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Have you ever really looked at the supplement facts on the back of your favorite supplements? I never really used to focus on the dosage of individual nutrients in supplements until I got thyroid dysfunction. Then I started looking at the back of all the things I was taking, and I had questions. Like why if the recommended dosage of B12 for a pregnant woman is 2.6 mcg (which is already higher than the recommended dosage for a non-pregnant adult woman) my prenatal contained 3 times the amount recommended? Was that necessary or just marketing? And what was that excess B12 doing to me?
I did some research and discovered a few studies that challenged the idea that the more vitamins you take the healthier you’re going to be. They actually found that people who were taking high doses of B-Complex vitamins were actually overweight. Interestingly enough Thiamine (aka B1 one of the B-Complex vitamins) has been put into basically every grain product to fortify it, so if you eat any kind of bread or cereal you’re probably getting at least 50% if not more of it from your diet ALONE! So, you don’t need that 300% worth of it from your multi-vitamin.
With this knowledge I set out to find the right multi-vitamin for me and my unique needs, which included making sure that any vitamin I took had selenium. Shockingly, popular Instagram multivitamin Ritual DOES NOT contain selenium (RIP to all those thyroid glands). I was pretty shocked at how many prenatal multivitamins excluded nutrients like selenium, iodine, calcium, magnesium…like REALLY important minerals for making a human and keeping a human healthy. My old Rainbow Light prenatal was pretty choke full of stuff but I didn’t feel like I needed 500% of B6 or 571% of Thiamine; so even though it did have some of the important minerals that I wanted, I had to give it up because I didn’t want to keep consuming extra B vitamins that I didn’t need when my body was already overwhelmed in a lot of ways.
Things I Take Every Day:
So, I did a lot of research and finally came across the Zahler Mighty Mini Pill Prenatal, while no pill is likely to have the perfect amounts of every single nutrient that you want this one came very close for me. Only 100% of the recommended daily intake of B-Vitamins, some selenium, iodine, zinc, DHA. I make up for the small gaps in selenium by taking the Whole Foods Brand of Selenium (I’ve linked the NOW Supplements brand which is just as good) and I take magnesium from Solgar as I’m always a little deficient in magnesium.
I also take a CBD geltab and antihistamine before I go to sleep. I currently get a monthly shipment from MedterraCBD for 25mg CBD tabs. And after some trials I found that Singulair made my asthma worse (about 40% of asthmatics have this experience…not to mention the new Black Warning on it made me hesitant to continue giving it time to take effect) so I discontinued it and started taking Xyzal every night before bed and have found that my environmental allergies are almost completely gone, which means fewer triggers for my asthma. At some point I’ll fill everyone in on my asthma regimen and what it’s like living with it as an adult but I’m feeling good right now.
Things I Take As Needed:
There are other supplements that I only take occasionally as needed. These include iodine supplement, Omega-3, and zinc. If I’m feeling a bit run down I’ll take an iodine pill, I found a brand that has a low dose and it tends to perk me back. I also take additional Omega-3 (the Zahler Mighty Mini pill already contains Omega-3 and DHA so I don’t find that I need it daily). And I’ll take zinc if I’m actually sick, though I didn’t take any when I got the cold that the boys picked up in Florida. I tried adding it as extra supplementation regularly but found that I was already getting enough zinc through my prenatal and from food and it actually gave me terrible GI distress and a racing pulse, so no you probably don’t need extra zinc if you’re already getting it from a multivitamin.
I’ve also transitioned to taking the adaptogen Ashwaghanda from Gaia as needed from taking it everyday. I had also tried the adaptogen Rhodiola but quickly discontinued it because I found it actually raised my blood pressure. At the beginning of my thyroid healing journey I was taking 4 pills a day. Then I took one pill at night before bed, along with my other supplements. Now I just bring it back into my routine if I’m feeling under a lot of stress.
I also take Gluten Digest as needed. It usually comes into heavy rotation when we go on vacation because I seldom want to stress out about finding gluten free options.
Things I Take for Exercise Recovery:
As far as workout related supplements I take Xtend BCAAs after every workout. I don’t do pre-workout because I find that coffee and food gives me enough energy and I also worry about racing heart rates. I plan to resume creatine supplementation at 2mg every workout once I get down to the 140s. I decided 2mg was a good dosage for me because I get quite a bit of creatine already from meat consumption so I’m not going to need heaps more for my future muscle goals. For now, my husband is enjoying the tub I got back in June.
And when my knee starts acting up I incorporate some collagen. I’m still a big fan of Zint Nutrition’s collagen, it’s both affordable and made to an exceptional quality. I add it to my coffee in the morning. But I’ve stopped doing that while on this weightloss journey because my joints have been holding up really well despite the distance I’ve been adding to my runs.
When it comes down to it I don’t think you need a ton of supplements, as a matter of fact too many supplements may be harmful. I urge you all to carefully consider the supplements you take and ask yourself if its necessary or just marketing. Remember vitamins are not regulated by the FDA the way that pharmaceutical drugs are. Consider taking the recommended dose of vitamins and minerals and only go above those recommendations if you have known causes for deficiency.
Let me know in the comments if you were surprised to learn that Ritual Prenatal vitamins don’t contain selenium. Or if you’ve taken a second-look at the vitamins you’ve been taking and now have questions.