Tag Archives: dietary supplements

Soluble Fiber Good, Insoluble Fiber Not So Much

There is a somewhat recent post on fiber by Mark Sisson, who is known for his “primal blueprint.” It is quite informative. I’m glad that at some point he notes the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is also referred to as “roughage” and doesn’t dissolve in water and isn’t digestible. If someone such as myself has issues in the colon then avoiding insoluble fiber is advised.

Insoluble fiber is found in many vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains.

Back in 2004 or so I was reading about fiber and how it could be helpful for someone with inflammatory bowel a.k.a. ulcerative colitis. But at that time I hadn’t learned enough about it. I was having pea soup for a while, but when I had another relapse of colitis in late 2004 I looked into these things further.

But it is okay for a sensitive colon to ingest soluble fiber, which does dissolve in water and is digestible. But not too much of it.

And even some forms of soluble fiber are still “harsh” and a bit difficult to digest, as I have found out. One example, in my experience, was pectin. The acidophilus pearls that I was having from 2005-2013 seemed to add pectin to their ingredients and I wasn’t aware of it until I then had a relapse in late 2012 the first one since 2005. In 2013 I switched to a different brand of acidophilus supplement.

Another harsh form of soluble fiber is fructooligosaccharide (FOS), which Ensure Plus had added and which seemed to give me a bit of trouble (when I was drinking Ensure, that is). Ensure removed the FOS at some point. I’ll bet people complained about it. One thing Ensure is good for is for people who have big issues in their digestive system and can’t eat a lot of food at that time, especially someone with ulcerative colitis.

But I had read that soluble fiber is good for the colon and actually aids the acidophilus probiotics to do what they’re supposed to do. So for several years I have been having a half-teaspoon of guar gum powder 3 times a day, mixed in with my apple juice or grape juice.

Further Update on Magnesium Supplements

I probably have mentioned this before, but in the past few weeks I have been experiencing apparent problems with the magnesium supplement again. I’ve been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate 200 mg twice per day. But I have noticed that it seemed to be getting less effective and my arm issue I have had was returning. And now this morning I’m waking up with lower leg cramps, which I rarely get, a good sign of magnesium deficiency. But that particular brand of magnesium seemed to be the best so far, that I had been taking since about January or February (and reviews online as well as Labdoor testing report seem to agree with me).

And then I checked out whether the extreme hot and humid weather we have been having could affect the supplements, which it turns out that could have an effect. I live in the northeast U.S. and we had many more 90+ degree (F) days than usual for three months, all Summer long. And the humidity has been extremely oppressive. It’s even affecting my front door, which has been sticking way too much.

So I added a 133 mg caplet* of the other form of magnesium I had been taking prior to switching to Bluebonnet magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, in addition to my two 200 tablets (or caplets) per day, until I buy new pills at the store.

To reiterate, I have to take magnesium supplements along with zinc and other vitamins and minerals. Because of my ulcerative colitis digestive condition, I can’t have the particular vegetables that are the sources of those nutrients.

*I assume they are 133 mg caplets/tablets because the nutritional information states that one serving is 3 pills that adds up to 400 mg.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Supplements, and More on Vitamins

First, this isn’t “advice,” because I am not a licensed nutritionist or otherwise medical professional. I am just giving my own personal experiences with things as well as what I have learned over the years, and readers can take it for what it’s worth.

But I really wanted to write a blog or article on my experiences with “doctors” and their bad advice that made things worse and caused new problems. But before I do that (and I don’t know when that might be), I wanted to write a little more on my experiences with the ulcerative colitis (UC), a.k.a. inflammatory bowel disease, as well as my experiences with supplements.

The UC began mainly in 1999. While I was given anti-inflammatory prescription drugs from then until the late 2000s, by about 2009 I was then relying on nutritional medicine including foods of an anti-inflammatory nature, supplements that could have anti-inflammatory effects, and other vitamins and supplements to make up for whatever nutrition might be lost because of not having the vegetables that are important for anti-oxidants and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and vitamin K and K2.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have learned that one can have too much of the vitamins and supplements, which could interfere with the body’s natural anti-inflammatory functioning and could actually compromise the immune system. Since May, for instance, I have reduced the vitamin D, from a total of over 4000 i.u. per day to now approx. 2400 per day. I wasn’t counting the added vitamin D in the milk I drink, and I wasn’t counting the 1000 i.u. vitamin D that my multi-vitamin has.

And that’s another thing that I didn’t mention in my previous post, it was possible the the iron was also interfering with my magnesium. My main source of iron was the multi-vitamin, that I was taking twice of per day. So I only take one multi-vitamin per day now. I have learned that it’s not a good idea to take too much iron, because it can build up in the blood and cause more problems. And I think that’s whether one is getting it from a supplement or from food such as red meat that contains a lot of iron.

As far as foods that contain properties of an anti-inflammatory nature (at least for the purpose of keeping UC in check), that includes whole milk, because milk fat has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as butter which is mainly milk fat. Butter is healthier anyway, than margarine, because of containing natural nutrients including omega 3 and vitamins. Margarine is a processed food containing chemicals and is not good.

And extra virgin olive oil is an important factor in preventing inflammation, not only if someone has UC or inflammatory bowel but it’s good to prevent inflammation of the heart and arteries.

Also concord grape juice is good, as far as foods are concerned.

Although not related to the subject of UC, I mentioned the arteries. A common scapegoat of problems with the arteries is cholesterol, when oftentimes the real culprit is inflammation. But another cause of issues in the arteries is calcifications, a calcium buildup in the arteries. That would be because of not getting enough vitamin K2, the main sources of which are vegetables (which I can’t have because of having UC). The vitamin K2’s main function is calcium distribution, in which K2 efficiently distributes the calcium to the bones that need the calcium, and prevents maldistribution of calcium to other areas that don’t want it, such as the arteries and the heart. So I also take vitamin K2, as well as vitamin D, C, natural E, and B complex. And magnesium and zinc too.

Just one final note about the B complex. I have learned from my experiences over all these years now and from what I read on the Internet that it’s not a good idea to take too much vitamin B6. Some B-complex vitamins contain too much B6. It should be a low amount. You really have to do your own research in all these things as I have had to do. And the actual learning experiences with all these things doesn’t seem to stop.

But regarding the ulcerative colitis, I will have to save more info on that regarding my experiences in the next post.

But the post or article I really want to write is about the bad advice and prescriptions from “doctors” as well as their withholding information about nutrition. Maybe that will be some time soon.

Could Nutritional Supplements Be Interfering With the Immune System?

I mentioned in this post in February that one part of the problem that I had with the magnesium supplement was a possible interaction with another supplement, L-theanine, which provides a “calming” effect.

In January 2017 I was under a lot of stress and so I took an L-theanine capsule (200 mg) one per day for about a month. I did gradually reduce it when stopping it by going to every other day and so on. But shortly after I stopped it I had a cold. The same thing happened a second time when I took the L-theanine again in June 2017 for about a month and stopped taking it, and had a cold shortly after that. So, I’m wondering hmm, maybe the L-theanine, which supposedly also has a reinforcing effect on the immune system (Chengjian Li, et al., 2016), gave my immune system a false reinforcement so that when stopping it, my immune system was then weaker than it was before starting the L-theanine?

So later in the year I took the L-theanine like just every other day maybe two or three times, and after that had a cold again. And earlier this past January 2018 I only took the L-theanine every other day like about two or three times, and the cold symptoms occurred again after that. It might have all been a coincidence. And in my earlier post I had thought that maybe it was because the L-theanine was interacting badly with my magnesium supplement. And, as I wrote in the previous post, I then learned that my symptoms, mainly headache (but nose running as well), were probably due to taking too high a dose of my magnesium supplement, which was only the 400 mg/day as recommended. Some things I read mentioned that too much magnesium could interfere with your immune system functioning. So I reduced the magnesium to a 200 mg caplet and a 1/2 of caplet later in day, and the headaches went away within a week after that, and after 3 weeks now I haven’t had any runny nose. However, if any of the problem was due to L-theanine, I haven’t taken that since January, and won’t take it again, because it’s too questionable.

And all that got me looking into these supplements that I take as added “anti-inflammatory” mainly for my ulcerative colitis or “inflammatory bowel” (that I mentioned here), which has been under control again since early 2013. From what I have learned, you have to be careful with these “anti-inflammatory-enhancing” supplements, because supposedly they interfere with your natural anti-inflammatory system. (Or do they?)

I’ve been taking the probiotic acidophilus pills since 2005, and also vitamins D, C, and E. The vitamin C experience I wrote about regarding my taking too much per day (up to 6000-7000 mg/day) and I gradually decreased it to 1250-1500 mg per day in 250 mg doses during the day (and followed up on that). I had been taking the vitamin D in the area of 3400 or 3800 i.u. per day, but I’ve started to reduce that now because apparently that is too high. And I take the “natural” vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) at 400 i.u. per day. I’ve also been taking quercetin approx. 200 mg three times per day for about 10 years, and now I’m not sure about that. The quercetin has been for over 10 years now, and I hope that hasn’t had too much of a negative effect, if any. That’s a bioflavonoid antioxidant found naturally in grapes, apples and onions, and supposedly has anti-inflammatory properties.

So, this whole thing with the supplements has been a continuing and frustrating learning experience. Because of my ulcerative colitis I can’t have most vegetables and fruits, which is where we naturally get our antioxidants for natural anti-inflammatory and immune system support. (Although I can have baked potato without skin at dinner, as well as carrot juice 3 times per day, concord grape juice and apple juice – thank goodness for those things!) This has been going on with me since mainly 1999, and I am in my mid-50s now.

And, by the way, the “doctors” I saw in those years mainly wanted to just give me the damn prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, but said nothing about the importance of nutrition. I’ll have something to say about my experience with the “MDs” from 1999 to 2008 in an upcoming post.

Too Much Magnesium Supplements?

As a follow-up to my previous post of February 17, 2018 and updated on March 13, 2018, I had been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate one caplet twice per day, but two weeks ago I reduced the second one by cutting it in half. They are 200 mg caplets.

The reason was that I had been getting these headaches and having some other issues like dizziness. And so after some more research I learned that too much magnesium can affect calcium, vitamin D and other vitamin or mineral levels and thus cause symptoms. But I was taking the recommended daily allowances of magnesium which is 400 mg. However, because both magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate are highly absorbable, some sources on the Internet recommended started off at a low dose like 1 caplet of 200 mg per day.

So two weeks ago I reduced the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate to 1 and 1/2 caplets per day. The symptoms have definitely gone down now.

It’s possible that I might be taking too much vitamin D, however. For a while I had been taking a total of 3400 i.u. of vitamin D, from the two multi-vitamin tablets I take per day (containing 1,000 i.u. vitamin D each), a 1,000 i.u. softgel and a 400 i.u. softgel. But that might be too much. Another thing I read is that, while vitamin D is supposed to help strengthen the immune system, too much vitamin D could actually compromise it. And I read the same thing about magnesium as well.

The reason I take the &$@*$&@ supplements is because with my ulcerative colitis (as mentioned in the previous post) I can’t eat particular foods, such as most vegetables, which contain a lot of non-digestible irritants known as “insoluble fiber.”

We need to get magnesium for our muscles, nerves and joints, as well as zinc, vitamin K and K2 for bones and other functions, and sources of those nutrients are mostly vegetables and fruits. This has been going on with me since 1999. So it’s taking me this long to understand these things. And as I mentioned in the previous post, I was probably getting some of these nutrients from drinking Ensure, which went on for over ten years. But I concluded that overall it’s not a good idea to drink Ensure over the long term of many years. And the same thing goes for fish oil softgel supplements. But that’s a different discussion.