Tag Archives: adrenals

How to Treat a reverse T3 Problem

Over the years I've suspected I had a thyroid problem, and I always thought it would be so simple. Find the right doctor to test appropriately and then go on natural thyroid replacement, namely Armour.

But now I know that Armour is roughly 80% T4 and 20% T3 and since my T4 levels are high, taking Armour would not be the right solution. I might feel better for a little while, maybe because my body would be getting some T3, but eventually I would feel worse because my body would be getting too much T4.

So… the course of treatment suggested at Stop the Thyroid Madness is to take a prescription drug called Cytomel. This page explains how this reverse T3 problem is treated with Cytomel. Cytomel is a name brand product… the generic is not recommended by patients at Stop the Thyroid Madness. Apparently the generic is less effective, some say they felt nothing different when taking it.

In reading this page at Stop the Thyroid Madness, I learned some things that need to be in addressed before I even  even consider starting on Cytomel (T3). “You will also need to correct what is causing the excess T3 in the first place, whether ferritin/iron or adrenals. Without correcting these, you will be asking for trouble with the very powerful T3.”

Correcting Adrenal Dysfunction

I've been taking my temperature faithfully for the past week, and will continue to do so because it is an effective way to confirm what is happening on with adrenal and thyroid function. I believe I have stabilized my adrenals because my temperatures are steady from day to day. In the past seven days I've had mostly 98.3°F.

Correcting Low Ferritin Levels

You should also be looking at Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), UIBC, Iron Serum and Iron Saturation percentage, and The Stop the Thyroid Madness site talks about low ferritin/iron levels.

Here are my results from September 30:

  • Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) 284  range 250-450
  • UIBC 130  range 150-375 (mine is lower than the range)
  • Iron, Serum 154  range 35-155
  • Iron Saturation 54%  range 15-55
  • Ferritin 195 range 130-150 (mine is higher than the range)

In looking at these three sources, I have found that the numbers should look like this: Thyroid RT3: Iron, Adrenals Web Ferritin and Iron; Stop the Thyroid Madness Ferritin, Iron and Hypothyroidism.

  • Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) 259 is good 250-450
  • UIBC 165 is a good number 150-375
  • Iron, Serum 154  should be at least 90 range 35-155
  • Iron Saturation should be between 35% and 45%
  • Ferritin should be 70-90

My ferritin levels are high.

Stop the Thyroid Madness says this about high ferritin:

What if I find my ferritin is super high? High levels of ferritin can point to an iron overload, such as the inherited disorder called hemochromatosis, which you can read about here. Your doctor will usually direct you to give blood in order to lower these harmful higher levels. With hemochromatosis, you can have a low TIBC or UIBC.

Are men different than women in their iron lab results? Yes. Men normally have higher levels of ferritin than women without having an infection. It’s common to see healthy men with a ferritin over 100.

Well, I'm not a man, and my ferritin is 195, almost double what is seen in a “healthy” man, so I'm thinking my level is “super high”.

And my UIBC is low, but I don't think I have hemochromatosis. I went in to have more blood drawn this past Friday, and two tests we are running are to look for inflammation. One is CRP (C-Reactive Protein), the other is ESR (SED Rate).
 

According to Dr. Kruse, the Leptin Reset will fix this reverse T3 problem. I am hoping it works for me. I would still like to get the Cytomel from my doctor in case I decide to try the protocol outlined here. I spoke with my doctor's partner last week since she is on vacation, and he is reluctant to prescribe T3. He does not think I have thyroid problems, because I do not have two of the most common symptoms: cold hands and feet, and hair loss. I am a little frustrated by this because I believe I've had low thyroid issues for at least two decades, and when you don't address thyroid problems your adrenals have to take up for them, which eventually exhausts them. So I believe it would be a mistake to continue to only address my adrenals, without looking into my thyroid.

On the other hand, maybe the Leptin Reset will fix me right up. I found this very interesting explanation for what Leptin Resistance is, how to fix it and the signs of Leptin Resistance and Leptin Sensitivity in the comments at Dr. Kruse's blog: Leptin for Dummies.

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What is a reverse T3 problem?

I mentioned I would tell you more about the Reverse T3 “problem”. I really don't know all that much more about it, but I've learned enough that I can explain somewhat coherently what I understand to be happening. I don't know why it's happening, but my understanding is that my body is not converting my T4 into T3, but into Reverse T3. This gives me the symptoms of hypothyroid, even though my T4 is higher than the range, which should make me feel hyperthyroid.

Here is an article from Wikipedia:

Reverse triiodothyronine (3,3′,5′-Triiodothyronine, reverse T3, or rT3) is a molecule that is an isomer of triiodothyronine (T3). It is derived from thyroxine (T4) through the action of deiodinase.

rT3, unlike T3, does not stimulate thyroid hormone receptors. However, rT3 binds to these receptors, thereby blocking the action of T3. Under stress conditions, the adrenal glands produce excess amounts of cortisol. Cortisol inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3, thus shunting T4 conversion from T3 towards rT3. As a consequence, there is a widespread shutdown in T3 binding across the body. This condition is termed Reverse T3 Dominance. It results in reduced body temperature, which slows the action of many enzymes, leading to a clinical syndrome, Multiple Enzyme Dysfunction, which produces the effects seen in hypothyroidism. Effects include fatigue, headache, migraine, PMS, irritability, fluid retention, anxiety and panic.

Here are some links that you can study to learn more about this issue.

Okay, in reading the article from Wikipedia, it says “under stress conditions, the adrenal glands produce excess amounts of cortisol”. When I had my saliva testing done in May, my cortisol levels were low. However, according to the Stop the Thyroid Madness site, high cortisol comes before low cortisol:

When biological stress is excessive, such as being on the inadequate treatment of T4-only or being held hostage to the lousy TSH lab test (both which keep you underdosed or hypo), your adrenal glands produce high amounts of cortisol to help you cope with ongoing hypothyroidism and lingering symptoms and conditions. The excess cortisol inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3,  and instead produces even larger amounts of RT3, creating an RT3 problem.

When biological stress is ongoing, your adrenals will eventually become fatigued, dropping from high cortisol to a mix of high and low, or all low,  and those low levels put you into the problematic state of adrenal fatigue, which causes chronic anxiety, poor coping skills, paranoia, easy nausea, sensitivity to light or sounds, psychological issues, etc. When you don’t make enough cortisol, thyroid hormones can pool high in your blood. So your body responds by converting the T4 to excess RT3.

I have been through a great deal of stress this entire year. Apparently at some point in time (maybe for years?) my body was producing high cortisol to keep me going, but because the stress kept up my adrenals became even more fatigued and dropped to all low levels. It seems this is when I began to wake in the middle of the night with panic and anxiety. The practitioner who explained my saliva test results told me my adrenals were in a maladaptive state.

This site shows a series of diagrams of The Physiological Effects of Stress on the Body. The diagrams show the stages of Adrenal Fatigue, which range from Stage 1 to Stage 7. I would say I've been at Stage 4 for a while, and beginning to veer into Stage 5; however, I am supporting my adrenals so I hope to not deteriorate any further. The problem is that my thyroid is not being supported, so I am essentially “underdosed” and my hypothyroid symptoms are worsening.

With the mention of leptin resistance, I have been studying Dr. Jack Kruse's website and blog, where he has a program for resetting leptin resistance to leptin sensitivity. I believe I am leptin resistant just by the description he offers, plus Dr. Kruse says, “A high reverse T3 is a biochemical marker for leptin resistance.” Also, regarding Vitamin D,  “Many current day leptin resistant folks find out their vitamin D levels are low when they finally test for it.” My blood tests came back showing I'm below the normal range. I would never have guessed living in sunshine blessed Arizona.

Last but not least… how do you find if you have a reverse T3 problem? You must have these two tests done using blood from the same draw:

  • Reverse T3
  • Triiodothyronine, Free (or Free T3)

When you have the results of those tests, go to this page to learn the mechanics behind and how to figure the ratio: WHAT IS MY REVERSE T3 RATIO (HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR FREE T3 : REVERSE T3 RATIO)

Or, if you want to have the ratios calculated automatically, there is a calculator at the Stop the Thyroid Madness website here: reverse T3 ratio calculator.

You're looking for your ratio to come in less than 20, to indicate a reverse T3 problem.

My Reverse T3 was 329, and my Free T3 was 4.4. Note that the reverse T3 is a whole number, while Free T3 has a decimal point. Because of this, we need to convert the Free T3 number into a whole number. The site I mentioned above explains more.

We convert my Free T3 number into a whole number by multiplying it by 1000. Thus my ratio:

4.4 x 1000 = 4400

4400 / 329 = 13.37  (under 20, not good)

This post feels to me to be a hodge-podge of information. It is hard to coherently put everything together that I've learned, and there is more that I want to document.

Maybe just look at this as documentation of my research on this topic.

In the end what does this mean for me? When I started writing this post, I thought there was no way to fix a reverse T3 problem with diet, but then I started learning more about the leptin reset program. The “diet” is definitely GAPS friendly, just a few tweaks from full GAPS.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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I Don’t Have Graves’ and Trying to Reduce Stress

Well, it turns out I don't have Graves' Disease. At least that is the consensus of my doctor's front office staff, and this site:  ClinLab Navigator. If it's really true, that's a good thing, since that means I don't have an autoimmune disease. I say, “if it's really true” because as I've learned, the opinion of patient experts, those “in the trenches” can be far different than the medical field's. For example, when I asked my doctor if I had a reverse T3 problem, she shook her head sadly and said “no”. But according to the ratio between by Free T3 and Reverse T3, I do have a reverse T3 problem.

I've been doing a lot of research over the past week. I've been reading about leptin resistance over at Dr. Jack Kruse‘s website and blog, and have no doubt that I have leptin resistance. My husband keeps asking me, “What's leptin?” and I can't really tell him. I'll be researching and learning more, and I'm starting here: Mark's Daily Apple: A Primal Primer: What is Leptin?

But I'm getting ahead of myself… last weekend I found out why I'm getting more tired and exhausted. In one of the groups I'm on, a lady posted saying she was feeling more fatigued and it could have been me writing, our problems and situation so similar. She and I started on hydrocortisone about the same time, started to feel better as a result of being on it, we had recently spent an entire Saturday in bed, we both have the reverse T3 problem, we both are waiting on medication… the answer she received was that when she started on the HC it allowed her body to use more thyroid function, but waiting so long to get medicated with T3 has caused her to become more hypothyroid. So that answered why I've felt so much worse lately, and I decided I need to get moving on the next step. Medication. Even though I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want to!

I tried to get myself to call my doctor's office on Monday, but never could work up my nerve. Finally I called on Tuesday, and asked when she would be back from vacation, and was told it would be November 21st. Then I told them that she had said she would start me on T3, and I'd like to let her know I have decided I do want to get started on it. They told me she does call to check in on occasion and they would let her know. They also at this time let me know that my test results for Graves' came back negative.

Later that day I received a call from the doctor's office, they told me my doc had not written anything on my chart about starting me on T3, so her partner was looking over my records and wanted to know if I was on any thyroid medications when taking the tests. I told them I wasn't.

I had a terrible night and hardly slept at all and was so wiped out I could not get to work on Tuesday. Not to mention my vehicle which went up in smoke on October 4th is still broken down, and I don't have my own vehicle to drive but dependent on my husband's vehicles which he uses interchangeably and so I never know from one day to the next which one I'll be using. He was supposed to get the flat fixed for me. I ended up working from home on Tuesday. On Tuesday night, while applying my hydrocortisone I realized that in beginning to use a different sized syringe on Monday I had accidentally given myself twice as much HC Monday night, hence my inability to sleep. And I realized I had probably been overdosing myself by just a little bit all day Tuesday. I had trouble sleeping Tuesday night also.

I dragged myself to work on Wednesday, finally getting there around 11:30! Actually my husband drove me in, I was so exhausted and he still had to get the tire fixed on his van so that I would be safe driving it.

When I finally arrived at work I went to my boss' office and proceeded to tell her what had been going on for the last few days, and also I told her I had an idea for something that I hoped would help me reduce some of the stress I'm having. I'll tell you honestly what caused me to consider this idea is that I've been looking into the leptin reset idea and I couldn't figure out in my mind how I could do it and still get up at 4am.

I told my boss, since I have 50 days of vacation accrued, and I accrue two days every month, what did she think about my going to six hour days, and taking two hours vacation each day? I work four days a week, so this would mean I would be taking one vacation day a week. I could do this for a year and still have vacation time left. I can't ever take a regular vacation for a week or two weeks, so this would make the powers that be happy that I'm not accruing a ton of vacation, and maybe this will give me some much needed relief. She was more than thrilled at my suggestion, and told me I wouldn't be any good at work or at home unless I take care of myself, and she even told me to set my own hours! Isn't that wonderful?

The only trick is going to be how am I going to get my work done in six hours, when it seems I have been unable to do so in eight hours? When I spoke to my boss, I assumed the T3 medication would be in my hands within days. I figured I'll soon be able to think more clearly, so I will be able to concentrate and I'll be able to work more efficiently and will be able to get my work done in six hours without any problem.

Later in the day I called the doctor's office to ask them if they would fax my results over and they said they would.

They never did, so on Thursday I called back and while they had me on the phone they told me they wanted more tests run, since they had looked at my labs and my T3 “looks stable” so they didn't think I needed T3 after all. Uh, hello? I have a reverse T3 problem, people. So I asked the lady if she would please have whoever is looking into this for me to please look into reverse T3 problem. And I briefly explained that I have too much T4, my body isn't converting it into T3 but reverse T3 which is why I am having the hypothyroid symptoms.

After that conversation it felt like my brain went on vacation for about ten minutes. I couldn't think, I couldn't concentrate. Essentially I heard, “We're not going to prescribe this medication for you, so there is no hope of your improving” and it really made me feel helpless and deflated.

Later in the day I faxed over information about reverse T3 and asked the doctors to please review the information. I have not heard back from them, and I did not call the laboratory to see if I was supposed to get blood drawn. If they want me to have more blood drawn, I will agree, but they need to at least test me for the two tests necessary to get the ratio. Reverse T3 and Free T3.

I've spent the weekend trying to relax. I've known this, but the Stop The Thyroid Madness book tells us it is so important to laugh. I caught part of a movie on satellite television last weekend and I laughed and laughed and decided to order it so that I could watch the whole movie. I should warn you there is some profanity and adult humor, it is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation  My youngest son and I watched it this weekend and an hour into the movie he said he had to take a break because his face was hurting from laughing so much. I showed my husband a few parts that were funny and he laughed, and he agreed to watch it with me sometime soon.

Speaking of my husband… he has been home the last three nights and I have been able to sleep well without worrying about where he is. We also have been discussing my health situation a lot, and we have come to the conclusion that his main business is literally killing us both, so he has agreed to finish up the jobs he has outstanding and then become super selective about taking any work, while concentrating on his other business.

So I am slowly but surely removing some of the stressors in my life, which should help me heal.

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Graves’ Disease – My Diagnosis Part 2

UPDATE: October 25, 2011. My antibody test came back <0.51 which according to my doctor's office, and this site: ClinLab Navigator, my results are negative for Graves' Disease.

Yesterday I told you about my diagnosis, and some of the misgivings that went along with learning that I have Graves' Disease.

I was pretty bummed out and stressed over what to do. What to do. What to do.

If you've been faithfully reading my blog, you'll know that I feel a lot of angst that GAPS alone has not healed me thoroughly. I was doing so awesome the first year. It will be two years in December, and the stress I have been through this entire year has been extremely detrimental to my health. I also don't feel that GAPS alone is going to take care of my thyroid issue that has been ongoing, at least for a decade, if not longer. I had hoped to find a natural way to heal, (meaning that I would rather not take prescription medication) but according to Mary Sholom it is unlikely.

Also, Bee, who I get the impression is pretty radically against medications (I could be wrong on that but that is my impression) has a page with information on thyroid and adrenal malfunction. Knowing this makes me feel a little better that I'm just not giving up and giving in.

For one thing, if I could quit my job and if my stress at home suddenly vanished, I would most definitely go on doing nothing but GAPS because that is my typical way to handle things. Shove my head right into the sand – which is what I've been doing all these years except for the two times I did actually ask for testing from “regular” doctors. And it's probably a good thing they did nothing because they likely would have prescribed Synthroid. Unfortunately, I cannot quit my job, because currently I am the main breadwinner. I am actually hoping and praying my husband quits his main business because it has caused both us much stress and anguish in 2011. He has been working as hard as he could, going without sleep and running on pure adrenaline and I have been worried sick about him. His schedule for the entire year has been like this:

  • Work 7 days a week
  • 2-3 hours of sleep three nights a week
  • 4-5 hours of sleep two nights a week
  • 8-10 hours of sleep one night
  • At least one all-nighter each week
  • One day a month collapse and sleep 12-24 hours

He has lost far too much weight, he looks gaunt and sickly. I have never seen him look this bad and I honestly don't know how he keeps going. I have been trying to get him to stop, and finally I started to think maybe he's sick and can't stop himself. And in fact, I had started to think that he had hyperthyroidism because he does have many of the symptoms! And here I turn out to have the very thing I suspected of him. I am hoping to get him to at least have some blood work done.

But back to me… yesterday I mentioned that my naturopath is not too keen on the amount of HC I'm on. She thinks it's “pretty high” but from my research I am just slightly above the recommended low dose. There is a way to find out if I'm at the right dose, and that is to take my temperature. I need to take my temperature three times a day, after being awake for three hours to get an average. For example, if I get up at 4am, I'm to take my temperature at 7am, 10am and 1pm. When my temperature is within a certain range (I'm seeing .1 in one place and .3 in another so I'm not exactly sure which is right or how I'm confused) for five days, I'm at the correct dosage to support my adrenals. This from the Stop the Thyroid Madness site:

You can determine your thyroid and adrenal status by following Dr. Rind with a temperature graph. You simply take your temp 3 times a day, starting three hours after you wake up, and every three hours after that, to equal three temps. (If you have eaten or exercised right before it’s time to take your temp, wait 20 more minutes.) Then average them for that day. Do this for AT LEAST 5 days. If your averaged temp is fluctuating from day to day more than .2 to .3 (says Rind in a telephone conversation with me), you need adrenal support. Your daily average temps should lean towards the .2. Summary: If your temps are fluctuating but overall low, you need more adrenal support and thyroid. If your temps are fluctuating but averaging 98.6, you just need adrenal support. If it is steady but low, you need more thyroid and adrenals are likely fine. (We note that mercury thermometers are the most accurate.)

For those already on cortisol, the above temperature test (comparing at LEAST 5 days of averages) is ideal to know if you are on enough. In other words, if each averaged temp is more than .2-.3 from each other (and several are .3 apart), you are not on enough cortisol, patients have learned.

That is pretty awesome if you ask me. If thyroid or adrenal issues are suspect, one can determine what is going on by taking one's temperature! However, please do not self-diagnose as adrenal dysfunction can be caused by low or high cortisol, and thyroid dysfunction can be hypo-or-hyper as I've learned. Which really to be honest with you blew me away to learn that I have the opposite problem of what I've suspected for years.

I have lots more to say on this. Like the post I promised to talk about the reverse T3 problem. But that will have to wait for another day. I've also come up with a plan to hopefully relieve some stress at my job, but I'll tell you about that another day, too.

Yours Truly,

Starlene

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Kimchi, Ruby and Plain Sauerkraut

Graves’ Disease – My Diagnosis Part 1

UPDATE: October 25, 2011. My antibody test came back <0.51 which according to my doctor's office, and this site: ClinLab Navigator, my results are negative for Graves' Disease.

My diagnosis of Graves' Disease is based on the results of my blood tests which indicates my Thyroxine (T4) Free is high. The range is 0.82 – 1.77 and I'm at 1.85.

Synthroid is only T4, is a synthetic drug and is commonly the drug of choice for doctors to prescribe when a patient has hypothyroidism. I am opposed to taking Synthroid as I have heard for years it does not work well and leaves the patient with many symptoms of hypothyroidism. One of the first things I told my doctor is that I did not want to take Synthroid, but instead wanted to take Armour. Armour contains mostly T4 with some T3 which works a lot better for many people.

I was pretty shocked to hear that I have Graves' which is hyperthyroidism, since I have symptoms of hypothyroidism. I have thought for years that I had hypothyroidism, and here now I find that I have the opposite problem. And I learned that Armour would not be the medication that I would need to take.

I went in on Friday to have more blood taken as there is a third antibody test [Thyrotropin Receptor Antibody] that can be done which will tell us that I do have Graves' and it will allow us to monitor my treatment.

I'm learning for hyperthyroidism, or Graves', the treatment of choice is only T3. Since my body is not converting T4 into T3, I have to take T3 to get the T3 that I need to stop the hypothyroid symptoms. This is my best explanation in layman's terms.

I haven't had a lot of time to research, but I have been doing what I can and have been reading Stop the Thyroid Madness: a Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment which I would definitely recommend that you get a copy of if you think you have thyroid issues.

After my doctor's appointment I felt pretty bummed out because my doctor was unable to tell me why I don't have the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. She also stated that I do not have a reverse T3 problem. And yet with more research, I find that I do indeed have a reverse T3 problem. I will try to explain this a bit more in a later post. She did mention that she could prescribe T3 (which would be a product called Cytomel). This will address my reverse T3 problem. I was feeling frustrated that I have to be in this position, to either educate her, or move on to try and find another doctor, but at the Stop the Thyroid Madness site I learned that she is actually considered by their standards to be a “good doc” with a “bonus”. Here is their criteria. A good doctor:

  • willingly prescribes natural desiccated thyroid (or T3-only when you need to lower your RT3 levels)
  • uses the labs free T3 and free T4
  • is willing to let you dose by the elimination of symptoms rather than the inadequate TSH
  • And a real bonus is one who understands adrenal dysfunction and how to treat it

She does prescribe natural dessicated thyroid and T3 only. She does test free T3 and free T4. I know she doesn't go by TSH. She does understand adrenal dysfunction and has her own concept of how to treat it, but we differ slightly. She has told me several times already that she thinks I'm on a “pretty high dose” of HC. I say nothing, she doesn't push, she just makes the statement. I don't plan to stay on this dose for the rest of my life, and this amount seems to be working well for me.

So, I think I will just need to learn to work with her. It just feels stressful, although I did work up my nerve and speak my mind about needing to have some control over my treatment. She asked me if I had any questions on what my labs were reporting, and her choice of treatment. It was really hard to make myself say anything, but I finally said I did have a question. I told her that I would like to do some research and consult with my friends, and what was going to happen if I decided to do something different than what she wanted me to do? She said that was my right to do so. She was very nice in how she said that, completely calm and soothing. I responded, “Well, I can't write my own prescriptions though,” and she responded, “You'll tell me what you want to try and I will help you get that.” On that, I reached over and shook hands with her and said, “Deal.” She seemed surprised by my actions.

I left her office with the two products she recommended. This time it cost me $41 (the first visit I left with one product and I do not recall its cost but I could not use it as it lowers cortisol). When I got home I found these products will not be helpful to me. The first was a thyroid cofactor from a very reputable company, but the product enhances production of T4! If you have followed me thus far, you know I have too much T4, so I don't want to take something that promotes it. Also, it contains Ashwagandha Root, a product that is helpful to already strong adrenal glands, and we already know mine are in a weakened state. The second product was a brown bottle without any clue as to what it contained inside, and after I left the office I realized I should find out the ingredients list! It also contained Ashwagandha, among other things so I won't be taking that either. Unfortunately as it was to be used at bedtime to help me sleep. I was looking forward to trying it.

Also at the Stop the Thyroid Madness site they mentioned that naturopath's have a tendency to push the products that they sell in the office. So far this seems to be my experience. Armed with this information, I will try to be stronger next time and take the names of the products she wants me to take but to research them once I get home and see if they will work for me or not. A close friend of mine told me she just tells them she is on a limited budget and she will need to research the product first. This is a very real truth for me as we are in a bind financially.

Tomorrow I will tell you more of what I am doing. I was making one post but it was turning into a novelette.

Thanks for staying with me this far. I want to say if you think you have an adrenal problem, please look into getting a saliva test before you do anything else. Ideally you take six samples of saliva to get a good idea to how your body is functioning. These tests can be purchased online some starting at around $100.

Now, for a GAPS moment. I have been out of sauerkraut for the last two weeks! Shame, shame on me! I have just been so awful busy and tired and actually this weekend I have been worn out. I worked overtime at work again, and then on Friday I went six places! The bank, I got my hair cut, a thrift store right by the hair salon that I'd never seen before, two grocery stores, got my blood drawn and I got my old lab reports from my old doctor's office. I guess that's seven places.

I made a point to spend most of yesterday in bed and I slept well last night, but have been tired today. I did however, force myself to make three jars of sauerkraut. I usually like to use my mandolin but this time I told myself it was either use the food processor or I wasn't getting anything done. It was a much faster process, I was able to use a blade that cut the cabbage thinly like I prefer and I made a batch of one green and one purple cabbage, two green cabbages and a third batch that was supposed to be kimchi but instead was loosely based on the recipe since I didn't have all the ingredients. Here's a photo of the three jars in the cupboard:

Kimchi, Ruby and Plain Sauerkraut

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

The First Indication My Adrenals Are Functioning Better

I've been using the cremes for a week. There is a “day” creme and a “PM” creme. The day creme is to be used upon waking and at 6pm. The PM creme is to be used when going to bed. I've not been sure if I've felt any different. I'm not even sure how long it takes until I start feeling any effects.

I've been feeling really stressed out about my husband. He's been scheduling a lot of work and keeps getting backed up until he will stay up all night long and the next day with only a couple hours of sleep. When he does this it really, really stresses me out because I know how vitally important sleep is, and I don't want him to end up blowing out his adrenals by doing this. I would be less concerned if it happened once a month but it's happening more often than that. Last night was one of those nights. For once he was home, building a platform that he needed for a job today. I went to bed around 9:30pm and I woke at 1:30. For the past few months, when I wake up in the middle of the night and he's not home I feel panicked. It's like the fight or flight response kicks in and I feel like my stress level just shot up super high. I lie there and my imagination runs wild with no so far fetched scenarios… like maybe he fell asleep and drove off the road and was in an accident and is just lying on the side of the highway.

But when I realized when I woke up this morning, I didn't feel my stress level shoot up. I tried to go back to sleep, but then I wondered how it was going with the platform he was building so I went outside. I stayed out and helped him for a while, threading on some bolts and washers while he drilled holes. Thank goodness we live out in the middle of nowhere far enough away from other people!

Then one of our dogs came up with foam all over her muzzle. My husband looked at her and asked what was wrong with her. I told him she probably got hold of a Sonoran Desert Toad. I heard them the other night when we had the really bad sandstorm. Our power was out for 5 hours and it rained so it was cooled down enough that I had my bedroom window open and we could hear the toads singing.

But then my husband said he hoped she didn't have rabies.

That worried me a little bit, but I really didn't think so.

She started acting weird, like she was going blind, running into things. I know really the only thing you can do is rinse their mouth repeatedly with fresh water, but I think I've also heard you can get rabies just by getting the saliva of an infected animal on you. I think you do need to have an open wound to be infected… like the animal has to bite you… so I decided that I needed to get her mouth rinsed out.

Now… a week ago I feel certain that my stress level would have shot to the sky… but I felt totally calm. Almost removed from the situation. Tess was compliant and readily allowed me to rinse her mouth with a squirt bottle. I rinsed her mouth about four times with 16 ounces of water each time. Finally she laid down and relaxed and stop breathing so hard and fast. She was so still I thought she'd died, but she was only asleep.

I finally went back in the house and got back into bed at 4am. I slept very peacefully until close to 10am.

I think that is the other thing that's happening, I think I'm sleeping better. Even though I have always felt like I sleep well, I feel I've been sleeping even more peacefully in the last few days.

I still don't have much energy.

I really want more energy.

I have also noticed that I'm not panicking about other things so much. I always have so much that needs to be done, and not enough time to do it, but I freak out with stress over what needs to be done, and then I don't get it done because I'm so panicked.

Could this all be due to my adrenals being fatigued?

Sometimes I wonder, how will I get anything done if I'm not insane with worry and anxiety over them? Will eventually I be able to complete tasks that need to be done, because they need to be done?

Something else I have noticed… time seems to have slowed down. The days seems to be longer. I don't notice missing whole hours. For example, it's 5pm but I would have thought it was 7pm already.

Anyway. That's what I've noticed so far. By the way, Tess is fine today. I don't know why she bothered that toad, she is one of our older dogs, she should know better. At any rate, I thought to myself it was a good thing I was up in the middle of the night!

Here are the ingredients contained in the cremes:

Day Formula: Pregnenolone, L-Lysine, Vitamin B5, Boricin, L-Glutathione Reduced, Pyritinol, Wild Yam (Progesterone), Proprietary Herb Extracts, Vitamin B12, Licorice Root Extract, Benfotiamine, L-Cysteine, Vitamin B6 P5P, DIM, Colostrum, DHEA, L-Tyrosine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Ornithine, Maca Extract, Colloidal Silver,  Niacin B3, Aloe Vera Extract, Muira Puama

PM Formula: 5-Hydroxytyptophan, Phosphatidylserine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Avena Sativa Extract

I have to admit I have not done the research on all these ingredients, although it would probably be a good idea to know what purpose each is serving. At this point I'm strictly going on blind faith, hoping that I'm not doing my body a disservice.

Also, I was able to get four pounds of grass fed liver yesterday, as well as a small package of ox tails, half of a heart and *ahem* I also took the testicles. Everything is still frozen at the moment. I need to get dinner going. I am hungry. I have note eaten well today.

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The Results of My Saliva Testing for My Adrenals

First of all, I want to make it clear that it is my understanding that Dr. Natasha does not endorse hormone replacement therapy. I say this because of an answer to a question in the FAQs:

Is it realistic for me to think that GAPS could help my body naturally increase its progesterone level?

Yes, GAPS programme will re-balance your hormones to normal production. Progesterone has to be balance by other hormones, and only your body knows how to do that and in what proportions. Try not to interfere in this process by taking any hormonal preparations: drugs or natural.

When it was first suggested to me to have my adrenals tested, I did not realize the end result would be bio-identical hormones.

My husband first heard about bio-identical hormones on a news program with Suzanne Somers. He was sold and told me he thought I should try them. This was several years ago, pre-GAPS. I bought the Suzanne Somers books at a second hand store and learned why she feels we should use bio-identical hormones. But it didn't really sit well with my tendency to simply  let nature take its course. If I remember correctly, SS still has a menstrual cycle, complete with menses. I don't think it is natural for a 60-something year old woman to be having a period. I think that was one of the main things that caused me to discontinue pursuing this path, and I'm sure the other part of that was the expense, and having to go to the doctor all the time and be reliant on prescription medication.

But then I started getting bent out of shape and distressed about not losing weight, in fact, gaining weight while doing intro. Horror of horrors! And so one of my GAPS friends and I had a pow-wow and she suggested the adrenal saliva test. In fact, I had recently written a blog post which mentioned all the things that I may need to do, should do to further my healing and I was just overwhelmed and not sure what to do next.

The adrenal test seemed like something fairly easy. All it required was spit after all. 😉

So… I ordered the test, chewed the cotton and shipped it to the lab. I got my results back several weeks ago, and I've been on the fence about what I should do. First of all, when I talked to the consulting doctor on the phone I was very excited to get started, but I thought he was only going to formulate a transdermal creme for me to use. When his suggested protocol arrived, there were so many things listed that I immediately jammed my head right into the sand.

In a nutshell, the consulting doctor explained that I'm in a state of adrenal maladaptation.

My cortisol level at peak is highest at 8 o'clock in the morning – that's good – but it is just under the normal range at 3.46 (normal range is 3.5 and 6.3). That's bad. My DHEA sulfate should peak at 8am and have the lowest point at midnight, but mine is inverted with the highest value at midnight and the lowest at 8am. That's not good. He explained that this is a sign of adrenal maladaptation, and this means that my body cannot manage the physical and emotional stress that I am currently having to endure.

He says my adrenal fatigue is fairly recent, and explained the adrenals attempt to adapt by blowing up like a balloon but they can only do this for about thirty months, before they start to shrink or atrophy and he says this is where I am at right now.

I have two questions about this. First, I was feeling a lot better just by doing GAPS and then my husband started working a lot of hours and not eating right and not sleeping enough, which was stressing me out terribly. And I've been on GAPS almost 19 months. So where does thirty months come in? And how do we know I'm at the tail end, not at the homestretch toward healing?

Anyway… I was also freaked out about not following the doctor's orders… even though several of the items listed on the protocol contained definite GAPS illegal ingredients, I still worried about not doing the protocol 100% because at least doing what he recommended 100% I would then know I had done my best.

But then I started getting an idea of what it would all cost and that really freaked me out. For one thing, I only thought I would be using one creme which would be around $70 and purchased once a month. That was hard enough to swallow. That's a lot of money, and we aren't exactly swimming in cash here. But two cremes were recommended. One two be used twice daily, morning and at 6pm and the other only once in the evening, at bedtime.

So $70 one month and $140 the next month. Plus shipping.

I decided to sleep on it for a couple of weeks. Finally I decided to do both cremes. I'd told myself I might want to get started with this on July 1st, since I like to start something new on the 1st of the month. I finally ordered the cremes and they arrived on Friday.

I assume it takes a while for the effects of the creme's ingredients to begin working.

I started on Friday night with the night creme. I put on the Saturday creme. I seem to feel in a better mood. Also, one unusual thing is that I was able to concentrate and get my husband's business tax forms completed. He has until the 20th to submit the various forms to the various cities, counties and the state of Arizona, and I usually try to reconcile his two checking accounts on the first weekend of the month that the statements are available, and then the second weekend I try to get the paperwork done and submitted. But sometimes I am rushing on the 17th, even sometimes I've had to do it on the evenings of the days I work. But yesterday I managed to get it all done.

Now something else I've been doing… I have been trying to eat liver every day. I made a liver pate based on a recipe of a GAPS friend, and I have been trying to have two tablespoons each day… I also have been trying to get ferments in. I've found that eating sauerkraut after liver… not a good idea. The sauerkraut has an awful taste with the liver taste in my mouth. I've been trying to eat the sauerkraut first thing in the morning, then my two tablespoons of liver.

Yesterday was a  weird day. I wasn't very hungry for most of the day. I am not sure if that's the liver, or the creme.

The doctor said I should retest in four months. He praised me for being on GAPS, and said he would be counseling me to do a similar diet if I were not already on GAPS. He says I'm 50% of the way there with my healing, but I'm in a tailspin with my adrenals and hormones. He says this creme will pull me out of the hormonal tailspin and get me pointed in the right direction. I sure hope he is right. I have heard a few horror stories about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy… at the end of our conversation I said I can't wait to have the energy of a toddler and he said, “Well, you're going to.” You see why I freaked out about not following his protocol to the T? If he really thinks I can have the energy of a toddler, he's probably assuming I will take every thing he has suggested.

If I have a chance, I will share some of the items he wants me to be taking. I'll keep you posted on how this goes. I'm still a little bit nervous… worried about the results because as Dr. Natasha says, our body knows when to adjust our hormones. I'm applying a creme with man-made ingredients… I hope I'm not making a mistake.

One more thing. My nose suddenly turned into a super smeller on Wednesday last week. Suddenly smells were very intense. And no, I'm not pregnant. :=)  And now I need to get in the kitchen and get our picnic dinner started.

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Day 541 Saliva Testing for Adrenals

I've been missing in action here at the blog, and I stopped reporting on my experience with intro. I apologize for that, but the depression just got the best of me there and I had to take a break and recuperate.

During the time of depression I spoke with a friend who is doing GAPS, who suggested that I look into testing my adrenals as the place to begin with the cherries on the cake. I have listened to so many podcasts by Dr. Natasha that they are beginning to blend together in my head, but I think she did mention the cake analogy on the interview that I did with her. At any rate, she says GAPS is the foundation – the cake – and some people do very well with GAPS, but others have to add to the cake, they have to add the frosting and cherries.

I've been doing GAPS 17 months, and I have seen a lot of healing as seen in my six month update and my one year update, but when I was feeling the depression I started to feel like I need to do something else. As I mentioned in my post called When Sleep Takes Precedence Over Blogging there are some things that I may need to address which could be holding back my progress in healing. My friend mentioned a place to start could be my adrenals, and I thought that sounded simple enough, so I ordered the test. I ordered the Female Circadian 24 hour test from Sabre Sciences. It cost $249 for the test and shipping back to the lab. The kit included six plastic vials with a piece of cotton inside. You chew on the cotton to get it wet with your saliva and then send back to the lab to get your results. The cost of the test includes a consultation with one of their doctors.

I have been taking the saliva samples today, I have to take six in a 24 hour period, every four hours: 8am, noon, 4pm, 8pm, midnight and 4am.

So far I have been right on the dot. I was sure I missed taking the 8pm sample… I took a very late afternoon nap and I woke up at 7:35pm. I was completely certain that I'd missed taking the sample by 35 minutes. The lady I spoke with told me if I did miss one of the time slots to just take the saliva at the same time, the next day. So I wrote down on my paper that I had missed the 8pm sample and I went and sat at my computer. Thankfully I brought my phone with me (I've set the alarm on my phone to go off when it's time to take the next sample) and it started to sound at 7:55. This is when I realized with some surprise, that I had in fact not missed the 8pm sample.

Now I need to make sure I don't miss the midnight and 4am samples.

I have never tested my adrenals before, so I don't have anything to compare with my test results.

It was pretty cool when the lady was explaining to me to be sure to drink 5-7 glasses of water the day before the test and she asked me how much water I usually drink in a day. I told her I only drink water and she said that was good and many people who want to take the test are drinking soda and coffee [affiliate link] regularly.

Of course these two things have an impact on the way our body functions.

I thought to myself how cool it was that I can say I don't drink coffee or soda.

There is a form included with the kit, with questions. One of those questions is what foods do you not eat? And as I was writing down the main GAPS illegals, it occurred to me as if for the first time I really realized that my diet is so clean. I'm one of “those” people who eat healthy!

Well, my kind of healthy. Because some people have different ideas about what foods are healthy.

I'll have to let you know my test results when they return, I think it will be at least a couple of weeks until I hear anything.

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.