In our fifth column with Kat James, she discusses the supplement regimen that transformed her own body and skin beyond recognition and gave her back her life and health more than nine years ago. A self-proclaimed "informed layman," James' rare personal perspective on self-transformation and real (as opposed to merely apparent) victory over an eating disorder has given her insight into compulsive self-sabotage — and freedom from it — beyond what most doctors and nutritionists can grasp. As someone who actually transformed herself beyond recognition (beyond dropping ten dresses, she reversed a serious liver disorder, chronic eczema and myriad other problems, in addition to banishing a twelve-year eating disorder) she has faithfully translated her principles, and the copious medical references that now support it, into a book and a cruise experience that are as exciting to experience as they are physically rewarding. (To see pictures of Kat's transformation, click here).
HealthWorld: Kat, what supplements where most helpful to you in transforming your body, your skin and your relationship with food? And what supplements do you take now?
Kat James: My supplement regimen evolves with my needs. I’ll tell you what I took and still take, but I highly discourage people from copying my regimen for themselves, which would go against one of the key messages of my book: That knowing and addressing our own specific health issues is key to solving our own “puzzle” and finding freedom from our own chronic health, food and skin issues. My syndromes differ from the next person’s.
That said, while I take many of the supplements today that I took ten years ago to help me overcome the biochemical aspects of my food addiction and reverse my liver inflammation (chromium, milk thistle and alpha lipoic acid, for example), many have changed, or are available in more effective forms, such as the acetylated form of L-carnitine or the oil-based CoQ10, which both have advantages over more common versions. Investing in quality supplements pays off in much higher dividends than most people realize. I spend on supplements each year what I spend on clothes and cosmetics combined, and the supplements have made a much greater difference to my appearance and quality of life! Here are my past and present regimens:
Then: Milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, flaxseed oil (These are the only nutrients I took during the time I brought my liver enzymes from the 600 range down to normal, 35, over ten years ago).
Now: Silibinin (a concentrated version of silimaryn, believed to be the most beneficial component of milk thistle), alpha lipoic acid, turmeric, occasionally SAMe. I always take oils like fish, flax or borage oils, usually mixing them. Most studies show benefit in amounts greater than most people take, like 8-10 grams (8-10 1000mg capsules).
Then: Chromium picolinate, vanadyl sulfate, HCA
Now: Chromium polynicotinate, vanadyl sulfate, HCA, gymnema sylvestre, green tea
These supplements have helped me normalize my biochemical reactions to food and to maintain my shape without effort (chromium maintains lean muscle mass in addition to helping insulin regulate blood sugar). I no longer have ANY cravings, and I no longer “crash” after eating carbs, whereas I used to use them as a drug to the point where they incapacitated me.