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Supplements | Are You Taking Your Vitamins?

From the Fitness & Wellness After Hysterectomy Articles List

What vitamins are my fellow HysterSisters taking?Are you taking vitamin supplements to help boost you on your journey to be healthier? If so what do you take?

Here are some answers to this question from the HysterSisters:

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“Nope, I don't take anything. In fact, I asked both my doctor and the weight-loss group leader, and they agree: if I eat all of my mandatories, both daily and weekly, I should have all the nutrients I need.”

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“My doctor told me to take 1000 mg of vitamin C and a B12. My blood tests showed that my energy level or B12 was really low. So I'm taking 500mcg of the B12. I don't like the C I'm taking. It's chewable and really huge! It's a 500mg tab, so I have to chew 2 to get the 1000mg.”

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“I don’t take any supplements, except for every once in a while when I will drink a meal replacement drink to pick up the slack. My goal is to get the nutrients I need from the foods I eat. Besides, taking vitamins upsets my tummy.”

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“I take a half dose of a vitamin supplement every other day. It took me a while to find one that didn't upset my stomach, but I found a natural brand, Country Life, that is working well for me. Why do I take them if I am supposedly eating healthy?

I am on a low calorie diet for weight loss. This means I am eating fewer than 2000 calories a day. The % of vitamins and nutrients on a food label is based on a 2000 calorie diet; since I am eating less than that on a daily basis, I can not use the RDA labels as my guide. True, if you eat your 3 dairy, 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies, proteins, and all that your body should get all the nutrients you need. I cannot fool myself and say I get all my food groups in every day, and even if I did, I am still eating fewer calories than what the full amount would naturally come from.”

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“About vitamin C—like calcium, you can't absorb more than 500 mg at a time apparently. Even the Linus Pauling Institute (the guys who came up with the idea of taking a lot of C) are now recommending no more than 500 mg at a time. So you might have better results from splitting your dose up if you aren't already.”

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“What follows is what I mean to take and what my thinking is. These are not recommendations for anyone else (except the multi). My doctors know I take them, but I did the research on my own. And I guess I have a cast iron stomach because I don't seem to have many problems.

1. Multivitamin
I take a multi or several reasons. One is because I'm not in control. Another, and the most convincing, is that, though they thought that a multi wouldn't help people with basically balanced diets, in fact, the massive longitudinal nurses' study is finding that taking a multivitamin, any multivitamin, increases your life and the quality of life. Especially as we get older (but also with the digestive changes of menopause, I suspect), we absorb less and less well, so the insurance of a multi apparently is worth it. I take one that offers 100% of the RDA of lots of vitamins and minerals. DietPower has shown me that even basically balanced eating doesn't balance nutrients that well. And 100% of nutrients plus diet isn't going to be too much because RDA is fairly low. The real concern seems to be vitamin A and iron in multis. It's better if most of the vitamin A is coming from carotenes (mixed or beta) and if the iron is low (it's an oxidant so more is not better--though obviously you need enough).

2. Selenium
In this case, I only take extra selenium if I don't have any Brazil nuts on hand. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, so it protects against heart/artery disease and cancer. More important to me is that it's necessary for thyroid balance. It's essential for the conversion of T4 to T3 (synthroid to the effective form, in other words), and I really do think it makes me feel better. Because I have hypothyroid, I figure the RDA is too far below the recommendation of 200 mcg. And it's hard to get from diet unless you live where the soil is rich in selenium and you grow your own veggies (or eat two Brazil nuts a day).

3. Calcium Citrate
I actually don't take that much calcium. DietPower has shown me that I get a lot from my diet and you can get too much. So, I take a pill with 500 mg a day and check with DietPower at the end of the day to see how I've done. Calcium is now added to lots of foods, so Prevention etc. are warning about tracking the amount. Since this is for insurance, I do take citrate, which is absorbed better.

4. Magnesium
I try to take 600 mg of magnesium in addition to the multi. A guideline is that it should be half the level of calcium for calcium to work well. I take it because of what I've read about bone health. But even more, I clearly have deficiency symptoms, and estrogen creates deficiencies because the liver uses magnesium to process the estrogen. It's hard to get enough from an American diet since it's mostly in beans. This is a case where I clearly feel a difference. I start to get aches and pains without it. It clearly improves my mood (I suffer from severe clinical depression). Having gone on and off and on using it, I know it makes a difference.

5. An extra B complex
I take one where all the B's are 100% of RDA, so that each has the proper balance in relation to the others. And I take more than my multi again because estrogen creates deficiencies in folic acid and B6—and again I have so many symptoms of problems with these. Also, the puzzle over taking estrogen and whether it helps heart health involves homocysteine levels. And they lower homocysteine levels. So my personal theory is that the problem with HRT and heart health rests in part with the deficiency. Since heart problems are the health issue in my family, I take extra B's at night (multi in the morning). Also, they improve depression. And they are toxic only at extremely high levels or when out of balance for extended periods of time.

6. Evening primrose oil
If you're missing a particular enzyme, there's no real other way around it except EPO. And I'm clearly missing it. When I don't take EPO, I lose hair and I get eczema. If I take EPO, I don't. It's also good for a lot of other things, like aches and pains and mood.

7. Natural vitamin E
400 IU is recommended. It's needed to make the EPO work well, but it also affects a lot of other things that ail me and is a powerful antioxidant.

8. Fish oil
I take some fish oil if I haven't had salmon or tuna that day. Again, I started because it makes the EPO work well, but it's good for depression and hearts, etc. Flax seed is no good because it also requires that missing enzyme, so, since I know the EPO works for me, I know that flax seed won't help me (besides it's way too laxative for me).

9. Milk thistle
Between being obese and taking oral estrogen, I have fatty liver intrusions. I read in the medical journals themselves what could be done to prevent liver function damage, and even losing weight might not help. In fact, rapid weight loss makes it worse. There have actually been quite a few small studies on the active ingredient in milk thistle and the liver indicating that it prevents further damage.

It seems like a lot, which is why I stop taking it now and then, but each piece fits a very particular health issue that I have. If I didn't have particular health issues, I'd probably only take the multi and calcium/mag.”

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“I started taking vitamins about a week and a half ago. Since starting them, I have felt better. I am sleeping better, and don't have as many emotional ups and downs. I am taking a B complex that I notice is much higher than 100% in most of the nutrients. I read the pull down menu on vitamin/supplement recommendations, and since I was feeling so bad at that time, I went for the high end of the recommendations on most of the vitamins. I am also taking a good multi vitamin in addition.”

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“I am three months post op TVH and on Premarin 1.25. Sometimes I am so tired I can't get out of my own way. I did start taking LOTS of vitamins. I take a multivitamin, fish oil, folic acid, calcium with vitamin D, vitamin E, and cranberry supplement every day. Each week gets a bit better, and I seem to last a bit longer during the day.”

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“I started taking Women’s One-A-Day almost four weeks ago. The doctor recommended just a multivitamin with iron in general, but I chose the one for women. Who needs to take a generic one if it’s not meant for aman or woman in particular? Before I started taking them, I had no energy, felt tired all the time, and was basically a "homebody." Since I started taking them, I find that I do have more energy, the pillow police aren’t after me all the time like they were after my first surgery, and I have found that my recovery from the hysterectomy has been great. I am able to be more active, even though I do take short rest breaks. I can walk more without getting tired easily.”

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“Well, for years my DH and I have been taking:

A natural multi-vitamin; A&D (every other day); calcium/magnesium complex; hawthorne berries (did wonders to bring down our blood pressure); lecithin; Vitamin E/selenium; devil's claw (DH only); Vitamin C; B-50 complex (every other day), beta carotene, and during the winter, cod liver oil.

I'd been taking vitamins for years before DH started. He used to laugh at me, but then he started taking them. Then he stopped. He noticed he didn't feel as good, so he started again and now won't be without them. We very rarely succumb to the colds and flus circulating amongst our coworkers, and this past year neither of us has been sick or even had a cold.

Our food is so genetically-manipulated, chemically-fertilized, picked when not even ripe (and once picked start losing nutrients immediately) that I believe any of us who don't have the benefits of our own gardens and orchards suffer from malnutrition.”

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“I was told to take a multivitamin after my op as I had complications. I had never thought about taking any, but the midwife said it would help with the healing. So I picked one for women (a 90-day one). I decided to see what would happen when I finished them, and I may have to go back to them. My hot flashes were not so bad when I was on them; it may had been the soy in the pill.”

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“I take a multivitamin, DHEA 25, Evening Primrose oil, 1000 IU's vitamin E, and Black Cohosh.”

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“I take a multi, calcium, magnesium, black cohosh, vitamin E, anti-oxidants and extra Bs. I have an allergy to milk, clinical depression, and migraines. Taking calcium with magnesium at a 2:1 ratio has really helped my migraines. Since taking vitamins, my cholesterol is 144, and I have a ton of energy.”

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“I take: a multi, extra E to make 400 mg a day, calcium (1500 mg throughout the day in 500mg doses and through milk or yogurt to reach 1900 mg a day), Flax Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, and a baby aspirin. I also take glucosamine for my achy joints.”

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“I take:
  • Multi-vitamin
  • COQ10
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Black Kohosh
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Primrose Oil
  • glucosomine

and I take an 81 mg aspirin and my .625 Premarin daily.

Yes I know it seems like a lot but I feel good so am leaving well enough alone!!”

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“I started taking COQ10 years ago when I was having so much trouble with TMJ. Our local newspaper carries a column written by a doctor where he would post letters people had written him and then he would answer. Someone had written in that his wife had terrible problems with TMJ and TN (temperomandibular joint disorder and trigeminal neuralgia) and that COQ10 had helped her. I started on it then, and it did seem to help; I have been on it ever since. Since then, I have read many times that it is supposed to be good for heart health. As far as helping with high blood pressure, I don't know if it will have any effect on that, but I don't think it can hurt you in any way. You might want to check with your doc before starting on it.”

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“I take a daily multi-vitamin and Viactiv. I need the extra calcium (so my gyn has told me). I can't drink milk without it resulting in kidney stones, so I have to get my calcium any other way I can.”

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“I take a multi: One Source Women’s. I add iron tablets (yuck) and cranberry tablets to help prevent UTI’s. I also eat healthy and exercise (well, I dance). It all works for me.”

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“I take One a Day for Women, calcium with vitamin D supplement as I can't tolerate milk/much dairy products, vitamin E 400 units, and last month started vitamin B 100 complex as it seems to be the ‘vitamin of choice’ at the hospital where I work. I also have been taking an enteric-coated baby aspirin but have stopped since my surgery is scheduled soon; but I will start again after. I also take what I consider to be the most important, a recommended daily amount of soy—not pills, but a powder form that I mix with water or whatever I wish. I feel that it really helps with my menopause symptoms.”

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This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

07-17-2003 - 01:29 PM


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