Right, look – who takes their vitamins? I feel like I ought to, but should I bother?
Come on, someone must know something. I don’t want to Google it. I feel like reading anything about vitamins is a bit like starting to investigate what one ought to really think about climate change or Brexit. There will be passionate, hysterical advocates on both sides of the debate and when you’ve finished your research your opinion will still boil down to your own personal prejudices.
I’m only really talking about taking a multi-vitamin because I had my hormones tested once and the lady said I had the lowest vitamin D levels she’d ever seen in someone who was actually still alive. But isn’t there some thing where it’s pointless to take vitamin D unless you’re ALSO taking a triple dose of Zinc to process it?
Yes obviously if you’ve got a good diet you shouldn’t need to take vitamins but my diet is AMAZING seriously I am basically made of vegetables with some yoghurt thrown in and I also sit in the sunshine and, yet, the vitamin D thing. I’m also worried about my gums, despite an excellent and careful dental regime and biannual visits to the hygienist and someone told me that funny gums are a B Vitamin deficiency??
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Laura Lodge says
I got all my levels tested with a home testing kit – it did cholesterol etc too. Allayed some fears but what I was deficient in (b12 plus i’m another vitamin d deficient one – must be my red hair genes) did explain why i’d been feeling so zapped despite tonnes of sleep. Have been taking targeted vitamins since and feeling better – it might be a placebo but at least i’m feeling good!
what home testing kit did you use?!?! xx
There’s a company called Thriva that test those things & I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while. This post has given me renewed motivation!
Laura Lodge says
Thriva. The only annoying/messy bit was collecting the blood sample (simple but I would pay to see someone manage to get the blood into the vial without making a mess 🙈) it’s nothing really – no visible needles. I got my results two days after posting it back with targeted suggestions according to my results.
Rosemary White says
Your Vitamin D levels will go up if you take the tablets. Lacking Vitamin D is very bad for your bones and can make you tired and achy. Here in Australia we have very low Vitamin D so I’m afraid sunshine is not the answer unless you are pretty exposed….
Have a look at victoriahealth.com. They have loads of good brands – vitamins and face stuff and founded by a pharmacist. Championed by Trinny. Apparently with vitamins it’s all about a decent brand. Apparently …
I am such a sucker for vitamins! The only supplement which I can feel makes a difference to me is Spatone every morning (the apple flavour one). I’m always anaemic so this definitely helps me. I do also think that Omega 3 Oil capsules are worth it – they’re meant to help with practically everything, and I started taking during pregnancy as they’re suppose to help with depression? Who knows.
I also take: D3 spray, B12 spray, K2 (I saw a youtube video which made it sound totally necessary to avoid looking like a crone?! Japanese people apparently eat a lot of K2), Biotin (to help with post-baby hair loss), and a bio-cultures capsule. Haha god that’s a slightly embarrassing list.
After years of being a serial crap-vitamin-taker, I am now very careful about it because I really notice the effects if forget. I take Spatone sachets dissolved in orange juice because it helps my twitchy restless legs, Vit D3 and folate because my levels were super low, and a probiotic which has helped my digestion no end and stopped me having cystitis every 2wks.
Can I ask which probiotic?
I had been taking Vitamin D, with my usual scepticism. But then I had my ‘Turning 40’ tests and they said I had ‘excellent’ levels of vitamin D. So I guess it sticks in there somehow without vast amounts of zinc.
hello, I don’t have an opinion on vitamins in general. However, I swear by zinc for good skin. It’s necessary for good wound healing so if you have a rubbish diet/ drinking/ non sleeping phase (say summer holidays?!) and get spots that don’t heal quickly, a week of zinc tabs sorts it out.
Also magnesium for aching legs. It’s a must have for me. The expensive one from Natural Dispensary that you mix with water.
Omfg I’ve been thinking a lot about this and not doing anything either. Because my hair seems to be falling out way faster than usual (like post childbirth levels) and I’m half thinking a vitamin supplement might help…? But have not acted. I also have a healthy diet and all that.
Get your thyroid checked, especially if you feel cold a lot of the time. This was what happened to me when mine packed up..
OK, after YEARS of looking at this stuff, I’ve decided there is little evidence of the benefit for almost all vitamin supplements for most people most of the time. Most recently there was a compelling study saying fish oils are a waste of money for example. HOWEVER:
-Most people in northern Europe are deficient in Vit D. And I’ve had bowel cancer and there’s evidence that Vit D is protective, so I take that. But it must be Vitamin D3.
-I take it in a supplement which includes curcumin and green tea, both also with evidence of anti-cancer properties, which my gastronenterologist recommended. He got fed up with patients asking him how they could reduce their chances of recurrence so he looked at lots of studies and came up with that combo. Why wouldn’t I take his advice?
Can I ask you who the supplement is made by? I’ve been taking super high dose of vit D alone but am I tersetedin yours if the consultant recommended it. Cheers
They’re called Profbiotics (my (NHS) doctor is a professor and he advised them – geddit?) and they are aimed at different body parts, eg I take the bowel one but there’s a lung one and a breast one. Obviously aimed at folk who’ve had those cancers.
I take extra iron. If I don’t I get so pale you could feed me into a typewriter and so weak I’d probably let you. I do feel that maybe I could do with a B something to go with it, definitely. I sometimes feel a particularly aggressive period might finish me off.
If you have very low Vitamin D levels then you need massive pills which will be prescribed by a doctor; you would normally feel very unwell if you do have low vitD.
Use interdental toothbrushes for gums because that will do far more than vitamins (if you’re following a good diet, which you are).
Hmm perhaps you are being too sun safe? Vit D from the sun can’t get through sunscreen! Protect them bones. xx
Emma Kennedy says
Hi Esther, firstly I would suggest to get your vitamin D levels tested. Your GP should do this but sometimes they just suggest supplementation which is not really the answer. You can do it yourself at home for £28 apply at http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk/ and they will send you a test kit, its a pin prick blood test you send it back and then they tell you your exact levels and if you need supplementation. If you do opt for a vit D supp then a high quality one is essential, not your own brand supps as they often just get excreted out! (better you is a good brand)
Sometimes its had to get ALL your vitamins from food if you ned a therapeutic dose to resolve a deficiency. Vitamin D is found in some food like eggs but the main source our body can convert best is from the sun – and although we had a good summer here in the UK its not all year round!
Zinc is great to ward off those colds and flu – a lot of people reach for vit c but zinc is better.
Mouth Ulcers can be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency – if you are feeling lethargic, irritable and tired then get this tested at your GP!
Hope this helps 🙂
I have those Berocca fizzy drink tablet things every morning which have all the vitamins and are also meant to give you iron, pep and zest for life. I won’t lie, I started taking them because I read that lots of extra vitamin C was good for ageing skin, and I haven’t developed much extra zest for life but then again, despite the fact I’ve never eaten meat (hippie parents + ongoing inertia rather than principles per se) when I gave blood on Tuesday my test drop went zhooooshing all healthily to the bottom of their iron-testing tube…so maybe I’m deriving *some* benefit. Although I do have a veg-heavy diet too, loving spinach and the like as I do.
I never remembered to take vit tablets, I have tried them on and off over the years but a plink-plink-fizz seems easier to get into a routine of. Although I don’t think Berocca has vitamin D, but there’s bound to be one that does.
Leah Reynolds says
My doc said the same to me about vitamin D, apparently some people just can’t absorb it naturally and when your levels are as low as ours are (I’m assuming they must be similar) it can have some nasty effects like joint pain etc, they’ve put me on a vitamin D prescription that I have to take once a day for life. I was always like you I never cared much about vitamins but if the Dr doesn’t think it’s a load of old rubbish I guess I’ll listen to him for once?
Esther I take ALL the vitamins, but based on advice from nutritionist sorts, the ones I’ve gathered people should definitely take are: – probiotics, zinc, omegas, Vit D (UK Sept – April as the sun absolutely can’t give us the Vit D we need here in the UK), and magnesium (we burn it off when stressed/tired/living and basically nobody has enough) xx
I thought probiotics were supposed to be a bit pointless, as broken down by stomach acid before they get to your gut.
I take them because I eat a totally crap diet. And breastfeeding only now it turns out they don’t even know if any vitamin D gets into the baby. Meh.
Is that true about the gums and vitamin b deficiency thing?? I also worry about state of my gums – now need to find out what things contain vit B!
I religiously take the Wellness woman vitamins – which although make me cringe at the branding, I think have really helped make a difference through the post-baby exhaustion years.
I was convinced that I must have terrible iron and vit D levels a while ago as was feeling a bit depressed – only to then feel worse when blood test results came back saying everything was absolutely fine!
(I do always try and sit in sun too)
It is true but I think by the time your b12 gets to that point you’d be so knackered and dizzy you’d have gone to the doctor anyway! Hygienist is the way to sort gums out 🙁
Hi Esther – I’m not sure if they do anything but I alternate daily with a 1000mg vitamin C soluble tablet (looks like a berocca) and a Centrum Women multi-vitamin. Just as a belt and braces approach on top of a fairly good diet (I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and I have a couple of glasses of wine most evenings) Seems to work as I’m rarely (fingers crossed now I’m saying this!) ill.
Hi Esther, you are so good and vigilant with your dental visits, I’m sorry you still have concerns about your gums though. There is a link between low vitamin D and periodontal disease so if your levels are indeed still very low it would be worth having your GP prescribe a supplement. Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) is strongly associated with periodontal disease, as is vitamin B deficiency – also associated with recurrent oral ulcers
Lisa Eveleigh says
Hi Esther, it’s all so confusing isn’t it? I used to take the Well Woman multi-vitamin until I baulked at the bloody price. So I did read up a bit and my regime (get me…) now consists of:
One Calcium Magnesium and Zinc tablet (for bone and muscle function)
One B Complex plus Vitamin C (to ward off colds and generally for the immune system)
One Vit D tablet (my GP says it is the only thing she takes and that we all should)
One Vitamin A capsule (for skin and anti-aging – and should work with the Zinc in the first one)
Four is manageable and I generally get them down with a fizzy berocca. If I forget for a couple of days I do tend to feel a bit sluggish.
Ok someone once told me ALL you need is a probiotic and the rest will sort itself out. But if anybody has a miracle cure pleeese tell me!
Your insta story last night about Holly Willoughby had me in bits. Could we find out what vitamins she takes?!
all of them? 3 x per day?
I periodically have low b12 so only take supplements when that happens but on the gum issue, I have similar problems and my hygienist recently mentioned that your wisdom teeth move around a bit and can irritate the gums when they do so. So maybe not something super sinister?
Elisabeth Straw says
I think the vitamin D issue is the same for all redheads. Mine is virtually non existant. The GP gave me some very high dose Vitamin D tablets and then told me that they would probably make no difference. They didn’t. I eat loads of vegetables and I try to get out in the sun when I can. But I had a friend who is very fair and he was just diagnosed with skin cancer from being exposed to the sun. So really there is bob all you can really do about it.
Am I the only one that takes a prenatal vitamin every day, even when not pregnant?!
I currently have the Pregnacare Max one with fish oil- I do feel less tired and think my skin/hair is better when I take it. I also read that Gwyneth Paltrow always takes a prenatal and that’s probably why I started doing it (cringe)
It used to be my job to handle copies of medical studies and what makes me bonkers is that as soon as you can show that a vitamin actually does something it usually does something else – calcium citrate does help with my PMD, but also there is some research that it might be hard on your heart when in supplement form and no one knows why… (Vitamin E also, something along the lines of it is a mild anticoagulant which can be good for your heart up to a point but then increases your stroke risk by a small bit.)
Once you read enough research firsthand you realize that no one knows anything and it’s all a bit terrifying. For instance people on the paleo diet are convinced that the phytates in rice bran are terrible for you bc they block iron absorbtion in the gut… meanwhile researchers think that by blocking iron absorbtion in the gut those phytates are probably preventing a lot of bowel cancer in parts of the world that eat brown rice… Who knows.
But in my own life I am like a magpie with research that shows that such and such a vitamin is good for such and such a condition. I take magnesium for migraines, fish oil because of one finding from the nurse’s health study about ALS (I’m from an ALS family), D3 because my doctor did tell me to years ago and I’m in the US where everything is sold in bottles of 2,000 capsules so I haven’t gotten through it and it won’t expire for another six months. Also to be honest I take random vitamins from the cupboard that no one remembers buying because why not. I prefer to think that by only remembering them twice a week or so I’m warding off any bad effects…
Liri I am both pleased and scared that even you, and it is your job, find the vitamin maze difficult to negotiate.
I take Wild Nutrition all round supplement and added B vitamins. These vitamins are not synthetic.
Emily J says
Vitamin D because I’m pale and European, and one of those all in one pregnancy jobs (I am pregnant, not weird). Once I’ve had the baby, I’ll eat my encapsulated placenta (I KNOW, I know it’s probably a placebo but I did it last time and didn’t get PND so I will do it again this time).
I take calcium, C and B12, and probiotic supplements. Now before you think I’m a health nut let me say they are all Gummy vitamins! Yep I eat a handful on Candy every morning! Or you know, when I remember… I like the Nature Made and OLLY brands. They make a kids gummy multi-vitamin too.
Caroline Jarrett says
Many years ago, I was listening to one of those Radio 4 programmes about vitamins where they had “batty person advocating all sorts of stuff (BP)” and “debunking expert saying that all you need is a balanced diet (DE)”
At the end of the programme the interviewer asked them both what they take personally. Obviously BP reeled of a long list of stuff.
Much to my surprise, DE then said “I take an A to Z tablet every day. It won’t do you any harm and it might do you a lot of good”.
That convinced me and I’ve taken a standard Boots A to Z every day since then. The main thing I’ve noticed is that my nails are very strong, previously fragile.
For some reason I’m very sceptical about vitamins and end up thinking you wee most things out. Someone sent me this but I never got around to going through it properly to work out what to take!
I had horrible verrucas and a wart on my hand for years. About a year ago I started taking a daily multi vitamin and after a few months they disappeared overnight and have never reappeared. Previously I’d used every potion available and tried having them burnt off but they came back – usually worse.
I’m convinced it was the vitamin D as I know my levels were low. I’m very fair skinned and don’t go in the sun too much now and wear an ‘overcoat’ when I do ( aka Factor 50)
There is some good advice here! I have an autoimmune thyroid thing and it goes hand in hand with poor absorption of vits so I get tested and take Vit D and Iron (I have ferritin deficiency not anaemia – worth checking that if you have hair loss btw). I’d say getting tested and supplementing in a targeted way is better than a multivit. There’s reputable companies you can find online who do it.
Ps pale skinned people actually synthesise vitamin D better, that’s one of the reasons we are paler the further north we go!!
in theory fair people are better at making vitamin D, (which I had always assumed) but it’s not always the case… like with me 🙁
Alex Bentley says
Spray vitamins are the way forward, I’ve been using them for years (after also being told I have very low Vit D levels). The doctor couldn’t believe how quickly the levels went up after I started using the BetterYou Green bottle Vitamin D sprays. I also use their B12 which is amazing. Can’t recommend it enough!
I have never taken supplements, having assumed like another commenter above that it just makes your wee expensive BUT took Folic Acid and a conception vitamin when trying to conceive and then a pregnancy multivitamin like a fucking horse pill PLUS extra Folic Acid at the recommendation of my GP. This second time around, only a year and a half later, my midwife says the advice has changed and I should also be taking extra Vitamin D, even though the multivitamin includes it. But I stopped taking it all as soon as I gave birth last time and now you’ve got me wondering…
Also I don’t know about the Vit D and Zinc thing but my GP told my lactose intolerant mother that she had to take Vit D with the Calcium tablets or else the Calcium wouldn’t ‘stick’.
(By the way I have no idea why my phone is capitalising all these vitamins. Maybe they really are that important???)
I work in a Wholefood shop so am exposed to all supplements and natural remedies, plus meetings with reps and nutritionists. I take a fantastic wholefood supplement called Liquid Gold by Nature’s Plus. You have one capful of the Liquid a day and it’s jam packed with everything you could possibly need: prebiotics, probiotics, spirulina, mushrooms, all the vitamins, coQ10, zinc, red food groups, green food groups, etc etc. I also take an extra probiotic and magnesium in the evening as most of us are deficient. You should take D2 with K2 as you need the K2 to help metabolise the D2. If I can’t sleep due to anxiety, I take two Ashwagandha tablets (I use Pukka) as they help easy your mind and let you sleep. Probiotics are prosthetic most important one to take as our immunity and general good health all stems from good gut microflora. Your gut is also connected to your brain, so good gut bacteria can help with mental balance.
Don’t take them. I have just watched Vitamania – a (too long) documentary. There is no ‘normal’ vit d level according to the high end specialists as it’s different depending on your dna and genes so low might be normal for you. Furthermore nasa is not sending any vitamin supplements when their astronaughts head to mars for 3 years. Just frozen food. Oh and the vit industry is completely unregulated and rather frightening.
Jess Helicopter says
Hello, I’ve taken a multi vit since I went veggie as a teen because my mum made me. BUT i still do now. Because i think it’s a super easy way to help your health and I am lazy and don’t ALWAYS want to do good eating and exercise. I will say that I hardly ever get ill. Like colds or virus’s. I never have gastro problems (I don’t even know how and if that’s related) but i do know that Noro is your nemesis ( I am tempting fate but I’ve never had it. Neither have my kids so far). I also take evening primrose oil since i’m very hormonal but terrified of the pill. I used to have bad periods as a teen and the doctor would prescribe them so i feel like there is at least some basis in non bullshit. But no joke, i haven’t taken them for months and in the last month or so (since re-taking) my periods are lighter and I am less psycho. Ok that’s my two penneth.
Do you take the evening primrose daily always Jess or just coming up to and during your period? I am also very hormonal and a pill-dodger. I feel I got extra hormones where I could have done with fortitude or some more ambition.
Jess Helicopter says
Yep everyday 1000mg. I defo rate it. Try it for 6 months and maybe keep a mood diary to see if it makes a difference?
mood diary. I like this. Monday : ANGRY Tuesday: SAD Wednesday: IRRIATATED etc.. that would be my mood diary anyway
Thank you, I will.