Tag Archives: supplements

Which supplements should you not overdose on?

Many people take supplements due to the belief that the food that we eat is not nutritious enough, or we cannot get enough of it in our diet and therefore there is a definite need for supplementation. Some people truly believe that they can cut out certain foods because they are taking a supplement for it. So I decided to write a post in order to help people who are curious about what is good and what is bad.Dietary-Supplements

Please whatever you do, do not cut foods from your diet with the belief that you can replace the real thing, because you cannot! It is like saying that taking vitamin D can replace the sun, if that were true then we would seriously be rich. The supplements do help a lot, for example :

VITAMIN D is recommended particularly in the months where we have little sun, as it helps with the absorption of calcium (calcium should be taken with magnesium also for best effects) and it reduces the chances for women in particular of getting osteoporosis. However, even if there little sunshine go out and get at least 30 min of sunshine a day. If you apply suntan lotion etc, you are going to block out the UVB rays you need to make the vitamin D in your body.

Having said that, dairy processors producing pasteurized milk have been fortifying milk with vitamin D since 1933. Today, about 98 percent of the milk supply in the U.S. is fortified with approximately 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per quart. While dairies used to fortify their milk with vitamin D2, most have now switched over to the far superior D3.

Because of this fortification, many people believe that drinking milk is enough to support healthy vitamin D levels, but it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone.

most adults need at least 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to raise their serum levels to healthy levels.2

As for supplements, while safe sun exposure or safe tanning bed use are the best ways to optimize vitamin D, oral supplementation can be used. However, many are taking vitamin D2 (the type used in many prescription vitamin D supplements), unaware that this form is unlikely to give you the health benefits you’re seeking.

Vitamin D3 is approximately 87 percent more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and produces 2- to 3-fold greater storage of vitamin D than does D2.3

Regardless of which form you use, your body must also convert it into a more active form, and it is estimated that vitamin D3 is converted 500 percent faster than vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 also has a shorter shelf life, and its metabolites bind poorly with cellular receptor sites, further hampering its effectiveness. So if you decide to supplement with an oral form of vitamin D, make sure it’s D3, not D2.

SELENIUM is believed to reduce the chances of prostate cancer and help with conditions such as asthma, arthritis, dandruff and infertility. Some of these have not been proven to have been getting better with the supplementation.

Good natural food sources of selenium include:

While the body can to some extent regulate itself taking certain types of vitamins in excess can be dangerous. In the Journal of Nutrition  an article has been release showing that getting too much selenium elevated LDL cholesterol levels in test subjects by up to ten percent.Other studies have shown that high levels of selenium increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and open angle glaucoma.

Selenium Dangers: Selenium Toxicity

When there’s too much selenium in the body either from the diet or from taking supplements, a condition called selenosis can occur – a form of selenium toxicity. This condition can cause loss of hair and fingernails, nerve dysfunction, changes in personality, and digestive upset. If prolonged, the lungs and liver can be affected which can be fatal. Experts believe that selenium levels greater than 400 micrograms per day pose a risk for this condition. Surprisingly, some mushrooms, depending upon the soil they’re grown in, can have high enough levels of selenium to cause problems.

It is highly unlikely that you are missing selenium from your diet and I would avoid taking this type of supplementation.

VITAMIN C a pharmacist answered the question of whether you can overdose on vitamin C, below is the response.

it is generally not recommended to have more than 2g/day. vitamin C toxicity can result in diarrhea and stomach upset. also, vitamin C can become transient free radicals when they donate electrons, making them pro-oxidants (instead of anti-oxidants). While they are generally more stable and less damaging, too much can lead to more harm than good. high amounts of vitamin c can lead to the formation of kidney stones (vitamin c oxalate crystals)

further, vitamin c has not been shown to decrease symptoms associated with colds or to decrease duration. there is no good evidence of this, and one can conclude that it simply does not work. however, some studies have shown that vitamin c may be beneficial if given regularly BEFORE the onset of a cold (decrease duration by about 1/2 a day).

the fact that you have a cold already and you start doping yourself with vitamin c will simply not be beneficial at all. furthermore, the colds are caused by viruses and are self-limiting. they will go away on its own. save your money on something else…

the only proven thing to cure a cold is adequate hydration and good rest.

OMEGA FISH OIL is very good for you, it has been proven that reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. It also helps with the texture of your hair, nails, skin and your brain health. It is really good to take it when you are pregnant for the brain and nervous system development of the child. This is one supplement I would definitely recommend.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is not yet known whether taking large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids is safe or not, nor have their interactions with other drugs been established. There are indications that overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may increase total blood cholesterol and inhibit blood clotting. Overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding, and because of this, people who take blood-thinning medications or aspirin should not take extra omega-3 fatty acids, MayoClinic.com warns.

CALCIUM Millions of people take this supplement, some because of allergies and others to help keep their ageing bones in good condition. Calcium should not be taken without magnesium, as it reduces the magnesium in the system.

The symptoms of a single, acute overdose from accidentally or intentionally taking too many calcium supplements or calcium-containing antacids at one time include stomachache, constipation or diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting. An overdose can ultimately lead to mental confusion, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and coma.

High doses of calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, other nonfood forms of calcium such as antacids, and calcium-fortified foods consumed on a regular basis in addition to a high-calcium diet, can lead to hypercalcemia. If you are taking a multivitamin supplement that contains 100 percent or more of the daily requirement for vitamin D, do not take a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.Chronic high blood levels of calcium can result in kidney stone formation, kidney damage and failure, abnormal heart rhythms, calcification in areas of the body other than bone tissue, dementia and coma. Too much calcium can also interfere with iron absorption.Symptoms of mild hypercalcemia are almost nonexistent, while symptoms of more severe hypercalcemia are similar to those of an acute overdose. In addition, frequent urination and excessive thirst may signal hypercalcemia.A routine blood test indicating high levels of calcium in the blood may be the first indication of hypercalcemia. If you have mild hypercalcemia, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and kidney stone formation. If you have more severe hypercalcemia, your doctor may prescribe other treatments, depending on the cause.

Apart from taking supplements, you got to consider how you take them. If you take them in combination this may be rather dangerous or on the other hand not beneficial at all. For example taking calcium and iron together is a no no, because they cancel each other out.

Calcium Interference

Calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron from supplements or your diet. Although the mechanism by which calcium inhibits intestinal absorption of iron remains unclear, the threshold at which interference begins is approximately 300 mg of calcium. Most calcium supplements contain significantly more than this amount. If you are taking iron and calcium supplements, talk with your doctor about dosages, when to take each supplement and potential interactions with foods and medications. Taking your calcium supplement at bedtime and your iron supplement during the day may be a simple way to derive maximum benefit from both products.

Whatever you do decide to take, please make sure that you are not taking it in combination with medication or other supplements that you are not supposed to be taking. Ensure you never take more than the recommended daily allowance and always do your research. Natural foods are always better and advised.


Finding out I am pregnant

Love the bump

I have been worried all my life that I would not be able to get pregnant easily. My mother found it very difficult with me, it took her 1 year and a half. However, the opposite was true.

When you are young and you get to that stage in your life when you would like to think that starting a family is the next step, sometimes you question your body and it’s abilities. You have never put it to the test before, so it’s completely new.

Well one night on the 14th Feb, yes on Valentines, I decided that I didn’t feel like myself and needed to check what what was happening. That night my husband and I held a positive pregnancy test in our hands and we looked at each other with confusion. I kept asking him what the cross meant. We didn’t believe it at all, so when we went to South Africa we had organised an appointment with the gynaecologist and there little baby Dino was huddled in my little womb. Waving his little hand like the queen and chilling out. He looked like a little bean, but still a small version of a little person.

The first couple of months of my pregnancy were extremely difficult. I was really tired, I felt like I had been hit by a truck or  a bus maybe. Something huge in any case. I had to sleep everywhere, my blood pressure and sugar was low. I wasn’t hungrier or anything, just felt nauseous some days. They are very subtle symptoms that come about during this time. I was beginning to have a very strange rash on my face, very mild reddening. Somehow you know things are different in your body.

The tummy slowly started forming and very quickly I began to not be able to fit into my size 6 clothes anymore. Size 8 – 1o was fine for sometime. I decided to quickly move to wearing maternity clothes, so as to feel free and not obstruct the baby growing inside of me.

I never drank, never smoked, took plenty of rest, tried to keep calm and happy. I began eating loads of fruit and vegetables. I couldn’t eat meat for a long time. I craved feta cheese and could eat plates and plates of fruit. Fish tasted like meat and chicken was no good either. After about 3 months I slowly started eating fish again and chicken. Then in my 4th month I started eating meat from time to time and now it doesn’t bother me much at all. Beef has always been a problem though. I followed the nhs guidelines strictly and can’t wait to be able to eat pate and sushi soon.

At the same time my friend had her little baby girl and my other friend was also pregnant with a baby girl, everyone around me had started having families. It was really encouraging to be around people in the same circumstance.

Telling my family and friends was the most exciting part, we questioned when it would be the right time. With our parents we decided to let them know immediately, but then again some people like to wait. With our close friends we waited unit after the first scan and with the rest of our friends we waited till we were at least 3 months. The first 3-4 months of pregnancy things are always a little riskier and we would have preferred not to say much just in case. People slowly began to become suspicious due to me not touching any alcohol at all, I had to use a variety of reasons why not.

By 4 months I was craving sugary things and was allowing myself to eat something now and again that was probably not the best for me. I didn’t really put on weight as such. My bump was starting to form, but was really small and you would not know that I was pregnant.

I only got my energy back around 5 months and I was back to normal, more able to do chores on the weekends and take care of my husband. I regularly read about pregnancy, breastfeeding, giving birth, breathing and exercises. I couldn’t really do much exercising as I found it hard to exert myself physically, I regularly was out of breath when trying to do too much like run up a flight of stairs.

I had a couple of scares during the pregnancy: 2 of them were related to severe back pain and had many episodes of ligament pains around the pelvis, which came in the form of cramps. Also, 1 time I also had a really hot sensation overcome my body while sitting down in the train and I thought I was going to collapse. That scary episode got me admitted at the hospital for observation.

I can give you some advise about those type of things:

1. Pregnancy women do get dizzy and faint. Make sure you always drinking and eating snacks.

2. Avoid congested transport

3. Wear cotton and keep cool

4. Don’t stress

5. Take your pregnacare supplements, they are really good as they make sure you are taking the right dose of folic acid which is needed for the baby not to develop any disorder like spina bifida.

6. Take calcium and magnesium – it eliminated my back-pain completely and no more cramps!!

7. Stay a minimum of 20-30 min in the sun a day for vitamin D, it helps with all the absorption of other nutrients and is key for your happy health.

In the next article I will tell you more about what happened to me in my third trimester.

The second just flew by so quickly, as there wasn’t much to it. I managed to also start antenatal classes to help with the mental side of things.

Dreaming during pregnancy is very vivid and you can have nightmares and wake up often, also because you need to go and pee. The bladder seems to get smaller as time goes by. Also, when you get tired you tend to get grumpy, so prepare your men for that.