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Who packed vitamins?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
#1
I just put six weeks of vitamins in baggies and they weigh alot...well, at least the same as a large yellow onion.
Heres what I take per day: One Multi, One Flax, Two Fish Oil, One Cal/Mag/D3 combo.
Did anyone carry their vitamins, send any on ahead, or purchase along el camino?
 

Pieces

Veteran Member
#2
If you eat varied and healthy food you don't really need vitamins. In fact recent research has shown they may not be as healthy after all, but I am sure you allready know this...

I will obviously not be bringing vitamins, but i did purchase magnesium last year (didn't work for anythin tho)

splurge a bit and bring only for a week or two if you insist, then buy a load and share with your fellow pilgrims what you can't bother carrying around
 
#3
I decided that skipping my daily vitamins for seven weeks wouldn't kill me. I did take glucosamine/chondroitin which I take for my joints (works for some people doesn't do a thing for others - it seems to help my tendinitis). It added some weight but it decreased as I went along and took them each night.

I agree that eating good meals along the way should be enough while you are walking the Camino.
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
#4
I get by without vitamin tablets by eating a plate of ensalada as a first course in my pilgrim meal at least 3 times a week, and by eating 4-5 pieces of fruit each day. The fruit in Spain is wonderful. I'm not sure if chocolate has any vitamins, but I also eat a block of that every day just in case.

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 
#5
I was thinking about it, but not worth the weight IMO. If you're flying, make sure you keep them in the original jars, not baggies so you don't get hassled.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#6
Are all these tablets "self prescribed"? If so, just leave them all at home and enjoy good, natural, fresh Spanish fare,which, if you choose correctly, will supply you with all these substitutes! Anne
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
#7
Vitamins, we took one horrible brown one to keep the mozzies away, it was so cold in April, didn't see any, so after a week, I stopped, never got bitten, but then I saw someone who had, yikes, I felt very sorry for her :twisted:

Weight = Pain
No Weight = Less Pain.

Buen Camino
 
#8
I took some vitamins and pills with me. I only walked for a week though.
I brought a multivitamin, because I know I don't eat well enough to get it all through the food, I also brought probiotics which I always take when I travel. I also took pills with turmeric, as that's a natural anti-inflammatory and magnesium which helps the muscles relax.
Didn't buy anything there, but usually Spain and France have quite a good selection in their pharmacies.

Hope that helps =)

Hilda
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2011), Camino Portugués (2013), Camino St. Jaume (2013)
#9
Prior to leaving, I visited my doctor to ask which vitamins and medications were essential. I then packed what I needed in the original containers. In all, they weighed 1 Kilo. Once in Spain, I combined bottles and removed some of the weight.

Having returned home, I still continue to take only the "essential" vitamins.
 
#10
about traveling with vitamins: I was going to put mine in small individual zip-lock bags, but I was wondering about customs - will they think I am bringing drugs into the country? Has anyone had any experience with bringing vitamins through Spanish customs? Cris
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#11
I was not even aware of Customs in Spain. There was no apparent inspection of checked baggage, so all my pills in my pack did not cause controversy. Getting them into the aircraft cabin may be different. I had just a one day supply in a plastic bag, which has always passed the x-ray inspections. I did get a full orifice pat-down for a hand wipe wrapped in foil, which I forgot in a pants pocket!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#12
You can get good multivitamins in Spain.
When I am hiking I take one Supradyn Active (available in every pharmacy) every morning, and try to eat lots of veg and fruit. No need to shlep packets around, I am good to go!

Reb
 
#13
I have vitamins/medications that I take every day. In general, when we travel internationally, I do what another writer said above and travel on the plane with it all in original packaging with a note from my doctor. Once I get to my destination, I sort into the daily baggies and pitch the bottles. I use tiny zip locks that I order from Amazon that don't take up a lot of space, although six weeks worth will weigh a bit before I take up most of it. On the other hand, I am reading everyone's wonderful hints about packing lightly with an ultralight pack. It will be a good reminder to separate "wants" from "needs."

What about other Rx drugs, particularly pain medications? Do you think those should stay in original containers once a person is on the trail?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
#14
After reading all the responses, I have unpacked the bulk of the vitamins!
Except...I will take 7 multi's to get me started.
Then if I feel the need I can buy the Supradyn Active as suggested by Rebekah.
Thank you to all for your wonderful advice.
 
#15
Interesting answers but the only person that can answer the question about vitamins is YOU. In a perfect world no one needs vitamins but if you know your body and the issues you have then I believe it is prudent to carry ONLY the mimimum you will need. I take vitamins bottomline but I take the supplements MY body needs.

Remember you are going to be taxing your body more than if you were sitting at home. I've discovered what I call my secret weapon about a year ago. I've been training for the camino since the beginning of June (well actually 2 products) and these products get me through the days I become fatigued: green tea and a vitamin B12 spray. Okay this isn't any green tea but matcha green tea. I can't say this will work for you OR even if you should drink this but it completely rejuvenates me. I plan on packing a small tin that weighs very little for the days that I need a little boost. It is not a drug or vitamin but TEA which I consider a food. Vitamin B12 in a spray weighs very little but decide if this is good for you.

What ever my body is depleting when I'm training matcha green tea puts it back. Somewhat of a sticker shock for this product but you only need VERY VERY LITTLE. MOST IMPORTANTLY I would consult your health care provider if you can drink this. If you take a blood thinner it is very important that you do consult your doctor. Peace and Light Francine
 

CaptBuddy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2012, again Fall 2014.
#16
annakappa said:
Are all these tablets "self prescribed"? If so, just leave them all at home and enjoy good, natural, fresh Spanish fare,which, if you choose correctly, will supply you with all these substitutes! Anne
I agree. The food, especially in the North, is great. Especially the fresh seafood.
When I'm in Spain next month, I get to visit my cousins in Santander. The oldest just turned 96, and I wish I was as spry as she.
Unless you need extra B12 or C or some rare mineral, you can save the weight.
 
#17
I packed in two boxes of different types of Emergence-C when I went. I also took Glucosomine Chondroitin, Arnica tablets and Quick Defense. Because the little packets of Emergence-C took up so much room, I emptied the individual packets out into two baggies. This reduced the weight and volume considerably but still the little baggies of powder had some weight to them. By the time I got to Granon, I had had enough of any ounce of additional weight. So I ended up leaving the bags of emergence-C behind at the auberge. I continued to take the Glucosomine. The arnica didn't take up much room so I kept that. The one thing that really helped was the Quick Defense. Twice I felt precursors to a cold setting in and as soon as I started the Quick Defense, the symptoms abaited. All that being said, next time I go, I'll just take enough for a 4 or five days and not worry about carrying a months supply. As for the food. Someone mentioned above that the food in Northern Spain is great. Well, on the whole it is okay. But for those who don't eat meat or fish, it can be challenging.
 

paul.ferris

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
2013 Camino Frances
2015 To be decided
#19
If the Camino is about paring down to the absolute essentials. If the Camino is about change - losing old habits and insecurities - and discovering the true you.
Then you shouldn't take the vitamins. Just eat well. If you still feel the need, vitamins are sold in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#20
I take glucosamine/chondroitine/MSM for my joints, especially my knees. I intend to continue to do so and to up my dosage slightly, as anything that helps my joints function seems desirable on the camino (I have osteoarthritis). I also take a combination of dietary supplements for my eyes, since I have macular degeneration. Both these supplements have been recommended by my physicians. If I wish to be able to walk and to see I consider their use to be desirable.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#21
I brought 30 multi-vitamins in a zip-lock.
If taking vitamins daily benefits your health and taking them has become part of your healthy lifestyle, by all means bring them with you. They are a consumable and your vitamin stash gets lighter everyday. Don't over-think it.
Be careful when you ask questions like that on here. Something as innocuous as taking a vitamin pill daily suddenly becomes a metaphor for life, love and one's place in the universe. Ha ha. :D
 

Kela

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones (2012)
#22
I just put six weeks of vitamins in baggies and they weigh alot...well, at least the same as a large yellow onion.
Heres what I take per day: One Multi, One Flax, Two Fish Oil, One Cal/Mag/D3 combo.
Did anyone carry their vitamins, send any on ahead, or purchase along el camino?
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017
#24
I use a mulivitamin with iron patch made for bariatric patients. They also make them with specific uses such as arthritis. The whole month's worth is the size and weight of a couple of playing cards.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#25
Is there a medical reason for taking the Vitamins? Maybe just take the ones that you deem as 'vital' though I am sure you can 'top up' at Pharmacies along the way. But you should be able to find a fairly varied diet along the way. Whilst the Pilgrim Menus are sometimes a bit bland, they usually have salads/vegetables included and fresh fruit, nuts are available in stores. And of course the wonderful fresh orange juice. Unless for a specific medical condition, I'm not sure why Vitamins would be required.

Oh. Bananas. 'Wonder food'. Great for tired / cramped leg muscles due to their magnesium! I had at least one a day.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#26
If the Camino is about paring down to the absolute essentials. If the Camino is about change - losing old habits and insecurities - and discovering the true you.
Then you shouldn't take the vitamins. Just eat well. If you still feel the need, vitamins are sold in Spain.
I do not take many supplemental vitamins at home and kind of hit and miss anyway with them. I left them at home on two Caminos and was fine. Prescriptions, however, are a different story and I would never recommend leaving them behind.
 

Footlose

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#27
Interesting read on what might be useful supplements to bring.
I am now thinking fish oil, as I am concerned for me knees and joints in general.

" 6 Supplements To Take On A Hiking Trip

Let’s face it, as backpackers and long-distance hikers, we can’t get all of our nutrition from what we eat. Taking additional supplements helps the body recover quicker from the stress and strain of hiking, give you more energy, and improve your overall health. Some long distance hikers avoid carrying supplements simply because it adds more weight to their pack. Others make it a habit to ensure they stay happy and healthy along the trails.

If you consider supplements an important part of your everyday life, likely this mentality will carry-on with you on the trails. With increased physical exertion, a not-favorable diet, and exposure to many foreign elements, supplements can only help instead of hurt. These six supplements will help ensure you cover all your bases when tackling a hiking trip.

Fish Oil
Getting high quality fats on any long-distance trail is difficult. Additionally, muscular and joint inflammation is a common occurrence when hiking. While a good ‘ole ibuprofen may seem like the right answer to solving the problem of joint pain, it can have adverse side effects such as damage to the stomach lining if too many pills are taken. Fish oil, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, helps prevent inflammation and helps eliminate stiffness and pain. One thing to watch out for with fish oil is oxidation, as exposure to heat can damage the fats and actually make the harmful instead of helpful.

Probiotics
Hikers need a high-calorie diet to help them sustain their energy and momentum. Unfortunately, many of the foods that hikers consume encourage the growth of bad bacteria in the gut. Probiotics have been proven to be helpful for immune support and to help protect you against the diet you have to subject yourself to on a hiking trip. Many probiotics need to be refridgerated so be certain to look for pills that do not require this.

Multivitamin
Taking a daily multivitamin can help protect your body against many serious illnesses such as heart disease and osteoporosis, and even the not-so-serious illnesses like the common cold and infections. When your body is weak and tired after a long hike, it is most prone to illness. Taking a daily vitamin while long-distance hiking can help prevent these illnesses from occurring. Aside from combatting illness, several studies show that taking a daily multivitamin leads to an increase in energy levels. Just what the doctor ordered for a long hike.

Calcium
When you were a child, you likely were told by your parents to drink your milk to get your daily dose of calcium. Calcium isn’t just for children or the elderly. In fact, women start losing their bone density in their twenties. If dairy isn’t a regular part of your diet (or you are a vegan), calcium is a supplement to take on the trails. It keeps your bones, teeth, and muscles strong and your nervous system functioning at an optimal level. GNC Calcium Plus 1000 also provides immune-bolstering Vitamin D and muscle-regulating magnesium.

Electrolytes
You know that fruity taste in your sports energy drinks? This is Electrolytes, and because some are lost when you sweat, it is imperative to replenish them when you exercise. As you can assume, you sweat a lot when hiking and therefor lose a lot of electrolytes. Electrolytes help your body control fluid balance and muscle function. Water is great, but even drinking an adequate amount of water can’t replace the electrolytes lost during a hike. Look for electrolytes that have less sugar to feel your best on the trails.

Protein Powder
A healthy intake of protein is key in regulating metabolism, repairing tired muscles, and boosting your immune system. A general rule of thumb is that 12 to 20 percent of your daily calories should come from protein. Otherwise, you risk your body breaking down muscle tissue instead. Protein can come in many different forms. You don’t need to whip out your skillet and cook a chicken breast on the trail. Instead, you can opt for protein powder to get your protein fix and keep your body operating in beast mode. Opt for a whey protein which is not only budget friendly but also muscle-growth friendly. Plus it tastes delicious.

Keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. All of these supplements should be run by your primary care doctor prior to taking. What I do have is a passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and experience taking all of the above supplements. I can confidently attest to them helping amplify my physical performance while also keeping me healthy and happy during my hikes. "

From : http://www.sunkissedhiker.com/blog/10-supplements-take-on-hiking-trip/
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#28
Interesting read on what might be useful supplements to bring.
I am now thinking fish oil, as I am concerned for me knees and joints in general.

" 6 Supplements To Take On A Hiking Trip

Let’s face it, as backpackers and long-distance hikers, we can’t get all of our nutrition from what we eat. Taking additional supplements helps the body recover quicker from the stress and strain of hiking, give you more energy, and improve your overall health. Some long distance hikers avoid carrying supplements simply because it adds more weight to their pack. Others make it a habit to ensure they stay happy and healthy along the trails.

If you consider supplements an important part of your everyday life, likely this mentality will carry-on with you on the trails. With increased physical exertion, a not-favorable diet, and exposure to many foreign elements, supplements can only help instead of hurt. These six supplements will help ensure you cover all your bases when tackling a hiking trip.

Fish Oil
Getting high quality fats on any long-distance trail is difficult. Additionally, muscular and joint inflammation is a common occurrence when hiking. While a good ‘ole ibuprofen may seem like the right answer to solving the problem of joint pain, it can have adverse side effects such as damage to the stomach lining if too many pills are taken. Fish oil, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, helps prevent inflammation and helps eliminate stiffness and pain. One thing to watch out for with fish oil is oxidation, as exposure to heat can damage the fats and actually make the harmful instead of helpful.

Probiotics
Hikers need a high-calorie diet to help them sustain their energy and momentum. Unfortunately, many of the foods that hikers consume encourage the growth of bad bacteria in the gut. Probiotics have been proven to be helpful for immune support and to help protect you against the diet you have to subject yourself to on a hiking trip. Many probiotics need to be refridgerated so be certain to look for pills that do not require this.

Multivitamin
Taking a daily multivitamin can help protect your body against many serious illnesses such as heart disease and osteoporosis, and even the not-so-serious illnesses like the common cold and infections. When your body is weak and tired after a long hike, it is most prone to illness. Taking a daily vitamin while long-distance hiking can help prevent these illnesses from occurring. Aside from combatting illness, several studies show that taking a daily multivitamin leads to an increase in energy levels. Just what the doctor ordered for a long hike.

Calcium
When you were a child, you likely were told by your parents to drink your milk to get your daily dose of calcium. Calcium isn’t just for children or the elderly. In fact, women start losing their bone density in their twenties. If dairy isn’t a regular part of your diet (or you are a vegan), calcium is a supplement to take on the trails. It keeps your bones, teeth, and muscles strong and your nervous system functioning at an optimal level. GNC Calcium Plus 1000 also provides immune-bolstering Vitamin D and muscle-regulating magnesium.

Electrolytes
You know that fruity taste in your sports energy drinks? This is Electrolytes, and because some are lost when you sweat, it is imperative to replenish them when you exercise. As you can assume, you sweat a lot when hiking and therefor lose a lot of electrolytes. Electrolytes help your body control fluid balance and muscle function. Water is great, but even drinking an adequate amount of water can’t replace the electrolytes lost during a hike. Look for electrolytes that have less sugar to feel your best on the trails.

Protein Powder
A healthy intake of protein is key in regulating metabolism, repairing tired muscles, and boosting your immune system. A general rule of thumb is that 12 to 20 percent of your daily calories should come from protein. Otherwise, you risk your body breaking down muscle tissue instead. Protein can come in many different forms. You don’t need to whip out your skillet and cook a chicken breast on the trail. Instead, you can opt for protein powder to get your protein fix and keep your body operating in beast mode. Opt for a whey protein which is not only budget friendly but also muscle-growth friendly. Plus it tastes delicious.

Keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. All of these supplements should be run by your primary care doctor prior to taking. What I do have is a passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and experience taking all of the above supplements. I can confidently attest to them helping amplify my physical performance while also keeping me healthy and happy during my hikes. "

From : http://www.sunkissedhiker.com/blog/10-supplements-take-on-hiking-trip/
"Just what the doctor ordered for a long hike." But did he?

Fish oil - you'll eat fish in Spain.
Probiotics - do work but you need to take a lot, invented, apparently to dose herds of pigs to counteract the mass doses of anti-biotics they're force fed (it's in the name folks)
Multi-vitamins - an industry created product that grew out of the need to supplement a low grade, post WW2 diet.
Calcium - milk tastes nice!
Electrolytes - add a little salt to your food, eat a banana
Protein Powder - oh for goodness sake!
 
Last edited:

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#29
I just put six weeks of vitamins in baggies and they weigh alot...well, at least the same as a large yellow onion.
Heres what I take per day: One Multi, One Flax, Two Fish Oil, One Cal/Mag/D3 combo.
Did anyone carry their vitamins, send any on ahead, or purchase along el camino?
Bear in mind that you will be or should be drinking a LOT of fluid when you walk the Camino.
This means that even more vitamins than normal will get flushed out in your urine at a faster rate.

I just wonder what all that vitamin intense urine is doing to Spanish soil.

Does your doctor prescribe vitamins for you to take? If so take them otherwise you are just propping up the "health/diet" industry which, in the USA alone is worth over $30 BILLION a YEAR.
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#30
I have iron deficiency anemia -- runs in the family.... I take 300mg ferrous sulphate daily (down from 600 1.5 years ago when the anemia caused a heart arrhythmia) . That's only 1 tablet per day and I still found it annoying to carry the 22 tablets I needed for the most recent trip -- and also difficult on the walking schedule to manage to get my iron with my OJ while delaying my latte daily so that I could get maximum absorption of the iron. It was tricky, and sometimes I did not succeed, but I did take the supplement (it's not actually a vitamin, of course).

If I did not *have to* take this particular supplement, I would not carry it. I also have to carry 2 epi-pens and asthma meds. It all adds up to a 2 lb med bag. But if I don't carry it and have an "event", my insurance won't cover any treatment I require.

Again, if I could be freed from that weight-burden, I would jump for joy! It amounts to carrying a litre of water!

Anything one is taking as an "option" -- especially vitamins (see upthread note from @Pieces) that adds a burden to scheduling and to weight seems completely undesirable to me on a long-distance walk. And my experience of the camino menus (and lovely markets) is that we are getting exactly what we need on the trail... all within a very modest budget.

My advice to the OP is to trust the food supply and the fresh air, the daily exercise, and to listen to how the body feels absent all the "extras" of home. If on return home one truly feels the need for the extras, so be it. But there is a level of becoming re-acquainted with the actual baseline of our bodies on camino that seems to me to be as integral to the trek as the various spiritual/cognitive/emotional benefits. They are all of a piece. No?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#31
On my last camino (VdlP) I took a daily glucosamine supplement, recommended by my orthopedist, because I need my knees to function. I did not take the eye supplement recommended by my eye doctor to slow down macular degeneration, because the demonstrated benefits are minimal and I did not want the weight. I may take the latter the next time, as I also need my vision to walk a camino. All the other supplements which I take at home I leave behind on camino. I think that I can get enough vitamin D from the sun if I am outside all day; it is useful for me to prevent a deficiency in the Canadian winter. In general, if the doctor says "Take it" I take it. But I like to read the evidence myself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#32
@Footlose - The article you quoted is probably about long distance hiking in the USA as it was written by "a California girl". The camino Frances is not at all like walking the PCT or the Appalacian Trail. Almost every day you will have lots of opportunities to stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants or shop for your food in grocery stores. Sometimes I felt I was eating my way across Spain - breakfast at the albergue, followed by 2nd breakfast, then 10 am break, and of course lunch, 2 pm snack, and then a 3 course dinner... I didn't lose any weight... I didn't take any supplements as I was eating so much more food than I would normally eat.
 

Footlose

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#33
I see so many posts of people walking and then having all kinds of aches and pains, I want to try and be pro active and avoid that, by making sure I take supplements to set myself up for success. I am also a firm believer in taking Glucosamine pills, it has helped me tremendously in the past with knee pains after doing too much gardening, sitting on my knees. Glucosamine is a wonder pill for me. So now I am thinking the fish oil supplement also, as I dont think I will eat fish every day on the Camino.
 
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