When I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease, I had problems with digestion. My gut wasn’t breaking down food and I either had constipation or loose stool. My doctor suggested magnesium and probiotics, and the next day my stomach troubles were gone. I was shocked that supplements could work so fast.
Supplements have a reputation of needing to build up in your system over time in order to be effective, but there are some that work more quickly than others. People with Lyme disease are usually on numerous medications and supplements, so when you take a handful of pills it’s hard to detect which ones are improving your symptoms.
My experience with magnesium and probiotics made me curious about what other supplements people can feel the effects of after taking, and/or what symptoms they will experience if they neglect to take these. So, I asked the members of my Lyme disease support group to weigh in.
8 Supplements You Can Feel Working
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body and has over 100 functions, so when you are magnesium deficient you will definitely feel it. People with magnesium deficiency report muscle cramps, pain, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia.
The amount of time it takes to feel improvement from these symptoms is correlated to the level of magnesium deficiency in the body. However, some people report relief from muscle cramps and improvement in sleep after only 1 or 2 doses of a magnesium supplement. For problems with digestion, Magnesium Citrate, in liquid or pill form, has been reported to help loosen the stool and relieve constipation relatively quickly.
Usually, probiotics are for long-term regulation of the gut bacteria, but you may be able to notice a difference right away. Whether or not you can feel a probiotic working depends on the type of probiotic you are taking. If you are taking a probiotic for digestive issues or constipation they may work within a few hours. Two common types of bacteria, Lactobaccillus and Bifidobacterium, can double within three hours, which may cause a noticeable change.
This popular sleep aid is known for working swiftly. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces when it starts getting dark, to prepare you for sleep. With the increase in artificial light in our lives with smartphones and computer screens our bodies get confused and melatonin production decreases. Supplemental melatonin isn’t affected by light, so it helps people fall asleep and stay asleep. Most people feel the effects within thirty minutes.
4. Liposomal Glutathione
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress, and to helps to build up tissues and the immune system. The liposomal form of this supplement is especially fast acting, because it bypasses lining of the gut and enters into the bloodstream. It also is delivered directly into the cell, which optimizes the effects of the nutrient.
By helping the liver detox, liposomal glutathione also allows you to fall asleep faster and have a deeper, more restful sleep. This in turn makes you feel more energized the next day. Better yet, you don’t have to use it every day to feel the benefits.
Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Lyme Disease Newsletter (it's free!)
Chronic illness and iron deficiency often go hand in hand. When you are iron deficient you feel tired and can have pale, dry skin, heart palpitations, headaches, and dizziness. Your doctor can order a blood test to determine if you iron deficiency or have difficulty absorbing iron.
Once some people start supplementing with iron they report feeling an increase in energy. It all depends on how low your iron stores were to begin with and how well your body absorbs iron. Even if you don’t feel it immediately, you will most likely feel the fatigue lift within a few days or weeks. Supplementing with iron can be especially effective when a woman is menstruating. Because women lose iron during that time, an iron supplement may help give them a boost.
CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10, is a naturally occurring substance, which the mitochondria use to produce energy and which makes our muscles contract correctly. It’s also a strong antioxidant. Research on CoQ10 is still in the early stages, but research shows that it may help to prevent heart disease.
Because of its cardiovascular benefits, some people feel improvement in their cardiac symptoms when they take CoQ10. Some even report a reduction of heart palpitations, which are a common symptom of Lyme disease.
Remember, if you have heart palpitations, it’s important to be evaluated by a doctor before taking anything new. CoQ10 should also be used under a doctor’s supervision, because it can increase the risk of bleeding and lower blood sugar.
You’ve probably heard that B12 shots are instant pick-me-ups, but some also experience a rapid reduction in fatigue after taking a B12 supplement. Because the B vitamins are water soluble, they are absorbed more quickly into the body than fat soluble vitamins, like A,D,E, and K.
People with Lyme disease often feel tingling in their hands and feet but report that it goes away after B12 supplementation. It’s important to note that if you are severely deficient in B12 it may take a while to notice a difference in energy and other symptoms of B12 deficiency, like tingling, muscle weakness, and dizziness.
ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. It’s the chemical in the body that powers the cells. In the body ATP is produced during the Krebs Cycle, which is basically how cells metabolize and create energy in the body.
Some people with chronic fatigue report a significant increase in energy levels when taking ATP. In fact, when they don’t take it they feel tired and sluggish. Also, because ATP works in the muscles it can help to ease muscle pain.
Remember, supplements will have a different effect on everyone, depending on the unique chemistry of each individual. Work with your doctor to find the best supplements for you and your health issues. Whether you can feel them working or not, supplements are an important addition to any health plan.
Kerry J. Heckman is a freelance writer and therapist based in Seattle. She authors a wellness and lifestyle blog called Words Heal [kerryjheckman.com] and writes about health, chronic illness, and travel. You can also follow her healing journey on Twitter [@kerryjheckman] and Instagram [@kerryjheckman].