Posts Tagged ‘healthy living’

Back On The Tundra

IMG_1663Phew! At last I am back on target for my June post. I am overjoyed that June has arrived and with it warmer weather and the ability to be outside.

I am sorry for the delay in posting (you may or may not have noticed I didn’t post anything last month). Sometimes life just gets in the way but let’s get right to what’s been happening to fill my days.

Winter Blues take their toll

Life getting in the way, started as I shared with you last time, sometime late winter when we decided we were tired of Minnesota. Tired of Minnesota winter. Tired of the traffic in the Twin Cities. Tired of the big city, period.

When we left Idaho 8 and a half years ago we left more than a little bit of our hearts there, so we decided to check out Boise, Idaho as a possible place to live. Our hope was that Boise, being smaller might provide us with the big city advantages without the BIG city challenges.

Here are a few reasons for considering Boise, Idaho:

  • The climate. I actually like winter but not for 6 months. Winters exist in Boise but they are much shorter. Winters are cold but not as cold as Minnesota. Summers are hotter in Boise but it is a dry arid heat and is fairly short-lived. Spring, ah blessed spring, it is much longer in Boise as winter is mostly over by the end of February.
  • Proximity to our land and cabin. Boise is an easy two-hour drive from Fairfield, Idaho. Our isolated cabin is approximately 10 miles out of Fairfield, so we would have better access to our cabin without living in the mountains.
  • The people. The people in Boise seem really happy to be there. They are friendly and welcoming with the laid back attitude that is much more prevalent in the western United States.
  • Access to easy air travel. Boise airport is small and easy to use. There is a direct flight to Minneapolis at least twice a day.
  • Access to all of the western United States. There are a multitude of National parks within hours of Boise. The ocean is only 8-9 hours away and the ability to stay active and fit is amazing.

To be honest, we loved Boise. We were shown the town by a really nice realtor, Eric DeBord. Between Eric and a friend and co-worker of my husband’s we were introduced to every corner of the area and we fell in love with it all. We came within seconds of making an offer on a really nice house near Boise in a town called Emmett and then…….

What is really important in your life?

Suddenly yours truly had to evaluate what she really valued in her life. I think the SU already knew that winter was not the evil thing I had conjured up during one of the worst winters I have encountered in my 60 years. Family, friends and even where we live near Stillwater, Minnesota were all things we love. They were all things we valued, so at the last-minute, (and thanks to Eric being rather busy and not getting right on it) we did not make an offer on the house we liked.

I have to admit that the biggest reason I could not leave Minnesota was my bond with my grandsons. We had a two-week trip to Scotland in the midst of all this decision-making. Two weeks of thinking, considering and contemplating our lives.

When we got home, the first thing we did was see our boys and I have never, ever experienced the heart wrenching feeling of holding them in my arms after two weeks of thinking I was going to move away from them. My oldest grandson, who is now 3, had a meltdown when his mommy had to get home after being with us most of the day. That caused this Nonna to meltdown and in a flood of tears my decision was made.

So now what?

We could not tear up our roots in Minnesota and replant them in Boise no matter how much we loved the city and surrounds, not now anyway. I knew my friends would visit and I knew from asking them that we would stay in touch no matter where I lived. I knew leaving my house was not an issue. A house is just that, a box that houses a family.

The family is the soul that gives a house life and as long as I had my family with me I could live anywhere. My daughter and her family have no interest in leaving Minnesota, so I knew I needed my soul much more than a box.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds but for the sake of keeping this post somewhat succinct let’s just say that over the course of two months other decisions were made that have now been undone. We are busily making our house more comfortable for us. I am getting my long-awaited spa (I will report on this later) which I am hopeful will allow more outdoor time during the long, cold winter months. We are going to make life here in Minnesota comfortable but whilst we are doing that we will enjoy the closeness of our family and friends.

Other news

As I also mentioned in my last post, in the midst of all this palaver of moving away I took my first level of Reiki healing. Now that I understand Reiki and its healing abilities it has changed things for me. My Reiki training was the best thing I could have done during this time of upheaval.

I find Reiki has helped me deal with life and its ups and downs. My sleep has improved more than I can tell you and one reason is if I wake early in the morning I say my Reiki mantra and perform Reiki on all my chakras. Before I know it I am back to sleep, and it is a deep restorative sleep.

I am also more meditative either through meditation or just Reiki self-treatment. I have found an inner calm that I have never possessed before. I am even doing yoga and signed up for Yoga classes at the nearby Pure Yoga studio.

I feel like a new person and I believe I owe much of this inner peace to the calm that Reiki instills. I look forward to my second level of Reiki training this summer. It seems that the more I know about Reiki, the more I want to know, so now I am even considering becoming a Reiki Master. Aside from an increased knowledge of Reiki, and its history, the master level would allow me to teach others this fabulous healing modality.

Krisinsight

I have already shared much of my insight with you in the words above. I mentioned last time that I am much healthier than I was which is still true. I think just as a reminder that I still have things to share there have been some ups and downs with my thyroid in the last month. I will be brief but hopefully enlighten those who share my dis-ease.

Since my last post I have increased my dose of T3 from 50 mcg. to 62.5 mcg. Now I cannot seem to stabilize my temperatures. One day they are close to 99, the  next day at the same time they are 97.8 (as they are right now at 2:30 in the afternoon and I just took a 12.5 dose of T3). I am concluding that it is possible that my dose of T3 is actually too high and my adrenals cannot support it but there are many things to be considered.

My reasons for increasing my T3 a few weeks ago were my basal temperatures were incredibly low (one morning my basal was 97.3). I increased by 6.25 mcg but my basals did not come up to a normal range of 97.8-98, so after a few weeks I increased my dose to 62.5 mcg. After about 10 days my basal temperatures are now closer to normal but my daytime temperatures are much too varied and, to me, that is indicative of too much stress on my adrenals.

For those of us who ride this roller coaster we know the ins and outs and ups and downs of thyroid dis-ease. There are many reasons that things can suddenly change, adrenal fatigue is only one possible cause, so I have to consider all things.

For instance, I know that it takes 6 weeks after making an overseas trip (one in which you cross several time zones) to get some semblance of normalcy. I have not been home from Scotland for 6 weeks yet, so perhaps that is causing some of my issues.

Another reason for possible variation is that the Cynomel could be from a bad batch or a new formulation. I did inquire about this possibility and was told the pharmacy was unaware that there were any other complaints and/or changes. By the way, for those on ERFA NDT, I did recently read that people are having hypo symptoms and the thought is the maker changed the formulation. Knowing that this happens all the time and no one is informed of the change, it is possible that something changed with Cynomel.

I also know that for me, and for many others, if we take too much T3 it can lower our temperatures, so the one way that most people can tell if they need more thyroid medication, our body temperature, becomes invalid. Paul Robinson’s book on Recovering With T3 deals with this subject very well and I know what I need to do is some testing and then consultation with Paul or the RT3 group to rule out any of those reasons.

First, with a blood test, I need to see where my FT3 is and if it is not in the upper range I know I actually do need more T3. If it is in the upper range and my temperatures continue to vacillate then I need to test my adrenal health with a diurnal cortisol test through Canary Club.

To this end, I recently took advantage of Life Extension’s blood panel sale getting a very complete blood panel including all my sex hormones, CMP, CBC, cortisol, insulin, A1C, FT3 and TSH for $97.50. Now I need to get to Labcorp in Edina, MN for my blood draw and I will have more information at my fingertips to help me and/or the group figure out what is happening on this exciting ride.

The good news, because there is always good news, is my energy is good. My sleep is great. My mood is happy and upbeat. Overall, most people with hypothyroidism would be happy to be where  I am at the moment but I know this body temperature issue is not right. I can tell when my temps are falling, as they are right now, because my toes and fingers start feeling very cold, so as always the quest continues. Where it takes me only next month will tell.

As for next month, I think I will stay on track for what Krisinsight currently entails, a pursuit of optimum health. I feel I have survived a crisis of small proportion. Perhaps turning 60 was more upsetting than I understood and having dealt with all the possibilities for change I learned that life as it is, is really quite good. So thank-you for bearing with me and I look forward to sharing more insight in the coming months.

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

I Think of My Favorite Things and Then I Don’t Feel So Bad

IMG_18322012 was a year of great happiness (my daughter is pregnant and due in January), tremendous sadness (the senseless killing of 20 innocents and 6 brave adults in Connecticut) and a plethora of learning experiences. Our lives are defined by a series of events. Some will leave us smiling; some will leave us crying and bereft but through it all we grow and become better human beings.

As humans we all have the capability to feel others pain and joy and we need to accept this gift and use it to the best of our ability. Laugh with your mother, cry with your daughter, hug your grandchildren, hold hands with your significant other, in general, embrace the world and the rewards will be plentiful.

I wanted to post this year’s favorite things today because it is New Year’s Eve and what could be more fitting than to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope 2013 will bring you great joy, fabulous health and an explosive amount of newly gleaned knowledge.

On being number one

IMG_1833I can’t say there is really one thing that stands out as a favorite over others but I can truthfully say that a gift I received from a thyroid friend is one of the dearest and most touching. These magical dolls arrived on my doorstep the other day. They are for my grandsons, so the eye color and hair is as close as the doll’s creator, Ms. Lisa, could get to perfection. Odin is a brownish blond with hazel colored eyes and his doll reflects him beautifully. Arthur, who is as of today, unborn will most likely be born with dark hair and eyes just as Odin was and his doll just makes me all the more anxious to meet him and get to know him as I have our grandson Odin. If you have a special someone to whom you would like to give a touch of magic contact Lisa at lisaolko@embarqmail.com

My BBBF-aka best book by far

IMG_1837 Kindle (2)It would be impossible to pick one book but I can safely and conclusively say that my Kindle is the best “book” by far. I have it packed with 150 creative endeavors by authors like Matt Stone and his 180 Degrees-Diabetes (talk about a book that goes against all conventional wisdom) to my favorite novel writer Rosamunde Pilcher and her Winter Solstice (a book I read every autumn and have for several years). I have tens of books that were free and continue to collect them if they seem like a book I could learn something from. I have free books about stevia, raising children, going Paleo on a budget, and so on. If I were stranded on a desert island my Kindle would provide hours, no, I take that back, it would provide weeks of entertainment and mind expanding knowledge.

Brain food

Almost all of us are deficient in magnesium and it is said that magnesium, not calcium is necessary to prevent weak and frail bones. Now the news comes out that to protect our cognitive abilities we need magnesium as well. Not just any magnesium but magnesium threonate. Why this form over others? Because in controlled tests it is the only form of magnesium that actually crosses the blood brain barrier. If you want to preserve your cognition it seems this is THE magnesium to do the job.

I jumped on this one as I have an avid interest in preventing dementia (familial issue) and once Joe Mercola endorsed it as the magnesium to take I investigated the best price and brands that exist. I have taken Life Extension (Neuro-Mag) and Jarrow (Mag Mind) forms of magnesium threonate both of which have additives and fillers that I don’t like but they both worked wonders and the cost was acceptable. I finally found Doctor’s Best “Best Brain Magnesium Threonate” which lacks the excipients I detest but doesn’t seem to work as well and costs quite a bit more. In the end, I concluded that I will be taking either the Life Extension or the Jarrow Magnesium Threonate because even with the fillers they actually worked and they are affordable and both are sold at iHerb.com and Amazon.com. If you try it let me know what you think.

That one recipe that you make over and over and then this is over

IMG_1812This one is really hard to narrow down but I am going with Odin’s choice, *Pumpkin donuts with Cinnamon Butter Glaze. They are so simple and taste so good as to be decadent. I think the glaze is amazing as it is tastier than a glaze has the right to be and yet is packed full of nutritious goodness.

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup of ghee or butter
  • 1/4 cup of roasted, creamy almond butter
  • 1 TBLS honey
  • 1 TBLS ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a few drops of Vanilla-Creme Stevia

In a small saucepan heat the butter until just melted on low heat. As soon as it is melted remove from heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients until a smooth glaze forms. Pour into a bowl or cup and set aside. It will thicken as it cools which is ideal for the glaze to stick.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts:

  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour (Honeyville works the best)
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (Farmer’s Brand has no BPA in the lining of the can) or I used winter squash from my garden
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup of walnut oil

Preheat oven to 350° and grease your donut pan. Mix almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices in a bowl. Pour into a blender. Add wet ingredients and blend until smooth. You will need to turn off blender, scrape sides with spatula and keep blending to ensure all the dry ingredients are mixed. Pour batter into each donut mold, filling almost to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the pan to remove the donuts (they should slip out really easily) and cool on a cooling rack.

To Serve:

Using a spoon or cup pour glaze onto each donut. Serve warm but they will keep for 4 days if covered tightly.

* I have included a link to the original recipe out of respect for the creator but also because I adjusted things to suit my tastes.

The Ultimate

In the end, my favorite thing is knowing that someone might benefit from what I have learned and share on Krisinsight. I am not a doctor, nor dentist nor researcher. I am a private citizen with a degree in dental hygiene. What I do have is a keen interest in the health of my body and a desire to share what I have learned from  my experience with medicine, both conventional and alternative. I gather knowledge from books, online articles, friend’s experiences, and my discussions with some very good doctors. When I learn something new I really can’t wait to share it with you my readers. I hope you share knowledge gleaned with your friends and family. Just think how much better our world will be because we all learned something and then paid it forward.

Go ahead pay it forward, help someone. If you help so much as one person feel better it will make your year and mine.

With love from me,

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

Got Greens?

It has been a dark and gloomy week in Minnesota with intermittent spring-like thunderstorms and warmer temperatures. If barometric pressure bothers you this has been a bad week and many are complaining of renewed pain and restless nights.

Personally I have an ache in my head that is constantly there above my eyes and in the occipital portion of my skull, aka sinus/allergy headache, and I wish it would abate. I take comfort in knowing, this too shall pass like the waxing and waning cloud cover and the budding and blooming trees and shrubs.

Speaking of budding and blooming trees, allergies and headaches, reminds me of the color green. The color green reminds me that I wanted to tell you that I may have finally found a green powder that doesn’t turn my world inside out. A green food that doesn’t wreak havoc but has all the benefits of a super green powder.

Why think green?

My interest in greens started a few years ago when Mercola extolled their virtues and recommended juicing lots of green vegetables as a breast cancer preventive measure (of particular interest having lost a sister-in-law to breast cancer and another sister-in-law having had a double mastectomy). Most of dis-ease is a result of uncontrolled inflammation and greens reduce inflammation.

They have visibly reduced inflammatory responses in my body. What do I mean by visible change in my body? When I started with Boku Superfood years ago there was a large cyst on my right ring finger that was impinging on the growth of my fingernail and causing a deformed nail. One doctor suggested a trip to a surgeon to have it removed but I resisted.

I tried numerous experiments to get rid of the cyst (thinking it might be a ganglion cyst I hit it hard several times to no avail) and then I started on Boku Superfood, a nutrient dense powder with lots of greens, and over time the cyst disappeared along with one that was on a toe and a small one on my left hand. In my opinion, these cysts were inflammatory in nature and as inflammation decreased they were resorbed.

The only trouble was Boku Superfood caused some major tummy upsets. I just didn’t know it was Boku at the time, I thought it was something else. I also ignored the heavy reliance on brassicas in Boku but eventually I had to admit to myself and now to you my reader that the powder was messing with my delicate innards. I just hadn’t quite figured out what ingredient was responsible.

So when do you admit defeat?

Actually I admitted defeat for reasons other than my upset tummy. My endocrine system got really messed up about 7 years ago when I took myself off my thyroid meds and unbeknownst to me this eventually caused adrenal fatigue and an irregular heartbeat that was, let’s just say, bothersome.

I looked for every reason under the sun for that erratic, unpredictable and  irritating heartbeat as many of you may know. Thanks to all my research I am more knowledgeable than I was but in the process I did come to some erroneous (but potentially correct) conclusions. One was that the brassica vegetables were causing my thyroid to be under productive (check out this blog post) and that Boku Superfood was ultimately responsible because it was largely composed of the dreaded brassica veggies. Don’t get me wrong, brassica vegetables are a problem for those with hypothyroidism but I now know green powder was not the culprit responsible for my irregular heartbeat.

Long story, short, for various and sundry reasons I quit drinking Boku Superfood and my tummy aches got better. I hated to give up my anti-inflammatory drink but I had  to admit defeat and move on.

On refusing to take chemicals

If you think green drinks are bad for your digestion and your thyroid what can you do for inflammation? Take ibuprofen? Acetaminophen? Aspirin? Ah, no. Not me anyway. I was determined to find a green powder that I could use, so my quest began. I would carefully scrutinize the ingredients and choose powders low in brassicas but the upset tummy persisted and the rumbling gas and loss of nutrients to diarrhea seemed to plague me.

I was and have been suspicious of flax-seed, particularly flax-seed meal, for some time. Flax and flax meal are both supposedly “so good for you” that I just couldn’t accept that flax was the offending ingredient. As time passed the light slowly dawned, if I took just Chlorella or Spirulina I didn’t have an upset tummy. I even tried E3Live and never had a moment of discord in the nether regions. As soon as I tried Garden of Life’s Perfect Food Super Greens I was running to the bathroom with that all too familiar discomfort again.

That did it, I ran in to the kitchen and tore the container out of the pantry, put on my reading glasses (yes, you read that right, reading glasses) and scrutinized the list of ingredients. There it was. I had failed to see it in the online list of ingredients: flax-seed. Another green powder bites the dust.

Kris Insight

At last I know I need a green powder that has no flax and is filled with greens from every green source and not a preponderance of brassica veggies. I don’t like fillers nor sweeteners in my green powder. I would prefer it blended easily in to water with a spoon but if it will blend with a whisk I am fine with that. Taste and texture are unimportant when compared with diarrhea and gaseous bloating.

Midori Greens seems to be the best answer for me. Midori Greens are sold at http://www.iHerb.com (WordPress won’t even allow a simple link to iHerb, urgh!). Admittedly, it seems expensive for the size of the container but one small scoop seems adequate, so the cost comes down. If you want more and don’t mind the cost, have several scoops a day.

The powder will whisk in to water easily and the taste, while not fabulous, is not bad. It tastes green and unadulterated and could easily be added to apple juice or juiced vegetables. There is a little residue at the bottom of the glass if I mix it with filtered water but if you add it to a smoothie it disappears and is undetectable.

For me the best part is I am getting my greens, my inflammation has not returned and wait for it……I’m not flatulent. Hurrah! Every day without bloating and gas is a great day. By the way, I thought you should know the sinus headache  that I spoke of in the beginning is a distant memory. I wonder if the barometer is finally rising?

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.

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