Monthly Archives: May 2014

RepairVite Program

I’ve been on the RepairVite Program for 2 weeks as of today.  Basically it’s a regime designed to support intestinal health by supplementing with enzymes and probiotics and following a diet to remove any possible inflammatory foods.  This means I can eat only organic meat (except pork and high mercury fish), vegetables (except nightshades; potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant) and most fruit except high glycemic ones like bananas.  I’m adapting and not feeling too deprived.  I tried a new recipe yesterday, coconut curry chicken vegetable soup.  Pretty darn good I’d say, but I still like the fish soup better.  I lost 5 lbs, which is not good as I’m already very thin (105 lbs).  Dr. Scott said if I lose too much I could possibly add some brown rice to my diet, but for now he’s not concerned.  My energy level is a little better.  I’m able to ride my bike a little further.  I tried the tai chi class today and met a couple nice ladies and exchanged phone numbers.  One of them mentioned that her church also has a lot of activities which sounds like fun.  Healing comes with balance in all areas of your life, so spirituality, friendships, doing things you enjoy are all part of it.  I also went swimming in the recreation center pool….10 minutes slow easy breast stroke then 10 minutes relaxing in the Jacuzzi….nice!

This week Dr. Scott went over my saliva lab results for the following hormones:

TTF (Free Testosterone, E1 (Estrone), E2 (Estradiol), E3 (Estriol), P1 (Progesterone), FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone and LH (Luteinizing Hormone)

The tests showed that my Estrone was depressed (mine was 13 should be between 26 – 64) and my Follicle Stimulating Hormone was elevated (mine was 611 should be 90 – 500)

Dr. Scott explained that FSH is secreted from the pituitary gland and regulates the production of estrogen and progesterone.  The hormone that I’m low in is E1 (estrone) which is derived mostly from the adrenal.  He said once I start taking DHEA and later pregnenalone this should help balance these hormones.  There were also tests for AND (Androstenedione) and DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)….mine were both low (AND was 53 should be 75 – 124 and DHT was 15 should be 15 – 75).  Interesting that in females, the outer part of the adrenal glands (cortex) and the ovaries release Androstenedione where it produces half of all testosterone and almost all the body’s estrone.  The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are known to be important in the control of Androstenedione secretion from the ovaries, adrenal cortex and testes in men.  So, I guess, if my adrenal is compromised it makes sense that it’s affecting these hormones.  That’s it for now.  I’ve included the lab notes below, if you’re interested.  Otherwise, I’ll be checking in next week.  Breathe, be present, find joy!

The lab notes show that my hormone values are in Zone 7 – Female Hormone Deficit.  Zone 7 represents a normal testosterone level coupled with deficient progesterone and estrogen levels.  This leads to a relative hyperandrogenic state, i.e. male hormone dominance.  The suboptimal estrogen and progesterone activity is usually associated with several clinical findings and symptoms:

  •  Atrophic changes in bone, skin, vaginal epithelium and breast tissue.
  •  Nervous System (CNS) dysfunction which includes cognitive changes, anxiety, panic    attacks, insomnia and depression with mood swings.
  • Somatic dysregulation in body temperature and vascular flow to skin and brain manifested as hot flushes, excessive perspiration and headaches/migraines.
  • Fertility related problems.

Typical action plan:

  1. Start with moderate progesterone or pregnenolone augmentation.
  2. Retest in 4 – 6 weeks.
  3. Adjust progesterone dose.
  4. Introduce estrogen when applicable.  Re-test 8 weeks later and then fine tune the doses.
  5. Follow up testing recommended annually.

I was also in Zone 7 for Estrogen – Pro-Atrophic, demonstrates low estrogenic activity coupled with normal progesterone levels.  The suboptimal estrogen activity is usually associated with several clinical findings and symptoms: (same as above) and said:

  1. Consider estrogen augmentation only if androgen levels (DHEA and Testosterone) are normal…my DHEA is low.
  2. Consider estrogen and DHEA augmentation in androgen deficiency (DHEA & Testosterone).
  3. Retest hormone levels in 6 – 8 weeks.

Saliva Lab Results for Cortisol and DHEA

After many tears and heartache saying good-bye to my 5 year old Grandson in Utah we have arrived at our second home in Durango, CO.   I’m settled in and enjoying the beauty of the Animas River, the sounds of the steam whistle as the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge train passes by and miles of bike trails.  I’ve been able to do some walking and biking but my energy is still low and I have to limit it.  Yesterday I went biking on a beautiful open meadow trail.  After about 10 minutes I got too tired to ride so I just stopped, found a spot to lay in the tall grass in the sun, watched the butterflies and the birds dancing in the sky, ate my lunch and read my book soaking up the sun and relaxing.  One positive thing this health experience has given me is to accept where I am in the moment and find ways to enjoy.  I went to the recreation center and tried a yoga class that was titled “Yoga Relaxation”….I’m still trying to figure out what part of this strenuous 1 1/2 hour class was relaxing…but I did it in my own way and feel okay, other than some sore muscles.  Next week I’m sticking to the swimming and tai chi which might be more enjoyable to me.

On to my test results.  I did the challenge test with Th1 and Th2 to see which I’m dominant in.  I didn’t notice anything glaring but Dr. Scott believes I had more of a reaction with Th2 (digestive issues), so I need to stay away from things like green tea, red grapes, dark chocolate….dang it, turmeric, apples, red onions, fava and soy beans.  This is all about balancing my immune system as I mentioned in my previous post.

Next step….Dr. Scott gave me a diet to follow for the next 4 weeks that will assist in healing my gut; it’s called RepairVite, supporting intestinal barrier integrity, which consists of an enzyme supplement formula (RepairVite) 1 scoop 2 x a day, and a probiotic (Strengtia) 2 capsules 2 x a day.  The diet portion consists basically of eating only organic meat, vegetables and fruit.  The things I can’t eat are no sugars, no high glycemic fruits like banana, no grains of any kind, no nuts and seeds, no dairy or eggs, no soy, no mushrooms, no alcohol, no beans and legumes, and no nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers….whewwwww!  That’s a lot of no’s.  I’ve been eating this way for over a week now and found it hard at first, especially not having grains, beans, nuts and seeds; but I’m starting to experiment with different recipes and finding it’s actually very satisfying.  I feel like I’m tasting REAL food for the first time.  Some of my new discoveries are lamb….why haven’t I tried this before…lamb burgers are delicious? and fish soup…out of this world!  I’ll try to post the recipe here.  This morning I had a turkey burger with green beans.  It makes going to the grocery store easy….just head to the organic veggies and the meat and you’re done.  I can have coconut yogurt and coconut milk and sweet potatoes too, so that helps out.  That’s been my favorite dessert item; baked sweet potato with cinnamon and a little coconut milk…yum!!

Last week I received the results back on my saliva testing and Dr. Scott reviewed my results which showed I have extreme adrenal fatigue.  When tested throughout the day I was basically flat lined, very low.  You’re supposed to have more cortisol in the morning and less in the evening but mine were below the normal range, which explains my lack of energy.

6:00 – 8:00 a.m.  6, Normal range (13 – 24)

11:00 – 1:00 p.m.  3, Normal range (5 – 10)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.   2, Normal range (3 – 8)

10:00 – midnight  3  Normal range (1 – 4)

My cortisol load was 14 below the normal range of (22 – 46)

My DHEA was also low at 2 with the normal range being (3 – 10)

The lab work said I was in zone 7 meaning adrenal fatigue.  Zone 7 represents a fatigue or suppression of the adrenals with overt deficits in both cortisol and DHEA production.

So where do I go from here?  Dr. Scott said he will be prescribing pregnenalone to assist in my cortisol production, but not until I’ve finished my 4 week, healing my gut protocol.  I asked why he couldn’t let me take it now and he said it would be too much of a strain on my body and it’s very important to have a healthy gut first.  Okay, one thing at a time.  I’m trusting this process.  He said many people find they feel a lot better just following the diet and then even better when on the pregnenalone.  He also explained that when there is too much long term stress (physical stress having the most impact), the adrenal can’t make enough cortisol so it steals it from progesterone (which is why many women experience problems around menopause because our level of progesterone goes down).  But there are many other factors and so many hormones being affected.  The pregnenalone will assist in bringing back balance.  I will also need to keep a food journal and mail it to Dr. Scott every week before our appointment.

This is work, but the reward is good health and I’m up for the challenge.  If anyone else would like to share their experiences please feel free.  We all learn and help each other.  Joyful Blessings, Kathy

 

 

 

Moving on to a Functional Doctor

I said aloha to Hawaii last month and I’m now visiting my amazing sons and delightful Grandson and reconnecting with friends in Utah.  I really love it here in the spring, beautiful wild flowers, majestic mountains, great trails for hiking and biking…but quite sad that I can’t experience it fully like I used to.  It’s been 9 months of fatigue, burning scalp and gums, flu-like symptoms. Enough already!

I’ve completed Susan Blum’s book and haven’t had any success.  But on the positive side I learned a lot and will most likely use what I’ve learned in the future.  I decided that I need help with this and needed to find a functional doctor to put the pieces together for me.  I found this site http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ which has excellent information from ordering your own tests and how to interpret them to thyroid medications and adrenal issues.  They also have a section on how to find a good doctor.  After much searching I found Dr Darren Scott in Layton, UT who is a chiropractor specializing in functional medicine and neurology.  Already he has pin pointed some things just based on my basic blood tests alone….which would never have been revealed or discussed at a regular doctor.  One issue was that I have too much thyroid T3 but it’s not being used by my body and I have an autoimmune disease.  Next step, is to find out which T Helper cells are dominate in my body Th1 or Th2.  He gave me a challenge kit with Th1 stimulators (X-Viromin) and Th2 stimulators (X-FLM).  I will take 2 of Th1 3 x a day for 3 days or stop immediately if I have a negative reaction…then the same with the Th2 pills.  It’s possible that one could make me feel good and one could make me feel bad or I may have no reaction at all.  So, I started this morning…will let you know what happens.

I wanted to understand the testing I’m doing and found this entry on a search that explains it quite well.  So if any of you are have autoimmune issues, thyroid issues or know something’s wrong but don’t know what check this out.  The portion concerning Th1 and Th2 is in bold…the best news for me….the underlying cause of the symptoms of any autoimmune disease is due to an unbalanced immune system. Once the balance is restored, the flared up immune system is calmed down and the autoimmune attack is decreased from a raging fire to that of a single candle flame. He went on to say that the autoimmune response can’t be turned off but it can be calmed down so that you can feel good again.

Here is a transcript from a video by Dr. Geronimo, a doctor who trained under Dr. Kharrazian. Here’s Dr. Geronimo’s website.
http://www.powaychiro.com

“Hello, my name is Dr. Rommel Geronimo. Most of you know that I am a chiropractor in San Diego. Today I want to take a few minutes to talk about clinical nutrition and how it relates to chronic disease. This is my contact information. If you have any questions regarding this mini presentation, email is the best way to contact me.

I want to tell you about a revolutionary way to treat, hypothyroid, RA, MS, SLE, Crohn’s and a host of other chronic diseases. The common denominator with each of these conditions is that they are all autoimmune. What this means is that your own immune system has gone awry and is now attacking your own body. For example, with Hashimoto’s it is attacks your thyroid causing a decrease in thyroid hormones and thus slowing down your metabolism. With RA, your immune system attacks the cartilage inbetween your joints, causing joint pain, inflammation and decreased range of motion. With MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath the covers our nerves causing a functional decrease in the peripheral nervous system. Lupus can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs. It is usually associated with a rash on the face shaped like a butterfly. It is also common to have blue fingertips also known as Rayaud’s phenomenon. Crohn’s is an attack the gastrointestinal tract. The common symptoms are diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, blood in the stool, decreased hunger and weight loss. This is just a short list as there are so many more autoimmune conditions. Each one having it’s own specific symptom.

In addition to their own symptoms, each disease will also display signs related to a dysfunctional immune system. The most common symptoms are, fatigue and low energy, irritability, irritable bowel, unexplained body pain and inflammation, and depression. Does this sound like you or anyone you know? The current medical model is to treat each disease, but never really addresses the underlying cause which is the immune system. Let me say that again because this is really important, the current conventional model to treat autoimmune conditions, does not address the immune system!

Any autoimmune disease would work in this example, bur for the sake of this presentation, I’ll use Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since it is fairly common among women. This is an illustration of an autoimmune attack the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s is diagnosed as having decreased thyroid hormones resulting in a slow metabolism. Thus, the treatment for it is to put the patient on thyroid hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT will definitely increase the thyroid hormones, however the patient may still have symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, poor short term memory, weight gain, and a host of other symptoms. Does anyone know why someone who is already on HRT still experiences symptoms? Anyone,? Anyone? Anyone? Sorry, I’ve always wanted to do that. Anyway, you are correct if you said that the symptoms are due to a flared up immune system.

The immune system is far too complicated to explain in this mini presentation so I’ll just go over the basics. Our immune system consists of white blood cells that patrol our body in the same way that a platoon of Marines patrol their surroundings. You can use any military or police organization in your analogy, but since this is my presentation, I might as well use the Worlds finest fighting force. You would understand if you were part of the few and the proud or know someone who is. Anyway just as the Marines are divided into specialty groups, so is our immune system. Different branches of our immune system are designed to protect us from bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites, fungi, and carcinogens. A strong immune system defends our body from these foreign invaders and keeps us healthy. In keeping with our Marine analogy, an autoimmune attack can be described as friendly fire because the immune system is now killing off its own.

An autoimmune condition occurs when one branch of the immune system over dominates another branch. This is called an either a Th1 or Th2 dominance. A dominant TH1 response means that the natural killer cells and cytotoxic t cells are responsible for attacking the body, while a TH2 dominance indicates that your bcells and antibodies are mounting the attack. A blood test is needed to find out which branch is dominant. Thus to treat an autoimmune disease, it is critical to find the dominant branch and to balance the seesaw by stimulating the other branch. For example, if a patient’s autoimmune disease was TH1 dominant, treating it would require that we strengthen the Th2 side to balance out the immune system. If the patient were Th2 dominant, we would stimulate the Th1 side to regain balance. It’s a pretty simple solution, but so many people suffer needlessly because the immune system has been ignored, until now.

This is where clinical nutrition and natural medicine comes into play. It is well documented in clinical research that Th1 stimulants are Echinacea, maitake mushrooms and golden seal to name a few. Th2 stimulators are caffeine, green tea, and grape seed extract. So in the example I gave in the previous slide, if a patient with an under functioning thyroid is TH1 dominant, then I would prescribe supplements containing caffeine, green tea, and grape seed extract to stimulate the TH2 side to regain balance. If they were TH2 dominant, then Echinacea, mushrooms, and golden seal would balance out their immune system. Since most people with autoimmune conditions have no idea which branch of their immune system is dominant, they can actually make their condition worse by taking over the counter immune boosters. Lets say for example you were Th1 dominant and you catch a cold. A friend tells you that Echinacea helped them so you take it yourself. Unknowingly you would be flaring up your already dominant Th1 response and cause even more destruction to your thyroid gland. Conversely, if you were Th2 dominant and you read on the internet that green tea, and grape seed extract could boost your immune system you would be flaring up your already dominant Th2 response and fire up an autoimmune attack to your thyroid. This can go on for years and years eventually shrinking your thyroid gland and slowing down your metabolism further. Meanwhile your medical doctor would interpret this as a need to increase the dosage of your thyroid hormones.

The immune system continues to get ignored and it turns into a bad cycle of even more medications to treat your symptoms instead of treating the underlying cause.

By now I hope that you understand that the underlying cause of the symptoms of any autoimmune disease is due to an unbalanced immune system. Once the balance is restored, the flared up immune system is calmed down and the autoimmune attack is decreased from a raging fire to that of a single candle flame. It can never be stopped completely because once the autoimmune gene has turned on. There is no turn off switch. However, as a result of a balanced Th1, Th2 response the patient will experience an increase in their energy, mental clarity, better skin and weight loss. Most importantly they find that they no longer need their medication. With a balanced immune system in addition to dietary and lifestyle modifications, most patients can return to the quality of life they once new before their autoimmune disease developed.

So here I go.  I’ll let you know how the test works out for me.