This post continues a series about my health issues, with all the posts in the series as follows:
- When my health fell off a big cliff
- My experience with doctors and pharma drugs
- How I turned the corner on my failing health
- The health diagnostic and treatment protocols that I am using
- What I eat on the paleo diet
This post is a continuation of previous posts where I documented my health challenges (post 1 and post 2) and what I did to turn things around (post 3). This post will discuss the health diagnostic and treatment protocols I used to help me along towards recovery. While the primary element that turned me around was getting on the paleo diet, there are certain additional medical things I did that helped speed things along.
It was apparent that certain classes of foods where causing an auto-immune response against my thyroid, which cascaded into a whole host of issues with my adrenal glands, pancreas, heart and more.
It took 3 endocrinologists before the third one did his job of ordering a comprehensive test regimen for my thyroid, adrenals and testosterone. What I like about my current endo is that he spent the time to review all my test results and health history going 5 years back, since I got in the habit of bringing copies of my entire history with me to all doctor appointments. What I don’t like about him and which will cause me to switch in the future is that he does not believe in prescribing natural thyroid hormone, only the synthetic. I have heard good things about the natural hormone and will want to try that in the future.
Initially he put me through the following tests:
- an extensive thyroid blood panel;
- adrenal response testing, which involved shooting me with some interesting drug and then taking 8 blood draws over 4 hours (yes, I had sore arms from getting stuck repeatedly);
- a diabetes test, which sucked when I crashed hard about 4 hours into it due to low blood sugar (another 7 blood draws and more sore arms);
- and, a blood draw for the testosterone test.
The thyroid panel results, along with my history of TSH tests over the last year, indicated a sluggish thyroud in the 3-4.5 TSH range. The adrenals tested great – if I had adrenal fatigue in 2010, which an ASI test said I did, that was no longer the case. My current endo does not believe in the ASI test because he says there are too many variables that change every day, which precludes getting anything accurate. He prefers shooting you up and seeing if your adrenal glands respond as they should with a cortisol release that can then be measured. My testosterone also tested fine. I tested positive for an increased chance for type-2 diabetes with a value of 5.7, but he seemed to think that as my conditions improved over time from my diet change, that may drop down. I was definitely hypoglycemic.
Since the above tests only revealed low TSH, which is treatable through a thyroid hormone prescription, there was no need for further testing.
With the above results, he put me on synthroid, which we slowly ramped up over the course of 3 months to 100 mcg per day. In the last 9 months, my thyroid TSH has been in the 1.5 range and I now re-test every 6 months.
NAET is a practice of reducing or eliminating the bodies’ allergic response to foods or other environmental elements. It is non-invasive, other than some accupuncture and appointments are usually no more than 20 minutes. I read about NAET and started looking for the best practiconer in the Denver-metro area that I could find. The one I found had been doing it for more than 16 years, so I figured she probably knew it the best. Also, I left a message for her and she called me back and answered all my questions. How cool is that! A health practiconer actually talking to you on the phone. I booked her next available appointment.
In the initial appointment, she tested me for sensitivities, and as evidence by the image below, I was sensitive for more categories on the list than not. The protocol was to treat one each week. The only drawback was that I had to avoid the foods in the category I was treated for 25 hours. For one of the categories, all I could eat was chicken for a day.
NAET really helped me because I could start eating more healthy foods that I needed. I still go in every 3 months for a tune-up and will continue to do that. My NAET practicioner is also very knoweldgeable about a wide-range of health issues dealing with diet and foods. She has helped me to adjust my paleo diet as I’ve gone along.
This is another non-invasive medical testing protocol that is based on the energy meridians in one’s body. I heard about this through a client of my wife’s, who referred me to a local OB/GYN doctor who has a pretty active biomeridian practice as part of her services. Yes, I am seeing an OB/GYN…you can go ahead and laugh now. Biomeridian is way cool and reveals a wealth of information about what is going on with the body.
I initially went to determine if I had a candida overgrowth. Three doctors had told me I did not (no blood work, they just said my conditions did not point to candida). Well, God was telling me otherwise, so I went to get tested anyway, and, He was right (as always)! In fact, of the 14 candida yeasts, I had substantial overgrowth for 10! (Yellow is worst than red, while green is OK). Candida overgrowth results from eating certain grains, sugars (processed and natural), most fruits, mushrooms (which I love), alcohol, caffeine and vinegar.
What I further discovered in talking with the people at this local practice is that some individuals may have tendencies to get candida and other fungi overgrowth due to some gene mismatch. I think I may be one of those, not because I am looking for an excuse to make me feel better about all the sugar I use to consume, but one of my parent’s has had issues with candida as well and I may have inherited those issues as well.
Biomeridian does more than just candida testing. The practiconer using the machine to do a whole battery of tests to see how the body is doing. Further, the practicioner can test whether your body does well on certain supplements or not, as well as the quantity to take. This greatly helped me, since I was so sensitive to supplements, yet needed them to help get my system back in line. Here’s the results for my entire system; not many greens that first test session (yellows are worse than reds).
Here’s my most recent results: a lot more green, and the candida is positive for only 7 of the 14 (not shown).
I currently make biomeridian visits every 3 months and hope to decrease that to maybe every 6 months in the future.
I tried traditional acupuncture and my Internist referred me to a five elements practitioner, which helped me out much more than the traditional method. My sessions involved only 5-7 points, and each point hurts, but it’s suppose to. And my wife wonders why I am paying someone to stab me when she would be happy to do it for free. I started going twice per week, and now I go once every 3 months.
I only visit my Internist once a year for a physical. He also serves as my general practicioner. A year ago, when I first went to him, I was seeing him every 2-3 weeks until I had demonstrated a solid turnaround.
Since I was so sensitive to foods and all supplements, I had to start slow. What follows is the list of supplements:
- Cod liver oil: I started at 1/2 teaspoon and was able to quickly build up to 3-4 teaspoons per day. I use the Carlson brand, which also has 400 IU’s of vitamin D. I am careful about not consuming too much omega 6 and omega 9′s from seeds, nuts and avocados. If I do, I take more fish oil.
- Digestive enzymes: I started with 2 capsules per meal, three times per day. I now only take 1 capsule at each meal, three times per day. I also switched at some point in the last year to the Klaire labs brands, which seemed to work better for me.
- Adrenal support in a skin cream: I took this for 4 months and applied twice per day on my skin. This method offered a milder approach to supplement delivery to the body than taking supplements internally.
- Adrenal support in an internal supplement: I started a small dosage of adrenal support in a pill about 3 months ago. I take the Klaire Labs brand.
- Colloidal silver: I take 2 teaspoons per day for the Candida, which I continue to this day. I use the Smart Silver brand.
- B12: I was low in this vitamin, so took 2000 mcg of b12 methylcobalamin daily for almost 8 months. I no longer take it, as I found my sleep getting worse again. When I tested my B12, it was in the 850 range (500-1100 is normal). My biomeridian practiconer said that level is not high enough to affect my sleep, but I went off it anyway and my sleep improved greatly. I took the Jarrow brand.
- Multi-vitamin: I finally started a small dosage of MV’s about 4 months ago. I take the Klaire Labs brand.
- Magnesium: I have been taking about 600 mg of magnesium for 6 months now. I take the NOW brand.
- IgG 2000 DF: I take this to help repair my small intestine. Unfortnately, its expensive. I take 2 teaspoons per day of the Xymogen brand.
- Probiotics: I take about 10 billion daily. I started out at 50 billion daily, but have ramped it down based on my biomeridian test results. I take the Klaire Labs brand.
Trial and Error
Optimizing diet and supplements is really trial and error. After you take care of the big stuff, like I did with going on paleo, you add or eliminate and see how you feel and perform. I find that my sleep seems to be most sensitive to anything my body does not like me putting into it. Even the timing makes a difference.
For example, I recently switched my 100 mcg of prescription synthroid from am to just before bed, as my research indicated that some people may see improved sleep. I think that has made a difference for me. I also went off B12 a month ago and that made a big difference. I will try going off the my adrenal support to see if that helps and perhaps the other supplements as well. Its possible that over time, as I recover, I won’t need supplements. I am on a high quality diet and just may not need extra support. Supplements are just an extra cost, anyway.
I occasionally take 1-2.5 mg of ambien for sleep. Since I went off the B12, I only seem to need the ambien about 1 night per week, if that. Hopefully, I will be able to get off it completely. I would like to replace it with some other natural supplements, but will have to experiment to see what works.
In summary, NAET, Biomeridian and Five Elements Acupuncture have been awesome for me. I thank God that I found such great practicioners here in Colorado. I needed the endocrinology, so that is a given, but I would not be as far along today without the former three. In my case, a combination of western medicine and holistic worked.
In my next post, I want to go into detail on my diet – which foods, their quality, combinations, quantities and timing.
Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.