Five years ago I set off on a 6 month backpacking trip. Whilst sat in coffee shop in Vientiene, Laos about 3 months in, a fellow traveller noticed that I was feeling a little under-the-weather and offered me the remaining three Berocca he had left in his tube. Having always been taught not to accept gifts such as this from strangers, I politely accepted but put them away in my bag- I was suspicious that he may be trying to drug me!
Upon return to my dormitory I asked the two Indonesian girls that I was sharing a room with about this ‘fizzy orange drink’ that claimed to be a vitamin. They advised me that it was real and that it wasn’t an Asian vitamin, but that it was sold world-wide. As much as I believed them, I continued to be suspicious and kept them in my bag as I travelled through the rest of Laos, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia before flying off to Australia.
Whilst travelling down the east coast I met an Irish backpacker who also took Berocca. He told told me what an amazing vitamin it was and how when he felt ill he would drink several glasses to get better, and claimed that it worked! I saw his Berocca and saw that they looked the same as mine so I tried it, finally.
But it wasn’t until I returned to the UK a few weeks later that my Berocca-infused life really took off. So I went to Tesco to purchase some as I had a cold and I thought it might help. Buy two get one free- bargain I thought, next thing I knew I had 6 weeks worth of vitamins. This day was just under five years ago and until this week, I have religiously taken my Berocca every single day.
As a kid I was tested for anaemia as I seemed to have less energy than my school friends. I’d have a nap each day when I got home and I’d still be asleep by 10pm, I didn’t understand how my friends would stay up all night playing Playstation games or listening to Pure Garage (yes, my friends and I were super cool). Turns out there was nothing wrong with me, apparently it’s just how I work. As I grew older I discovered pick-me-ups such as caffeine or alcohol so it was less noticeable at times, but it was always there. I’d fall asleep on buses on my way to work and miss my stop, in lectures whilst at university and at the cinema no matter how much I might enjoy the film.
When I began taking Berocca my energy levels were significantly increased, all of a sudden I could stay awake, AND I would have more productive days! Result! Have you ever read the ingredients on the Berocca pot? Now I’m no medical expert, but how can something that has more than ONE THOUSAND PERCENT of your recommended daily allowance every single day actually be good for you? Well it made me feel good that’s for sure. If I ever felt a bit unwell, tired, hungover or wasn’t able to eat well because I was travelling I would overdose. I’d sometimes have three or four in a day. It’s only vitamins, how can that hurt you? Well according to the manufacturers this is not something you are supposed to do!
Never mind, nothing bad happened to me. But the point I am making is that I RELIED on this vitamin. I went from catching several colds in a year to only one or two, I went from falling asleep at 9pm to being able to stay up until 11pm, I went from being low on energy to feeling great. There used to be a TV advert that said something like ‘A Berocca day is a great day!’ and I genuinely did feel so much more ‘great’! I really felt like this little orange tablet had changed my life.
Last week however I decided that after 5 years of taking it I should try something different. So I bought an alternative. Every day since then I’ve felt genuinely crap, I’ve fallen asleep super early and I currently have a cold. Every morning when I’ve popped the replacement pill I’ve felt empty, I miss my Berocca. It’s like I’m addicted to this vitamin. I’m going to see it out with the new vitamins and see if my energy levels improve at all and from there I will decide if I return.
Upon reflection of my 5 year Berocca relationship I would like to know-
-Is it actually good for you to take such high vitamin doses every single day?
-Is it possible for your body to become over-reliant on artificial vitamins?
-Is it possible to become addicted to Berocca?
-What actually happens if you overdose?
-Why don’t other vitamins give such an energy boost?
If anyone out there has had Berocca experiences like me or has the answers to any of my questions I’d love to know- leave me a comment!