Progest E and Milk

My cycle is super screwed up.  If you’re male or otherwise offended by discussion of my period, I give you permission to leave.

Ok, where was I?  Yeah.  My cycle.  In the last 2 months I’ve had my period 3 times.  And before that it was 10 weeks with no period.  So a bit unpredictable.  I’m not sure what’s up with the current extremely short cycles I’ve been having lately – 3 of em! – since October 1st…but I’ll tell you what.  I don’t like it.  And it’s not like they’re these cute little 3-4 day jobs either – no, they last 7 or 8 days each.  So I pretty much have my period, have a 10 or 12 days off, and then I have another one.  Awesome!

It wasn’t always like this.  For a long time I had 25-day cycles.  Every 25 days I’d get my period.  It was a bit shorter than most people – I guess the average cycle for most women is 28 days – but it was predictable.  Then almost 3 years ago I had a miscarriage.  Since then they’ve been all over the place…sometimes long cycles, sometimes short.  It makes it very hard to predict exactly when I’m going to be really really moody.

Well today was 10 days after day 1 of my most recent period.  My mood was not good.  I felt like killing someone.  I had a headache.  These are not common things for me anymore, especially since I started eating Peat-style.  I took a guess and decided that maybe I’m ovulating today – it’s exactly halfway through a 20 day (ridiculously short) cycle, so maybe…?  I just ordered Progest E, which Dr. Peat recommends for balancing excess estrogen in the system, particularly beginning on ovulation day and throughout the rest of the cycle.  So today I took 3 drops of it.  My wanting to kill someone went away within 10 minutes.  All of my other obnoxious hormone-related symptoms went away within a couple hours.  I feel back to normal.  Placebo effect?  Maybe.  Or maybe it actually did what it’s supposed to do.  I’ll keep taking it for the next 10 days.

In other news…my fasting blood glucose was 129 today – higher than I like it, of course – but I’m not surprised.  I find it’s higher in the AM if I don’t eat in the middle of the night, due to the release of stress hormones.  Still, my body isn’t storing enough glycogen to get through the night.  It’ll come in time I’m sure.  But today I decided to test my post-prandial blood sugar to see if I’m actually showing signs of insulin resistance.  From what I understand, you want your blood sugar to be below 140 after 2 hours.  So I ate breakfast (orange juice with sugar added and cheese), and tested it 2 hours later – it was 118.  Oh good.  Well, I’m not too worried then.  I’ll keep tracking my fasting blood glucose though because it makes a nice graph.

So I took my little girl off of milk about 6 months ago.  I did this because Jack Kruse told me to and I trusted him without requiring much explanation or proof.  I no longer feel that he’s trustworthy, and I now realize there are a lot of nutrients in milk that she should have access to.  So I’ve been gradually introducing dairy again into her world – first with butter, then with cheese, and a few days ago I started mixing regular cow’s milk in with the flax milk she currently drinks.  In the last few days she’s developed skin problems – 2 different rashes on her face and a small rash on her arm.  She tolerated the cheese and the butter really well, so I think there’s some additive in the milk that isn’t working for her.  I hope that’s all it is.  I’ve been giving her liver to make sure she has enough Vitamin A – and oh my god, she loves it!  She never asks for more meat, and she asked for more liver twice!

Speaking of Jack Kruse, I prowl around his forum now and then to see what he’s up to.  He seems to be recommending the use of crystals now.  *shm*  I could say more, but it seems pointless and a little mean.  I will say this though – several of the regulars over there have been complaining of iodine supplementation causing thyroid problems.  Be careful with that stuff, people.  High TSH is not as meaningless as some people would have you believe.  (To Jack’s credit, he doesn’t recommend iodine supplementation, so I can’t point the finger at him for that one).

T3 Blues

I’ve been feeling depressed the last 3 days. I’ve taking one 25 mcg tablet of Cynomel (T3) cut up into several doses that I take several hours apart throughout the day.  Some research on thyroid hormone indicates that the 3 in “T3” refers to 3 iodine molecules.  Similarly, the 4 in T4 refers to 4 molecules of iodine.  Is it possible the T3 is causing some bromine/fluoride/chlorine detox?  This is the same way I felt taking iodine…awesome for a few days, and then depressed.

I decided to go ahead and start taking Lynne Farrow’s recommended iodine cosupplements, just in case the T3 is causing a detox reaction.  Some of these I was taking already, but now I’m taking all of the following:

  • Magnesium Glycinate – 200mg/day 3x a day
  • Selenium – 200 mcg
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 500mg 2x a day
  • Vitamin B2 – 100mg 3x a day
  • Vitamin C is also recommended, 3g a day or more.  I find I can’t tolerate any of my current Vitamin C (Calcium Ascorbate – Ester C) – not even 500mg.  It gives me digestive problems.  I’m going to try a different kind.

Farrow recommends taking Niacin (Vitamin B3) in the non-niacinamide version – the version that causes a flushing reaction in many people.  I took it for the first time today to see what kind of response I’d have.  All at once at exactly 2:12 PM, I felt my face and arms get really hot.  I looked at myself in the mirror and I looked like I’d been out in the sun for 4 hours.  I also got all itchy.  It sucked.  Now, an hour later, I’m still flushed but the itching and heat has died down.  I won’t be taking that anymore.  Anyone want a bottle of exactly 89 Niacin capsules?  Free to a good home. I’m going to take the Niacinamide instead.  (<–Niaciniamide is “no-flush” niacin.  I’m not really sure why it’s discouraged regarding the iodine protocol.)

Anyway, so now I’m hot and depressed.

I’ve done the recommended salt loading protocol also – 1/4 tsp of salt in 1/2 cup warm water, then followed by 12-16 oz of regular water.

I’m tired of everything.

Hoping to report back when feeling better.

Conclusion: CW Doesn’t Work For Me

Well, after about 11 days of exercising every day and maintaining what should be a calorie deficit I have essentially lost no weight.  I did get as low as 200.4 (a net loss of 2.6 pounds) on October 1st, but then I regained a pound and I’ve been stuck at 201.5 for the last 4 days. My calorie intake over that time averaged 1769 calories per day, and I recorded EVERYTHING.  If I was unsure about the calorie count of a food I rounded up.  I did 30 minutes of cardio (biking) on 10 out of these 11 days.  My heart rate (measured via monitor with a chest strap) during those sessions stayed between 130 and 140, which is 73%-79% of my maximum heart rate (60%-80% is generally considered an appropriate zone for aerobic fitness conditioning and health).

The only positive effect seems to have been on my blood sugar, and for that reason I may end up keeping up the biking.  I’m going to stop counting calories though.

New plan.  Based on my Thyroid labs a few months back I decided to experiment with thyroid hormone, and I ordered some T3.  My T3 and T4 were both within range but on the low end.  I could have either tried T3 or Natural Dessicated Thyroid (NDT), but decided to go the T3 route to start.  I received the T3 yesterday, and am going to start this today.  Just took my first very small fraction of a pill – about 4 mcg. I’m going to see how it affects me on this dose for now and increase very gradually to avoid hyperthyroid symptoms.

The timing of this is interesting.  Within 11 days of diet and exercise my resting heart rate dropped 12 points (from the low 80s to the high 60s).  I know that a lower heart rate is generally associated with good physical condition, but it is also a sign of low thyroid.  It’s hard for me to believe my cardiovascular health improved that much in 11 days…the more obvious reason for the drop is a change in thyroid function. See this article for some of the ways hypothyroidism can affect heart function.

Yesterday I felt depressed and lethargic and craved sugar all day (very unusual for me…I can generally take or leave sugar).  And this morning for the first time I checked my basal body temperature.  It was 96.9 – pretty low.  These things too can indicate hypothyroidism, which can be exacerbated by diet, exercise, or other forms of stress the body endures.  I’ve been reading Ray Peat’s blog (with translation into practical steps thanks to Danny Roddy).  Peat focuses extensively on thyroid health, from what I gather so far.  I have a lot to learn and a lot to read but it’s a direction that may prove helpful.

I do know this: when I lived in California almost no one around me was fat.  No one I knew there exercised or ate a particularly healthful diet – but no one was fat.  Here in Wisconsin everyone is fat.  There’s something different about the environment – maybe a lack of iodine in the local soil? – that has a massive effect on the health of the population.

And I can’t forget…my own sister had her thyroid removed after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.

So for now I’m busy learning.  And trying T3.

Overdue Update

Well I’m definitely overdue for an update.  Several things to report.

1.  Neither I nor my daughter have Pyroluria.  I guess this is a good thing.  Nothing to fix.  I was hoping there would be something to fix.  But really, this is better.

2.  I’ve begun taking iodine again.  My last experience trying to supplement with it didn’t go well, and I concluded that maybe I didn’t have enough of the cofactors in my system (selenium, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, and sea salt) to support the Bromine detox that showed up.  So I supplemented with just those for the last couple of months and I’m restarting Very Slowly.  I’m following Grizz’s advice in this thread, and taking only a fraction of a drop of Lugol’s 2% every day.  Basically I filled a 16-oz water bottle with water and added a drop of Lugols.  Then every day I measure out 2-oz of the water and drink it.  So basically I’m taking 3mg of iodine a week.  A week.  How crazy slow is that?  Anyway I got through a week with no significant depression, acne, or throat issues so I think I’m on the right track.  Starting today I’ll double the dose – so 1/4 drop a day.  Maybe I’ll keep it there for a couple weeks.  Those detox symptoms completely kicked my ass.

3.  I’ve been doing DDP Yoga every day for almost a month now.  I can tell I’m getting stronger because the moves are getting easier and I’m becoming more flexible.  I’m proud of myself for this one.  I’ve been wanting to be someone who does yoga for about 15 years.  It’s about time!

4.  A week ago I started doing Nutritional Ketosis.  Basically it’s a high-fat, moderate protein, low carb diet designed to get the body into a state of ketosis (fat burning and producing ketones for energy).  I was really inspired by Jimmy Moore’s N=1 with nutritional ketosis.  What I was doing (low carb/paleo) wasn’t working and I was starting to feel really frustrated.  I’m down a few pounds doing this approach already.  I’ve ordered ketone blood test strips – not cheap, but I think worth it. This Canadian pharmacy had the best price I found (thanks to Jimmy Moore for the link).  These are different than the ketone urinalysis strips that you can find at any drugstore.  The advantage to monitoring blood ketones is greater accuracy with measurement.  Also, according to Volek and Phinney who wrote The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance (and who coined the term “Nutritional Ketosis”), you can stop producing ketones in urine after a while even if you’re still in a state of Ketosis.  Blood monitoring is always more accurate.  While I’m waiting for the test strips I’ve been using the urinalysis strips though.  They’re better than nothing.

So basically I’m shooting for a diet in the area of 1600 calories at 85% fat, 15% protein, and 5% (or less) carbohydrate.  I find it pretty easy to get to 80% fat, and pretty challenging to get it up to 85%, so typically I’m somewhere in the middle.  After one week of doing this, here’s what I notice.  I do get hungry sometimes but that’s because I’m doing this with an eye toward keeping calories low.  Jimmy Moore didn’t watch calories, and Volek/Phinney say “eat to satiation” – not low cal.  I know if I ate to satiation I’d eat way too many calories, and I need to see some results.  I think for ME (maybe not for everyone) but for ME calories matter.  So I’m watching them and trying to stay about 500 calories below what my body needs given my current activity level.

Another thing I’m noticing – when you eat this way you’re never really full – there’s none of that feeling like you ate too much.  Fat just doesn’t take up much space in your stomach I guess.  But I do find that I’m completely unaware of the effect of food on me 90% of the time.  I feel light and energetic and there are no ups and downs.  Just sustained energy for hours at a time.  The purpose of eating this way is to turn the body from a “sugar burner” into a “fat burner,” which can take weeks.  After fat adapted, the body can use excess body fat for energy.  Well, I’ve got lots stored.  Have at it, body!

Another advantage to eating this way: it’s cheap.  I’m eating full-fat dairy, eggs, a little meat here and there (but not much), butter, coconut oil and coconut butter, and some veggies here and there.  It’s been interesting finding ways to make almost pure fat taste like regular food.  One day when I have more time I’ll share the recipes that I’ve been relying on (and that I’m soon to discover).

So generally things are going great in my world.  Still waiting for 23andme results. Will update as things come up.

Pyroluria

What the hell is that?

I know, right?  I didn’t know either.  I’ve been subscribing to a wonderful Stop the Thyroid Madness facebook page, which led me to a wonderful Iodine facebook page, which led me to a Pyroluria page.  Apparently Pyroluria is this disorder that no one has ever heard of that affects 10% of the population, and which leads to deficiencies in Zinc and Vitamin B6.  Symptoms of the disorder are varied, but include problems managing stress, mood swings, lack of dream recall, and many others.

My daughter has not responded well to our recent move.  We’ve moved 3 times in the last 9 months, and each time she’s demonstrated difficulties with the change in routine, people, and places in her life.  She’s not one of these “resilient” children I hear so much about (“Oh she’ll be fine.  She hasn’t even started school yet!”)  Truth is, she’s always had trouble with change.  And loud noises.  And she’s always been more anxious than most kids.  And she’s gluten/dairy sensitive, which tends to correlate with Pyroluria.

So I read about Pyroluria and decided to take a chance and get her tested.  Direct Health Care Access does it for $80.  It’s a lot of money (for me), but it’s worth it if it means I can save my child some emotional pain.  I’ll never regret the testing I’ve done for her so far. She’s only 3 and already we know she needs to be gluten free for the rest of her life thanks to testing from Enterolab.  Anyway, they sent out the test kit – I received it within 2 days.  Collected a urine sample today (quite an interesting adventure in itself, with a 3 year old), which is currently in a biohazard bag in my freezer.  The company says you can ONLY mail it back on Wednesdays so they receive it – overnight delivery – on Thursday.  I have no idea how long it takes to get results.

If she’s positive for Pyroluria, we’ll have to figure out how to get her the appropriate vitamin/mineral supplements, which she’ll have to take for the rest of her life.  But man, that would be better than the constant emotional upheaval we currently deal with.  I know we’ve moved her around a lot…but it just feels like this is something else.

I ordered a test for myself too.  Because I’m an emotional pain-in-the-ass too.  I’ll report the results when I get them.

I’m still awaiting my 23andme test results.  Many exciting things to come.

In general, my health is improving vastly.  I feel great.  Having a nice long break from the stress of working full-time has been amazing for my adrenals.  Two weeks ago I started a  yoga program which I now practice every day.  I no longer feel fatigued.

My fasting blood sugar is currently out of control for some reason.  I was in the 130’s two days ago, and 125 yesterday.  This is my current focus right now.  I’m going to fix it with yoga.

Oh…and update on the vitamins.  Still no more tummy aches since we got my little girl off the Flintstones.  She seriously complained that her tummy hurt EVERY DAY for 2-3 months.  And now…never.  Sorbitol is not good for kids.

The Health Saga Limps Along

I’ve written several posts and then didn’t post them.  I’ve been depressed this week.

So…how about a brief update.  Because it runs counter to my nature to do nothing when there’s a problem, I’ve changed game plans again.  I’ve become suspicious that I have an iodine deficiency, based on my symptoms of hypothyroidism (as well as my last tests).  I don’t have a doc willing to prescribe me Cytomel (T3), and my insurance is pretty sucky, so I thought I’d try to supplement iodine.  I thought it might help given folks around the web having success with it.  I’m too tired to dig up and share relevant links at the moment…sorry.

About a week and a half ago I started supplementing iodine (2% Lugol’s solution), at the rate of a drop a day in a large glass of water.  I’ve been following Dr. David Brownstein’s recommendations, and have also been supplementing B vitamins, selenium, sea salt, Vitamin C, magnesium, which are recommended to help the body flush stores of fluoride and bromine.  A drop of 2% Lugol’s solution is equivalent to about 2.5-3mg of iodine.

The first day I took iodine I had a metallic taste in my mouth, and I could feel my thyroid swell a little, pressing against my windpipe.  The next several days I felt good – some sinus drainage, but increased energy and good mood.  Looked forward to taking my iodine in the AM.  Then about a week ago I started developing a sore throat.  This continued for several days, and developed into a non-productive cough.  It feels like the area around my thyroid is irritated, and I’ve been feeling weak and depressed.  I guess this could be the fluoride/bromine detox I’ve heard about.  I’m going stop supplementing till it goes away.  I’m having my doubts now as to whether or not I want to continue this.  It’s keeping me up at night and is interfering with my motivation to do anything like go for walks or work.  Folks on various forums indicate this is a common reaction to starting iodine.  Some people say to power through it – up the dose and it’ll pass. Others say back off and decrease dosing till you feel better.  Others say increase Vitamin C and do a salt flush.  I’m going to do the last 2.

I’ve stopped counting calories, and now I’m back to very low carb.  My weight is up to 201.

I’ve started reading Julia Ross’s book The Diet Cure, and starting yesterday I’ve been supplementing with 5HTP.  I do notice an immediate improvement in mood after taking it.  I’ll add others to the mix soon…but I really needed a shot of serotonin to get started while I read the rest of the book.  I’ve been hurting.