Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vitamin Mystery

Every day I take a prenatal vitamin.  I am not pregnant, but my general doctor suggested to keep taking them for awhile.  I saw him for general exhaustion as well as some other physical and mental complaints almost a year ago and he did extensive blood testing.  Everything was in the "normal range," so he concluded that I was just an exhausted mom.

Yeah, he's right in many ways.  I have been pregnant and/or nursing for the last 10 years (am still nursing).  My body is drained.  I think an obvious help to this situation would be for me to stop nursing, right?!  My son has oral aversion, and while he's making progress, letting him continue to nurse feels like the right thing to do for his nutrition and to keep the progress comfortable and slow for him.

So, back to the vitamins.  I take one every morning and I swear I feel different for several hours after taking it.  And about 4 or 5 hours after taking it I feel yucky again.  I'm not sure if just tiredness is the right description.  I don't know how to describe it.

Yes.  The thought has crossed my mind that this is the "placebo affect" and all in my head.  But on the chance it is not, I'm really curious what it is my body needs more of that it is getting a little of in that prenatal vitamin.  Figuring that out will be no easy task because they are chalk full of LOTS of little vitamins and minerals.  How in the world would I know?  I do know it wouldn't be safe to just take more of the prenatal vitamin, because I may get too much of something else.

As a side note, I also drink a green smoothie almost every day, and while they have some great benefits, I don't notice the same effect as I do after the prenatal vitamin.

I guess this may be a question for the doctor (who wasn't super helpful to begin with), but I thought I'd also take a chance on asking my internet peeps if any of you have advice or insight you could share with me on the subject.

Thanks in advance!



  1. My first thought was Iron. A lack of iron is often associated with a lack of energy. But your body can only absorb so much over a certain time period. So even though a vitamin may have 100% DV of iron you can't really absorb more than 30% of your DV from it during the time period that it is in your system.

    I don't know what is in a green smoothie, but probably iron, right? Is there citrus in the green smoothie to help with the absorption of the iron?

    That is just my very unexpert thought. Good luck.

  2. I graduated in nutrition and also then during my personal training days...I was taught and then advised my clients that we should take our multi vitamins at least twice a day. (I also took 2 on days I was lacking energy) When we take the first one, our body absorbs only the amount that it needs at that time and then sluffs off the remaining nutrients. So then later our body becomes depleted. So we then need another "dose". There are some multis out there that have multiple casings in the pill that help stagger the release of nutrients but not all are made like that. Does that make sense?
    I also agree that checking to see if your anemic might help. Lack of iron causes a lot of fatigue. Good luck and hope you start feeling better!

  3. I agree with the comment about iron. I think a lot of Mom's need iron, but I'm guessing your doc tested that already. On advice from my nutritionist, I take Vitamin D and a B complex every day. Many people are deficient on Vitamin D and it makes a huge difference with energy levels. The B complex helps with digestion, immunity, etc. There are a lot of studies that say that most vitamin supplements just give you "expensive pee" because so little of the vitamins are actually absorbed, and that eating healthy (like your green smoothie) is much more beneficial. I drink a green (or rainbow) smoothie every day too. I do not take a multi vitamin or anything besides the D and B in terms of vitamins, but I do take a probiotic also for digestion. Good luck!

  4. Get checked for Celiac Disease. There is a blood test available. Don't take yourself off gluten first or it will show negative whether that's true or not.

  5. Have you had your thyroid checked? If not, I think you should. A lot of women have thyroid problems without knowing it. The doctor needs to test the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) because your thyroid numbers may look normal, but if the TSH is elevated it means that your thyroid isn't functioning properly and is throwing a lot of energy at it trying to get it to work.

    I've had hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, for 11 years and it makes me tired, anxious, depressed, gives me dry skin, and various other problems if I'm not in balance with proper medication.

  6. Well, let me just say, just reading your blog makes me tired, so let me know what you find out!

  7. Vitamins have so many things in them that it gets confusing when trying to figure out what you lack and need. I recommend blood tests to tell you for sure. For example, iron. There is also a super cool test that my doctor is always telling me I should have done that shows all vitamins in your system, metals and even your kreb cycle... I can find out the name if you are interested. It's really extensive.

    Vitamin D is another common one for Americans to be low in...

    And, then there is the thyroid and iodine...

    Be sure you are taking key vitamins/ minerals together as well. For instance iron should be taken with Vitamin C or it will not absorb.

    Lastly, keep in mind you can get too much of one thing. I no longer do prenatal vitamins because the folic acid was too much and having too much in my system caused my heart to pound.

    Again, I always get things confirmed with blood work. Afterall, you don't want to blindly double up on a multi-vitamin if you are already high in one area but low in just one or two... Some vitamins are water soluble and you can't overdo it, but others are able to be over done. This is why I take individual vitamins rather than a multi-vitamin.

    I'm no expert at all... just some little things I've learned.

  8. My prenatals are sometimes 2 or 3 a day, I've found that easier too. Although, when pregnant, I have to take the gummy ones or I can't keep them down:)


Thanks for your comments~!