Near Infra Red Science Project, Extra Micronutrients

We are using Soylent as our standardized food for a research project to expand human vision into the near infra-red.
We have a lot of excess micronutrient blend, which is the standard micro blend but completely missing VitaminA.

We are looking to sell our excess micronutrient blend, either to interested parties who are looking to attempt the project themselves (once we post our results of course) or are just looking for some micronutrient blend that they can adjust themselves, either through adding vitamin A themselves, or in other ways…

You can read more about the project at Please post here if you are interested in getting some of this micro blend. As it is missing Vitamin A, it would be at a discount.


is it just vitamin pills without vitamin A? or is it in powder form? Also, I am currious about your hypothesis, care to briefly explain what you are trying to achieve? Improved vision? general vitamin A research? what is the ultimate goal?

Also what would the price be if someone was interrested in buying your blend? and would you ship overseas?

edit: Ok so I read about your project on your site, it sounds interresting. How have the results been so far?

Slightly confused - are your micro blends missing ALL vitamin A, or just A1?
Does your experiment give them a base micro blend plus an external vitamin A 1/2 source?

Also, I hope you made sure everyone involved signed a legally valid waiver. Pioneering the modification of the senses is exciting, but let’s not forget what happens when you play Oregon Trail… :wink:

Also of note: It’s probable that subjects won’t see any improvement in NIR per se. Since you’re talking about (hopefully) replacing photopsin with a more photo-sensitive chemical, what you’d see may be higher sensitivity to the same frequencies of light, like turning up the gain/volume - you’d notice quieter noises, but also possibly increase your N:S ratio, leading to more visual “static,” as it were.

A way to test for this distinction is to have a finely controllable light source and test for distinctions before and after dietary changes and between control groups when looking at color images in low light and in distinguishing features in black in white images in near-darkness. Couple this with a look at a black Ganzfeld test that measures pure visual noise and you’ve got a nifty control for how much of what their seeing is enhanced vision and how much is guessing/due to increased visual noise. I’m hoping you’re doing this as a double blind study so your experimental data are considered valid…

BTW, I’m the child of two optometrists (and grandchild of a third) and I think this stuff is fascinating. I might send them over to your website for a look…

It’s the bulk powder form of the sstandard Soylent micro blend with no Vitamin A in it. The hypothesis is that replacement of Vitamin A1 with A2 to will show in increase in excitation of the eye to light frequencies from the NIR range.

The price would vary with amount and shipping of course. Shipping over seas is fine as long as we adjust for those costs. We currently have 75lbs of the blend left over. The smallest amount one can get is 100 lbs and we only needed 25…

The micro blends are missing all Vitamin A. The experiment has us supplementing with Vitamin A2 and retonic acid. Because A1 is somethign around 4 times more active in mammalian systems, we have to completely remove it and then supplement with A2 to keep it controlled. We are adding the retonic acis, as it is the only A1 metabolite that we can’t get from A2.
Luckily for us, no one is experimenting on another person, we are each independently experimenting on ourselves and therefore can do these type of things without a waiver. No person is actually involved in the testing procedure except for the experimenter themselves. It’s the same concept that lets people attempt unique and unapproved dietary replacement activities :wink:

Murine studies have shown that there is replacement of photopsin with porphyropsin with A1 removal and A2 supplementation. Porphyropsin is excited by a different rang of light than photopsin, so it is not merely a case of changing the volume but more like adding FM to and AM radio.

If you check out our website you’ll see that we are basically testing in the way that you suggest. Electroretinography will be used to test the actual excitement of the eye to NIR stimulus. We’re always happy when people get interested in our project, send your folks by :smile:

Coincidentally, my father called and I schmoozed with him this morning. Told him a little about the project. He seemed interested, and was curious what your source of Vitamin A was.

Wikipedia suggests that replacing all retinol with retinoic acid may lead to retinal degerneration, blindness, and infertility (?!), so you may actually need to include some retinol in your micros. This comes from the same murine studies that show photopsin replacement in rats - retinol controls some very important biological processes aside from sight.

The other thing to be concerned about is the lack of blinding in this study, which is likely to introduce fundamental biases in the results.

I’d also be very curious about the hypothesized mechanism of action. Also, do you have any idea what the expanded wavelength might be? Near infrared is a fairly broad segment of the spectrum, ranging from about 700 to 2000 nanometers.

Well, the mechaism of action is actually well documented - it’s the same as used for retinol. The transport of retinol/retinoic acid in the eyes functions identically, but, as noted earlier, the processes in the retina significantly favor retinol over retinoic acid.

The body naturally turns a good portion of retinol into retinoic acid, which is why the replacement won’t cause them to suffer the normal results of vitamin A deprivation. Retinoic acid can’t be converted back into retinol (it gets broken down and eliminated instead), which is why, as I noted above, this is potentially risky.

Cool! Do you have any papers you’d recommend? Would make some nice evening reading. :smiley:

Ah, slight confusion here. We are not replacing all of the Vitamin A with retinoic acid, only the comprable amount of metabolite that is made normally. The majority of the supplementation is done with A2, dehydroretinol. The dehydroretinol can act in place of standard retinol in most all cases, it’s just not as active in mammals so it is doesn’t happen as efficiently.

The studies themselves will not be doubleblinded, true. But we will be using the ERG to take objective measurements of activity of the eye. This should negate the need for a double blind study, as it doesn’t matter if someone knows that they are taking the A2, since their knowledge of supplementation should have no effect on the ERG readings.

If you go by our website, there is a good non-journal breakdown of the mechanisms at play.
Here is a link to one of the murine studies that got us started on this project:

I may be interested, also who is your original supplier?

Rob has been working with us on this aspect of the project, so the current commercial Soylent supplier for the micros, DRM, is the one we used.

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Did you guys ever sell all your extra?

I’m interested in conducting the experiment on myself.

This study is a (curious) exception to that rule - there is no subjective reporting of results, and the brain has very limited input onto the activity of the retina. The testing involves looking at a dark window into a space with IR sources, and using ERG to sense whether the retina is producing a signal. In other words the subject may not know whether or not their own retina is sensing, since their eyes/brains have not experience this kind of input before. They may only find out if their eye “saw” something when they turn the lights on and check their own results! (Or they may see flashes and blobs and visual illusions? Cool…)

Very cool work; good luck, team!

if you are still running this i’m interested, serverely doubt it at this point though.