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What Supplements Do You Take, And Why?

chicago dyke's picture

Meh, for me today it was 12 hrs with one client and four more with another on the west coast later before I can sleep, so this is going to be short. I'd like to fill the rest in as I respond in the comments, reading what you all have to say. But the question is: what supplements do you take? Vitamins? Oils, cremes, salves, teas, and any other delivery device that doesn't come from Big Pharma or Big Ag, that helps you feel better? Why do you take them? How did you learn about them? Why do you know they work? What scientific-standard of proof can you offer they do, if only in your case? If you recall my Raw/Living Foods post recently, you'll remember that I'm all about that sort of food. But for many people, and many reasons, sometimes more is needed. Are you one of those people? I was recently doing some research with a client into glutathione, and I think that's going to be added to my regimen. The other stuff I take includes:

-a heavy duty "energetic women's vitamin" with many non-FDA reviewed additives like Lutien and Boron
-Flax seed oil
-organic crystal form sulfur flakes
-garlic, cranberry and mushroom extracts in powder form

There's more but I'm mostly curious about your experiences and results.

This is truly a health care post, as it becomes more clear to me each day that the "health" industry is better termed, as my client likes to call it, the "sickness industry." As anyone who reads Corrente knows, sickness = profit, for the major corporate interests who perpetuate it in our population, as well as physical and thus political weakness that benefits those who support or are supported by those interests and benefit from those profits being spent on politics and policies that perpetuate our current situation.

Similarly, those of us too poor to be of the interest of the $700/bottle pill pusher industry must rely on what we can do for ourselves to stay healthy. Exercise is a separate topic, so for now let's talk about what we can ingest in addition to healthy food that will help us avoid the need to see an ignorant, drug-favoring MD. (heh, i subliminally just typed MC, as in comedy club MC) Anyway, if you take a pill, liquid, powder or tea form of something that "has not been evaluated by the FDA and is making no claim to have an impact on any medical condition or disease" but know it's made a difference in your life, say so here. Please, be as specific as you can, because the 'how and why' really matter. This is the new science, in terms of data collection. Also, if you have good websites for products or information about why what you take is good, share them. Thanks!

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MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

Last April I got sick with a chronic ailment (not life threatening, but really annoying and draining on a daily basis). I happened to be near a very excellent hospital I trust at the time I got ill, so I went to one of that hospital's top specialists in the area of my illness.

He gave me some (pharma, "real medicine") pills, said to take them for a week.

The pills were powerful. They instantly relieved my symptoms. Then, when the week was up and my pills ran out, the symptoms roared back even worse than before.

I doubled down on the recommended diet/lifestyle changes. No change. I researched my ailment and discovered that the powerful pills the doctor had given me only worked to quash the symptoms of my malady, not the source. If I went back on them, I'd be on my way to being dependent on them forever. Despair.

Then it occurred to me: Damn, you are living in Hong Kong, one of the world capitals of Chinese medicine with a practitioner on every corner (there's a government licensing scheme in HK, so there's some kind of quality control, and traditional Chinese medicine is a VERY serious thing here--departments at the medical schools, etc.)

So I found a Chinese medicine doctor. She examined my pulses, spent a half hour going over ALL my symptoms (not just the ones of the ailment I was presenting), and prescribed a course of Chinese medicine before leading me to the acupuncture room for a treatment.

The fix wasn't instant--it took three weeks, with me returning every few days to get my herbal medicine prescription tweaked, and a top up of acupuncture. But at the end of those 3 weeks, not only was my original ailment gone, I had more energy and felt better in every way.

Total cost: not cheap, but by US medical standards a bargain: about $350.

I've also had great luck with Indian Ayurveda. But I do that only when I'm in India. I feel you should take advantage of local wisdom and experience.

OTOH, there are some terrific TCM doctors practicing in the USA...

Submitted by candy on

Why do you take tyrosine? Outside of PKU discussions I never see it mentioned.

RedQueen's picture
Submitted by RedQueen on

For a large portion of the last 3 years I've had major pain issues. I was sure it was fibromyalgia (and a little bit of it might still be) but my doctor put me on massive doses of vitamin D (4x the normal daily req- apparently my body just isn't making much of it anymore) and Iron (anemia! The best excuse ever to eat steak!), along with some meds for nerve pain. The difference was amazing. Like 75% better. (I know, it's not 100 or even 90 but I can do boring shit now like go to the grocery store, shower and make dinner all in the same day)

I went off the vitamin D after 3 months so we could check my blood levels. Within a week I was curled up on the couch again in agony. Went back on the Vitamin D and I started back to working a "real" job this week. I couldn't have even thought about sending out my resume a year ago.

Submitted by lambert on

Biggest thing I could do for my health is step away from the computer. It's really bad for me.

Not to doubly threadjack!

On the other hand, it's clear that trace elements, whether delivered to the roots or directly to the leaves as tinctures, as well as very small changes in micro-climate can have big effects on vegetable tissue and health, so why not humans? There's a lot we can do before resorting to petroleum-based technologies...

Submitted by brucedixon on

variable between dark and bitter and dark and sweet, like my ex-wives. and fish oil, glucosamine - chondritin

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Actually only a teaspoon a day, but wow, did that ever make a difference! I had the most annoying knee pain, but after about a month of fish oil supplements, it was 95% better, now it's 100%. My doctor recommended it. She's much more into nutritional supplements than Rxs and said she's gotten great results with all her patients who complain about joint pain. Worked for me!

She also got me to take 5k of vitamin D three times a day. Blood test showed I had very low levels, even though I'm out in the sun all the time and never wear sunblock. Weird.

Also, a combination of calcium (500 mg)/magnesium (250 mg)/zinc (15 mg) three times a day, for bones and sleep -- most excellent for insomnia!

Carnosine (not carnitine!) for muscles, eye health, etc., etc., verrrrry underrated nutrient, maybe because most of the research is Russian and European, which a lot of American doctors sneer at for some reason (?). And also strontium for bone health.

There are some others, but those are the big ones.

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

I never took any supplements, seldom got sick and never went to a doctor for 30 years except once I had a circular rash that I thought might be ring worm. But when I was about 50 I listened to a tape by a Dr. Wallach who was trying to sell his water with colloidal minerals in it. I believe this is the text of "Dead doctors don't lie". About every ailment you could mention was from a deficiency. I never bought the stuff but it influenced me to start on some vitamins and minerals. My mother had osteo-arthritis in her hands quite badly and one thing Dr. Wallach said was arthritis was due to not enough calcium. My elbow was sore so I started on calcium and a multi-vitamin/mineral. Pain went away.

I have made some additions along the way, so now close to 20 years later I take:
Calcium w/ D3
Vit. C
Magnesium w/zinc
Vit. E (d-Alpha)

Nothing in mega-doses. I'm trying for immune system health and the calcium and mag. for bone/joint health.

I drink tea mostly because it is cheap. My diet includes fruits and vegitables, more now that I can garden again. I don't care for a lot of sweets. I eat parts of dead animals, quite a lot of salt, and no where near 8 glasses of water a day.

For the most part I have remained healthy while others around me had colds. I did get diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma about ten years ago, but it was knocked out with chemo and monoclonal antibodies, and has not recurred.

So, have the supplements done any good? Maybe, I'm in good health. But maybe if I prayed a lot to some god, or walked backward into rooms, or did some other goofy shit - maybe my health would be the same. My magic ritual at least seems to work (except for that one thing that could have killed me) and it is rather cheap.

Submitted by lambert on

Maybe I should start a regular posting...

I'm hearing caffeine, fish oil, and calcium as consistent threads. Whether these are supplements per se, damned if I know. It would be interesting to make a chart or set up a poll. I wonder if other blogs have different distributions?

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The valerian root only when I can't sleep, I prefer that to sleeping pills like sominex or tylenol pm

Iron for anemia.

mjames's picture
Submitted by mjames on

That's the place I go out here in Fremont, CA. I'm 66, but I stopped paying for Medicare Part B and a supplemental plan within 2-3 months of starting. I am not a fan of traditional western medicine.

I spend about $400-$500 per month on my health at The Reference Point for a combination of maintenance supps and herbal remedies and specific remedies geared to whatever my body tests for. I gave up the $250 I was paying for Medicare since I rarely used it and this program is quite costly. The Reference Point does saliva tests via mail also.

I still have a regular doctor. I see her twice a year or so. Just got my lab work back. My risk of heart disease (my major worry) is almost nil, my cholesterol scores being practically unheard of.

I also exercise like crazy, having once been an athlete and still loving the physical. I'm convinced that exercise is the single most important step to good health, followed by diet.

The maintenance remedies include: Greens Mix, Lecithin, Coral Legend, Cod Live Oil, Essentail Fatty Acids, stomach enzymes (before and after meals), Gall Bladder Detox, Max Stress B, Co-Q-Quinol, Green Tea (for the radiation from Japan), Adrenal Complex, and Cardiocidin.

I am doing everything I can to remain able to take care of myself as long as possible. When the time comes, I'll be my own death panel.

mjames's picture
Submitted by mjames on

I just reread the comments - absolutely GC - I take in liquid form, lemon flavored from a nearby health food store. I can't take those huge pills.

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

After studies showing low levels of melatonin increased the risk of breast cancer in off-shift nurses ( see here and here, for example), I started taking melatonin in addition to my other ones, like calcium, Vitamin D3, multi-vites, etc. An additional bennie of melatonin is that it does work as a sleep aid, and thus helps night-shift workers in that regard, also.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i really would like you to take a multivitamin, if financially possible for you. i can't afford the really nice ones either, but even a vitamin mix from your local pharmacy would be good for you. ok, i'll stop lecturing you now. ;-)

thanks everybody! it's always really interesting to hear what other people find useful. i didn't know about carnosine! i'll look into that, as i've taken carnotine in the past.

what i'm trying to get to is the ideal balance of the supplements that are right for me, and also don't break my budget. i know several people (who have the money) who go apeshit for them, and take a boatload of them daily. my newer client is like that; and i seriously doubt that everything he takes has a significant benefit, mainly because he's poor and when he runs out of one or another and has to do without for a few weeks or days, i don't see any change in his condition. there are exceptions, and those are the supplements that get my attention. i guess it's different for everyone, and fine tuning the right list of things to take is an ongoing process that never ends, given how our bodies change as they age.

not to pick on everyone, but would some of our, ahem, younger readers care to comment? i started taking vitamins in high school on the rec of my coaches and they did help in terms of performance. i wonder if coaches and teachers and the like are still telling young people to augment their diets today.

oh, i take tyrosine for depression. it was recommended in a book by Joan Larsen, PhD esp for people with alcohol related depression issues. but honestly, i may be dropping it; the organic sulfur flakes are working so well i am not sure i need tyrosine anymore.