DIY - Optimally efficient bio-available micronutrient sources: research / articles / spreadsheets?


(Edit: Sorry for the wall of text…)

I have no background with nutritional science, but have been doing “heavy” research this week (read: Google searches, forum posts, published articles/experiments) into what forms of various vitamins/minerals/omegas/phytonutrients, etc are optimally bioefficient as I prepare my own DIY recipe. To put it mildly… it’s been a tough road.

I’ve searched Reddit/DIY.Soylent forum for threads discussing primarily the bioavailability of the various nutrients but haven’t found many definitive answers. This quote from an article words my concerns well: “Various nutrients and dietary components interfere with the bioavailability of vitamins. Hence, requirements for vitamins cannot be considered independently, but must be evaluated in relationship to other nutrients and compounds consumed by an individual.” Article

What’s bothering me is that, for a given individual, there must be an optimally efficient form of a given nutrient (taking into consideration any potential conflict of other simultaneous nutrient sources), right? Take me for example as an individual: shouldn’t it be true that for, say, potassium, I will absorb/utilize either potassium gluconate or citrate (or even a different form) most efficiently? It’s science. What I certainly DON’T want is to make a recipe full of competing nutrient sources that aren’t optimally efficient at best and leaving me at risk for deficiency or adverse effects at worst, both short and long term. I am also trying to keep my nutrient intake relatively near the applicable DRI. Seeing 5000% of various nutrients causes me concern based on sources suggesting long term adverse effects.

How would I discover this for myself? What are my resources? I can and will make a best guess based on the information I have available so far, but my entire goal for soylent is nutrition efficiency and repeatable convenience. I want to craft my recipe, based on my individual needs, dependent upon what will give me the best results… obviously!

I understand this isn’t a simple concept. There are many other factors to consider including digestion (stinky farts, anyone?) and the long-term effects of a diet comprised primarily of chemical supplements seem to be largely debated or unknown. But I want to do the best I can given that with DIY I’m not held by other people’s diet limitations.

I also understand that I may be looking into this too deeply, but if I’m going to do this long term, I want to be as healthy and efficient as possible. Costs will just have to be managed, but I don’t want to cut any corners that can be avoided.

(Note: I am not vegan and have no known health complications; I am only interested in what nutrient forms will be the most efficient in concert with one another. My personal order of priority is: Macro ratios > micro efficiency > Preparation/Taste/Texture > cost (within reason, aiming for <$5 “meal”). I’m 25/m/150 lbs, with a horrible current Western diet, and weight gain goals. Anticipating a 70:30 Soylent:Food ratio in practice.)

Any insight, direction, opinion, or research links/calculators would be greatly appreciated! To me this is the greatest unknown part of this entire meal replacement experiment. (Thread also posted to /r/Soylent/)


To hopefully spur on some dialogue, here are a couple references I’ve found:

General info:

Shared spreadsheets I’ve saved:

Including micro ratios:



The only advice I can give is keep reading and test your body frequently. A DIY recipe is just that a recipe. Its not set in stone. As you find credible research saying something in your recipe is bad you can easily replace it. If the research says something is beneficial you can add it. Frequent testing can help you spot potential problems and/or deficiencies early and again you can adjust your recipe accordingly.


Thanks for the reply! I have every intention of getting blood work done to try and track my progress and to keep up to date on research, but would like to feel a little more confident going in. I’m actually surprised this has been so difficult to get solid answers on. I knew it would be complicated, but I assumed there would be more definitive benchmarks to refer to. It’s interesting,


Yea I have to admit nutrition research can be delightfully and horrifyingly vague, contradictory, misleading, and just plain missing. Just take a look at how some of the DRIs and RDAs where set. At some point you will just have to pick a stance on something and hope it’s not the wrong direction.


Back when I was in training to be an engineer, we had a joke about being excessively precise in equations/theory, but being unable to be so precise in reality. We summed it up like this:

“Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.”

In DIY soylent nutrition, we seem to have the reverse. For the reality side of the equation, I measure tenths of a gram per day for some ingredients, but I’m basing that on nutritional theory which is a rough guideline, at best.

I’m not sure nutritional theory can ever give exact numbers, because our individuality plays so big a role.

But I respect your effort here. One note: specific questions are more likely to get involved replies than opening a broad topic.


Fair enough. I’m just trying to get any applicable information, or discover an unknown resource, to help sort out the puzzle of micro nutrients (a degree would probably help too ;)). I’ll probably go into more specific topics as I come to questions that I simply cannot answer, but it’s tough to even be specific when I don’t know the interactions to begin with! Haha. I’ve been searching the forums for specific topics as they’ve come up, but I was hoping for a clearer big picture.

At any rate, I’m educating myself on nutrition in the process so it’s a win either way. I mean, I’ve spent the last half hour reading about fiber for chrissakes! Lol, insoluble vs soluble [3:1, allegedly], adequate intakes [10-14g per 1000 calories], various sources [psyllium, oats, flax]… But what about bioavailability or any interference?. :smiley:

That’s going overboard I know, but if I don’t learn it, who will tell me? Pay a personal nutritionist to help? (Serious question!)

Thanks for all of the replies!


I think doing the research yourself is the better idea. If you pay someone how do you really know they know what they are talking about when they make a suggestion and not just going along with some unfounded nutrition dogma. Not everyone, even nutritionalists, try to “peek behind the curtain” so to speak like you are. A good place to start getting your info is the Food and Nutrition Information Center. They have allot of information and studies on all sorts of nutritional related topics. That should fill up your reading list for the next year or two :smile:


No. But consider a Dietician. A Dietician has a medical degree. A nutritionist can be anyone who says they are, like a philatelist, numismatist, or an artist.

And my go-to source, especially for micronutrient information:
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University


One thing I am still unclear about… More bioavailable doesn’t mean it is better for you just because of that… But take something like beta-carotene like those found in carrots… Which the body converts to vitamin A at a rate which it needs them (or very close to) it is harder to overdose on beta-carotene as a source for vitamin A, and if you do… You get orange skin for a while. However if you added pure vitamin A you would have to make sure you didn’t add too much as you could end up with toxicity.

My point being that many vitamins have and minerals have an organic version that our bodies have metabolic pathways for (from my understanding) which even if they were more or less bioavailable would probably be the best source from your body pov. (Zink/magnesium chelate is an example mentioned recently too)


Your body also has metabolic pathways for inorganic molecules. This is not “Organic ™” in the sense of being produced with “natural” farming methods. This is organic in the sense of organic chemistry. A vast number of common, naturally occurring substances are inorganic, including stone, sand, air, and water. Your body deals with inorganic air and water constantly. Oxygen is inorganic.

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon-based molecules; we are carbon-based life forms, so it’s often called the chemistry of life. That being said, there are a vast number of organic molecules which are synthetic or which do not occur in nature, and for which the human body has no pathways.

If you’re studying nutrition and looking at the science, and you make any assumptions about things called organic/inorganic other than the assumption that the organic molecules contain carbon, you’re making bad assumptions.


You example of beta-carotene versus vitamin A having different efficacy/bioavailability/safety concerns is valid, but it’s not an example of something having an organic version that is safer - they’re both completely organic.

Vitamin A is an organic molecule, also called retinol, also called (2E,4E,6E,8E)-3,7-dimethyl-9-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-1-enyl)nona-2,4,6,8-tetraen-1-ol.

Beta-carotene is one carotenoid which the body can break down into two retinols and a couple of hydroxyls. (The hydroxyls are inorganic molecules.) Because it can be turned into vitamin A, it’s called a “provitamin.” Since it contains the necessary parts of two retinols and a couple of other molecules besdies, it’s bigger and more complex than a single retinol. Beta-carotene is also called 1,3,3-Trimethyl-2-[3,7,12,16-tetramethyl-18-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-1-en-1-yl)octadeca-1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17-nonaen-1-yl]cyclohex-1-ene.

There are other carotenoids which can also be processed into retinol by the body - alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are all provitamin A carotenoids. Meanwhile, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene are carotenoids which have no vitamin A activity.

All of the above are organic molecules, except the hydroxyles which your body produces.

I hope I’m not belaboring the point… but I know it’s sometimes hard to break with the marketing term “organic” when diving into scientific literature dealing with the chemistry term “organic,” especially if you’re an advocate of organic foods. There are lot of inorganic chemicals approved for “organic” farming, such as using elemental forms of minerals as soil amendments. The inorganic forms of most minerals are sometimes the most common in nature, and are generally accepted in “organic farming.”

OK, by now I must be belaboring the point…


I am sure that you know, that I knew all that already :slight_smile: I was attempting to make an example of best source of specific vitamins or minerals.


Its always good to include info like that on a post like this for people who don’t already know. :smile:


Of course @MentalNomad is an engineer, now it all makes sense :wink: In all seriousness though what makes sense in a study or works on one particular individual can vary wildly as we have seen in both the DIY world and those on official version os Soylent (1.0 / 1.1 / 1.2). What I mean to say is that for it to be something you can eat, subsist off, and be able to “stick with” there is the human element as well. One ingredient that might come off as “sub standard” objectively with your measuring stick might be the one that does work for you for other reasons such as taste/mouthfeel/cost vs the “optimal” ingredient that you don’t like…

TLDR: Don’t get too hung up on everything, feel free to constantly experiment with your recipe, humans aren’t always optimal consumption machines


Haha, well I did not know, so no complaints here! :wink: This is all very good information that I’ll continue to look into, which was my hope when creating this thread. Success!

Here’s a primary example of a “concern” that’s mostly related to ratios while still maintaining recommended intakes. (all numbers pulled/averaged by comparing various reputable resources, to my knowledge)

Omega 6:3 - Recommended anywhere from a 4:1 down to a 1:1 ratio (2:1 ideal?), mostly by raising O-3 intake up to a satisfactory level and then stepping down O-6 to a proper ratio. (Understanding Western diet usually having absurdly high O-6 intake.)

  • Omega 6 – 14 - 17g/d (GLA > LA/AA) (AHA recommends at least 5-10% of calories from omega-6 fatty acids)
  • Omega 3 – 1.6g - 5g (500mg+ EPA/DHA) (WHO recommends 0.5 - 2% calories from omega-3 fatty acids)
    ____ The ratio/minimums I’ve tentatively slotted in my 2500 calorie Nutrition Profile is 14g:3.5g. But I’ve also seen mentioned with a highly regulated soylent-type diet, the high levels of O-6 may not be needed. Gah!

Which - and I know I’m getting off the thread topic here - leads me to a related question. Why no fish oils in more DIY recipes? Is it only due to the vegan culture? Everything I’ve read indicates good fish oil is still the best source. Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be adding it to my recipe if the values call for it?

I may have reached a point of needing to just make new threads. I am just going to have to put my “bioavailability” focus on the backburner for now due to a lack of scientific data, and strictly focus on levels/percentages/ratios per the various reputable sources.

My interest in this has quickly become something of an obsession… I’m not even sure these specific of numbers are possible in a DIY recipe - I haven’t made it far enough to start really building a recipe - although I’m not against buying 20 ingredients for myself if that’s what the best course of action would be to maximize efficiency.

Essential Fatty Acids: Ratios versus Amounts

I use fish oil in my recipe. My source, Nordic Naturals, filters out all the bad stuff. As far as fish oil being the best. That’s not exactly true. From a bioavailability standpoint algae oil is better. From what I understand your body absorbs it better. Various marine animals eat the algae and in turn get eaten. Each level in the food chain concentrates and harmlessly changes the structure of the oil. Your body will still absorb it just not as efficiently.

As far as hitting the recommended ratios of various micronutrients you will probably have to buyout the vitamin store in powdered form and make a large batch of a “vita mix”.


Phytic acid in diet interferes with the absorption of quite a few vitamins/minerals out there. You could also try searching using specific terms like ‘’ Carbs preventing mineral absorption’’ or ‘‘minerals preventing fat absorption’’ :smile: Or ‘X’ preventing ‘Y’ absorption. Or Y increasing Z absorption if you are curios about that too. X Y Z being any macro/micro nutrients or other ingredients. It could throw out links that have info related to that. As for questions like why people dont use fish oil in DIY recipes… use the same terms to search ‘‘Why people dont use fish oil in supplements’’?.


If you only knew the chaos that has been happening inside Chrome on my PC these past few nights! Tabs… tabs… everywhere! I don’t even want to know how many Google searches I’ve done. :blush:

I’ve taken it upon myself to start compiling and organizing all of the relevant information I can find into a OneNote book. It’s going to take some time, but if I’m happy with the finished product I’ll share it around for anyone it might help behind me.

I’d heard about the phytic acid and soaking/cooking oats to help release it (I do plan on an oat heavy carb source). It’s on the list. Good advice!


More people should use “Reply as linked Topic,” to the right of each post. New topic, still connected.