GP feedback about supplements

Previously, I asked everyone about supplements... what and when to take them, with all my other RA medications. There were quite a few replies and I got more confused than ever. So, I've just come back from seeing my GP and I also spoke to the pharmacist.

Both of them said the same thing. The fact that my body is currently getting used to the RA drugs themselves and my poor body is flooded with inflammation, it's probably not a good idea to interfere with how it is all working. So, if I'm eating a healthy diet, full of fruit and veg and oily fish then I don't need to take supplements.

On the other hand, she was quite happy for me to continue taking folic acid, glucosamine, fish oils, Vitamin D, calcium and turmeric.

I should take my thyroxine on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before breakfast (which I've done for 20 years). The sulphasalazine and predisinole should be taken with breakfast, with all the painkillers and supplements, apart from the Vitamin D and calcium which should be taken on an empty stomach before bed. The second dose of sulphasalazine should be taken at dinner time along with the hydroxychloroquine and any other painkillers. Phew.

Don't get me started on my HRT!

17 Replies

  • Stop worrying about supplements Jules, take your prescribed meds & wait for them to kick in! It will all sort itself & you stressing about what else you can take will not help! Two months is not long enough to know what meds are or aren't working successfully .

    Eat healthily without too much fat, sugar & salt & supplements should not be necessary unless your bloods show you need something which case your doctor will prescribe it!

    Relax......stress is really bad for any condition but especially for newly diagnosed RA!

  • Yes so my doctor keeps telling me. She just rolled her eyes when I said I was buying a house!!! Great timing!

    You are very wise and completely right. I must stop stressing about it all. I know things will calm down. I know it will get better, it's just getting through the day right now that's hard. Ugh. Knackered. Thank you aged crone. Ok that just sounds insulting. Real name? X

  • Very old lady who has been where you are & come out the other side !!

    This site didn't exist when I was diagnosed & I thought I was the only one to have RA so most people back then (& still now to a certain extent) I thought it was just a ew aches & pains that old ladies had!

    You'll have a few ups & downs Jules but there is light at the end if the tunnel. I hope by this time next year you will be so involved with your new house your RA will be behaving itself & you'll look back on how you feel now & be thankful you toughed it out!

  • Wise words Kathy. I don't hold with taking supplements unnecessarily. Fine if there's a proven reason & if they're prescribed eg calcium/vitamin D for osteopenia/osteoporosis & folic acid if taking MTX or when recommended on a case by case basis. If we eat a well balanced diet recommended for those with RD we should be able to eliminate the need for most of the commonly bought ones, unless we have deficiency or malabsorption issues & are necessary.

  • Ideally thyroxine should be taken an hour before food and drink and any other medication but any iron containing supplement needs to be taken at least 4 hours after thyroxine. Typically, those with hypothyroidism have absorption problems so this will help maximum absorption of thyroxine.


  • Not according to my doctor and pharmacist. Thyroxine only needs to be half an hour before eating and drinking. Apart from water. They are both very clued up on thyroid disease and said guidelines change all the time. I specifically asked my doctor about folic acid and she said it was fine to take after breakfast with my other supplements. I also do get my thyroid bloods done every 6 months. It's always been spot on.

    Are you in the medical profession Clemmie because you seem to know a lot about it, and I totally respect what you're saying, but also I don't want to doubt what my medical Professionals have said today.

  • I am a former nurse but also hashimoto sufferer and have learnt a lot over the years. If you aren't a member of the thyroid forum on healthunlocked you might like to take a look. It may open your eyes to just how poor the treatment of hypothyroidism is by the the "so-called" experts in the UK. You will find all the advice on there, including the commonly held fact of waiting an hour after taking thyroxine. Do you have hashimotos? If so, most doctors don't encourage sufferers to become gluten free, however, going gluten free has shown to reduce hashimoto flares which in turn will cause fewer spikes in the thyroid production of T4 thus causing fewer problems with constant chopping and changes of dosing.


  • I had a total thyroidectomy in 1992 and have been taking thyroxine for 25 years. I lived in America for over 15 of those years and had a private endocrinology specialist. I have blood tests every 6 months. I also have a specialist endocrinologist here. I have never had any problems with my thyroid nor with the dosage so not sure if this discussion is helpful really. My levels have been constant for the last 20 years. Have never had to change my dose.

  • That's fine, just giving my observations and hope that you will continue in that vein. But if you do find that you start to have issues, the forum is available, should you need it. Clemmie

  • And I do really appreciate it. But my thyroid is something I've never had a problem with as I no longer have one.

    It was more a question of taking things at the right time with all my new RA drugs.

  • My pharmacist advises levothyroxine 30 mins before food but 1 hour before coffee

  • Ahhhh. Interesting.

  • Caffeine is a big no no after taking thyroxine. Again gp said to wait at least 30 mins. Luckily I do this anyway.

  • Hi Jules Sorry not getting back to you . Out all day; have had good outcomes with Probiotic capsules 20 billion strength. Also Proteolytic and Digestive Enzymes . Healthy diet and complete ban on junk food\(refined carbohydrates) is obviously a good starting point but extremely difficult to achieve. 10 years of research has convinced me that probiotics are essential for good health; (see tonights BBC 2 programme on the human body), especially compromised immune systems . Please do your own research.Preferable if you get your Doc on side,but not many have the time to look at Pub Med and other Gov. websites re clinical trials & they are afraid of recommending protocols which go against N.I.C.E. / G.M.C.

  • Yup probiotic. Tick. Forgot I take that. Rattling.

  • Bloomin heck you need to do a timetable and tick off as you swallow ! I have to do a " time" when Ive taken paracetamol as I take it 4 times a day & cant always remember if I leave the 4hr interval inbetween !

  • Do you have a smartphone Gladys? Just a thought.... my h also takes paracetamol 4 times a day & has set a reminder so he's well, reminded, when to take them.

    Hope you're well?

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