Archive for the ‘Anti-aging supplements’ Category

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

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December Thyroid News:The Hypothyroid Heartbeat

It is trite I know but I will say it anyway, I simply cannot believe how time passes us by. One day you are 10 without a care in the world and the next you are 57 with all the cares of the world on your shoulders. Being  a person with autoimmune dis-ease does not make it simpler but there are few if any dull moments and you constantly learn something new and unusual. With that in mind I thought an update on my thyroid health would be timely.

On Sleeping on Your Left Side

Many of my readers and fellow hypo’s will know that my hallmark of thyroid health is being able to lie on my left side and without further ado let me say, I am sleeping on my left side. Not all the time but when my right side is sore from use I can turn to my left side and even if I hear my heart beat it is not irregular and it is not pounding. Just for the sake of feeding my thyroid health superstitions I will add that it is not consistent, there are times when my heartbeat blips or pounds (read below for other reasons) but for the most part I can turn to my left side and fall back in to a relaxing, rejuvenating sleep without any particular upset.

A Brief on the Hypo’s Heartbeat

The above statement may be hard to comprehend if you have never experienced the hypothyroid heartbeat, so let me briefly tell you. When your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone to adequately feed the needs of your body your body produces unnatural amounts of adrenaline to compensate. This over compensation by your adrenal glands, in my opinion, not only causes adrenal fatigue it affects your heartbeat causing palpitations. This often ends with  you sitting in a cardiologist’s office, then being put through a myriad of tests only to be prescribed this and that medication and still suffering the palpitations.

Bear in mind, we “hypos” aren’t used to a normal heartbeat because our hearts often beat too slowly and too softly to be heard, so as we start medicating our thyroids adequately, either with a doctor’s assistance or on our own,  we suddenly hear a pounding heartbeat if we lay on our left side in particular. Add to this “pounding” (but probably normal) heartbeat any kind of irregularity and you have a person who never sleeps on their left side. Never, that is, when they are under-treated or incorrectly treated for thyroid resistance.

Life Changes

I hate to go so far as to say I live in fear of the irregular heartbeat but I have blogged on this subject ad nauseum, so I must dread it. A few weeks ago I found myself at my computer at midnight with a heartbeat in excess of 100 bpm. This always leads to researching online, first to my groups and then to other online comments or studies. This particular knowledge gleaning moment led me to a conclusion that was the end of my world as I knew it, after reading  a hundred entries or so on many different forums I realized what the problem was. I needed to cease my evening tipple.

Yes, you read that right and it pains me to say because I love my traditions (not addictions because I can give them up without bad side effects) many of which I learned while living in Europe, a time that is full of pleasant memories and custom. I love my English “tea ceremony” every morning and I thoroughly enjoyed two glasses of wine in the evening. What I didn’t realize is that my adrenal fatigue had reared its ugly head and adrenal fatigue and alcohol do not mix.

If you have adrenal fatigue alcohol acts as a stimulant akin to having caffeinated coffee or perhaps even Ephedra or other like stimulants (I have never taken Ephedra but I have read about its effects). I knew those were stimulants to avoid just like the nerve racking television which I avoid after 8 p.m. because the lights and noise stimulate me like a cup of coffee or worse.

What I didn’t seem to associate with my sleeplessness and racing heartbeat was the wine before supper that “relaxed” me. Seriously, how could it be a stimulant? It is specifically supposed to help me relax. I felt betrayed (not really) but clearly I needed to stop that long standing custom, so I did. If someone would have told me that putting that particularly bad nightmare scenario to bed was this simple I would have been all over it ages ago.

I know, I know, I can hear all the health conscious folks reading my soliloquy asking with wonder “Doesn’t she know alcohol is bad for her?” Mercola and many others preach and preach on the evils of alcohol but honestly I still don’t think a glass of wine is going to kill you but there is a time and place and I am not in either at the moment.

In Conclusion

With that admission behind me I feel like my shoulders are less rounded as if a weight has been lifted from them. I have to say that other than a few niggling issues I have been exceptionally well. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 which results in normal energy and slightly below normal basal temperatures. I have recently started taking Ashwaghanda again and I added 5-HTP to my repertoire of supplements to elevate my moods slightly and help me sleep even better.

There are things that still need attention and the one that plagues me at the moment is my dry eyes and mouth. It could be Sjogren’s as that often accompanies Hashimoto’s Disease but I have never had that diagnosis, so my quest for an answer to that problem continues. If you have successfully treated this issue please share your experience by leaving a comment.

I conclude that with almost everything in my life I have come to expect the unexpected and I glean from all I experience what I can. I am fascinated by the stories of the world and the challenges we all face. If you come across this blog while on your own midnight quest for knowledge I hope you find it comforting that you are not alone. We are truly in this together and we share the weight of the world’s health issues on collective shoulders.

To your good health,

Kris

Paradoxical Progesterone

Human as defined in one paragraph by Dictionary.com is “of, pertaining to, or having the nature of people: human frailty”. I can relate to that definition especially “human frailty” more days than I care to even acknowledge but when you take on “Heal Thyself” as your badge of identity you face those days with a sense of purpose.

There have been many of those frail human moments in the past few years since I took on my foe, Hashimoto’s Dis-ease. Why? You ask. Because to “heal thyself” is often a daunting task and you need lots of support from the medical community, friends and even strangers who become friends through one commonality: human frailty. Mine just happens to be a thyroid that resists normal treatment and time and again I find myself faced with something new and unusual to find an answer to.

If your thyroid doesn’t run on all pistons at all times it seems like one hormone or another is always in need of tweaking. This past weekend it seemed to be my sex hormones that were slightly wacky but that was not clear from the onset. It was only after some introspective time that the light finally dawned that what I have and did experience might be what Uzzi Reiss describes as a “paradoxical” response to taking bio-identical Progesterone.

The paradox, you see, is that Progesterone is supposed to be a calming hormone, one I often rightly or wrongly liken to Melatonin, but in some human females it can react in quite the opposite way leaving you feeling quite stimulated. If Uzzi Reiss is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, in some women who take Progesterone with bio-identical Estrogens the Progesterone actually affects the way your body absorbs and utilizes the Estrogen.

Youthful Aging Center has this to say about progesterone it “is the balancing act for all of the estrogens within the body. It is also very important for normal reproduction and for menstrual function. Bioequivalent progesterone influences the health of your bones, blood vessels, heart, brain, skin, and many other tissues and organs.

As a precursor, progesterone is used by the body to make all of the other steroid hormones, including DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. In addition, progesterone plays an important role in mood, blood sugar balance, libido and thyroid function, as well as in the health of your adrenal glands.”

Yes, progesterone is vital to the female body and our bodies need it to run efficiently and to avoid the pitfalls of the aging process BUT if you experience the paradoxically stimulating effects of progesterone it is most disturbing and perplexing. It is possible, no it is probable that balancing all your hormones may be necessary before you can successfully add progesterone, yet progesterone is often the first thing doctors prescribe even before testing your progesterone levels.

I think, based on personal experience and clinical studies, there truly are three paradoxical reactions to progesterone and three different reasons. Paradox #1 may be due to progesterone’s affect on your cortisol levels. Apparently the progesterone can convert to cortisol and if you already have high cortisol it is going to make things worse. Or you might  experience hot flashes and some depression, we will call this Paradox #2. It is due to the down regulation or overloading of estrogen receptor sites. Another negative reaction to progesterone when you aren’t used to it might be an increase in your appetite and subsequent weight gain, there you have it, Paradox #3.

If you suffer from the second paradoxical response this could be due to low estrogen levels. If you are menopausal and your doctor has foolishly put you on a low dose of  BHRT (aka E1 and E2) taking progesterone will clog the estrogen receptor sites and now with your low dose of estrogen you will have hot flashes like you haven’t had in years.

Take it from me it has happened. If your levels of E1(Estrone), E2 (Estradiol), and E3 (Estrone) are not correct optimizing your estrogen levels especially E1 and E2  may take care of the paradox and allow your body to react correctly to Progesterone.

I also believe I have experienced Paradox #1. I have challenged adrenals according to my ZRT saliva cortisol tests I have taken twice in the past year. I am not in full blown adrenal fatigue (not yet anyway) but I can see that my cortisol levels are affected negatively by any progesterone intake. So dramatic is this effect that I see a rise in my temperatures, both basal and daytime, within a day of progesterone intake or using it on my skin.

The temperatures are a remarkable indication of its power but the paradoxical effect is worse. I will awaken around midnight (but sometimes 3 or 4) with a racing heart. This is usually precipitated by a vivid and disturbing dream and when I awaken I am hot and sweaty and have a distinct need to get up.

At that point I have no choice but to lumber out to my cold (we turn the heat down to 55 at night) and dark kitchen and prepare my special elixir, filtered water and a full teaspoon of sea salt. It is the only thing that will calm my racing heart and thankfully it works every time. (I have this love/hate relationship with salted water. I need it but I hate it and I am tired of my unquenchable need for it but  that is off the topic.) The elixir cures what ails me but, more to the point, the entire episode is likely caused by an adrenaline surge because the progesterone is converting to cortisol and my nighttime cortisol is already high.

Dr. Reiss suggests a way to possibly cope with the paradox until you get everything in equilibrium. Apparently we absorb far less progesterone through the skin, so he suggests applying progesterone to the breasts, so that they get the benefit of progesterone. His dosing schedule is a bit difficult to decipher, so it might be better if you either worked with a knowledgeable physician (good luck with that one) or experimented on your own.

The answer to all three reactions is to either reduce or discontinue your intake of progesterone until things are in balance. If you need to lower your progesterone dosage trying an over the counter (OTC) cream might be just the trick.I have tried the Emerita brand because it has no parabens and other ingredients that I abhor. Also NOW brand has a fairly natural list of ingredients and they are both USP progesterone creams which are the only effective progesterone creams sold over the counter.

There are interesting discussions about the paradoxical effects of progesterone on several websites and I find the sharing of knowledge encouraging. You see it is only with the discussion that we learn, if we close ourselves off to the experiences of others we lose a very important resource. Some find the sharing of knowledge threatening, I find it invigorating and edifying.

I cannot tell you many times something has happened to me that seems totally out of the parameters of the “norm”. My reaction is to start researching and with that I find there are many souls like me out there. I hope if you glean nothing else from your time on KrisInsight you will find one morsel of tantalizing information that you never considered before. You don’t have to agree but if it sparks a thought that will make my day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you next Monday,

Kris

Yet Another Quinone

Photo courtesy of Life Extension Magazine

I just love seeing  new and unusual things especially things that I haven’t tried. I follow many blogs on anti-aging like Joe Mercola, Suzanne Somers, David A. Kekich and Life Extension Foundation, so when I saw a short blurb on a supplement called PQQ on Twitter (NewMoonJingle) I had to know more and I thought my readers might feel the same way.

Why? Because it is a powerful anti-aging supplement and let’s face it at 57 I am aging, happy to be doing so, but aging all the same. I know the featured doctor from last week’s blog entry would turn his nose up at such a concept but lucky for me I am not Dan Fairman and I am willing to try a supplement before I condemn it. I would love to rely on scientifically controlled research but I suspect that is nearly impossible to find, so I am the guinea pig and PQQ is on my guinea pig radar.

First of all PQQ stands for Pyrroloquinoline Quinone and it is a powerful antioxidant like CoQ10. It supports  mitochondrial biogenesis-the spontaneous growth of new mitochondria in aging cells. The mitochondria of a cell are the source of cellular energy and basically the energy factory of our bodies. Unfortunately, as we age these factories decay and die leaving us with less energy, less mental acuity and organic failure. To be succinct loss of mitochondria makes our bodies old.

It used to be thought that the only way to do that, to insure the increase of mitochondria versus decreasing numbers was to greatly decrease your calorie intake and/or exhaustive physical activity but now it looks like PQQ coupled with CoQ10 will do it for you, it will literally keep your cells young.

As for the recommended amount of PQQ one should take. Life Extension Foundation suggests 20 mg a day taken in combination with CoQ10. The Life Extension supplement provides 10 mg per capsule, so you would take two. I also found one at Professional Supplement Center that contains 20 mg of PQQ per two capsules but in addition has 100 mg of CoQ10 per two capsules. When taken in this combination PQQ has been “shown to promote memory, attention, and cognition in maturing individuals.”

Now I ask you the reader, what if taking two capsules a day could put a stop to the premature aging of your body? What if it could keep you out of nursing home care late in life? Or what if by keeping mitochondrial numbers high you don’t suffer from organic failure (things like heart attacks, liver failure,etc)? My general feeling is if there is/was something I could take once a day and it enabled me to live life to its fullest until the very minute I die whether I live to be 120, or not, it would be worth it. I might never know what it was that I did that kept me from my father’s heart attack or my mother’s loss of memory but as Mom used to say, “very frankly” I don’t give a damn. My goal is not to live life longer than anyone else my goal is to live life to its fullest until the day I fall off the perch.

So ends my latest supplement news, this guinea pig is off to do more research and add to her guinea pig radar list. Has anyone tried any of the last three supplements I have researched? I did try tobacco, “I did not inhale” (to quote Bill Clinton), but held the smoke in my mouth where the tissue is highly permeable. It did affect my mental state, kind of like any drug might, and it also made me nauseous and ruined an afternoon in the mountains. I came away thinking Continine would be preferable to a ruined day but perhaps even easier and with far less expense PQQ is the one to try.

Here’s to mental acuity and cell regeneration,

Kris