I have a hatred of few things in life.  Flintstones, Tums, and Optisource are among them.

When I first had surgery, we were started on Optisource vitamins.  4x a day, that’s it.  Sounds fine, right?  It’s great — until you realize they have the wrong type of calcium in them.  They use calcium carbonate and not citrate — which is what someone who has a limited acid quotient has needs.

So then we switched.  I’m not really sure why, but we did.

To Flintstones and Tums.  Which is still the wrong type of calcium.

And then.  Then I had kids.  And it all goes downhill from there.  (doesn’t it always?)

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This is not a good thing, folks.  And it scares me because the things I need to keep my vision, my bones, my blood clotting may go away.

Basically, this act will allow the FDA to pull all nutritional supplements.  And while the Centrums and NatureMades will be fine, what I worry about will be the 50,000 IU water-miscible D3′s that I take, or the 100mg K1′s, or any of the “dangerous” level meds.. or even the heme iron that I’ve FINALLY found that works for me.

So while I’ve always been political, have voted in every election that I have been able to vote in, have called my elected representatives for certain things — I have yet to write a single letter to any politicians.  The time has ended.

Senator John McCain
United States Senate
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510

Senator McCain:

I am not a constituent of yours.  Nor do I plan to be one in the future.  In fact, I live almost as far away from your Arizona as possible without actually living on a different continent.

However, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act that you are proposing could impact my life in ways you cannot possibly imagine.

Sir, I had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in 2004.  Like thousands of others who have battled morbid obesity, I have had a surgery that has altered my intestines in a way that severely limits my ability to absorb nutrition from food.  It is because of this fact that I survive daily from nutritional supplements — nutritional supplements that you are attempting to regulate.

I understand the need for regulation against unsafe chemicals that are being marketed and sold to our youth.  As a mother of young children, I can appreciate the desire to protect our children.  However, I see this Act as a way to limit my ability to maintain my health with these absolutely vital supplements.

I know that there are some supplements that are available in prescription form.  Unfortunately, not all of these are acceptable for patients such as myself and only over-the-counter supplementation will maintain my health.  For example, a common prescription to rectify a clinical deficiency of vitamin D is a 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D2 in an oil-suspension.  D2 has been found to be one-tenth the strength of D3 (which is available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy), and with my reconfigured intestinal design, I do not absorb the oil that the D2 is immersed in.  Therefore, what little of the vitamin I might absorb, much of it is lost in the body’s conversion to D3.  In many cases, a 50,000 IU dose of D2 would be equivalent to what I could pick up at CVS as a D3 supplement for anyone — and even worse for me with the fat malabsorption my surgery gave me.  Instead, I can take a 50,000 IU dose of D3 — something your Act would surely take away, relegating me to months of painful recovery as I suffer from osteomalacia or even osteoporosis at the tender age of 31.

While this is certainly an extreme case, it is something that thousands of us face daily.  Vitamin D is not the only vitamin I worry about with this act — high dose vitamin A allows me to keep my vision, vitamin K allows my blood to clot, B12 allows me to have neurological function, and high-dose iron allows my blood to move oxygen through my cells properly.  All of these are in higher-than-normal doses to counteract the surgical implications of my gastric bypass surgery — and it is something I will live with for the rest of my life.

I implore you to examine this issue very carefully as things are not exactly black and white.  I believe safety is needed in the supplement industry — especially as I take so many of them.  However, such strict regulation could seriously impact my ability to live a functional life versus a life of skinny sickness.

I had this surgery to be a healthier individual — this bit of regulation could seriously impair that goal.

Sincerely,
Andrea S. Ullberg
Wilson, NC  27896
andrea@ullberg.us

http://wlsvitagarten.com

Senator Kay Hagan
United States Senate
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510

Senator Hagan:

I am one of your constituents — one that is proud to say that voted for you.  I thank you for the hard work you’ve put forth in representing the people of North Carolina thus far.

I write to you today, however, to express grave concern about Senator McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act.  This Act, if passed, could cause me and thousands more like me, great personal harm and impact my health and well-being in a way he has not considered.  Please take a moment to understand why.

I had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in 2004.  Like thousands of others who have battled morbid obesity, I have had a surgery that has altered my intestines in a way that severely limits my ability to absorb nutrition from food.  It is because of this fact that I survive daily from nutritional supplements — nutritional supplements that he is attempting to regulate.

I understand the need for regulation against unsafe chemicals that are being marketed and sold to our youth.  As a mother of young children, I can appreciate the desire to protect them.  However, I see this Act as a way to limit my ability to maintain my health.  If I cannot maintain my health, I will not be able to protect or care for my children myself — which defeats the purpose of the bill.

I know that there are some supplements that are available in prescription form.  Unfortunately, not all of these are acceptable for patients such as myself and only over-the-counter supplementation will maintain my health.  For example, a common prescription to rectify a clinical deficiency of vitamin D is a 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D2 in an oil-suspension.  D2 has been found to be one-tenth the strength of D3 (which is available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy), and with my reconfigured intestinal design, I do not absorb the oil that the D2 is immersed in.  Therefore, what little of the vitamin I might absorb, much of it is lost in the body’s conversion to D3.  In many cases, a 50,000 IU dose of D2 would be equivalent to what I could pick up at CVS as a D3 supplement for anyone — and even worse for me with the fat malabsorption my surgery gave me.  Instead, I can take a 50,000 IU dose of D3 — something your Act would surely take away, relegating me to months of painful recovery as I suffer from osteomalacia or even osteoporosis at the tender age of 31.

While this is certainly an extreme case, it is something that thousands of us face daily.  Vitamin D is not the only vitamin I worry about with this act — high dose vitamin A allows me to keep my vision, vitamin K allows my blood to clot, B12 allows me to have neurological function, and high-dose iron allows my blood to move oxygen through my cells properly.  All of these are in higher-than-normal doses to counteract the surgical implications of my gastric bypass surgery — and it is something I will live with for the rest of my life.

I implore you to examine this issue very carefully as things are not exactly black and white.  I believe safety is needed in the supplement industry — especially as I take so many of them.  However, such strict regulation could seriously impact my ability to live a functional life versus a life of skinny sickness.

Please take the time to examine this issue very carefully.  Many of us depend on these supplements — not for simple well-being but for our actual lives.

Sincerely,

Andrea S. Ullberg
Wilson, NC  27896
andrea@ullberg.us

http://wlsvitagarten.com

Senator Richard Burr
United States Senate
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510

Senator Burr:

I thank you for the hard work you’ve put forth in representing the people of North Carolina.

I write to you today to express grave concern about Senator McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act.  This Act, if passed, could cause me and thousands more like me, great personal harm and impact my health and well-being in a way he has not considered.  Please take a moment to understand why.

I had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in 2004.  Like thousands of others who have battled morbid obesity, I have had a surgery that has altered my intestines in a way that severely limits my ability to absorb nutrition from food.  It is because of this fact that I survive daily from nutritional supplements — nutritional supplements that he is attempting to regulate.

I understand the need for regulation against unsafe chemicals that are being marketed and sold to our youth.  As a mother of young children, I can appreciate the desire to protect them.  However, I see this Act as a way to limit my ability to maintain my health.  If I cannot maintain my health, I will not be able to protect or care for my children myself — which defeats the purpose of the bill.

I know that there are some supplements that are available in prescription form.  Unfortunately, not all of these are acceptable for patients such as myself and only over-the-counter supplementation will maintain my health.  For example, a common prescription to rectify a clinical deficiency of vitamin D is a 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D2 in an oil-suspension.  D2 has been found to be one-tenth the strength of D3 (which is available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy), and with my reconfigured intestinal design, I do not absorb the oil that the D2 is immersed in.  Therefore, what little of the vitamin I might absorb, much of it is lost in the body’s conversion to D3.  In many cases, a 50,000 IU dose of D2 would be equivalent to what I could pick up at CVS as a D3 supplement for anyone — and even worse for me with the fat malabsorption my surgery gave me.  Instead, I can take a 50,000 IU dose of D3 — something the Act would surely take away, relegating me to months of painful recovery as I suffer from osteomalacia or even osteoporosis at the tender age of 31.

While this is certainly an extreme case, it is something that thousands of us face daily.  Vitamin D is not the only vitamin I worry about with this act — high dose vitamin A allows me to keep my vision, vitamin K allows my blood to clot, B12 allows me to have neurological function, and high-dose iron allows my blood to move oxygen through my cells properly.  All of these are in higher-than-normal doses to counteract the surgical implications of my gastric bypass surgery — and it is something I will live with for the rest of my life.

I implore you to examine this issue very carefully as things are not exactly black and white.  I believe safety is needed in the supplement industry — especially as I take so many of them.  However, such strict regulation could seriously impact my ability to live a functional life versus a life of skinny sickness.

Please take the time to examine this issue very carefully.  Many of us depend on these supplements — not for simple well-being but for our actual lives.

Sincerely,

Andrea S. Ullberg
Wilson, NC  27896
andrea@ullberg.us

http://wlsvitagarten.com

Please.  Read more about this and do your part to protect yourselves.  This is important.  I’ve rarely taken action such as this and I think this is worth fighting for.

We NEED these supplements.  Don’t let them take them away from us.

My week, in perspective.

I get asked quite often what I take.  I hesitate to put it down, line by line, only because I take things that are higher due to need for deficiency, or due to my headaches, or a few other idiosyncricies.  I also tend to not like to label what brands — simply because sometimes this could be seen as an endorsement when it’s not (I shop sales).

But because it does get asked so often, fine.  This is not the order I take them in, but rather the order I put them back in my container.  Hey, I want easy.

As of February 10th, 2010, I take:

  • 2 Members Mark (Centrum) multivites — after this bottle is gone (ha! 450 in a bottle) I have actual Centrums that I got on MASSIVE discount with good expiration dates
  • 5 Vitalady 140mg Tender Magnesium Citrate capsules — magnesium has been shown to help migraine sufferers in clinical trial; I’m actually about to up this another capsule or two; important to note that magnesium helps with calcium absorption, but if taking for migraines, not to take with calcium
  • 1 NatureMade 500mg Vitamin C — taken with the mag citrate to increase absorption
  • 4 Citracal 250mg calcium citrate, 200 IU D3 tablets & 4 Citracal 200mg calcium citrate, 200 IU D3 tablets — 1 of each x 4 servings gives me 1800mg of calcium a day; I buy Citracal because of coupons and the BOGO deals typical of this brand
  • 1 every other day Members Mark 1000mcg B12 — I over absorb b-vites for some reason; I also, for some reason absorb tablet B12.  Don’t try this at home.
  • 1 every other day NatureMade Liquid Softgel Super B-Complex – I over absorb b-vites and am off the chart
  • 1 400mcg CVS folic acid
  • 3 Proferrin ES heme iron — this I love and need and is the only iron that has worked for me in years
  • 4 Vitalady Tender D3-5 5,000 IU
  • 4 Solaray 100mg Vitamin B2 — Riboflavin of doses of 400mgs has been shown in clinical trials to treat migraines, actually thinking of upping this 200mgs to counter malabsorption
  • 1 GNC 2mg Copper
  • 1 NatureMade 30mg Zinc
  • 1 Vitalady 25,000 IU Tender A-25 Retinyl Palmitate
  • 1 Bio-Tech (Vitalady) 100mcg K1-100 (Phytonadione)

This isn’t a listing of what you SHOULD take by any stretch — only what I take.

Proof.

On January 21, 2010, in Fat Solubles, Minerals, Vitamins, Water Solubles, by Andrea

Just giving you proof — I practice what I preach.

This is my week’s worth of vitamins.  Well, six days’ worth.  I’ve lost the 7th day somewhere and I really like this set, so I make do with what I’ve got.

My week, in perspective.

Each day may be divided into 4 compartments, but that does not mean that I only take vitamins 4 times per day.  Several compartments have 2 doses in them.

I just thought that I’d put this out there — that I do, in fact, take the vitamins that I write about.

Great!  Something that all RNY patients need to hear.. a study that links pernicious anemia — a condition that results from a low level of B12 leading to a form of anemia that is very common in post-RNY patients and hip fracture — something that is already a heightened risk due to the malabsorption of vitamin D and calcium.

SWEET!

I’m so screwed…

From Medscape:

Hip Fracture Risk Elevated With Pernicious Anemia: Study

Megan Brooks

January 8, 2010 — Patients with pernicious anemia have significantly higher risks for hip fracture, research shows.

Compared to age- and sex-matched controls, patients with pernicious anemia had a 73% greater risk of hip fracture (3.4 vs. 2.0 hip fractures/1000 person-years of follow-up). The elevated risk was even greater with newly diagnosed pernicious anemia (HR, 2.63).

“These data suggest that physicians need to carefully follow the bone health of patients with pernicious anemia,” senior author Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Additionally, Dr. Yang and colleagues found that the increased risk of hip fracture persisted for many years even after vitamin B12 repletion therapy was started.

“Physicians should recognize that correction of their vitamin B12 deficiency alone is probably insufficient in reducing the risk of fractures in these patients. The persistent nature of the elevated fracture risk in these patients suggests the presence of underlying mechanisms independent of vitamin B12 deficiency,” Dr. Yang said.

There are physiologic reasons to suspect that patients with pernicious anemia (who are by definition achlorhydric) may have impaired bone strength and increased fall risk (i.e., due to vitamin B12 deficiency), but there have been no definitive epidemiologic data to confirm an increased fracture risk in these patients, the researcher explained.

The new findings stem from an analysis of data from the United Kingdom’s General Practice Research Database. Included were 9506 adults with pernicious anemia who received vitamin B12 therapy for at least 1 year. Each case patient was matched with four controls without pernicious anemia (n = 38,024). The average follow-up time in both groups was slightly more than 5 years.

As reported online December 18 in Gastroenterology, the increased risk of hip fracture appeared to persist well beyond 5 years after the diagnosis of pernicious anemia and initiation of vitamin B12 therapy. Pernicious anemia was associated with a threefold increased risk of hip fracture when follow-up years 3 through 10 were combined in the analysis.

“One potential mechanism,” Dr. Yang said, “may be related to the achlorhydria-induced hypergastrinemia in these patients that could lead to parathyroid hyperplasia, which could result in increased parathyroid hormone secretion or altered parathyroid hormone secretion pattern.”

Another possibility is that their lack of gastric acid may compromise calcium absorption in the intestine. “Therefore,” Dr. Yang advised, “physicians should at least ensure that these patients maintain daily recommended calcium intake appropriate for their age, and preferably by taking water-soluble calcium supplements (e.g., calcium citrate) or through dairy products. If they must take water-insoluble calcium supplements (e.g., calcium carbonate), they should take them with a meal.”

Both of these potential mechanisms, Dr. Yang noted, may also be relevant to the reported association between acid suppressive therapy and increased risk of fractures.

“Further research is urgently needed to investigate these potential mechanisms so that effective preventive measures can be developed both for patients with pernicious anemia and for the large population of patients who require chronic acid suppressive therapy,” he concluded.

Gastroenterology. Published online December 18, 2009. Abstract

Reuters Health Information 2010. © 2010 Reuters Ltd.

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