Labs

So here are the lab results I’ve received so far:

Test Me Range
T3 Uptake 32 24-39
T4 7.9 4.5 – 12.0
Free T4 0.94 0.76 ‑ 1.46
Free Thyroxine Index 2.5 1.2 – 4.9
TSH 1.68 0.358 ‑ 3.74
Cortisol 12.8 2.3 – 19.4
TPO 8 0-34
Antithyroglobulin Ab <20 0-40
Glucose 98 65-99
Cholesterol, Total 222 100-199
Triglicerides 107 0-149
LDL Cholesterol 147 0-99
HDL Cholesterol 54 >39
Vitamin D 34.2 30-100
HS C-Reactive Protein 8.65 0-3.00

So I’m obviously no expert when it comes to interpreting this stuff, and I only have about 10 minutes before I have to go to work.  But here’s what I’ve surmised so far:

My thyroid appears to be functioning normally.  The TPO and Antithyroglobulin Ab test indicate that I test negative for Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune thyroid problems. Since my thyroid seems to be ok, I’m guessing it’s stress/adrenal fatigue/high cortisol causing the hypothyroid symptoms I have.  I’m still waiting for my hormone panel, including 4x/day cortisol testing.  Hopefully that will show up soon.

My total cholesterol has improved since it was last tested 2 weeks prior (no…I don’t plan on testing my cholesterol every 2 weeks…it just worked out that way!).  But seriously, it dropped from 238 to 222 in 14 days of eating meat and fat!  My LDL dropped from 165 to 147.  That’s an 11% drop in the “bad” cholesterol in 2 weeks!  HDL is up a bit too.

I love knowing the truth about saturated fat!

Ok, but that’s where the good news ends.

Vitamin D is on the very low end of normal, and that’s with supplementing about 3000 IU/day for the last month or so.  I’ll be upping it to 10K units.

And the worst news…my HS CRP – 8.65.  That’s some serious inflammation!  Anything over 3.00 is highly correlated with heart disease.  I guess I’m about to keel over from a coronary right now!  I wish I had a baseline from before I started the Leptin Rx…this might actually represent an improvement from where I started.  I know other markers of inflammation are coming down (blood sugar, cholesterol), so this may have been really out of control 2 months ago.  In any case, I need to get that number down.  I’ll be continuing to address possible leaky gut issues and increase Omega 3 and seafood.

Would like to stay here and talk about my blood all day.  Must go to work.

Leptin Rx: Week 8, Day 2

I feel better today.  I’ll have to do some experimenting at some point, but I think after almost 2 months of eating a Paleo diet (with just a few dairy dalliances) I can’t tolerate weird frankenfoods anymore.  Today my blood sugar has returned to under 100 and I feel energetic.  Last  night I didn’t eat dinner.  Just wasn’t hungry.  I did get a little hungry just before bed but I didn’t eat because of the whole night-time hormone release thing.  I spent a couple hours last night reading the journals over at Dr. K’s forum.  That was really fun.  I wish I had more time to read and study this stuff.  I’ve been neglecting other things as I continue to read and learn.  I think my focus in life should be what’s interesting to me.  Unfortunately, that’s not where my focus is.  I need to find a way to get paid for doing something in the world of health and nutrition.  That’s the only way I’ll have enough time to spend more hours doing what I love and still be able to spend time with my family.

I was just reading some of the comments on one of Dr. K’s blog posts.  Someone asked him if it was unusual that doing the Leptin Reset would result in longer menstrual cycles.  The woman who asked was 2 weeks late and convinced she wasn’t pregnant.  His answer was that it wasn’t surprising at all, considering the hypothalamus is involved.  Well ok then.  Late = fine.

Off to work.  I’ll have to resolve this disconnect in my life one way or another.

Moods

My moods haven’t been the greatest lately.  I had a thought today.  What if I get all of this thyroid and hormone testing back and it’s all normal…?

I guess that would mean I’m just a bitch by nature.

Just a bad person!

I say that sort of humorously, but lately I don’t even want to be around me.  And normally I really like my company.

Today I had to get up earlier than necessary and had to skip my BAB to drive an hour to get labs drawn.  I was hungry.  Now it’s 5 or 6  hours later – I’ve since had breakfast and lunch – and I’m cranky and I have a headache.  I think there are a few things I need to do regardless of what all the labwork says.

  • I need to find some way to have more fun.
  • I need to eat a wider variety of vegetables to make sure I’m getting all the necessary nutrients.
  • I need to manage my time better.  Less time on the internet and more time keeping up with things.

My blood sugar was 111 this morning – 21 points up from yesterday and from my new fasting average.  Yesterday the only thing I did differently was eat some chocolate sweetened with erythritol.  I guess I won’t be doing that again.  I’ll probably try again in a week or so to make sure it’s not just a coincidence.  I wonder if that has anything to do with my headache.

Whatever, body.

Leptin Rx: Week 7, Day 7

I haven’t had much to say lately so I haven’t been writing so much.  I guess I could do a quick good/bad segment.

The Good

  • Finally started my cycle…only 3 weeks late.  I wonder what’s up with my hormones? Looking forward to seeing the results of hormone (and other) testing this week.
  • My husband is getting healthier by following a mostly-Paleo template.  He’s been tapering off of his high blood pressure medication because over the past few weeks he’s been getting dizzy when standing up.  His blood pressure is normal now.  We’ll have to continue to monitor.  He’s also lost about 10 pounds.
  • My fasting blood glucose has stayed low.  Today it was 90.  This is a 30 point drop from my average when I started out.
  • I actually don’t think about eating.  The first few weeks it was a relief to not be hungry all the time, but I was constantly aware of being not hungry all the time, because it was so new.  Now I am just getting to a point where I’m forgetting about it – I look up and 6 or 7 hours has passed since I last ate.  It’s becoming a non-issue.  I’m afraid to skip a meal though, because when I’ve done that in the past I’ve gotten hungry at an inopportune time.  I’ll probably try it soon.
  • Talked to my dad last night about the evils of wheat.  I’m not even trying to alter his behavior or anything, I was just talking about what I’ve been up to lately and this is the direction it went.  He was very interested.  I think I’ll give him Wheat Belly to read when I’m home for a visit.
  • Made bone broth last night.  Trying to heal a leaky gut.  I’m not sure how leaky it is, but it can’t hurt.  I’m also eating lots of pickles (hello, water retention) and sauerkraut.  I may look into a probiotic.
  • More labs tomorrow – My husband and I have to drive an hour to get to a lab that will process our order from DirectLabs.com.  It’s less expensive and a lot more comprehensive than trying to do it all through the mail with ZRT labs.  Sometimes I don’t love living in the sticks.  But a family road trip is something to look forward to!  Will be a fasting road trip though…no eating my BAB tomorrow till after testing.  Good thing I’m never hungry anymore.
  • Don’t need much caffeine anymore – I’ve skipped it completely a few days last week.  The first 2 days I did that I was tired all day…but the third day (not in a row), I felt great.  When I do use caffeine it’s only 50mg once in the morning.  I hope this is a sign of improved adrenal function.

The Bad

  • Moods all over the place.  I’m looking forward to getting hormonally stable.
  • Feel like I’m missing out a bit – watching all the folks at Dr. K’s site experimenting with Cold Thermogenesis.  I am committed to giving the Leptin Rx a good 8 weeks and seeing where it gets me, before trying the cold. And I have to admit I’m not looking forward to the detox.  I’m sure I’ll end up going this route eventually though.
  • Have to go to work.  Ciao!

Updates: Blood Glucose and Labs

So check out my fasting blood glucose graph these days:

Look at the last seven days or so (on the far right).  Something is definitely happening – my fasting glucose levels are back in the normal range again.  That’s cool!  I wonder if it’s just sticking to the Leptin Reset protocol or if it’s related somehow to the supplements I started taking a week prior to the drop.

I saw my doctor yesterday.  She ordered thyroid tests for me for this morning, including a TPO test to evaluate for Hashimoto’s.  She wasn’t interested in ordering me hormone tests, but referred me to a gynecologist when I told her my cycle is 3 weeks overdue.  I did go ahead and do the 4x Cortisol testing, as well as testing for DHEA and the sex hormones, through ZRT labs.  Maybe I’ll have results before the end of next week.

I’m sleepy.  Off to nap before the baby wakes from hers.

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

When I taught a psychology class at the local community college a few years ago, I tried to drum this into the students’ impressionable minds.  Unfortunately people just don’t get this concept and it’s the root of a lot of suffering, prejudice, and misinformation.  A friend sent this graphic to me, which outlines the plight of America’s future as all the fat people conspire to bring it down with all their bad habits and grease-mongering.  I’m sure she didn’t realize I’d tear it apart on my blog (haha…*evil grin*…) but I must.  It describes obesity as the second leading “preventable” cause of death, next to cigarette smoking, and says the following diseases are occurring at astronomical rates “due to obesity”: heart disease, diabetes, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea.  It goes on to say that obesity will reduce life expectancy by an average of 13 years, by 2020.

Underlying all of this, of course, is the not-subtle implication that fat people are choosing this lifestyle.  It’s preventable.  All they have to do is eat less and exercise more and this problem will go away! Right?  I’ll tell you what – obese people in my life are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.  They’re desperately trying to figure out what it takes to be healthy and to shed body fat…they’re guzzling diet coke and eating their “healthy whole grains” per the doctor’s order, and still those pounds stay on.  Know why?  Because they’re being fed a complete line of crap from every source of information they believe is reliable.   They’re being told by the government, the media, Dr. Phil, Jillian Michaels, their sisters, their cousins, and the internet that all they have to do is eat less.  And then there are shows like “The Biggest Loser” that make this look real.  Just exercise for 5 hours a day and eat nothing and you’ll lose weight!!!

No.

Correlation does not equal causation.  The fact that two things happen at the same time does not mean one caused the other.  The fact that people are obese and that obese people have more health problems does not mean obesity causes the health problems. Maybe, just maybe whatever is causing the health problem is also causing the obesity.  Maybe obesity is a side effect – just like fatigue or depression or acne – of a health problem.  And maybe that health problem is hormone dysfunction resulting from the Standard American Diet, which no one – NO ONE – is biologically adapted to eating.

Maybe if we as a country and as a culture stopped blaming people for their health problems we could actually work together toward fixing them.

Fat people everywhere:  A message to you, from me.  I know you don’t want to be fat.  Well, maybe some of you do, but for those of you who don’t, I’m speaking to you.  I know you’re not choosing this.  Guess what.  It’s not your fault.  You’ve been lied to about what causes obesity, and what you have to do if you want to change it.  If you want to uncover the health problems that are ACTUALLY causing your obesity, read Gary Taubes and visit Jack Kruse.  I’m just learning myself, but I think they’re on to something.

Leptin Rx: Week 7, Day 2

Just a quick check-in before I leave for work.

First, a wish.  I wish I had unlimited funds to get all of the testing I want done!  I’m flying blind a little bit, taking supplements without even knowing exactly what’s wrong with me.  I’ll get more testing done over the next couple weeks.  I just want numbers!

My weight has come down a couple pounds again to 187.  I don’t know why it jumped up 3 pounds in one day last week.  A commenter on Dr. K’s blog (specifically the “Leaky Gut Prescription” post) was saying her weight was very much tied to dairy intake.  Hm.  Well, I’ve never completely given up dairy for more than a week or so.  So I’m interested in trying this.

I’ve stopped putting cinnamon in my tea (a la Tim Ferriss).  It didnt’ taste too bad, but it was staining my coffee mugs and making a mess every time I made it…and frankly, I don’t believe Tim Ferriss.  I need more than just his anecdote.  So the last time I did that was 4 or 5 days ago.

My blood sugar is doing something interesting.  I’ll update with a graph soon…first I have to make sure the trend continues.

Ok, gotta go.

Leaky Gut?

As I continue with the Leptin Reset, I’m becoming more aware of health problems I’ve caused myself by years of poor dietary habits.  I have symptoms consistent with Pregnenalone Steal Syndrome, probably related to chronically high cortisol.  Here’s a cool little video by Dr. Bryan Walsh that explains what’s happening hormonally when you’re stressed on a routine basis:

Effects of Stress – Pregnenolone Steal from Dr. Bryan Walsh on Vimeo.

But wait just a moment…because it seems a lot of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue (fatigue, depression, for example) are also characteristic of Leaky Gut Syndrome (also known as also called “increased intestinal permeability”).

Let me just tell you there are a LOT of quacks out there talking about leaky guts on the internet.  It’s hard to know who to trust, particularly when “traditional” medicine doesn’t always acknowledge Leaky Gut as an actual disorder.  Let me check out a couple of the old white-haired traditional medical websites…WebMD and Mayo Clinic.  WebMD refers to it as “something of a medical mystery,” using the phrase “we don’t know” three times in the short article.  Mayo Clinic has nothing about Leaky Gut or Increased Intestinal Permeability on their website.  So who to listen to…who to listen to…

Well, how about my buddy Dr. Jack Kruse?  He has lots of opinions about Leaky Gut, and he seems to be right about a lot of things.  If I had unlimited time to do all my own research I assure you I would.  In the meantime, I’m listening to Dr. Jack. He says the following are associated with Leaky Gut:

A. Foods high in the glycemic index, and most dairy products raw or pasteurized.
B. Foods high in refined flours, processed foods with low fiber contents (Amylose high foods)
C. Foods high in caffeine that are chronically used.
D. Excessive use of alcohol or long term use or abuse of antibiotics.
E. Chronic use of drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, and all proton pump inhibitors (all NSAID’s too)
F. Strong association with mercury laden foods or mercurial environmental toxins.
G. Any disease that causes an altered consciousness (trauma, delirium, dementia, stroke, SAH)
H. Chronic or severe acute food allergies. Severe food poising can also do this.

And then he has a list of treatment recommendations.  I’m willing to do what he recommends.  First things first…quit all dairy.  I’ve been eating cheese 2-3 times a week.  That’s going to stop.  I’ll also look into the supplements he recommends.  Caffeine…I’ve tried giving this up and it just isn’t pretty.  I do love my 100mg in the morning.  I’ll cut it in half and see how it goes.  I know he also recommends no nightshades if your HDL is lower than 60 (for women…I don’t remember what it is for men) because that indicates leaky gut problems.  So no more tomatoes, no more onions, and no more rationalizing that just a little cayenne pepper won’t hurt.  It all hurts!

Just meat and vegetables and fat.  And water.  Simple!

Leptin Rx: Week 6, Day 7

The Good:

  1. I’m learning more about what the hell is wrong with my body. Specifically, when I go to the doc on Friday this week, I’m going to request a full sex-hormone panel and a full thyroid panel, including a TPO test (to rule out Hashimoto’s).  Today my sister is having the rest of her thyroid removed. If I was a person who prayed, I would pray for her today.
  2. Not having to snack – I know I keep mentioning this, but it’s such a benefit I have to say it again.  Today I’m going to be in my car or at a training for almost 10 hours.  I know I’m not going to be desperate for snacks during that time and I’ll be alert to drive 6 of those 10 hours.  That’s awesome.

The Bad:

  1. Dysmenorrhea – I’m 2 weeks late.  Took another prego test.  Still negative.  I’m just hormonally screwed up.  And the icing on the cake is that every few days I have another bout of PMS – bad mood, argumentative, tired, over it.  Had one of those days yesterday.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been late – as I mentioned in a previous post, my cycle has been a bit screwy since I had a miscarriage a year ago.  This is the latest I’ve ever been though, without being pregnant.
  2. My Mother – had another phone conversation with her yesterday that left me feeling like crying.  Actually I did cry (see #1 above).  This was our conversation:

Me:  Mom, have you checked the margarine in your refrigerator yet for trans fats? 

(I’m taking it slow with the dietary recommendations.  My parents don’t make big changes.)

Mom:  Oh, I’m not eating margarine anymore.

Me: You’re not!?!?!? That’s great!

Mom:  No not because of that (i.e. “you”), but because of something else.  I went to my doctor and told her I was eating margarine, and she said, “Margarine!  Why are you eating Margarine!  You’re on a low-fat diet!”

Me:  Oh Mom…NO ONE should be on a low-fat diet.

Mom: (making uncomfortable noises, but otherwise silent.  Then…)  Well, anyway, the margarine will be bulking up the back of the refrigerator from now on.

Me: You’re not going to just throw it out?

Mom: (more silence)

Me: Will you at least check it for trans fats if you’re going to keep it?  Partially hydrogenated oils?  That’s pretty much the worst thing you could put in your body.

Mom:  Oh.

What a bunch of crap.  My poor brainwashed mom has struggled with her weight my whole life (and probably longer).  She believes her damn doctor who tells her she needs to cut the fat (as if low-fat margarine wasn’t low enough), despite 40+ years of experience to the contrary.  No wonder she’s always been depressed.

Gotta go.  Baby’s up.  Let the adrenal fatigue fest begin.