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Supplemental Foods

We recommend eating these “supplemental foods” on a regular schedule:

  • 3 egg yolks daily, 5 yolks daily for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant (for choline, folate, vitamin A)
  • A bowl of soup made from bone, joint, tendon, foot, or hoof stock, 3 days per week (for calcium, phosphorus, and collagen)
  • Fermented vegetables such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or fermented mixed vegetables (for nucleotides, probiotic bacteria, and vitamins K2 and B12), and other vegetables such as tomato, avocado, potato, sweet potato, banana, green leafy vegetables, and seaweeds such as dulse, daily (for potassium)
  • ¼ lb beef or lamb liver, weekly (copper, vitamin A, folate, choline). If you like, substitute ¼ lb chicken, duck, or goose liver weekly plus 30 g 85% dark chocolate daily
  • fish, shellfish, eggs, and kidneys, weekly (for selenium)

Daily Supplements

These are supplements we recommend be taken daily:

  • Sunshine and vitamin D3 as needed to achieve serum 25OHD of 40 ng/ml.
  • Vitamin K2 100 mcg or more
  • Magnesium 200 mg
  • Iodine 225 mcg
  • Vitamin C 1 g
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5) 500 mg
Vitamin D3
  • Seek total dose from sun, food, and supplements of 4,000 IU/day
  • Adjust to 25OHD level of 40 ng/ml (whites/Asians), 30 ng/ml (blacks)
Vitamin K2
  • Recommended dose: 100 mcg MK-7
  • Pharmacological, possibly therapeutic doses: 1000 mcg to 5 mg MK-4
  • Use chelate (e.g. glycinate) or citrate
  • Daily dose 200 mg
  • Recommended dose 225 mcg/day (one tablet)
  • Nori sheets have about 50 mcg each; 2-4 per day replaces supplements
  • Supplementation is to prevent lengthy iodine droughts
Vitamin C
  • Low dose: 500 mg – 1 g per day
  • Under stress or viral infections, more may be needed
  • Powder is least expensive way to get large doses
Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid or pantethine)
  • 500 mg per day; we suggest daily due to its extreme safety
  • Acne/skin blemishes or low energy/endurance are symptoms of deficiency

Weekly Supplements

These are supplements we recommend be taken once a week:

  • B vitamins:
    • 50 to 100 mg each of B1, B2, and B6
    • 5 mg biotin
    • 500 mcg B12
  • Zinc 50 to 100 mg
  • Boron 3 mg
B1 (thiamin)
  • 50-100 mg weekly
B2 (riboflavin)
  • 100 mg per week
  • For those who don’t take a B-50 complex
  • We recommend 50 mg to 100 mg per week
  • We recommend 5 mg once per week
  • We recommend 500 mcg to 1 mg once per week
  • Sublingual methylcobalamin is preferred
  • We recommend about 50 mg per week
  • Be sure to follow our copper recommendations as copper-zinc balance is crucial
  • The 3 mg dose can be taken one to three times per week

Prenatal Supplements

The most important prenatal supplements are:

  • Extra duck, goose, or pastured chicken liver.
  • Extra egg yolks.

The following supplements may also be helpful during pregnancy or in the months leading up to conception. Note: We do not recommend prenatal multivitamins.

  • Not necessary if you eat enough egg yolks and liver
  • But extremely important during pregnancy, and safe
Inositol plus Choline
  • Not necessary if you eat enough egg yolks and liver
  • If supplementing choline, good to mix in some inositol
Iron (optional)
  • About 30% of pregnant women develop iron deficiency anemia
  • Don’t guess, test; blood tests will indicate if you need iron supplements

Optional Supplements

These supplements may be helpful for a significant fraction of the population. Experiment to see if they help you:

  • Probiotics
  • Chromium, 200-400 mcg per week (not necessary if you cook in stainless steel pots) and (optional) vanadium, 25 mcg per week
  • Lithium 5 to 10 mg per week
  • Silicon 5 mg to 25 mg daily
  • FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT EAT LIVER: Copper 2 mg per day
  • FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT EAT LIVER: Vitamin A from cod liver oil, 50,000 IU/week
  • B-50 complex (as a substitute for individual B supplements if you prefer fewer pills
  • Molybdenum 150 mcg per week
  • Taurine 500 mg to 5000 mg per week (higher doses may be therapeutic for small intestinal or systemic infections)
  • Selenium 0 or 200 mcg per week depending on selenium content of food (if food is produced in dry, flat areas = high selenium, no supplements; rainy, well-drained areas = 200 mcg/wk)
  • Bifidobacterium spp can help with leanness and weight loss.
  • Lactobacillus spp can help with acid reflux, bloating, SIBO, prediabetes, high triglycerides
More Probiotics
  • Bifidobacterium spp can help with leanness and weight loss.
  • Lactobacillus spp can help with small intestinal issues
More Probiotics
  • VSL#3 is a good mix for inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Prescript Assist includes soil-based organisms that are a little riskier and should be taken only occasionally, not continuously, for therapeutic reasons.
  • If you don’t cook in stainless steel, we recommend 200 mcg chromium one to three times per week
  • Stainless steel pots may release 88 mcg chromium per day of use
  • Optional: vanadium 25 mcg one to two times per week
  • Best is to take 1 mg per day; 5 mg once or twice per week is next best
  • Caution: too much lithium can exacerbate hypothyroidism and increase potassium excretion
  • Up to 25 mg per day
  • Most people would benefit from more silicon
  • Seaweed is a good food source
Copper (Only If Liver Is Not Eaten)
  • Target of 2-3 mg/day can be met by eating 1/4 lb beef or lamb liver per week
  • Do not supplement copper if you eat liver
Vitamin A (Only If Liver Is Not Eaten)
  • Target of 50,000 IU/week with remaining A needs met from carotenoids (green leafy vegetables and orange plants like carrots)
  • Do not supplement vitamin A if you eat liver, unless for therapeutic reasons
Calcium (If No Mineral Water or Bone Stock)
  • PHD foods may fall short of calcium target by up to 400 mg/day
  • Standard PHD prescription is to make up the difference with bone stock and/or mineral water
  • These supplements also replace magnesium supplement; aim for 300-500 mg calcium and 150-250 mg magnesium per day
B-50 complex
  • An alternative to the other B vitamins for those who prefer to take fewer pills
  • Not recommended more than once per week due to folic acid and niacin content
  • We recommend 150 mcg to 1 mg per week
  • We recommend 500 to 1000 mg weekly for healthy persons
  • Supports production of bile salts
Vitamin E
  • Red palm oil is a good food source
  • If supplementing, take mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols

Therapeutic Supplements

These supplements are unnecessary for healthy people but may be helpful in various disease conditions.

  • Precursor to glutathione
  • Recommended dose is 500 mg
  • Can take more in cases of severe chronic infection
  • Supports collagen production, bile conjugation, and glutathione production
  • Desirable if you don’t eat daily extracellular matrix (bones, joints, tendons, skin, hooves)
  • Up to 2 teaspoons (10 g) per day
  • Supports muscle growth and preservation; especially valuable for the elderly
  • Up to 1 teaspoon (5 g) per day
  • An important sleep hormone, deficient in many brain diseases, has antimicrobial activity
  • Take 1 mg sublingually just before bedtime
  • For larger doses, combine 5 mg time-release with 1 mg sublingual
Detoxification Aids
  • These can help bind toxins and excrete them in feces, preventing them from being re-absorbed in the colon
  • Likely to be helpful for most people suffering from chronic infection or environmental mold.


These items may be helpful in implementing Perfect Health Diet and Lifestyle advice.

Pill boxes
  • Set out pills once per week, aids remembering to take them
Pill cutter
  • For cutting tablets to reduce the dose

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Leave a comment ?


  1. Hi Paul, whould you be so kind and to make suggestion for pregnnat and nursing woman.
    I am using nutraprointl for vitamin K, also raw sheep dairy like kefir and cheeses. I eat egg yolk daily (how many do you suggest? 2-3 egg yolks?), I eat 2-3 times a week bone broth sometimes even more. I eat fish like samon sardines, and meat mainly lamb beef. I have problem to find good liver sources,so I use fermented cod liver oil for vitamin A and D. What else whoud you suggest? (I do not grains process food, I eat dark chocolate and organic coffee once a day) Thanks a lot

    • Hi Sam,

      You’re doing great. Three egg yolks is good, you can have more if you don’t eat liver. Liver is the most important thing you are missing and cod liver oil isn’t a good substitute.

      We recommend 1/3 lb beef or lamb liver per week plus some chicken, duck, or goose liver or liver products such as pate or liverwurst.

      Shellfish are good too, and colorful and fermented vegetables. Also other organ meats like kidney.

      If you don’t have local liver sources you can order online, eg through US Wellness Meats.

      Best, Paul

  2. I am a little confused about optimal zinc/copper ratios. As far as I have read in your book, you recommend a 7:1 ratio more or less. However I have read that in men should be rather 10:1 and in women 5:1. If that is true, an intake of 2-3mg copper shoul be compesated whith a 20-30mg zinc in men, which seems higher than your recommendations.
    Thank you

    • Hi Henry,

      It’s not generally considered that zinc needs are significantly different in men and women. That’s why the RDAs are similar.

      We expect most PHDers to get maybe 11 mg/day from food + 7 mg/day from supplements (or oysters), for close to 20 mg/day.

      In the book we recommend 15-30 mg/day zinc and 2-4 mg/day copper. That’s about 7:1. With 20 mg/day zinc that would be 3 mg/day copper which matches 1/3 lb beef or lamb liver per week (2 mg/day copper) plus 1 mg/day copper from other foods.

    • Melannie Allen

      I also am confused about the zinc/copper ratios. I noticed the source naturals zinc supplement you recommended has copper in it;15% of RDA to be exact. Do I need to adjust the zinc intake due to this added 15%. Should I cut back on the amount of liver I eat or just take more zinc without copper?

      Thanks for the input. I don’t want to throw off my ratios. Not that they are great now. I just started and so I know they are all messed up.

      • I would cut back on beef/lamb liver but add in duck/goose/pastured chicken liver as a low-copper replacement. You could go with duck/goose/chicken liver entirely if you eat 30 g dark chocolate per day (which is copper rich).

  3. Thanks for advice,I eat fermented veggies daily also juice leafy greens 2-3 a week, Can I ask why cod liver oil is not good substitute for vitamin A?

    • Hi Sam,

      It is a good source of A, but it provides too much fish oil and not enough of other useful nutrients, so liver is a better source.

      • Behind eating liver and the liquid(refrigerated) cod liver oil, what would be the third best option for Vitamin A supplementation (if you think that may be advisable?)

        I’m not sure what other forms Vitamin A supplements come in — I’ve seen the room-temperature cod liver oil pills but I’m not sure if there are other ways to get Vitamin A in tablets/capsules/gels/etc.

  4. Okay, so I just booked a trip for this summer to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos! What are your recommendations about PHD and travel? Noodles are everywhere in this part of the world! I am prepared to pack an extra bag for my supplements but am anxious about how to handle my meals. I apologize if this is not the right forum for this discussion. Hope it’s okay.

    Thank you!

  5. I have a question about the low-carb sweeteners listed above. Are they ok to eat during the 16 hour fast period? For example you could mix xylitol with coconut oil and cocoa powder and have a treat during the fast without messing up the benefits?

    Also can I still get the benefit of the fast even with much less coconut oil? I can’t eat it plain and I can’t eat too much or I get nauseous and need to lie down for a few hours. I could probably build up to more from the 3-4 tbsp/day that I can tolerate now but I don’t know if I can make it much more than 6 tbsp.

    One last related question: do you think I may be experiencing a candida die-off reaction when I try to eat the coconut oil. I’ve had trouble with candid for decades (ever since being severely over-prescribed antibiotics).

    • Hi Sara,

      You don’t need to eat coconut oil at all during a fast. Coconut oil is for ketogenic dieters, it supports generation of ketones. If you’re not trying to be ketogenic, you can just fast.

      Coconut oil can promote influx of fat-soluble toxins, such as fungal cell wall components, from the gut into the body. If you experience negative symptoms that is probably what it is.

      Ketogenic dieting promotes fungal infections, so if you have a chronic fungal infection, I would not eat a lot of coconut oil. Coconut milk on food would be fine, but there’s no reason to supplement coconut oil.

  6. I have been following the PHD for about 2 months. Better energy, better mental clarity and I have lost about 20lbs. I just got the results of a basic food allergy test (IgE and IgG4) and it said that I am highly allergic to Beef, Lamb, eggs and gluten along with being moderately to highly allergic to dairy. I had no or low reaction to seafood and chicken. This was only the basic food panel with a 100 or so foods. I was concerned to learn that I was highly allergic to beef, lamb and eggs as these are all key componets of the PHD. I asked my doctor if it changed the results at all because I only eat grass fed beef and free range organic eggs and he said “no” because the allergy test is on the proteins themselves.

    Therefore, I have a couple questions:
    1. Do you agree with my doctor or would my allergy panel have a different result if they tested it against grass fed beef and free range organic eggs?
    2. If you agree with my doctors answer then should I cut grass fed beef out of my diet or are there enough other nutritional benefits to leave it in? If yes, how many times per week? If no, should I switch to chicken and seafood as my main protein sources even though chicken is higher in polyunsaturated fats?
    3. Do you have a full panel allergy test that you would recommend? I would like to find out the specific beyond just the 100 foods covered in the Basic Food Panel. I also want to make sure it is from a provider I can trust.

    Thank you again for you book. I study a lot of health and nutrition and learned about your book from the Ben Greenfield website. I feel like it has been the missing link in all my health endeavors. I know have 3 friends reading the book and all the trainers over at the Athletic Training Institute in Bellevue, Wa.

    • Mel,

      I hear where you are coming from. I too have had great results from PHD so far and had a IGG and IGA test done. My results weren’t as bad as yours though – I had high reactions to egg whites, egg yolks, shellfish, corn, and pork. And mild allergies to a few others (soy, sesame, and a few I am forgetting). It was likely the same test as you as well, about 100 foods. I should have asked this before as I am curious myself =P
      Good luck with everything Mel,


    • Hi Mel,

      I am not knowledgeable about immunology so I cannot recommend tests or even say much about how you should respond to this panel.

      A few comments:
      – Beef allergy is not caused by beef itself, but by a tick allergy that cross-reacts with beef. Most people with beef reactivity continue to eat beef.
      – Egg allergy comes and goes, the fact that you have it now doesn’t mean you’ll always have it.
      – I don’t think being grassfed will prevent the allergy.
      – No, I don’t agree that you should eliminate beef unless you notice a negative effect from eating it. You might eat a bit more fish.
      – I have heard clinicians say these allergy panels are unreliable.

      But this is only my 2 cents worth. I could be off base on some of these.

  7. Hi Paul,
    Have you tried high vitamin butter oil from nutraproinl? I have just tried it and have to say it is amazing, totally different as the oil from green pasture it is only from grassfed cow,very yellow in colour sweet in taste, so I think great source of vitamin K2, AD, and CLA in my pregnancy diet. Also I need to say my little girl did not want the butter oil from green pasture she hate it and this one she would eat whole glass, still asking for more spoon, so I have to limit her in this one.

  8. Paul,

    could I get your opinion on thyadine?
    I have been using the NOW brand of potassium iodide you recommend above. That is 12.5mcg per pill and each drop of this stuff is 150mcg. So I wouldn’t start that till I get the other dose up to that level by doubling the dose every month like you recommend. I have done the 12.5 for a couple weeks now with good results and I may not need to go as high as 150mcg but I am going to follow your advice to double the dosage every month and keep doing that till no extra benefits are gained. I also eat about 3 brazil nuts every day as you recommend for selenium.
    If/when after getting my dose up to 150mcg a day it seems this product would be easier and more convenient than taking multiple pills at 12.5 mcg per pill. Thanks a bunch hopefully I have sent some business your way because I tell everybody to buy your book.

    • Hi Bryan,

      The NOW potassium iodide has 225 mcg iodine. You may be confusing it with the Iodoral which has 12.5 mg, a much larger dose.

      The Thyadine looks great and 150 mcg is a good dose, similar to the 225 mcg NOW tablets.

      I think you’re doing well with the NOW and Brazil nuts, no need to change, but if you prefer a liquid the Thyadine is fine.

      Best, Paul

      • Thanks Paul,

        you are of course correct! I got the product dosage messed up. I am trying to raise my always low body temperature and coldness in my extremities. It is working slowly which is the best way I think. 😀
        I will continue with the NOW potassium iodine pills till I run out of them and go ahead and order the thyadine liquid to replace them. It looks to be the more cost effective choice also.
        I was just concerned that since this was elemental iodine and supposedly better absorbed by the body it would somehow mess up your dosage recommendations. Good to know you approve!
        I stopped my potassium citrate when I started the NOW potassium iodine, so I probably should start that back up when switching to the Thyadine.

        Sorry for rambling but I really appreciate you taking the time to answer not only mine but everyones questions! You are a wealth of knowledge with no monetary conflicts of interest to bias your recommendations. IOW A breath of fresh air. Thanks again!

  9. Paul,

    Are there any supplements that are ok to take during a fast?

    You recommend lithium to be taken in the morning – I assume this means its ok to take it during a fast?

    What about taking Vit D upon waking and during a fast to maximize cicardian rhythms, or does it need fats to be absorbed better?



  10. Hi Mel

    I’ve had food allergies and sensitivities all my life (62). I’ve had several of the blood and prick tests. In my experience the blood tests often react to what you are eating a lot of and not at all to what you aren’t eating. I have a severe dairy allergy but because I haven’t eaten it in 25 years it doesn’t show up. However when I was eating a lot of poultry the test showed a sensitivity to it. Now that I follow a more varied diet with the PHD it doesn’t show up.

    Your best advisor is yourself. It’s a matter of paying attention and taking notes.

  11. Hi Paul,
    Could you advise me on how to get rid of pin/roundworms? I had to stop eating red meet, since I keep getting infected…and I don’t seem to have much luck in getting rid of them, mebendazol doesn’t seem working, it’s been an ongoing issue for the last year for me.
    (noone else in the household is effected, strangely)
    I understand if it is not your area, I am just quite desperate.
    Thank you,

    • Hi Zara,

      I don’t know, but one possibility is that they are normally kept at bay by competition from other gut microbes and you lack gut flora which si good at defeating them. You could try a fecal transplant from the healthiest of your family members.

      Other things that should help are liver (for vitamin a) and sunshine / vitamin D.

      You might also try stopping/cutting supplementation as many nutrients that feed humans also feed worms, and supplements may be helping the worms survive.

  12. Paul:
    What is the meaning of ‘amp’ in the blog???
    I’m sure I should know this or that it’s obvious, but I can’t figure it out.

  13. Thanks so much for such an information article and detailed information. Do you recommend trying to get most of your vitamins through whole food consumption or just using supplements? Also, I didn’t notice any recommendations for a CoQ10 supplement… Do you not feel they are necessary? If so I am interested as to why not? Thanks!

    • Hi Steve,

      It is best to get nutrients from food (or the natural source). Sometimes that’s difficult, ie vitamin D, magnesium. Other times people dislike the most nutritious foods, eg liver or shellfish or bone broth or have allegies/sensitivities, eg to eggs. With others the nutritional content of food is unclear, eg silicon.

      CoQ10 is a fairly harmless supplement that can be therapeutic, so perhaps it belongs in our therapeutic supplements list. I don’t think it’s necessary for most people to take it, and the supplements are rather expensive.

  14. Given that a) certain vitamins/minerals compete for absorption, and b) certain vitamins/minerals have circadian effects – when do you recommend taking the various supplements listed here? Which are ok to take in a fasted state? I’ve tried to do some research myself but have found conflicting and seemingly non-rigorous guidelines. The google link a few comments up (that’s presumably relevant to this question) doesn’t load for me.

    • Hi Gabe,

      I generally recommend taking them with the first meal. I think slowing down absorption with food will prevent any peaks in blood levels which should reduce toxicity concerns; and I think circadian rhythms should be supported that way too as the natural time to receive nutrients is at the same time as food.

  15. Back in the late 1980s when I was in my 20s I began eating organic brown rice, miso and other macrobiotic foods and got too thin and became malnourished. I kept it up though for quite some time, however. Stupid me. During that time I developed a chronic crack(s) on the corner(s) of my mouth. I have lived with this for decades now. A classical homeopath is the only thing that has given me any relief. A few weeks ago I began taking a zinc/copper supplement. It healed immediately. I can’t possibly convey how happy I am.

    • Hi Ash,

      Great news!

      Beef or lamb liver are great sources of copper and shellfish, especially oysters, great sources of zinc, so you might look to adding those to your diet.

      Best, Paul

  16. I bought this book to help my daughter. I noticed however that in the posts and in the book little is discussed concerning individuals with allergies to many of the foods that are a staple of the diet. For instance my daughter is allergic to egg yolks so what is your recommendation for people such as her and those who have written with other food allergies. Food allergies are very common in people with chronic health issues which I thought was the purpose of the diet – to achieve health particularly for these types of people.

    • Hi Camille,

      One has to avoid allergens. Duck or goose liver is a good substitute for egg yolks.

      At the same time, when gut health is restored, food sensitivities will usually go away, so try giving her an egg once every 6 months or so to see if she reacts. The goal is to restore a normal diet, not to permanently exclude the sensitive foods.

  17. Hey Paul,

    Can you recommend anything that might make it easier to take pills on an empty stomach? My first in the morning supplements are giving me indigestion/heartburn/belching etc…

    Thank you!

  18. Given the fact that iodine and selenium need to be properly balanced, and the fact that you recommend selenium as a weekly supplement, my question is whether selenium stays in your system. In other words, if I try to go higher than 250 mcg of iodine, is taking 200 mcg of selenium once or twice a week enough, or should I be trying to take selenium and iodine at the same time (in which case it would make sense to try to find a slightly lower dose of selenium, e.g.,, and try to space it out more during the week). Thanks.

    • I the book he says that 200-400mcg selenium should be attained daily from a balanced diet.

      I do wonder how 200-400mcg of selenium balances with your 1mg of iodine recommendation. This also sorta related to my question about copper-zinc balance and how one mineral is obtained in a higher dose but is still considered ‘balanced.’

      • Paul,

        This balancing still concerns me.

        I am at 900 mcg iodine daily and take 200 mg of selenium 2x a week

        Just picked up a bottle of CVS men’s multivitamin (matches ONE A DAY formula) and it has 115 mg of selenium. Which is a daily vitamin.

        Is 200 mg of selenium 2x a week enough? I know i should target from food, so this gets difficult to figure out, but i seem less than a multi would give, and my iodine is higher.


  19. Thanks Paul unfortunately she hates liver. Any other ideas?

    • Eggs and liver are the best sources of a number of nutrients. I would try carefully cleaning the liver to remove things that foul the taste, and then mixing it with other ground meats and making pate to conceal the liver taste. And don’t tell her it’s liver. Put the liver in meatballs for spaghetti or stew, for instance.

      • Is it possible that this individual is replete this copper and that is why she does not have a taste for liver? I was reading that the body/mind will instinctively shutoff or change the taste of certain foods based on it’s nutrient requirements or excesses. Any validity to this?

  20. Hi Paul,

    What are your thoughts on refrigerating bananas after they are ripened to your liking? I’ve noticed the outside turns black, but the inside seems fine still. Internet sources say not to worry, but I was wondering what your opinion is on the nutritional/toxin/chemical perspective of a refrigerated banana that has turned black?


  21. Hi Paul,

    You mentioned for fermented vegetables to salt them initially to sterilize them before adding them to the brine.

    Couple quick questions:
    1) How long do you leave them with the salt?
    2) Do you cover the container?


    • Hi Erich,

      The salt is left on continually. It is an essential part of the fermentation process, it promotes growth of the right kind of flora.

      Yes, you need to cover the container. The object is to reproduce conditions in the gut: salty, watery, little oxygen.

  22. Hi Paul,

    So I’ve been thinking for a few days now about your zinc and copper recs. I have a history of eating a serving of liver everyday for about 6 months because it was the only thing I found gave me energy. That was until I found your supplement recommendations and found it was a b1 deficiency. I also have a history of frequent urination. I have been following the recs very closely and only eat liver once a week. I still have the urinary frequency. It may have been something else I started recently but I recently went through a phase where my urination calmed down along with my strong appetite. The strong correlation was that I tried 1 to 2 23mg zinc lozenges for a few days in a row. Do you think that this increased zinc consumption possibly evened out with lots of possible copper still in my body. I stopped the zinc and the appetite and urination came back. Too dangerous to try again? What do you think?

  23. Hi Paul,

    I’ve been suffering from chronic nasal congestion for about 10 months now (have never had any allergies or major sinus problems before this in my life), and I’ve tried everything that a doctor can prescribe … cortisone (oral & nasal), antihistamines (oral & nasal), antibiotics (oral), decongestants (oral & nasal), xylitol & saline nasal sprays, high dosages (2000 mg/day) of Vitamin C. The nasal decongestants and high dosage of vitamin C is the only things that helped, and the nasal decongestant is the only thing that helps consistently. So I’m trying an elimination diet to see whether or not I’ve developed “adult-onset” allergies – basically excluding all diary, starches and sugars, caffeine, and spicy food. All my favorites gone! 👿 😆 — just meat, fish, chicken, eggs, veggies and fruit left (and oils e.g. olive and nut oils). It’s too early to tell if this diet is going to help and I’m wondering whether I shouldn’t rather try your diet — at least there is some starch in the form of rice. However, I just wanted to know whether you can recommend any supplements that will specifically help with nasal congestion? Not mucous problems so much as sinus cavities being swollen shut – worst at night when I sometimes have zero air movement through one side, and only about 10 to 30% in the other. Thanks in advance!

    • I also struggled with this issue myself. After reading Paul’s VitC recommendations I began experimenting. He references that vitC is extrememly non-toxic, and only when an individual becomes replete does it cause diarrhea. So I began taking 500mg every hour. After 3 grams or so large mucus-like biofilms detached from my nasal cavity. My nose is brandnew now. I still use the xylitol spray and get small biofilms form time to time but its overall amazing.

      There is also a article/podcast by Chris Kresser on this issue. He also talks about irrigating with johnson&johnson baby shampoo.

    • Hi Yolande,

      Lithium will probably help with the swollen nasal passages — it modulates immunity. Take 2 to 5 mg once per day in the morning.

      NAC, vitamin C, and starch will help with mucus, as will liver and vitamin D.

      Yes, I do recommend our diet.

  24. Hi,

    I am obese and am trying to lose weight with the PHD. I was wondering how much Choline I should be taking. Should I take the supplement daily? And what dose? Also, I am a little confused about what I should be eating. Can I use protein powder or shake supplements for snacks or breakfast?


    • Hi Andrea,

      It’s enough to eat 3 eggs (or yolks) per day plus liver weekly. However, there’s no harm in choline supplementation as well if you choose to do that. Since food should provide most of your choline, you don’t need a large supplemental dose, 250 mg or 500 mg is reasonable.

      I don’t recommend powders or shakes; you need the miscellaneous nutrients in true food. A good breakfast is two eggs and potassium-rich vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes). Breakfast can be delayed in order to lengthen the overnight fast, that is often helpful for weight loss.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your response. I have almost finished the book and I’m still a little confused about a few things. In particular, you say that 16 hours of fasting is a good idea, particularly for those who would like to lose weight. You also say that we should try to eat about 300-500 (?) calories of safe starches and about the same of protein, right? And the rest of our calories should come from fat and other carbs (like veggies)? Is this right? I know that you say that the best way to get choline is through eating eggs or liver, but if I’m not eating breakfast, I have a hard time eating 3 eggs per day. I also don’t like liver. So, I was planning on supplementing choline and copper. Am I reading the book correctly? Does this sound like a good plan?

        Thanks again,


        • Hi Andrea,

          Typically about 300 calories protein and 600 calories carbs (15% and 30% of energy), about 400-500 calories of the carbs from safe starches, the rest from sugary plants (beets, carrots, fruits, berries). Don’t count vegetables.

          Mixing eggs (or their yolks) with other foods as in bi bim bap and microwaving them can help. Also duck/goose/chicken liver may be more palatable than beef/lamb liver.

          Yes, if you can’t eat eggs or liver, supplementing copper and choline is a backup plan.

  25. Eggs, Eggs, the Magical… Fruit?! | The Considerate Caveman - pingback on April 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm
  26. Are you familiar with HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) in supplements?

    I saw a copper supplement in the store where the label says Copper (Copper II” HVP Chelate) 5000 mcg. Wasn’t sure if it was anything bad in the amount that might be contained in a tablet.

    • Hi Ash,

      I think the amount is so small it can’t be a problem. Hydrolyzed (pre-digested) protein is benign and is used to chelate minerals, making them more absorbable.

  27. Hi Paul,
    I am very busy reading labels and notice that the Garden of Life Raw Enzymes includes an assortment of low dose vitamins. Am guessing that since they are low dose you don’t see this as being a problem??

    Also, got back on the juice of three celery stalks per day and am sleeping much better. Thanks for the help with that.

  28. Paul,

    I am confused about the dose for K2. I have the Life Extension Super K w/ Advanced K2 complex, but the mix (1K mcg K1, 1K mcg MK-4, 200 mcg MK-7 per softgel) does not seem to fit into the categories you define above (low dose, moderately high dose, high dose). I eat 3 pastured egg yolks/day, kerrygold butter, at least 1/4 # pastured liver/wk, bubbies pickles and pecorino cheese) and I would like to supplement at the moderately high dose…how many softgels should I take per week?

    Thank You!

    • Hi Christopher,

      I think once or twice per week would be good. Take it at times when you will be walking or active for ~3 hours afterward, so as to reduce any risk of clotting.

  29. Hi Paul

    About Copper. We get 2mg daily from the liver once a week and the range is 2-4mg. I checked the nutrition of what I am eating and I seem to get 2mg from regular food without the liver. 1.5mg comes from potatoes, salmon and mushrooms and other foods. The major source that gets me over the 4mg mark is dark chocolate or cocoa. 10g dark chocolate or 1 tbsp cocoa powder has 0.2mg of copper, and I tend to have 35g daily or 3 tbsp’s cocoa in yogurt which puts me over the 4g mark slightly. Is this much of an issue?

    Also, if ones to eat 30% carb or 600 carb calories, what if your a bit bigger like a 5’10 75-80 kilo of muscular build. I’m assuming 600 carb calories is an average for someone who burns 2000 calories, but being a bit bigger maybe you’d burn 2200-2400 calories (using a bw in pounds x 14 calculation here). So being at 75kg burning 2400 calories, 30% carbs should be 700 carb calories? I think I may be undereating on protein or carbs but I’m not sure what. I get about 75g protein and 150g carbs, but also have dandruff,some acne,coldish extremities so maybe I have a fungal infection thats taking away some carbs? I seem to have lost some fat being in a calorie deficit, but also lost some muscle and strength in the process 🙁 Maybe I just need to stop trying to lose fat (I’m about 15% bf) and up my fat calories into maintenance, as saturate fat helps build and maintain muscle..

    Thanks for any advice, Sorry my comments a bit lengthy!

    • Hi Arian,

      I don’t think 4 mg daily of copper is an issue as long as you get adequate zinc. You should eat oysters or other shellfish, or else supplement some zinc once or twice a week, to balance it.

      600 carb calories, if you don’t count vegetables, should be adequate for someone your size who isn’t very athletic. If you’re doing athletic activity then you may need more. I think staying around 30% carbs will be good no matter how much you’re eating.

      However, if eating more carbs and proteins relieves your symptoms, then you should do so. It’s a worthwhile experiment to run. More carbs and protein would help you gain muscle as well, perhaps saturated fat as well.

      15% bf is optimal for a man so I wouldn’t try to lose any more. If your waist is thick you may want to redistribute it, but that’s a healthy bf percentage. Undereating could be an issue with your cold extremities.

      • Thanks Paul 🙂 How would I go about redistributing the fat from the waist? I’m already do fasting for 14-16 hours, maybe I should lengthen it to 18-20 hours?

        • Hi Arian,

          Exercise coordinated with over/underfeeding — high intensity days and rest days, overeat on/after high intensity workouts and undereat on/after rest days.

          Circadian rhythm support.

          Yoga breathing exercises, planks.

          You can experiment with length of fasting, the risk of long fasts is that you will undereat. You might try 20 hour fasts on your low-intensity exercise days with undereating, and 14 hour fasts on your high-intensity exercise days with overeating.

  30. Quote from “After a mean follow-up of 3.9 years, 131 persons developed Alzheimer disease. Intakes of saturated fat and trans-unsaturated fat were positively associated with risk of Alzheimer disease, whereas intakes of -6 polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat were inversely associated. Persons in the upper fifth of saturated-fat intake had 2.2 times the risk of incident Alzheimer disease compared with persons in the lowest fifth in a multivariable model adjusted for age, sex, race, education, and apolipoprotein E 4 allele status (95% confidence interval, 1.1-4.7). Risk also increased with consumption of trans-unsaturated fats, beginning with the second fifth of intake (relative risk, 2.4 compared with the lowest fifth; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-5.3). We observed linear inverse associations between Alzheimer disease and vegetable fat (P = .002), and, after further adjustment for other types of fat, marginally significant associations with intake of -6 polyunsaturated fat (P = .10 for trend) and monounsaturated fat (P = .10 for trend). Intakes of total fat, animal fat, and dietary cholesterol were not associated with Alzheimer disease” This seems contradictory to your recommendation – thoughts?

    • Hi Camille,

      It seems to be this study: In the general population, saturated and trans-fat consumption is highest in people who consume a lot of junk food. They smoke, don’t exercise, are poorer, and in general they don’t tend to their health. They tend to have worse health outcomes generally.

      But when you correct for those known health risks, the saturated fat generally doesn’t appear to be harmful.

      This study didn’t correct for smoking, exercise, or any of the other saturated fat associated health factors. Their adjustments: “age, sex, race, education, and apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele status.”

      I don’t think you can read much of anything into this study. Since the 1970s the message has been: to be healthy, eat polyunsaturated fats, avoid saturated fats. So health-conscious people do that, and the people who still eat saturated fats are the ones who don’t take care of themselves. This pattern fouls up all recent epidemiological studies.

  31. Hello Paul. I have a question about supplemental copper/zinc and their use when being treated with bioidentical hormones. I had estrodial and testosterone pellets inserted for post menopausal symptoms at about the same time I started your supplements. I just read that HRT and birth control pills may raise the level of copper in one’s body. Should I be supplementing at a lower dose? In May, I plan on only replacing the testoterone pellet. I also take 100 mg of progesterone daily.

    Thanks for your help with this,

    • Hi Judy,

      I think the best thing is to eat 1/4 lb beef or lamb liver per week and then there’s no reason to supplement copper. I would still do that.

      A slightly higher level of copper is OK as long as you get enough zinc to balance it. 4 oysters per week, or one 50 mg zinc supplement per week, would do it.

  32. Paul-
    I can not find any nutrtional value info on bison liver on the internet. Is the nutrient value similar to beef/lamb?

  33. Hi Mel,

    Yes, bison is similar to beef and lamb.

  34. Hi , why not hyperlink every single vitamins which you are taking and recommending to the site that show the vitamin content and prices . So that we can know we are buying the right brand and also save us time to search around .

    Peace out 😛

  35. Hi Paul,

    3 questions 🙂

    1) You had mentioned HCL and enzymes should be supplemented therapeutically and could be potentially detrimental. What are your thoughts on taking bitters perpetually? Do you see much harm in doing so, or are those more therapeutic?

    2) Bananas that have started ripening to a point left in the refrigerator to stall the ripening process seem to turn black on the outside. Is that okay? The inside seem as if the ripening process stopped.

    3) For the salting of the fermented vegetables you just answered on my previous post, you said it is something done continually. On your fermented vegetables post, you mentioned to sterilize by salting and then “rinsing” before putting them in containers. Should I not be doing this rinse then?


  36. Hi Paul,

    I have a question regarding the celtic sea salt. I purchased a salt grinder, but it doesn’t cut it (no pun intended!) even though it was a very good one. Do you use as is straight from the bag, or do you grind yours? A little certainly goes a long way. Thanks Paul.


    • Hi Janis,

      I mostly just sprinkle it on whole. We eat a lot of watery foods and it dissolves quickly.

      We have been using Trader Joe’s sea salt and a pink Himalayan sea salt, the TJ’s is already ground and the Himalayan grinds easily. Maybe the celtic sea salt is tougher.

    • I had read that salt kills bacteria so should NOT be added to vegetables that you want to ferment (same thing with chlorinated water). Is salt not antibacterial?

      • Hi Donna,

        A salty brine helps to assure that bad microbes don’t grow and that the species that do grow are appropriate for the gut environment, which is also a salty environment.

  37. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the info! I wish we had a Trader Joe’s around here! I’ll look for a finer grind next time. The celtic sea salt I purchased from Amazon is very wet and is a tougher. Lessons learned. Oh well.


  38. Paul,

    This nutrition balancing still concerns me.

    I am at 900 mcg iodine daily and take 200 mg of selenium 2x a week. I feel good at this level but notice you now recommend just 225 mcg. Can i stay at 900?

    Just picked up a bottle of CVS men’s multivitamin (matches ONE A DAY formula) and it has 115 mg of selenium. Which is a daily vitamin.

    Is 200 mg of selenium 2x a week enough? I know i should target from food, so this gets difficult to figure out, but i seem less than a multi would give, and my iodine is higher.

    Sorry if this question is repetitive, but seeking clarity.

    • Hi Evan,

      Yes, you can stay at 900 mcg. I think that’s an excellent intake.

      PHD is a selenium-rich diet and I think an extra 115 mcg/day selenium is too much. That’s another reason we don’t recommend multivitamins any more.

  39. Hi Paul-
    I live just a couple of blocks from the Atlantic ocean and I go for long walks daily.Does breathing the salt air add to mineral intake,including Iodine?

  40. Hi Paul,
    I have query regarding your weekly supps…which i hope is a quick & easy one for you to answer…

    Is the reasoning behind the once per week protocol based more to do with dose size and simplicity…rather than its superiority over taking smaller doses of certain supps more often.

    Specifically, the reason i ask is because i have a Boron, Vanadium and Molybdenum supplements that come is very small doses.
    & i can take these supps every other day to achieve your recommended weekly dose.

    Is there any problem with dosing your ‘weekly’ supps this way,
    or is a more frequent dosing protocol just as good, as long as the appropriate weekly dose is achieved (& not exceeded).

    much appreciated

    • Hi Darrin,

      It’s partly dose, and partly the idea that the half-life of many nutrients in the body is ~7 days, while the half-life of the same nutrients in a bacterium is ~1 hour, so if you take them once a week you prevent any human deficiency but assure that bacteria will go throw a long starvation.

      But I don’t think there’s a problem with daily smaller doses.

  41. Hi Paul,

    I have been taking the NOW Foods Potassium plus Iodine for a couple years. I usually take four a day, for a total of 900mcg of potassium iodide. I recently re-ordered a couple of bottles from Amazon and was sent the wrong product. They sent the NOW Foods Potassium Iodide, which has 30mg per pill.

    Without even paying much attention to the different packaging, for two days I continued taking my usual four a day (120mg), until I realized today that this was a MUCH larger dose. I, of course, will not continue taking these, but I wanted to ask if I could’ve done any damage with these mega-doses over two days. I would also like to point out that I am 12 weeks pregnant with twins. Thanks for your help!

  42. “…for two days I continued taking my usual four a day (120mg), until I realized today that this was a MUCH larger dose. I, of course, will not continue taking these, but I wanted to ask if I could’ve done any damage with these mega-doses over two days.”

    Doses in this range, and much higher, have been safely used by physicians since the 19th century, interrupted only by the era of what Dr. Guy Abraham calls medical iodophobia kicked off by the “discovery” of the non-existent Wolff-Chaikoff effect. Hard to imagine you could have harmed yourself.

    Some contemporary docs influenced by Dr. Abraham’s work routinely use 100+ mg/day doses for people with cancer and other serious conditions for quick iodine repletion and bromine detox, and have not reported harms. I’ve been taking 50 mg/day (along with the rest of Dr. A.’s nutritional protocol) for several years now and my thyroid status has improved considerably, proven by lab tests and dramatically decreased need for thyroid hormone supplementation.

  43. Hello Paul,

    I did a test through my naturopath and am very low in iodine. The issue is that he gave me a potassium iodine dropper and told my to take 5 drops a day. I took two for the past month because 5 seemed high but he assured me not to worry.

    But of course I did worry. So the bottle seems to say 1gm/ml (the dropper itself is 1 ml). So if I understand it correctly, one dropper (1ml) = 1 gram (30 drops by my count). Which would mean that each drop = 0.03 grams.

    Now your recommended dosage is 225mcg to start, which is 0.000225grams. So even one drop is too much.

    If my math is right (and I’m not saying it is), should I take only one drop a day even though it is more than you recommend to start (I have been taking two for the past month)? OR do you recommend that I find another source until I build up my tolerance?

    I hope I’m making sense!

    • You are making sense. I would recommend taking the 225 mcg tablets to start and doubling the dose once a month if you want to go higher.

      Body parts that depend on iodine get it from thyroid hormone. 225 mcg is sufficient to meet thyroid needs. So all baseline bodily needs can be met with that dose. Higher doses may be therapeutic for certain conditions, but are not necessary to relieve a deficiency of iodine that prevents adequate formation of thyroid hormone. So I would start with the low dose to relieve any deficiency, and then gradually and slowly increase dose to achieve therapeutic effects like driving out bromine, so that you can monitor symptoms and see if the higher iodine is doing you good or ill. You may find that 225 mcg is enough to relieve whatever symptoms that your naturopath is trying to treat.

      • Thank you so much Paul!

      • Hi Paul,

        I am not able to order from your website as I do not live in the US. And I was not able to find the Now iodine 225mcg. BUT I did find another line that has the right dose of iodine but also has tyrosine (500mg).

        I see from previous posts that tyrosine has a relationship to c. pneumoniae but can’t figure out if it is a positive, negative or neutral factor in fighting it.

        If c. pneumoniae is this supplement okay?

        • Hi Amy,

          Tyrosine is an important amino acid needed to produce thyroid hormones. It shouldn’t be needed if you eat enough protein, but it is often recommended for people with hypothyroidism, and some people (especially vegetarians) do undereat protein.

          I don’t think it will do any harm.

  44. Are multivitamins not reccomanded anymore?

  45. Hi Paul,
    My husband has a history of high blood pressure no doubt genetic from his mother and grandfather who share his very thin body type and type A personality. He takes Vit D, magnesium, Vit b12 (methylated) and folate (we found out his B12 was dangerously low). He does not like the side effects from the blood pressure medicine and we were going to add potassium to his supps. but I see that is not recommended on your supplement list. In his case would you recommend it? and what other supps. might help. We follow a PHD diet at home but he travels a lot and does his best while traveling. He was getting way to thin for a while so he upped his carbs which helped with weight but not blood pressure. His b12 has gone up quite well with the sublingual methylcobalimin and metafolin.

    • Hi Sara,

      Electrolytes are important but potassium should be gotten from food — tomatoes and potatoes are the best sources. Salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day, for sodium and chloride), lithium (~2 mg/day), magnesium (~200 mg/day), and bone stock soups (1 bowl per day, for calcium and phosphorus) are the other electrolytes. Drink plenty of water and the kidney will regulate levels.

      There’s no need to supplement folate, rather what he needs is choline from liver and egg yolks. Try to eat duck/goose/chicken liver regularly and beef/lamb liver occasionally.

      Be sure to get vitamin K2 from fermented foods / aged cheese and to optimize vitamin D. A bit of vitamin C wouldn’t hurt. He might also consider N-acetylcysteine.

      Best, Paul

      • Paul,
        I wonder why you say he doesn’t need folate, but instead needs choline? I was under the impression that B12 and folate generally go hand in hand to kick up the methylation cycle?

        Also, I will say from personal experience, that while Potassium supplements aren’t ideal it is really hard to get the excess of Potassium that seems to be needed when actively taking B12 and folate.



        • Hi Lindsay,

          That’s largely covered in the new edition of our book. Almost everyone gets the right amount of folate from a whole foods diet, but it’s easy to be short of choline if you don’t eat liver or eggs or brain. So it’s a pretty safe bet that people will need choline rather than folate, if they need either. Folate got its good reputation because it reduces the ill effects of a choline deficiency, but it doesn’t eliminate them, so it’s not the optimal solution.

          Thanks for your experience about potassium/B12/folate.

          • Hi Paul,

            Huh, must have missed that section. I’ll have to look back through it. In case this is not covered in the book, do you think the same is true for those that have the MTHFR mutations? I am compound hetero for the two SNPs that matter and I take about 800 mcg Metafolin a day. It is hard to say if I am actually deficient or if my issues were solely B12 related, but my Naturopath recommended both. I wonder if my poor (vegan/vegetarian for 15 years) diet did a number on the expression of those MTHFRs?
            I do eat at least 3 egg yolks a day.. so good on the Choline front!

  46. Amy, I’m in the uk and ordered the Now iodine from Astro nutrition for under £9 delivers from the USA

  47. Including delivery it was ?9 total

  48. I plan to take supplements for choline / inositol (I will eat 1/4 lb ofliver / week though I don’t like it and I may have to stop as it may drive my iron levels too high [a bit high now] – & I have been told to avoid or eat minimal eggs (not whites or yolks) based on a food sensitivity test. Hw much supplemental choline should I take a day? Is 250 mg choline with 250 mg inositol sufficient (the amount in one pill)?

  49. John Henderson


    For a Vitamin K2 Moderately high dose you recommend: “1000 mcg MK-4, 100 mcg MK-7”

    Are you recommending both of these to use at the same time or are you saying to choose just one of them?

    If you are saying to use both of them at the same time, what differences do MK4 and MK7 give us that makes them useful to be used together?

    I thought the main difference was that MK7 stays longer in the body compared to MK4.



    John H.

    • Hi John,

      That is the composition of the LEF Super K2 that is in the middle panel. Of the three supplements I linked, that is the middle dose.

      I’m mostly eating fermented foods and aged cheese and liver and supplementing with 100 mcg MK-7 right now.

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