If you haven’t heard of 4HB, you probably have no flippin’ clue what it is.
This post is my way of bringing us all together (*queue some cheesy song about friendship and unity*).
If all the text on the page gives you hives, you can skip ahead to my PAGG cheat sheet.
It all started with a homeless guy
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body, did some intense research, investigation, and testing regarding supplements. He’d been working on a combination when a homeless guy told him the secret to it all.
You know how I lost…more than 100 pounds? Garlic. Clove after clove. It’s that simple. (p114)
Apparently that was the turning point for Ferriss and his research. But it’s not all ramblings of homeless guys and somewhat OCD authors. There’s quite a bit of other research to back up his results.
All I knew about PAGG was that it’s in The 4-Hour Body and people who follow 4HB ask about PAGG all the time. In fact, it was the first search term someone used in Google to find my site, and I didn’t even have anything about PAGG on the site. I decided to do my own research to be able to speak intelligently about the stack. I’ll let you decide whether or not I reached that goal.
The Stack: basics
Simply, PAGG is a group of dietary supplements.
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Green tea flavanols
- Garlic extract
I had heard of green tea and garlic, but as for the rest I had no idea. Below I break apart each layer in The Stack to outline what it means and what it does. The doses I indicate are what Ferriss’ studies showed to be ideal for fat loss on 4HB.
Policosanol is a fatty alcohol extract from plant waxes, usually from sugar cane or bees wax and wheat germ. Studies have shown that it can lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol (remember: “l” stands for “lethal” and “h” stands for “healthy”. Not really, but that’s how I remember which is good and which is bad), but the effect is not considered conclusive.
Ferriss tested on himself and other volunteers three different brands and three different dosages. In his studies, he found that policosanol helped to reduce bodyfat in himself and his “guinea pigs”. The optimal dosage he found was 23mg/day for lowering body fat. It’s taken once a day.
ALA was first processed and tested in the 70s to fight liver disease with amazing results. 75 out of 79 test subjects actually showed a reversal in their disease. ALA also has antioxidant behavior.
In terms of fat loss, ALA is a “free radical scavenger”. Free radicals are waste products that weaken our immune system. They’re made by our bodies while converting food into energy . ALA seeks out those free radicals and handles them! It also helps our bodies fix themselves and make more of what we needs (like vitamins C and E).
You can find ALA in organ meats like liver and some green veggies like spinach, but it’s not much. It’s easier to take it in a concentrated form, like a tablet. The recommended dosage for alpha-lipoic acid is 300-900 mg/day.
Ferriss offers us one sentence that tells why it’s spectacular: “ALA helps you store the carbohydrates you eat in muscle or in your liver as opposed to in fat.” (p118)
Green Tea Flavanol
Aside from being delicious, green tea is also very good for you! Many of you already knew that. But there’s more than we knew.
Flavanoid basically just means “yellow pigment”, and that’s where a lot of the antioxidant characteristics come from. Ferriss tested for two other effects: the ability EGCG (the flavanol) has to redirect carbohydrates headed towards fat storage into muscles for use and its ability to cause fat cells to die off. Ever noticed how your body seems to hover around a certain weight no matter how hard you try (mine was 300)? It’s because fat cells shrink, they don’t really go away. They can be filled up again. The idea is that EGCG possibly helps them to die.
The recommended green tea extract dosage is between 975 and 1300 mg/day.
Garlic is one of my favorite flavor-enhancing foods. I didn’t know about its other health benefits, but I knew people took garlic supplements for its benefits.
Garlic can be used to help prevent some types of cancer and plaque buildup in arteries, and it’s been used to manage cholesterol levels. It’s generally better to take it in a supplement form for higher doses. Too much raw garlic can upset your stomach and make you smelly! It is delicious to use, though. I especially love it as a garlic paste on fish.
Dosage: 800mg/day. The PAGG supplement I use has 200mg per capsule, and I take 4 a day.
At the 4-HBTalk forums, several people have reported headaches while on the PAGG stack, so keep that in mind. I’ve been on it for a week, and I haven’t experienced any problems at all. In fact, it seems to have stimulated fat loss as hoped, and I had more energy this week than I remember having in a while. However, I need to mention some of the cautions I found in my research.
Before starting any kind of supplement or medication, you really should do some research about it. You never know if something will affect you badly. It’s just responsible to consult your doctor before starting anything that could potentially cause problems. For example, if you’re on blood thinners, policosanol might not be a good idea. ECGC (green tea) in high doses can complicate the effects of some cancer-treatment drugs. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, you should not take PAGG because of it’s blood-thinning compounds.
Ferriss says to be sure to get “adequate consumption” of B vitamins while on PAGG. He doesn’t say why or how much is “adequate”, but I’ll take his word for it. If you’re doing 4HB correctly, you’re probably OK. You can get B vitamins in tuna, turkey, lentils, beans, and peppers (there are more items I found, but they’re not allowed on 4HB). So while he mentions it as a caution, we usually get enough B vitamins in our diet anyway.
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Green tea flavanols
- Garlic extract
- Before breakfast – AGG
- Before lunch – AGG
- Before dinner – AGG
- Before bed – PAGG
- 6 days a week
- For 2 months
- After 2 months, take a week off
Where to get PAGG
Many of the pieces of the PAGG stack can be found and consumed in food, but to be sure you always get the right dose, it’s handy to use supplements. I know you can find some of them in WalMart. Below I’ve provided some links from Amazon.
The easiest solution I’ve found is the PAGG Stack by Pareto Nutrition. It’s hard to find the precise doses Ferriss recommends (I’ve tried to make it easier for you at Amazon), but Pareto Nutrition put the precise doses all in two capsules. The photo above is one day’s dose. You can buy from Pareto here: (PAGG affiliate link). This is what I’ve been taking.
As I did research, the reasons I found for taking these supplements is astounding. I’d recommend reading through the following resources I used in writing this report. You might be really surprised at the benefits of the PAGG stack that go beyond fat loss.
The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
Policosanol – What You Need To Know About Policosanol by Cathy Wong
Non-prescription Cholesterol Lowering – Policosanol by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
Alpha-lipoic Acid at UMD Medical Center
Lipoic Acid – Use of Lipoic Acid as a Dietary Supplement at Wikipedia
Flavonoid at Wikipedia
Garlic – Medicinal Use and Health Benefits at Wikipedia
B-Vitamins – B-Vitamin Sources at Wikipedia