Being your own human experiment: vitamins

The past few weeks have been a dizzying mystery as to why I was so exhausted. You probably didn’t know, since my photography series was being posted, but it’s been very bad.

I stopped working out. I ended up sleeping 10hours a night, falling asleep before 8pm and waking at 6am completely wiped out. I’ve never been that utterly spent before, unless maybe during pregnancy.

Before you speculate… I’m not pregnant. So, that’s out of the way.

Two years ago, pregnant with Miles, I began taking vitamin supplements (multi, fish oil, B12, zinc, C, folic acid) since I was disgusted with meat. My midwife told me to eat protein, but I couldn’t stomach much other than breads and sugar.

When we were kids I remember my Dad giving us B12 or B-complex liquid drops on occasion. He said we’d be full of energy after 🙂 And we were, ha. While pregnant, without science behind it, I took B12 hoping for an energy boost like my Dad said.

I kept taking B12 up until a few weeks ago when I ran out and decided to see how I felt. You know, we see articles that say “take vitamins” then “they are a waste of money”… You never know what to do anymore!

That’s when it all went downhill. After a few weeks, it was like I didn’t have the energy to even stand up. When I tell you I was exhausted after 10 hours of sleep, I mean exhausted. My Mom and Mar wondered what was up with me. They thought maybe low iron. I chopped it up to the colder-than-usual winter. Chris just thought I was being a bum, since my actions were so not me; he usually thinks I’m faking.

Then, I thought about what changed in the past few weeks. Yes, living at my Mom’s has been a change, but we’re doing quite well. I haven’t been working out. I’ve been eating poorer, but not enough to make a huge dent. The cold weather and dark, yes, but maybe there was something else.

It hit me listening to a podcast one morning: B12.

I went to the store last Thursday night and picked up B12. I took one that night and woke-up pretty decent Friday. Then I took another, and Saturday I had energy to walk around at ALA Midwinter all day.

I’m waking up without a problem and I’m back to 5am workouts.

I’m not saying you should take B12; check with your medical professional. What I am saying is that sometimes it’s good to think about what we’re taking, how it affects us, and what we’re lacking that can cause such imbalances in our bodies.

Through further research, I’ve realized I eat very few foods that are high in B12 as well as iron (dairy, meat, eggs, fortified foods). I’m lacking, just as a vegetarian might. Also, it’s almost impossible to take too much B12. Finally, B12 deficiency can create an iron deficiency in extreme cases and cause fatigue, weakness, and unclear thinking. Hmmm…

In addition to a multivitamin, I usually take a fish oil capsule once a day, and this winter I’m trying D3 every other day to see if it helps my mood since I’m not getting much sunlight. I’ll be taking the B12 (2,500mcg) every day and see if I need more or less as time goes on.

I’m just thankful to have energy again!

I must say, while pregnant and last winter I took additional vitamin C and zinc. I thought they helped, but this winter I went without and feel no difference. What works for me is a zap with Nyquil the first night I feel a cold coming on – and wham, it’s gone. So, that’s saved me this season 🙂

Being your own human experiment sometimes is the only way to know what works and what doesn’t. Science can only tell us so much about the “general population”. We’re all so very different that no one knows exactly what is helpful or harmful for you. Finding what works for you is all that matters.

What supplements do you take?

Do you find that they work for you or a waste of money?


2 thoughts on “Being your own human experiment: vitamins

  1. When my husband was vegan he definitely felt off. He did not take any extra vitamins at that time either. He said he was craving meat. Iron and B12? As soon as e=he started eating meat again he felt better. He could have taken vitamins, so I'm nota saying being vegan isn't good for you. It was just what he wanted to do instead. We all now take a blend of coconut/fish/butter oil from here:'s great! I was low in vitamin D a few years ago, so now this definitely helps with that 🙂 Glad to see you are feeling better.

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