Archive for the ‘bio-identical progesterone’ Category

Good News for Bone Health

I have just returned from a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday along the coast of Oregon. It always feels good to get back home but I find the sea feeds my emotionally needy soul and leaving the vast water behind is akin to leaving a small part of me behind. Fear not, I shall recover that small but important entity on my next visit to the ocean.

Inbox: BioBalance Report

While I was away my trusty computer was along and I easily kept track of emails and the latest news when our internet connection would allow such vacation interruptions. One piece of mail that arrived was most welcome- my December NTx results.

That piece of mail had the potential to be most unwelcome but upon opening the email I found, to my great relief, that my NTx results showed remarkable improvement from the results I had in November 2010. The improvement in my results made me think that perhaps many of my female readers and especially my fellow thyroid people might not know about the NTx test and now I could provide some valuable insight.

Online Links to Articles About NTx Testing

If you want to know more details about the NTx test I have listed two sites that explain the test and why you might want to have it done:

http://www.betterbones.com/bonehealth/bonebreakdowntests.aspx

http://www.womentowomen.com/understandyourbody/tests/ntxforbones.aspx

Very unscientifically put the NTx test measures the N-Telopeptides in your urine which shows your bone loss on a daily basis. I now have had four NTx tests and have some insight of my own, so we can compare the results and I can share my insight with you my readers.

Past NTx Test Results

My first NTx test was in October 2008. At that time my bone loss was elevated as was shown by a result of  53nM BCE (bone collagen equivalent). Six months before the test I had begun taking bio-identical hormones (E1, E2 compounded cream and Progesterone) as suggested by Dr. Robert Bruley to halt bone loss. I was also taking compounded T4 with some additional T3 for my thyroid.

Then in November 2009, approximately a year later I performed another NTx test and my results were still elevated at 51.53 nM BCE. At that time I was taking Armour (60 mg dose) plus E1 and E2 cream and oral Progesterone.

In November 2010 I took the NTx test again and my results were  shockingly high at 219.37 / 187.97 nM BCE (urine collected at 5:30 and 6 am). Normal readings should be <38. Elevated readings are considered to be in the range of 38-60 and anything over 60 is considered to be a high rate of bone loss on a daily basis. My T3 dose at that time was 87.5 mcg, I was using E1 and E2 and Testosterone creams, plus oral progesterone and I was headed for trouble.

2011 NTx Test Results

You might now understand the trepidation with which I looked at my recent December 2011 results. In 2010, I had the feeling that the extremely high rate of bone loss was due to my thyroid treatment at the time but I didn’t know for sure. Now with the results of my most recent test in hand I knew I had been correct.

With great relief I read my results: 32.93nM BCE (remember anything less than 38 is considered normal for a pre-menopausal female). Hurrah! A normal test result, perhaps I am more in balance than even I thought I was. This time I was on a dose of 50 mcg of T3 and taking Estradiol 2-4 mg per day and the oral Progesterone 200 mg every day.

What Happened in 2010?

What was happening in November 2010? I was in the throes of adjusting to T3- only (7 months after switching to T3) and was on a dose that was too high for my body to handle. I was actually in a hyperthyroid state (due to T3 pooling instead of being used) and it is known that people with hyperthyroidism have a high rate of bone loss and a subsequent risk of fracture.

My T3 journey has been the topic of so many of my blog postings I will not go in to detail here (you can search for my blogs on hypothyroidism by typing “hypothyroid” in to the search box and at the end of each page of listings you will find “older entries” for even more). Suffice it to say that at the time I was trying to dose according to basal temperatures. Despite being on a dose of T3 that was causing rapid bone loss my temperatures never did show a normal reading or if they did they would spike and then the next day be low again (a sure sign of too much T3 causing adrenal stress).

Kris Insight

NTx testing can show you your daily bone loss and help you tweak your diet and exercise to maximize bone formation. The following is my to-do list to get you started:

  • Normalize your thyroid and sex hormones as quickly and naturally as possible.
  •  Limit sugary foods including most fruit. Eat foods high in Magnesium and K2 (dark green vegetables). If you tolerate dairy, you can add raw milk and raw milk products like kefir, yogurt, butter and cheese for your calcium.
  •  Optimize your Vitamin D levels preferably by exposing your skin to midday sun for 20 minutes or using a safe tanning option. If you live above the equator, especially at 45 degrees as I do, sun exposure is only useful from May-September. Mercola.com sells a safe tanning system and I use the Sunsplash Renew.
  • Adding supplements like magnesium, (Mark Sircus would say magnesium chloride transdermally as well as orally) K2, and Strontium will also help.
  •  Weight bearing exercise is known to cause the formation of bone and thus is of vital importance. Biking and swimming while useful exercise do not help build bone as there is no weight bearing on your limbs. You need to lift weights (the ligaments pull on the bone), run and/or walk. Sadly being overweight actually helps build bone but the risks of being obese are too great to justify it for load bearing reasons.
  • Order an NTx test here if your doctor doesn’t know about it.

To your good bone health,

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