Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Eye of newt and toe of frog...

I thought I’d write a post about some of the supplements I’ve been trying – despite the title I promise I’m not doing dubious things with bits of animals, my thumbs aren’t pricking and none of it will make three hags on a moor scream “Thou shalt be King hereafter” either. It’s just the passage which wandered into my head on thinking about this.

I admit it; I was one of those strange children who actually enjoyed Shakespeare when I was at school.

Whilst you’re all digesting with horror the concept of just how little street cred I ever had, onward with no more ado!

(Me at school. Little has changed.
Gif courtesy of


I like so many others before me roll my eyes continually at the idea that taking a one-a-day multivitamin will solve all chronic health woes. I find I am incapable of dealing with that level of stupid, so I tend not to say anything any more. I don’t get angry and the stupid person lives to be erroneous another day. Everyone wins except their next victim.

However, it’s one of the few cheaper options in terms of things which may provide a little relief, and even the smallest signs of improvement are a big boost. A GP or a quick bit of internet research should reveal what vitamins and minerals are particularly key for whatever your condition may be – for Fibromyalgia it’s the B vitamins and particularly B12. Fish oil is a pretty solid option too.

So I’ve been taking a multivitamin with all the complex Bs in it along with magnesium (also a good bet) and a fish oil capsule once a day. I’ve been doing so for about six months now, and whilst there’s no huge difference I do seem to be feeling a bit brighter most of the time. This might be psychological, but I’ll take the improvement whether it’s real or not.

Some other options for Fibromyalgia I haven’t tracked down or tried yet include brown seaweed extract, Ribose (a type of simple sugar) and SAMe (S-Adenosyl methionine) a compound which supports immune function.

Fibre Supplements and Probiotics

What’s that I hear? Groaning because I mentioned the f word?

Fibre is my favourite argument to have with GPs. As regular readers will be aware my problems first arose in the form of wacky bowel function. After much time and effort and rather too many cameras in dubious places I hit the Wall of IBS.

What’s this Wall? Seemingly hundreds of bricks repeating “Just eat more fibre!”

Working on the assumption that I did indeed have IBS (I don’t think I do, just for clarity’s sake) I was prescribed Fybogel powder drinks and an anti-spasm medication called Mebeverine. The Fybogel was orange flavoured, the packet claimed. I very quickly started referring to the horrible stuff as “Chernobyl Orange”, because it looked radioactive and tasted awful. Next came a Fybogel drink which had Mebeverine in it to save taking the tablet. This was not an improvement in the slightest and quickly became “Fizzy Chernobyl Orange”.

Aside from giving my inner child the opportunity to think up silly names neither option did anything at all. Probably because I eat a pretty good diet in terms of daily fibre intake as it is, and the pain wasn’t spasms in the first place.

("Fizzy Chernobyl Orange")

The next thing I tried (anything to get away from Fybogel) was a vegetable fibre supplement called Life Plan which is available in most larger chemists and comes (hurrah!) in tablet form. It contains three different strains of fibre the body needs and is mostly vegetable matter in composition.

Never, ever again.

The problem with this heavy fibre approach is my body just doesn’t like it. I don’t care how many times it’s been pointed out that on paper this is the correct answer. Seemingly injecting more fibre into my diet just causes utter havoc.

This fact was what sent me off on a different route. It might appear on the surface that I have symptoms of low fibre intake, but that’s certainly not the case with my diet or indeed does it appear to be the source of the problem. Normal rules just don’t seem to apply and so I started to investigate the area of food intolerance, having had a particular brand of test recommended by a friend. This is definitely something I intend to do once money allows it in the future.

Another friend mentioned having started on a probiotic and it helped to clear up their health issues, so I thought this had to be worth a go since I had a first hand account of its usefulness. The one I’ve been taking is called Acidophilus and recommends 1 or 2 of the 100mg capsules a day with a meal.

The problem certainly isn’t fixed, but it does seem to have calmed down somewhat. I’m definitely getting less of the swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other and float a bit more around the middle, and certainly I’m much closer to normal function than I have been in a couple of years.

The one slight problem with all of this? Our old friend Fibro Fog. This relies on me remembering to take them, which isn’t such a given any more. At the moment I’m experimenting with where I leave them, trying to make sure that they’re somewhere conveniently in eye line whilst I’m cooking so I remember to grab them when I eat. This works reasonably well, providing I remember to move them there in the first place.

Oh what a noble mind is here o’er- I’ll stop it, I promise.

Is anybody else taking any supplements or similar things? Are you finding them helpful?

Wishing you all many spoons xx


  1. I've been following your blog and like what you are doing. I too have fibromyalgia plus osteo arthritis.
    I was having the difficulty with remembering pills. So now I have a glass dish with a pill cutter in the middle. On one side is the day's allotment. On the other side are my nighttime pills. I take ultram pain pills and other medication on a time basis, and I often lost track of when I last took them. I solved this with a very small, flip notebook that I keep beside the pill dish. I write the time and the pill (abbreviate) each time I take one. The notebook is small enough that I can carry it in my purse. These actions have helped tremendously.
    I take a multi vit., a separate B Complex, a D (2000) and a Calcium (for preosteosperosis). I also drink 2 ounces of Mona Vie ( an acai blend) twice a day. A friend introduced me to the latter and it has helped with the pain. I notice an increase of pain if I go without a day's dose.

  2. I take a range of vits (A-Z multis, Omega 3, extra Vit C, glucosamine, high dose vit d, and just started taking B vit complex and Q10 co-enzyme as a desperate help to get me through a couple of impending tough weeks - seems to have worked) daily, plus one of those healthy tum yoghurt drinks, and resort to Berocca occasionally as well. I've felt brighter for a while on them, but since that coincided with the end of the worst of the weather, I can't be sure it's the supplements. I DO know I just achieved a level of activity this last 2 weeks (very stressful weeks, I might add) that I didn't think possible, so I'm thinking the B and Q10 are an expensive but necessary addition.