stack primarily revolves around supplements with a single ingredient to control and consume the ideal amount of each nutrient his body needs, with only a couple of exceptions.

However, he underscores in several interviews that his supplements may change over time. He continues to follow emerging science on each ingredient he finds important and is open to pivoting his protocol based on the latest evidence that’s available. Additionally, he may also adjust his supplement intake based on testing specific biomarkers.

Morning supplements

Understanding that the timing of taking certain supplements matters, Attia takes most of his vitamins in the morning to help his mind and body perform at an optimal level all day. Some of these supplements help with improved cognitive function; others, with better digestion and optimal nutrient intake.

Omega-3

Attia takes an omega-3 supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. He aims for a high dose with 2 g of EPA and 1.5 g of DHA to achieve a red blood cell membrane concentration of about 12%, which he monitors through biomarker testing. Scientific evidence supports that these omega-3 fatty acids may support heart health and cognitive function through various anti-inflammatory pathways.

A recent study further underscored the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids regarding cardiovascular health, pointing out they may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and support cardiovascular health and lifespan.

Vitamin D

Attia notes in interviews that studies on vitamin D are often poorly conducted, with issues in dosing, duration, compliance, and targeting. However, he believes the risk is low, so he takes 5000 IU daily despite noting that the literature is inconsistent. Studies have reported that vitamin D levels may be linked to immune function and mood regulation, among other health outcomes.

Magnesium

Attia uses three different forms of magnesium — two in the daytime and one in the evening, aiming to reach up to 1 g of total elemental magnesium daily. He takes magnesium chloride in a formulation that’s designed to release slowly for optimized absorption. Plus, he also takes magnesium oxide.

Magnesium has been found to be involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body, from protein synthesis and muscle and nerve function to blood sugar level control and blood pressure regulation.

Vitamin B6

This is one supplement Attia recently changed in his protocol. He used to take 50 mg daily; however, after seeing studies linking high B6 intake to potential neuropathy, he reduced this to 50 mg three times a week, even though he said he’s never had any symptoms related to this.

B6 plays a role in many enzymatic reactions and is essential for protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism, as well as neurotransmitter synthesis. Low levels of B6 have been associated with symptoms of depression, and it has been found that B6 may promote mood and brain health. However, more studies are needed on whether B6 may induce peripheral neuropathy.

Methylfolate and methylated B12

Attia takes methylated versions of folate, or B9 and B12, to increase their absorption and regulate homocysteine levels. He takes 400 mcg of methylfolate and 1000 mcg of methylated B12, which he’s found is the appropriate amount to help keep homocysteine below 9 micromoles per liter (mcmol/L). The reference level of homocysteine in the blood is below 15 mcmol/L. When elevated, it may be an indication of low folate and B12 levels that may lead to fatigue and dizziness. Plus, high levels of homocysteine are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Attia uses methylated versions of these vitamins due to his genetic makeup. People with a specific variation in the MTHFR gene are unable to convert folic acid into its reduced form, methylfolate, or their bodies are limited in converting folic acid into its reduced form. Methylfolate is essential for many cellular processes, such as serotonin production. By taking the reduced form, he’s supplementing directly with the form that is readily available for the body to use.

Probiotics

Attia takes a specific probiotic, called GlucoseControl by Pendulum. A similar probiotic formulation has been shown to decrease the levels of blood sugar markers (HbA1c) that reflect long-term elevation of blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and decrease post-meal glucose spikes. The authors suggest that this may reflect an increase in insulin sensitivity, which is a good outcome in type 2 diabetes.

This underscores that specific strains of probiotics may improve gut health and the balance of the microbiome, which may influence our health.

AG1 (Athletic Greens)

This green powder is a staple of Attia’s morning routine. As an investor and advisor of the brand, he stands behind the efficacy of AG1. Made up of micronutrients, phytonutrients, and pre-and probiotics, AG1 is promoted to provide a holistic approach to nourishing the body, from improving gut health and supporting cellular energy production to supporting the immune system and adequate stress recovery.

Protein powder

Since Attia’s health regimen includes different forms of physical activity, involving both strength training and cardio, protein becomes an important piece of the puzzle to maintain or gain lean muscle mass and control hunger. To help him reach his macronutrient goals, Attia consumes a high-quality whey protein powder isolate, which is low in fat and carbohydrates. For the sake of taste, he tends to combine 25 grams of flavorless with 25 grams of flavored (sweetened with sucralose) protein powders.

Night supplements

Attia's night-time supplements are targeted at specific mechanisms that may support stress adaptation and sleep. Each aims to help get adequate physical, mental, and emotional recovery to set him up for a recharged day the next morning.

Ashwagandha

Being an age-old adaptogenic herb, ashwagandha has been found to help reduce stress and support endocrine function. Attia takes 600 mg of this herb in the evening, which he believes aids his body in stress adaptation. However, more large-scale clinical trials are needed to confirm ashwagandha's benefits.

Glycine

Attia takes 2 grams of glycine in the evening to support sleep and recovery. Glycine is an amino acid that has several roles in the body: it may impact sleep quality, is needed for muscle strength and recovery, and is essential for the production of certain antioxidants. It’s the main building block of collagen and an important component of creatine that’s been reported to support muscle recovery and bone health. Additionally, glycine is one of the main amino acids the body uses to make glutathione, often called the 'master' antioxidant of the body, which has been extensively studied for its antioxidant functions and ability to neutralize free radicals.

Magnesium L-threonate

On top of magnesium oxide and chloride, Attia also takes magnesium L-threonate to support brain health. Both animal and human studies have reported that L-threonate may help support memory and cognitive function. Attia points out that he uses a product that sources its magnesium from MagTein. Studies have shown that L-threonate had greater bioavailability compared to other magnesium supplements and demonstrated higher absorption and higher retention.

Phosphatidylserine

Attia takes 400 mg of phosphatidylserine only occasionally for jet lag to help his body adjust to the new time zone and potentially reduce cortisol levels that may rise due to the stress experienced while traveling. Studies have reported that phosphatidylserine may help the release of biologically active molecules, such as acetylcholine, which are involved in brain function and mood regulation.

Should you use the same supplements?

The short answer is: it depends. Attia’s supplement protocol is designed based on his lifestyle habits, genetic factors, age, personal health needs and goals, and emerging research. Plus, he adjusts his supplements based on testing specific biomarkers to address any deficiencies and leaves room for improvement. Using the same supplements may not be ideal for your genetic makeup or lifestyle. There are certain supplements that are often recommended to complement a balanced lifestyle, such as magnesium, but dosage will always depend on what your current levels are. Make sure to consult with a healthcare provider to tailor a supplementation strategy that’s right for you.

Why you should personalize your supplement plan

Peter Attia's approach to supplementation sets an example of what a rigorous, thoughtful method of health optimization looks like with longevity in mind. It goes beyond conventional medical practices and integrates strategic supplementation and cutting-edge medical insights. His regimen is highly personalized, supported by the latest scientific research, and continually adjusted to reflect new findings and personal health metrics.

If you’re looking to incorporate supplements into your health regimen, it is important to recognize that any supplement protocol must be tailored to your needs. What works for one person may not work for another due to differences in genetics, lifestyle, and specific health status. Hence, why Attia’s supplement regimen should serve as a guide rather than a prescription. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider to tailor a personal supplement strategy that suits your life and health goals.

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