Fixing our ailments gets expensive, so I thought I’d start a thread on saving money – how to do it all cheaper. This isn’t a definitive list (no squabbles over the magnesium content of spinach, please). It’s more to get-the-ball-rolling - to stimulate ideas & elicit cash-saving strategies from others, so we can all afford to do this better & for longer. Buy through iHerb: I’ll start with the obvious one. iHerb has at least 98% of what most of us need. Its bulk purchasing capacity means its prices are lower than most other places most of the time. And one order means one shipping charge. Buy ‘compounds’: For example a few multi-Bs (e.g. Jarrow B-Right) contain doses of B1, B2, B3, B6 etc that are high enough for many people here. Cod liver oil contains vitamins A & D, and the omega 3 PUFAs – usually in quite high quantities. Low-hanging fruit (start with a cheaper, simpler protocol): If you don’t know which protocol will work best, start with a cheaper one. For example the Simplified Methylation Protocol, & the approach suggested by Dr Greg at B12Oils, are simpler & cheaper than more elaborate methylation protocols such as Yasko’s. This doesn’t only apply to methylation. If you have gut problems, try the FODMAP Diet: takes an hour to learn, adds nothing to your food bill, & most people get a result in a day or 2. (In one small study I saw, low-FODMAP significantly improved or cured 75% of people with IBS. So it’s not exactly a longshot.) Similarly Chris Kresser’s low-carb/betaine HC solution to GERD is about 500 times faster & cheaper than medical specialists, proton pump inhibitors, et al. It also tends to work for significant numbers of people. People have cured diabetes by exercising & giving up grains. (And so on.) Where possible, replace supplements with food: Deriving nutrients from food: * Is usually cheaper. * Reduces the likelihood of creating new imbalances. (E.g. zinc supps can lead to copper deficiency, which can make you very ill indeed. Being very ill tends to be expensive.) * Gives you co-factors that make the original nutrient more potent (e.g. the bioflavinoids you get with your vitamin C from oranges), or are simoly good for you (e.g. the ‘free’ zinc, copper & magnesium you get when you eat brazil nuts for their selenium). For example: - One orange contains 60-80% of your required daily value (DV) of vitamin C. - 50g of sunflower seeds (which fits in the palm of your hand) contains half the daily value (DV) of vitamins B1, and B6, and E, and of selenium, manganese and copper. (And varying amounts of other vitamins & minerals.) Fill the other palm & you’re covered for the day. - A handful of almonds has 1/3 to 2/3 of the DVs of B2, E, Mg & Mn. - Making a salad with cos or romaine lettuce will give you 714% DV of vitamin A, & 128% DV of vitamin K, & 1/3 of your folate DV. Spinach is similar. Parsley’s even better, if you can work out how to eat enough (~100g) of it. - 100g of Pacific Mackerel has ½ to ¾ of the DVs of B12, D, B3 and Se. Atlantic Salmon is comparable. - If you want anthocyanins (the stuff in blueberries that fights inflammation & oxidation, to say nothing of varicose veins & dementia) buy black currants instead of berries: they contain roughly the same amount of anthocyanins & are a fraction the price. - If you want your 400 mcg of selenium per day, eat 4 brazil nuts. They improve selenium status better than supplements (Thomson CD, Chisholm A, McLachlan SK, Campbell JM. Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):379-84. PMID: 18258628). Ensure the nuts don’t come from the selenium-depleted soils of New Zealand, or South America’s west coast. - Use antioxidants & anti-inflammatories such as tumeric & cinnamon. Extremely powerful and ridiculously cheap. - Iron: Medicine’s ‘normal’ ranges are wrong, so many are unknowingly iron-deficient. Heme iron pills are about $1 each. Pills or fluid from plant iron are 10x less assimilable, & they aren’t especially cheap either. An alternative is to eat animal organs, which are very cheap relative to meat, & contain much more iron than meat. (Every one of our ancestors but for the last few ate organs & bone marrow in preference to flesh – for about 500,000 years.) Two lamb kidneys contain 122% of the B2 daily value, 1315% of B12, 20% of C & folate, 69% of iron, 25% of zinc, 313% of selenium, & a whole lot more. Lamb liver is similar, with less iron, but 500% of the vitamin A daily value. (So alternate.) If you’re in a hurry to raise your iron levels, & want to do it for free, nearly all developed countries have government-covered medical - so an alternative is an infusion. As you see above, foods that I’ve found with high doses of several nutrients include pink salmon, Pacific Mackerel (& no doubt quite a few other fish so long as they are both oily & wild-caught), lamb liver & kidneys, sunflower seeds, almonds, cos & romaine lettuce, black currants, cooked spinach, cod liver oil (very expensive but you only need 5 ml a day, so it lasts). Also dark chocolate - which I didn’t list, despite its high-to-stupendous amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper & manganese - because of its sugar content, which tends to give me a headache; & because raised blood-sugar is implicated in nearly every disease known. [DYOR please: RDA & DV tables vary a lot. The above is to spark ideas, not make definitive claims.] Transdermal: For B12, switch to transdermal. More of the vitamin gets to the bloodstream, so you need considerably lower dosages. And because of much higher penetration, you'll also 'top up' earlier. Transdermal also saves the significant dental bills that can result from sublingual. (It is also way easier & less time-consuming – set & forget. And it gives a smoother, more extended delivery.) Buy things you use a lot of in bulk from China: This applies to people who are in this for the long haul, who use a lot of product – e.g. methyl B12. Chinese suppliers (generally contactable through Alibaba) have just about everything. Their “minimum orders” often prove to be very flexible. And they can be negotiated with on price – the Chinese love a haggle. I’ve found Chinese suppliers via Alibaba to be reliable and fair. I have one friend who was ripped off - though he was buying goats in Thailand from his home in Laos; & he was not careful. There are many ways to check a supplier’s cred & trading record on Alibaba. Buying bulk vitamins from China, prices can be as much as 500 times lower. I believe there is a B12 ‘buying group’ somewhere on this forum.