One of the more mundane things I challenge myself to do every year is to look after my health a bit more. Together with the 1,000 rep challenge (failing miserably, may blog about later at some other point), and the yoga challenge (appalling, no comment), I have found another one: drink Berocca for 90 days straight and see what happens. As it happens, this is the easiest of all of them, simply requiring you to pour down a pint of orange down your neck and thus, I am well versed to write about this.
What is Berocca anyway?
I think, and I still think, that Berocca is simply a marketing gimmick. It’s basically a multi-vitamin mixed into an effervescent orange tablet, which then looks pretty appealing and tastes nice once it’s dissolved in water. I say gimmick, because it’s bloody expensive. Let’s compare the costs:
Typical no-brand multivitamin: 0.5p
Berocca tablet: 20p
Berocca is therefore 40 times more expensive than something that gives more or less the same benefits. The profit margins are tremendous; you’ll always see this on promotional offer on a ‘3 for 2’ deal in the supermarkets. If you’d like to buy it, I’d recommend Amazon as they always have decent multi-pack deals here.
One interesting fact is that Berocca also attains almost uniformly attains positive reviews – 4.5 stars out of hundreds of reviews is pretty good going. So there must be something in it. I rather suspect that rather than the multivitamins itself providing the boost, the 500ml of water intake is perhaps the main thing.
It should be mentioned that other brands are available! It should be said that on Amazon, generic ‘copies’ of this exist, providing virtually the same nutrition at about a third of a cost (7p/tablet). The reviews on these products are slightly less favourable than the main brand, but still are pretty good (4 from 5 stars). The main gripe seems to be a slightly worse taste. I suspect that there is also a placebo effect from buying into a brand like Berocca, so if that’s the case why not harness it?
How will I intend to use it?
At present, I am taking it first thing in the morning. My usual routine now is to consume two cups of coffee in the morning: one as an eye-opener, and one normal one. Like most people, I think I have become simply dependent on caffeine for a kick, which probably isn’t the healthiest thing. So the thing to do for me would be to simply substitute the second coffee for a Berocca.
Truth be told, I haven’t found it that refreshing so far and the real problem the tablet does need minimum 400ml water to dissolve, any less and I think the orange taste would be far too concentrated and sickly. And putting in too much water also makes it take longer to drink, and with around 1 liter of water on my tummy (including the coffee) I also find it harder to eat breakfast (which probably is better overall for you than simply taking a tablet).
Taking it first thing in the morning also theoretically allows the best use of the vitamins during the day, although I have no real scientific evidence that the body really cares too much when it gets the vitamins. It possibly could be drunk during a gym workout or sipped throughout the day (although when left to settle, some of the tablet doesn’t dissolve and ends up sitting at the bottom) but it would be worst drunk at night before bed, for me the large amount of liquid would lead to more than one bathroom visits throughout the night, and ruined sleep.
What am I expecting from it?
It’s hard to say. When symptoms of laziness and tiredness come around, the mind tends to agree with them so it can have reasons why it procrastinates. I don’t expect Berocca to solve this, although an effect may be to make me more alert and have more clarity of thought throughout the day. Not having this is fairly costly, and getting de-railed on other things can really have knock-on effects.
In short, I am expecting to feel great. Truth be told, I haven’t at present. I get around 6-7 hours sleep and still feel knackered in the day. I sometimes end up nodding off in the afternoon and end up having trouble falling asleep at night. I’d love to change this and have a more natural progression of energy depletion in the day, achieve more in the day and sleep well at night.
Obviously that’s a tall order for one small orange flavoured tablet, and it needs to be done among other lifestyle changes, but we’ll give it a go first.
The obvious effects?
Yes, it’s bloody true: Berocca makes your wee bright yellow. The first time this happens you will be surprised and alarmed, due to the luminosity of the colour, almost the same colour as the drink. Having Googled an explanation for this, it’s because the body is simply excreting out things it doesn’t use, although I suspect this may also be another trick on behalf of the manufacturers, to provide some kind of tangible evidence (which isn’t really evidence of anything necessarily). I’ve found that in the week I’ve been taking it, whilst the ‘luminous piss’ effect was very constant for the first couple of days, it’s worn off slightly now, and now sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. I don’t know why this is.
Another effect (for me at least), is that Berocca seems to be a huge toilet inducer. As said before, I could neck two large cups of coffee after waking with no real effects. After one coffee and one Berocca, I find the urge to take a leak pretty overwhelming, and not just one. Like breaking the seal after a couple of beers, I’ll find myself coming back to the toilet a couple of times in relatively quick order, probably getting rid of all the liquid. For this reason, I wouldn’t drink it before a long commute: toilets are pretty difficult to find on the trains nowadays.