Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rant: Doctors and Methylation

Here is the age old question:
If all my lab values are normal, why do I feel so bad?
The so-called "reference range" does not reflect healthy lab values and there is a good chance that key tests were not ordered.  Even if they were ordered and came back abnormal, the typical MD (Mineral Denialist) cannot treat it with mainstream medicine and generally doesn't know what to do about it.  IT IS NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD AND YOU ARE NOT A HYPOCHONDRIAC!

Let's go back to 2005-6 when I was unemployed and nearly bedridden.  If there was a prescription drug out there that restored 90% of my energy with minimal side effects, would I have taken it?  HELL YES (said with a southern accent).  In fact, if that energy level was consistent, my answer would be the same today.  I don't want to sound arrogant but my 90% is still better than the average person who shows up at road races and group runs.  I'd top out around 5:50/21:00/44:00/1:37, which is still quite respectable and good enough to enjoy those events.  That will never happen because no such drug exists.

Quite often, what happens is that hormones are normal in the serum but do not reach the tissues in proper proportions.  Hence, a hair test (tissue mineral analysis) is a better and more comprehensive picture of your health.  I can excuse ignorance on that part because it's not taught in medical school but I cannot excuse other scenarios.  Yesterday, I had an extreme negative reaction to just a trace of zinc and found that I need precisely a 20:1 zinc/copper ratio in my supplements.  17:1 won't work and neither will 23:1.  The same thing happened on both sides of the spectrum.  Muscles stiffened up within a couple minutes and I became very sluggish and depressed.  THAT CLEARLY INDICATES THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG!  To suggest otherwise is not only ignorant but downright insulting and hurtful.  Imagine if Usain Bolt came in dead last against 2nd rate competition.  There's no way that anyone would suggest it's all in his head.  It is NOT difficult to tell that it is the pills when you begin feeling awful minutes after you take one.

Over the past 2 years, I've had a number of theories as to why this extreme sensitivity was happening.  As an aside, I was just as sensitive when I was at my best in 2011-2012.  Any deviation from Thym-Adren+ Paramin spelled trouble but I got lucky and hit a false equilibrium in which taking an exact cocktail of pills caused my system to operate at near peak for several months.  Now the theories:

1. Increase my Magnesium levels.
The Mag RBC test, which measures your value at the cellular level,  is rarely ordered by MDs and when it is, you are considered "normal" if you are at 4.2 with the reference range being 4.2-6.8.  You have to be 4.1 or less to be flagged as deficient even though 4.2 feels just as bad.  The truth is that anything below 5 is a significant deficiency and you need to strive for 6.0-6.5.  As for me, I've been level in the mid-high 5s since the Fall of 2013 so any ill-effects from sub-optimal Mag should be minimal especially with my near perfect Ca/Mg ratio on my last hair test.  Needless to say, while improving my Mag status was certainly a good thing for my health and I have experienced several benefits, it did not solve the sensitivity issues.

2. Liver congestion.
I posted about this detox procedure just a week ago so no need to rehash it.  This was VERY important because it has allowed me to tolerate key pills necessary to get into balance.  Without this procedure, I don't have a chance.  Still, it did not solve the sensitivity.

3. Taurine.
This sulfur containing amino acid was partially successful in that it greatly reduced the sensitivity to Cal/Mag, which was nightmarish last summer.  It got so bad that deviations from the 1:1 ratio as small as a few extra sprays of transdermal Mag caused problems.  Again, although it was and still is a benefit for me, it failed to solve the zinc/copper issues.

4. Increased ceruloplasmin.
Again, this key liver protein is rarely tested and the reference range is even further out of whack than the Mag RBC.  My lab has a range of 15-30.  The truth is that anything below 25 is sub-optimal and even up to 40 is acceptable.  My initial test was very low at 17.9 (not flagged) but I have since boosted it to 23.0.  Although both my Cp and Zn/Cu ratio are a bit on the low side, I've seen much worse.  Based on my current numbers, there is NO indication that just a trace of zinc would cause such a problem.  If anything, it should help.

5.  Problems with methylation.
This is my current theory.  I'm still learning about the methylation cycle but I do know that you start with methionine, which is converted to SAM-e with the help of methyl donors, which is in turn converted to homocysteine.  From that point, with the help of key B-vitamins, the homocysteine is converted back to methionine.  It is here that genetic defects can come into play, specifically the MTHFR gene.  I've not been tested for it but I have a strong feeling that I have that mutation in addition to several others and have ordered a genetic test through 23and Me.  I do take a small amount of Folate and B-12 as part of my Mag supplement without a problem but I suspect that the methyl donors could be the problem.  I took some di-methly glycine yesterday.  It soved the sensitivity but the resulting over-stimulation was worse.  I had 1 good day with the methylated B-complex then went downhill.  I am sensitive to B-6 and had a negative reaction to methylated forms of B-12 and folate but a positive response to Niacin (B-3) and non-methylated B-12.  This suggests that I have the MTHFR defect and am an over-methylator. Bad genes do not mean that I am doomed.  With proper care, the mutations, can be "inactivated," according to science.  At the end of the day, I do believe that my condition is treatable but I am likely facing another difficult fight and it seems doubtful that it can be fully reversed.

The only blood test that came back abnormal back in '05 was an elevated homocysteine value, which my MD dismissed.  Combine that with my reports of extreme sensitivity to the herb based adrenal supplement that I had been taking at the time.  A half pill flipped me from feeling lethargic to overstimulated.  This should have SCREAMED liver dysfunction and poor methylation.  Instead when challenged, my MD rambled incoherently for a minute or 2 then lectured me on the need for SSRIs.  The sad part is that this guy actually did care about me as a person but just didn't know enough to help me.  It is of utmost importance that I beat this disease.  Anyone can say that they are healed but offer no proof.  I can.  Suppose I break all my personal records in my mid-30s when I am past my prime.  That will convince some skeptics.

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