The Vitamins and Supplements Quandry

I’ve just restocked on most of my regular vitamins and suppliments.  A change to my regular immune focused multi-vitamin (a new formula) has meant I’ve needed to double check I’m taking safe doses of everything.

Isn’t the internet (and world) full of contrasting information?  Or should that be opinion?

I am either:

  • optimising my nutrition and immune system
  • not taking high enough doses of stuff to have an impact
  • taking too high or too regular a dose of stuff and so setting myself up for toxic levels of substances, comprimising my immune system, and possibly other health complications
  • or I am making very expensive wee because we can’t absorb tablet supplements anyway

Sigh.  Even my books on CFS/ME by doctors disagree on which to take and even if to bother at all.

So I am shuffling striding boldly forwards, taking safe doses of various supplements because they haven’t given me any ill effects in the last 18 months and because I’ve just bought another 3 months supply! 

Oh and because when I stopped taking them last year I caught my first ME cold which developed into a chest infection which took me 3-4 months to get over.

This post is about me the suppliments I which  choose to take.  It’s not plucked out of thin air – I have done research and there are reasons why I do and don’t take certain things (right now).  I’m not an expert.  I’m just sharing my list for interest only.  Ok then.

Here’s my current list of pills and potions I take daily:

  • Immune supporting Multi-vitamin (including selenium, vitamin E, K, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, cystine, chromium and bioflavanoids amongst others) – Vitabiotics Immunance from ChemistDirect
  • L-Carnitine – 500mg (+30mg from muti-vit) – Lifeplan L-Carnitine 500mg from Lifeplan
  • Vitamin D (D3 cholecaliferol) – 500iu (+400iu from multi-vit) – Higher Nature Vitamin D 500 iu from GoodnessDirect
  • B12 – 1000ug (+14ug from multi-vit) – Lifeplan High Strength B12 1000ug from Lifeplan or GoodnessDirect
  • Magnesium with calcium – 66mg (+50mg from multi-vit) – I can take more if nauseous. Lifeplan Magnesium with calcium 500mg from Lifeplan

Plus:

  • Zinc – I’m now getting 15mg from my multi-vit so will only suppliment additional 15mg if I am fighting a virus – Lifeplan Zinc Amino Acid Chelate 15mg  from Lifeplan
  • Vitamin C – 1000mg (+ 150mg from multi-vit) – Natures Aid Low Acid Vitamin C 1000mg from SimplyNatural. I may start taking this every few days as some suggest it can have a bad effect having it daily.  This is the one brand that doesn’t irritate my stomach when taken at high doses.

Plus currently:

  • D-Ribose – 10g twice daily – ATP Pure D-Ribose 250g from MuscleForm
  • Co-Enzeyme Q10 – 200mg daily – Natures Aid Q10 100mg from QuickVit
  • Probiotic (lactobacillus sporogenes) – 3 times daily – Higher Nature Lactogest 90 tablets from GoodnessDirect
  • AllicinMax – 1 a day – Allicin International (not, I repeat not Health Perception) from QuickVit

I have also tried in the past:

  • N-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg daily
  • Astragalus (I will start taking this again soon)
  • Omega 3, 6 and 9 (fish and flax seed derived)
  • High doses of AllicinMax/Allimax

I shop around for deals on the vitamins/brands I use and have used UK based suppliers including

My preferred brands are:

  • Lifeplan
  • Nature’s Aid
  • Higher Nature

I find generic supermarket and Holland & Barratt can make me feel bloated, sluggish or irritate my stomach.

I eat daily fresh fruit, vegetables and protein.  Drink water, peppermint tea, fennel tea and a small glass of grape juice.  Take very little and only occasional dairy, wheat, sugar, deep fried anything. No alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, red or dark meat,  eggs.  Avoiding MSG and artificial sweeteners wherever possible.

Here I am being as careful as possible, being as healthy as possible and still stuck at being at my lowest health ebb of my life. 

It used to frustrate me when I read about what CFS people took to help when they were clearly still very ill.  But I know without being careful and without taking control of my nutrition things would be much worse.  There’s always going to be someone who tells me I should be taking x suppliment and someone else telling me I shouldn’t.  I think this is more of an art than a science.

I do know that whenver I write “nutrition” my brain always thinks “nuture” instead.

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8 Responses to “The Vitamins and Supplements Quandry”


  1. 1 Alicia June 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    I think you’re right, it’s definitely more of an art than a science. Your “making very expensive wee” comment made me think of a time when my Crohn’s was out of control and my pills kept coming out whole. I would look down and think, “%$#@, that was a $30 prescription!” LOL!

  2. 2 jo June 4, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Have you tried ginger or peppermint for gas/bloating?

    • 3 rachelcreative June 4, 2009 at 7:11 pm

      I used to take peppermint oil capsules before each meal but didn’t make a lot of difference. Sometimes I had minty burps but that was about it.

      I use stem ginger sometimes for bad episodes and nausea.

      Peppermint tea is quite good but I find fennel is better.

  3. 4 Alastair March 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Does your multi-vitamin contain Vitamin A ?
    (symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are worsening night vision, and other visual artefacts that are associated with poorer sight)
    … not everyone knows that Vitamin A is also an essential component of immune health; the World Health Organisation recognise it as a life saver amongst malnourished children in the 3rd world. If you are not eating much in the way of liver, be it liver fried, or liver sausage, and not getting it as supplement, and not eating copious butter, etc. then you may not be getting enough.

    Cyanocobalamin B12 is not the best absorbed kind. Better is methyl cobalamin – not available on the high street, only online.

    One thing you do not state is whether you are taking supplements with food, or on an empty stomach. Most likely better with food. for instance, the acidity of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) likely aids digestion but irritates an empty stomach.

    Calcium? Magnesium is usually deficient in our diets, but calcium is present in water, green veg, etc. etc. etc. Ratio of 2:1 is the proportion the body need Calcium to Magnesium, any more calcium is likely counter productive. Magnesium Citrate 150mg twice daily is a good bet, unlikely to have side effects (loose bowel movements) and is said to aid sleep.

    D-ribose likely does result in more powerful blood pressure – in supporting the heart, it may correct a blood pressure insufficiency, and short term this could result in raised blood pressure. Does it give good results in lower doses?

    The probiotic you are taking is not what you are lead to believe:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_coagulans
    It is not a lactobacillus – I wonder whether you would not be wise taking a different probiotic, or a mixture. Again, reducing sugar intake, both refined and from fruit, can help in reducing gas production.

    Good luck with restoring your health.

    • 5 rachelcreative March 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

      I keep my current list of suppliments in my About page.

      I know my B12 works, is absorbed, as my blood tests showed my B12 levels are high.

      I’ve found D-ribose for beneficial for my condition and I’ve blogged about that in more detail.

      I’ve recently changed my probiotic and haven’t been able to take a multi-vitamin for a long time. My suppliments change over time depending on what seems to work or not for me and what I can stomach or not. Some people say suppliments are pointless others say essential. As I said when I wrote this post there’s enough opinion and research to prove or disprove pretty much anything. I just do my best.

  4. 6 Alastair March 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Sorry Rachel, I did not read the entry date to see that it was old news!
    Reading your list of current meds I see there is no multi-vitamin, which is likely a good thing, objectively speaking, as they rarely are spot on containing just what you need.

    If ME/CFS probably starts with a significant immune event, such as epstein barr, or is linked to vector borne infections (which are generally unseen and near impossible to test with any certainty) – put differently, that unless your mitochondrial or other biochemical pathway functions are faulty, and your CFS is partly the result of the extent of background infection – then lowering that infection must make sense.

    You mention Vitamin D for SAD and ME, but of course Vitamin D is an essential for immune health, whilst also being anti-inflammatory: in fact it is not really a vitamin, that name being the accident of the emerging science, not a good reflection of the complexity of ‘vitamin’ D.

    My earlier point was just to state that vitamin A, the vitamin of “eat your carrots” references I remember from childhood, is not only essential for eyesight (first clinical sign of deficiency is night blindness) but is also a key factor in immune health. I read that it is scarcely possible to get sufficient vitamin A from fruit and veg, and unless one regularly eats liver, a vitamin A supplement is the best way to be certain of getting this vital immune health vitamin. Sainsburys does a cheap vitamin A + Selenium pill.

    We are targeting all angles to recover partner from CFS, so Dr Myhill is one source of supplement inspiration (including igennex pharmaceutical omega3 oil, which is claimed to be viricidal, http://www.vegepa.com), separately, private medicine recommended all the same things she did, and most of the NHS input is ignored: ‘it is all in the mind’ is not helpful to someone clearly ill with CFS, skin problems, and a long list of symptoms indicative of ongoing infection. Immune health is a key angle we are focusing on, and vitamin A appears to have been deficient: night vision has improved over 4 months of supplements, also, fibromyalgia pain is much reduced, some skin problems are improved (you mention Pompholyx eczema and this has lessened here too, even as it baffled the NHS specialists time and time again), brain fog is lessened, intermittant night sweats are now very rare.

    If Myhill is correct, which is almost certain on my reading of her thoroughly well informed writings, then CFS symptoms have a lot to do with blood circulation insufficiency with the heart not managing to pump stronly enough (a bad paraphrase) resulting in insufficient blood reaching the skin (the body economises, and the skin is the first area of economy), and this has consequences for feeling cold, for successful sweating, for skin health, and so on. Our mantra includes staying warm at all times.

  5. 7 Dominique March 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I take nothing but herbal products and most of mine are from the New Chapter line whih I love! Luckily because of research and trial and error, I now have mine pretty much ironed out.

    I also have a natural wellness doctor who is gifted in the area of treatment and herbs. He is truly amazing! Thus, I have been adding new herbs over the past few months which seem to help.

    I take Phenocane for pain and I love it. I stay at 2-3 most of the time now and if I ever inch upwards (or shoot straight to 8-9) like this past week, I can safely up my dosage as well. Love that.

    I really struggled with finding a multi-vitamin that worked. I tried pms kind, women over 40 kind, women over 50 kind, women over 90 kind (joshing), but they just never did if for me.

    Then I got this New Chapter one that is for stress in the body. With this one, I know when I have taken them. I have noticed a decline in that darn ‘fligh-or-fight’ thing we have in ME. Hate that. It is one of my most expensive herbs but I take if faithfully, although at 1/3 of the dosage.

    Anyway, I just realized I totallly rambled on your blog. Sorry! Not enough face to face communication! ha ha

    Looks great Rachael. Your diet is amazing. That is where I am currently heading!


  1. 1 Can D-Ribose Make You Sick? « ChronicallyMe Trackback on April 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm

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