Archive for the ‘testing your blood’ Category

Cocoa Butter, Bodysound Chairs and Other Interesting Experiences

???????????????????????????????When I think of summer I always think of this Lovin’ Spoonful song from my youth, “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity. Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around people looking half dead. Walking on a sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”

To me that is quintessential summertime music and every time I hear it, or just conjure it up as I have this morning, I have a flash back. In my mind’s eye I clearly see the 16-year-old self. I am in my young skin, reclined in front of a fan in our family’s livingroom with my poodle Bridget by my side. I am barely dressed in short shorts and a tube top having just returned from our local lake, Baw Beese in Hillsdale, Michigan. I am tanned and fit as a young person often is but I also feel the agitation of youth that creates a certain unhappiness in many young girls.

44 years later I no longer dress so insufficiently. My house has central air and the angst of my youth is gone, replaced by a certain satisfaction that I am still alive. I take joy in dancing down the aisles of stores with my grandson. I sing at the top of my voice if I hear a song I love. I quickly become enchanted by a really good story yet can find comfort in the silence of my own company. By some standards I am old but age truly is only a number and in my heart I am still that sparsely dressed teenager who has found her soul.

My youth was an interesting experience that formed the foundation upon which I have grown up. My life continues to be a series of interesting experiences and this past month was no exception, so let’s talk about July.

Blood test results

I finally went in to LabCorp and had my blood draw for my “Weight Loss Panel” from Life Extension’s yearly sale. This was a very complete panel that cost me $97. You can click here to see everything it included. I really didn’t know what to expect but overall the results were positive and my doctor was impressed. However, I saw some things that were not ideal, so I will post those and explain why that isn’t ideal.

My FT3 was mid-range which is not ideal when you are on T3-only. Most people feel best when their FT3 is at the top of the range or slightly over range. Most doctors like the mid-range and that is a problem for those with thyroid disease because their doctor, like mine did, will tell them everything is really good yet they still feel bad.

I really don’t feel bad. My energy is okay. I probably don’t feel like running a marathon but I ran a 25K years ago and have never wanted to do it again. I sleep well most nights (but, not all. I add that caveat for the sake of good Karma). Here is what I notice, when I get up in the morning my eyes are very puffy. As I move around the fluid disperses and my eyes look more normal. I know this would improve if my FT3 were in the upper range.

While we are on the subject of thyroid results, some of you might be interested to know my TSH was .036. That caught my doctor’s eye and she told me to reduce my dose of T3 but I can honestly tell you a suppressed TSH is not unusual when on T3-only. I am not hyper and she knows that from observing me but her allopathic side immediately says reduce the dose of T3.

My total cholesterol was a wee bit high (226)  but my cholesterol ratio (2.5) and my CHD was <0 .5 . As always my HDL cholesterol was very high (90, anything over 30 is considered good), LDL was up but my VLDL was at a good level (20, anything over 40 is a problem). My Triglyceride level was good (98 with a range of 0-149). Overall my doctor looked at that report and said “great”. However, I know if my FT3 was in the top of the range my total cholesterol would come right down and everything else would look even better.

One more issue that may have something to do with taking T3-only (but not with being in the middle range of FT3). My fasting blood glucose continues to be high. However, my A1C was good and my fasting insulin was good. My doctor was not concerned but seriously it isn’t good to have a high (100) fasting glucose. I know my diet could and should be cleaner but even lowering my carb intake has little effect on my FBG. Many people who take T3-only have fasting glucose issues unless they follow a very low carb diet and that alone makes me want to try getting back on NDT at some point.

The itch of eczema

Yes, as I reported last month I still have eczema on my lower legs. I have tried various things to control it including having that blood test panel done because I feared my liver was the problem (it wasn’t, my liver numbers looked good). I followed the lecithin regime religiously for a month but the eczema came back as soon as my stress increased (when I found out my second poodle had a tumor and needed surgery).

I understand the need for the lecithin regime because eczema is a sign of inflammation in your body and increasing your levels of  phosphatidyl choline (lecithin is high in phosphatides) can lower inflammation in addition to a host of other positive effects on your body. However, it seems related to stress in my body and now I am working on releasing those pent-up emotions involved with an ailing furkid.

While I work on dealing with my furkid induced stress I have found that cocoa butter works as well as anything I have tried. It not only soaks into my dry skin nicely it smells dee-li-cious. I don’t itch as much (unless I shave my legs an event that has been reduced to once a week) and I walk around smelling like a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.

If you have an interest in a really nice quality raw cocoa butter I bought mine at Amazon.com. It is by Plant Guru and it is delivered in a HDPE food grade jar. You must warm it slightly to apply it to your skin but it is food grade, so you can cook with it. Yea! Stay tuned I have plans to try making my own chocolate.

Energy healing at Soul Source Connection

It really has been a month full of exciting  and new experiences. Have you ever had the opportunity to try a session in a Bodysound chair? Late last week I had such an opportunity  at the office of  Reverend Kathryn Niflis Johnson in Woodbury, MN (Kathy@SoulSourceConnection.com). It was, to say the least, an interesting healing experience. I know, I know, interesting is vastly overused but this truly was interesting. I have never before reclined in a comfy chaise in a healer’s office, been gently covered by a soft blanket, light obscured by an eye mask and then been totally surrounded by vibration and sound.

This chaise works its healing magic by using a “neurophysiological mechanism that creates profound states of relaxation and meditation” (I felt a certain suspension between reality and a dream like state). The “second mechanism of action relates to the electromagnetic stimulation of the human energy system”. “Bodysound consists of amplified layered music played through transducers that generate sound and vibration. Synchronized electromagnetic fields affect the central nervous system and the human energy system.”

Now in my own words, it quite literally sweeps you away, in and out of a wakeful state of mind. I would doze off, dream and awaken only to completely lose the thought I had just had. I felt profoundly relaxed and Kathryn’s office setting makes you feel secure and cozy, so dozing off is not in any way threatening nor frightening.

I have had this feeling before and it was during my first Reiki healing session. I liken these healing sessions to being put in an hypnotic state of mind but Kathryn might not approve of that comparison because you are not hypnotized you are just profoundly relaxed. As with Reiki healing, during my Bodysound 52-minute session I had fleeting dreams and thoughts that would go away as suddenly as they came. I experienced a color show in my mind’s eye of vibrant purples and yellow and whites. When the session was complete I felt relaxed, happy and pleased that I had the experience much like you might if you had just had 52 minutes of healing massage.

Unlike with my Reiki sessions I have not experienced a healing effect from this particular healing modality. I believe from what I have read that a person needs more than one session in the Bodysound chair to affect healing. I am told by those who have experienced healing with the Bodysound chair it occurs with at least weekly use of the chair.

If you have an interest in a healing session in the Bodysound chair or you already have experienced healing with a Bodysound chair and would like to purchase one for home use you can contact Kathryn online: Kathy@SoulSourceConnection.com. Personally, I think it is well worth trying, it will do you no harm and it may help you on your path to better health.

Krisinsight

I hope, as I always do, that you learn something interesting when you read Krisinsight but know that this is my insight and my unique experience I share. I am a certified Reiki practitioner but I am not giving you advice nor telling you what works for me will work for you. Each body is unique which is what I think makes humans so marvelous. I know I have been able to improve my health using the modalities I share. If you choose to try them and they work for you I would be overjoyed but do so with the guidance of your medical provider and your own intuition.

Santé,

Kris

 

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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

Media Garbage and Other Notes of Interest

I have just returned from a trip west to the Sun Valley, ID area and the subsequent  exposure to other newspapers (The Sun) and their media garbage caused me to want to discuss a rather appalling interview I read. It was based on the wisdom of  one of their local doctors and his very informed opinion regarding supplements. When I am done ranting, I mean discussing this interview, I have some interesting information about Tyrosol, a phenolic antioxidant. Next week I will move on to PQQ.

I was enjoying reading the regional news in The Sun when I came upon an interview with one of their local doctors, a Dan Fairman, M.D.,  titled “Supplements: what works?”. The subject of the interview was supplementation and which ones he recommended which, by the way,  amounted to none but the cheapest vitamin and then only if you can’t eat a healthy diet. Dr. Fairman categorically dismissed CoQ10 and Vitamin E and gave Glucosamine a C. He did think women needed calcium but stated that they can obtain most of what they need from food sources like milk, fortified juice and vegetable sources. He never mentioned supplementing with Vitamin D even though it has been found that nationally our levels are too low to sustain good health. His statements, he said, were based on the fact that there have been no “controlled studies” or in other words, nothing has been proven and/or published regarding the effects of supplements.

In my mind what he is really saying is no pharmaceutical company has done any million dollar research to prove that CoQ10 is effective or to prove that mixed tocopherols are good for your heart. He basically dismissed glucosamine but I know from personal experience that my aged standard poodle went from not being able to walk upstairs easily to bouncing up them after a week on glucosamine. It is true it doesn’t work that way for everyone but proof is in the experience and my experience was positive. I ask you the reader why in the world would any pharmaceutical company ever spend a penny on research of a supplement that they cannot put a patent on? They never have, they never will and that my dear reader you can count on.

Sorry about the rant but I find myself shaking my head with disbelief when a person is interviewed as “an expert”. Many will read his words and dismiss the possibility that taking a simple supplement like CoQ10 could help their cardiovascular health or reduce inflammation in their bodies which more than anything else is what causes dis-ease. Wouldn’t a more realistic way to test supplementation and its effects be to test your blood and see how your CRP is, your A1C, your uric acid levels? If you take supplements like CoQ10 test your blood and see if it is working and please, please, don’t listen to just one person, doctor or not, who may just be chattel of the pharmaceutical companies.

I shall move on dear reader but will generally stay on the subject of supplements and particularly antioxidants and the good they may do (note I said “may” as there are no controlled studies). I recently read an interesting email from Dr. Al  Sears on the subject of Tyrosol. He titled his article “She Had Only One Wrinkle”. He told the story of Jean Calment a woman who lived to at least 120 and laughingly told reporters on her 120th birthday “I have only one wrinkle… and I am sitting on it.”  I’m not sure I have ever referred to my bum as a wrinkle but whatever you want to call it no wrinkles at 120 is pretty remarkable and that got my attention.

It seems that Jean Calment regularly slathered her food with olive oil and even used it on her skin. What does olive oil contain? It seems the secret is Tyrosol, a powerhouse anti-aging ingredient. It can quite literally shut down the aging in your cells and turn on a group of longevity genes called “forkhead box” genes, or FOXOS. FOXO genes are capable of directly increasing amounts of the body’s “master antioxidant,” superdismutase (SOD).  Tyrosol is twice as effective as CoQ10 at getting rid of free radicals and ten times as effective as green tea.

Whether your bottom is your only wrinkle or not or perhaps you just have a desire to be able to say that at the ripe old age of 120 there are easy ways to increase your intake of Tyrosol. First, you can drink more white wine. Yes, you read that right, not red but white. Apparently, the size of the various antioxidant molecules in white wine are smaller and thus higher in Tyrosol.

Second, increase your intake of olive oil. I have also been using it on my skin and that seems to work well  as it soaks in nicely and leaves only a light sheen visible. I think the only warning I would have about olive oil is you have to be very careful to keep it cool and doubly sure not to expose it to too much light as it will oxidize rapidly. You should never fry food  at high temperatures in olive oil but save it for your salads or bruschetta (toast bread lightly, rub a clove of garlic over hot toasted bread and pour a generous amount of fresh olive oil over. Buon appetito!).

Thirdly, you can take tyrosol as a supplement. I found this one difficult to find as Dr. Sears recommends taking it on its own as a tincture or pill. If you like tinctures because of their digestibility he also recommended a tincture that is at least 10% tyrosol (1 part extract to 9 parts suspension fluid). I looked for some time before I left on vacation and could find no such thing. If taken in pill form make sure it has an enteric coating as that will keep it from being broken down too soon by stomach acid. He recommended 300mg each day but you can take as much as 1200 mg per day.

I will try again to find Tyrosol in supplement form but for my money white wine sounds a tasty way to keep wrinkles at bay and there is nothing better than olive oil that has been newly opened and poured on fresh baby greens. I have to agree with one part of what Dr. Fairman (of the above published interview) said, eating your nutrients just seems so much more natural. You can bet your bottom that Jean Calment didn’t take Tyrosol supplements, tinctures or pills. The problem for us in the modern world is food generally lacks the nutrients that Jean grew up ingesting. Our soil is depleted and most fruit and vegetables are heavily sprayed and artificially fertilized, so despite Jean’s experience and Dan’s words we may, in fact, need supplementation for a healthy body.

Here’s to sitting on your only wrinkle at age 120!

’til next week,

Kris

Looking down on the Camas Prairie near Sun Valley, Idaho

What Flute Are You Following?

You know the story of the Pied Piper, right? It struck me in talking to my friend this week that many of us follow our doctor’s advice like they are Pied Pipers. They say something, we follow it like some magical flute leading us along a wrong way path, often because we are given no choice in the matter.

I have talked to far too many people who, when they question a doctor’s diagnosis or ask about something their doctor said (or didn’t say), are put on the spot with some inane question like “I suppose you read that online” accompanied by a look that puts you in your place. For those folks, I thought I would share my friend’s recent experience. As usual I will most likely make a short story long but bear with me.

My friend, who shall remain nameless for privacy sake, receives medical care from, in my words, a functional medicine physician (or integrative is another term for the same type of medical practice) for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Functional medicine physicians as defined by me are MDs who ask more questions, incorporate all walks of medicine in their practice and generally think outside the box. I think they are far superior to the poor overworked GP who has been told by their practice managers that they have no more than 15 minutes per patient and sometimes, it has been noted, never take their hand off the doorknob. This is an important detail because she is being treated, let’s just say for the ease of it, in a rather elite fashion.

My friend and I have weekly discussions about health because we are both avid researchers and honestly, we are willing to experiment with alternative medical treatments. For example, I met my friend when I owned a FIR sauna business. She came in for FIR sauna treatments to help diminish her fibromyalgia pain. She was experimenting to see if the sauna would really help (To her doctor’s credit she had suggested the FIR sauna).

To exemplify my willingness to try alternative medical care, two years ago I bought a Mercola Sunsplash Renew because Joe Mercola claimed it could maintain healthy D levels with no supplementation. I felt having good D levels was of primary importance to the healthy functioning of a human body. I think this is another important detail because both my friend and I try to think outside the proverbial “box”.

We also try various treatment plans our doctors suggest and we try out things we have researched and then we spend time testing these things and discussing them. We have often discussed thyroid disease as that is my primary interest and my friend would tell me about symptoms she thought were typical of hypothyroidism. Practitioners like Dr. John Lowe feel that there is a connection between Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism, so I asked her long ago in one discussion if she had ever had a complete thyroid panel. In my opinion, everyone who has some symptoms should have a complete thyroid panel and if your doctor won’t test it then do it yourself.

At the time she told me “No, my doctor has only run a TSH. She always says I am fine.” Really? REALLY? My friend is cold all the time, she suffers from constipation, she can’t sleep, she has unremitting pain and rather more subjectively she feels her hair is falling out. What more do you need before you as a doctor run a complete thyroid panel?

On and on these discussions went and this year when she saw her integrative medical doctor for her yearly appointment my friend requested a complete thyroid panel be done. I will list below the thyroid tests plus the other tests that Janie Bowthorpe recommends to diagnose hypothyroidism properly:

      1-TSH – this lab is only for diagnosis of hypopituitary NOT to diagnose or dose your hypothyroidism
      2-Free T4 and Free T3 (note the word “free”–important since it measures what is unbound and available.)
      3-Reverse T3–to be done at the same time you do the Free T3. Then calculate your ratio with the results.
      4-Thyroid Antibodies (anti-TPO and TgAb. YOU NEED BOTH.)
      5-Ferritin and % Saturation, TIBC and serum iron (all iron related labs)
      6-Adrenal- Cortisol levels (make sure it is done with saliva tests, not the one time blood test your doctor will do.)
      7-B-12 and Folate
      8-RBC Magnesium and Potassium (rather than serum), plus Calcium, Sodium, Glucose (part of Metabolic panel, though you’ll need RBC for above)
      9-Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test)

My friend had tested many of these things prior to this year’s appointment, so she only requested the thyroid tests and guess what, just guess? She has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, her FT3 was a little low and her FT4 was a little high and she had a RT3 ratio of 12 and it should be at least 20. She has hypothyroidism and a RT3 issue and no one, not even the best doctor in our area, had ever checked this out and it would have been so simple. If she hadn’t been diligent, irritatingly persistent and had a doctor willing to indulge her requests she would never have known that her thyroid needs attention.

Of course, now the question is where does she go with her new found knowledge. It is a serous question to ponder. She does not want to self treat, so she is researching the “good thyroid” docs in our area and finding there aren’t very many, sadly she isn’t sure there are any, and this is the “progressive” state of Minnesota. She could go to her integrative medicine doctor but she was already told by that doctor that she knew nothing of reading a thyroid panel like the one my friend requested. I would suggest my functional medicine guy but he totally overlooked my RT3 ratio and when my TSH was suppressed by Armour he immediately lowered my dose which was unnecessary (when on NDT your TSH should be suppressed) , so I hardly want to refer someone to him.

It is a conundrum we all will face eventually. The best thing for all of us would be a revamping of our medical education and elimination of insurance driven medical practices but neither of those will ever happen (I feel government control is no better than insurance companies). We can take things in to our own hands as much as possible as Joe Mercola advocates with his “take control of your health”. Dr. Teitelbaum at End Fatigue had an interesting article on what to do if given a “serious diagnosis” but knowing the right thing for you when things go wrong is difficult at best.

There are many things that can go wrong with the human body. In this case, I think it comes down to the “thyroid madness” that Janie Bowthorpe refers to on her site and in her book “Stop the Thyroid Madness”. No one, not even elite doctors take the issue seriously and we patients have to stop following like lemmings and think for ourselves, do our research and be our own best advocate. If my friend weren’t her own best advocate she would still be in the dark about a treatable condition. I see this as a serious dereliction of duty on the part of medical doctors who have promised to “do no harm”. It is happening too often to too many people out there with hypothyroid symptoms. They are quite literally being led astray by a magical flute played by a medical school graduate referred to respectfully as Doctor. Never mind the last name is Pied Piper.