Oral spray vitamins are on an upward trend, and for good reason. The benefits are manifold, but are particularly exciting for those who live with chronic illnesses, like me.
Apart from pain, many chronic conditions can cause malabsorption or a lack of appetite. Medications themselves can deplete nutrient supplies or interfere with absorption in the body.
In this article, we will explore what vitamins are, and their role in our bodies for pain management and optimal function. We will also learn more about oral spray vitamins and supplements, how they work and how to use them.
*Note: Whilst I wasn’t paid for this post, I received a 50% discount for my order placed on Spectra Spray. Spectra Spray was also one of the many lovely sponsors in the Christmas Giveaway hosted on this blog last year.
All opinions expressed in this review are my own, and may contain affiliate links. It will cost you nothing to click on them. I will get a small referral fee from purchases you make, if any, which helps with the maintenance of this blog (approx. $100/month). Thank you!
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What are Vitamins & Minerals, and Why Does the Body Need Them?
An Overview on Vitamins
“Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. Most people should get all the nutrients they need by having a varied and balanced diet, although some people may need to take extra supplements.”
There are 13 types of essential vitamins, and they fall into one of two categories: fat-soluble or water-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food or supplements and are digested. With up to 60% of the adult human body consisting of water, these vitamins circulate easily. Excess is filtered out by your kidney, then excreted through your urine.
The role of water-soluble vitamins include: energy production, energy release, the building of proteins and cells, and the making of collagen.
Fat-soluble vitamins enter the bloodstream through the lymph channels in the intestinal wall. Many of them require proteins to act as carriers. These vitamins are stored in the liver and fat tissues, and are released gradually as the body needs them.
Whilst it’s rare to overdose from fat-soluble vitamins through diet, it’s possible to do so from supplements due to the higher dosages.
The role of fat-soluble vitamins include: Building of bones, protection of vision and our general health.
An Overview on Minerals
Minerals are micronutrients that the body depend on to function. They differ from vitamins in that they are inorganic structures. Thus they do not break down like vitamins do when exposed to the elements.
Many of these vitamins and minerals interact in positive or negative ways, so it is best that you work with your doctor, nutritionist or dietician before taking any supplement.
For your interest, here’s the full list of vitamins, food sources, benefits of each and some trivia from Harvard Medical School.
Common Problems with Chronic Illness Patients When It Comes to Taking Their Medications
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1. Non-Compliance in Medication Adherence Due to a Multitude of Factors
“Non-compliant patients aren’t simply ignoring their chronic disease management plans; they usually have a series of barriers keeping them from adherence.”
Multiple factors can contribute to medication non-compliance in patients. This can be especially dangerous for those with chronic illnesses.
Immunosuppressants, anti-depressants and many other drugs require a period of weeks or months before results are seen. This can be frustrating for the patient, as they need to bear with often horrible side effects in the meantime, both mental and physical.
A major barrier to non-compliance is medication costs. Other common reasons include fear or discomfort from medication side effects, a lack of symptoms to ‘justify’ taking their medications, pain from swallowing, frustration from the daily tedium and more.
Sometimes the patient may be faithfully compliant with their medications, yet suffer from malabsorption. Their bodies are unable to absorb, use or store medications, vitamins or nutrients for reasons such as:
- Too much or too little stomach acid
- Insufficient production of digestive enzymes
- Bacterial overgrowth, SIBO or parasites such as Giardia lamblia
- Disorders that injure parts of the digestive tract
- Disorders that affect the flow of lymphatic fluid from the bowel
Certain chronic illnesses are prone to malabsorption, such as IBD, IBS, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These disorders affect the digestive tract in one way or another. They either interfere with the breaking down or absorption of nutrients, or patients may not be able to eat or keep their food down.
My Personal Experiences with Supplements: Iron
Speaking from my own experience, I’ve had to try about 3 – 4 forms of iron supplements for my haemolytic anaemia due to Lupus, before we found one that my body would accept. The most common forms of iron including ferrous gluconate gave me severe stomach cramps, or just didn’t work.
Ferinject – IV iron – worked but was a temporary boost, and the price wasn’t very wallet-friendly. Finally, Maltofer – iron polymaltose – was suggested, and it worked! They come in either tablet or liquid form, which I take out of gratitude, but dislike the taste and/or addition of pills.
I am currently giving Spectra Spray’s iron supplement (Ferrazone) a go instead. This has been my preferred method to take my iron supplement so far. I will need to wait for a couple weeks before getting my blood checked for iron and RBC levels again.
My Personal Experiences with Supplements: Calcium
Many patients with chronic illnesses need a calcium supplement due to medication interference. My steroids can cause osteoporosis, and I am currently at osteopenia levels. The standard calcium plus vitamin D tablets once again, did not work for me, even at maximum dosages.
I am currently on separate forms of them, which often confuses even hospital staff and pharmacists. I take calcium carbonate tablets together with calcitriol capsules, which is the active form of Vitamin D that is normally made in the kidneys.
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3. Dysphagia & Other Swallowing Problems
I recently choked on a small piece of meat and had to go to the A&E. Every sip of water I tried to take only made me throw up all over again. This went on for 4 hours where I was totally ignored (typical, hey?).
When I finally saw the ENT specialist, she tilted my head upwards to check the back of my throat. I gagged and vomited again and all of a sudden, the sensation disappeared. She must have thought that I was a hypochondriac, but I would much rather stay home instead of throwing up for hours in a frigid hospital.
I will need to ask my rheumatologist about this swallowing issue when I next see him. It isn’t the first time I’ve gagged, especially from warmer liquids.
Dysphagia can stem from a complex medical issue. Some issues include:
- Cancers of the mouth or oesophagus
- Medical conditions that affect the nervous system such as a stroke, TBI or dementia
4. Xerostomia and Other Chronic Pain in the Mouth or Throat Areas
I suffer from it due to Sjögren’s Syndrome, and during bouts of severe pain flares they leave me crying in pain all night. It’s pretty amazing if you stop to think about how a ‘simple’ lack of saliva can cause so much pain. It literally feels like a million needles pricking at my tongue, ruthless and relentless.
Other illnesses that can cause dry mouth include HIV, AIDS, Diabetes, Hypertension, Lymphoma and Hepatitis C.
Many medications have dry mouth as a listed symptom too, including numerous over-the-counter drugs. This side effect can range from a mild annoyance to a severe debilitation. It can also result from radiation therapy.
Many other health problems or annoyances can arise from a dry mouth and lack of saliva as well, such as:
- Difficulty with wearing dentures
- Sore throat
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Modified sense of taste
- Increase in plaque, tooth decay and gum disease (that’s why I need to see a dentist every 6 months)
- Thrush / Yeast infection in the mouth
- Mouth sores
- Cracked lips
- And damn – it’s just really uncomfortable and even very painful at times!
Oral Spray Vitamins That I Recently Bought from Spectra Spray
I recently purchased some oral spray vitamins as gifts for my family, based on what I thought would best suit them. My mother and sister have Graves’ Disease, so I bought them some Vitamin D3 + K2 oral spray vitamins. I bought my dad an immune support oral spray and for myself, an iron, stress relief and sleep spray.
As mentioned, I am still waiting to do the blood tests for concrete results on the iron supplementation via oral spray. But I must say, I am a huge advocate for the sleep spray – it really does work!
I bought one for a friend too, and he confirmed with me its efficacy. To him it had a melatonin-like effect. To me, I’m just glad it works on a daily basis or as and when I need it.
All the Things I’ve Tried for Poor Sleep Stemming from Painsomnia, Depression or Anxiety
I have tried many things to help manage my sleep, which is important especially for pain management. A lack of quality sleep is also the biggest trigger for my epilepsy.
I use clonazepam, bromazepam or alprazolam according to what I need and based on the time of day or night. I usually ‘round up’ my fatigue for days before taking a clonazepam to help me sleep, or risk a seizure. I don’t take them every night for fear of it losing its efficacy.
I can’t take too much melatonin due to my blood clotting disorder, Antiphospholipid Syndrome. The same goes for valerian root, which also gave me depression. I am already on pretty high dosages of anti-depressants and rely on some benzodiapines, which probably interact with it.
Whilst flotation therapy works wonders for me, it’s expensive and a hassle to commute to the location. Magnesium supplements do nothing for me. In fact, I think they make me more alert. ‘Milder’ aids like lavender oils, candles and chamomile tea are pleasant, but don’t do much beyond that.
The only thing I now use on a consistent basis for better sleep is Spectra Spray’s oral sleep spray. I take it about 2 hours before bed and before I know it, my eyelids are nice and heavy. It is now my favourite tool in my sleep kit.
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How Oral Spray Vitamins Work & Why They’re So Effective
There are a few methods to take your vitamins or supplements. In order of slowest to fastest absorption rate:
- Gel capsules
- Transdermal patches
- Sublingual liquids
- Intramuscular injections
- Oral spray vitamins
The faster the absorption rate, the quicker your body can utilise the nutrients. In oral sprays, the vitamins have already been ‘broken down’ or emulsified. This means that your body does not need to spend extra time or effort breaking down the protective binders, fillers and inorganic materials that come with traditional pills and capsules.
Some people with chronic illnesses such as MCAS are also allergic to certain binders and fillers, and may have a hard time finding a brand that works for them.
Here are some detailed clinical studies fo Spectra Spray’s Vitamin D3 and Sleep Spray. Part of the studies have shown up to a 30% reduction in the usage of pain medications when using the sleep spray. This is because chronic pain and poor quality sleep are intertwined, with each affecting the other. This is interesting to note, as most sleep supplement studies do not focus on chronic pain, too.
How Do You Use Oral Spray Vitamins?
I’m not even oversimplifying it, but all you do is spray them on the inside of your cheeks, hold for a bit, swallow and that’s it.
The cheeks contain a rich blood supply; the oral spray vitamins are absorbed efficiently across these thin layers of cell linings, directly into the blood capillaries beneath them.
Oral spray vitamins are absorbed by the body up to three times faster than regular pills and capsules. Spectra Spray’s oral sprays are also all natural, non GMO, vegan, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and GMP certified.
I also love how convenient they are to carry around, and that I do not need to spend time counting all my pills. If you’re a spoonie, you know how time-consuming, mundane and frustrating a task that is.
Conclusion: Oral Spray Vitamins are a Keeper for Me!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, oral spray vitamins are a big win and keeper for me! I wish that all my medications were in oral spray forms, but I can only dream about that for the future for now.
If there’s one small problem I have with them, it’s that I also suffer from TMD due to bruxism. I often have problems opening my mouth too wide, so sometimes it takes me a while to stick the oral spray into my mouth. You may also face this issue if you have Trigeminal Neuralgia, or other mouth related chronic pain.
Having said that, I still much prefer oral spray vitamins to regular pills and capsules. The convenience and ease of use are big wins for me. I especially love my sleep spray as it works amazingly well for me, unlike many other products I’ve tried.
I hope that this article was useful in helping you to understand how oral spray vitamins work, and if they might be worth a try. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Note: This article is just a rough guide, and nothing in it should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.
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