I have started taking two new vitamins.

(I am no expert on these matters and am just trying to work out what is best to take with the information i can gather, at my own risk, so please do your own research/consult your doctor rather than copying what i am doing!)

I have got some sublingual B12 powder (you put under the tongue) which is meant to be better absorbed than tablets. My multivitamin has some B12 in it already but i am sure i would be deficient if i did not take it as my diet does not include any natural sources as far as i can tell (mushrooms and cheese have a bit?). I know of various pwME who take it and some who get regular injections of it which is meant to be even better than taking it orally. I think there have been studies that it can help with some symptoms of ME but i have not the energy to look that up right now, sorry for shabby posting without proper research evidence! Energy is low at the moment so if anyone has any handy info/links on this to hand, please do comment below!

I am also taking Vitamin D (in the form of D3). This is a bit more risky as it is a fat soluble vitamin. In theory you could take too much as the body may not get rid of any excess – it cannot just be processed and passed out in urine like, for example, any vitamin C that is not absorbed. I am only taking the RDA and seeing as i generally do not go outside or rarely even see the day through the window these days, i think that should be ok. (I read if you are getting vitamin D through sun exposure the body knows when it has made/stored enough so you don’t overdose, just in case you were worried!). There seems to be growing evidence that many of us are vitamin D deficient (i mean the population in general, not just pwME; particularly in northern climates where sun exposure is limited and people are very sun-cautious/covered up even when they are out in it) and that it can play a role in many illnesses (MS, cancers…). My osteopath said that he thought i should consider it and that a doctor friend of his had talked to him about it and suggested that the risk of cancer through sun exposure (not burning, just being exposed little and often) was much less than through vitamin D deficiency and that people needed to change their focus and attitudes to the sun. He also said that there seemed to be emerging evidence of deficiency having a role in many illnesses.

here is one article about it: http://www.fiikus.net/?vitamind

here is a long factsheet that is a bit scientifically written but that highlights some useful things: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp. It mentions bone health for people who are inactive, the likely need for supplementation in people who are housebound and who are vegetarian (er, me on all 3 counts!), issues of toxicity and other possible health benefits and illnesses that can be affected by a lack of vitamin D. My grandmother has had osteoporosis since she was relatively young so i am also aware it may be something i am prone to, though i do not know if it runs strongly in families or not. Apparently when you don’t jump up and down much or walk strongly about, that lack of impact on the bones can lead to them being thinner. That jarring action leads them to build themselves up and be stronger for that kind of action in the future. As i creep/shuffle about gently in general i think i am not getting that impact.

I will take it all winter and maybe not so much in the summer if i can sit outside more regularly as i tried to do this year. I read somewhere (sorry, again i know not where – must try to be more organised!) that just ten – twenty minutes sitting outside in gentle sunshine with some skin exposed (face and arms or legs) is enough for your daily dose, which sounds easy, but in this country (the UK) the days when this is possible even during summer not as frequent as you would think. I tried to seize the moment as much as possible this summer and did grab some rays even when the day was generally cloudy due to my flexibility of being at home all day, but still did not manage more than one in three days during the height of summer. For people who work it is even harder i should think! Also if you have darker skin the production of vitamin D is slower than for paler skins, so dark-skinned people living in the northern hemisphere are even more likely to be deficient.

Obviously the best thing regarding all supplements would be to have thorough blood tests done to see which ones i really am deficient in, but as this seems to be unavailable on the NHS for most vitamins/minerals, we are left guessing. As my diet has been more restricted this year and my digestion has also not been functioning well before this due to very bad IBS symptoms i think i do need to take supplements. If i have no major deficiencies it is one less thing preventing my body from working as well as it could…

Many apologies for bad blogging – for not backing up my assertions with lots of links to research – i just wanted to get some blogging done but am not up to being on the computer long enough to do a proper job…