A Buff Neurosurgeon’s Top 10 Supplements Recommended For You, Part 1

Dr. Brett Osborn is a stud and a neurosurgeon, and he wants to share his top 10 supplements to help you live a long and strong life.

Dr Osborn's top 10 supplements

I’M READING a book I think you might want to know about. It’s written by Dr. Brett Osborn, a neurosurgeon who drinks his own lemon aide with fantastic effect.

The book is called Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Wellness, and its for “men and women of all ages” who are serious about, well… health and wellness!

There are a lot of books written by smart people that divulge smart things you can do to become “the best that you can be”, as people like to say. But few of the authors are resplendent examples of the potential their books exclaim.

Like 70-something year young Dr. Jeffrey Life — whose book helped ignite a rush to use bioidentical hormones and exercise to rebuild a youthful, strong and muscular body — Dr. Osborn shows us the template he has used to build himself a marvelously strong, muscular and lean body that belies his 40+ years of age.

(Read about Dr. Life.)

Here’s Dr. Osborn:

Dr. Brett Osborn, age 40-something

Dr. Brett Osborn, age 40-something


So, how does he do it?

To get the whole answer you’ll hafta read his whole book. To be sure, taking any ten supplements will not by themselves get you as healthy and strong as Dr. Osborn. As you known, when it comes to making your body work well you must feed it well. The nutrition has to be dialed in, and it comes from food first and then supplements.  And to get it chiseled you have to do resistance training (ie: lift something often).

Today, we’re talking supplements – specifically, Dr. Osborn’s top 10 supplements that he claims you need to optimize your health.

(You can read a whole lot about diet here and exercise here.)

Here are his top 10 supplements:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  2. Resveratrol
  3. Green Tea Extract
  4. Vitamin D3
  5. Curcumin
  6. Vitamin C
  7. Vitamin E
  8. Magnesium
  9. Probiotics
  10. B Complex

Three drugs also come into play, as you’ll see in Part 2.

My approach in sharing this information with you is to present Dr. Osborn’s view about each supplement, as described in his book, Get Serious, add a few (hopefully) noteworthy thoughts of my own, and in “Recommendation” show Osborn’s suggested supplement dosage and the specific brands recommended by Labdoor, a free supplement testing service.

Being a relatively new service, there are still hundreds of supplements that have yet to be lab tested and graded by Labdoor. In these cases, I either relied on my own experience about high quality supplements or found those recommended by ConsumerLab.com, an independent provider of lab test results and information about health and nutrition products.

Before we dig into the particulars, I have some advice for you when it comes to selecting supplements:

First, make sure your diet is solid, because no supplementation is going to override a poor diet.

Second, check with Examine.com to see what the latest research says about a supplement will and won’t do… there’s a lot of hype about supplements that needs to be dispelled. If you have a certain condition you’re trying to address, like increasing testosterone, consider getting one of Examine.com’s “Stack Guides”.

Click here for a list of Stack Guides.

Examine.com has 16 such Stacks; namely:

  1. Testosterone Enhancement
  2. Fat Loss
  3. Muscle Gain & Exercise Performance
  4. Mood and Depression
  5. Heart Health
  6. Sleep Quality
  7. Insulin Sensitivity
  8. Memory and Focus
  9. Skin and Hair Quality
  10. Libido and Sexual Enhancement
  11. Liver Health
  12. Allergies and Immunity
  13. Bone Health
  14. Joint Health
  15. Vegetarianism/Veganism
  16. Seniors

(Update: Just learned that a 17th guide has been added for 2016 that addresses the supplements helpful to deal with Anxiety. Learn about all the Guides here.)

Third, once you get comfortable with what your target supplement does and doesn’t due given Examine.com’s guidance, got to Labdoor and see if they have graded associated brands so that you can feel secure that you’re getting the right supplement type and the right brand.


A Karen Story

We begin as Dr. Osborn does in his “Supplements 101” chapter of his book, Get Serious. He tells us of an acquaintance named “Karen” to underscore a point about getting clear about your health issue before you try to solve it.

In this case, Dr. Osborn bumps into Karen is browsing through the supplement shelves in Whole Foods looking for an herb called “Cat’s Claw” that she was told is good for heartburn. Osborn thinks this is ridiculous. He says that Karen is “severely obese” and had “much bigger battles to fight” than heartburn with Cat’s Claw.

He tactfully suggested that she try taking high-dose omega-3 fatty acids, which not only addresses both her digestive and weight issues to some degree, but also might provide the most benefit of any supplement on the market, he believes. If she lost some weight, her heartburn would likely go with it.

This little episode is pertinent because there are countless people like Karen, who can’t see the forest through the trees, says Dr. Osborn. They have little insight into their medical conditions. They lack introspection. Instead of coming to grips with their problem, they look for remedies for ancillary issues.

They seek laxative supplements instead of modifying their diets to include at least 20-25 grams of daily fiber and increasing their water intake, for instance. Or, another example, they seek supplements touted to lower blood pressure when their diets are laden with sodium and carbohydrate.

The only real and long-lasting solution is to fix the primary issue first. The majority of health problems can be solved with dietary modification and daily exercise. And, although the rest of this article is about ten supplements you should consider taking, the first two things you should do is improve the nutritional quality of your diet and exercise.

Says Dr. Osborn:

Supplements are not to be used as primary treatments for ailments that should be otherwise addressed. They are as their name infers, “supplements,” to be taken in addition to an optimal diet and lifestyle. They will not, unto themselves, remedy your elevated blood sugar, gouty arthritis, and hypertension. Only you can. Stop looking for the easy way out (an all too common ailment of today’s society). I can assure you raspberry ketone, in isolation, is not the answer to your obesity. Ignore the sensationalized claims! Dig deep inside yourself prior to stepping foot into the health food store. Forget about cat’s claw and cat’s foot. Educate yourself, and in the same vein, stop wasting your money.

That said, let’s see what the good doc says about his top ten supplements…


1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This is Dr. Osborn’s number one choice given the plethora of data supporting it’s benefits, including anti- inflammatory and antioxidant capacities that, in this case, are particularly beneficial to your heart and brain, two organs I like to keep happy.

The most robust source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil, and about that there are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Most of us need to increase the ratio of omega-3 to the much more prevalent (in our diet) omega-6 fatty acids. The American diet ratio is 20-to-1; whereas the optimal is 1-to-1. (In Japan, the country with the best ratio, it’s 4-to-1.)
  • The objective is to minimize omega-6 consumption and maximize omega-3 consumption, which translates into eating less vegetable oil (corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, as well as poultry and eggs) and more fish, avocado, walnuts, flax and chia seeds and fish oil supplements.
  • Osborn recommends a minimum of 3 grams (3,000 mg) daily in divided doses.
  • Beware: Omega-3 fatty acids may interfere with blood clotting particularly at high dosages (> 3,000 mg daily). Be smart and discuss usage with your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners (warfarin) or medications that interfere with platelet function (aspirin, for example).
  • Given that belching, and diarrhea are common side effects of omega-3 supplements, store your capsules in the freezer. Once frozen, the fatty acids will be released in slowly in your gastrointestinal tract, thereby diminishing these potential side effects. Moreover – and importantly – freezing will slow down the oxidation process so prevalent in fish and other oil supplements.
  • Labeling on omega-3 supplements can be inaccurate and the quality varies, so do your homework and only use reliable, high quality brands.

Recommendation: Labdoor’s top three are WHC UnoCardio 1000 (which also includes Vitamin D), WHC UnoCardio and Viva Labs Ultra Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil.

2. Resveratrol

This is a compound found in wine that studies had originally indicated could protect against coronary events in people consuming a high-fat diet. Recent studies that perhaps have been published after Dr. Osborn’s book bring doubt to some of the beneficial claims associated with resveratrol. Nonetheless, I’ll summarize what Dr. Osborn says about resveratrol and then suggest a better alternative.

The main point that Dr. Osborn makes about resveratrol is how it might reduce the inflammatory effects of excess insulin, which if it does, would be huge. Even without excess insulin, chronic inflammation is a precursor to many of the diseases associated with aging (which is why Osborn refers to it as “inflamm-aging”).

Add that to the fact that high blood sugar is common among people living in the industrialized world who rely on processed, sugar-laden foods, and we have a situation where our poor pancreas must continually pump out the insulin needed to move sugar into the cells of our body where it’s converted into fuel the body can use to live, which is a darn good idea.

Recently, some doubt was cast on the preliminary findings regarding resveratrol. This Harvard Health Publication review indicates that much of the positive press came from animal studies and that recent human studies are not so supportive of its proclaimed benefits.

There may be a better alternative and that is Pterostilbene.

Pterostilbene is a polyphenol shown to improve metabolic health in lab studies. Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants that comprise over 4,000 species, and are found naturally in blueberries and grapes.

Click to learn about “polyphenols”.

Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. The health effects of polyphenols depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability.

Pterostilbene is similar to resveratrol, that grape “extract” found in red wine that has been heralded as a longevity promoter. Recent studies suggest that pterostilbene is actually superior to Resveratrol, and anti-aging expert Josh Mitteldorph compares it to resveratrol here. Examine.com rates its specific effectiveness for blood pressure, HDL, blood glucose and more here.

Recommendation: Labdoor has not yet tested resveratrol, but Consumer Labs recommends several, including Life Extension’s Optimized Resveratrol and Nutrigold Resveratrol. If pterostilbene is your preference, consider Absorb Health Pterostilbene. For a two-in-one option, try VitaMonk’s Pterostilbene and Resveratrol.


3. Green Tea Extract

Dr. Osborn says that green tea is a likely factor in the enhanced longevity of the Japanese people due to its anti-cancer promoting epigallocatechingallate (“EGCG”) content and its antioxidant richness.

EGCG is also thought to:

  • Protect cells from lipid peroxidation and DNA damage thought to be integral to atherogenic and neurodegenerative processes.
  • Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting plaque formation.
  • And that already mentioned anti-cancer effect might be due to inhibition of tumor angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel formation) and its ability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in tumor cells.

Recommendation: Drink several cups of organic green tea every day. Labdoor’s top three are Bulk Supplements Green Tea Extract, Hard Rhino Pure Green Tea Extract and Nutrigold Decaffeinated Green Tea.


4. Vitamin D3

We call it a vitamin, but actually “Vitamin” D3 is a hormone, one that has a many more functions than being useful for only bone health and calcium regulation as once thought. Dr. Osborn says that vitamin D3:

  • Confers protection against a variety of cancers;
  • Is integral to our immune response;
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties;
  • Influences skeletal muscle growth; and
  • Maintains vascular health.

He also cites a large study of 18,225 men that resulted in the contention that the relative risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction or fatal coronary heart disease was more than double in those individuals with low vitamin D3 levels relative to those with normal levels.

Considering the high prevalence of vitamin D3 deficiency in the United States, normalization of serum levels would result in more than 100,000 lives saved yearly, says Dr. Osborn.

Recommendation: Dr. Osborn suggest a daily dosage of 1,000 -10,000 I.U daily. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D3 level (a simple blood test) and take enough to attain a level of 50-65 ng/ mL.  Labdoor’s top three are: Carlson’s Labs Vitamin D3, Nutrigold Vitamin D3 and Nature Made Vitamin D3.


5. Curcumin

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in India is approximately 50% lower than in the United States and it may be due to the high quantities of turmeric consumed, a main ingredient of curry powder, and from which curcumin is derived.

Fifty percent is a big difference, especially when we’re talking that dreaded disease, Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which thwart the formation of amyloid plaque, the stuff largely responsible for dementia/Alzheimer’s. It’s also been utilized to treat osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and researchers are now pursuing its potential anti-cancer (chemopreventive) effects.

Beyond all it’s wonders when it comes to helping make you healthy (and keeping your brain sound), there’s one thing you need to know about curcumin – it’s poorly absorbed.

Yes, the bioavailability of curcumin is low at doeses less than four grams. The remedy is to make sure the curcumin supplement you use has added “piperine” (a black pepper derivative) to the mix, and add pepper to the curcumin (or turmeric) you use for cooking.

Another absorption note: Take your curcumin with fish oil.

Recommendation: Dr. Osborn says that a daily dosage of 800 to 1,000 mgs is good, and cautions that curcumin may interfere with platelet function and therefore blood clotting. Discuss usage with your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners (warfarin) or other medications that interfere with platelet function (aspirin, for example). Alert your surgeon preoperatively as well. Two great brands are New Chapter’s Turmeric Force and Mega Foods Turmeric Strength. For curcumin derivative alone, try Life Extension Super Bio-curcumin.



6. B-Complex

Forget about the nonsensical energy drinks touting the inclusion of B vitamins – their real value is to help enable “methylation”.

Methylation is a cellular process occurring a billion times each second whereby a transfer of a “methyl” group from on molecule to another. This is a process crucial to the regulation of protein function and gene expression, without which life couldn’t exist.

A deficiency in methylation is referred to as “hypomethylation”, which is associated with a variety of diseases like cancer, coronary artery and cerebrovascular disease, and neural tube defects, among others.

Faulty methylation is associated with elevated homocysteine levels in the blood. According to Robert Haas in his Life Extension Magazine article, Is Homocysteine Making You Sick:

Many people suffering from cardiovascular disease, stroke, migraines, and dementia could be suffering from the adverse effects of elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood. This condition has also been linked to other problems, including osteoporosis, birth defects, macular degeneration, and certain types of cancer.

In most cases, doctors will not consider testing for homocysteine and could therefore be treating their patients without success. Most health-conscious people know their cholesterol level but few know their equally important homocysteine number.


In his book, Dr. Osborn points out that Homocysteine is an intermediary in a complex series of biochemical reactions that play a role in neurotransmitter (chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another) synthesis and DNA methylation (regulation of gene expression).

Homocysteine can accumulate in the blood for several reasons, the most common being a vitamin B deficiency. In fact, Dr. Osborn asserts, almost two-thirds of the prevalence of high homocysteine is attributable to low vitamin status or intake.

There are two issues here to consider:

  • First, the build-up of homosysteine suggests that critical biochemical pathways are faltering wherein methylation is impaired and a variety of inflammatory diseases set in. (Even fatigue and depression can be due to methylation defects.)
  • Secondly, homocysteine itself is an
    endothelial toxin that wreaks havoc on your blood vessels.

The good news is that elevated homocysteine are easily addressed, even in patients with genetic predispositions to what are termed “methylation defects” by taking a B-complex vitamin.

Recommendation: Dr. Osborn advises taking 400 mcg per day and not to worry when your urine turns yellow and smells, as the first is an effect of riboflavin (the Latin word “flavus” means yellow or golden) and the second due to the use of pyridoxine in the preparation. Three good brands of B complex are MegaFood Balanced B Complex, New Chapter Coenzyme B Food and Life Extension Complete B.


7. Vitamin C

It was Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling that first popularized the important role that vitamin C plays in the human body. It’s integral to numerous biological processes such as tissue repair, the quenching of free radicals (antioxidant), and the formation and maintenance of skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Linus Pauling asserted that chronically low levels of vitamin C could be a cause of atherosclerosis. In the same vein, it has been postulated that a bear’s ability to thwart off atherosclerotic disease (despite elevated inflammatory markers and high cholesterol levels during prolonged periods of hibernation) is causally related to their high circulating levels of vitamin C.

Why the difference?

Because bears can synthesize vitamin C and humans cannot. We must obtain it from our diet or through supplementation.

Do not neglect your vitamin C. It is protective of your cells and particularly your vascular endothelium (the thin tissue lining of your blood vessels). People living in the U.S. and other industrialized countries are more likely to die of vascular disease than any other cause, so do yourself a favor and get on a vitamin C program.

Recommendation: Dr. Osborn recommends between two and five grams of vitamin C daily, ideally taken in two or three times rather than all at once. Labdoor’s top three picks are Bulk Vitamin C, Doctor’s Best Vitamin C and Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C.



8. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols)

Dr. Osborn gets randy on this one. He emphatically declares that vitamin E does not cause prostate cancer, as a recent (unnamed) study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) suggested. He calls it “bullshit”.

Part of what incensed our good doctor is the study’s use of 400 IU/ day of all rac-alpha-tocopherol acetate instead of a complete vitamin E supplement, with mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols, which better emulates the vitamin E found in fruits and vegetables.

He emphasizes the need to use a “complete” vitamin E supplement preparation of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols in order to experience a reduced atherosclerotic plaque burden and improved lipid profile.

There is cause for caution: Vitamin E may interfere with platelet function and therefore blood clotting. Please discuss usage with your doctor particularly if you are taking blood thinners (warfarin) or other medications that interfere with platelet function (aspirin, for example). Alert your surgeon pre-operatively as well.

Recommendation: Dr. Osborn says to shoot for a minimum of 250 mgs in total of eight vitamin E components. Three good brands: MegaFood E & Selenium, Life Extension Gamma E and Garden of Life Vitamin Code E (which also adds vitamins A, D3, K and selenium).



9. Magnesium

It stabilizes the heart muscle and prevents arrhythmias, lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and reduces one’s risk of
osteoporosis by augmenting bone density.

Then there’s the brain…

A recently published study (unnamed) suggested that elevation of brain magnesium exerts substantial protective effects in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, magnesium-L-threonate conferred protection against plaque formation and synaptic (neuron-neuron connection) loss, characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Yes, it was a mouse study, but Dr. Osborn thinks the outcome may have treatment implications for humans.

The problem is that 68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium according to a government-sponsored study, says Osborn.

Although he doesn’t mention it, my reading about magnesium concludes that, like curcumin, absorption could be an issue. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good. Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements). You can also apply it to your skin, as I do.

Recommendation: 1,000 mgs a day, says Dr. Osborn, and take at night before bed to get an additional benefit – more restful sleep. Labdoor’s top three are Life Extension Magnesium Caps, Metagenics Mag Glycinate and Doctor’s Best Magnesium.



10. Probiotics

This is the good, beneficial bacterium that many of us lack in our gut. If you don’t already know about your microbiome and the 100 trillion (no typo) critters that inhabit it, you’re going to be confounded and amazed.

Perhaps even delighted.

Why delighted about a bunch of single celled bugs living all over and in you?

Because this microbiota that constitute your microbiome just might be the solution to your intractable health issues. If you’ve tried everything else and still can’t improve your immune function, depression, bowl health or body composition (aka, fat), it could be that you need to populate your gut with beneficial bacteria.

Dr. Osborn says that unfortunately our guts are often overpopulated with “bad” bacteria which interfere with normal physiologic processes, leading to illness. He points out antibiotic-associated colitis or “c diff” due to overgrowth of the pathogenic bacteria clostridium difficile.

What happens is that antibiotics eradicate the protective bacteria of the gut. The “bad” bacteria seize the opportunity to multiply, evoking an inflammatory response that can prove fatal (20,000- 30,000 Americans succumb annually to c. difficile colitis).

Dr Osborn makes these points:

  • There’s a very complex bacterial microcosm in our gut composed of trillions of bacteria.
  • The interactions between the bacteria and the lining of the bowel modulate, via chemical messengers, our immune response and various metabolic processes, which in part dictate insulin sensitivity.
  • If the gut is inflamed, you are inflamed.

Although there are many different formulations of probiotic strains that are thought to be useful for particular health outcomes, Dr. Osborn doesn’t make this differentiation, but instead suggests a general probiotic preparation as described below.

Click here to see Dr. David Williams' table representing probiotic strains and health benefits.

The following table and information comes to us from the very able Dr. David Williams’ website, whose snail mail newsletter I first subscribed to 30 years ago.

Understanding the benefits of various probiotic strains and how they affect digestive health is essential in order to properly evaluate which probiotic supplement is best for you. This table identifies a number of common probiotic strains and the benefits they confer. Refer to it as you weigh the pros and cons of different products.

Lactobacillus Species

The predominant and most important bacteria that reside in the small intestine are the Lactobacillus species. These species are responsible for producing lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose (the sugar in milk). They also collectively ferment carbohydrates in the gut, producing lactic acid as result of this process. Lactic acid helps create an acidic environment in the digestive tract, which discourages many unwanted microorganisms that thrive in an alkaline environment. Lactic acid also increases absorption of minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, and iron.

Strain Name What It Does What It Supports
L. acidophilus L. Acidophilus is, in my opinion, is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species. This bacterium colonizes most densely in the small intestine, where it helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall, ensure proper nutrient absorption, and support healthy overall digestive function.

Research shows that acidophilus also can help ease occasional digestive discomfort. In a double blind placebo controlled study, patients taking this probiotic strain experienced significantly more relief from their symptoms than patients taking a placebo. A separate meta-analysis found that probiotics containing acidophilus help to alleviate occasional diarrhea, and a third study found that supplements containing both acidophilus and B. bifidum help modulate the response of microflora in the intestines to the effects of antibiotics.

Additional preliminary research shows that acidophilus may help boost immune system activity and support vaginal health in women.

  • Overall digestion
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Relief from occasional cramping, gas, and diarrhea
  • Immune health
  • Urinary and vaginal health in women
L. fermentum This probiotic strain, which has been found in the probiotic foods sourdough and kimchi, produces superoxide dismutase and glutathione, both powerful antioxidants that help neutralize some of the toxic products made in the gut during digestion. L. fermentum has also been isolated as exhibiting activity against foodborne pathogens.
  • Overall digestion
  • Detoxification
L. plantarum L. plantarum is known for its ability to produce hydrogen peroxide. The body uses hydrogen peroxide as a defense against bacteria consumed in food, as well as other microorganisms. Research has also found this strain to be effective in helping support immune function in healthy adults.
  • Overall digestion
  • Immune health
L. rhamnosus This probiotic strain is known for its ability to survive passage through the GI tract and is thought to be among the best Lactobacillus strains for vaginal health. It also loves to travel to foreign places; that is, a review of research on probiotics finds that Americans traveling from New York, NY, to developing countries and taking L. rhamnosus had a 3.9 percent rate of diarrhea, compared to a 7.4 percent rate for those not taking a probiotic.

A second review of research concluded that L. rhamnosus may help improve vaginal and urinary health and decrease vaginal irritation.

  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Vaginal health in women
L. salivarius L. salivarius is somewhat unique among probiotic strains in that it is capable of growing in less than ideal conditions, including environments high in salt, and with or without oxygen. It is found in the oral cavities (mouth, throat, and sinuses), intestines, and vagina, but grows best in the small intestine.

Research has shown that people taking L. salivarius had increased markers of immune activity. An additional study found that supplementing with L. salivarius helps to prevent the colonization of undesirable bacteria.

  • Immune health
  • Oral health
L. paracasei L. paracasei is a robust strain found in the small intestine. It may also colonize in the colon if taken along with milk protein, which increases its resistance to stomach acid. This probiotic strain has the unique ability to support liver function. A prospective randomized study found that supplementation with a mixture of fiber and probiotics, which included L. paracasei, lowered urine pH and improved liver function in half of subjects.
  • Liver health
L. gasseri Relatively new, this probiotic strain is among the species of Lactobacilli predominantly linked to microflora in the vagina. Women with vaginal discomfort tend to have lower levels of L. gasseri than women with normal vaginal health.

L. gasseri also supports digestive health. Research shows that supplementation with a combination of L. gasseri and B. longum helps limit occasional diarrhea in adults.

  • Vaginal health
  • Relief from occasional diarrhea
L. reuteri L. reuteri colonizes in both the intestine and oral cavity. In human trials, it has been shown to support digestive, oral, and immune health.
  • Oral health
  • Immune health
  • Overall digestion

Bifidobacterium Species

Billions of Bifidobacterium line the walls of the large intestine (colon) and help ward off invasive harmful bacteria and other microorganisms, including yeast. Like the Lactobacillus strain, Bifidobacterium produce lactic acid, which provides up to 70 percent of the energy required by cells that line the intestinal wall, enhancing the natural protective barrier in the gut. Lactic acid also helps keep the pH of the large intestine acidic to discourage the growth of other bacteria. Additionally, this lower pH environment facilitates the absorption of minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Bifidobacterium also produce B-complex vitamins and vitamin K.

As we age, the numbers of Bifidobacterium found lining the large intestinal wall naturally begins to decline.

Strain Name What It Does What It’s Good For
B. bifidum This probiotic strain is among the first to colonize in the intestines of babies and continues throughout life to be one of the main groups of good flora found in the large intestine. (It can also be found in the small intestine.) In addition to helping promote bacterial balance, it prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, molds, and yeasts by naturally adhering to the intestinal mucosa better than other bacterial strains.

B. Bifidum assists in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, fat, and proteins during digestion. It also produces enzymes that break the larger molecules down into smaller components that the body can more efficiently use.

A meta-analysis of double blind human trials found that B. bifidum is one of the probiotic strains that can help alleviate occasional diarrhea, especially when traveling.

  • Overall digestion
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Relief from occasional diarrhea (particularly related to travel)
B. longum B. longum is one of the more common strains of Bifidobacteria found in the GI tract. Its digestive benefits stem from its ability to break down carbohydrates and to scavenge and neutralize everyday toxins found in the gut. Preliminary research suggests that the antioxidant properties of this probiotic strain include the chelation of metal ions—especially copper—and the scavenging of free radicals.

It is also supportive of immune health. Elderly patients administered B. longum showed heightened immune function for 20 weeks after discontinuing supplementation.

  • Overall digestion
  • Detoxification
  • Immune health
B. infantis This probiotic strain is the largest population of beneficial bacteria in babies. The amount of B. infantis in our guts decline as we age, but it remains an important part of our microflora. Supplementation with B. infantis has been shown to decrease bloating and bowel movement difficulty.
  • Overall digestion
  • Relief from occasional bloating and constipation

Bacillus Species

Bacillus bacteria are rod-shaped, spore-bearing bacteria that produce lactic acid Because it is a spore-bearing bacterium, it is highly resistant to heat, moisture, and light, making it highly resistant to stomach acid, and readily colonizes in the small intestine. Bacillus also resides in the body longer than other bacteria and is excreted slowly.

Strain Name What It Does What It’s Good For
B. coagulans B. coagulans, like other lactic acid–producing bacteria, produces enzymes that assist in the digestion of lactose. It also improves the body’s ability to use calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and stimulates both gastric juices and gastric motility.

This strain also supports vaginal health in women. One study shows that women who took B. coagulans daily saw improvements in their vaginal pH level, with 91 percent of reporting relief from vaginal discomfort.

  • Overall digestion
  • Relief from occasional constipation
  • Vaginal health
Streptoccocus Species
Strain Name What It Does What It’s Good For
S. salivarius K12 This probiotic strain is found in the oral cavity’s mucus membranes and is known for its ability to produce BLIS (bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances), which inhibit the ability of other undesirable bacteria to grow.

Research has found that the 10 percent of the population who naturally carry BLIS-producing strains of oral bacteria have significantly fewer sore throats. Studies have associated S. salivarius K12 with better ear health in children, “significantly” reduced dental plaque scores, increased levels of interferon gamma in saliva (an immune marker), and significant reduction in volatile sulphur compounds that cause bad breath.

  • Overall oral health
  • Immune health
S. Salivarius M18 S. salivarius M18 is also found predominantly in oral mucosa and, like the K12 strain, it also produces BLIS. S. salivarius M18 is most active in specific areas on the gums and teeth. S. salivarius M18 also promotes a healthy inflammatory response in the gums.
  • Healthy teeth and gums



Recommendation: Osborn suggests at least 2 billion CFU (bacteria essentially) per serving. Take one to two servings daily. Double your daily dosage while on antibiotics, or for five days pre-and post-operatively in the event you are having surgery. Another tip: always store your probiotics in the refrigerator, as these are live cultures. Labdoor’s top three: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care, Life & Food Ultra Probiotic and Now Foods Probiotic.


You now know all about Dr. Brett Osborn’s top 10 supplements recommended for you. In Part 2 I’ll reveal why this paragon of health uses three drugs to help ensure he stays amazing.

Until then, read the book:

Click the pic for more info

Click here to read Part 2

Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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katie cassou - July 18, 2016

This has been a great article. We take a very pure multi-vitamin that may cover doc osborn’s suggestion to supplement Vitamins C and E. Will look at dosage. Thanks Joe.

Sandra P. Polk - August 4, 2017

love to see this post. helpful thanks for sharing with us.


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