Right off the bat — This is not my work.  Got it?  NOT MINE.  Jillybean720 on ObesityHelp?  yeah.  She gets the props for all this wonderfulness.

I’m just putting it up because some people don’t want to download things on the net.  I’m providing a service.

This is a comparison of chewable multivites available.  Even a liquid.  Apples to apples, side by side.

Just a smal taste..

Go.  Read.  Be in awe of the time she took to do this for the community.  Because no doubt?  She really took a lot of time to do this for the community.  And when you get a chance?  Tell her Thanks! when you’re over at OH.  She can be contacted here.

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.

We’ve seen some of the stats before — that RNY’ers are not compliant with their supplementation.  There was a study out that measured the efficacy of a multivitamin alone after RNY and in the process we learned that only 33% were actually compliant. You’d think we learned?

No.  We didn’t.

Now, this study was published in 2009 — but is from patients from 2006-2007.  I’m hoping, hoping, HOPING that people out there understand how freaking important their vitamins are, and if not perhaps they will see after reading these two studies.

Keep in mind, these are two studies in order — and neither are very good.  Both show that people, at least around 2005-2007 did not feel like they needed to take their vitamins.  Don’t become a statistic.

A few takeaways:

  • 33% took a multivitamin
  • 5.1% took b12
  • 7.7% took calcium
  • 11.1% took folic acid
  • 12.0% took iron
  • 61.5% took incorrect medication formulations
  • 34.7% took non-immediate-release medications
  • 25.0% took enteric-coated medications
  • 40.3% took enteric-coated non-immediate-release medications

How many do you think were getting appropriate protein levels?  Or their lab work?

The article abstract can be read here.

This simply continues the point that we need to educate ourselves AND our physicians.

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.

FDA takes new look at anemia treatments

On January 8, 2010, in Minerals, by Andrea

I can’t tell you how many RNYers suffer from anemia.  It’s one of the potential side effects given the bypass of the duodenum and the lack of Intrinsic Factor from the stomach that limits the absorption of B12 that is needed for proper iron absorption.  Vicious cycle it is.  Given this, many of us get transfusions and take massive iron doses to help combat the anemia that we suffer from, which makes this a bit more alarming to me.

From Medscape:

U.S. FDA to Take New Look at Anemia Drugs

By Lisa Richwine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan 07 – U.S. regulators plan to ask outside experts to re-evaluate the use of Amgen Inc and Johnson & Johnson anemia drugs when given to patients with chronic kidney disease.

Food and Drug Administration officials, in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, said the agency “anticipates convening a public advisory committee meeting in 2010 to reevaluate erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in people with chronic kidney disease.

ESAs include Amgen’s Aranesp and Epogen and J&J’s Procrit.

The drugs came under scrutiny after studies showed high doses could lead to cardiovascular complications or death. Strong warnings were added in recent years and sales slumped, but the medicines remain widely used for patients with kidney disease and cancer.

FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley said an “important question” for the advisory panel would be what level of hemoglobin doctors should try to achieve with the drugs.

The FDA officials, in the journal article, said “optimal hemoglobin targets have never been established” for patients with chronic kidney disease.

“Beyond lowering hemoglobin targets and reducing doses of ESAs, it is also possible that more frequent hemoglobin monitoring” and other dosing changes might “improve outcomes” for patients, the FDA officials said.

They said clinical trials had raised “major concerns regarding the use of ESAs to increase hemoglobin concentrations” in chronic kidney disease patients above levels needed to avert blood transfusions.

But the studies “do not rule out the possibility, however, that modest increases in the hemoglobin level could be beneficial,” they added.

Amgen spokeswoman Emma Hurley said the FDA article “highlights areas of incomplete understanding regarding appropriate use” of ESAs in chronic kidney disease.

The advisory panel meeting will “provide an opportunity to discuss the latest evidence on the benefits and risks” of the medicines, she said.

Centocor Ortho Biotech, the J&J unit that sells Procrit, said in a statement the company “will continue to work with the FDA to ensure that Procrit prescribing information accurately reflects the known benefits and risks of the product, and will continue to communicate this information in a timely fashion.”

New Engl J Med, online January 6, 2010.

Page 3 of 41234