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.

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.

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.

Celebrate Multivitamin Grape

On December 29, 2009, in Minerals, Vitamins, by Andrea

In my quest to get through my care package from Celebrate, I picked a multivitamin to test this evening.

Grape Multivitamin

When it comes to chewable multivitamins, there are two important things to consider, formulation and taste.  No other bariatric multivitamin can compete with us on either.  Developed exclusively for surgical weight loss patients, Celebrate Bariatric Multivitamin provides the most thorough blend of vitamins and minerals available in a great tasting chewable.  Our integrated formula provides maximum bioavailability as we have carefully selected each vitamin and mineral level and form to enhance interaction and absorption.  Key things to look for in our multivitamin:

* Taste – When you have to take a product every day, it needs to be something that you like. Our Grape flavor chewable is unbeatable with a smooth texture (no grit) and great taste, it will be easy to maintain your compliance.

* Vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin)  – With nearly 6,000% of the RDI of vitamin B-12, Celebrate Bariatric Multivitamin contains the highest level of B-12 available in a bariatric multivitamin. Studies have shown that at these levels, 95% of patients will NOT need additional sublingual B-12.

* B-Complex – In addition to vitamin B-12, the other b-complex vitamins are critical for your health following surgery. Certain B vitamins such as vitamin B1 (thiamin) are critical immediately following surgery and our multivitamin contains the most appropriate levels of each vitamin, in the proper form for bariatric surgery patients.

* Vitamin A – By blending pre-formed (retinyl palmitate) and beta-carotene to make up our vitamin A, we are providing the safest and most effective approach available for this key vitamin.  This blend allows your body to regulate its intake of vitamin A, absorbing only what it needs to function properly.

*Magnesium – This critical mineral is most effective in the citrate form.  Celebrate contains the highest percentage of magnesium citrate of any bariatric supplement.

* Chelated minerals – Chelation simply means, “attaching to”.  By chelating our mineral forms to amino acid, we have increased the likelihood that these minerals will be absorbed in a reduced acidic environment.

*Water Miscible ADEK – We utilize dry, water miscible forms of vitamins A, D, E, and K to further enhance absorption.

Now, I picked this particular vitamin for one reason — I’m working on a blog post to unveil a new series this week about all of the vitamins and minerals — Vitamins from A to Zinc and, of course, that starts with vitamin A.  To get ready for that blog post, I’ve been reading my little eyes, brain, and heart out on vitamin A.  So when I go to pick a product out of my goody bag from the good folks from Celebrate, I see a sticker on the back of one of the packages and that’s what sold me.

Kismet I tell you, Kismet!

I tear open the little package and give it a sniff test.  Not too bad, not fishy by any stretch of the imagination — which is good cause I have quite the imagination (and apparently, according to the hubs, an overactive and over-sensitive sniffer..).  I halfway expected it to smell like something I would find at one of my Swedish functions to be served on hardbread or from a can that is bulging (and if you have no idea of which I speak — be glad.  Honest.  Really.  *shudder*)

So I pop it into my mouth.  I mean, I can’t really bite it or anything.  It’s not as large as a large calcium tablet.  It’s a little larger than a nickel, smaller than a quarter, so it’s not really a “take a bite and chew” sorta thing.  And it hits — a mineraly taste.

See, this is what absolutely kills me about chewable vites.  Now, do not get me wrong — it is SOOO much better than quite a few of them.  Not as strong as even a kids’ Flintstone (do not let me catch you taking those or I’ll send the babe with his 154 balls to your house and let him loose, got it?) or even a Centrum silver.  But it still is there.  They try to cover it up with sweet-tasting stuff, but it lingers.. and the sweet-tasting stuff does as well.  Long enough that I go to get something to drink before my next taste test thing.

But!  I don’t burp it.  Which is amazing for some of the chewables I’ve tried — especially those with some iron in them.  The pouch does not like iron — which may be why I have iron issues.  I think I should have a talk with it.  Later.

The stats are pretty decent for a multivitamin:

Stats

Please note the stats above are for 2 tablets –

They use water-miscible forms for their vites which is a good thing.. and most of what I see is pretty good.  There are a few things I do not like (like the beta-carotene for RNY and DSers.. you’ll find out why this weekend) but no multi is going to be 100% perfect and hey, that’s why they make additional supplements to supplement a multivitamin.

All-in-all, not horrible.  Not great.  Worth getting a sample to see if it works for you post-op.

Available from Celebrate, 30 days for $15.95 and 90 days for $36.50

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