No “girlfriends, you need to get some D in you,” from me – because we all remember how that marvellously hetro-normative vitamin marketing campaign crashed and burned.
But I have chosen to write about, well, boring-ass vitamins as my return post because one of the things that made me want to blog in the first place was the genuinely transformative power of make-up. How I loved it, how I was decoding its secrets from being posh and fussy to something normal women could be really into – and afford – as well. And, at the nascent beginnings of the beauty internet, it was a kick finding out where to buy all those cool things you could never get here.
We’re now in an era where people bleach their arseholes, snap themselves – jesus, I don’t know, having the ride most likely – and using fucking condoms to blend and Bisto to contour. Enough. There’s so little mystery left in beauty and that’s a shame, because it kicks the enthusiasm out of you if you’re into it – and I love products. Just, maybe, a bit less.
So, vitamins. Yes, vitamins. My new masso enthusiasm.
Back story: I broke my leg badly in October 2015 in an accident that was entirely my own fault. I jumped off a wall instead of shimmying off it, and the rest is titanium-plated history.
I beep going through airports, my plantar flexion never really recovered and the last time I had an x-ray (in November) there was still a hole in my tibia waiting to fill in. I broke my fibula and my ankle too, was on crutches for six months and all the rest. It still hurts. No fun, but bones heal.
One of the things the surgeon told me to do (apart from lose loads of weight which is weirdly hard to do when you can’t move. And, um, I still haven’t done it) was to never not supplement with calcium. So I started to do that immediately. You need vitamin D to absorb calcium, so I started taking that as well. I later banged in some chromium for stress and changed my calcium to a calcium/magnesium pill, as I get migraines.
I’ve been doing that consistently for almost two years, and here’s what I have learned.
Vitamins. Fucking. Work.
Specifically, vitamin D is a bloody miracle. Clearly, I was deficient, because since I have been taking it (1000ug of D3 each morning) – and this is the only thing I can attribute this to, and based on some reading and anecdotal chats – I have experienced the following:
- I haven’t had a cold. I used to be plagued by colds. I’d get four-to-five a winter, a summer howler and then all the rest. So I was constantly blowing my nose. Add my crappy sinuses, and colds would frequently turn into a sinus infection or a cough, or both. So no colds. Not one. Okay: I had the flu last Christmas but that’s viral, so I don’t think even vitamin D could have protected me from it.
- The second benefit is more hazy and less quantifiable. I have always been a person who has had big ups and down with worry and low mood. But that seems to have smoothed out a lot in the last year particularly. I’m not taking anything else (I have, many times, in the past), and I would absolutely attribute the cats to helping me feel calmer as well: they are enormously soothing. There are studies around vitamin D and mood disorders, but as of yet, there’s no firm conclusion. So it’s not up to me to say, take this and you’ll feel better. And it would be massively irresponsible, to boot. What I can say is for me, a combination of factors (I started taking vitamin D, we moved and we have now much more space after years of frustration in a tiny flat, I love our house. I also moved jobs and have a far better work environment, we finally got two lovely little moggies etc etc) mean I feel a lot more calm and positive.
In terms of magnesium and chromium – I’m just not sure. I think, based on what I’ve read, I’d need to be taking a lot more magnesium and taking it when I feel a migraine coming on. I handle those differently – if anyone wants to know how, hit me up.
Chromium is indicated for stress and sleep. I have phases I go through when I just don’t sleep, I lie awake and worry. I haven’t had one of those for a good while, so it could be that it is working with the vitamin D, or it may be doing sweet shag all. I can really only speak to vitamin D’s benefits.
I also take B12, vitamin C and iron, because it turned out I actually am iron deficient – but that’s for another post.
So, to conclude this long and winding memoir of my morning pill intake: should you follow my lead? Lots of us are D-deficient here and we just don’t realise. Symptoms include things like a general sense of feeling knackered – which you’ll probably ignore, because who isn’t knackered? – hair loss and more serious things like hypertension. You can get your levels checked at the doctors – a simple blood test will do it and they’ll test for other things too.
Getting it back up takes time: the primary way we’re meant to get vitamin D is via the sun and secondarily via diet, and we typically don’t get enough sunlight here to boost our stores. Unlike a vitamin like C, we keep D in our bodies, and like iron, it’s possible to have too much of it as well.
So if sunlight isn’t an option (and you can’t afford 78 holidays a year) and you don’t fancy liver for dinner every day, then as far as I’m concerned, supplementing makes sense.
Let me know what you take – and if you’ve found vitamins to be the transformative wonder I have.