What Supplements Am I Taking?

Hello dear friends!

I know that when I first became ill, I desperately searched the web for anything I could do to provide immediate (or at least, very short term) relief. Even back then, I had an understanding of nutrition and figured that there were things that I could eat or not eat, and vitamins/herbs I could take to help my body fight whatever the heck this thing was. Starting a new supplement regimen can provide a much-needed sense of power and control; taking such a quantifiable and concrete action to improve your health can give you a good shot of self-worth and self-determination. 

But for someone who is unfamiliar with the murky world of nutritional supplements, it can be extremely overwhelming and potentially dangerous. There are literally millions of different pills and potions out there, many not backed by real science, throwing out rash claims about eternal youth and vitality. It can be difficult to resist the magnetic allure of all the shiny things with their glowing reviews, and I definitely fell for a trick or two when I was first starting out. Being incredibly sick and desperate can set us up for a drained bank account and lots of disappointment, especially when we’re too brain-fogged to even do our research!

So, over the years I’ve been living with ME/CFS, I’ve tried dozens of different things, and these are the ones that have gotten my stamp of approval. If you’re looking for nutritional supplements to help give you a leg up on your illness, just understand that we’re all different- these things may not work for you! But they are definitely worth a try. *


Primal Blueprint Damage Control Master Formula

Let me just tell you, this is one kick-butt multivitamin! And I’ve read SO many vitamin labels over the years, I get a little dizzy thinking about it. But this one ticked off so many boxes for me, and actually reduced the number of pills I had to take from all the individually bottled vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

I heard about this product when I finally decided to try a more Paleo lifestyle, and am so happy I slapped down the cash to buy it. I had been faithfully using the Energy Revitalization System for years and years, and had been dying to try something different (although it’s budget-friendly, it doesn’t taste great and required me to make a smoothie every morning) that would allow me to actually chew real food at breakfast if I so desired. Not to mention, vitamin powders smell…well, like vitamins, and for those of us with sensitive noses, it can get a little nauseating after a while. 


Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health

There have been times when I thought to myself, man I don’t really need this…it’s not really doing anything, and stop taking it for a few days. Then suddenly I morph into an emotional monster, hypersensitive to every sound/scent for miles (okay, not really miles), ready to simply explode with rage/tears or curl up in a helpless ball at the drop of a hat. It didn’t take me long to put the two together, and I haven’t missed a dose of this since.

Adrenal fatigue is a much more common problem than you may think, and is not just limited to those of us with CFS. Although, with the unique wired but tired feeling that many of us experience, taking an adrenal/stress support supplement can be incredibly helpful. I was on the Adrenal Stress End for a few years, but decided to switch to an all-herbal product simply because of the concerns I had about sourcing these things from animals. But I encourage you to check out the options (there are several good ones on the market now) and try some for yourself.

Your spouse, family, and friends may thank you for it too!

UPDATE: I have now switched to my own handmade version of this- my ADAPT tincture, which you can snag here!


Omega-3 Oil

I only recently started taking these with any regularity, in tandem with the shift to Paleo, but the research out there is pretty clear that omega-3 supplementation is beneficial (or at the very least, not harmful), especially for our brains. And for the brain-fog-addled folk, adding this to a diet rich in good fats and antioxidants can be an extra good kick in the pants.

The brand I buy varies sometimes, based on my budget or sale prices, or as new data comes available. I usually buy Nordic Naturals, although I have also tried the Primal Blueprint’s Omegas (you can get it for free with the multivitamins!), Nature’s Way, Udo's, and several different Barlean's formulations. During the week leading up to my period, I switch over to Barlean’s Essential Woman, which has evening primrose oil and other hormone-balancing goodies, to help with PMS symptoms. Because seriously, I don’t need any more symptoms on top of the ones I already have!


Nature's Bounty Cranberry

Yep, my particular brand of CFS seems to go after my urinary tract, making it especially hard to take long car rides or even get a good night’s sleep. I still haven’t figured out exactly how this happens, but I have figured out that a daily mega-dose of cranberry keeps the discomfort at bay.

Luckily, cranberry extract is pretty darn cheap and easy to find. I chose this formulation because the pills are tiny (I swallow enough horse pills, thank you very much), there are no added sugars, and they’re super-concentrated. 


Probiotic

As more and more research is coming out about the importance of our gut microbiome, I’m glad that I’ve already worked a probiotic into my daily routine. Like the omega-3 oils, I’ve experimented with several different brands and strains based on budget and how my GI tract has been feeling. Our gut is it’s own magical place, complete with it’s own immune system and nervous system, and it has a tremendous impact on the body’s overall health.

Granted, just popping a pill every morning is not the way to cure any serious gut dysfunction (that would require stringent dietary changes and a “re-colonization” protocol), but it certainly won’t hurt. If you can stomach fermented foods, those are an even better source of natural pro- and pre-biotics. Just be careful with dairy, as it seems to be a trigger food for most of us with CFS!


And that’s the roundup folks- my daily supplement routine. These things help me function as best as I can, and that’s really what it’s all about for me. I don’t buy into the “magic pill” theory anymore- I think that diseases like ME/CFS and other “syndromes” are just too complex to be cured with a single drug or supplement. But for me, the addition of these every day simply helps me feel as well as possible. And that’s totally worth it.

What about you? What nutritional supplements have you tried and had success with? 

~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~

* Because I work my hiney off to bring you guys the best content that I can, I do occasionally partner up with companies that I support to spread the word about their awesome goodies. This post does contain affiliate links, which help me continue to do what I do!