Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Vitamin D-less in Seattle

I recently started taking Fish Oil (well, again) at the suggestion of one of my medical team members.

I say again because I started taking it a while back, but I was trying to take it with dinner. It didn’t work out because I kept the bottle in the freezer, and I kept forgetting to take it. Now I’m taking it with breakfast (since I’m in the kitchen anyway) and it seems to be working out much better.

Keeping fish oil capsules in the freezer does wonders for keeping the heartburn, indigestion, and fishy taste at bay.

Omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to have some kind of effect on reducing depression, or bouts of it. However, every study I’ve read so far is completely different, so nobody seems to really know what is going on.

I guess the consensus by most doctors, though, is that it has the potential to be beneficial. If it were useless, they wouldn’t have suggested it, right?

It seems like this is the case with most supplements, though that is purely speculation. On the news you’ll hear that one day a dose of such-n-such will keep away cancer, and six months later the same dose now puts you for higher risk of cancer.

The studies aren’t particularly conclusive, and when they are there seem to be conflicting conclusions depending on the study.

So how do I know what supplements are ok to take?

I have a couple rules of thumb that I follow regarding supplements & vitamins.

  1. I always try to get the vitamin/mineral from my diet first, because I seriously don’t need to be taking any more pills. If I need iron, maybe I should eat more broccoli or beans or beef. Instead of taking a fiber supplement, I’ll eat whole grains and leafy greens. Call me crazy, but by changing my diet I can hit two birds with one stone! Having a well-balanced diet is helpful for staying fit and feeling good, and I don’t have to take a million supplements.
  2. There are some things that are slightly elusive though. Oh, like Vitamin D in Seattle. Or fish oil. I like fish, but I don’t intend to live on a diet of fish entirely. For these things, I want to talk to my doctor first. Some supplements interact with other medications, so I’m not going to run out and just buy a bunch of things and start taking them. I also like to talk to people who are already taking whatever supplement I’m suggested to see if it is really worth trying.
  3. If I’m really going to commit to taking a supplement, I try and do as much research as I can first. Some fish oil, for example, puts you at a higher risk for mercury poisoning, so that’s kind of important to know. A little research can help me figure out what brands are trustworthy, and have a smaller impact on the environment (if that is important to you, it is to me!).

Having an opinion about what I’m putting in my body and knowing where I draw the line can be very helpful in the otherwise confusing world of supplements. When in doubt, I always talk to a medical professional, whether that is a holistic specialist, naturopath, psychiatrist, or physician.

Since I’m currently sloshing around in the shallow waters of depression I am very hopeful that the fish oil will help, even if just a little. I haven’t noticed a huge difference so far, but I’ll probably keep taking it for about six months to see if I seem to have any benefit.

For now I’m just playing the waiting game.