Another week is left of the Mercury Retrograde, and it seems like a good time to talk about supplements again. Since my husband retired, we've been on the go a whole lot more, and the traveling-light times have given me more insight into what's ESSENTIAL for me, and what seems a lot more optional.
When i used to drive to New Orleans and spend a month at a time away from home, i used to take the whole collection. There was no reason not to -- my Cross Country has a lot of space, even when traveling with the dog (and his big crate) and the canary (RIP to my little Pip, who lasted a long time for such a little guy). Going to Texas, too, i didn't try to take just the bare necessities, because i was usually gone a good two weeks and had plenty of room. But on our train trip at Christmas, the Low-Carb Cruise, and various long-weekend kinds of excursions, it seemed ridiculous to take the 20 bottles that sit on my bathroom counter while at home. Some things i REALLY missed while we were away, and some things i ran out of mid-trip and was surprised not to be able to easily replace.
Good-quality cod liver oil falls into that last category. As discussed some time ago, vitamin A is something i MUST supplement and CLO is a stellar choice which balances it with D, and gives the omega-3s a boost at the same time. Before the winter trip, i ordered capsules of what i THOUGHT was the perfect alternative to the liquid stuff that lives in my fridge at home, but it was NOT. Before i take another trip, on which it will be difficult to carry the liquid, i need to find something better -- but in the meantime, i luv me my Carlson's!
I ran out of my systemic enzymes on the ship, and we stayed longer in TX afterward than i expected, so i was without those till i could order more and have them delivered at home. While i was away, i strained a knee which refused to return to normal till i had been a week back on a good serrapeptase supplement. LESSON LEARNED the painful way -- and that certainly teaches one in a manner that's hard to forget.
I've played with reducing my iodine intake, because i'd heard that megadoses are necessary for replenishment of one's stores, but after that a maintenance dose is all that's needed. I don't believe that any more. Splitting the difference between the 50mg mega and the 12.5mg maintenance seems to be the answer for me. Iron, too -- there's so much ferrophobia in the paleo blogosphere it almost makes me angry! It's clearer than the water of Montauk Spring that when i supplement i'm fine, and when i don't i shed like a big dog! I've gone through the supplementing/not-supplementing cycle SEVERAL times, and it NEVER FAILS. Case closed. Bless his little heart, Dr. Jayson Calton* chatted with me on the cruise, and gave me a good tip about taking my iron in isolation -- he DID NOT freak out and caution me about the DA-A-A-ANGER of supplementing this stuff like the make-believe authorities online do. :-D
I'm less sure about things like copper, selenium, K2, zinc and magnesium. I take the first two because i understand that they're needed to balance iron and iodine, respectively. The last three i take because i want to make sure i get enough, and most people don't. Whether any of these are things i do or don't absorb well ... i don't really know! They are just-in-case supps. I believe i also need B12 in the sublingual methylcobalamine form i take, but haven't given it the same kind of testing i gave iron.
Having decent energy levels is SO CRITICAL for my well-being, anything like zinc and B12 that help the thyroid and hormone conversion/usage, i don't want to mess with! I think they're helping, so i don't want to play around with them and risk crashing. I HAVE played with some other things that fall in the maybe-helpful category, and ... well, they really seem to deserve their own paragraphs....
Months ago, i tried tyrosine and stopped again because it seemed that instead of making me energetic it seemed to just make me jittery. Reflection and retrial has given me food for thought -- tyrosine appears to be a good thing on those days when i HAVE to be doing physical "work." When we have a long list of places to go, people to see and things to do -- activities that tend to wear me out -- tyrosine helps me cope, and i tend to return home without the excessive fatigue i used to experience. So tyrosine apparently helps me utilize energy better, but it's not so good to use for mental, sitting-down work.
Carnitine, i was pretty certain, helped with energy but being another damned pill i frequently didn't take enough, i suspect. Well, when i ran out of the last caplets, i ordered a bottle of the high-potency LIQUID, and ... YES. It DOES appear to be better-absorbed and more effective. I've become an enthusiast of the liquid supplement by Now (citrus flavor), but i find it better to take in two half-doses instead of the recommended dose all at once. Wooo's training taught her that carnitine competes with thyroid hormone for receptors, and it's therefore not recommended for hypothyroids -- i suspect that there's more to the mechanism than appeared in her textbook; don't quote me as an authority, but my experience seems to imply that carnitine MIGHT just spare thyroid in its job of escorting fat into cells for burning as fuel.
My raw thyroid glandular supplements are essential [full stop]. No compromise possible. Ditto for the pregnenolone.
Betaine-HCl, like melatonin and my favorite antihistamine (benedryl), is something i keep on hand because they belong in the sometimes-badly-needed category. Licorice root, too, seems to be helpful in times of stress. Mucuna SEEMS to help with essential tremor. Just like echinacea, goldenseal, zinc lozenges have their moments, when infection makes a rare appearance.
I've got it down. For now. Till something ELSE changes. ;-)
* Ph.D., FAAIM, DCCN, CMS, CISSN, BCIH, ROHP, A.M.P -- this guy works with real-life human patients, and i feel confident that he actually HELPS PEOPLE....