Now We’re Gummed Up

I have stooped to feeding my children unhealthy candy in an attempt to get them healthy. If you are a parent, perhaps you know what I mean – GUMMY VITAMINS. Whoever thought up this monstrosity was evil, for poisoning children with something intended to be healthy, AND brilliant, because it worked.

In my family we have a tendency to have calcium deficiencies. More specifically, we have magnesium deficiencies. Without magnesium (and vitamin D from the sun) the human body cannot properly use calcium, no matter how much you take. This means that the calcium from food or supplements gets misdirected, causing problems, and resulting in extreme side-effects beyond that. Drinking more milk only makes this situation worse because no branch of our family handles milk well. It demands yet more magnesium to digest milk (or any other element of intolerance) so whatever magnesium one has is used up too quickly and the calcium available in milk is abused in its absence.

With both me and my ex-husband, in our early adolescence, this had resulted in calcium deposits on our knees and shins. My husband’s condition, when it occurred to him, was apparently diagnosed as “benign tumors” which resulted in an operation to remove. I’m told his doctor diagnosed a calcium deficiency in my husband at the time as a cause of this problem but his parents decided the doctor, with actual degrees and certifications in the subject, had to know less than the milk commercials that advertised with the slogan “milk does a body good” in order to help them make money. As far as I know, they never changed their mind on that. They pushed milk on my children at every opportunity, alarmed that I restricted it after all my babies proved, one after another, to have intolerances to milk. My husband’s intolerance toward milk, which added to mine to affect our children, was dismissed by his parents and, therefore, by my husband himself, though he was glad not to have to share his milk with me or our kids.

In my case, my mother worked with doctors and ignored milk commercials, so I stopped drinking milk and upped my intake of magnesium. I missed a year of P.E. while my knees healed. Continuing with increased magnesium throughout adolescence, I had no more problems. My brother, when adolescence hit him, had no problem with his knees, but his behavior deteriorated rapidly and badly. He began lying, stealing, growing increasingly and scarily violent and acting completely irrational and full of rage. Our doctor did tests and diagnosed a calcium and magnesium deficiency, as well as an intolerance toward milk and peanuts, which were my brother’s main source of protein at that time since my mother was experimenting with vegetarianism. My brother absolutely refused to take the supplements my mother and the doctor agreed he needed – to the point where my parents had to physically force him. Within a week of eliminating all his food intolerances from his diet and taking his supplements – which were magnesium and calcium, balanced and spaced in a specific way, he was fine and continued the regime on his own.

My oldest son, my first born, was subject to strange growth spurts. He started off tall – around 95 percentile for height at birth – but skinny. He put on weight at a good clip for about 6 months, but gained no height, eventually dropping to below average in height. At 6 months he had a massive growth spurt which resulted in him again being around 95 percentile in height, but did not gain weight at that time. He was again tall and skinny. Then he started gaining weight but no height. Over and over this pattern played out. Our pediatrician initially freaked out during the first cycle of this and insisted I had to supplement my breast feeding with formula. When I started doing this, when my baby was around 4 months old, my happy, healthy, albeit clinging baby grew suddenly unhappy and self-harming. I would put him down to play or sleep and return to find him beating his head against a wall, for instance. The child who, before, never wanted to be anywhere except in my arms, now wouldn’t let me hold him or sooth him. Instead he got crankier and more insistent on violence, to the point where I would spend days acting like a human straight jacket to stop him from harming himself, while he screamed, kicked, bit and scratched me. I took him off the formula, breastfeeding him exclusively, and in a couple days the violence and misery disappeared and he was back to being a happy, healthy baby – albeit not gaining height. The doctor, however, more alarmed at his lack of gaining height than his crazy behavior, threatened to have him legally removed from my custody if I did not return to giving him formula, so, reluctantly, I did. This immediately brought back the violence, misery, and self-harming. I took him off the formula. Immediately the symptoms disappeared. I finally convinced my pediatrician that the formula was bad for him and the doctor agreed that a milk intolerance was likely the culprit. He wanted me to supplement with non-milk formulas but, by that time, my baby was 6 months old and we supplemented with baby food and baby vitamins instead. He was fine, except when visiting with my husband’s parents who pushed milk. He would always come home cranky and horrible and feeling sick. A day or so at home, however, taking the baby vitamins and eating properly, usually cured him. Then came adolescence when this condition hit again, full force. He again grew irrational and violent and started putting his fists through the walls, scaring me. When I insisted he take his vitamins, he adamantly refused, labeling them “drugs.” (He also fought me over his immunizations.) I got no support from my husband, sadly, but eventually managed to get my son, who already towered over me, to take his calcium and magnesium supplements by, quite literally, sitting on him until he swallowed them. He has never forgiven me for this, however his rage and violence disappeared within days of me doing this and he stopped destroying the walls of our house. He even continued taking his vitamins on his own until he was through that period. He still gave me grief over his immunizations, however, until he was over 18 and I could no longer legally force him. Then, to my shock, he rushed to take the Covid vaccine, against my advice (it was too new and insufficiently tested for me to trust and he was not in a threatened group) when it first came out.

My oldest daughter went through a phase of deep, dark depression in her adolescence. I was scared that she was suicidal. She withdrew and stopped talking to me, started wearing black all the time, and her music playlist was filled with seriously depressing songs. She wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to get her to take her vitamins, even though every single bit of food and supplement advice I had ever given her had proved absolutely true. My mother, however, bought her a calcium magnesium supplement, just for her, and she took that out of respect for her grandmother. In short order she snapped out of her funk.

Now my youngest son is deeply moody, constantly hostile, and has been directly violent toward me – hitting me and kicking me, when I try to help him or even when I pass by too closely to him, and he enjoys calling me names, including “f___ing idiot.” He was a straight A student but suddenly stopped doing any schoolwork. He got kicked out of an online class in which he was getting an A with only 5 lessons left to go before he finished the class. He had been excited by the possibility of going to college and studying to be an engineer, but, suddenly, he was pulling D’s in classes he had easily had A’s in before, including his favorite engineering class. He blamed me for that because I had been constantly encouraging him to do his homework (aka “nagging”) which, apparently, in his mind, forced him to be defiant and refuse to do his homework. He also refused to join our family in any fun event outside the home and even refused to join us in our game nights in home. When the holidays came, he spent all his money on himself, refusing to buy anyone else any gifts, and failed to thank anyone for the gifts they gave him. He bought himself bluetooth headphones, which he used to block out the rest of the family, thereby isolating himself even while he inhabited the family room with us. At his father’s house, where he has no bedroom so has to sleep in the living room, I was told that he hid in the coat closet most of the time to avoid interacting with anyone, including his older brother who was visiting on leave from the army.

I recognized the symptoms of a calcium deficiency easily, but he refused to take any vitamins from me, despite the fact that he had been on a self-improvement kick not long before, including building his body. Food stamps don’t cover vitamins, so we had run out and, suddenly, he was plummeting. I begged and borrowed enough money to get more vitamins for him, but it was too late. He was too irrational. I could not find any way to get him to take the necessary supplements. In addition, even if I had, I was forced to share custody with his abusive and negligent father, so I only had him every other week and it was certain that his father, who, like his parents, believed milk commercials over experts, would not have encouraged him to keep taking the vitamins or to eliminate foods from his diet toward which he had proved intolerant. I took away his new bluetooth headphones – mostly because I thought having a power source so close to his brain constantly could be acerbating the problem. (My husband’s father had died of a brain tumor that his surgeon was convinced was caused my his cell phone usage.) I promised to return them, however, if only he took his vitamins for a week. He also wanted me to take him for a haircut, which his father would not do, so I promised him that I would do so after he took his vitamins for a week. No punishment or bribe worked. He was adamant against vitamins. Period.

At last, in utter desperation, I bought the Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc gummy vitamins. First ingredient is glucose syrup (probably from corn syrup, which my youngest, twins, especially, have proved to have difficulty tolerating). The second ingredient is cane sugar. Essentially, these are sugar bomb candies with a touch of vitamins to make believe they are healthy. They aren’t. When I ordered them, my son scoffed at me and insisted he would NEVER take them. I was wasting my money. I almost canceled the order but, really, I was at wits end. This boy is violent to me already, unlike my oldest who only attacked the walls near my head, and I seriously believe my youngest son would have harmed me if I had tried to sit on him. In fact, I couldn’t even get near enough to him to try, or I might have dared the beating he was threatening to give me.

Just now, the gummy candies with hints of vitamins arrived. My youngest son, despite his insistence that he would NEVER take them, since I was wanting him to, was curious enough to open the bottle, sniff the candies, and even try them. He liked them so well that he agreed he would keep taking them. I hope this is so. My girls also tasted them and liked them, so this bottle of 90 tablets, taken three at a time for a single serving per day, is not going to last long between my three youngest children. Worse, it does not supply enough calcium or magnesium for our need, but because it also includes zinc and vitamin D3, one cannot take more than advised. Still, it is better than nothing…I hope.

I’m frustrated that it has come to this. I’m also thankful that this is available since, really, without it, I had no other options left. I only hope and pray it helps.

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