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.

LabRat

On January 16, 2010, in Minerals, by Andrea

Well, it’s been a month.  Or close to it since I started my experiment with Proferrin.

Due to some other issues that I was fairly certain were unrelated to my WLS, I decided to bite the bullet, go ahead and get my yearly lab draw out of the way.  I mean, last year I had hit my deductible by the first week in February when I had an outpatient surgery so I wanted to see if I could at least come close to cleaning out the FSA with my lab work and some blood work the kids are bound to have next week.  It’s a morbid little game I play that is somewhat depressing, but reminds me that I have it so much better of than many others out there.

In any case, I needed to have a draw done to rule out some other issues.  So I figured I’d update the status of the Proferrin experiment.

Unfortunately, not all of the values are identical, and the labs were not the same labs that did the testing — but I think we can get enough out of this to draw a few conclusions.  If not, you’re going to nod sagely, pretend that we could because it’s 10:20pm, the youngest is refusing to go to bed, it’s been a long day, and that’s that.  Kay?  That’s what I thought.

Ranges are for the lab that did the draw.  Remember, different labs, thus different ranges.  Hey, I wish there were standardized ranges, too.

12/2/2009
HGB – 12.6  (12.0 – 18.0 g/dl)
HCT – 39.7%  (37.0 – 51.0%)
Ferritin – 11.1  (11-137 ng/ml)
Iron – 41  (37 – 170 ug/dl)
TIBC – 310  (265 – 497 ug/dl)
Iron Saturation – 13%  (20-55%)

1/4/2010

HGB – 13.13  (12.0 – 15.0 g/dl)
HCT – 38.21%  (35.0 – 49.0%)
Ferritin – 16.3  (6 – 81 ng/ml premenopausal *which seems odd cause post is 14-186….?*)
Iron – 45  (28 – 182 ug/ml)
UIBC – 326  (130 – 375 ug/dl)
TIBC – 371  (180 – 545 ug/dl)
Iron Sat – Not measured

So what happened?

Well, in a month, my ferritin shot up 5 points and my serum iron went up 4.  Even the TIBC went up quite a bit, which would make me think that iron saturation would have if it had been measured by the second lab (which was asked for, by the way.. along with some other things that weren’t reported.. I’m hoping they were just delayed)

Now, all of this is assuming that the labs are accurate across the board.  For the sake of argument — THEY ARE.  I mean, there’s no way to say they are or aren’t and we have to trust something in this world, so let’s let this be one of those things that we trust.  That the labs are somewhat on an even keel in the measurement of things.

So for now, I am going to continue the Proferrin as planned — 3x a day.  It seems to be working.. and will retest.  I see my GI doc, who is convinced he is the one following my iron in February and I plan to get a lab slip from him to test all of this at the end of the experiment.  So we’ll get a better idea as to what the true answer is.

But so far?  Yeah, it’s working for me.  And I have to admit, the whole not having to wait 2 hours around calcium thing is pretty nice.

Bifera

On December 10, 2009, in Minerals, by Andrea
Heme and Poly iron

Heme and Poly iron (And the products underneath...)

Bifera is the only over-the-counter (OTC) iron supplement to offer both heme iron (protein-based iron) and non-heme iron (plant-based iron). Unlike other iron supplements, Bifera provides two types of iron in one small, easy-to-swallow pill for maximum absorption with virtually no GI side effects.

For years, the popular prescription prenatal supplement PreferaOB has provided the nutritional community with an oral iron combination that offers both heme and non-heme iron in one small pill with virtually no side effects. Now, for the first time, this innovation in an iron supplement will be available over-the-counter in the same form, without the prenatal folic acid, in an iron supplement known as Bifera.

I’ve mentioned that I’m doing an experiment with Proferrin – a purely heme-iron based product to help boost my crappy iron scores.  While in Walgreens, and now CVS (complete with iPhone at hand this time, and the presence of mind to use it), I found this — a Proferrin / Poly iron blend.  And it’s relatively cheap compared to the Proferrin.  Admittedly it’s not as strong , but it’s readily available for those who aren’t wanting to purchase online or aren’t willing to take the plunge with something so completely “different” in terms of iron.

Bifera’s website has more info, plenty of propaganda information, and ooh!  A $2 coupon.


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