With a long list of unpaid celebrity endorsers including several UFC fighters, Onnit has earned a reputation as perhaps the “coolest” new supplement company. Who better to lead it than CEO Aubrey Marcus, who, at 35, is more apt to be found hanging out with comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan or hunting wild animals than sitting in a boardroom. Marcus revealed to us which supplements guys need to optimize their mood, cognition, and ability to kick ass.
We heard you just got back from bear hunting with comedian Joe Rogan.
It was my first bow hunt and my first bear hunt. We were sitting right on the ground with the bears—not up in the trees—10 feet away.
You weren’t just going out to kill cute animals, were you?
No, we make broth out of the bones, eat the meat, keep the fur, make jewelry from the claws.
What supplements did you use?
Whenever I travel, I take Alpha Brain [Onnit’s brain-boosting supplement]. I knew I was going to be eating camping food so I brought digestive enzymes, crushed greens, krill oil, and vitamin D. I don’t go anywhere without it unless I’m going to the beach.
Weren’t you in the sun all day hunting?
We’re pretty camo’d up, and the amount of D you get depends on the exposed skin that’s available. So unless I got naked, which at one point I considered, I wouldn’t have gotten enough. I take D in the morning. It’s so essential for immune health, bones and joints, mood. I think it’s why people feel so good when they take a beach trip. They think it’s because they’re relaxed or on vacation, but I think it’s the flooding of the body with D.
Alpha Brain put you on the map. Why?
Alpha is focused around neurotransmitters. We targeted one in particular, acetylcholine, that’s responsible for speed, focus, and sharpness. It helps you pay attention.
If you have a meeting to prep for, what do you recommend?
The brain loves fats, so an hour and a half before you have to perform, eat some eggs, avocado, and Himalayan salt. Then take Alpha Brain. It peaks at four hours, but you’ll feel it for longer.
Why do you think Onnit has attracted so many big-name supporters?
I think we play it straight. Think about who the really cool people are in the world: people who don’t have an agenda other than to just be real. We treat our customers well and hold our supplements up to rigorous trials.
Tell us about the scrutiny you put your products through.
Many people say they do clinical trials, but they’re done internally or they’re done by organizations that are clinical trial factories. They know their reputation is based on getting good results for companies. We work with the Boston Center for Memory, an independent clinical center, which does clinical trials on pharmaceuticals and occasionally supplements. They studied Alpha Brain once, showing statistical significance in that trial. If we had failed with our product, it wouldn't have come out.
The MCT oil craze is in full effect. What is Onnit offering?
MCT oil is a top source of essential healthy fats, derived from coconut and palm oil. It’s got some benefits for weight management and it’s a great fuel source. MCT usually floats when you put it in coffee or another drink. Like oil and water, it doesn’t mix. Our emulsification process breaks it down to smaller particles so it does. We made it into an instant creamer you can add to your coffee. I use it three or four times a day.
Many of Onnit’s clients are pro fighters. Which supplement do we need most if we get into a fight?
Shroom Tech Sport improves oxygen utilization. The more oxygen you have, the more ATP you allow to fuel you. It helps fighters push a little longer into the round. You can take it up to an hour before competition, and one pill per 50 pounds of body weight is what we recommend.
[UFC middle weight contender] Tim Kennedy was a superskeptic, but he took it and credits it for being able to listen to instructions from his corner and immediately put them into action. He heard his corner yell some advice to him while he was in the middle of a fight and he immediately processed it and threw a combination that knocked his opponent out.
For more on Marcus and Onnit’s products, visit onnit.com.