Difficulty swallowing supplements

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Difficulty swallowing supplements

Postby JoyIsMyStrength » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:48 am

Hi everyone,

I am a firm believer in trying the natural route, having already suffered thru the DMD's with bad results. Whole 'nother topic.

So... a while back I found myself going a little overboard buying every natural supplement on the market if someone had mentioned it would help MS. There were so many, I literally kept them in a garbage bag and wrote the # to take in large numbers on the top of each bottle so I could keep track.

After awhile I couldn't get them down any more. They lodged in my esophagus and stayed there for days, and I would choke on them trying to get them down. I was miserable and wound up giving the entire bag of vitamins to another friend with MS.

Next I tried various liquid vitamin formulas but honestly they are awful... I liken them to scooping up oozing swamp slime and drinking it. I wish I could just plug my nose and deal with it but these make me gag.

I currently take Vitamin D drops and I have a powdered cal/mag complex that can be mixed with food or water. It's not a balanced regimen but at least it's manageable.

So... I am back on the VitaCost site and found a chewable Vit C with mixed bioflavanoids that looks good. I am thinking that I also need a good balanced high potency multi and B-100 as a minimum. Unfortunately I find that it's hard to swallow large pills these days as they make me choke.

What can I do to ensure I'm getting good balanced supplementation as recommended for MS while minimizing choking risk?

Thanks for any advice,
Pam
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Postby CureOrBust » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:34 pm

If they are getting stuck in your throat, keep a glass of drink handy after you have finished all the tablets, and drink the glass from beginning to end without a break to help wash down anything stuck. Thats what has helped me in the past. Try getting an NAC tablet "half swallowed", and you will soon learn (it BUUUURNS)

I personally have now trained myself to be able to swallow a hand full of tablets in one gulp, with hardly any liquid. It's like I'm heading for the tablet swallowing olympics. 8)
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:05 pm

hi there, i started to have trouble swallowing when i was taking vitamin d3. i took calcium and magnesium like you're supposed to with d3. unfortunately at first i did not know about timing. my throat issues got scary bad and i started thinking pretty morbidly.

then a pharmacist happened to tell me to take a portion of my daily magnesium intake, at a different time from the d3. i did so and in two days things got better. didn't trust it so i stopped the extra mag. problems returned. so, if that sounds like a possible solution for you, try it out! hope it can be of help.
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Postby JoyIsMyStrength » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:37 pm

Hi Cure,

Try getting an NAC tablet "half swallowed", and you will soon learn (it BUUUURNS)


Yessiree, it's happened with aspirin lately and it's an awful feeling and nasty taste, having no choice but to let it dissolve. One thing I have tried besides downing a gallon of water is turning my head and neck from side to side in an effort to dislodge it. Thanks for the advice and here's wishing you a gold medal in those Olympics! :wink:

Hi jimmylegs,

my throat issues got scary bad and i started thinking pretty morbidly.


Oh my that made me smile, I know exactly what you mean. Choking is no fun at all and it can certainly make me think the worse. I didn't consider breaking up the dosages but it makes so much sense. I'll give it a try. Thanks! I have appreciated the helpful links in your signature, too.

Would welcome your thoughts on one other thing: If you were me and trying to keep the number of pills to swallow down to a minimum, what would you consider the most important supplements to take? (You can see in my first post what I'm currently taking.)

Thanks again,
Pam
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Postby jimmylegs » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:05 am

hi pam, somehow i did not see your most recent question until today.

in my situation, it did not matter whether i was talking about taking pills or swallowing liquids, my throat was sticking mid-swallow at any random time and i could not breathe until i managed to complete the swallowing motion. it sucked.

this was in addition to continually having the feeling of things going down the wrong way, taking a swig of water and having it definitely go down the wrong way, or having food move very slowly through my oesophagus.

i found that separating some of my magnesium intake from the d3 intake made the major difference to all of those problems. i still have some throat weirdness - it's more like i have to clear my throat every now and then, but i can do so effectively now.

after the magnesium timing switch, i had no further problems with taking pills, or eating, or drinking, or just the regular swallowing you do over the course of the day, all of which had been traumatic for some time previously. one exception: the time i stopped all magnesium supplements for a week prior to going to a throat specialist - the issues came back obediently.

as for what to take:

I currently take Vitamin D drops and I have a powdered cal/mag complex that can be mixed with food or water. It's not a balanced regimen but at least it's manageable.

So... I am back on the VitaCost site and found a chewable Vit C with mixed bioflavanoids that looks good. I am thinking that I also need a good balanced high potency multi and B-100 as a minimum. Unfortunately I find that it's hard to swallow large pills these days as they make me choke.

What can I do to ensure I'm getting good balanced supplementation as recommended for MS while minimizing choking risk?


I would like to hear whether adding some extra magnesium to your daily intake has been helpful at all. There is a product Natural Calm which is powdered mag citrate which you can get in a variety of flavours and is a nice hot drink perfect for bedtime.

first and foremost, i would consider a good diet to be the required foundation for a minimalistic supplementation plan. so either way you need to be able to swallow!

i don't buy into a few of the mainstream diet recommendations for ms, but if you minimize the baddies and maximize the good foods, you'd be on the right track anyway. i tend to think correcting a few out of whack levels would make many ms patients less sensitive to some of the foods they are advised to avoid.

personally i can't afford all organics when i'm shopping, but i try for at least some.
minimal baked/manufactured/processed convenience foods.
i try to ensure raw or very lightly steamed foods and a quality protein source are part of the daily routine..
guilty fast food pleasures: 6" tuna sub with cheese and veg, no sauce... 16 cheeseburgers per year - sat and sun lunch bbq through the ski season LOL
generally i try not to eat too much from restaurants, except that's another thing that's pretty hard for me during jan and feb.

as far as your supplement list, to me it looks like you are on the right track.

Overall, I am personally in line with the Direct-MS supplement recommendations - although i can't say i niacin-flush regularly any more, and with folic acid i tend to leave it at what's in the Bcomplex

personally i feel that the most important supplements would be:

zinc (my 50mg capsules are the smallest pills i take in any given day)

vitamin D3 (balanced with cal/mag and extra off-timed mag - all doable in liquid format)

a quality multivitamin/multimineral - as for selecting multis, if you don't like premade liquids, there are all kinds of powdered products out there like greensplus, or i think vega? - that you can mix into shakes/smoothies. pretty sure i tried a greensplus sample one time though, and found it pretty nice. you can check out the various options and compare them to what you know is needed for ms patients, boost amounts where necessary.

b100-complex (perhaps with added sublingual b12) - it's possible to find a good capsule that is not a horse-pill. also keep trying with the b complex liquids. see if you can get a sample of genestra b-complex liquid.

vitamin C (should be easy as pie to get a powdered version you can mix into orange juice, or if you like the chewable you mentioned, great! :))

vitamin E (E8 complex - natural ratio - is best in terms of supplements, it's basically oils in gelcaps from what i have seen so far. you can also just boost your intake of sunflower seeds, sunflower seed oil, wheat germ, that sort of thing)

fish oil (as opposed to cod liver oil) (i take big gelcaps but you should be able to get something decent that you can take by the spoonful).

vitamin A - make sure you get the recommended daily amount.
calf's liver, milk and eggs have preformed vit A according to www.whfoods.com. (love that site)
Food sources of carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomatoes (also from www.whfoods.com)
i also have a jar of vit A gelcaps and they are tiny so you hopefully would not have a problem with those if you chose to take some. i don't take vit A every day and it's not one i have tended to monitor closely - yet!

eat two brazil nuts per day for selenium. otherwise the selenium 200mcg capsules i take are also quite small, so you should be able to find something :).

HTH! glad you found the sig links handy too :)
take care
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Postby JoyIsMyStrength » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:37 pm

jimmylegs you have officially been nominated "world's most helpful person." Wow, thanks for all of that! I need time to ponder a bit and will get back to you. Overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness.
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Postby jimmylegs » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:29 am

no probs! wow that is some kind of awesome nomination thanks :D
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Postby JoyIsMyStrength » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:48 pm

Hi jimmylegs,

I have been taking my time building a shopping cart over at Vitacost.com trying to balance nutrition with cost. I also found that I have a few things already to help get by until time to re-order. So... I wanted to run my list past you along with links -- that way if anyone is curious ("where did you find that?") they can easily see it for themselves. It's hard to find inexpensive supplements that are easy to take. Here goes -- item, total dosage, delivery method.

These are items I already have on hand:

Multivitamin - 1 tab (I bought these for my daughter but she never takes them so I am confiscating -- they have iron but I'm slightly anemic so it's ok -- impressive 200 mcg selenium -- 800 mg folic acid)
http://www.vitacost.com/Rainbow-Light-W ... 50-Tablets

Zinc - 30 mg - 1 tab (40 mg total when including 10 mg in multi)
http://www.vitacost.com/Natures-Way-Zinc

Vitamin D - 6000 IU = 3 drops x 2000 IU (there are already 800 IU in the multi so total dose will be 6800) - I love these:
http://www.vitacost.com/NSI-Vitamin-D-Drops

Magnesium Oxide - 500 mg - 2 tabs X 250 mg daily
cheap CVS brand -- will take more when constipation is a problem which is often the case -- got this tip from you! It really works! :)

Vinpocetine - 10 mg - 1 tab (vasodilator comparable to gingko)
http://www.vitacost.com/NSI-BioVinca-Vi ... section-pr

B-12 - 10,000 mcg sublingual - 1 tab - includes 2 mg B6 and 1200 mcg folic acid (very pricey, super high dosage, not sure if should take along with the b-complex? probably won't reorder but good product - not available at VitaCost)
http://www.evitamins.com/product.asp?pid=13897

Ready to buy:

B complex 50 sustained release - 1 tab (when including the B's in the multi I'll be getting approx. 75% of B-100 complex -- hoping this is good enough and I like that it's sustained release)
http://www.vitacost.com/Schiff-Sustaine ... Complex-50

Flax Oil - for omega 3-6-9 - 1 tbsp (I'm choosing this over fish oil because I'm already taking vit. D and the multi has 5000 IU vit. A)
http://www.vitacost.com/Natures-Way-Efa ... n-16-fl-oz

Calcium soft chews - 1000 mg = 2 chews x 500 mg (add to calcium in the multi = 1200 mg total)
http://www.vitacost.com/Nutrition-Now-C ... -Chewables

Vitamin C chewables - 1000 mg = 2 chews x 500 mg (add 120 mg from multi = 1120 mg total)
http://www.vitacost.com/Natural-Factor- ... ixed-Fruit

Vitamin E drops - 300 IU = 25 drops x 12 IU/drop (add to the E in the multi to get 400 IU total)
http://www.vitacost.com/Country-Life-Ve ... -E-Complex

Horse chestnut - 300 mg - 1 tab (for vein integrity)
http://www.vitacost.com/Planetary-Formu ... e-Chestnut

I want to buy this later to replace magnesium tabs:

Natural Calm (magnesium) - pricey - will wait 'til pills are all gone
http://www.vitacost.com/Peter-Gillham-N ... weet-Lemon

I also want to try Genestra one of these days.

Total daily regimen:
7 tablets/capsules to swallow
4 chewables
28 drops
1 Tbsp oil
1 sublingual

---

What do you think? Is there anything you can see that is obviously missing, or any products that you feel I should avoid? My goal is to keep swallowing pills to a minimum and still have a few dollars left for food! :)

Oh and speaking of diet, I have been on Swank since July 2008. Not sure if it is helping. Decided to go gluten free July 2009 but about 2 weeks ago started eating gluten again because it made no difference. I still have gf products in the house so avoid gluten but not entirely. I am also close to dairy free, getting there anyway.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you etc.

Pam 8)
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:58 am

hi pam :)
off the top i would say i'm not keen on that E complex, at least the alpha tocopherol is d- not dl-, but as for the rest it appears to have mixed tocopherols but no tocotrienols. so 4 out of the 8 you want in an E complex. if you take only tocopherols you can actually drive down the tocotrienols. one benefit of tocotrienols is the suppression of tumour formation. not something i want to give up!

Tocotrienols inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells irrespective of estrogen receptor status
http://www.springerlink.com/content/el184231rqx72640/

Effect of tocotrienols on the growth of a human breast cancer cell line in culture
http://www.springerlink.com/content/v17041162n62g3j7/

The Association between Baseline Vitamin E, Selenium, and Prostate Cancer in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study1
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/7/4/335.full.pdf

Supplementation of Diets with alpha-Tocopherol Reduces Serum Concentrations of gamma- and delta-Tocopherol in Humans
http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abs ... 33/10/3137

i can't find the one article with a table that shows the declining levels of tocotrienol under tocopherol-only supplementation :( it's from the SELECT study though.

that b12 sure is a massive one. would it be difficult to cut up into smaller doses? do you have trouble sleeping when you take those?

as for fish vs flax, i think it's cod liver oil that you'd have to worry about vit D and vit A - to my knowledge fish oil is not the same. whichever way you go, you're looking to boost omega 3 mostly, and you want to know what the product is providing in terms of EPA and DHA. your body has to convert things in flax oil to make EPA and DHA. they just come as is in fish oil.

Comparison of Flax Oil vs. Fish Oil and Borage Oil: Are You Lacking the Enzyme to Digest Flax Oil?
http://www.level1diet.com/fish-vs-flax-oil.html

that's all for now, off to work!
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Postby JoyIsMyStrength » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:16 pm

Whew jimmylegs, you are quite the arm twister. Uncle! :)

I listed that B12 only because it's already here. I was experimenting with it when B12 shots weren't doing anything and it was suggested that I'd need a daily boost to get results. It's almost all gone, no results. Consider it a bust.

It was hard to find Vit. E as you described but I think this would work:
http://www.vitacost.com/MegaFood-Nutrit ... Complete-8

It's *gasp* incredibly expensive but I'll give it a try. I wish they would give some clue about pill size.

As for fish oil, my husband already has gobs of softgels here that are too big for me to swallow so thinking of 2 tsp of liquid to get 3.2 g EPA/DHA per day. It's lemon flavored so maybe I could mix with OJ.
http://www.vitacost.com/Carlson-The-Ver ... t-Fish-Oil

And according to the source you cited I guess I need borage oil as well. This delivers 280 mg GLA per 1/4 tsp and it's said to be tasteless so I can deal with that:
http://www.vitacost.com/Health-From-the ... uctDetails

Hoping this all seems about right. Meanwhile if you'll excuse me I'm off to go rob a bank so I can pay for all this. :lol:

Thanks again,
Pam
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