Friday, January 15, 2010

Supplements, oh my!

I know that there are many people who are not big fans of supplements, but I am not one of them; however, there was a time when I doubted that supplements were helpful or necessary. I started taking supplements a couple of years ago after becoming sick from dysautonomia, and I truly believe that they have made a big difference in how I feel on a day to day basis.

I believe that unless we eat a diet with no processed foods or refined sugars, it is likely that we are not meeting our daily requirements of vitamins and minerals...and that's just for healthy people, let alone those of us that are ill. If you are chronically ill, it is also likely that you require a higher amount of vitamins and minerals than a normal person just to feel moderately well. Ideally, you should get all of your vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and lean meats; however, that is certainly easier said than done when it comes to having a debilitating disease like dysautonomia.

So, I try to eat as healthily as I can (especially now that I have my magical Vitamix blender!), but since I can't always eat perfectly and also need more vitamins than I can take in from a healthy diet, I take supplements. Here is a list of some of the most important ones that I take, along with why I take them. I also have links to a medical site that gives more details about the supplements, their side effects, and drug reactions that they may have. Always check to make sure that any supplements you take do not interact with your medications.

Remember, none of what I tell you is meant as medical advice but is for informational purposes only. Do not change your medications or add supplements without contacting your doctor.

Multivitamin: A daily multivitamin ensures an adequate intake of nutrients that are not always present in the diet in optimal amounts. So...if you don't eat perfectly, you should take one.

B vitamins (B Complex): Very helpful to increase energy levels; Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and biotin participate in energy production, vitamin B6 is essential for metabolism, and vitamin B12 and folic acid are required for cell division.

Coenzyme Q-10: Increases energy and mental concentration; CoQ10 is essential for the production of ATP in mitochondria (therefore essential to creating energy); In addition, Mitochondrial diseases can sometimes be associated with dysautonomia, and can be helped with CoQ10 (see article on "Mito cocktail" or check out More about CoQ10

Vitamin D3: Often low in Americans, especially those with chronic illness that are not exposed to the sun frequently; some studies have found it to be helpful for pain relief as well. Your doctor can do a blood test to check if your levels are low (Mine was significantly low). More about Vit D

Magnesium: Mg is important for every organ in the body. Can decrease muscle spasms if you are low in Mg (muscle spasms are common in dysautonomia), may help with pain control and is essential for heart health. More about Mg

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from food. Studies have found that they may be helpful to lower the risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, reduce depression, and be helpful for many other conditions. More about Omega 3 FA

Probiotics: Helpful for everything from balancing the GI tract to reducing yeast infections, probiotics can be very important. Having the proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your GI tract is essential to good health, and surprisingly easy to come by. More about Probiotics

NADH: (Enada NADH) NADH has been found to be helpful in increasing energy levels for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as other diseases. One of my doctors recommended that I take it, and I truly believe that it has increased my energy levels. Research on NADH and CFS Treatment

I'm sure that there are many others out there that would be helpful, but these are the ones that I have had experience with. Please feel free to comment on this post if you have other supplements to recommend.

If you are going to take supplements, make sure that you buy brands that are high quality and do not contain fillers. You may have to pay a little bit more for them, but it is worth it to have a pure supplement that will actually help. There are currently not any regulations on supplements, so some supplements do not contain exactly what they say they contain and can be more harmful than helpful. Some of the brands that I have had luck with are Integrative Therapeutics, Pure Encapsulations, Nordic Naturals (fish oil), Douglas Laboratories, Nature's Way, Solgar, Pioneer, and Perque. There are many others out there, just be selective.

I hope that you all have found this info helpful and will be able to select the supplements that will work best for you. I wish you good health in this new year!

To make you smile...


Sweet boy

Chloe Bear

Chloe Bear
Chloe as a baby!