Monday, April 14, 2014

My Test Results: Magnesium and Free Copper

I got the results of some testing today. I haven’t yet talked with my health coach about them, so I don’t know what the game plan is, but it sure is nice to have some numbers. I did GAPS for over two years, supplemented with magnesium for much of that time, took some zinc last year and STILL this is what’s going on with me. So just use your imagination as to how bad things were before.

I have low magnesium. Really low magnesium. A decent reference range is 5-7. My level: 3.9. This was according to a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test, which is a lot better than a serum test. If your doctor suggests a serum test, tell him that less than 1% of magnesium is stored in blood serum.

I also have unbound copper. Copper needs to be bound with something called ceruloplasmin. My ceruloplasmin is low, so I have free copper floating around. Unbound copper can cause trouble in the body. What kind of trouble? Just ask me what kind of issues I have; I’ve got plenty of symptoms. Or you can click here.

So what caused this low magnesium and low ceruloplasmin? A big factor is stress. Another big factor is my poor adrenal function. I’ve had plenty of stress, and I’ve had long-term adrenal issues.

The tricky thing is I can’t just bombard myself with magnesium. That stresses my adrenals out even more. I have to go slow, and I have to make sure I get enough salt. Salt? Yes, salt. Fatigued adrenals have a hard time regulating sodium and potassium properly. In this case, too much magnesium lowers that sodium level even more.

Currently, (due to some recent heart palpitations) I have been drinking salty water with magnesium in it. (I use ConcenTrace mineral drops for magnesium.) It seems like a good way to get my magnesium up while also keeping my sodium up.

And as for the copper and ceruloplasmin issues? Well, I’ve got to talk with my health coach first.



Robbins, Morley. "How to Restore Magnesium in 3 Steps."

Robbins, Morley. Magnesium Advocacy Group.

Wilson, James L. (2001) Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gone Missing

I haven't posted on here in a while, but I do plan to post again. And a little explanation for any of you who are interested.

In December, I was doing well. I was supplementing with zinc, and my mood was doing better--I even wrote a post about. But then it all came crashing down. One stressor after another, and I wasn't handling it well. I think I got myself pushing copper out too fast with the amount of zinc I was taking, and then the stress on top of it wasn't good.

I haven't been up to writing much. I'm slowly, slowly getting better.

Also, though I don't always post on here, I do still post on my Facebook page (link above).

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why Searching for Better?

Why Searching for Better?

Maybe you noticed I changed the name of my blog...again. Do you want to know what it means?

I’ll tell you.

It means I’m not searching for perfect. Sure, I’d love perfect health. I’d love my mind to always work the way I want it to—no anxiety, no depression. I’d love to have no food intolerances. I’d love to always know what the right and best things to do are.

But...there’s a lot of imperfection in this world and in my life. I’d like to be better. I’m a little better, but I’d like to increase that. In addition, sometimes there is no best solution. Sometimes better is all there is. I try to make better decisions regarding my health, the environment, and other things.

Not perfect. Just better.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Iodine for Warts

So...I've had a plantar's wart for over seven years now. It hasn't gone away on its own. It hasn't even gone away with treatment. In my other wart post, I mentioned that it looked like it was getting better. And it did. But it stopped there and just stayed. I stopped actively treating it, though I'd still add essential oils to my foot soak water after it cooled a bit.

Enter iodine.

I have some Lugol's 2% iodine. I put it directly on the plantar's wart (which was really a mass of them, I think) a couple of times as well as on the regular wart on the top of my foot. Then, every time I soak my feet in borax and Epsom salt, I add a few drops of iodine (from 3-5 drops).

It did not take long for it to look like the warts were shrinking.

My pretty painted toes soaking in a foot bath

Seriously exciting, you guys. I called my mom.

THAT was what I originally wrote. And then I was sitting there at the breakfast table one day and I realized I'd been taking zinc as well. I started sometime in the summer, stopped for a bit and then started up again.

So the zinc could have affected my warts as well.

BUT now I'm back to thinking it was the iodine. They did start to go away pretty quickly after I started soaking them in the iodine water. I was waiting until they were totally gone to share this, but...I'm jumping the gun a bit. The plantar's wart(s) have gone slowly, slowly, slowly but definitely have faded. Right now, there's just the faintest little ripple there. It probably doesn't even count as a wart anymore.

I no long use borax in my foot soak water, and I've reduced the amount of iodine I drop in there, but generally when I soak my feet, I add a little bit of iodine.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Zinc and Mood Stability

I’ve been supplementing with zinc pretty consistently since this past summer. I did stop for a few weeks and found that I needed to get back on it. It’s hard for me to talk about what’s working for me generally because most stuff doesn’t happen immediately, and it's not always consistent, plus at any given time I can be doing several new things at once. However, I do think that zinc has been doing some good things for me.

Improvements I credit to zinc:

o   Mood stability. This is what I started to notice first after taking the zinc. My mood seemed more stable. It’s not always stable currently, but I think overall, zinc has helped my mood. 
o   Improved mood. Something I’ve seemed to notice more recently is that I am able to be happier.

Zinc may also improve my sleep quality.

So does that mean that you need to supplement with zinc? Not necessarily. Your body is different and you may have a very different mineral status than I have. I did have a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) done after I started the zinc and it did seem to show that I am burning through my zinc. I need it! I may have too much copper.

Some of my symptoms of zinc deficiency: 

o   Low stomach acid
o   Poor appetite (not always, but sometimes)
o   Slow and poor wound healing
o   Stretch marks (from when I was younger)

Zinc is necessary for so many things! Actually, minerals are very, very important and if you don’t have enough of them or the right balance of them, you can have problems.

So I’ve given you the positives, but what about the negatives?

Recently I’ve been getting some infections. Also, I rarely, rarely get sick and I’ve gotten sick. It’s possible this has nothing to do with the zinc, but I’m also wondering if the zinc is pushing excess copper out of me and leading to these infections and illness as the copper makes its way out.

A caution with supplementing with zinc is that you don’t want to get your zinc/copper balance off. Unless you’re working with someone, don’t take high amounts of zinc, especially for a long period of time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hair Care

I posted this on my other blog as part of a Q/A I'm doing, but it works for this blog, as well.

Even though I have very curly hair, I don't use much in the way of hair products. I used to shampoo about once a week and then over the next few days, slather on the conditioner, but I got smarter. Rather than strip my hair of its oil with shampoo and then use a bunch of conditioner to replace the oil I just stripped away, I stopped shampooing so often.

Now I rarely wash my hair with shampoo. I comb my hair in the shower every day--that's how I do my hair. Since I rarely use shampoo, I don't really need conditioner. And the shampoo that I normally buy now (Giovanni's Tea Tree Triple Treat) doesn't contain SLS, so it doesn't wash away the oil on my hair as much anyway. I actually have a really old bottle of conditioner that's just been sitting there for a long time now and I did use a little bit a while back. But really, I don't use conditioner anymore.

For when I need something to keep my hair more controlled, I use aloe vera. I saw that on Dyno-Mom, and it works. I put the aloe in a spray bottle and keep it in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GAPS: What to Eat When You Didn't Make Enough

This post was inspired by a question I saw on someone’s Facebook page. When you’re on GAPS—especially when you’re first starting out—the idea is to stick to only legal foods. So you’ve made a pot of broth with chicken or beef and you’re eating cooked vegetables and everything’s fine run out and you don’t have anything else made up to eat.

What to do?

Well best case scenario is you planned ahead and put broth and cooked meat in the freezer along with some veggies. Then you just pull those out and heat them up. But what if you didn’t do that?

Don’t panic. Unless you’re on intro, you can still stick to the diet until you get some food made. And even on intro, depending on the stage, you can stick to it mostly (but get some broth made as soon as possible!)

Some things to eat:

Fruit smoothies
Homemade yogurt
Apples or ripe bananas with nut butter
Canned pumpkin (if you’re sure it has no additives)--heat it up and top with butter and honey if desired
Canned salmon or sardines (again, check for illegal additives)--you could make salmon patties with eggs and salmon or mix salmon with homemade mayo, guacamole or olive oil and top a salad with it
Cooked veggies with butter or other fat

Even if you have to go out and buy something to eat, you can find some things: (Always check the ingredients.)

Salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar for dressing
Raw crackers and snacks
Plain store-bought kefir (a bit of a cheat)

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In My Bowl: Winter Squash

kabocha squash
kabocha, cooked
I’ve been all about squash lately. As in, that’s almost all I want, as far as veggies go. And why not? Winter squash is yummy and in-season!

I like to make “cereal” with cooked squash, almond butter, and eggs and topped with honey. I also make a savory version with winter squash, onion and eggs, cooked in coconut oil and/or ghee and topped with olive oil and salsa. You can make these as pancakes or as a scramble. Add salt to taste.

I have not felt like cooking lately and at times have just been putting onions, maybe some pepper, in a pot with chicken and cooked squash and heating it up.

Oh, but I did have some kale the other day and that was good. I ate it with squash (of course!) and had some store-bought goat milk kefir. That was breakfast one day.

A couple of times lately I have eaten at our local co-op and gotten salad and plantain chips. The second time I wanted some cream cheese (not GAPS legal) so I got some Nancy’s cream cheese which is cultured and ate that with plantain chips.

I also have been eating apples, both cooked and raw. You can peel or not, but the peel kind of gets in the way when you’re eating cooked apples. I usually peel the apple a little bit, cut it into bite-size pieces and cook in coconut oil until they’re the desired softness. Add some cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt if you like. Raw, I usually eat apples with peanut butter. Lately I love mixing peanut butter, shredded coconut, honey, vanilla, and salt (always salt!) and eating that as a dip with apples. You can also do this with almond butter. And sometimes I add cocoa powder.

I did try some potato not too long ago (not GAPS legal). I did okay with it except for a bit of tiredness which was probably from the sugar content. I had some one evening and then some the next day. But then I later proceeded to finish off a big potato and I think it was just too much. I had a bit of a stomach ache. 

Earlier in my GAPS journey, I was very careful not to have illegals except for some stevia, (though I have not been having stevia lately) but you can see I’m not sticking strictly with GAPS now. I’m not straying too far off the course though. I’m experimenting, trying things and seeing what works for me. But I’m ready to step back on all the way if need be.

What’s in your bowl lately?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rest and Anxiety and the Internet

A place to rest
I have anxiety and fatigue. One of the things I do is rest a lot. I will do a little work and then rest. Rest is good for healing and especially for those with adrenal fatigue. One of the ways I rest is to get on the computer. On the internet. On Facebook. I can sit down, and I can be busy at the same time. I’m glad to be able to rest yet keep myself occupied at the same time.


I had started thinking lately that perhaps all this computer time was hindering my health progress. And then I saw Morley Robbins (the magnesium man) say something in the magnesium group on Facebook about watching TV not really being rest. Hmm... So I posted the question: So, Morley, are you saying that my perusing Facebook is not “rest?”

He found that laughable. Said “ROFL” even. Uh-oh. But that’s how I rest. Seriously.

So I thought again about reducing my computer/internet usage. I was thinking about coming up with alternatives to the computer. Things I can do while I sit down. But today I decided not to turn the internet back on for a while and then just sit and rest without doing anything.

Oh it was hard. I was surprised by how hard it was. I sat there and my mind jumped around. I thought about things I need to do but don’t want to do. Things I want to do but don’t have the energy to do or don’t want to put the effort into. I had some anxiety. I tried some deep breathing. I thought about how much B-6 was in the supplement I’d taken this morning. Then I got up, went to the table, sat down and looked at the bottle of B-vitamins. I got up again. I thought about putting something away, but decided not to. I started wringing my hands.

Really it was hard. Here’s the thing: the internet is a wonderful distraction for my mind. My mind jumps around and I get anxious, but the internet keeps me from that. However, it doesn’t actually provide rest. It feels like rest because I don’t have to think about my thoughts—but it’s not rest. So, maybe in the long run, all this internet use is actually detrimental to my healing.


Why are the internet and TV not rest? Morley mentioned the parasympathetic nervous system, and I looked it up. Basically, the parasympathetic nervous system is about rest and relaxation. The sympathetic is about action. For instance, laying in bed would be resting, but nearly getting into an accident on the interstate would not... Okay, well that’s obvious, but what about the TV and internet? On TV you find entertainment, excitement, car chases, explosions, conflicts, flashing lights, loud noises, drama, ads telling you to buy things now, nearly not-clad people, and all sorts of things to get and keep you engaged. The internet is much the same way, and it's constant visual stimulation. Plus you might have people saying inflammatory things, insulting you or getting into arguments with you.... You get the picture.

I’ve even noticed that when I read books, they can get my adrenaline going. This may not be the case for everyone, but when something exciting or dangerous happens in a story, my heart starts pounding and I start sweating. (Maybe you didn’t want to know that.) As much as I love reading, it’s not always the best thing to do before bed.

Now, I’m talking about me. I’m not telling you what to do. But I need rest and being on the internet a lot just may not be the best way to get that.

 Chudler, Eric H. "Autonomic Nervous System." 1996-2011.