Continued Recovery from Celiac Symptoms

Wow it’s been awhile since I posted!  My health is continuing to improve daily.  Last 2 recent doctor visits to gastroenterologist & endocrinologist went great – instead of 6 month to 1 year interval for colonoscopy it is now 3 years!!!  Longest interval in 16 years since original colon cancer diagnosis.

My allergies are still gone, now my moles are disappearing too.  Numbness in extremities significantly improved.  Insulin levels also normalizing, blood sugar just a tiny bit over average.  Nearly out of pre-diabetic range. When I had blood drawn recently it looked like regular blood that swished around and not like jam.  Huge difference.

My doctor approved me for intermittent fasting!!!!  I was skipping breakfast but now I just started alternate-day fasting .  I  can finally walk or dance about 10 minutes per day.   My eyes and teeth are still not terrific but I haven’t broken any toes since Xmas (knock wood).  Adrenals still not great and regained most of my weight lost recently but I’m going through menopause.  Fasting really takes the weight off quickly though.  Really helps me focus at work too and I don’t get sleepy in the afternoon.  Once I get to my ideal weight I’m considering eating just one meal per day.

I need to lower my carbs more but work has been  stressful lately.  Moderate carb paleo plus intermittent fasting is the magic formula for me I think.  I think the fasting will speed recovery from Celiac damage – the fact my moles are disappearing is a good sign.  I heard scars can disappear too – so yay! 

For sure read up about water fasting (especially about re-feeding syndrome) before trying it for more than 24 hours, but it’s making a real difference for me! I recommend Dr Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code for good info.

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Success with Thiamine Supplement

Last time I shared that Thiamine (B1) was maybe the last piece of my puzzle.  I was right!

MUCH more energy and improved mood.  My circulation & edema in my feet/legs has improved also.  My mental cognition and focus are noticeably better. My thyroid is less fragile and I can eat lower carb than before and lost a few pounds.  I had these weird little pouches next to my eye tear ducts for the past 15 years that are gone. 

I did have some weird side effects in the beginning, like my eyes turned yellow first couple days and it felt like bugs were crawling in my eyes.  Also my feet buzzed and tingled for a couple days.   I think my muscles will take longer to rebuild but I broke my little toe anyway and can’t work out.  Once it heals hopefully I’ll have less muscle breakdown/injury after workouts – no more calf muscles eviscerating while stretching for a top shelf hopefully.   Continuing to eat lots of gelatin/bone broth also.  I think 10 mg is a good daily amount of Thiamine I’ve settled on for now.  I found a great brand, EZ Melts on that is more bio-available, and got their B12 and multivitamin too.  Their multi has a couple mg of B1 also. (Ps – oops it’s actually 100 mg dose I’m taking,  not 10!)

A mole I had on my chin since college is gone and another under my jaw is disappearing…it’s 1/3 of its previous size and drying up.  Weird.  It has a white ring around it.  Maybe a sign my immune system is improving.  Still have not had a cold or flu since cutting out gluten about 3 years now.

Bad news from the dentist – I have 3 non-decay holes in my teeth that might need to be filled.  One is under one of my crowns.  We’ll recheck in 6 months.  Sigh.  My teeth/gums are much better than before but the disentegration continues…..

UPDATE 12/22 – I’m up to about 500 mg Thiamine per day now.  Really dramatic improvement in my overall health!  I take a pill every few hours or if I wake up with leg cramps.  It’s really changed my life!!

Update 7/1/17 – after supplementing a few months back to just 100 mg of B1. It was depleting my B6.  I found if I take Magnesium regularly it helps me absorb the B1 better.

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Final Piece of the Puzzle – Thiamine (B1)

Wow!  I think I may have found the final key to my recovery.  

Over the past couple years, I’ve been supplementing to resolve certain deficiencies due to my gluten intolerance.  First I took 10 grams of Vitamin B12 for a few months, which is a HUGE amount.  I took lots of Vitamin D also.  Now I hardly need any of either, so I think those are resolved. I was tested for anemia a couple months after I stopped taking the B12 regularly, and it came back normal.

I was having ongoing bleeding (TMI sorry) that lasted for weeks at a time.  I almost asked for a progesterone supplement from the doctor, but tried extra B6 and that worked.  It resolved quickly also.

I’m still having ongoing issues with Potassium and Magnesium. I supplement with Natural Calm powder (M) and coconut water (P). I get a little Vitamin D still from occassional Cod Liver Oil and direct sunlight. Still need to supplement almost daily with Probiotics or my food allergies come back.

But I STILL had extremely poor energy after being totally gluten free 2 years now.  I tried Co Q10 – it did nothing for me 2 years ago but now I do feel a slight improvement.  Weirdly, I had horrible muscle cramps for a week, but they passed.  FYI, for new readers wondering why I don’t take a regular multivitamin, I can’t absorb them yet and the liquid ones don’t have much effect.  I didn’t want to add to the other megadoses I was taking, but actually…..I should probably try a liquid multi again, it’s been awhile.

I noticed maybe a year ago that I do better with a B complex that has B1 in it.  Some versions don’t have it listed. I had stopped taking any B vitamins for a few months, but just bought some again and noticed a slight improvement in energy.  I had the Solaray chewable brand which is actually quite moderate in dosage.  Yesterday I re-read the label and saw you can take 2 tablets a day, which I never have done before.

All I have to say is WOW.  What an unbelievably dramatic response I had!  So much more energy than usual but I slept like a baby and felt sleepy at bedtime without needing to take melatonin.

I googled “thiamine deficiency” and YEP.  All my remaining symptoms were right there.

Apparently it’s a rare deficiency, but quite common for Celiacs and women with Hashimoto’s thyroid disorder.  I took 15 mg yesterday and 10 mg (100 mcg) is the recommended dose to recover from deficiency, combined with 250 Magnesium. The usual B1 dose is 7.5 mg in my supplement, and I’ve been taking only 150 Magnesium, and not daily.  So I’d been taking just a little bit less than the amount I need to take.  I took a dose of Magnesium before bed last night.

I woke up this morning and WOW again!  Still feel energy not the usual “OMG no” like when I usually wake up.  Don’t feel the usual adrenal strain.  My feet are buzzing and actually a little bit painful and my hands are tingling too.

Obviously I will continue to supplement (carefully) and will report back on my progress.  If it works, this  deficiency resolves in a few months!  I did read that you have to be careful with thiamine if you have a severe deficiency as it can stress your heart to suddenly start taking huge amounts (if you have cardiac disease) so I ordered a dissolvable tablet that’s exactly the recommended dose of 100 mcg.  Super excited!  

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Fasting Update

It’s been awhile since my last post!  When I last checked in, I had given up breakfast and then dinner in an effort to stabilize my insulin levels.  I started around Easter and now it’s early October so I’ve had time to test its effect on me.

Skipping breakfast definitely works for me!  It’s funny because I used to be so hypoglycemic in my 20’s that I would throw up if I skipped breakfast.  My health has really improved.  If I get hungry at breakfast time, I have heavy cream or coconut oil in my coffee, but that’s it.

The longer fasts (19+ hours) were a problem for me.  I’m still recovering from adrenal fatigue and started having frequent hot flashes and sleep disruption.  A shame, because it really did curb my appetite!

At one point I took a break from fasting and gained 8 pounds in one week.  Wow!

So I’m back to skipping breakfast but also recommitting to eating according to the Paleo diet and eating more “good” fats which also curbs my appetite.  I’ve started exercising cautiously again.  

I just started supplementing with CoQ10, so we’ll see if it helps with my muscular issues, energy and circulation.  Many people have commented that I seem more energetic, and last month I remodeled my small bathroom.  Lots more projects needed to do, but it’s nice that I finally have a little more energy than before.

I worked an extended night shift for 2 weeks and bounced back pretty quickly.  I really tried to practice good habits best as I could during that period.

Excited to recommit to Paleo again – just gluten free doesn’t seem to be quite enough for me.   I joined a local Paleo meetup group so I can make friends locally who share the same values.

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Leptin Regulation with 20+ Hour Fast

I’ve been doing the 16/8 (more like 17/7) intermittent fasting protocol daily but having some issues with calorie and carbohydrate regulation.  Last week, I actually fasted 21 hours on Friday and 20 hours on Sunday.  An interesting side effect was that my Leptin (appetite satiety hormone) was immediately regulated!  The effect lasted 4 days.  

I ate whatever I liked and tracked my carbs/calories.  I naturally dropped about 500 calories below maintenance and was at 150 net carbs or less.  

My conclusion is that, for most people, the 5:2 method of fasting will probably yield faster weight loss results (fasting for 20+ hours, 2 days per week and eating only 500-600 calories on fasting days).

Unfortunately on day 5, I had to eat breakfast and started getting hot flashes, insomnia, and body chills.  So I don’t think it’s a good idea yet for me to fast that long with my hypothyroid and adrenal issues.  Maybe I can occassionally do a longer fast as I acclimate to fasting.  It was amazing the immediate effect it had on lowering my appetite.

Probably I do need to reduce calories and carbs and  increase my protein.  I might not quite be running out of glycogen by 16 hours.  I started feeling really good at 18.  So my long-term goal is definitely to fast for longer periods, but for now I’ll continue to just skip breakfast and work on my macros and maybe a bit more exercise.  

Weight loss isn’t the only reason I’m fasting – eating less frequently also lowers my insulin and gives my body a longer window to repair oxidative damage. So I’m still seeing benefits from the 16/8 plan.

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Intermittent Fasting Progress

Continuing to do great with the 16/8 fasting plan after about 3 weeks.  Met with the endocrinologist today.   Just got my labs back and my thyroid is still fine from the Intermittent Fasting. Interestingly, my LDL cholesterol did increase when eating less eggs and more carbs!  My A1c has held steady at 6.1 but she’d like me to get it below 5.7.

I have maintained the one inch lost from my waist and the four pounds lost since starting the fast.  I did cheat and snack 3 different times when I felt a bit sick.  Overall, I think I’m adjusting well and plan to continue.

My circulation and metal concentration seem to be steadily improving.  I also started taking a different magnesium supplement called Natural Calm that seems to absorb better (2 teaspoons per day dissolved in water).  Now I can cut back on the daily Epsom Salt baths, since we’re currently experiencing a drought in California and I don’t want to waste water.

I need to continue to cut back on carbs, calories and processed food for real weight loss, and increase protein more.  Still adjusting to the fasting though.  Hopefully it will just seem totally normal soon and then I can increase my exercise more and incorporate dieting as well.  My main concern is watching for adrenal reactions – hot flashes, insomnia, low energy etc.  As long as I feel OK, I will keep it up!  It’s been pretty easy just to skip breakfast and have black coffee instead.  Yesterday I forgot to eat lunch until 30 minutes into my feeding window. I start work at 7 am and start eating at 11 am but after the 4th day I haven’t noticed any issues with thinking clearly or concentrating – if anything it’s improved.  

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Giving Intermittent Fasting a Try

I’ve shared in my blog posts that cutting Gluten 100% out of my diet and following a somewhat Paleo diet, moderate carb has provided huge health benefits for me.  

I’ve lost 20 pounds of weight permanently regardless of calorie/carb intake.  I haven’t had a cold or flu in over 2 years.  My anaphylaxis allergies (nuts, chocolate, citrus, sulfites) are gone as long as I take a regular probiotic most days. My colon cancer/polyps and intestinal inflammation are gone.  My GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) of 20 years is gone.

However. I still have at least 50 pounds to lose and I’d have to lose 80 for an “ideal” weight that I had at 18 years old.  Probably no longer realistic.  I was 5 pounds more than that at 27 years old so 75 pounds is probably the very most I could lose.  And that would depend on muscle – I can weigh an additional 10-15 pounds if I’m really muscular, as I’m naturally a mesomorph body type.  

In addition to weight I’m still having some pretty major health issues, mostly related to  Prediabetes:  magnesium and potassium deficiency, “sticky blood,” hyperinsulinism, abdominal obesity (just in front, the fat is gone from my waist), blurry vision, lightheadedness, swelling/edema in legs, chronic exhaustion, low respiratory capacity, varicose veins, etc.

I’ve been reading a lot online about Intermittent Fasting lately.  It purports to improve all my remaining issues, so I decided to give it a try after reading Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code.

Since I have thyroid issues (Hashimoto’s) and adrenal issues/low blood pressure and still some vitamin/mineral absorption issues, I wasn’t sure I could do it.  Recent experiments with both super low carb and carb cycling ended badly.

But it’s turned out to be AMAZING.  I am on day 6 now and feel great!

I chose the 16/8 IF version, sometimes referred to as The 8 Hour Diet or Lean Gains. 

I did just 2 days at first, delaying breakfast until I got hungry. Now I eat between 11 am to 7 pm.  The 3rd and 4th days I got very thirsty and started drinking coconut water during “feeding” periods to provide more electrolytes (an ongoing issue for me regardless of fasting). Also bathing in Epsom salt for magnesium.  I read online that cod liver oil and MCT oil (concentrated coconut) help too so I try to include them daily and they really did help.  I ONLY drink black coffee (up to 2 cups), herbal tea or water/mineral water when fasting.

Now my appetite is greatly reduced, similar to a moderate carb diet, but I can tolerate carbs already better than before.  I have more energy too.  I did have some insomnia last couple nights & took melatonin, but that is supposed to pass soon.  Day 6 I’m only a little bit thirsty.  My ADHD seems to have improved also; I can focus longer. I already lost 2 pounds and it came right off my belly. I’m pretty happy about that!

I’m due for a blood test in a week so perfect timing. I plan to keep this up all year if I can, both to lose weight and repair the extensive oxidative damage in my body.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and results!

UPDATE:  Day 10 and feeling great!  Stomach getting flatter daily.  Down 3 lbs now!  I checked and I’m actually eating too many calories/carbs -although I’m losing anyway, I’ll try to rein it in a bit with less treats.  I feel like I can really stick with this!  Back to normal sleep patterns again now – the insomnia only lasted a few days.  Fasting seems to have a beneficial effect on my nerves and circulation so I hope I can stick with it!  My legs and feet are so much better in just 10 days.

UPDATE #2:  Wow!  Day 11, down another pound and I lost an inch off my waist!  I didn’t lose that inch previously when I lost 15 pounds. I feel like this is real fat loss.  Even more amazing since I tracked my food yesterday and was 1,066 calories over maintenance and ate 371 g carbs.  Normally I’d be really sick and bloated next day after eating that many carbs.   I’ll try to eat healthier today though.  I may try to extend my fasting window a little bit today since I really overdid it yesterday. 

UPDATE #3:  I think I’ve found the missing link for sure.  I’ve been able to continue the fasting for a few weeks now.  My circulation continues to improve, along with my mental cognition and focus, and I’m getting a little more energy.    It’s getting easier to stick to maintenance calories now and I’m eating about 150-250 g carbs.  I have kept off the four pounds of weight loss and the inch off my waist.  I’m sure as I adapt I will lose even more. I only cheated 3 times total so far when I felt a bit hungry & sick, so I went ahead and had a snack, but got right back on the program after that.  I’ve noticed that including enough fat/protein prevents this.  Overall, I’m doing much better than I expected with my history of thyroid & adrenal issues & hypoglycemia. I would like to lower my carbs a bit more as I progress, aiming for about 100 g daily. 

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