Too Tired

I’ve become too tired, and things are just getting worse.

My blood pressure has been high periodically throughout the day:

  • 6:45AM – 146/99
  • 8:45AM – 134/86
  • 1:21PM – 140/89
  • 3:00PM – 149/95
  • 8:00PM – 167/109

WTF?????

I can’t screw around with this anymore.  I’m going back on the beta blockers, full dose.  I’m making an appointment with the doc, and I’m sure I’ll be on several medications within a week.  I don’t care anymore.  This has consumed my life long enough, with NO payoff.

I’m done with the woo woo internet health crap.

 

Who Knew

Turns out…when you stop taking a beta blocker, 3 days later all the adrenaline that it was supressing comes roaring back into the system.  My heart rate is 98 bpm right now, sitting quietly.  Doc said it was OK to quit cold turkey.  Hope she’s right.

Update 11:09PM:

Had to take 1/4 of a beta blocker to make the adrenaline stop.  That was an hour ago, and my pulse has dropped to 93.  I hope it drops into the 80s or I predict a sleepless night.  Stupid fucking doctors.  Wrong again.

Blood Pressure Update

I’m throwing the kitchen sink at my blood pressure problem.

Over the past few days I’ve been doing the following things:

  1. Taking Hawthorn – I’ve been taking one capsule of 525mg/day, but I may increase to 2x/day.
  2. Drinking fresh-squeezed celery juice (16oz today).
  3. Increased magnesium supplementation from 200mg/day to 600mg/day.
  4. Increased potassium intake from around 3000mg/day to around 5000mg/day (all in food).  Previously I was getting potassium from orange juice but having given up sugar I’m now getting it from low-sodium tomato juice (and/or squeezing my own) and avocados.  Bananas and potatoes are out – can’t handle the starch – but for someone who could tolerate starch, they would be good sources too.
  5. Eating/drinking dairy to the tune of about 1500mg of calcium per day.
  6. Eliminated all added salt, and minimized foods that are naturally salty.  Except celery juice….does 16oz seriously have 680mg of sodium, Cronometer?  Why doesn’t it taste salty?
  7. Stopped taking my beta blocker 2 days ago, after cutting it in half for a couple days first.  Worthless piece of crap medication with crappy side effects…making me feel all old and tired and stuff…

Today my blood pressure mid-day was 131/89 – the lowest it’s been in about a year.  A week ago it was 152/99.

I have no idea what’s making the difference, but I don’t care.  I’m going to continue all of it and hopefully it’ll continue to improve.

Disillusioned

No more salt.  High blood pressure, and it makes it worse.

No more sugar.  Diabetes, and it makes it worse.

No more progesterone.  High blood pressure and it makes it worse.

No more orange juice.  High triglycerides and it makes it worse.

I’ll keep the liver, the dairy, the vitamins and minerals.  Thanks for those, Ray Peat.

I’m back to eating a low carbohydrate diet.  It’s nice to have stable blood sugar for the first time in over 8 months.  Will my thyroid suffer?  It certainly will.  But I probably won’t die from being hypothyroid.  At least not this week.  I’m much more concerned about my blood pressure, blood sugar, and trigs…all of which are much worse now than they were when I started following Peat.

I’m focusing on nutrition this time around though…I won’t be eating a meat-heavy diet the way I did last time I did low-carb. This time I’ll be tracking in Cronometer for a while to ensure I meet most of my nutrients every day.  I’ll be eating a lot of vegetables.  Maybe some fruit….but probably not much.

Dear everyone I ever preached to about health,

I was wrong.  Sorry.  I’ll shut the hell up now.

Sincerely,

Lanie.

Progesterone: A Side Effect

As long as I’ve been reading and listening to the work of Ray Peat I’ve been hearing that progesterone has no side effects.  Progesterone is “safe in large amounts (except…can be anesthetic if hundreds of milligrams are taken at once),” Peat himself said to me in an email.

I beg to differ.

The hot flashes that I’ve been experiencing for the last 2 months became troublesome for me.  They were long, intense, and were paired with rage at times.  I couldn’t understand why I was having them – doesn’t progesterone supplementation fool your body into thinking you’re not experiencing perimenopause (or real menopause, for that matter)?  Things had been going well, and I was confused, so I asked Dr. Peat about it.  His response:

Some things that reduce hot flashes for some people are supplementing pregnenolone, interrupting the progesterone each cycle, using cynoplus only in the evenings, increased salt, and coffee. The natural ovarian cycle gives the liver time to adjust its enzymes, and with continuous progesterone supplements, the liver enzymes excrete progesterone more quickly, and weaken its effects.

I thought that was interesting about liver enzymes….maybe I was having hot flashes because I’d been dosing every day instead of just the last 2 weeks of my cycle.  I did this knowingly, attempting to reverse the hyper-estrogenation I’d inflicted on my body with the stupid and dangerous Wiley Protocol.  Of course, taking hormones in a non-physiological way is likely to cause problems at some point, so perhaps that’s what was going on.

I stopped taking the progesterone for a few days.  The hot flashes got worse.  This led me to believe it WAS perimenopause I was dealing with.  When the estrogen/progesterone ratio is too heavy in favor of estrogen, symptoms of menopause (or PMS, or other unpleasant things) occur.  So I reversed course.  I figured I’d take a LOT of progesterone, to get the hot flashes to stop.  Then I’d taper down and find my new “normal” dose, after determining the threshold below which they broke through.

So a few days ago I decided to dose 3 drops every 1-2 hours, aiming for about 30 drops across the day.  This would be 100mg of progesterone, about 5 times my normal dose, but according to Peat, still safe.  By 5:00PM I didn’t feel very good – kind of tired and tense.  I was in the habit of taking my blood pressure and pulse because I’d recently started taking beta blockers for my hypertension, which usually runs around 150/95. So I took my blood pressure and it was 165/105 – about 10 points higher than even my normally high BP, with heart rate around 105 (usually around 85).  I checked periodically throughout the evening and it remained high, but the next morning was a bit lower again. 

That next day I did the same thing – 3 drops of Progest E every 1-2 hours.  My hot flashes seemed to be getting less intense, so it seemed like the right thing to do.  Again, around 5PM I started noticing tachycardia.  I took my blood pressure and it was 164/107.  That’s when I started suspecting the progesterone had something to do with this, as I’d changed nothing else in the previous 2 days.

I hit Google and found this article about hypertension that occurs during pregnancy, which states the following:

In an article published in the July 7, 2000, issue of the journal Science, HHMI investigators Richard P. Lifton and Paul B. Sigler and colleagues at Yale University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine report that a mutation renders the mineralocorticoid receptor more sensitive to progesterone, a hormone that is produced in abundance during pregnancy. (…)

When the mineralocorticoid receptor is triggered by aldosterone, its normal binding partner, it switches on the cellular machinery that causes kidney cells to reabsorb more salt, ultimately raising blood pressure. Lifton’s group found that when women who have the faulty receptor undergo the hundred-fold rise in progesterone that occurs during pregnancy, progesterone overstimulates the receptor, causing salt retention, expansion of blood plasma volume and skyrocketing blood pressure.

So what this is saying is that some people have a protein mutation that makes them more sensitive to progesterone.  In such a person, progesterone in high amounts (such as in pregnancy….or, say, when you’re me and desperately trying to make hot flashes disappear) can cause the kidneys to retain more fluid…raising blood pressure.

I should mention, when I was pregnant I developed hypertension (not pre-eclampsia), which led to my daughter being born by C-section 3 weeks before her due date.  My blood pressure was so high she was in distress.  Before that I had not had a problem with high blood pressure, and after the pregnancy my blood pressure returned to normal.

So after finding this article I went to the drugstore and bought some diuretic pills and took one.  Within a few hours my blood pressure returned to it’s “normal” state of hypertension – 150s over 90s, and my pulse was back in the 80s.  I stopped taking the progesterone at that point – I guess that was 3 days ago now.  My hot flashes have almost vanished – just little reminders here and there.  I guess I increased my progesterone level quite a bit and it’s not dropping quickly.

I wrote to Dr. Peat to share this story and the article I found, and to ask if he’s ever encountered anything like this in his research or practice.  I haven’t heard back from him yet.  I’m trying not to make that mean anything.  He must know that everything he puts in print becomes fodder for the public so perhaps he’s choosing his words carefully.  Or maybe he’s off researching the issue intently.  Or maybe he just blew it off because it’s terribly inconvenient to have someone tell you that you were wrong and that in fact SOME people actually do have serious side effects associated with high doses of progesterone.

I developed high blood pressure while living in California, around December of 2012.  At the time I was taking high dose progesterone and estrogen supplements, a la the Wiley Protocol.  I did stop taking those in March 2013, and then there was a period of time when I wasn’t taking any hormone supplements at all, until I started with the Progest E in November 2013.  Looking back at previous blog posts I see I’ve posted various blood pressure measurements over the past year or so:

  • April 2013: 145/88
  • June 2013: 135/83
  • November 2013: 155/109 (had recently started Peat-inspired plan, had increased salt and fluids and was taking Progest E, at a pretty low dose.)

What if progesterone supplementation is behind my high blood pressure?  I wasn’t taking progesterone between April and November, and during that period my blood pressure was lower (according to this blog, anyway), with the exception of the time I tried to drink 100oz of water every day.

I’m sure progesterone is safe for most people…but I’m curious how many people have this mutation?

Am I rare?

New plan: No progesterone supplementation for a while. If I find myself needing it I’ll take a few drops, but no more than 3 per day, and only during the last 2 weeks of my cycle.  Also no more extra salt. I’m also drinking celery juice and taking Hawthorn because I understand these things can be helpful for lowering blood pressure.  I’ve tried 3 different anti-hypertensive medications – 2 caused problematic side effects and one just didn’t work.  I tried everything I’ve seen Peat recommend for high blood pressure (eating MORE salt, high dose vitamin K, bag breathing, more potassium, magnesium/epsom salt baths).

There will be other new plans too.  Stay tuned.

Where Things Went Wrong

Looking back over old posts, I appeared to be doing really well around late February early March of this year.  On March 6th I wrote the following:

Did I mention that I feel really good almost every day now?  Now if my mood is low or I feel tired I can usually directly attribute it to something I did differently than usual, like eating starches or experimenting with a new supplement.  Before Peat-ing I was tired, depressed, and anxious most days.  I never felt “happy”.  Then after adopting some of Peat’s recommendations I started feeling better in the mornings – not every morning, but a lot of them, and in the afternoon I’d go back to feeling low-energy.  Now almost every morning is delightful and a few times a week I feel great all day long.

In that same post, I wrote that I was 1 week into a weight-training program designed for me by a trainer at the gym.  I also wrote that the trainer gave me a crappy diet to follow, including tons of starches and restrictions on sugar.  I had tried the diet and didn’t get to lunch on day 1 before realizing there was no way I could eat that food.  The oats for breakfast made me tired and depressed.

My next post on March 16 says the following:

I haven’t written much because it’s been a rough week. I definitely have ups and downs, more so now that I’m following Peat because I didn’t used to have many “ups”…To summarize, my depression returned and stuck around for a week.

There were several variables at play, but looking back I was really stressing my body with that workout.  I kept at it for a while – maybe 6 or 7 weeks, and the workouts were too long and too hard.  The plan designed for me included 16 different resistance exercises, and she wanted me to do 2 sets of 15 for each one, with only very short breaks between sets.  I was nauseated several times in the middle of the workout, and for the first month I never fully allowed myself to recover.  I was working out 2x a week, but it took more than 3-4 days to recover from these workouts.  I was just so determined to get better, to be strong and fit again, that I continued even when my body was telling me to stop.  I made the mistake of having the plan designed by the owner of the gym.  She was always there.  Sometimes she would see me resting between sets and bark at me from across the room, “What are you taking a nap there?”  Or she’d see me finish a set without resorting to poor form and she’d walk over and tap on the heavier weights, as if to say, “Time to move up to the heavier ones.”  I started hating going there.  It was no fun and every time I went it got harder.  I finally quit going to the gym altogether.  Boy, that whole thing sucked.

Of course, then I went and tinkered some more.  Low fat, Vitamin B6, more sugar, starches…and I completely stopped having that happy feeling.  I don’t think I’ve felt it since.

For right now I’m going to back to straight up Peat-inspired eating and living.  No weird stuff.  No biohacks.  No experiments.  I just want to feel happy again.  No exercise for now.  My blood pressure is still not well controlled, and I think working out caused my depression to return in March.  I’m just going to keep it simple – something along the lines I described previously toward the bottom of this post.