My nutrition “helpers” when needed

Due to balancing copper and zinc in my diet, my body began rejecting my supplement regimen because it was now too much. I had to make drastic changes to my regimen in order to prevent the symptoms that the excess supplementation was causing, like fatigue and severe acne. I believe I have finally settled on a good regimen and am hoping to remain settled on it.

One thing I never expected when I began balancing copper and zinc in my diet is that my body would eventually start rejecting my supplements. I’d taken a multivitamin all my life as far as I can remember, and I had added additional supplements like calcium and magnesium, as well as an omega supplement, within the last several years. I had leaned on these supplements to help me feel my best. I never could understand why I needed them and why I needed more than the average person would need. Just last year, I had doubled what I’d been taking in order to get enough iron and its balancing nutrients. It seemed like I was set for life and could not do without them. In fact, when I tried switching to Centrum Adults to see if it would be better for iron absorption, because I was still dealing with iron deficiency symptoms, I was afraid because several of the nutrients were included at really low percentages, nutrients like vitamin K and copper. When I began getting severe cystic acne on my face earlier this year, I actually cut out my thyroid medication first and continued on my supplement regimen. I was actually less worried about stopping my medication than my supplements. However, when symptoms persisted, I unwillingly cut them as well.

At first, I cut my regimen down to one cod liver oil capsule, one omega capsule, and one probiotic capsule a day. After about a week, I had to cut the cod liver oil capsule because it began to cause similar symptoms. I figured it was from the vitamin A. I was worried about cutting out the vitamin D, but at the time I thought I could get enough from fish, fortified foods, and sunlight. However, when I was hit with some pretty major fatigue and noticed that bumping up my vitamin D helped, I realized I needed to find another way to make sure I was getting enough. I did plenty of research on vitamin D and supplementation. Fortified foods didn’t seem like a good option because they also contained vitamins and minerals that could be easily obtained from other foods. Vitamin D would still be dreadfully out-of-balance with these other nutrients because so few other foods contain it. Sunlight seemed at best an unreliable way to get enough vitamin D. A lot of factors come into play, like your location and the time of year, as well as the time of day. Other factors like pollution can prevent enough UVB rays from reaching your skin. I even saw a few sites where people were suggesting not bathing or washing areas exposed to sunlight for at least two days after exposure in order to increase absorption. That idea seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. I decided in the end to take a vitamin D supplement, 400 IU a day, and balance the rest of my diet around the supplement. I had noticed issues getting enough vitamin A with the supplement in the beginning, so I made a conscious effort to include enough foods high in vitamin A in my meals throughout each day. Since I already regularly consumed these foods, just not in amounts to balance out a vitamin D supplement, it wasn’t very hard to incorporate these foods in the needed amounts. I also kept my consumption of D-fortified foods to a minimum. I needed my diet to balance the supplement, and D-fortified foods would just make it more difficult by adding more vitamin D when I didn’t need it. Milk and nutrition shakes are about the only D-fortified products I consume now, and I only consume them occasionally. I consume eggs and fish, which contain vitamin D naturally, but I never consumed them in amounts to keep me from getting enough of other vitamins.

A short time after beginning the vitamin D supplement and balancing out my vitamin A intake with it, I began to notice other unusual symptoms. While I didn’t feel sick or anything like that, not even that fatigued, my body felt like it was heavy. It was a strange feeling, not something I was used to experiencing. It was not like the heaviness I would sometimes feel during an allergic reaction. One night, I woke up fatigued and hungry, as if I were deficient in something. I decided to drink a nutrition shake I had sitting in the refrigerator. I drank it and went back to bed. I could feel myself getting better and the heaviness feeling disappearing. I was amazed. Whenever I felt unwell after that, I would just drink a shake. Curious as to how the shake could be helping me so tremendously, I decided to check out the percentages of the vitamins and minerals included. It didn’t seem like it was a vitamin A or vitamin D issue since these were balanced in the nutrition shake. Two that stood out were vitamin C and vitamin E, which were both included at 100% of the RDA. I figured there was no way I could be low in vitamin C. I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. Vitamin E was the one that ended up arousing my curiosity. Over time, I tried incorporating more foods high in vitamin E into my diet and could tell a difference. However, I was frustrated because some of the best sources, wheat germ oil and sunflower seeds, were basically off-limits to me. Wheat germ oil was out due to my allergy, and sunflower seeds are very high in copper. I decided to do the best I could with peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds that I could incorporate and balance more easily with zinc when needed. I added hemp seeds and pine nuts to my diet, which both have a good balance of copper to zinc. I started using sunflower oil and sesame oil and found they were great to use for dressing salads. I found that the Bai Cocofusion drinks had some vitamin E and used them as a low-calorie alternative to get more vitamin E when needed. I had stopped using vegetable-oil based spreads when I realized that my Smart Balance was fortified with vitamin D. Earth Balance does not fortify its spreads, and I was able to find one that I could use. I’ll use it instead of butter when I feel I need to increase my vitamin E.

I’ve not had any trouble with possible new deficiencies since fixing my issues with vitamin E. I believe that my supplement regimen, which consists of a complete omega capsule, a 400 IU vitamin D supplement, and two probiotic capsules a day will continue to work as long as my diet provides enough of the other vitamins and minerals in a good balance. With this in mind, I’ve gone ahead and updated my original post on my supplement regimen, Vitamins and Supplements I Use.


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2 Thoughts on “Adapting to a New Supplement Regimen

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Sorry to hear you were having troubles again and are continuing to have to make changes. But I am glad to hear you have it figured out and are feeling better now.

    Update on us: Tim had his gallbladder removed last summer due to pancreatitis and gall stones. He was in the hospital for 5 days and was pretty sick. I may have already told you about this….. I think he finally realized that the achy muscles and joints are probably coming from the Gluten and he is making a real effort to cut that out of his diet and can definitely see the results from doing that. His primary care Dr. hounded him and he was feeling so bad, that he decided to give it a REAL try this time. I think he can tell a real difference and I hope to keep him doing what he needs to continue to feel better!!

    I hope you continue to feel better also!

    • retrogirl77 on April 29, 2017 at 1:41 am said:

      Thanks! I hope Tim continues to get better and that the gluten-free diet continues to help him. Hope all of you are doing okay!

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