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Old 04-06-2004, 07:42 PM   #1
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Question The Right Vitamin/Supplement Combo?

Hi everyone,

I decided to try something new for my health. I feel sluggish and pretty much "down" all the time. I can't remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

After much reading and researching, I decided to try Centrum multivitamins (the Performance kind) along with calcium, iron and St, Johns Wort.

I'm a female (21) and felt that this would be a good combo for my age/sex/diet/problems. I asked my local pharmacist, and she agreed, though she wanted me to add 5 or so more supplements (I don't want to take that many!) such as fish oils, etc.

I'm easily overwhelmed by all the info. out there. There are sooooo many types of vitamins, supplements, etc., that ppl claim to be essential for health but what exactly is necessary? I always thought that you could get what you need from food, and that was the healthiest way to go, but now, I'm a little confused and not so certain anymore.

Please, if you have any suggestions, or if you take Centrum (has it helped?) or know of a good multivitamin/combo, let me know. I'd greatly appreciate it. I feel very lost.

My main questions: What kind (specific vitamin, dose, combo, brand) are best? Can they really make you live longer? Should women pay attention to certain vitamins (like calcium) more so then others? Can I overdo it, easily OD on supplements? When can one feel/see a difference/improvement? Taking all these pills every day, isn't it hard on my liver/stomach?

Help! THANK YOU!

Last edited by Amby; 04-06-2004 at 07:46 PM.

 
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:18 PM   #2
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Re: The Right Vitamin/Supplement Combo?

Well, it's very simple, take what you need. If you're not active then I suggest you not even take any supplements except a daily dose of a mulit-mineral/vitamin. I also take Centrum Performance, but I also work out 6 days a week and take additional supplements to help feed my muscles. As for fish oils and such, I say you don't need them. Not unless you're overly worried about your heart or have joint problems. Omega-3 is the main nutrient in fish oils and I only suggest you take it if you're not a big fan of sea food. No, taking all of these supplement isn't necessarily bad for your liver, kidneys and such. But I will guarentee about 50% of what you take in will not be aborbed correctly. I will say that being female taking an extra calcium supplement is greatly appreciated by your bones. Also, calcium is good for lowering blood pressure and helping with fat metabolism. For females, especially over the age of 40, should really be taking some type of calcium supplement. You're still young but starting now won't do you any harm. In fact your preparing yourself from any major bone depletion you might experience later in life. I do have a question in regards to your iron intake. How much iron are you taking daily? I know Centum has a good daily value of iron but how much are you taking aside from the Centum? As for St. Johns Wart, well...I'm not to big on herb supplements because there are hundereds out there and 98% of them do absolutely nothing for the body. In fact many of them are destroyed in the digestive track and are used more as great waste enzymes. Although, St. Johns Wart has probably been the most used and talked about herb in recent times. Along with ginseng, ginkgo bilba and saw palmetto. But that doesn't mean they work for EVERYBODY(as in a great majority). I say stick with your mulit-mineral/vitamin unless you are extremly active, then it's a whole other ball game.

 
Old 04-07-2004, 04:45 PM   #3
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Re: The Right Vitamin/Supplement Combo?

Hey Dr Doooooom,

Thank you so much for your reply. Your post actually put my mind at ease. There are so many products out there, it's easy for someone uneducated (in regards to supplements) to get overwhelmed.

To answer your question - I take one 65mg iron pill a day along with one 600mg calcium pill and one Centrum Performance vitamin. 3 pills daily all together. I've already decided to quit the St. Johns Wort, I basically agree with what you said about it and I don't think it'll do much for me (esp. since presrciption anti-d's don't do much).

I don't eat much seafood, as I'm a vegetarian, but I'm trying to force myself to eat some fish and lean chicken for my health. I dunno... I'm still back and forth on if I really need to eat the seafood. I rather stick with my long term lifestyle as a veggie, loading up on a variety of veggies, fruits and nuts, but so many ppl tell me I need fish for a healthy heart and bones, etc. Is this true?

Will not taking the Omega 3 supplements hurt me in the long run?

I just want to be healthy. I don't want to overdue the supplement thing, I want to take a lot of minerals and vitamins from food.

BTW, as you said, not all of the supplements are absorbed correctly - Is there anything that can help in that area? Drink more water? Food-wise is there something I can do/eat so I get more out of the pills?

Active-wise, I'm not terribly active but I'm not sedentary either. I play some sports with friends/family (not competitive anymore) but I do walk and jog regularly. Nothing too strenuous. I'm getting into yoga and kickboxing, but even then I don't think with those activities I'd need a bunch of supplements, right?

Thank you so much once again, feedback really helps!

 
Old 04-07-2004, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: The Right Vitamin/Supplement Combo?

First off if your body isn't getting enough fatty acids from your diet then I suggest taking an Omega-3 supplement. Though the supplement is probably going to act as an energy producer more than anything else. Omega-3 can also contribute as an anti-oxidant and a hormone manufacturer. I say it's up to you to go ahead and take the Omega-3 supplement. But make sure there is Vitamin E mixed with the Omega-3 for better absorbtion and oxidation. In fact there is an Omega-3 vegetarian supplement out on the market called HFC- Organic Flax Vegetarian. I recommend you take it only because of your diet. You say you are a vegetarian and I commend you for that. But vegetarians do have a hard time getting the right amount of nutrients in their diets. I've know many human herbivores. Many eventually turn to a protein supplements to balance the amount of proteins and amino acids the body needs in order to function correctly. Usually they take a whey protein supplement. Whey protein contains most of the branched-chain amino acids which help in creating and repairing muscle tissue. But again only you know whether or not your body is at its equilibrium state. Your calcium intake is a little low though not anything near dangerous per portions. Usually, the daily intake of calcium is any where from 1,000 to 12,500mg. BTW, I always take my Centrum with a meal. Also, your activity level is actually much higher than the average person. You seem to be a very healthy young female and adding supplement after supplement will just be a waste of time and money. I say stick with your Centrum, iron and calcium pills and if you so choose, the Omega-3 pills as well. If your protein intake is also low I do strongly recommend taking a protein supplement, such as shakes or bars.

-"I don't eat much seafood, as I'm a vegetarian, but I'm trying to force myself to eat some fish and lean chicken for my health. I dunno... I'm still back and forth on if I really need to eat the seafood. I rather stick with my long term lifestyle as a veggie, loading up on a variety of veggies, fruits and nuts, but so many ppl tell me I need fish for a healthy heart and bones, etc. Is this true?"-

I wouldn't say JUST fish, but chicken, turkey, pork, red meat, and so on. But you are a vegetarian and you can't really keep up with your protein needs with just nuts, beans, other veggies and fruits alone. If you don't want to take the whey protein because of it's milk/cheese foundation then I suggest you take a Soy Protein supplement instead.

Last edited by Dr_DoOoOoM; 04-07-2004 at 09:48 PM.

 
Old 04-08-2004, 12:45 PM   #5
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Re: The Right Vitamin/Supplement Combo?

Hey Dr

I take my Centrum at meals as well, and with a full glass of water (if that matters, I dunno). I thought that maybe the calcium intake wasn't really imperative, given my age, but my pharmacist was all about it and said "yes, yes, yes" it's necessary for any female's bone health from age 18 up, over 40, it's no question, it's a must. Wow. Geez, I guess it is really important! But what about men, they don't have to worry as much about bone loss or osteoporosis, right? And I know weight-bearing exercise is also very important for bone health, so can't I just start that up and have no worries? I eat a lot of broccoli, which is filled with calcium, so I hope with the green veggies mixed with both vitamins and exercise, I should have no problems.

The pharmacist did mention, after I gave a brief summary of my diet, that I am not getting the amino acids that I need. Ugh. Have you ever heard of those liquid aminos, I think there is a brand called Braggs? You can put it on your food like a dressing... ?

The iron, well, since puberty doctors told me that iron supplements would be a good thing because of the menstrual cycle but I only felt it necessary to take it now, because of the way I'm feeling so tired all the time (almost passing out when I am on my period) and am not having any high iron foods like meat (though I do eat a lot of spinach). So, I guess that's good then.

I'm going to look into the Omega-3 (with Vit. E), I think I've heard of that vegetarian brand you mentioned... I'm going to look it up. As far as the Soy Protein shakes or supplements, I may try to just eat some fish, chicken and turkey as you suggested (I really don't think I can do the red meat, I just plain out don't enjoy it and it can make me sick just looking at it). I was a weird kid who preferred veggies like Brussels sprouts and corn on the cob over kid-fun meat meals such as hot dogs and fish sticks.

I really feel good as a veggie, I feel like it's the way I'm supposed to eat, I just love it, but in my gut (ha, pun intended) I feel something is missing, or I need more vital nutrients (hence, the start of this post). If I can't manage the lean turkey, seafood, etc. then I will give those protein shakes a whirl.

LOL, higher than the average person? Wow. I always feel that my activity level could be way higher, esp. since I used to be highly involved in sports as a child and in school, and now I feel like I've learned to be lazy and overstressed, and that's why I'm getting into the yoga and the kickboxing. Something basically just hit me, I felt it's time to wisen up and get starting on a routine for my health. Time to PREVENT, because I don't want to end up having to TREAT. Know what I mean?

You are really a big help. Thanks so much for all the info. It's much appreciated.

 
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