I’ve been pregnant and/or nursing for nearly 4 years now. All this growing and feeding babies has worn my body out a bit! A few months ago, I was feeling especially tired and like my body was running on empty. I felt like my exhaustion stemmed from more than simply lack of sleep and began to wonder if, even though I eat a (mostly) healthy diet, my body was missing some important nutrients. I already was taking a supplement for Vitamin D because blood test results had showed I had incredibly low levels. But, I wondered if maybe there were other nutrients my body was lacking.
My dad is a doctor, so I gave him a call and told him what my standard prenatal vitamin included, asking him if I should be taking more than that. He seemed appalled at how few supplements I had been taking and gave me his recommendations for several more. He encouraged me that these increased amounts of each supplement would help restore my energy and my nutritional reserves.
At first, I balked at the high cost of the supplements and the idea of having to take so many pills each day, but I figured I’d give anything a try if it meant feeling less exhausted. Since I started taking these supplements, I have had a substantial increase in my energy and general feeling of well-being. For me, they’ve definitely been worth it (although, I still don’t enjoy taking so many pills each day)!
Since I know many moms who have struggled with this feeling of low energy and a few of my friends have benefited from taking these extra supplements as well, I thought I’d share his recommendations with y’all. Of course, these supplements meet my needs as a post-pregnant and breastfeeding mom and they came to me recommended by a doctor, but you’ll still want to check with your doctor for what you should be taking. My own Vitamin D intake, in particular, is likely to be higher than what you need because my levels were so low initially.
Here are the amounts of essential supplements he recommended (and in parenthesis, I’ve included what my old One A Day prenatal vitamin was providing for comparison):
- 2,000 IU of Vitamin D (One A Day prenatal: 400 IU)
- 2 grams (yes, grams!) of Calcium (One A Day prenatal: 300 mg)
- 500 mg magnesium (One A Day prenatal: 50 mg)
- 50-100 mg CoQ10 – I’d never heard of taking this before, but it is supposed to help with energy levels! (One A Day prenatal doesn’t have any)
- 2400 mg + of Fish Oil
- 800 mcg of Folic Acid (One A Day prenatal: 800 mcg – the only vitamin that matched up!)
- 324 mg of ferrous gluconate to provide 65 mg of Iron (One A Day prenatal: 28 mg of Iron)
- Vitamin B Complex – should contain at least 100mcg of B12 (One A Day prenatal: 8 mcg!)
As you can see, my One A Day prenatal vitamin was barely providing me with the supplements my body needs. In fact, since I was so behind on my supplements and had been pregnant/breastfeeding for an extended period, my dad recommended that I try to restore my levels by doubling his recommended doses of Calcium and Iron for the first month. After a month, I began taking the doses I listed above.
In addition to the realization that my One A Day prenatal vitamin was not providing me with as much supplement as I needed, I also realized that it was making me sicker.
After I struggled with migraines and vertigo for over 2 years, I discovered that food dyes are one of the key triggers for my symptoms and have been trying to avoid them in foods. (In researching the effects of food dyes, I also discovered a lot of other not-so-great things about them, so would probably try to avoid them anyway!)
I never would have expected that my vitamin would contain something like food dyes, but sure enough, my One A Day prenatal vitamin did and so do many, many other supplements. Each day that I took my One A Day prenatal, I was contributing to my migraines and vertigo. When I realized this, I stopped taking the supplements and noticed an improvement in my symptoms within only 3 days!
As I researched the various supplements that I needed to purchase based off “Dr. Dad’s list”, I had a hard time finding vitamins and supplements that were affordable and didn’t contain food dyes.
I did a lot of research to find the vitamins and supplements that meet my requirements for low additives and low(ish) price and thought I’d share my findings with you here. All of the supplements I bought came in fairly large bottles because it’s much cheaper. (Just so you know, if you buy through these links, you’ll be helping to support stayatbeachmom.com, but, as always, I only vouch for the products that I can truly stand behind.)
Here are the vitamins that I take daily in order to meet roughly the amounts of each supplement that “Dr. Dad” recommended above:
I bought the larger sizes of these because the price per pill works out to be much lower; some of these bottles will last me up to a year.
So that I don’t have to open 7 pill bottles every night, I fill two weekly pill organizers every two weeks and then just take the pills from each day’s spot.
I hope that this encourages you to talk with your doctor and take a look at your own supplemental needs and that these supplements maybe will give you the energy boost you need to care for your family and yourself well! I really have noticed a serious difference in my energy level and overall feeling of health while on these supplements and hope the same might be true for you.
Do you have any other tips for maintaining your energy? Or, have you tried any supplements that either worked well for you or ended up making you sicker than you would have been without them? I was so surprised that my old prenatal vitamin included food dyes!