How to Optimize Your Vitamins & Supplements

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Vitamins and supplements play an important role in bodily functions such as metabolism, immunity and digestion.1 They are there to complement the nutrients you get from food and bring you closer to your health and wellness goals.2 If you want to get the most out of your vitamins and supplements, there are a few things you should know.

Tips & Tricks for the top Vitamins/Supplements:

  1. Vitamin D:
    • Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), cheese, egg yolk and yogurt.
    • It takes 10 to 15 minutes of daily direct sunlight on the skin to trigger vitamin D production.
    • Having low levels of vitamin D (< 30 ng/ml) increases the risk of fractures, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression.
  2. Iron:
    • Animal food sources richest for iron include lean meats, seafood, nuts, beans, and leafy greens.
    • Low iron can cause tiredness, fatigue, poor concentration, hair loss, and craving nonfood items like ice or dirt.
    • Talk to your doctor and test your iron level before taking iron.
    • Take on an empty stomach if possible.
    • Drinking orange juice with iron helps with absorption.
    • Wait two hours before taking iron after drinking caffeine.
    • Do not take iron with calcium.
  3. Magnesium:
    • Nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, leafy vegetables, milk, and yogurt are good sources of magnesium.
    • Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function as well as energy production.
    • Magnesium deficiency can cause general fatigue, muscle weakness and osteoporosis for the long term.
    • The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 400-420 mg for adult and 310-360 mg for adult women.
  4. Fish Oil:
    • Fish oil is good for your heart and brain function.
    • You can store fish oil in the refrigerator or take it at bedtime to avoid the unpleasant taste.
    • If you are a vegetarian or vegan, algal oil is a good option as it comes from algae.
    • 1 g is a good dose to start, avoid taking more than 4 g a day.
  5. Vitamin C:
    • Do not take more than 2000 mg/day, or you may have some diarrhea, heartburn and dizziness.
    • Best taken with a meal.
  6. Calcium:
    • You will want to take calcium with vitamin D to help your body absorb them.
    • Calcium is best absorbed with food. There is a liquid form of calcium you can request from the pharmacy.
    • You will need anywhere from 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium every day.
    • Calcium citrate is better tolerated. You will want to take it 30 minutes before a meal.
    • Make sure you do not take more than 600 mg of calcium at one time because your stomach can not absorb it.
  7. Zinc:
    • Can be used to aid the immune system, ease cold and flu symptoms, or help with health and growth.
    • Take this with a meal and separate from other medications.
    • This drug is usually well tolerated but can cause nausea. Call your doctor if you experience side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.
    • Some zinc products have sugar, talk to your doctor if you have high blood sugar before taking.
  8. Vitamin B-12:
    • Vitamin B-12 can be used to treat some types of anemia.
    • May cause tiredness, dizziness, headache, or diarrhea.
    • Should be taken with a meal.
  9. Folate:
    • Folate can be used to treat some types of anemia and aid in diet needs before, during and after pregnancy.
    • This drug is usually well tolerated but you should call the doctor if you experience any bothersome or lasting side effects.
    • You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take with food.
  10. Fiber:
    • Fiber can be used to treat constipation or to increase fiber in your diet.
    • After taking, space out other drugs by 2 hours.
    • Take this medication with a full glass of water and make sure to drink lots of noncaffeinated liquids.
    • Fiber may cause stomach pain, cramps or bloating.

As always, tell your medical providers if you are taking any supplements or over-the-counter products. Different products have different storage requirements, refer to product labeling.

How can Tria Health Help?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. The Importance of Vitamins To Your Body (sfgate.com)
  2. Why are Vitamins Important? | Centrum

The CDC’s New Mask Guidance

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a new mask guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19.  

How to know if you are fully vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated if:

  • It has been two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.1
  • It has been two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.1

It is important to note that if you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated.1

What you can begin to do after being fully vaccinated

  • Go outside without a mask on except in certain crowded settings and venues.1
  • Have a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated friends or family.2
  • Going outside for some exercise with members of your own household while social distancing with others.2
  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.1
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not have to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.1
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.3

What you should keep doing

  • Wear a well-fitted mask in indoor public settings.1
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers.1
  • Avoid large indoor gatherings.1

The infographic below, from the CDC, shows which activities the organization considers safe to do unmasked outside:2

Image Source: © Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The infographic below demonstrates the relative risks of doing activities indoors during the pandemic.2

Image Source: © Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For more information on choosing safer activities, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/participate-in-activities.html

UPDATE as of May 13th, 2021: The CDC now states that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.3 Additionally, the CDC states that fully vaccinated people can refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.3 Learn more about the updated guidelines here: Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People | CDC

How can Tria Health Help?

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. For more information of how the COVID-19 vaccine works, check out our blog post on the safety of vaccinations: https://triahealthblog.com/2021/01/04/safety-of-vaccinations/.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html
  2. The CDC’s new mask guidance explained in 2 handy charts – one for outdoors, one for indoors (msn.com)
  3. Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People | CDC

World Asthma Day

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Asthma Report, more than 339 million people suffer from asthma.1 World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.

What is Asthma?

The World Health Organization defines asthma as a disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. The severity and frequency of these attacks vary from person to person. This chronic respiratory disease inflames and narrows the airways so they become easily irritated.3 The most common symptoms of asthma are breathlessness, coughing, chest pains and wheezing.

“Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions”

The theme of this year’s World Asthma Day is “Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions.” The purpose is to address common myths and misconceptions concerning asthma.2 Common misconceptions surrounding asthma include:1

  1. Asthma is a childhood disease; individuals will grow out of it as they age.
  2. Asthma is infectious.
  3. Asthma sufferers should not exercise.
  4. Asthma is only controllable with high dose steroids.

The Truth:1

  1. Asthma can occur at any age (in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly).
  2. Asthma is not infectious. However, viral respiratory infections (such as the common cold and the flu) can cause asthma attacks. In children, asthma is frequently associated with allergy, but asthma which starts in adulthood is less often allergy-related.
  3. When asthma is well-controlled, asthma subjects can exercise and even perform in top sports.
  4. Asthma is most often controllable with low-dose inhaled steroids.

How can you get involved in World Asthma Day?

  • Organize a sponsored walk, run, or other activity to raise awareness for World Asthma Day.4
  • Organize debates about local issues affecting asthma control—e.g., pollution, smoking, access to asthma care & medication.5
  • Carry out a survey in your area to see how many people are affected by asthma.4

For more ideas visit: WAD Activities 2021 (ginasthma.org)

Tria Health and Asthma

Many patients decide to take medications to effectively manage their asthma. If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one, private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. If you are interested in exploring medication treatments for asthma, Tria’s pharmacist will be able to provide you with recommendations.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. World Asthma Day: 5 May 2021 (firsnet.org)
  2. World Asthma Day 2021 – Global Initiative for Asthma – GINA (ginasthma.org)
  3. WHO | Asthma: Definition
  4. World Asthma Day 2021 – Event Info and Resources (twinkl.com)
  5. WAD Activities 2021 (ginasthma.org)

Drug Take Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a public health and safety issue. Too often unused and expired prescription medications get into the wrong hands. Disposing of medications safely can help protect your family from getting or using medications that are expired or out of date; prevent the illegal use of unused medications and minimize any potential negative impact on the environment.

At the last Drug Take Back Day in October, the DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unused medications, close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs were turned in.4 Over the 10-year span of Drug Take Back Day, the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs.4

Why can’t I throw out my medications at home?

Prescription medications left to expire in people’s homes are susceptible to misuse or abuse. Prescription drug abuse rates, overdose and accidental poisoning statistics are frighteningly high in the United States. During the pandemic, opioid overdose deaths have increased.4 Studies show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, or from home medicine cabinets.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of harmful myths floating around regarding medication disposal. Many people will try to flush their medications down the toilet or crush their medicines before throwing them in the trash. Flushing can end up polluting our waters and crushing medicines can put trash handlers at risk of exposure if the drug were to encounter their skin or if they were to breathe in the dust. Medicine take back programs are the best way to dispose of unwanted medicine.

What You Should Know  

The DEA can ONLY accept pills or patches. The DEA CANNOT accept liquids, needles, or sharps.

The DEA now advises against “usual methods” for disposing of unused medications. For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs, visit: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (usdoj.gov).

Where do I go?

Visit the DEA’s website to find a collection site: https://takebackday.dea.gov/. Here you can input your zip code and find out where the closest drop off site is located.

How can Tria Health Help?

As a member of Tria Health, if you have multiple medications and are afraid, you will throw away the wrong medication, we can provide additional assistance in selecting the proper medications. Tria provides one-on-one consultations with a clinical pharmacist who assists you with your medication management.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. Take Back Day (dea.gov)
  2. dea national drug take back toolkit_final.pdf (memberclicks.net)
  3. 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables (samhsa.gov)
  4. DEA Announces 20th Take Back Day

Pharmacist Spotlight

Meet Annie Barry! Annie is one of our talented clinical pharmacists and this month we would like to spotlight her.

Specialty: Annie’s specialty as a clinical pharmacist is in chronic condition management. She is planning on specializing as a diabetes educator this year.

Favorite parts about working at Tria Health: There are many things Annie enjoys about working at Tria Health. She loves being able to hear about a patient’s background and how they got to where they are now. History with medications and conditions make a major impact with medication therapy management and determining what is best for patients. Her favorite part of working at Tria Health is the comradery and teamwork between not just the clinical team, but all teams within the company! To her, Tria Health feels like a family.

Career Goals: Annie’s long-term career goal is to become a Board-Certified Ambulatory Care pharmacist. This year, her goal is to become a certified diabetes educator.

Outside of work, Annie enjoys traveling, food and working out. She likes trying new activities and loves spring and summer for outdoor activities. We are so thankful to have Annie on our team!