I was a good girl, I was. I recall in my childhood when I used to take Echinacea and Vitamin C. I remember it particularly well as it was a tablet produced in a tiny robot shape, tasted like an orange and it made your tongue go orange. When mum makes you ‘take your medicine’ like this, things don’t really get any cooler? When mum was out of the house I used to break into the medicine box and snatch a small handful to eat. Just like lollies. Even now, I have conflicting feelings about whether it really was a pill, tablet or…just what is it? Aside from a supplement? Needless to say, and clear as it is, I have been taking supplements and other ‘good’ health boosters since I was a child. Shocking as it is for me to add, it has taken most of my life to work out why this actually isn’t ‘good’ for me.

Supplements: Good or bad?

I cannot and will not say too much about supplements. Because the label of ‘supplement’ is tricky enough as it is. And every brand makes their own products, based on their own trials and research. Add to that how different every person’s lifestyle and eating habits are. All I know is what I have read, and while in the past I have naively shunned or degraded the role of supplements, I have also taken them at various times for various reasons. So, hypocrite that I already am, I sit now on the fence here now. But, there is one real thing I have learned about supplements and it rings true to their ‘real world’ counterparts: the properties we use these for need to be understood in terms of your own body.

It is Good to Know Yourself

Ignorantly, for the first five years of my disease, I thought the way my Lupus behaved in my body was akin to that of a person with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In my understanding, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or Lupus) was an immune disease in which my immune system was weak and failing. When in actual fact, my illness was the opposite. My SLE was really an immune system powering at double or triple speed, damaging my body as it raced along. Where HIV means you do not have enough immune system, I had too much. My cup runneth over. This knowledge is instrumental in the building of my lifestyle, fitness and eating habits. With eating habits returns the question of supplements: is it good or bad to take them? Also, which supplements do I need?

What Practices Do The Most Good, Or The Least Bad?

As mentioned above, I approached my diagnosis in an horrifically backwards manner. But, I did what many people with an autoimmune disease do, apparently. I thought to myself, “Well, my immune system is not great, so I should use ‘Immune Boosting’ foods, herbs and supplements to assist my body mend itself.” Wrong! Bad Jessie! No! You see, my immune system was already ‘good’. In fact it was already ‘boosting’ itself. Step aside broccoli, spinach, oranges, St. John’s Wort, Fenugreek and all you other ‘immune helping’ natural wonders, Jessie is here! Yes, even Curcumin is a nasty sneak here. What is a girl to do? It seemed on the whole that regardless of whether or not the supplements worked, and definitely the original sources in naturally and organically grown foodstuffs, that I needed to avoid all of the ‘good stuff’. If it is touted as, in any way, to increase and/ or improve the immune system, that I must and should avoid it. Appropriately, my body is allergic now to Citrus and many things that fall under that banner. How you may wonder do I know this, and how does it affect me? And you have every right to. But I have every right to have some secrets, and I’ll thank you very much for respecting this one.

And now?

Did my pleasure at sneaking handfuls of Vitamin C and Echinacea as a child give me Lupus? I doubt it very much. Was there any relationship with them and the symptoms of ‘good health’ I had as a child? Again, I don’t think so. But is it necessary now, as an adult, that I am conscious of the supplements and foods I ingest? Hells yes! Sucks as much to say as to know that I need to do this, but I will have to spend the rest of my days critiquing any miracle or super foods, herbs and spices. *sigh* and so the research for ‘What is good for me’ continues.

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