Vitamin & Protein Supplements - My Experiences

I don’t eat breakfast and haven’t in many years. Occasionally a banana, and even more occasionally, a big breakfast out at a buffet or Denny’s. In general, I have found that I dislike “breakfast food”. I think part of that might be from living in Asia, where breakfast is “just another meal” … rather than “cereal, toast, eggs and bacon”.

In order to get enough protein, I started eating the Quest nutrition bars in the morning as my breakfast. I was already eating one in the afternoon and enjoyed the taste and what it provided.

It became an important part of my day - getting 20g protein, 4g net carbs in a 200 calorie very tasty bar. There is also a bar called “ONE”, that claims the same benefits, but has a different taste which I don’t find to be as good. “ONE” seems to be in more nutrition/muscle shops.

The 4-ct box runs about $8, or $2.00 per bar. The 12-ct box is available from Amazon with an estimated price of $23, bring the cost of each bar down slightly, to $1.92 each.

When I return to Asia, I pack enough bars to last 90 days - or half a suitcase!

My Mom takes “Ensure” every day. It was “prescribed” by her doctor. I thought the taste was disgusting.

But in Walgreen’s, I found the new “updated” Ensure, with 1g of sugar (versus 15g in the old product!). I also found the brand “Boost” which is equally as good and has a Vanilla flavor as well as Chocolate.

To be clear, this are called ENSURE MAX PROTEIN and BOOST MAX PROTEIN.

[WARNING: Both companies also make a “high protein” drink. I am only talking about MAX PROTEIN, a completely different line with 30-50% more protein, and substantially less sugar. Please be careful to read the package name]

This because my new breakfast (when I am in the USA). Each drink contains 30g (!) of protein and 4g net carbs in a 160 calorie “milkshake”. The drinks also add flavor to the tablespoon of nasty cacao nibs I am eating each morning.

Ensure is “an old person’s drink”. That was the comment I heard when talking about Ensure. Then I realized they were right. I am old now, and I am enjoying these perks of age. Who doesn’t want a chocolate milkshake for breakfast.

They are also filled with daily nutrients we all need

Both brands seem to be very similar in the contents; and I would be hard pressed to tell the two brands of chocolate apart. They are delicious, provided you understand that this isn’t a hand-scooped milkshake from Hardees. In a way they are better for me, because they do not affect my “lactose intolerance”. I do not need to take a lactaid pill with these drinks. The Ensure container actually discloses “suitable for lactose intolerance”.

The price has been $7-9 per four pack (up to $2.25 per bottle), depending on store and available discounts. Walgreen’s has been giving a discount coupon each time I purchased them.

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If you have read my medical journey, you will know that I have had a hormonal imbalance for years that no doctors can explain, pinpoint or solve.

Because of that, I take a ridiculous amount of supplements/vitamins that different doctors have suggested … plus a few that I have added based on my reading here and other online posts.

These supplements have increased the spring in my step, because my wallet is no longer as heavy as it was.

We all have preferences in the supplements we take. I’m sharing mine because I am hoping others will add to the post and share pics and comments of theirs.

Before buying, I read the reviews on Amazon - but unlike buying a camera, I find reviews of supplements to be almost worthless. Half of them appear to be paid reviews and the other half posts don’t help (“I just received them”, “I guess they work”, “I can’t tell the difference”). And for many of the supplements, I feel the same way and wonder if they are helping me as much as they should.

The supplement I have been on the longest is my men’s daily vitamin. I chose this vitamin because I felt it had everything the doctor’s and forums were suggesting that older men should be taking.

It has the regular vitamins, the minerals (including zinc), Boron (to lower SHBG), and proprietary formulas for libido health. I can only get it via online orders I pay about $14.39 per bottle, or $.24 per DOSE.

I don’t like comparisons that show “cost per pill” because the number of pills you are supposed to take in many supplements vary from 1-6. For me, “cost per dose” make more sense when comparing to other supplements.

Does it work? I know that I was deficient in some of the vitamins I needed. Since starting this supplement years ago, I have never stopped. So sadly, can I say this supplement is really doing its job? No, I can’t say.

With all the supplements I take, I find that to be the case. I accept the word of doctors and others and take the suggested supplements in blind faith that they really work.

I’m interested to know if others feel the same way about the supplements you take.

This is the Boron I have been taking for quite some time. I chose it because of the boron being “fructoborate” which was well rates on the internet. Each capsule also more elemental boron (3mg) than I was finding in other supplements.

“Calcium fructoborate is a compound of boron, fructose and calcium found naturally in plant foods.”

There are others “boron” compounds with “potassium borate”, “boron glyconate”, “boron chelate”, “boron complex”, boron citrate, aspartate and glycinate combined, “private blends” and others. I chose to stay away from those.

I began taking Boron Supplementation in an effort to reduce my SHBG long before I went on TRT and before other prescription meds such as Danazol and Proviron.

This is the only supplement I tested with before and after blood tests and found that it did reduce my overall SHBG (but my level was so high, that this wasn’t enough).

I take 2 capsules per day. Strangely, when I went to 4 capsules a day, no additional benefit was delivered, so I have remained at 2 capsules daily. Considering I am on Danazol, the Boron is probably un-necessary, but I am reluctant to stop since I have been taking it for some time.

There is a new formula out (from BioImmersions) called “Fructo Borate Complex” which is a patented new formula that supposedly provides “better” boron absorption. I found a few makers selling this formula with 6mg elemental boron per pill - twice the amount I am getting.

The health supplement field is incredibly confusing.

When I had my first pellet insertion, the doctor immediately told me I needed to begin taking DIM, and provided me a free bottle of BioTE private label DIM. I started taking it, but wasn’t impressed with the strength, and found nothing good written about it.

So I search for REAL reviews from guys who had been taking DIM for a while and all the good words came back to “INDOLPLEX DIM”. When I showed it to my doctor, he was surprised and said that the Indolplex DIM was a much better and stronger product than he had and I should stay with it.

I’ve changed from one tablet, to two tablets, and back down to 1 tablet per day as I try to determine where my sweet spot for E actually is. So far, I don’t know that answer.

But when you research about using a DIM product, be sure to consider INDOLPLEX DIM as one of your choices.

I’ve been taking 9-12mg of Boron for a while now and my SHBG came down by 26 points after two weeks but that could be attributed to stopping Clomid treatment. Either way I have been feeling much better since taking it.


I chose this brand and product for a few specific reasons.
First, the pills are TINY, and based on the number of supplements I already take, getting a tiny pill means I wouldn’t notice it as much.
Second, these are “softgels” which according to Sir Google … " “ Softgel capsules improve bioavailability by delivering the nutrient in solution or other absorption-enhancing media,"
Third, there are different types of “biotics”. In my reading, the probiotic acidophilus was the best choice for someone with mild IBD.

Does it work? Who knows. I accept the advice of doctors and internet articles about the benefits of probiotics.

“There are currently no medical tests to assess quantitatively how well probiotics are working – often, the only measure of efficacy is the absence of illness.”

Definitely stopping clomid.

Boron works for me for a few days then stops.

Between prescription meds and supplements, I am taking 17 capsules daily. It is ridiculous. Do others here take substantial amounts of supplements daily??

I started taking DHEA because my test results have always been on the low side of normal. Since I suffer with fatigue & low energy levels, coupled with the Doctor’s believe that I suffer from “adrenal fatique”, I added DHEA along with an Adrenal Booster.

In two days, I will receive the results of my first test after supplementing with DHEA and I am looking forward to whether any numerical results are visible.

And since it is to address the same issue …

One of my doctors believes that a lot of the problems I face can be traced back to Adrenals and suggested that I begin an Adrenal supplementation. My USA doctor commented through a deep breath that addressing the adrenals through supplements “is a long term commitment”. Reading through the lines, I felt as though he wasn’t sold on the idea.

I really do wonder how much I need all the supplements I am taking and whether this volume of supplements is something I can maintain for ever. It takes me 3-4 swallows before I have emptied the pill box for the day.

I have said before, supplements are a strange business. I blindly take these supplements without any proof of whether they are really doing anything for me. Yet, I am leery of stopping any of them.

That is a lot of stuff to take.

Do you ever eat any fruit or vegetables?

Hahhaha. Yes. I eat a substantial diet of both fruits and vegetables, which is what makes my situation even more troubling. Every night consists of a salad filled with lettuce and fruit.

And I haven’t finished posting all my supplements, which is a terrible thing to admit.

Quest bars for the win… I score them for .99 ea, $11.88/ box of 12… I’m also taking a suitcase full of them when I travel :joy:

I agree … I didn’t even think to include my quest bars here … but they are wonderful, taste great, and deliver great amounts of protein. I eat one every afternoon around 3:30 when I start dragging.

I don’t get them as cheap as you have however! How do you get them so cheap???

Absolute favorite is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

I stopped eating quest bars because they are made with Almonds. Almonds increase SHBG. isn’t that an issue for you Traveling man?

Yes and No … Before I realized the connection, I ate BAGS of Almonds because that was my only “snack” that I kept around all day long.

Even though I don’t eat them anymore, my SHBG levels did not lower because of the elimination of Almonds. SHBG actually increased.

IMO there aren’t enough almonds in Quest to worry. But no, I have no documentation to prove that statement. My reason for going to quest was to boost my protein intake which would be more important than the small amount of almonds that might be in Quest. I needed more protein when I calculated how much protein I was taking.

diets low in protein in elderly men may lead to elevated SHBG levels and decreased testosterone bioactivity. Source Contradictory Study

Most of the ONE bars did not have any almonds in them. just an idea.

Nitric Oxide Supplement

This is probably my least favorite supplement and the first one I will likely quit as it is FOUR capsules per serving. I added this supplement because I began testing my NO levels using saliva strips (strip results are in my journey thread)

The more I read about nitric oxide depletion, the more I wondered if that was part of my issues. According to the data, if you have low NO in your body, Viagra and others are less likely to work. And at one point this year, 100mg Viagra wasn’t doing the trick.

Others on this board have posted about their NO supplements, focusing on either Arginine or Citrulline. I decided to try this one because it had both amino acids at a reasonably high quantity; and included L-Arginine HCL, which is the “better” choice for the body.

Arginine is not suggested with “chronic” low blood pressure. I have low blood pressure, but not at a dangerous level.

There are also studies that show citrulline is NOT as effective as Arginine. You will also find some people who swear by it.

My nitric oxide levels have increased since I started with the supplements, so this is one of the few that I can say I have verified as working. The saliva strips show that my levels went from DEPLETED to THRESHOLD.

Updated 4/24/19:
Recent studies suggest that NO is a major physiological stimulus for relaxation of penile vasculature and trabecular smooth muscle, essential for penile erection. Relaxation of the trabecular smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosa leads to a decreased vascular resistance and increased blood flow to the penis. Alongside the increased flow, venous outflow is reduced by the compression of the subtunical venules. The combination of increased inflow and decreased outflow causes penile engorgement and erection. (A Review on Plants Used for Improvement of Sexual Performance and Virility)

My next supplement to add to this thread: Yohimbe.

I was confused about this supplement – with the terms “Yohimbe” vs “Yohimbine”. Because of this, I think I bought a less potent supplement than I should have. I have said it before that the supplement industry is full of confusing products and ingredients. Yohimbine study and here.

Yohimbe ( Pausinystalia yohimbe) is the name of an evergreen tree native to western and central Africa. The bark of the tree contains an active compound called yohimbine. In the United States, yohimbine has been developed into a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction. In this form, it is more commonly known as yohimbine hydrochloride and has been used for longer than viagra. Yohimbine hydrochloride can also be found as an over-the-counter supplement.

You will notice on the ingredients label that it does not list “Yohimbine HCL” which would be the ingredient to look for. I missed it somehow, thinking the 3% standardized for Yohimbe meant the same thing - but it does not.

The active ingredient in yohimbe bark extract is yohimbine. It is a poor source of yohimbine in my opinion. Would use yohimbine-hcl 100% of the time.

If you are really confused by the name, you should know that yohimbe is the herbal version and yohimbine HCL is the synthetic version. Yohimbine HCL is a cleaner compound and has all the benefits while retaining none of just a few of the side effects of the herbal version.

And one last time … “Most clinical studies have looked at the drug yohimbine and not the herbal extract Yohimbe.” Which means that the documented clinical benefits were based on YOHIMBINE and not Yohimbe.

Yohimbe/Yohimbine comes with some interesting warnings:

As little as 40 mg a day can cause severe side effects, such as dangerous changes in blood pressure, hallucinations, paralysis, liver, kidney, and heart problems, and can even be fatal. Because yohimbine blocks the enzyme monoamine oxidase, people taking Yohimbe must avoid all tyramine-containing foods (e.g., liver, cheeses, red wine) and over-the-counter products that contain the ingredient phenylpropanolamine, such as nasal decongestants. People with kidney or liver disease, stomach ulcers, heart disease, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder should not take Yohimbe.

If that isn’t enough to scare you from taking it, I don’t know what is. But I find many supplements with this crazy warnings and they are still being sold hand over fist.

I take all my supplements first thing in the morning.

The takeaway is that yohimbine needs to be taken several hours from a meal or first thing in the morning because the effects are eliminated totally even by small amounts of insulin -> any kind of food raises insulin levels.

So after writing this, I decided to go back to Amazon site and look at my purchase. The ingredient label on Amazon is DIFFERENT from the ingredient label on what was shipped.

Amazon shows “Standardized for 3% Yohimbine”. The description also includes the statement “standardized to 3% Yohimbine HCL” which is also different from the label. And my label shows “standardized for 3% YOHIMBE”.

UPDATE 5-4-19:
I learned something today.

You calculate the “mg” of Yohimbine by multiplying the percentage by the number of mg of the capsule.

In my photo example of the label, 3% yohimbine of a 100mg capsule, means that there is 3mg of effective Yohimbine in this product.

The latest bottle I received has been updated to 4%, meaning 4mg per capsule.

I have also found a 2007 study (Adniyi et al. 2007) that indicates a starting dose of 20mg, increasing to 50mg PER DAY as necessary to reduce delayed ejaculation.

What can I say about Vitamin D?

UPDATE: This high amount of Vitamin D was NOT a good idea and I had to stop supplementing my Vit D as my levels went into danger level.


Where do you buy Quest bars for $.99 ($11.88 for a box of 12)???

I went shopping yesterday and I found a few new drinks to try. Anytime I see different flavors of protein drinks, I want to try them.

I bought PROTEIN H20 - which is water with 15g Protein added. This has a really good taste, and will make for a flavored bonus in the afternoons. I enjoy the taste of plain water, but this reminded me of a “sports drink” without all the sugars and additives. It shows 0 sugars and 60 calories for the entire bottle.

[In the evening, I wanted something sweet. I took a few swigs of the Protein water and the sweetness solved my craving.]

I also bought PREMIER PROTEIN “Strawberries & Cream” protein drink. It is in the same type of container as Ensure Max Protein, and looks very similar, with similar protein (30g) and nutrients with only 1g sugar.

I drank this one this morning. It isn’t “lactose intolerance friendly” so I took a lactaid pill first. The flavor is nice for a change, more “cream” than “strawberry”, but was tasty. Even though it has the same amount of sugar as the others (1g), I found it to be slightly more sweet.

I wouldn’t switch to this drink over the Boost Max Protein, but having an alternate flavor in the refrigerator will be a welcome treat. This is the least expensive shake I have purchased at $7.27 for 4 ($1.82ea) in comparison to the regular price of Boost of $9.99 ($2.50ea).

The last one is MYOPLEX SHRED with 42g PROTEIN, 1g sugar, and 210 calories. This is a 16oz (!) “Chiseled Chocolate” flavored drink. I will try it in the morning and update this post.

UPDATED: I had the Myoplex shred this morning. It was VERY tasty. My only issue is that there is a big difference between 11oz and 16oz first thing in the morning! That problem is minor though - and 42g protein is a super boost for the body in the morning.

Sadly, none of these products are available in Asia, and I can’t load a suitcase full of heavy liquids …

UPDATE 1/29/19: Myoplex 42g protein shakes appear to have been discontinued. Walmart has one location near me with ONE in stock, marked 75% off. I wasn’t able to find local Walmarts in the region that have it nor does online have it (including Amazon). That is disappointing.