Supplements for a Healthier Me

My experience with supplements includes a little story like this - I broke my foot a year ago, was in a boot, couldn't run for over 6 months, and put on 12 pounds.  Twelve might not be a big number, especially since I was at a good weight, but I didn't want to keep it on.  I started running in March - and I use the word "running" loosely since it started as walking a mile on a treadmill.  In October I ran my first half marathon in 18 months and I'm consistently running about 20 miles a week over 3 different days.  I took seven months to build up to that.  Prior to the break, I was running about 50 miles per week but I was definitely overtraining.  After 7 months of slowly easing back into running, I lost 5 pounds and just stayed there.

Since my hysterectomy almost 12 years ago, I've taken the same supplements.  The supplements mean I'm not on any prescriptions and my sleep, stomach upsets, and hot flashes are at a bare minimum which has been great.  Sometimes, though, I think the body needs a "hiccup".  A change in the norm to give it a little jump start.  In September, I stopped taking almost everything just to see how it would go.  I wanted to take at least a month off and figure out what was helping and what wasn't.  Here's what I took before the break: MORNING:

  • CLA
  • Mega EFA (fish oil)
  • L-carnitine
  • DHEA

EVENING:

  • CLA
  • Mega EFA (fish oil)
  • ZMA
  • Psyllium Husk (natural fiber)
  • Allergy pill

The only thing I've been taking since going off of supplements is Psyllium Husk for fiber and the allergy pill.  I also started (again) taking 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar in a cup of water once a day usually in the morning.  That stuff is fantastic for you.  Look into it. After a month off, I researched how these supplements helped.  Here's what my supplements were doing for me:

CLA:   a potent anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogen, and anti-catabolite, as well as a powerful immune system enhancer. Some of the common accolades of CLA are assistance in fat burning, building, and retention of lean muscle, and is a cancer fighter.

L-carnitine:  boosts physical and mental energy and endurance, reduces fatigue and muscle loss, and enhances cognitive function.

DHEA:  is an antioxidant, is a hormone regulator (it helps regulate the thyroid & pituitary glands, and enhances thymus gland function), decreases cholesterol, stimulates the production of human growth hormone, boosts immunity by stimulating killer cell activity, increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin, assists in returning the body to a balanced state after a stress reaction, improves cognitive function, bone formation, and libido, enhances mood by increasing the brain's serotonin levels

ZMA:  boost testosterone (good for women too), deepen sleep, lean body composition, Achieve Strength Gains and Improve Performance, boost sex drive and mood

MEGA EFA (fish oil):  Supports healthy heart, brain, bones, joints, immunity, skin, vision and mood, and about 60 other things.

PSYLLIUM HUSK:  digestion, GI disorders, removes toxins, kills cholesterol, and cleans you out (fiber!!)

Looking at what I was taking and re-reading information got me remembering WHY I was taking each supplement.  Anything that regulates hormones and improves mood (DHEA, EFA, ZMA) I needed more of after the hysterectomy as well as I age.  Hot flashes and just feeling "off" were an issue.  Also due to that surgery, I needed to regulate the GI system better (psyllium husk) and I didn't sleep as well either (ZMA).  On top of all that, I'm an athlete and want to help with muscle gain and retention and fat loss as well as endurance, energy, and recovery.  So these were all great.  I remember going into a consultation and feeling so NOT like myself and so lost.  When we came up with my plan to take this it was a little overwhelming.  I felt like I was taking a ton of stuff because my body was broken.  Maybe so to some degree, but this is better than hormone therapy and the side effects.  

After being on supplements for a while, I felt like a new person a decade ago.  So now what??  How did I feel now after taking a break for over a month??  My sleep was worse, I was having more bad dreams, night sweats, waking more, having difficulty falling asleep.  My stomach was off - I still took the psyllium husk but I felt bloated, gassy, and cramped more.  Emotionally I was a bit off.  I'd say I was quicker in every emotion - crying and anger mostly.  The emotions I don't want more of.  After a month off I maintained the five pounds I had lost but made no gains in losing more

One thing I did in my research was to make sure my dosage was correct.  I got the Sharpie marker to write on all my lids and make sure I was taking the right amounts.  I've also added some weights with a ten-pound kettlebell and do an all-over exercise on the days I don't run.  I'm maintaining my running 3 times a week with a total of 3 days of running. I also added a bar for breakfast.  I used to be great at eating in the morning but now, not so much.  I ordered a month supply to keep me on track in the mornings.  The results? I'll keep you posted!  I turn 45 in December and I'm doing this project with my birthday as the goal.    

 

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