What if you did {X} every single day?

I saw this funny comic in Outside magazine from Brendan Leonard where he did a one-minute plank every day for four months.

Did it turn out to be… good? It sounds like not really. Like possibly, his core is a little stronger, but that’s unclear, and he certainly didn’t develop any love for doing it. So, I guess it didn’t hurt, but the jury is out on how much it helped.

Since nothing was measured and zero data was accumulated and analyzed, I’m not entirely convinced it was meaningless. It still stands to reason that using your muscles every day keeps your muscles in better shape.

My grandpa used to say that if you climb a rope every day, you’ll never not be able to do it. I still like that. Even if my brain immediately tries to fight against it like: what if you break your arms? What if you hurt your back? I suppose you slowly work your way back to doing it every day, but it’s not hard to think of acute injuries as moments where an otherwise lifelong streak dies.

I think about all this in the context of Fish Oil lately. Like the pills you’re supposed to take because they have omega-3 fatty acids that your body can’t make.

I’m on about five months now of taking the recommended regimen of Fish Oil every day. Two stupid capsules. Is this actually doing me any good? I was pretty skeptical for most of that time. I mean, “Fish Oil” is suspiciously close to “Snake Oil”, ya know?

But then I got some labs done ahead of an upcoming annual physical and…

Note from doctor: Overall labs look good. Cholesterol is drastically improved. Keep up the good work.

That’s cool, I guess! I think that’s the whole point, really. And on an entirely personal and highly anecdotal level: I’ve felt fine that whole time. Haven’t been sick once.

But it ain’t just Fish Oil I’ve been taking. I’m on Ozempic, which you gotta imagine causes the biggest impact. I go to CrossFit every weekday; that also probably doesn’t hurt. The full pill regiment, as recommended by a health professional, is:

  • Multivitamin
  • Beef Liver
  • Fish Oil
  • Boron
  • P5P
  • Magnesium

So far, so good. I still have doubts, though. Are those things the right things for me? Are any of them bullshit? Am I not taking something I should be? Can I have my DNA reconfigured to stop liking gummy bears?



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4 responses to “What if you did {X} every single day?”

  1. EB says:

    Vitamin supplementation isn’t actually well supported for healthy adults (https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2015/0101/od1.html) while a good nutritious diet has been found to be beneficial. The US spends about $28-35 BILLION a year on vitamin supplements. And because of how poorly regulated these actually are (https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements), they sometimes contain things you might really, really not want to be taking (https://www.wired.com/story/dietary-supplements-can-contain-viagra-steroids-or-worse/).

    So when my patients (I have an MD and a PhD, although the PhD is in biochemistry and wasn’t concerning medications or nutrition) ask about vitamins, I actively recommend them to avoid supplements unless they really trust the manufacturer and their primary care physician (MD or DO) states that they have a measured deficiency. Instead, I recommend that my patients spend that money on a (slightly) better diet and get some exercise.

    Of course, things are different in people with specific chronic illnesses, cancer, or those who have had bariatric surgery. But “normal” Americans very likely don’t need extra vitamins . . . they need decent food. I’m confident that I personally would be healthier if I just had a salad every single day.

    • Sam says:

      I’m pretty sure everyone who takes vitamin supplements knows it’s worse than just eating healthier. They take them because they don’t want to eat healthier for whatever reason.

  2. Pet peeve of mine: fish oil is nearly always recommended as a supplement, and not as a food to eat. Try a 4 oz can of sardines or mackerel.

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