Supplements, supplements, supplements

**Disclaimer: this is only an example of a protocol. Individual needs vary greatly. This was not a stagnant protocol either and has changed greatly over time. Now off meds there is a greater and greater reduction of supplements. People in active withdrawal should be extremely cautious and wary about adding supplements as many develop extreme sensitivities to supplements. It’s much better to get on a supporting regimen BEFORE withdrawing. Once withdrawal begins the risk of sensitivities goes way up for some reason.

Just a note made a couple of years later: I do still take some of these supplements and some where critical to my health at the time but are no longer. I now feel that if one’s diet is good that once you get your body in order one can minimize most of this and not need nearly as much. 4/2010

The day after my brother’s death when I was a bit in shock and I didn’t realize yet that I would be floored with grief I said I would write a “light” piece and confess to my supplement use. I didn’t get around to it when I said I would, but I will today. (Once the PMS lifted, my grief became manageable–I’m not sure if this deeply sad calm will last or if I will fall again into the pit of despair, but I’m grateful for feeling a bit sane for the last three days)

And so—first I will list what I take as a foundation. The “foundation” supplements are basically a good foundation for good health for anyone. Amounts of nutrients, like the fish oil would best be adjusted for the individual.


Buried Treasure Liquid Mulitvitamin with minerals (one tbls. twice a day with meals) This is a very complete multivitamin with lots of B’s and most everything else you need.

Carlson’s Brand Liquid Fish Oil (one tbls. twice a day with meals) Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fat–yes you need them for you brain and body to work well. For depression it is recommended that one take up to 10 gms a day. Some people can actually feel it working and can figure out the right dose by feeling it work. I never had this sense but since I know the fat is essential I take it anyway. There are many many studies that prove it’s multiple benefits in the body.

Magnesium (citrate is usually recommended for absorption, but I don’t tolerate it. It gives me diarrhea at the doses required–one should start at a very low dose and work up to 800mg in divided doses–moving slowly is because it can cause diarrhea in anyone but most people can become adjusted to it.) Because I don’t tolerate this kind of magnesium I take a slow release kind by Jigsaw health that does not give me diarrhea–I actually tried all kinds before I found this one. Magnesium is a soothing and calming mineral. Most people are deficient.

Calcium 1000mg in divided doses taken at different times than Magnesium. This is unusual in that many formulas put the two together but they interfere with each others absorption according to the sources I choose to trust so I take it at a different time.

Vitamin C (my multi has 1000 mg–I take an additional 1000 mg in the morning and then again at night) Linus Pauling father of Orthomolecular medicine which has quite a few psychiatrist followers use mega dosing of Vitamin C for many things. This isn’t really a mega dose, but it does seem to be an important part of the equation.

That is a the basic foundation. Before I started the basic foundation and added the Probiotic and Enzymes (below) I was unable to continue my withdrawal–this stuff really made a difference)

I take in addition to the above:

Garden of Life Primal Defense Probiotics and Garden of Life Omega Zyme Enzymes: I had nasty ass irritable bowel syndrome for 20 years. I went to multiple gastroentorologists who prescribed multiple drugs for me that never ever helped one bit. I gave up several years ago and stopped taking the meds. When I began researching alternative treatments for mental health one of the first things I came upon was the importance of gut health. There are a myriad of things that can cause gut problems and I became very overwhelmed about what to do. Absorption of nutrients is key in getting mentally healthy. I ended up doing the simplest thing mentioned in the literature and that was taking the Probiotics and Enzymes. In six months 20 years of IBS was gone. I chalk that up to a major strike out for western conventional medicine.

A PMS Formula which has in the past seemed to take the edge off but I’m not so sure it’s doing jack anymore.

Evening Primrose Oil also for PMS.

Neuroplex and/or Hypothalamus PMG by Standard Process which has at times also seemed to take the edge off withdrawal nerves as well as PMS, but I’m also revisiting these. This was recommended by a close friend who has studied natural medicine and is a chiropractor. I don’t really understand how they work.

Co-Q10–my neurologist thinks everyone should take it and I respect my neurologist.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin. I had severe knee pain and this supplement made it go away completely. I’ve tried going off it twice and the pain has come back. It takes about 3 months to kick in. It doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does it feels like a miracle. I really couldn’t walk up and down stairs or up and down a mountain without extreme pain until I started this and now I have NO pain whatsoever.

Chromium GTF: to help control blood sugar which can mimic bipolar disorder if out of whack. I’m hypoglycemic. It really seems to help minimize how many time I need to eat per day. I used to have to eat every two hours to control by blood sugar. Now I seem to be able to go 3 to 4 hours and occasionally even longer depending on what my last meal consisted of.

Niacin: It’s supposed to help with neuroleptic withdrawal and orthomolecular doctors have found it very useful in relatively large doses to help control psychosis. I take 3000 mg. Very high doses of Niacin can cause liver toxicity and shouldn’t be used unless under doctor supervision.

That is all I take daily. I am going to once again experiment with Immunocal which is a cysteine delivery system that converts to glutathione. This really did seem to help a lot, but I stopped taking it because it was expensive. I’ve added the Neuroplex back in first because I added and stopped them at the same time. I’m working on trying to figure out what is helping me most between those two supplements. Glutathione (which can’t be taken as glutathione alone–it doesn’t absorb–you need to take a precursor) is supposed to be a detoxifier. People who swear by it claim its a wonder supplement that has many roles in the body. It is also supposed to help PMS, again a reason I’m going to revisit it.

Those are the things I take on a daily basis, or in the case of the Immunocal, that I may take on a daily basis. I take just a couple of other things PRN.

For sleep or anxiety I sometimes take Calms Forte. This is a homeopathic remedy and really I don’t believe in homeopathy, but damn it, it works. I don’t take it often but when I do the effects are undoubtedly present. I calm down or am able to sleep withing an hour. I also drink Nighty Night tea which has Passionflower and Hops in it which are both really calming. I will use that as a relaxer in the day time rather than for sleep. I don’t like drinking anything before bedtime because if I wake in the night to use the bathroom I can’t get back to sleep. It’s excellent as a calming agent. Again, it’s not something I use often.

I’ve experimented with other stuff like amino acids which either don’t work (the calming ones–inhibitory to be precise) or they make me jittery and nervous or even a bit crazy (the excitatory ones that are generally used for depression).

I very occasionally use melatonin if I’m really having a hard time sleeping, but prefer not to use it as it is a hormone and I just don’t like messing with hormones.

I don’t use Valerian because it knocks me out and feels like a drug and leaves me with a hangover. (that’s what I’m trying to get away from thank you very much)

Anyway, I’ve studied all this stuff and have my reasons why I use them, some because I can feel the difference and others because I think it’s an important part of overall health. I don’t remember everything I’ve researched–I don’t have that kind of mind, but I know I have good reasons to take them all. I retain information long enough to make an informed choice. I revisit information from time to time and am always looking for more information.

I recommend anyone who is going to add nutrients to do research. It would be great if you can find a good nutritionist or natural practitioner, but they are hard to find and I’m all for checking out everything you take including those things recommended by professionals. At least look into what can be toxic at what levels. Most vitamins and minerals are hard to OD on, however. Medications kills tens of thousands of people every year. Supplements kill virtually no one ever. (An exception is something like Ephedra which has been taken off the market.)

So does this seem insane?? I’m sure it must to some people. I feel confident that most of it is essential to my health.


About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

13 Responses

  1. Cindy

    Way to go Gianna!! Your list is very comprehensive and I believe extremely sound. I’ve done a lot of research (and experimentation) as well and I would have to agree with you on all of it, including the items which didn’t work for you. The only thing I would add for anyone who hasn’t done it yet would be to ‘cleanse.’ Colon cleanse first, then liver, parasite and candida. It really makes a difference.

    Also, for anyone who is suffering with ‘restless leg’ type symptoms from withdrawal I recommend ‘Leg Cramp’ by Hyland. Like ‘Calms Forte’ it really works! I have to take both every night or I can’t sleep but at least I’m not taking ambien, restoril, klonopin or any of those other poisons.

    Thanks for sharing Gianna!!


  2. Zoe

    I read your list with great interest Gianna, many of the items I take myself. I also drink first thing in the morning a small half-glass of Aloe Vera gel (Forever Living Products)which has many wonderful properties, anti-inflammatory, gut-cleansing and contains most vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it even has B12, most unusual for a plant. The only trouble with taking so many supplements (for me anyway) is that it can be hard to know what is working and what maybe isn’t. Thanks for sharing…Zoe.


  3. This is a tremendous recommendation, and you might consider writing a book about all of the med withdrawal experience along with recovery via supplements, and the hormonal aspect–I’m not sure there’s a book out there covering all of this in one book Gianna, keep it in mind. Thanks for sharing the list.


  4. I have to take supplements because of my kidney failure, so I don’t find your list over long Gianna. If it works and it’s safe, why not? Some people think my diet is bizarre, and well it is, but it keeps me off of dialysis which is very good for me, so what do I care what they think? Or so I keep telling myself…..:). Still working on that one actually.


  5. Jon

    A great post, many of the supplements you list I already take.

    I am a huge lover of ephedrine. But that’s the substance abuse side of my personality saying that. No matter how hard I try, or how much I (legally) medicate, I don’t think I’ll ever lose the substance abuse desire.

    I had someone offer me a month’s supply of a new supplement just hitting the market called jellyfish protein. Expensive stuff, $60 a month, but it’s intriguing.


  6. I’ve been going off medication (Effexor) lately, too. You might want to look into the B Vitamins, they’re pretty important. Sorry the amino acids don’t help you – I’m taking Inositol and l-Phenylalaline right now and they are quite helpful.

    And zinc along with the magnesium helps too.



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