September 25, 2010 § Leave a Comment
When I went for my mid-life (I hope at least mid-life) physical back in August , I had my blood tested for various things, and unsurprisingly the results showed that my B12 and Vitamin D levels are low. I don’t eat meat or fish, so I knew that my B12 would be low and these days everyone is low in Vitamin D. Like wearing socks with heels , Vitamin D is currently quite trendy.
My doctor ripped me a new one scolded me when I admitted that I tried to get my Vitamin D from the sun. In other words, I’m a little lax with the sunscreen application. She gaped at my pale and freckled skin as if I were covered in oozing lesions, and then basically told me I was stupid. I defended myself by telling her that I was wary of chemical-filled sunscreens. And then she gave me the names of some relatively chemical-free products (Neutrogena Sensitive, Coppertone Sensitive, Blue Lizard). Touché, doctor. But from where should I get the Vitamin D that I need if I can’t expose my skin to the sun? A supplement, of course.
Gah. I dread taking pills, whether it’s aspirin, medicine, or vitamin. I blame it on the Tylenol poisonings of 1982. In addition to the pill dread, I have an uneasy relationship with vitamin supplements in general. How do I know what is really in that pill or capsule? How do I know that it’s not going to hurt me? As I mentioned, Vitamin D is hot right now, just like Vitamin E was hot a few years ago. Where’s Vitamin E now? Just like hair scrunchies and acid washed jeans, it’s totally out of fashion. Don’t get me wrong, Vitamin E is still needed for good health, but research has found that “caution is warranted” when taking high-dose supplementation.
(The little nag in the back of my head is now swinging on my brain stem and singing “don’t take too much Vitamin D and B12, fa-la-la-la-la-laaah, cau-tion is warr-an-teddd…”)
However, I can’t ignore the evidence that Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies can wreak havoc on the central nervous system. What if my MS symptoms are really caused by a vitamin deficiency? Maybe I don’t actually have MS (MRI images and brain lesions, be damned).
I made up my mind. I will take supplements.
I’ve read about people having difficulty absorbing B12 when it’s taken in pill form. For some reason my intuition tells me that I have absorption issues. I considered B12 injections, but my sister–who is an awesomely amazing nurse–talked me out of going that route (injections open the risk of infection. And they hurt).
I heard about the B12 patch from Kevin Gianni over at Renegade Health. I receive his daily newsletter and he spent 3 or 4 issues discussing B12 and vitamin D deficiencies and solutions. After much reading and contemplation, I decided to purchase the patch.
I was/am skeptical of it. I mean, how does it work? But then I thought of the quintessential patch, The Patch, yes, the Nicorette patch: it’s been around for quite a few years and it seems to work for people, right? Somehow the medicine on the patch is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. (Which circles back to my sunscreen quandary: what kinds of lotion do you put on your skin? What potentially harmful ingredients are being absorbed into your bloodstream each day? With that question in mind, I recently returned to using coconut oil as my daily moisturizer.)
So, basically I’m running an experiment on myself. I’m going to wear the patch as directed for the next two months and go back for another blood test to see if my level has elevated.
I also purchased the Vitamin D3 that Kevin recommended and I’ll have my Vitamin D tested in November, as well.
I’m by no means recommending these products to you; I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully getting you to consider the real value of supplements. I am, in fact, recommending that you don’t take supplements willy-nilly. Consider what you’re taking and why you’re taking it. Are there any risks? Are you reaping any true benefits?
And I also hope after reading this that you seriously think about what you’re putting on your skin. I am, of course, not telling you to stop wearing sunscreen. My Dad has skin cancer. I am fully aware of the ramifications of sun exposure. I am suggesting that you find a good sunscreen that doesn’t have a heavy chemical load. I’m also suggesting that you read the ingredients list of the products you use on your skin and hair every day. All of the chemicals in that paragraph are entering your bloodstream. It’s a little creepy, isn’t it?
I hate to end a post on an ominous note, so I’ll end with this, my Saturday night snack: a spoonful of organic peanut butter studded with organic dark chocolate chips. And a glass of red wine. Who says I don’t know how to party?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend~