In Monday’s New York Times, which I skim religiously, there was a headline that caught my eye. The Claim: Multivitamins Can Disrupt Users’ Sleep suggests, well, exactly what it says. A two-week study of people’s sleep patterns showed that those who take multivitamins had a slightly higher rate of “poor or interrupted sleep.” The article notes that “because they found only an association, they could not rule out the possibility that people with poorer sleep are simply more likely to seek out multivitamins.” So yes, there’s this, but what does it mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Well, for starters, duh. This article is a gloss, referencing only “multivitamins” and not detailing what, exactly, the study participants took – but even as a gloss, it notes that B vitamins are commonly understood to affect sleep. B vitamins, in case you don’t feel like looking into it (and why would you? This is all rather dull!) are one of the main components of the vitamins-n-mineral supplements you find in energy drinks and those multi-hour-energy-shots that are both weirdly gross and delightfully addictive. B-vitamins boost energy and cell function, and at normal levels in your body, they obviously won’t keep you awake or give you flushed skin. But really, anecdotal evidence (just ask the internet!) suggests that most everyone finds that sleeplessness, niacin flush and excess energy are a result of megadoses of B-complex vitamins.
No one mentions that they turn your urine an AMAZING shade of neon yellow, but why spoil the surprise?
B vitamin supplements changed my life a couple of years ago, and they are what turned me into a vitamin evangelist of sorts. I am well aware that if a person eats a well-balanced, healthy diet incorporating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, most of their vitamin needs will be met beautifully. I’m also well aware that I know approximately three people who actually eat like that. I am not one of them, even though I eat kale at least twice a week and love cauliflower and brussels sprouts more than chocolate. Two years ago, I was motivated to start taking a multivitamin and B-complex after my hair started falling out in fistfuls. Every morning, the shower drain was full of hair, and there was no earthly reason for it that I could discover – so I started trying all sorts of things.
And the vitamins, it turns out, were magical.
They didn’t stop the hair loss – that seems to have been a reaction to severe anxiety, and only now is it really settling down and growing back in any noticeable way – but they lifted a fog from my brain that I didn’t even know was there. Cloudiness in my thinking and short term memory problems – all of these eased. Words came more easily to my mouth, and I mis-read fewer signs. It was a thing I didn’t know was possible, and I hadn’t imagined that a supplement would change so much – in my brain. As a lifelong vegetarian with spotty eating habits and issues with both depression and anxiety, it makes perfect sense that I would be a person with a B-complex deficit. I just didn’t know what to look for.
So, what’s the point? Why start here? I have been blogging in several places for the last 7 or 8 years, and I wanted someplace to talk about things that I can’t, won’t or don’t talk about elsewhere. Vitamins are one of them. Betrayal, depression and obsessive behavior are others. The actions of friends, and the resentment of folks I would never call friends. Things I sometimes want to tell someone, anyone, but can’t do so under my own name and in my old places. But I thought I would start with the vitamins, and see where it goes from there.