Can you tell us why you do or don't use them?
I don't take any vitamins or supplements.
I eat Paleo because it helped me get rid of my blood pressure medication. I don't want new or more pills. I do my best to eat a wide range of food and my blood tests always come back in the normal range. It may not be optimal, but I prefer it this way. Plus, vitamins and supplements are expensive and I'd rather spend my money on food.
Children's multivitamin in gummy bear form: Even though I probably don't need it, the smaller children's dose make it pretty benign, and I consider it insurance given my sometimes erratic vegetable consumption. Also, before going paleo, gummy bears were my favorite junk food, so eating two a day is a daily treat that I look forward to much more than I anticipated.
Fish oil: the reason is pretty obvious. Even though my primary proteins are pastured grass fed ground beef and pastured eggs, I believe my n3-n6 ratio still needs correction. Once my pills run out I plan on switching to actual oil, which will make larger doses easier to administer.
ZMA: Zinc and magnesium seem to be the only supplements other than VD3 and DHA that all of the leading voices in the paleo world seem to agree on.
BCAA: Since I do heavy lifts four times a week, which is a rather time-consuming commitment, the idea that my body would ever eat away at muscle mass for energy is pretty scary. So, before lifts - and during accidental fasts while studying or travelling - I take the recommended dosage.
Creatine: 5mg/day. Again, I work so hard at achieving strength gains that it would be silly to not ensure that I am maximizing my results without much risk of negative side effects.
CLO: I take this randomly, and when I feel like my sun exposure is low; it replaces my VD3 during the summer. I plan on switching to FCLO at some point.
VD3: 5000 IU every other day during the winter.
Melatonin: Very rarely, when I either fear that falling asleep will be difficult, or when I feel that I really need a good night's sleep. Honestly, though, I haven't really noticed a difference. In the beginning I though I did, but in retrospect it's hard to say if there is any substance to that perception.
Calcium chews: Very rarely, when I think about it. I drink a lot of iced coffee, which messes with calcium absorption according to the recent review on Paleo MD. Also, my left foot has a tendency to randomly get injured, a sharp pain that seems to run through parts in the middle of it. It seems like a bone issue, so calcium makes sense. But, again, I don't supplement calcium frequently.
Flax seed pills: Very rarely, but Seth Roberts self experimentation has convinced me that they have something of value to offer, though the underlying cause or mechanism is unclear. Even if I specifically don't need them, I figure if I take them every once in a while, it can't hurt.
Vitamin C: I like my bacon crispy, which is supposed to be carcinogenic, so when I don't have fruit on hand, I pop a Vit C chew, which Sisson claims might counteract the carcinogenic effects of charred meat. This is another instance where, even if the claim is false or overblown, the negative side effects would be benign.
Vitamin D3, 10,000IU/day. I started taking it a few months ago because I kept bumping into research that showed a definite correlation between lack of sunlight and cancer incidence. Both my birth parents died of cancer, my mother at an age not much removed from my current age, so it was on my mind. Furthermore, I live the life of a mole person, so even the pale, weak sun we get here in the Willamette Valley is not part of my day.
After about a week on the supplements, I noticed I hadn't used my rescue inhaler once. Since starting the regimen about 10 weeks ago, I've used my inhaler six times total. This is pretty close to a miracle for me.
BTW, my doctor nearly fainted when I told her how much I was taking, and she was convinced I was "toxic." She had my levels tested, and I'm at 78 ng/mL (the lab's reference range is 35-100).
I don't believe veggies have the vitamin / mineral content they used to have due to the over use of fertilizers and soil depletion. Same with the feed that even grass fed cows get. I take a good mineral supplement, vit K2, magnesium, vit D, vit E and vit C, but not daily, I stagger them out over 2-3 days.
I take 25mg zinc, 2-3 GMs Carlsons O-3's, 1/2 dose of GMC Ultra Active Women's Multivit without iron, D3 5000 mg, Mag Cit 400 in the evening.
Why? I was a total health catastrophe in 1997, age 44. After years of fighting progressively worse PMDD, I was seriously depressed. I had been literally aching all over for two years and had joint pain to the extent that I could find no postion of comfort when I tried to sleep and I was sleeping a broken total of about 3-4 hours/night. The ulcerative colitis that had appeared with a bang at age 22 and had been vanquised by my doing Atkins then (but not knowing this - it just "went away") had come back even worse...far worse... I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and "suspicious for" whatever other soup of autoimmune disease. I shut down when the IM said the "Lupus" and "RA" words. My rosacea was severe. Anxiety at a level of: wooly mammoths at the door.
Even then I didn't believe the appearance of all this stuff together was any coincidence. I was about 185 then at 5'6"...I had been about 30lbs overweight through "creep" and was now 50lbs overweight...
Paxil for a little under two years bought me time and especially helped my seveer anxiety which was through the roof. I began researching...I remembered Atkins from 1974 and75...
Bought the new Atkins, Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts and Sugar Busters and read alot and thought alot. Then Andrew Stolls's psych research came out using omega 3's.
Weaned off Paxil over 2 months...titrated Omega 3's up - highest was 10GM/day...averaged 8GMs/d for more than a year, along with multi, along with first 50lbs off in 10 months, by now it was Oct of 2000. (I had put 50lbs more on over two years taking Paxil.)
2 more years on all the above stated supps minus D3 (started 3 years ago) and 90lbs was off.
Cut to the chase: I believe, rightly or wrongly, that O-3's had a very powerful effect in my healing - brain - deranged metabolism -bowel -joints (I was a hypoglycemic/IR nightmare who literally could not go without eating 3 hours sometimes without becoming so hypoglycemic I looked Parkinsonian!) I believe O-3's continue to be very supportive to my health. I believe that they have been highly instumental in healing my IR. Additionally, I have experienced, strongly, that they affect my stress tolerance. My childhood was a massive string of fight or flight experieces. To say the least, I've been the "cortisol Queen" all my life. I've gotten alot accomplished in my life and contributed in ways to my profession that I feel good about. And Im definitely a person you want around in any kind of emergency/crisis situation. But having neurobiology like mine in which I liteally go from zero to 1000 in a second, has not been healthy for me in the longterm and has infact, harmed me alot. Not to mention that it has fed into many years of super-workaholism...mega stress...little sleep...you get the pic...
Omega-3's are a part of multiple self healing interventions that I work on me as in my opinion, the "Cortisol Queen" is never going to completely heal.The others include consiousness work/meditation and some wooooooo energy work. Whenever I can access Trager Method bodywork, I do so. I have deeply, deeply established neural pathways that began in very early childhood. Denying them aint helpful.
High B Vits especially in my multi are very important. I'm post menopausal and the night-wake-up fairies and hot flash devils still visit me. I think my B's and other supports in my multi are helpful.
Nice smoothout effects with mag, nice synergism with zinc+mag and nice "I like never being sick" effects from Zinc.
And we all know about D3.
I'm wary of synthetic vitamins. When I'm not making kefir and/or eating lots of veggie ferments, I take a probiotic (Renew Life). I take fermented CLO and high vitamin butter oil. I also take digestive bitters before meals if I'm not having a bitter salad. Otherwise I try to get most of my nourishment the old fashioned way- free range eggs, pastured meat/fat/dairy (sorry- I'm not officially paleo) and as local and seasonal as I can get and I consume a lot of nettle and bone broth. I do a lot of wildcrafting and foraging and spend time in the sun WITHOUT commercial sunscreen.
I'm taking 60mg of zinc, 400mg of magnesium, and 10mg of B6 nightly to improve my sleep.
I'm also taking 400mg vit k 4 times per week. This is mostly due to being VLC and not getting very much K in my diet.
Finally, Cod Liver Oil every night, but I usually just take enough to balance out my omegas... anywhere between a single tablespoon and a 1.5oz shotglass (if I've eaten commercial poultry/pork).
I don't take a multivitamin because I don't like the "kitchen sink" approach to multis. I've logged my daily intake off-and-on for several years and even when I'm not trying, my vitamin/mineral intake is very, very consistent. The items above resolve most irregularities, and seem to work the best for me.
I don't take a multivitamin. They have waay too much stuff I already get enough/too much of, for one (A, B vitamins). I'm not a big supplement person and those I use, I don't use every day, every week or even for months at a time. But I will list them anyway:
Vitamin D, when I'm not getting regular sun - duh. ;)
Zinc, a few times per month - since I started doing this, the white spots on my nails went away and my skin has been extra nice. Will continue.
Kelp pill, every so often - I worry that I don't get enough iodine.
Sometimes I take a teaspoon of cod liver oil, but not at all regularly. I consume so much grassfed heavy cream and butter, eggs, and liver I'm practically ODing on retinol every day, and I don't want to push it.
No multivitamin, just magnesium, vitamin D, and alpha lipoic acid. Occasionally I'll take a B-100 or some turmeric but for the most part that's it. I used to be a real vitamin junkie (enthusiast?) but I'm sort of weaning myself off most at this point.