Vitamin Vigilance

The one good thing about being out of the classroom/school environment this year has been the lack of exposure to cold and flu season. As any teacher knows, it’s almost impossible to get through an entire year without contracting some kind of miserable virus. Teaching has to be one of the worst professions in which to get sick, as you still have to spend a ton of time putting together a detailed lesson plan so that your class can stay on track. I’ve had many 4am conversations with my voice-less self, playing a which-is-worse scenario game: Get Up To Write Lesson Plan vs. Just Deal With It. Anyway, I feel for my teacher pals, and hope you’ve made it through cold and flu season relatively unscathed. 
Bedside table chez moi.
But alas, I have failed to escape cold season entirely, even in the beautiful Australian weather. Adam caught something at work last week, and naturally I get to share in the fun. Luckily it’s nothing too serious and probably just lack of sleep causing me to be a little more run down and susceptible. Just a runny nose and what I believe to be an ear infection (I’m prone). A doctor’s appointment awaits me in the morning to get it taken care of. 
Bubs had his paediatrician check-up this morning (which he passed with flying colours- yay!) and thankfully does not seem been affected by last week’s head cold, despite our relentless cuddle sessions. He’s such a snuggler, so I was worried that he might catch something from one of us. Nada! Must have been my incessant hand washing! 
Runny nosed Mums don’t phase this guy!
Adam had the day off, so we made use of the two sets of hands and hit up the grocery store for a big order (next to impossible with an infant). I think we went a little overboard on a few items…
Pineapple Express
A Chobani a day, keeps the doctor away??

Yup. We’re pretty wild & crazy around here.
After stocking up on lots of deliciousness, my attention was once again diverted to my sore ear on the drive home. I started thinking about how it is probably time for a trip to the pharmacy to pick up some vitamins.  Not that they are going to cure my ear or anything, but it just got me thinking, “Am I taking care of myself as best as I possibly can?” It’s even more important that I stay healthy now that I have to expend that much more energy each day on my +1.
Now that my pregnancy is done and dusted, I’m clear to take supplements again. I know there are a variety of viewpoints on vitamin supplementation. To be honest, I find the whole thing quite confusing. There have been sooo many studies in recent years about vitamin consumption: They’re vital for your health and livelihood! Beware of certain ones! Take 2 a day! Don’t take any! They’ll make you live forever! They’ll decrease your life expectancy by 5 years! The studies are enough to make you dizzy, pour some wine, and call it a night. 
You can get plenty of essential vitamins from food, and I typically think that’s the best way to go. This Dr. Oz chart is a great indicator of some foods that round out the “eat your vitamins” philosophy:

Besides sardines, all of those foods are a part of my diet. But is it enough? I don’t know. From what I’ve read and heard, 90% of us don’t eat enough to actually meet the requirements, and you’d have to consume one pile of food to complete the check list. Although I’d like to believe that I have a well-rounded diet, I’m likely lacking in a few areas.
After doing some research, here is what I am leaning towards:
Omega 3– For overall brain, heart, and eye health (among many other things). More info on Omega 3 here.
Vitamin D: For immune system function, bone health, inflammation, preventative measures against some cancers, etc. For more info, click here.
I have no idea what my Vitamin D levels are at. Apparently this is determined through a simple blood test. I think I might call my OB-GYN to see if the level was noted during any of my pregnancy blood work, and if not, I will be asking my GP. Since I live in Australia, I don’t think I would need as high an amount as I did when living in Canada, but who knows. I try not to spend too much time in the sun. I definitely have some investigative work to do before settling on an IU amount! 
A little video:
Calcium w/ Magnesium: Bone, tooth, muscle health. Read more about this combination here.
I took this supplement for most of 3rd trimester as recommended by my doctor to help with my terrible leg cramping. I found it actually did alleviate some pain, although not entirely. The benefits seem to extend further than just my muscular issues, as I’ve found during my relentless vitamin research. 
Multivitamin:  ????
Although I’ve taken them in the past, I’m still uncertain about my need for multivitamins. From what I’ve read, there is an array of pros and cons. As much as I want to ensure I’m not deficient in any areas, I also worry about going overboard! Hmmm…
What do you think? Do you take any vitamin supplements? Do you take Omega 3, Vitamin D, or Calcium/Magnesium? I’m interesting in knowing what others are thinking/doing in regards to their nutrition and really find the whole thing fascinating and daunting all at the same time!

3 Thoughts on “Vitamin Vigilance

  1. ErynM on April 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm said:

    I am currently only taking my fish oils and I take at least 1000 mg of vitamin D/day. You need vitamin D for proper calcium absorption -if you're lacking here, your also likely deficient in calcium putting you at risk for decreased bone health.

    I have been thinking about starting a multi- but like you I have heard alot of conflicting information about absorption/amounts per vitamin /etc.

  2. I take COQ10, Magnesium, Omega 3 Fish Oil, Multivitamin, Glucosamine and sometimes a probiotic if I can remember to get it out of the fridge, oh and plus my St John's Wort.

  3. I take calcium and vitamin D, because a few doctors told me I'd need the vitamin d for calcium absorption. That was in Boston, though. Now that I'm in Australia, I'd say we definitley get more vitamin D here! I think you've inspired me to go get a blood test now, too!

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