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The importance of tracking your progress...

Like many folks on the site, I am healing exclusively with the aid of OTC vitamins and supplements.  Although the healing response is often much slower than with prescription drugs, and there is more experimentation necessary, I consider it a much safer alternative that I feel I have much more control over.  The big downside of course,  is that one can end up with a laundry list of supplements to research, purchase, take correct dosages of, and track responses to.  This can become very overwhelming, especially if you are unsure whether a particular supplement is really providing any benefit, or if it is just burning a big hole in your pocket.  

Wanted to share with folks here a reminder to do your best to track your supplements and the progress you make on them.  Recently, I have done I poorer job than usual at this, and it has led to some reemergence of my symptoms and frustration.  Hoping to recount some tips and details below.

Tip #1 Start any new supplements one at a time for a least one week and track any progress or concerns during that time.

A few months back I started three supplements, Metagenics Kidney Support, Monolaurin, and Tanalbit at the suggestion of my doctor on top of the 15 or so other supplements I was already taking.  I was already making some progress, but felt there was still plenty of room for improvement, and was not concerned about adding a few supplements to my daily regiment. Unfortunately, I started all three at the same time.  This has the potential for two problems: First, if I had started to feel negative effects, I would not have known which supplement was responsible. Secondly, and this is what happened in my instance, if symptoms improve it is not clear which, if any were responsible.

Tip #2 When planning to stop a supplement, try tapering off the dosage for only one supplement at a time over a week and track symptoms.   

Granted, making progress is not a bad thing, but when it was time to refill on the supplements in question, I was faced with a choice:  Should I continue on each of these supplements given the progress, or stop given the cost and fact that the progress may have been from only one of the supplements, or potentially from the others already being taken?  I chose the latter, considering the high cost of all three supplements, and chalked much of my progress up to the fact that I was simply healing.  Within 3 days of stopping the supplements cold turkey many of my old symptoms started coming back, and I did not have any remaining supplements to take; I had stopped when the bottles ran out.

Tip #3 When stopped completely, keep enough of the supplement handy to allow for starting up again if symptoms return, with enough days to account for the time necessary to obtain/ship a new order.  

It is almost a week later and the supplements I stopped are now planned to be delivered tomorrow.  Although I am tempted to start all of them together again to start making progress, this time I plan to follow my own tips to better health. It can be a tedious and frustrating process trying to heal through more natural methods, especially if you are acting as your own patient advocate, but in the end it is worth knowing that you are taking exactly what your body needs when it needs it.