The Battle of Taking Supplements – Part 2

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9 September 2022

Hello everyone, my name is Clair Willcocks, I am 28 years old and I am Galen Medical Nutrition’s PKU blogger. I am an adult with PKU and I was diagnosed with Classical PKU 8 days after birth. I am on 5 exchanges of protein a day and currently taking the PKU EASY Microtabs substitute 6 times a day.

Now we are in the modern smartphone age, we have all kinds of gadgets right at our fingertips that we can utilise, not only to remind us to take our supplements but also help to take them.

For my tablets I often use alarms on my phone, at work on my computer or on my smart watch. I love the smart watch alarms as with a vibration on your wrist it’s a lot more discrete and less intrusive in everyday life. I swap between using these alarms and not using them all the time. Life changes and if something isn’t working for you anymore don’t force yourself to carry on with it, try something new! There are also different medication counters you can find on amazon, lots of apps or all sorts to keep on track. Just keep trying until you find something that works with your life and routine.

To help take supplements if your drinks are always too lumpy and you’re getting sick of constantly shaking, what I used was a smoothie maker like a Nutribullet. I would put the powder in the drink container, stick the lid on with the blending blades and give it 5 second blast. It was so good to know 100% there would have been no lumps left! What’s also awesome about the Nutribullet is the container used to mix, doubles up as the drink container rather than a blender where you blend then pour into a glass. So, once it’s been mixed all you have to do is take of the lid and stick a straw in, so it saves a lot of washing up.

However, if you’re still struggling with the supplement, it’s always worth seeing what other supplements that are out there, as when you are on the same one for years, it’s easy to forget that there are new PKU products coming out all the time.

I just emailed my dietician asking for as many samples of supplements as I could have to try and over the next few weeks, they all came flooding in. It’s especially great fun to try with friends that don’t have PKU, so they can see all the different options and how interesting some of the different flavours are!

Whenever I tried new supplements, I always had these two questions in my head:

  1. Does it taste nicer than my previous supplement?
  2. Does it make my life easier than my previous supplement?

For example, some of the powder alternatives have no flavour, meaning they can be used with smoothies or food which makes the taste a lot easier but then I couldn’t see how having to take all the ingredients plus a smoothie maker would be practical for my days out, camping, so it wouldn’t make my life easier. Or if it was a pre-made drink, they’d of course make life so much easier as they are ready to go but the flavour was awful meaning I couldn’t drink a whole carton of it, so that would also be a no.

I know the big thing dieticians are trying to promote is mixing and matching supplements. Maybe try have tablets for the day outs and smoothies for your workdays or weekends in when you need something filling, pouches for travelling etc. I know sometimes I still have powder drinks for when I’ve been to the gym as a literal protein drink to fill me up and help my body recover. Like the different devices and gadgets, if you don’t like something don’t be scared to change it up every now and then, or if having issues with your GP or Pharmacy, your dietician will fully support you.

In conclusion, I always try new things, new gadgets, and new ways to help me take my supplements.  Some of them really work and some of them are just a bit of fun but aren’t practical in the long run – using your favourite song as an alarm really soon makes you really sick of that song! Never be scared to try new things as you never know when the next new thing will be the one that makes all the difference and will make life a little bit easier. Also, if you try a new routine recommended by someone but you find it just isn’t working, it’s okay to just drop it and move on to the next thing! Not everything will work for you and that’s okay.

The more you listen and get in tune with your body, the easier it becomes for your brain to see supplements as the solution to a problem rather than an issue. Listening to your body not only helps with supplements but also with your mental health.

Sometimes I have moments where everything can feel too much, this diet can just be too much and too overwhelming, but I know being on diet is always the best for me. On those days where I really feel unmotivated and tired, it really is amazing how much just remembering to eat, to have a drink or to get out the house for a bit can really help and the more times I ask myself “what can I do about this?” the quicker my brain will automatically respond with “take your supplement Clair!”

*Please note products should be used under strict medical supervision

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