12.04.2008

Yay for Vitamins

My good friend Sara takes roughly 400 pills a day. Ok, I'm exaggerating. Sorta. Most of the pills she takes are over-the-counter (OTC) supplements for preventative measures; only a few are prescription medications. Being familiar with her routine, combined with my genetic health history and the realization that next month I officially move into the murky mid-30s, I decided to start taking vitamins.

If you haven't set foot in a vitamin aisle lately, be prepared. The selection, even at a store like WalMart, can be overwhelming. I had done some on-line research and decided upon a daily multi-vitamin designed especially for women, and because of my orthopedic history, a calcium supplement. Fortunately, being raised by a nurse and having an unnatural interest in medical things (unnatural for a non-health care provider), I know about reading labels and the common differences between brand name and generic drugs. After blocking traffic at WalMart (not really, but it seems everyone else does so why not me?) I chose the Equate brand daily multi-vitamin for women and the least expensive calcium/vitamin D supplement.

Now, every morning I take a complete daily multi-vitamin, and a half dose of the calcium supplement. (The multi-vitamin already contains 45% of my recommended daily intake [RDI] of calcium and 100% of the vitamin D; adding only a half dose of the calcium supplement brings me to 105% of my RDI of calcium.)

After about a week of doing this "new" regimen, I already notice a difference. First of all, the vitamins should be taken with food. This forces me to eat in the morning, something I am not good at doing but know I should. Secondly, I have increased energy. Thirdly, I have noticed my common depression symptoms are significantly less. (This is most likely due to the fact that I am now taking 200% of my RDI of vitamin D, which has been linked to helping depression.) Fourth, and I don't know if this is connected, but my blood pressure is down to almost normal levels, 128/82. It hasn't been this low in probably 10 years, and being underemployed and worried about money certainly doesn't have me in a less-stressed position than any of my previous situations.

I know that vitamins are better used by the body when consumed in natural ways, meaning, through our food. Unfortunately, few of us actually get 100% of what we need through our food. A multi-vitamin is a fairly inexpensive way to ensure I get what my body needs and I feel better. Now... the dreaded exercise...