Posts Tagged ‘Life Extension’

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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Blood Testing and the Results

IMG_1917 (2)As I stand at my computer the sun is shining on my back. I cannot tell you how good it feels to just see the sunshine after three days of low hanging clouds and on and off rain. I guess you could say I am solar-powered because I know my SU loves those low hanging cloudy days. He says they relax him and often he gets more done.

Speaking of getting things done, I had a little nudge this week from my homeopathic doctor to get a blood test done to check the status of my thyroid, so I finally went in and had a blood draw at LabCorp in Edina, MN.

If you haven’t heard me say it before I will say it again, I am a huge fan of LabCorp in Minnesota for several reasons. I find the staff are all consummate professionals. The facility is always clean and orderly. I have never been hurt by a blood draw nor ever left with a bruise or even so much as a sore spot. This doesn’t mean that you might not run in to a LabCorp that is not as good but if you are in the area, the office in Edina, MN has got to be one of the best.

The results are in

This year, as in years past, I ordered my thyroid panel from Life Extension when they had their blood panel sale in the spring. You do have to pay to have a membership at Life Extension but the blood panel sale alone makes it worthwhile. They also offer free consults with their medical staff and I have made use of that as well and it was professional and very helpful. If you aren’t a member the panels are still some of the most comprehensive blood tests offered, they will just cost you more. Also I will add if you follow (Like) them on Facebook they do offer free 6 month memberships once in a while and I have taken advantage of at least two of those offers as well.

I had my blood draw on Monday morning at 8 a.m. my results were in my e-box within two days. I think this is fantastic given how long it takes a doctor’s office to get results and then to let you know. The thyroid panel I chose cost me $56 and included TSH, FT3, FT4 and Thyroxine ( T4). My results were as follows:

  1. TSH- 0.084 range .450-4.5
  2. FT3-3.8 range 2.0-4.4
  3. FT4-0.06 range .82-1.77
  4. Thyroxine-0.5 range 4.5-12.0

How do you read these results?

Given conventional wisdom and the information your health providers have handed you, what do you think of my results? With a suppressed TSH can I sleep at night? Can a body survive with basically no T4? Is my FT3 too low? Were any of my results flagged as out of the normal range?

The answer

The answer to all the above questions is “yes”. First, I am sleeping quite well although my nights have been interspersed with nightmares of a sort. The sort that wake me up with a rapidly beating heart because I was either doing something physical or something upsetting in my dream. They don’t keep me awake for long and I can settle my heartbeat immediately. I know from experience that this means I am on a slightly too high dose of T3 but by slightly I mean only a fraction of a 25 mcg tablet and I think my body will adjust over time.

Current CT3M dose

I am currently taking a 25 mcg dose of T3 around 2 in the morning according to the CT3M method as described by Paul Robinson. Many of my dreams occur before 2 a.m. and once I take that 25 mcg dose my sleep improves and I sleep long and hard until 5-5:30. I am not absolutely certain what that means but I intend to find out with further research. My general feeling is I really need to take more T3 but I don’t think my adrenals are up to it yet and I need to obtain a diurnal cortisol test the next time I feel like spending $109 on tests.

Second answer; same as the first

Second, if you are on T3 only your FT4 and Thyroxine should be almost null. Your thyroid needs T3 to run smoothly and any T4 is actually converted to T3 before your thyroid can use it. For someone like me, with thyroid resistance, the T4 was actually blocking my cell receptors and interfering with my thyroid’s ability to get enough T3. The fact that I have basically no T4 is a little scary (to me) because it means my thyroid is dependent on the T3 I take and there is no T4 to convert to T3 but it is a good thing to see when you take T3-only and have a RT3 issue. Also bear in mind I hadn’t had any T3 for 13 hours when this blood draw was done, so the T3 is circulating for a long time.

Third; FT3

Third, my FT3 is a bit low. Now according to my functional medicine guy he liked my FT3 in the middle of the range, so he would have said this was almost borderline too high. However, when a patient is on T3-only your FT3 should be in the upper end of the range or perhaps slightly over. I feel pretty good with my FT3 at 3.8, so I think I will leave things as they are for now but I do like knowing that there is room for improvement.

Flags and other warnings

As for any flagging that was done, my TSH was flagged as “Low”. My FT4 was flagged as “Low” and my Thyroxine was flagged with the dreaded “ALERT”. If you are going to consider the path I have taken for treating your thyroid disease you really must educate yourself and have good, scientifically proven information for your guide. I would never do this on my own (I had a group of patients who had gone through the same thing and researched the subject thoroughly as my guide) nor as an uninformed novice because results like these are, to say the least, disturbing if you don’t know what they mean.

Krisinsight

I don’t know about my readers but I like knowing that things are okay because I know they aren’t perfect. My skin is still scaly especially if I bathe too regularly but it is summer and it has been hot (but isn’t at the moment). My sleep has its ups and downs and my dreams have been graphic lately (someone suggested no fermented food at bedtime and I have been drinking kefir every night, so no more of that). I have many nights when I ache especially my bum hip aches when laid on too long and my head has felt a bit muzzy lately. I keep trying to decide if all these things are part of aging or part of my disease.

I keep thinking that perhaps if I can eventually take 75 mcg of T3 or find that right remedy with the help of my homeopathic doctor things will be perfect. However, I am a human being, we, by nature, are not perfect. Is it so bad that my energy lags some days? I tend to think not, especially when most days my energy is good. As long as I can keep up with my two-year-old grandson hopping and skipping over cracks in the sidewalk and carrying him when he asks “Carry me?” Well I just feel blessed.  If sleep alludes me now and then that won’t kill me. As for aches and pains, if you increase your activity with muscles, tendons and ligaments that aren’t used to such activity you are going to ache a bit, so what do I expect?

I ask my readers, in all seriousness, what should I expect? Should I expect to be Suzanne Somers and be out there tooting my horn about my fabulous sex life and my 20-year-old body? Or should I be running a business where I work 24/7? I do neither of those but it makes me wonder. What is your energy like? How many aches and pains do you have? And to what do you attribute these good or bad things in your life?

Don’t be put off by the “S” word in the previous paragraph I just always wonder if she is on drugs or has had surgery, so Suzanne Somers is the first person who comes to mind when I feel a bit on the 50-ish side of life and start wondering if that is normal. That little detail cleared up, before I close I wanted to share a quick recipe for a blueberry elixir because blueberries are plentiful right now and it is the perfect time to make some of this to enjoy in the autumn. This recipe is from a book called Wild Medicinal Plants and it can be found on page 76.

Father Kneipp’s Elixir

  • 2 cups of Brandy (500 ml) do not get brandy with flavors added as they contain gluten sometimes
  • 7 ounces (200 g) organic blueberries, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves

Combine all the ingredients and macerate for 1 month away from any light. Stir from time to time. Strain after one month.

Drink one ounce (25 ml), pure or diluted, in the case of diabetes, gastritis, enteritis, colic, and intestinal gas, or poor night vision, or simply as a full-bodied and delicious digestive.

I made this a few years ago and it is so pleasant you will enjoy every drop but drink with reserve, it does contain alcohol and I can’t really think of any other way to make an elixir. If you can’t have alcohol then just enjoy some blueberries in whatever form you enjoy.

Santé,

Kris

 

If At Once You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

IMG_1917 (2)It has been a big week. I returned from my holiday in Idaho and Bayfield, Wisconsin and got right back in to the swing of things. I had my obligatory two days of dental hygiene and then one day of family and friends and yesterday, Friday, I had to stay home and clean house and prepare for company.

It was also a week of difficult decisions the biggest one of which (yes, big) was deciding to re-open my Krisinsight group on Facebook. This is a big decision because it is a time consumer like no other one thing I do but I found I was missing the interaction with people and the sharing of the latest health information.

Also some folks who perhaps only checked out Krisinsight once in a while were feeling that they might have done something wrong and I had deleted them from the group. That was absolutely not the case, no one was ever deleted, every opinion was and is important and valued. Alas, and with some hesitation (but not much), Krisinsight on Facebook was reborn.

Success: The accomplishment of one’s goals

I really enjoy experimentation as most readers well know and I have to admit that some succeed, some fail and some have an indeterminate conclusion. Recently I have run some very unscientific trials and I feel like I have reached some conclusions that I can share. This doesn’t mean I recommend them for you just that I feel I can share the outcome of my testing and its results on my body.

How to stop the cramping

You are undoubtedly aware that I have some muscle soreness from time to time (back and hip issues are better this week) and I have tried a plethora of things to appease these nasty aches and pains including C1/C2 chiropractic adjustment. In addition and even more irritating I was plagued by muscle cramping for quite a while and I just know I do not have to accept this as normal. I decided, with the input of various people on Krisinsight, to try some products to alleviate the cramping in my feet and calves and the restless leg feeling at night that makes me want to stretch my legs constantly.

I tried the following products: ReMag Solution (thanks Bonnie Scott for this recommendation), MagMind (magnesium threonate recommended by Mercola and Life Extension) and Ionic Fizz (research buddy Chloe uses this product and has for a long time). The winning combination is Ionic Fizz Mag Plus and MagMind. Try as I might I could not get the ReMag combined with MagMind to take away the cramping and it left a sour taste in my mouth as if I had acid reflux.

Ionic Fizz uses Magnesium Carbonate which is not highly touted as the best magnesium but since starting it, sometimes twice a day (because it makes my Celtic Sea Salt more palatable), along with MagMind (magnesium threonate crosses the blood brain barrier) I have no more issues. It is not scientific but it is working for me where other potions weren’t quite taking the cramp away.

Bugged by mosquitoes?

Another success story was my test of a product I have had around the house for a year or two, Botanical Outdoor Gel by Neem Tree Farms. We, in Minnesota, are having a bumper year for mosquitoes thanks to our record rainfall in the last two months. I have a vegetable garden, two poodles and 13 acres of land all of which cause me to be outside at the worst times of day for the biting buggers.

The other day I found my Neem Gel and the thought came to mind that I should give a try again. There are three less than ideal issues with the Neem Tree Farm product. None of which should stop you from trying it if bugs are a problem at your house:

  1. I am not too fond of the smell of neem (but it isn’t horrible, or so Chloe said) and it’s not as bad as the malodorous Off.
  2. I am also not crazy about the chemicals that are in it but they are minimal and they are not DEET.
  3. I also don’t like the lotion form because you always have to spread it instead of spray it.

Those negatives aside after I applied it I went out to my garden at dawn, the absolute worst time of day for said mosquitoes at my house. I started hoeing the Earth thus stirring them up a bit and one came up to my arm, sniffed it and darted off in the other direction. Okay, okay I am not sure it physically sniffed my arm but it did come close enough to be put off by the smell and it did fly away, never touching down on my mosquito feeding station. We tried it on Odin last weekend in Bayfield, WI and they eschewed him as well and that was at dusk near the great lake Superior. I have used it when walking the poodle boys near my mosquito breeding ground, otherwise known as the drainage ditch, with success as well. Sometimes I can still hear them enter my ear space (that area that is close enough to hear them buzzing) but they do not light on my skin and they do not stick their proboscis in my skin.

Water, water everywhere

You all know I am a dental hygienist by training and education. I like a lot of alternative or whole body approaches to taking care of one’s body including teeth and gums. However, in the past month I have rediscovered an old dental health instrument, the Water-Pik. I actually have had one for sometime but I primarily use it for irrigating my ears (I tend to get a lot of waxy build-up and at the gentlest pulse it really does help keep that to a minimum). Only occasionally I have used it for my teeth and gums. Well no more is it only an occasional treat for my mouth, I am using it every day.

I tested this years ago and was impressed by its cleansing capabilities but then it fell by the wayside and ended up stuck in the back of a cupboard, lonely and forgotten unless a doctor complained about my ear wax. Anyway, sadness for its previous demise aside, I started using it again about a month ago in the following way:

  1.  I brushed my teeth for two minutes with my Braun Oral-B. I flossed with a floss that I like Radius Cranberry Floss with Natural Xylitol and then I got my Water-Pik out filled it with warmish water and added about 2 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (you could use Listerine but I hate that nasty stuff).
  2. I put it on a fairly good pulse toward the top of the settings (for removing ear wax it must never be above the second line) and pulsed that water around all my teeth pointing the jet of water toward the sulcus of the gingival tissue (the area where teeth meet gums). I was in disbelief at the amount of debris flushed out. I had brushed and flossed and still the days detritus was falling in to the sink in amazing amounts given my thorough dental hygiene.

The downsides to a Water-Pik are minimal. The water if you aren’t careful will shoot everywhere, so you need to have good control of the pik itself. It is rather large, so you need counter space but I think those are the only downsides I can think of and I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about their dental hygiene (or who seriously wants to impress their dental hygienist).

Incomplete but worth a try

The eyes have it

Another product I have been using for two or three months is an eye drop by Life Extension, Brite Eyes lll. These eye drops contain a lubricant for dry eyes but also Carnosine in an acetylated form which has shown the potential to help prevent and treat cataracts.

I am not aware of any cataract formation on my eyeballs but I do have floaters (that appear when I look at a blue sky) and in reading the reviews at iHerb.com people felt that the eye drops did decrease the number and size of floaters. Others did give positive reviews to its ability to treat cataract formation as confirmed by their eye care specialist. The way I look at it I have dry eyes and a lubricant is a good thing, so these drops cannot hurt.

I am having trouble actually ascertaining whether it is helping. I mean how does someone count the floaters and their shape? It is damn near impossible but I feel the floaters are less intrusive and the big particles seem to have disappeared. The ones that are left are more filament like. I really want to try them on my Sidney as his eyes are getting that characteristic blue color but they are a bit expensive and he really doesn’t like me putting drops in his eyes.

Sadly, one failure

The No-Poo, boo-boo

There is one failed experiment to report, well really two but they both are No-Poo options for washing your hair. I was really fond of the No-Poo option for washing my hair. I am not saying they were colossal failures but after trying it for 9 months I finally did seek out some suitable commercial shampoos and conditioners.

I used the baking soda and vinegar rinse for many months. I added essential oils to my vinegar rinse which actually made my hair and scalp smell really nice, so that gets a thumbs up. I enjoyed the massage of rubbing baking soda and water in to my scalp and it did clean my hair, leaving it shiny. I also tried a honey-poo mixture and I liked it as well.

The real trouble was that my nearly waist length hair was not easy to wash this way, so I avoided washing it anymore than once a week. My scalp did itch a lot although I never noticed dandruff or flaking. Worst of all though was that I seemed to lose a lot of hair in those months of being Poo-less. I have no reasonable explanation for this but the hair would pile up in my sink and I laid a silver trail everywhere I walked. Alas, I finally conceded defeat while we were at the cabin where showering takes on a whole new meaning (outdoor shower with a fabulous view of the mountains that surround us but still outdoors).

On a shopping expedition to Ketchum, ID I found the Atkinson’s there carried Andalou hair products. Knowing I just couldn’t wash my hair with baking soda and rinse with vinegar in the back of beyond nor not wash my hair for an entire week I reluctantly bought Andalou’s gluten-free products for my hair. That week I washed my hair three times and just let it air dry as I soaked in the mountain sun and formed all kinds of Vitamin D on my naked skin. My hair after returning to commercial shampoos is soft, there is much less fall-out and the itchy scalp has disappeared.

I am not saying the No-Poo option is bad but long-term it wasn’t the best for my hair. I did read a month or more ago that the baking soda and vinegar rinse does not maintain a proper acid balance for your scalp, so perhaps that was a problem. Waist length hair is a problem for washing no matter what you wash it with and silver hair is frizzier and coarser, so that ‘s a problem.

I’m not over it yet, I still like the idea that baking soda, vinegar and raw honey are the only real products one needs in the house for cleaning almost anything but for now Andalou is in my shower and my hair is glistening.

Krisinsight

Some things come, and some things go and I thought it would be fun to report on both this week. I cannot say with certainty that I won’t continue to do some of the things that seem not to have worked. After all, in the case of No-Poo there might be a time when all you have is baking soda and vinegar and I will always have those in the house. I still have some ReMag, so I will use it up. I am almost out of the Neem Tree Farm Botanical Gel and just for the fun of it I ordered Mercola’s bug spray to see what I think of that. I know it will smell better (it has vanillin in the mixture and smells good enough to eat) but as I recall it isn’t as effective. We shall see. Yup, in many walks of life, we shall see and I will let you know how it goes ’cause that’s what Krisinsight is all about.

Santé,

Kris