Supplement Hacking 101

Anyone that spends much time with me generally knows I spend an inordinate amount of time reading up on studies regarding health and tracking key biometrics. My favorite research website is – a great resource for those looking to hack their health. I’m a very skeptical person by nature and generally think the newest health fad is planted in our collective consciousness by saavy marketers. I don’t eat gluten-free, don’t eat organic (I wash my fruits and vegetables thoroughly) and don’t fear GMO foods. That being said there are some supplements out there that have shown a lot of promise – regardless of any attached hype. Here is my list of supplements I take in no particular order… remember always talk to your physician before trying new supplements

  • L-RG9 L-arginine supplement – While there is some doubt about L-arginine supplementation being effective across the general population at increasing nitric oxide levels, this supplement also contains L-citrulline – which shows more promise than L-arginine at consistently producing NO2. It also has 20 mg of CoQ-10, Chlorella (eh), and red wine extract. I am luckily a responder to L-arginine supplementation – it works every time for me. My blood pressure is consistently 5-10 points lower on days when I take the product. Your mileage may vary.
  • Spirulina – I take 5g per day in my morning smoothie. I would take more than that if I could stomach the disgusting taste. For someone my weight – the rat models say I should be taking more like 15g per day – that’s a half ounce of algae. Spirulina has been shown to reduce lipid peroxidase, triglyceride levels – and according to examine – has a study that shows it is effective at reducing arsenic levels in the body! If you take one supplement – this would be it. Seriously, if you are on the fence go click through that link to examine and get convinced. The benefits are astounding.
  • Fish Oil – while the case for supplementation of fish oil varies depending on your personal health circumstances, its such a cheap, well studied supplement that the risk of harm is essentially nil – and increasing your omega 3:6 ratio can only help. I personally take a high DHA fish oil supplement from melaleuca called Vitality Omega-3 creme delight. It tastes great – my daughter will take it – and the effects of DHA supplementation are profound. On days where I megadose – my memory is off the charts. I’ve recalled memories from my childhood that were long forgotten. If you’ve taken fish oil before with no noticeable results – maybe you just needed a bigger dose. I’ve take as much as 10g of DHA in a day with great result. Medline says 3g per day is safe, more can prevent your blood from clotting properly
  • Sulbutiamine – this one I don’t supplement every day – as there appears to be an issue with developing tolerance (n=1). Sulbutiamine is a synthetic version of the B vitamin Thiamine. Sulbutiamine was created by the Japanese to deal with low B-1 vitamin levels among the population there. I take it on the mornings when I need a pick me up. Sulbutiamine gives a serious boost to energy and alertness – something the other straight B-Vitamins have never done for me. Sadly there is little evidence regarding this one – so if you aren’t trying to cut down on your coffee/caffeine intake you may consider passing this one by.
  • L-Theanine – caffeine’s better half – found in tea. L-theanine is likely the reason tea is as popular as it is. It’s calming – without making one tired. It modulates the uptake of caffeine into your bloodstream and evens it out so you don’t have a huge crash like straight coffee. I love coffee – so adding a little L-theanine to my cup every day has paid dividends. Go buy some, the british empire probably got this one right.

I have a lot of other supplements that I toy around with – piracetam, pramiracetam, tianeptine, melatonin – but the ones above are my staples because they have made a measurable impact on my life. All of our bodies are different though – so I encourage you to test them for yourself.



Page Load Testing: Embedding With DocStoc and Scribd

As I work in search engine marketing – I frequently test my sites’ page load times just to make sure I’m getting my content to visitors as quickly as possible. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about my blog – until I posted an embedded pdf on a post recently and noticed a significant performance drop off. I ran this site through the great tool at I was appalled to see 10 second+ load times!!!1 I dug into the numbers and saw that my scribd embed was hogging bandwidth like a sonofabitch. I knew there are basically two players in this field – scribd and docstoc so i figured I would test page load time with each. The results are pretty interesting:

Page Browser Load Time Fully Loaded Req Bytes in
DocStoc Chrome ✓ 0.616s 4.324s 12 258 KB
DocStoc Firefox 1.295s 3.681s 12 258 KB
DocStoc IE8 1.348s 3.900s 12 258 KB
Scribd Firefox 7.800s 8.556s 49 557 KB
Scribd Chrome 8.378s 9.198s 57 552 KB
Scribd IE8 15.269s 15.755s 63 742 KB

DocStoc loads a flash object – while scribd loads up a remote page via an iframe. Intuitively one might expect flash to perform worse – but in this case the biggest culprit is the sheer volume of third party scripts scribd is embedding. Depending on browser between 49-63 request compared to DocStoc’s consistent 12. Additionally scribd serves up over twice the total page weight as does DocStoc (257kb vs 552-743kb). Scribd clearly isn’t concerned enuogh about user experience with their embedded documents.

Some notes about the test – first off its clearly unscientific – but the difference in load time was such that further tests seem pretty pointless. I used the default embed code from each site – and uploaded the same simple text document to each (a simple robots.txt file). Each page was identical and loaded no other external resources. The pages can be seen here and here.

A few items of interest – scribd is including twitter, facebook and google+ external javascripts which is probably not as noticeable on many sites – but still a very heavy bandwidth decision. The one item that stands apart though is scribd’s decision to include a quantcast tracking code ( Looks like a bid to inflate their quantcast numbers – judging by their traffic there.