As I’ve mentioned in more than a few posts, reactions to supplements are most often NOT caused by poisoning or developing a so-called “tolerance.” Rather, it’s simply that you’ve lowered one of that nutrient’s cofactors (or competitors) too far and induced deficiency symptoms. You can find lists of these “synergists and antagonists/inhibitors” on Acu-cell.com’s nutrition pages. The site doesn’t supply that info for the B vitamin entries, but B vitamins are mentioned in the cofactor lists of all the other nutrients.
Below is a list of supplement reactions I’ve experienced over the years, with links to related posts where applicable. I did not experience each reaction every time. I have taken many supplements in many courses over the years as I attempted to iron out all the deficiencies caused by 31 years of undiagnosed celiac disease.
I wasted a lot of time figuring all these out because I was laboring under the foolish assumption that my B-complex vitamin was giving me plenty of B vitamins. In fact, B-complex formulations almost always include versions of several vitamins that are in a near-useless form for a significant percentage of people (B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid). On top of that, there’s the problem that B-complex preparations don’t include anywhere near enough biotin, folate, or B12.
Keeping track of your reactions like this can help you home in on the causes of your health complaints. For example, most of the supplements that worsen my already-bad insomnia are also known to lower both vitamin E and selenium. Perhaps my insomnia is caused by low levels of one or both (they work together). That’s my next experiment.
|Nutrient supplement||Reaction||Induced deficiency cause|
|B1 (thiamine)||low mood, dry skin||magnesium|
|cracked, dry lips; dry eyes||B2|
|B2 (riboflavin)||eye floaters||(degrades hyaluronic acid)|
|B5 (pantothenic acid)||insomnia||?|
|biotin||acne||B2 or maybe B5|
|C||eye floaters||(degrades hyaluronic acid)|
|calcium||asthma-like breathing difficulty, heart laboring||vit. K|
|asthma-like breathing difficulty||vit. K|
|E||headaches, suppressed breathing||vit. K? selenium? CoQ10?|
|folic acid||fatigue, spaciness||lowered folate, the active form of folic acid, by deactivating methylfolate supplement|
|methylfolate (a form of folic acid)||high histamine||C|
|insomnia||selenium? E? doesn’t seem to be B2|
|worsened hypothyroid symptoms||zinc|
|vit. K||insomnia at higher doses||E?|
|magnesium||nausea, headaches||B12, B6|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||headaches||B12? B2?|
|insomnia||E? (works together with EFAs)|
|probiotics||insomnia||selenium? (works together with probiotics: see this article)|