Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The number of pills I ingest each morning has shrunk over the years

(NOTE: This morning I had my first physical in a couple of years with a new primary care provider, whom I really liked. She added a fifth pill to my regimen, which is Lisinopril, kind of an "entry-level" blood pressure med given my family history of that condition and the fact that I came in at a not-terrible-but-not-ideal 140/72 today. Just to update what you'll see below, which was written a couple of weeks ago...)

About a decade ago, I blogged about my morning pill regimen. Back then, I was taking seven pills each day. Now that number is down to four.

The ones that have dropped off the list are the two fish oil capsules I used to pop seven days a week, and the generic Claritin tablet to help with my chronic congestion.

I got rid of the fish oil because I'm not aware of any studies that have shown a benefit to ingesting fish oil via capsule. The idea, as a person with a family history of heart disease, was to derive some sort of cardiovascular benefit. But from what I gather, it's more likely that benefit will come from regularly ingesting actual fish, rather than their extracted oils.

I don't eat a whole lot of fish. I like fish, mind you, but it's not a common dish in our house. Not sure how to get around that one.

As for the Claritin pill, I still get congested, but I find that I can rely on my longtime addiction to nasal mist to take care of it. It's not ideal, but it works, so I figured I didn't need to buy the pills anymore.

So what DO I take every day? Here's the rundown:

  • A men's multivitamin: I chop it in two and take half in the morning and half in the afternoon/evening to aid with absorption. But here's the thing...I'm not sure there's any more proof of efficacy for a multivitamin than there is for fish oil. But my now-retired primary care physician always encouraged me to continue taking it, so I do. Today I have my first appointment with my new PC provider, so I'll have to ask her about this. (NOTE: She said to keep taking it. It's one of those it-can't-hurt-and-it-probably-helps kinds of things the scientific community is still working through.)

  • A Vitamix D3 pill: Again, not sure what the clinical evidence suggests here, but I take a 2000 IU pill every day. This is what I said in my 2012 post on this subject: "Those of us who live in northern climates tend not to get enough sunlight, which means we don't get enough Vitamin D, which is apparently important for heart health. You'll notice 'heart health' is a recurring theme here. I had a father and sister both die from heart disease. Can't be too careful here." (NOTE: Amber, my primary care nurse practitioner referred to previously, said to definitely keep this one.)

  • Two baby aspirin: Once again, do I know for sure this helps me in terms of cardiovascular health? I do not (I really should do a literature search on these things). But my doc never discouraged me from doing it, so every morning I happily take two orange-flavored chewable baby aspirin. Even if they don't ultimately help, they taste awesome, so there's that. (NOTE: Amber's take? See the multivitamin comment above.)
Sometimes I wonder whether I should just give up the pills/supplements altogether and rely instead on a relatively healthy diet. And I do eat relatively healthy.

But if I did that, what would become of my trusty plastic pill case, which is segmented by days of the week and which I refill every Saturday morning? It would sit there empty and lonely. And I would hate for that to happen.

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