Health Update: Supplements I’m Loving

October 29th, 2013 | Posted by Erica House in Health | Life

Please remember I am not a doctor and you should consult with yours before starting any new supplements!

Two weeks ago I let you all in on some health issues I’ve been struggling with. You can read the full post for all the details but it basically boiled down to: TMJ, ischemic colitis, hormonal imbalance and anxiety (caused by the hormones.) I’m relieved to be bringing you all a positive updated today thanks to a new series of supplements I started the day after I wrote that post.

I haven’t had to take any pain meds in nearly two weeks since my TMJ pain has become virtually non-existent. I realized my jaw clenching stemmed from tightness in my upper back and trapezius muscles so I’ve been diligent about stretching them every few hours, and keeping better posture while running and sitting. I will use the trigger point ball on the wall to help work on knots in my back, foam roll my upper back, and do this self-massage on my face for more immediate relief when I feel my jaw starting to tighten up again. I need to keep stretching daily even though I’m feeling better because I definitely don’t want a repeat of this 2 month nightmare!

My ischemic colitis has gone away as well thanks to no more advil! My symptoms disappeared before I started taking these probiotics, but I read a lot on the connection between an imbalance of bacteria in the gut and it’s impact on mood so I thought I’d try these out.  I went with these Probiotics as they were pretty inexpensive for a 3 month supply, and had the two specific strains most often suggested for people who struggle with IBS (as I used to before I cut way back on gluten & dairy.)

pearlsOne of my biggest struggles over the last few months has been extreme fatigue. As in, I wake up feeling more tired than I was when I went to bed. I try not to do a lot of caffeine so I looked around for other energy boosters. I saw spirulina mentioned a few times in various articles and thought I’d give it a shot (plus it has a ton of other amazing health benefits!)

Side note: I know a lot of bloggers who swear by energy bits. If you’ve taken a look at them before you know they are just 100% pure spirulina. A bag of them cost $115!! I’m sure the makers would say the spirulina they use is better (it is organic) but I can’t imagine it’s worth that much of a price difference. Know how much I paid for this bottle? $15.

Energy Bits: 1000 250 mg tabs, 83 servings, $1.39 a serving

Now Spirulina: 500 300 mg tabs, 83 servings, $.19 a serving

You’re welcome.

SpirulinaFor my mood I went with 5HTP. I took St. Johns Wort for 2 years when I was quitting smoking (a big reason smokers relapse is because they’re unprepared for the mild depression that most experience post-quitting.) I stopped taking it about a year ago and started 5HTP a few weeks before I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and started experiencing panic attacks about once a week. Supposedly 5HTP is better for treating combo depression/anxiety then St. Johns Wort. I also like it because most people can notice an improvement in mood 1-14 days after starting it (mine is immediate!) Read more on 5HTP from WebMD.
Lastly, I started using a topical Estrogen cream. Since my body is producing virtually zero estrogen I tried to find natural ways to get more into my system. Soy  products do have estrogen like effects but because of my thyroid disease I try to minimize soy. I’m doing a bit of seed-cycling and this cream is the only one I found OTC. There are three types of estrogen the body produces and this kind, estriol, is produced/used the least but I figured it’s better than nothing! estrogenSo, overall, I have amazing energy again and my mood has improved significantly! The researcher in me know’s better than to start a bunch of new supplements at once (because then it’s impossible to know which one’s are actually working) but I was just to excited to try them all. Once I get my cycle back (and cutting running down is the next step after the marathon) I will try to get stable for a few months, then gradually cut out/ween off the supplements.

What supplements do you take? 

Do you think mother nature has provided us with what we need to cure most diseases?

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35 Responses

  • Michael says:

    For my self I take no supplements. I believe if we eat right we do not have to. I suffered from extreme anxiety, high cholesterol, TMJ, high blood pressure and high resting heart beat. Today all problems gone. Biggest culprit that caused these problems was glucose, (sugar) caffeine, flour products and the biggest culprit processed foods. I now am in optimal health. There is a saying, you are what you eat. It’s true. Desire and staying true to your self will help you on your food choice journey.
    I look at it this way. Years ago there was no need for supplements. They did not have man made foods or processed foods then. Food today is the cause of many health problems from cancer to mental health. Food it’s self is also an addiction.

    • Erica House says:

      Unfortunately, a clean diet isn’t enough to remedy all health conditions. I eat almost exclusively whole, real foods and have limited my gluten, sugar, and caffeine intake for the last year. My TMJ and was not food related, my IBS/Ischemic colitis did go away with proper diet, but my thyroid issue is genetic and while some have claimed to ‘cure’ it with food I haven’t seen enough scientific evidence to give up my thyroid meds just yet. I’d love to be able to someday, and will continue researching into it!

  • Linz says:

    i’m glad you’re finding things that work for you!

  • I love energybits too but man, that’s a huge price difference! I currently take vitamins in a women’s daily pack from Nutrilite and energybits, but beyond that my nutrition needs an overhaul- seriously. I haven’t been eating as well as I should have but I need to rethink everything in my pantry.

    I’ve cut back on buying junk foods like candy, desserts and snack crackers- but wholesome is something I haven’t quite gotten down yet for the winter months when you just want something warm and satisfying instead of light/cool for summer. Hmmm.

    • Erica House says:

      I’d be very interested to see what people who’ve taken energybits think about regular spirulina. If you try it out let me know!
      Fall does naturally lend itself to hearty eating. I’m going to start making huge batches of soup again so I can freeze some and have them for dinner for a while. Most of my soups are very healthy so it’s a nice fall-ish meal without tons of calories!

  • Helen says:

    I’m so glad that you found things that work for you, Erica. You are right that taking a lot of new supplements isn’t the best thing to do, but since it is working for you, that’s good. The only supplement I take is a multivitamin, one with 100% iron. I only take it when I’m slightly anemic.

  • dotsie924 says:

    Interesting on the 5-HTP..and all the others. I was looking up natural mood enhancers yesterday. I came a cross a few, like Lumiday, which is way expensive…and Natrol brand Theanine, also a little more than I want to spend.

    Anyway, glad you’re feeling better :)

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve had really, really good results with the 5HTP. You should look into it! Or let me know if you have any questions. It’s pretty inexpensive. I think that link to Amazon has a 3 month supply for about $20.

  • Uri says:

    My concerns are mainly high cholesterol, even though my BMI is a very normal 23. I take a couple fish oil tablets per day, and a generic statin. I also take a multi-vitamin daily, as well as bioflavanoids + Vit B Complex for an inner-ear issue I have had for decades (officially called Menierre’s Syndrome). I used to take 5HTP but after about 30 days of regular use, its benefits seemed to disappear. It was also very pricey. I do have 3 cups of caffeine (which is a huge cut-back after I had a bad caffeine addiction in the early 00’s), but 2 of those cups are green tea, and only 1 is a strong cup of coffee (can’t help it, I love coffee). Besides that, I try to eat as many veggies and fruits as I can per day. I eat 2 bananas daily, 2 apples daily, greek yogurt, steel cut oatmeal and only home-prepped lunches that I’ve made myself. As I mentioned previously, I just turned 40 and I’ve never felt better. I have energy when I need it, and I religiously get my 8 hours of sleep. Oh, and during Fall and Winter, I make sure to have at least a clove of fresh garlic in my nightly salads (which is my dinner), along with a slice of toast loaded with hummus. All that, and I am one of those people that generally doesn’t really get sick often. Oh yeah, and I do take a daily anti-histamine for mild nasal allergies. :)

    • Erica House says:

      My Mom has Menierres! Inner ear imbalance … she used to get dizzy spells a lot. The 5HTP I get off Amazon is about $20 for 3 months. I don’t think I’ve taken it for more than 6ish weeks before so it will be interesting to see if I build up a tolerance to it! Your diet sounds fantastic! I keep reading more research on how good coffee can be for your health (in the levels you consume now.) Your garlic loaded salads and hummus toast sound freaking amazing right now (I’m hungry lol.)

      • Uri says:

        I realize my breath my stink to high heaven as a result, but I’d rather that and not get sick! That’s crazy about your mom! I was officially diagnosed with Menierre’s in 2002 I think it was, though I had been feeling the effects mildly a couple years before that (I don’t recall ever having the effects as a child/teenger). I had VERY bad dizzy spells around 2008 or so, and after a couple times of those, I sought a more regular regimen. And let me tell you, now taking a bioflavanoid and Vit B Complex daily, I haven’t had a dizzy spell since! I am so glad that I am able to keep the symptoms away naturally. Unfortunately, some folks have far more serious or resilient symptoms, and they are no fun.Imagine feeling extremely drunk without any of the “good” effects. During the episode, it was even difficult for me to walk straight. :/

        • Erica House says:

          I don’t think she’s had any issues with it for years but I’ll mention the bioflavanoid and Vitamin B to her. I hadn’t heard of those helping before!

      • Uri says:

        By the way, I make my own hummus! :) You are invited to come over some time and try it! hahaha

  • Ohh energybits don’t get me started. supposed to take at least 30 a day, holy cow!! The probiotics and digestive enzymes have been lifesavers for me.

    • Erica House says:

      I really tried to keep my opinions to myself when I presented the cost comparison, but I was pretty ticked when I thought of how much they are charging. I wanted to try them for the longest time when I saw other bloggers using them but there is no way I could ever afford that much. Stuff like this is what makes people think eating healthy has to be ridiculously expensive.

  • Andrew says:

    Good to hear some positive news on your health. Been following your training for the marathon and you are going to CRUSH it. Remember don’t let your nerves get the best of you on race day. Believe me, the HARDEST part is behind you. Enjoy race day and enjoy the experience.

    For your next endeavor I suggest doing a triathlon. Much better for your body. The mileage for marathon traing will beat you up.

    Good luck!!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! A triathalon is definitely next on my ‘to do’ list. I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I just need to save up for a bike!

  • Olya says:

    It always surprises me when people object to the use of supplements. I always think that the stress on your body from feeling sick is harsher than possible side effects of supplements. I find it so so hard to choose supplements – there are so many of them! I’ve been trying to find vitamin B12 for ages and still can’t decide which one to buy. The research suggests taking only 3mcg per day but all the supplements have minimum 50mcg per drop/tablet. So confusing.

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve also had an issue with finding supplements that have a suitable dosage. Most supplements give like 10x the daily recommended value! I’m okay with that as long as they are water soluble supplements. With those, most of what you don’t need will just … pass through you pretty quickly!

  • Great to see your progress & I hope you crush the marathon! I recently explored & started using spirulina algae as part of my diet/training, I am sticking with Energybits & in fact, i just sign up to become a brand ambassador. For me it was all about trusting the sourcing, quality & supporting the company/small business. As a family, we made a similar decission to go non toxic in all of our household personal care products last year. We pay a little more for products which we believe do a better job/are safer at a higher price, of course every family & budget is different, but in most case the “swap out” product lasts longer or replaces muti use products so the price per use wasn’t as bad or becomes more reasonable over time. Just food for thought, hope Salem is well, look forward to reading how the race goes in a few weeks, all the best :-)

    • Erica House says:

      I agree 100% with paying for quality and that not all products (especially health supplements!) are created equal. The spirulina I purchased from Amazon has an identical product that is organic so I will switch to that one when this bottle is out.

  • Christine says:

    I’ve been wanting to start taking spirulina, probably in smoothies, but I haven’t because I’m a sucker for health products and was trying to curb my addiction, haha. I do take American Health acidophilus, it’s a vegan chewable (very tasty) tablet, and it’s $7.99 for 90, (very frequently bogo free).

    I also used to take 5-HTP, I can’t really remember if it helped or not with energy/mood in general…I guess maybe that means it didn’t, if I can’t remember, haha.

    L-Theanine, the chemical in tea that gives you that mental boost, has always helped me concentrate, but alas I stopped taking it when I was pregnant and haven’t started again since I’m breastfeeding. I’d recommend researching it, and maybe try it in a few months when you’ve adjusted to what you’re currently taking.

    Most importantly, I hope your health continues to improve and I hope you dominate your marathon!

    • Erica House says:

      Lol – I also wonder if I need to curb my health product obsession! It’s just so much fun to experiment with different supplements/foods when my budget allows :) I’ve read a bit about L-Theanine before but I need to look into it further as I’m definitely interested in it.

  • Alina says:

    Hello, Erica. It is my first time writing you and it is very nice to have found you. I’ve read all your posts, and watched all of your videos and i want to congradulate you for what you do. I also love working out and eating healthy, and live a positive life. I too have been diagnosticated with Hashimotos 2 months ago. First my doc put me on 25 mg of Euthyrox (L-thyroxine), and after my blood results, he raised it for 50 mg. My tsh was 5,30 now, and first 4,27.. I just want to ask you if you tried more doctors for diagnostic, and what medicine do you take. I also seen a video on youtube ( ) about healing Hashimotos with an alcaline diet and i want to know what you think about it. Sorry for my english, it is my second language. I would really love to hear from you. You are amazing. Keep up with the good work.

    • Erica House says:

      Alina – thank you so much for reading my posts and watching my videos!
      Currently I am on 100 mg of Synthroid. My TSH went from a 15 in April to a .3 last month. I have only been to one doctor for my Hashimotos but I plan to try a endocronologist in a few weeks if my symptoms are still bothering me at that time. I have done a lot of reading on how to heal Hashimoto’s naturally and I need to do more research before I start to try out new things. I have heard that an alkaline diet helps with thyroid disease (and many other issues!) I will continue to post updates regarding my Hashimotos as I try/learn new things. Please let me know if you ever have any questions and good luck with managing your Hashi’s!

  • Wow, that is so much to handle- stay strong! I’m happy to hear that you’re finding reliable supplements that are working for you though. I’m definitely going to have to give some of these a try!

    • Erica House says:

      I’m happy to report my energy and mood is still improved, but I need to work on regulating my cycle still. Going to give it a few months post-marathon to see if it normalizes without the crazy training I was doing. If not, I’ll be back to docs/blood work.