Supplements and PKU

Hello there!  I am planning to write a post later today about a recipe that I have made “PKU friendly”, but in the meantime, I wanted to write a post about supplements.  Please keep in mind that I am neither a dietitian nor a doctor, and that the supplements that I take are what works for me, but might not work for everyone.   OK, with that said, here are my thoughts on supplements.

Maybe it is because of PKU, but I tend to enjoy reading up on the latest nutritional research and what is best for our bodies (kind of a nerd that way, I guess).  During my reading, I have come across the idea that a well balanced diet is the best way to get nutrients.  When you think about the PKU diet, we are missing lots of vitamins, minerals and *ahem* amino acids other than phenylalanine.  Now, this is where the formula comes in.  I switched in early 2013 to the Vitaflo PKU Coolers 20, and I LOVE them.  They are a pre-mixed, easy to drink formula.  My previous experiences with other formulas did not work for various reasons (lophlex LQ was way to acidic for me and caused nausea, even when I drank it with water), but the Vitaflo coolers have been awesome.

The supplements I take daily.  3 Vitaflo 20 Coolers, and left to right, two capsules of tyrosine, one B Complex vitamin, and two flax seed oil capsules.

The supplements I take daily. 3 Vitaflo 20 Coolers, and left to right, two capsules of tyrosine, one B Complex vitamin, and two flax seed oil capsules.

Currently, I take 1000 milligrams of tyrosine per day.  Throughout my life, my tyrosine has bounced around and sometimes required supplementation.  I started taking tyrosine in May after my doctor informed me that my tyrosine levels were low.  I noticed a HUGE difference taking the supplement.  In people with PKU, we tend to have low tyrosine because we don’t convert phenylalanine into tyrosine like non-PKU people do.  Low tyrosine can result in several side effects, and the most notable for me was fatigue.  I feel like I have so much more energy with the tyrosine!

I also take a B-complex vitamin daily.  I started taking this one on my own, but my doctor agreed that it was a good idea, since the PKU diet does not include many sources of B vitamins (except the formula).  If you take a B vitamin, I recommend taking it with a meal, so it won’t upset your stomach.

Lastly, I take two flax seed oil supplements daily.  I wanted to take a supplement that provided DHA, which is an essential fatty acid that plays a role in brain health.  I also knew that the PKU diet does not really allow for foods that have omega fatty acids (such as fish, etc.).  I also knew that I was not very thrilled about taking fish oil.  I have been told by friends and family members that take fish oil that it can lead to “fishy burps”, and that sounds a wee bit repulsive to me.  However, flax seed oil seemed to be a nice compromise.  I get healthy fatty acids in my diet and I don’t have to worry about burping up fish oil.

 

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