Archive for the ‘B12’ Category

Magnesium Stearate, Maltodextrin and More

IMG_1917 (2)What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, my writing day, was as beautiful a day as one could special order if that were possible. Today it is pouring rain and if you look closely, distressing as that is to do, you can see some white crystalline objects mixed in. Urgh! Oh well, I shall not complain. I have a new kitchen faucet being installed and the workman (aka Spousal Unit) does not need to be tempted out-of-doors by an Indian Summer day.

I can report that THE project has only just begun and already he feels like he is in the midst of a “reality show where you are working against a time clock” because some thingamajig is leaking constantly and he needs to be done asap. The sighs are audible and frequent and I predict a slight meltdown at some point.

Yup, I think this weather is just the ticket and by the end of the day I will have a new faucet installed that hopefully will work.

This week on Facebook

As you undoubtedly know by now I have a Facebook page called, what else, Krisinsight. This week a friend of mine asked me about supplements I take and had I ever thought about the supplements working against each other? Another member of Krisinsight had the correct answer “Yes, of course.” I have tried many supplements over the years and I worry or wonder about each and every one. I was comforted long ago by my then functional medicine doctor, Robert Bruley. I told him I had a pantry full of supplements and he confided that he and his wife did too.

While that seems like a lot what also made me feel better was he and his wife had their blood tested all the time to check the effects of these supplements and they basically saw good results or they quit taking them. Some lowered homocysteine levels or CRP levels and others showed positive results in lowering liver enzymes. All in all, the supplements they took showed positive results and, to me, that was comforting and reassuring.

Spectracell results

Dr. Bruley was a big proponent of Life Extension formulas and I started taking several of their supplements at that time (2007 or thereabouts). I also took some others like Dibencozide and methylcobalamin all of which had fillers and additives but were recommended by my thyroid group.

Around this same time I heard a discussion between Dr. Mercola and a Dr. Klinghardt regarding a micro-film that might form from using supplements with stearates. Also Russell Blaylock wrote a book called “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” and I read it around the same time. One common filler is maltodextrin, an excitotoxin due to the way it is manufactured. Then going gluten-free  added new challenges to anything with additives and fillers. Even additives listed as “natural flavors” could contain gluten. Crikey! It was all becoming too, too difficult.

Then the coup d’grâce for the use of additives and fillers was my Spectracell test I had done in late 2011. Until this time I had taken the above listed supplements and one called “Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants” in addition to others that contained a full spectrum of antioxidants, CoQ10, selenium and zinc, not to mention up to 10,000 mcg of B12 sublingually every day.

In my blog from that time I wrote the following:

Vitamin B12, Selenium, Inositol, Zinc,  CoQ10 and my Spectrox (comprehensive antioxidants) were all listed as deficient. Why is this troublesome? B12 is often noted to be low in people who have dementia and a B12 deficiency actually mimics Alzheimer’s Disease.Selenium deficiencies are rare (the SU says he already knew I was weird) but can contribute to hypothyroidism. Inositol levels must be optimum to assure healthy brain function and even healthy hair growth. Zinc is a common deficiency and most often noted by white spots appearing in the nail bed but it also can lead to excess hair loss. CoQ10 is essential for healthy breasts and heart. As for antioxidants they are our life blood as necessary as the air we breathe.

What would you conclude?

Knowing you were taking all the nutrients that you have just tested low in what would you do? Also knowing that you, or, in this case, I, have a history of dementia in the family as well as heart disease, what would you surmise from these results? The facts were I was already taking more antioxidants and vitamins than the lab recommended in their prescription to improve my levels that were below acceptable levels. My overall low antioxidant level was really distressing to me given the supplements I was taking. Even though Dr. Bruley told me he was quite impressed with how many nutrients (like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, etc.)  were at or above average levels the things that were below average bothered me considerably.

With some enlightenment thanks to my Spectracell test,  I started looking very carefully at supplements that have fillers and additives as the words of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Klinghardt (Klinghardt as been somewhat discredited at the time this is posted in his Lyme Disease work and Chris Kresser just posted this article) rang in my head.

That doesn’t mean I never take a supplement that has stearates or rice powder but it does mean I don’t like them and would prefer no additives or fillers. I don’t see the reason for them and I have contacted a number of companies about adding them unnecessarily only to be rebuffed.

Ignore me and thousands of others if you want but the fact remains additives  and fillers are really not necessary they aid in the manufacturing process and they make supplements unnecessarily large (only a problem if you have a dry mouth as so many thyroid patients do).

Krisinsight

In answer to my friend’s question, I think about the supplements I take and when they don’t work I quit taking them. I have been particularly fond of the formulas that Life Extension puts together but I don’t like their use of rice powder, maltodextrin and stearates. Also if you take a formula of assorted nutrients how do you know what is working and what isn’t? What if one thing actually would make you feel better but mixing it with other things is making you sick? Thus, I try to take single ingredient supplements until I know the effect each ingredient will have but again don’t hold me to these words as I can think of several formulations I take right now.

I, as you know, use very few scientific studies to prove my unique observations. My personal experience is what Krisinsight is all about. You can take it for what it is, one person’s experience with her health and use it accordingly. My experience has taught me that taking supplements with additives and fillers apparently did disrupt the absorption of these nutrients.

This poor absorption issue may have something to do with my hypothyroidism as a person afflicted with hypothyroidism may tend to have absorption issues, aka leaky gut. Especially for others, like me, who might have absorption issues avoiding fillers and additives may be something to consider. For instance, if you are low in B12, it might be a good idea to talk to your physician about methylcobalamin injections as even sublingual B12 may not be helping you increase your levels.

As for the aforementioned faucet project. I can happily report that my faucet has been installed and long before I have finished writing. Yea! I guess the profane words stayed firmly stuck inside the installer’s brain because I heard nothing other than the original “reality show” comment and several sighs. I asked him about this and he told me sometimes thinking them makes you feel just as good as voicing them. I am married to a truly gentle man and I am grateful. The new faucet is lovely and nary a drip falls after two years of a faucet that was “fixed” but dripped profusely. Now if the weather would quit dripping all would be well.

Santé,

Kris

How Time Flies

I don’t know about my readers but I can hardly believe an entire month has passed since I last shared some of my hard-earned insight. Summer has been hot and humid but fun and filled with laughter. My daughter, grandson and I just returned from what will be a much treasured weekend on Lake Superior and I am full up to my eyebrows with lovely memories of my time with both of them.

I have also found writing once a month to be just the ticket for me right now, so I will be posting a new blog article on the first Monday of every month (except this month when it is slightly early). In the meantime I am going to put my writing energy toward something I have wanted to do forever, write a book. I will self publish said book and I have no idea as of 30 July 2012 what it will be about but the time I have spent sharing health information on Facebook and KrisInsight will be used to create my “masterpiece”.

Now for my topic for August, blood tests, blood test results and what you can do with them.

On getting a blood test

When Life Extension Foundation offers their once a year blood test sale I cannot resist the urge to ante up the $224.25 and get a rather complete blood test called “Female Weight Loss Panel Blood Test”. I am always interested in losing weight but that is not my reason for this particular panel. I purchase this one because it offers a complete thyroid panel (minus the antibody test), female sex hormone panel plus important information like CRP, Uric Acid, etc.

I receive my requisition form online, print it off and take it to the nearest LabCorp office. Once there you sign in and sooner rather than later someone will call your name and back you go into a very clean professional room where a very talented and experienced phlebotomist takes your blood. I happen to think the techs at the Edina LabCorp are some of the best phlebotomists around and after several blood tests purchased online and trips to Edina, MN for my blood draw I ought to know. I have never been hurt, have not, for that matter, even come away with a bruise or sore spot.

If you can’t take the heat; don’t get the blood test

Yup, you read that right. If you like the ostrich approach to life. If you would rather not know what might be going wrong. If, in fact, you can’t afford or don’t want to afford the treatment, DO NOT GET A BLOOD TEST! I really can’t afford any extras on my one and a half day dental hygiene salary but I like to know what is happening in my body. I don’t always like the results (and I will tell you about that) but I feel better knowing how my body is doing that is more scientific than subjective.

Within a week after my blood draw my results popped up in my “inbox”. I think even that is rather spectacular after talking to folks who have their blood draws at their doctor’s office and wait weeks to hear about the results. I opened the attachment with alacrity and read down the results basically saying things like “good”, “better”, “Ooh, that’s great”.

My total cholesterol was the lowest it has been in decades at 190. My Triglycerides were great, uric acid was low, CRP was low and VLDL was low. I basically had no signs of inflammation or precursors for heart disease. My TSH was suppressed (it should be on T3 only). My FT3 and FT4 were out of range (again should be on T3-only). My sodium levels were good (although again I didn’t fast salt the day before).

My glucose was high (insulin was normal, so I am not insulin resistant) and that needs some investigation and, of course, stricter carb control. My potassium was a little low and may require some slow release potassium supplementation. My sex hormones were still low (except for Testosterone which was okay) and that despite taking 200 mg. of bio-identical progesterone every day for a month prior to the test and taking 4 mg of Estradiol 25 days a month. I take no testosterone and yet my levels are mid-range. So far, not perfect but I am okay.

Then I got a slap to the face, my iron was high, out of range high and my happy, effervescent inner voice suddenly changed to something more like a deep grumbling “WTF” (sorry but honesty prevails)! If I have no signs of inflammation how could I be rusting from the inside out? I quickly got on my discussion group, posted my blood test results for their perusal and asked for advice.

In the end, the best advice was a combination of answers and I had to deduce the best answer from accumulated knowledge. There were a few other things that bothered one of the experienced moderators that I am still mulling over.

What to do, when you did it wrong.

I was at once relieved and then embarrassed by the answers I got from the group. First of all I screwed up when I had the blood test primarily because I wasn’t concerned about my iron levels. This is important information for anyone considering getting a blood test, so listen up. If you are testing iron levels you need to fast iron and Vitamin C for 5 days. If you don’t your results will be skewed.

I would also recommend no B12 injections in that five day period even though no one seems to know how B12 injections will affect your iron results (I asked many people and no one seemed to know). It makes sense to me that B12 would alter your results because it is used to treat pernicious anemia. I foolishly had an injection the day before my blood draw. I also had Liposomal Vitamin C and I had red meat. In other words, my high iron result doesn’t mean a thing, my iron levels may be high but they may just be inaccurate. I couldn’t possibly have done anymore to negate the results than I did. My “WTF?” turned in to “What was I thinking?”

When one thing may mean something else

At that point in my search for what my blood test results meant I got involved in a discussion about high SHBG. I knew that T3-only could raise your SHBG, so last time when my result was out of range high I paid no heed and neither did my medical doctor. This time some new information came to light thanks to Valerie Taylor a researcher and very knowledgeable woman who moderates the Adrenal discussion group and the RT3 group not to mention several other sites. She was having a discussion with a male member of the group about T3 and SHBG.

She was saying that SHBG can be higher (in range) if a person is on T3 only. As your FT3 goes up so does your SHBG and she further added that T3 is bound by SHBG. As SHBG goes up FT3 goes down but Total T3 remains stable. Therefore she concluded that SHBG may actually bind T3. This discussion really caught my attention but by participating I found out something no one had suggested before.

Val suggested that I test my IGF-1. This is a test that would show a possible need for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) or a precursor that would raise my levels of IGF-1 and thus my HGH. Val suspects my levels of IGF-1 might be low due to the high SHBG. HGH affects how we age and if mine is low I want to get right on that and see if I can correct the trend.

Kris Insight

My insight this month is “do as I say not as I did” (only kidding). Before you do any blood testing make sure you know how to do it properly.  For accurate results you must fast red meat, iron supplements, B12 and Vitamin C for 5 days. The day prior to your blood draw fast sodium as well. The morning of your blood draw don’t take your thyroid meds (the only thing I did correctly) until after the blood draw and of course, 12 hour fasting  is necessary if the test calls for it.

As my iron is always and has always been in the upper range (this time it is out of a normal range) I am trying a supplement called IP-6 available at iHerb.com. I am only going to take it for one month as it can affect your liver enzymes. I am taking one capsule once a day even though the suggested amount is two capsules. IP-6 is said to bind the excess iron in the blood and many use it after a cancer diagnosis but also for high hemoglobin results. I hope to retest my iron in a month (following all the correct guidelines) and see how my levels look at that time.

There are several other ways to lower high iron levels, donate blood (they won’t take my blood because I lived in Great Britain in the 1980’s) or get your doctor to prescribe phlebotomy, 8 ounces at a time works better than a pint in one sitting according to Dr. Joe Mercola. Drinking something tannic like tea or wine with your meals will help bind any iron in your meal. Lactoferrin supplements bind to free circulating iron. Even calcium supplements can lower your iron levels if taken with your meal. I have never worried about my iron as the only time I have ever been anemic was when I was donating blood too often, so being concerned about fasting iron has never crossed my mind but it will next time believe me. One scare is enough for me.

As for my high SHBG I have the IGF-1 test in my shopping basket at LEF.org. In the next month or two I am going to test it and see what it has to say about my HGH levels. If my levels are low I am going to try a supplement called IGF Premium as it is sold by LEF.org and I don’t need a prescription. It is pricey at almost $60 but then aging properly really is priceless.

I hope I have helped anybody planning to have a blood test in the near future. I guess if someone learns from my mistakes it takes away the sting of being so wrong especially when I do know better (just put “blood testing” in my search box). I hope all my readers have a great month. Remember I do post my “tweets” on my blog, so check in now and then and see what’s new in health and choosing a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise see you on September 3rd!

Santé,

Kris

To B-12, or Not To B-12 (cont.)

Earlier this week I was walking with Chloe and I honestly confessed that I couldn’t come up with any good subject to discuss this week. Nothing of note, I stated, had happened much less stimulated even one synapse of interest.

What? Kris with nothing to say? It could happen but it seems unlikely. I think it was what some refer to as “writer’s block”. After weeks of being overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas to share (One recent week I wrote three blogs in one day, a veritable diarrhea of ideas) I had met my proverbial wall.

Ah, then today I sat down in front of my ‘puter with a sense of determination to write. I put words on the screen and then more words and finally after deleting and adding, I found my direction, my pensé pour la journeé if you will.

On starting B12 injections

As some readers will know I finally got my doctor to prescribe injectable B12. I felt this was my only option for raising my cellular levels because I had been taking sublingual B12 in what I thought was the most easily assimilated form for a year or two when I did my recent Spectracell test (Ann Louise Gittleman offers it at a reduced cost and a different name).

The resultant cellular levels revealed a deficiency which, by and large, no one knows the reasons for. Could be leaky gut or how about long-term  under-treated hypothyroidism? I don’t know the reason but I know having optimal levels of cellular B12 is critical to my health, both mentally and physically.

Armed with desire, I started my B12 injections on the 17th of March (it is now 30 April). I started on a very low dose because Chloe had warned me that she experienced a powerful detoxification from B12. I gradually worked my way up to 15 units, exceeding my doctor’s recommendation but not coming close to the amount that Chloe’s functional medicine doctor recommended nor a host of other doctors and pharmacists recommend.

Gradually over a three-week period, I worked my way up to 15 units, twice a week. First I did a 2 unit dose, then 4 units two or three days later. Then I made a big leap to a 10 unit dose on the 29th of March. I did two more injections of 10 units of B12. Then two days after the third injection of 10 units, April 7th, I had the day from Hell.

Detoxification or food poisoning?

It was a day I care not to repeat.  I was unbelievably ill. I lay immobile in bed for 12 hours with a bucket in one hand and a wet towel in another. I expelled all stomach contents for three hours and felt miserable for 9 more hours. At that point I suddenly felt normal again, got up brushed my teeth took my layers of clothing off and went to bed as I would normally do and slept perfectly for the next 8 hours.

At the time I blamed food poisoning even wondering if my raw milk was tainted.(I ruled that out as my spousal unit and I had both had milk in our tea and he wasn’t sick. In fact, he had eaten the same as I had and had not one moment of sickness) and would admit to no one, not even myself, that I suspected something else. This week while talking to Chloe I finally murmured something about it possibly being a detox reaction and Chloe quietly agreed that she thought it was altogether possible.

Questions, questions and more questions

Do I have any proof of a detox reaction? No. What I have are more questions than ever. People who have low levels of B12 are not good methylators and therefore do not detoxify properly. When you increase your B12 levels you kick start your methylation cycle.

As Rich van Konynenburg says on Dr. Sarah Myhill’s site  “If your methylation cycle isn’t working properly, the immune system malfunctions, the detoxification system mal-functions, our ability to heal and repair is reduced and the anti-oxidant system mal-functions.” My anti-oxidants were overall deficient on the nutrient testing ergo I conclude my methylation process was sub-normal. Therefore, is it possible that I did kick-start my methylation cycle causing a toxic dump?

Further adding to my questions, I found this discussion of necessary supplements online. This person has done significant research on what works and what doesn’t. It specifically mentions that taking any form of folic acid other than metafolin can cause what appears to be a detox reaction. Whoops! I was taking one form of folic acid that was not metafolin the other was MTHF-5 but inexplicably I was preferring the one that is not MTHF-5 aka metafolin.

Also I was taking the one form of sublingual B12 that this person specifically says not to take (Country Life Dibencozide) because it contains the wrong form of folic acid. Did taking the wrong B12 and Folic acid cause my system to have a profound potassium deficiency or a folic acid deficiency and thus a pseudo detox reaction? I have my doubts but it is another question.

Last but not the least of my questions, did my increase of B12 cause a sudden increase in the function of my liver and gall bladder? Did I have a large dump of bile into my system and resultant violent illness to expel the excess bile? Questions, questions and more questions for which I have no definitive answers.

Kris Insight

Is there any good news? Yes. I am calmer, not more energetic as most are but calmer. When I walk uphill I do not have that sense of oxygen starvation where you breathe deeply and still feel like your heart needs to work more efficiently. Those two things happened almost immediately and continue.

I think I may have clearer thinking and less of that muzzy headedness that often accompanies we hypothyroid types. That is really subjective and no one is brave enough to come right out and say “Kris, you seem to be more mentally alert!” and honestly I don’t blame them, would you? Hmm, another question.

But my real insight this week is one I have shared before and is so important for those of us with chronic health issues. Sometimes you just have to get on with life. You may not have all the answers, nor quite honestly be asking the correct questions, but if you just get on with life “it” will come to you. That wall you feel is blocking your way will slowly fall and you will progress. You will succeed. I have proof, as of today, I have completed my 159th post on Kris Insight and I will see you next week with number 160.

Santé,

Kris

A Surefire Way to Increase Vitamin B12 Levels

Happy Monday morning, I am trying an experiment with this week’s blog. Instead of being verbose I am going to be succinct. I am also going to rely on my readers to delve through past blog entries to explore various reasons one might want to ensure high B12 levels and particularly B12 at a cellular level .

Should you want even more information on B12 put “B12″ in the search box of my blog and you will see a plethora of blog entries on the subject. The sole purpose of today’s blog entry is to delve in to the why of  B12 injections and how to best do them.

Why stick a small needle in your skin?

Believe me when I say, I ask myself this question every time I have done it thus far. I don’t enjoy needles no matter how small (insulin needles are used). However, and of supreme import, was my desire to raise my B12 levels which showed up as “deficient” on my Spectracell test. In typical blood tests I was in the middle of the USA range at 550 pg/ml and even that is just barely above the acceptable level in Europe.

I concluded long ago that my B12 levels were wanting and I started taking two forms of very absorbable B12, sublingual dibencozide and sublingual methylcobalamin. Others have had remarkable increases with these two forms of  oral B12 and they are in doses that most B12 tablets don’t come in, 3000 mcg and 5000 mcg.

If taking the most absorbable forms of B12 (methylcobalamin and hydroxocobalamin are the most easily absorbed and utilized) still doesn’t raise your levels beyond the cellular level considered “deficient” on a Spectracell test there is a physical barrier.

I suspect my “barrier” is that I lack what is called Intrinsic Factor. My issues are as old as I am and my family is infamous for their digestive maladies and, on my mom’s side, dementia. I knew it was time to call in the big guns, or more accurately, the miniscule but sharp little buggers otherwise known as insulin syringes filled with red liquid, B12.

Learning to inject

With my first injection I learned one thing, I could never be a junky. Crikey! Sticking a needle in one’s skin is not pleasant and I don’t care how teeny tiny that needle is. Later, in talking to Chloe, my researcher extraordinaire, I also learned three more very important points about successfully injecting B12. Nowhere else did I read these two details and I think they make all the difference.

First, your belly works better. Unless you possess the tightest 6 pack of abs with no visible fat in your belly region this is where I recommend you inject your B12. I tried the muscle just to left of the top of your thigh and I ended up with a red spot of B12 just under the skin and a little even leaked out. The idea of blindly injecting my bum isn’t appealing and I can’t do my arm. Use your belly.

Second, after you inject the B12, and it doesn’t take long to inject a tiny amount of B12, leave the needle subcutaneously for a few seconds. This seems to allow the B12 time to “soak” in and you will get very little if any loss.

Last but not least, start small. Did you know that you can have a sudden and rather disturbing detox reaction to  B12 if you have been deficient? Well now you do and thanks to Chloe I knew to start small and build up. I may have had some tiny amount of nausea with the first two injections that I did in my belly but that seems to have passed now and I am able to handle the 4-6 ml injections with no negative reaction.

Kris insight

I have done approximately 5 injections thus far. Two of those injections were failures, so let’s just say in the last two weeks I have done 3 injections, one was about 3 ml, one was 4 and the last one was  6 ml.  The 4 ml injection is about 1000 mcg of methylcobalamin B12. I am already seeing results. Hurrah!

Every night thus far after the morning injections I seem to sleep less. I am tired when I go to bed and I retire at my normal, but early time  (9:30). I sleep soundly all night but I wake up early (4 a.m.). I have yet to need a nap to compensate for the somewhat shorter night. I conclude therefore, I have more energy.

Another positive side effect was noticed this morning on a Sunday exercise walk. I normally have to work my way up to a brisk pace. If I don’t I am slightly breathless and I feel like the deep breathing makes my chest burn. Today, we started out at a brisk pace and I never had to ask the SU to “slow her down”. I didn’t feel breathless nor feel uncomfortable at any point.

My burning mouth isn’t gone but it is better. My tongue still looks a bit raw (a sign of B12 deficiency) and is slightly enlarged (glossitis) and a small depression down the midline still exists. I don’t really know that my glossitis is due to a b12 deficiency but the burning sensation most likely is and if it disappears after my course of B12 injections you will hear my cries of joy no matter how far away you might have your humble abode.

Lastly, I am watching the moons of my fingernails. My moons only exist on my thumbs and the right hand thumb “moon” is smaller than the left hand “moon” (Just a detail; no explanation. Remember succinctness rules this day!). I think there is the beginning of a moon on my left index finger and maybe even on the third finger. This is a very positive sign and a direction I hope I will continue to move in.

Santé,

Kris

P.S. Did I actually say I would be succinct? Goodness gracious, good thing I wasn’t being verbose.

On Being Hypothyroid and Other Minutaie

Spring has sprung in Minnesota and as always I am reminded that with spring there is renewal and with that rebirth comes a certain amount of joy. Perhaps Anne Bradstreet said it best in Meditations Divine and Moral (1655)-“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome”.

I thought as this week brings with it the first official day of spring it might be timely to update my thyroid buddies on my current state of health. I will preempt everything by asking you to understand if I seem a bit sardonic. I admit to still being very superstitious about what I say and I know many hypothyroid people, and other “spoonies” will relate.

That said, here we go……..

T3 only and what works for me

I am still taking 50 mcg of T3. This dose seems to work pretty well for me even though by the dictates of the RT3 thyroid group it is not enough. My pulse is pretty normal and I am happy with my blood pressure. I generally have a pulse around 75-78 bpm and my blood pressure is pretty consistently at 116/69. After being outside and pulling weeds it is 122/74 with a heart rate of 81 bpm.

How I feed my adrenals

I still take 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every morning and every afternoon. I salt my food heavily and often take extra salt if I feel my pulse is too high or if I have reason to perspire more than normal. A hot bath, a FIR sauna or this warm summer-like winter weather increases my perspiration and thus my need for sea salt.

I can tell by how I feel if I suddenly stand up whether or not my adrenals need more support. If I get light-headed I know I need to increase my sodium intake. It seems my adrenals, while healthier than they used to be, still require plenty of salt to feed their “condition” . Reminds me of the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” I feed them salt but hopefully starve them of nothing.

How to increase cellular deficiencies

Overall I think I am doing quite well but as you know my Spectracell test showed some deficiencies. I increased my Ubiquinol to 100 mg twice a day. I am taking 200 mcg of Selenium twice per day and  close to 64 mg of chelated Zinc per day. I was taking about 750 mg of Inositol per day but for some reason I didn’t feel any particular improvement and maybe felt worse.

Here is my new dog and pony trick. I finally got things straightened out between my doctor and a very helpful pharmacist at The Prescription Center in LaCrosse Wisconsin and my injectable B12 arrived post-haste. I will tell you more about injecting B12 next week after I have finally perfected the technique with Chloe’s assistance. I expect great things from an increased level of B12 and I hope not to be disappointed.

Exercise and FIR sauna resumed

I took several months off my normal frenetic exercise regimen around this time last year and I am finally getting back in to the swing of things. I am very careful not to overdo. In fact, I do something totally foreign to the before-adrenal-meltdown-me. I actually ask the SU if he will slow down when we walk together just to avoid taxing my system. I strongly believe that my heart palps were stimulated by an unnatural release of adrenalin and if just cooling it a bit avoids a reenactment I am content to be a wimp (yes, I have a problem with not pushing to the max).

Along with mild exercise (T-Tapp Basic, PACE walking, rebounder, Schwinn Airedyne) I have resumed some brief FIR sauna sessions. My basic routine is to exercise enough to sweat. While I am working out my sauna is warming up and as soon as I finish I hop in there for 15-20 minutes, salt water in hand. I have missed my sauna sessions but when you have adrenal stress the FIR sauna pushes you over the limits of what you can stand.

Kris Insight

Does all this mean I am as good as I can be? In one simple word, no. My heart still thumps occasionally, especially if I have too much caffeine or external stimulation. I have restless nights when I get up and sleep elsewhere so I don’t wake up the SU. I can only handle a tiny glass of wine unless I don’t mind being awakened by a pounding heartbeat that is in excess of 100 bpm. My mouth burns or tastes metallic most days and I occasionally have a hot flash that causes my face to flush (sex hormones are still not perfect).

Overall though, I feel fine. Not fine as in I don’t want to say anymore but the kind of fine that has a bit of cockiness and swagger. I saw this great quote on Facebook today that I strongly identify with,  “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…..it is about learning to dance in the rain”. I have learned to dance in the rain and I feel fine.

Santé,

Kris

The Specter of a Spectracell

Several years ago when I first met Dr. Robert Bruley he told me about a Spectracell blood test, a test that would measure my  amino acids, metabolites, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and carbohydrate metabolism at a cellular level. I found the idea of getting a cellular report fascinating but told him I had several other things to deal with and I would do it “later”.

What Time is Later?

Later finally rolled around last November. Dr. Bruley provided the essentials from the company that does the Spectracell. All I had to do was take it to my local hospital lab for the blood draw. That cost me about $25 and the lab took care of everything else because they can send it with FedEx when they pick up other blood tests for the day (so ask when this pick up occurs to make sure your test goes out the same day).

On Being the Queen of Supplements

I waited for what seemed like forever for the results and to be honest I still don’t have the entire dossier of results (always, always request a copy of your blood tests) but I do have in my clean little paws the list of my deficiencies. I have to say the results took me aback. Me, the Queen of Supplements finds herself deficient in the very things I have taken as a preventive measure.

The Deficient Ones

Vitamin B12, Selenium, Inositol, Zinc,  CoQ10 and my Spectrox (comprehensive antioxidants) were all listed as deficient. Why is this troublesome? B12 is often noted to be low in people who have dementia and a B12 deficiency actually mimics Alzheimer’s Disease. Selenium deficiencies are rare (the SU says he already knew I was weird) but can contribute to hypothyroidism. Inositol levels must be optimum to assure healthy brain function and even healthy hair growth. Zinc is a common deficiency and most often noted by white spots appearing in the nail bed but it also can lead to excess hair loss. CoQ10 is essential for healthy breasts and heart. As for antioxidants they are our life blood as necessary as the air we breathe.

What to Do? What to Do?

January 31st I talk to Dr. Bruley to see things from a medical doctor’s perspective. In the meantime, I have started taking the two supplements I wasn’t taking, zinc and selenium. I increased my CoQ10 (that is ubiquinol, not the less easily absorbed form of Ubiquinone) to 200 mg twice a day as I was taking 100 mg once or twice a day and had been for, well forever. Inositol (1 teaspoon twice a day) comes in a tasteless powder that I can easily add to water and drink. B12 has me stumped as I already take about 5000 mcg of B12 (Methylcobalamin) every day. I can only guess that I will need an injectable form in order to see improvement.

Let me Guide You

I read a great quote this week that went something like “All you can do is try. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide.” This week I get to guide you dear reader. The best guidance I can offer is that you call your doctor and order a Spectracell today. If your doctor doesn’t know about it use my link to Ann Louise Gittleman’s site where she sells it very reasonably. Do not look at it as some specter to be feared but as something that offers the very help you need to live life to its fullest.

Santé,

Kris

Almost Nirvana and Other Madness

This week’s blog is for my fellow thyroid sufferers and other “spoonies”. A thyroid friend contacted me the other day and asked how I was doing (Hi Olivia) that got me to thinking that I hadn’t reported recently on the status of my health. There isn’t really anything earth shattering to report, nothing fabulous or horrific but I feel after a year on T3 only, and hitting more than a few bumps in the road, things are nearly there, almost nirvana (but superstition keeps me from saying anything more).

I will do a quick rundown of the past year for those who might be unfamiliar. I have had hypothyroidism for 15 years give or take a year. In those years my dose of Syn-crap was constantly inadequate and being increased every time I had my blood drawn. I found a good doctor who would let me try Armour in 2010 but after about a year on Armour I was still having problems with an irregular heartbeat that began three years prior to trying Armour (things started out quite well on Armour but then Forest Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation and the irregularity came back with a vengeance).

I decided to go the “T3 only” route in April 2010 after reading Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and investigating various health forums that she introduced to my world. I had been battling this irregularity for more than three years now and despite what my doctor was telling me (you need to see a cardiologist) I knew  my heart was reacting to something akin to an improper release of adrenaline and that had to be caused by one thing, my improperly treated thyroid. I fit the description of a person with a Reverse T3 issue, basically an inability to get enough T3 to the thyroid receptors because they are blocked by T4. If the receptors are blocked by T4 the T4 is not converted to T3 as it needs to be for the thyroid to use it, so you are always under treated and have a resistance to any thyroid medication that has T4 in it.

Around this time last year, that is July Fourth and approximately 3 months on T3 only, I suddenly started having panic attacks, inability to sleep through the night, a feeling of not being able to swallow, diarrhea and a basal temperature of 98.2 -98.4. My daytime average wasn’t that high and other factors led many with whom I consulted to feel I was suffering intolerance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to intolerance issues, so I tested my adrenal health. The tests showed challenged adrenals, not full blown adrenal fatigue but low normal results especially midday, so I did try Isocort and then hydrocortisone but by and large those made me feel worse. [In retrospect, thanks to many talks with Nanci, I have concluded that my adrenals were weak but should never have been treated with anything containing hydrocortisone but hindsight is 20/20 as they say].

I “cleared” in July and had to drop my dose from 125 mcg to 68.75 mcg. I stayed on the Isocort (taking it like this 3-3-2-1) and gradually increased my dose of Cynomel according to my temperatures. Increasing according to my temperatures meant that I actually increased too much and too fast and eventually developed a bothersome tremor in my hands. It was so pronounced that it made my job (dental hygienist) difficult but the good news is I never had to quit working despite what I would call the rigors of clearing T4 from my receptors.

Last autumn was actually pretty miserable as I diligently climbed my way back to taking  125 mcg of T3. I was constantly taking my temperature three times a day and finding it sub normal over all, sometimes even my basal temperature was below 97.6, so I would up the dose despite the tremor and sleepless nights. Things weren’t great, I didn’t feel “normal”, my temperatures weren’t “normal” and I was getting discouraged.

Christmas was the nadir of my T3 only treatment. I had increased and decreased and now I was taking 118.75 mcg. It was Christmas Day and we were in Bayfield, Wisconsin with family an activity that usually brings me joy. That weekend I hardly slept, my heart was racing constantly. Basically, I was miserable, so I decreased again despite my temperatures  (which still weren’t normal) to 112.50 mcg. Nothing improved, nothing.

To make this now long introduction a little  shorter, after talking online for months with several helpful “thyroid friends” (to whom I am most grateful) this last winter, in February, I decreased dramatically to 50 mcg of T3. Miracles of miracles, almost overnight all of my objectionable symptoms disappeared, my temps didn’t come up but I finally felt human again after months of, gosh I hate to be dramatic, torture. I honestly couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I could go upstairs without feeling breathless, I was sleeping the sleep of normal people, my thinking was clear, my tremor completely disappeared and miracle of miracles my irregular heartbeat was better than it had been in years.

Enter Kris today. I am enjoying summer in Minnesota (yes, it finally has arrived), my new grandson and relatives visiting for the Fourth of July. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 spread out in four equal doses the last one being as I turn the light out at bedtime. My daily average temperature is sub-par but my basal is within normal limits (97.8) and as long as I feel “human” I am sticking to 50 mcg of T3.

I know my current regimen flies in the face of everything my gurus on the RT3 site recommend but my heart is as regular as it has been in years and the other night I actually found myself sleeping on my left side. That is a significant event only for those of us who have experienced the sound of a pounding irregular heartbeat. When you lay on your left side the sounds of your heartbeat are magnified and, needless to say, unbearable when those beats are irregular. When I awoke sleeping on my left side I knew I had passed a milestone in my treatment.

I have my daily supportive routines like taking at least 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every day, twice a day. I take one Thorne B #12, Thorne folocal if I take additional B12, Krill oil, antioxidants with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, and Bio-Astaxanthin every day. Other days I might add Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc Picolinate Plus, Super K, Chlorella and Spirulina.

Three times a week I put a scoop of  Boku Superfood in my morning smoothie which consists of some form of protein powder (SunWarrior or Mercola’s Whey). I am currently not following a gluten free diet but my carb intake is very low during the week and only on the weekend do I eat more carbs. I guess you could call it carb loading for a day or two which is sometimes recommended by exercise coaches.

All in all, I feel my health this summer is far better than last summer. My blood test panel showed improvements but certainly not perfection. My hormones are all low but my SHBG was very high, so that is the explanation for the low levels of my sex hormones. I know I need to compensate with higher doses of Estradiol and Progesterone but have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in treating with the Wiley Protocol. My gall bladder still troubles me but that has been ongoing for years and I now understand that a sluggish thyroid lends itself to a sluggish gall bladder, so I take the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as I can. I have a very dry burning mouth at times and my eyes feel dry, so I suspect Sjogren’s but there is no diagnosis of such a thing and with a diagnosis I am not sure anything would change. I use natural lubricant for my eyes and I have very good oral hygiene.

Does my heartbeat still trouble me? Sometimes I can feel it “skip a beat” but instead of panicking I take it in stride and soon things are normal again. It is never precipitated by exercise, so I am not fearful. My blood pressure is nearly perfect if on the low side. My energy is good but I am careful not to overdo as I feel my adrenal health is still compromised (indicated by my low temperatures of 98 degrees most afternoons that I check). My sleep is the best it has been in years and I often don’t wake at all or if I do it is only once and I go right back to sleep.

My wish for all the “thyroid friends” and “Spoonies” who read this is that you, too, can find your peace. Just know that some day you will turn the corner and find your self again. Even if it is fleeting, for that singular moment just enjoy the experience of  being you again.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

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