January’s pillbox

I am frequently asked about what supplements I am using so thought a little update was due as I haven’t talked about them in a really long time.

Before I get in to it – just a reminder that this is what I take – after years of tweaking/changing and liaising with doctors and health specialists. You should always do as much research as possible when supplementing – know your contraindications, be aware of your diet and what may/may not be lacking. And before I get comments from the naysayers telling me that ‘all you need is a balanced diet!’ and that I have very expensive pee, let’s just say I politely disagree and leave it at that shall we? 

So this is my usual pillbox that I keep around – either on my desk or in the kitchen. I don’t use the regimented ‘set day’ boxes that people tend to use for medication, I have regular alarms set on my phone to remind me to take x,y and z at regular times every day. That’s just what works for me.

So working from the top left corner clockwise:

MagAbsorb (magnesium) from Lamberts: I have taken magnesium sporadically for around 9 years. I was first advised to take magnesium as I used to suffer really bad with tension in my neck, to the point where I could barely look fully left. Horrible. It was also preventing me from getting a good night’s sleep and I had a tic in my eyelid similar to the Chief Inspector in the Pink Panther movies. I now recognise this as symptoms not only of mag deficiency, but of stress. One of the reasons I took myself out of the corporate world. It was making me look like this:

Me, prior to magnesium supplementation, working in the corporate world. 

Dosage: 3 x 150mg in the evening (not every evening – just when I feel the need)

Points to be aware of: being a muscle relaxant, magnesium can also ‘loosen’ your bowels. If you have a runny bum, you need to cut it back (TMI?) – BUT, if you suffer from mild to severe constipation, it can ‘help’. This is why it is often sold alongside/in a mix with calcium, which does the opposite and can cause constipation.

Ubiquinol (the black ones) from Nature’s Best: Recommended by a friend of mine when I mentioned how exhausted I was early last year…. Ubiquinol put simply, is what your body converts CoQ10 into. The problem is that once we get older, it is more difficult for your body to make that conversion. As CoQ10 is a nutrient that has profound effects on our levels of energy, stamina, organ health and immune system functionality, its a tad important. It has also been linked with aiding migraines, which is why I jumped on it.

Dosage: 1 x day

Points to be aware of: you do not need this if you are under 25. You can use plain old CoQ10 you lucky, young swines. Also: if you take statins, you apparently should absolutely be taking this. (Check with your doc, as before!)

Fish oil – Bare Biology (small ones), Perricone (darkest ones), Lamberts (lighter large oil capsules)

My love of fish oil is no secret. I prefer it to flax/borage/other omegas and I can’t take krill oil due to my shellfish allergy.

I haven’t taken them over the Christmas period, but am back on the bandwagon now. If I have any allergic reactions to food – that usually show in my skin with big, red, swollen welts on my face, these and an antihistamine are my first port of call. It’s what works for me, I can’t speak for you.

Dosage: between 3 and 9 a day, depending on my mood, meals and skin…

Points to be aware of: For best results – always take these before you eat. That way the food sits on top of the oil and you get no disgusting fish burps (eeww). Large doses of fish oils can kill sugar cravings but also act as a slight appetite suppressor. If you’re not feeling hungry, maybe you’re overdoing it. 🙂

Fish oil is entirely separate from cod liver oil and the two should not be confused. This works for me, but you may be better off with more of a combination of 3,6 and 9. 

High doses may increase the risk of vit a or d toxicity. Again, do your research before buying.

Zinc from Lamberts: I started taking zinc because my hair seemed to be falling out more than usual. My Mum has lupus and had a similar (worse) problem a few years ago and her consultant recommended a high dose (prescription only) to help maintain her hair – and it worked. My hair, that used to fill the drain after showering, no longer does that – at all. I cannot remember the last time I had a cold, also a benefit of zinc supplementation.

Dosage: I take 50mg x day at the moment, but will be reducing this down to the normal recommended dosage (15mg) after one course.

Points to be aware of: if you are a vegetarian or eat a lot of grains, you may want to look into this.

DHEA from Biovea: this is a slightly controversial one as it is much disputed as to its benefits and is flagged for contraindications and banned by the NFL and Major League Baseball in the USA as it is a pro-hormone. I won’t discuss my dosage or really go in to detail, but I will say that I only started taking it last year, after blood tests and doctor’s appointments, and would advise you to do the same if you are over 40 (I am) or perimenopausal/menopausal (I’m not). I am monitoring my usage of this. This is not something to just start taking willy-nilly. As they say. 🙂

Points to be aware of: lots. Do your research. Speak to your doctor.

YOUTH from Beauty Works West: these made a notable difference to my energy levels pretty much as soon as I started taking them. Amino acids and marine plant extracts – these are worth considering if you are over 35/40.

Dosage: 2 x twice a day – I keep them on my bedside

Points to be aware of: you don’t need these if you’re in your 20’s!

Vitamin D from Lamberts: if I had to stop all of the above tomorrow, and take only one, it would be vitamin D. Universally recommended, and mostly deficient in a large number of us, the benefits of vitamin D are too numerous to list here. This is a great website if you want more info www.vitamindcouncil.org but if you don’t supplement, I would highly recommend looking into it. Especially if you live in northern climates and are in the middle of winter!

Dosage: 3000 – 5000iu a day

Not pictured are:

Floravital – pretty much saved my life during my first pregnancy and has been a staple in the fridge ever since. I’m anaemic and this is much more gentle and effective than iron tablets (for me).

Zelens Omega-Shiso – vegan version of omega oils. Better for you if you are veggie/vegan or simply cannot tolerate fish!

Sidebar: I don’t take/recommend a multi-vitamin as they are essentially useless and in some cases harmful. For example, B6 is an acne trigger for me, so it would break me out almost instantly.

If you need supplementation of a particular ingredient a multi-vit probably won’t be at a high enough dosage. Anyway – just my thoughts – speak to a nutritionist if you have any concerns about supplementation.

I hope that was in some way, useful. Like I said, always research supplements, don’t go crazy and speak to your doctor/health professional before you do anything. I’ve spent a long time researching what should/could work for me and have regular consultations with the pros, you must do the same.

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