Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Supplement Overload

Remember a few months ago when I went to see a naturopath?

And he sent me for all sorts of blood tests that confirmed that I was NOT low in iron or B12?

And then he sent me home with a list of vitamins, digestive enzymes and fish oil to add to my diet?

Well, I added them. As instructed.

I even worked out a vitamin schedule to fit them all in without overlapping the things that should not be overlapped.

- one digestive enzyme tablet and a vitamin D with breakfast, along with a teaspoon of fish oil in my breakfast shake
- vitamin C (sometimes with iron) around 10:30am
- digestive enzymes, a calcium and a K2/D3 gel at lunch
- vitamin C in the afternoon
- digestive enzymes with dinner,
- and a multivitamin before bed.

I've been doing that since October. Every day.

I'm getting kinda sick of all the pills I have to take. I'm also getting kinda nervous because the supply I bought when I started this whole thing will be running low within a few weeks and the cost of replenishing is making me nauseous.

On top of all that, there have been a rash of articles lately in the newspapers and magazines as well as CBC interviews with people talking about the amount of money we waste on vitamins and other supplements that are often unnecessary and sometimes downright harmful.

I don't feel any different since I've started taking them. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to or not but I don't. No more energetic. No 'healthier'. I don't sleep better. My blood sugar doesn't behave any differently whether I take digestive enzymes before a meal or not. The only thing I've noticed is that I have not yet been sick this year. Considering the amount of cold germs I'm exposed to every day, that is a pleasant surprise.

Still though I'm beginning to doubt my regimen. And beginning to wonder if I really need to be taking all that I'm taking.

My diabetes doctor put me on vitamin D years ago. My naturopath agreed.

My family doctor put me on calcium late last fall after getting the results of my bone density scan back. My naturopath agreed.

The other stuff? My naturopath put me on it all and no one else has had any input to agree or disagree. So I don't know what they would say if I asked but I can guess they would tell me that most of it is unnecessary.

Does that mean they are right?

Why should I give one doctor's opinion more weight than another's.


So I continue to take what I've been taking. Until they run out. And then I decide whether or not to get more. At this point, I'm leaning rather heavily towards not getting any more of any of it - except vitamin D and calcium.

We'll see.


  1. I will confess to being a vitamin skeptic. There's so much conflicting research about the value of specific supplements, that it seems most prudent (to me) to forgo them. Vitamin C is a case in point. It's an antioxidant, so many tout it as a good thing for everyone to take, but the research is mixed on whether supplementation is actually helpful.

    Except... every doctor agrees that if you're deficient in a vitamin or mineral and can't get enough of it from your diet--B12 for me, calcium for you, D for both of us--then you should take supplemental doses. And most reputable health research I've seen recently recommends that most North Americans take a simple fish oil capsule daily, since we don't get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.

    I'm not sure I'm making your choices any easier. Enjoy the rest of your vitamin supplements!

  2. I can understand your dilemma to some degree. My naturopath put me on some natural meds when I was suffering terribly with insulin neuritis in my feet. I am now scared to go off them in case the pain comes back, but at the same time not sure they are even the reason things improved. I have been watching with interest all of the coverage surrounding vitamins and supplements and it certainly makes a person wonder. Let me know what you decide!