Sunday, September 4, 2016

How I Quit High Blood Pressure Meds Forever

I'll tell you a secret. Two years ago I was diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure. At that time, I gave in to the doctor's pressure to take high blood pressure medication ("don't you want to be there for your daughter?"). I was prescribed Metoprolol, a beta blocker.

While the drug did lower my blood pressure somewhat, it also made me dizzy, and tired.  The doctor recommended I eliminate all salt from my diet, which I did. I stopped salting my food, and stopped eating anything out of a package or can, because these packaged foods are typically very high in sodium. Result? Absolutely zero change in my blood pressure.

I felt there had to be a better answer, and began looking. I learned about sodium, and that traditional white table salt is as stripped of nutrients as white flour, and about as healthy as cocaine. I learned about Good sodium, and Good salt- pink Himalayan and Celtic grey salts. Since the pink salt was in my grocery store, I got some, and started using it. Within a few days of using the pink salt, my blood pressure went DOWN ten points. So much for the myth that "all sodium raises your blood pressure".

The truth is, White processed salt raises your blood pressure, because in stripping away the trace minerals that were originally there, your body doesn't have what it needs to process it. Pink and Grey salts still have the nutrients that were there to begin with- the companion nutrients, or cofactors, necessary for your body to properly utilize the sodium.

So if eating the right sodium lowered my blood pressure naturally, what Else could I do naturally to get my blood pressure down those last few points? I wanted to get off those beta blockers as soon as possible.

Thankfully, my research led me to potassium. Hopefully, you've already read the previous potassium post- if you haven't, this is a good time to review it. When your body does not get enough potassium, your blood pressure goes up. Hmm. Seems a natural assumption then, that if lack of potassium will CAUSE high blood pressure, then eating enough potassium will FIX high blood pressure. And it does.

I started eating more potassium rich foods every day. I skipped a dose of the Metoprolol to see how my bp would react, now that I was eating a healthy salt and getting enough potassium- and my bp stayed normal. I spoke with my doctor and pharmacist about quitting the medication. They gave me a tapering schedule, and I was completely off the med in a few weeks.

That's it. It's all about the potassium. You need potassium every single day- it's not something you can build up on the weekends and expect it to last you during the weekdays. Every day. Just like water, oxygen, sleep, and other daily necessities, potassium is so vital for every part of your body- and potassium needs balanced with Good sodium and magnesium. But if you read the previous blogs, you already know that.

I now liberally salt my food with pink or grey salt, to my taste preferences. I try to eat potassium with every meal, snack on dried apricots, drink lots of tomato juice and coconut water, and if I've missed and I'm feeling low in potassium, I make a potassium smoothie.

Potassium Smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup other fruit (preferably frozen), 1/2 teaspoon Camu Camu powder, 1/2 teaspoon Maca powder

You can omit the last two items if you don't have them. Camu Camu is a tropical fruit and a great source of whole food vitamin C, as well as an added potassium boost. Maca powder has potassium and iron, and is good for regulating blood sugar. We have made this smoothie using for the other fruit blueberries, cherries, and mixed berries. This week we got some frozen mango, and I made spinach ice cubes to add to it as well. (measured how much water the ice cube tray holds; put spinach in blender with a little water, measured the resulting pulp, added water to bring it up to original content of ice cube tray, poured it out, froze it, popped frozen cubes into freezer bag)

We try to drink a smoothie a day. With that, the tomato juice, having a baked potato with lunch, substituting plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, and munching on the dried apricots, I do pretty well at hitting the RDA of 4,700 mg of potassium.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Decrease Seizure Frequency

Some people know what their seizure triggers are, and some do not. Some people do not even know what a seizure trigger is, while others are always looking for more ways to minimize their seizure activity.

Even the most knowledgeable may find some new information here, which can help decrease the frequency of seizures in themselves or a loved one, so read on my friends.

Top Seizure Triggers:
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Caffeine
  • Low blood sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Medications
  • Extreme Weather
Let's take these apart and tackle solutions one by one.

Stress- The number one seizure trigger by general consensus in every seizure support group is Stress. Stress has a domino effect- stress can release adrenaline, which can cause dehydration; stress can cause inflammation; stress burns up your B vitamins and magnesium very quickly. All of those things make you less able to cope with stress, which leave you feeling more stressed than you were to begin with! Aarg! What's a person to do?

Option One: Listen to Sound Healing on YouTube, headphones in, while you are not driving. This is my favorite one, it is an hour exactly, you will feel so stress free afterward, you will want to find me and hug me. I hug back.

Option Two: Listen to a Guided Meditation, this one is specifically for stress, to relax your mind and body. Also listen with headphones, and not while driving.

Option Three: Hypnosis for stress, also on YouTube; headphones and driving rules apply.

Option Four: Learn some Deep Breathing techniques to help relieve stress. This one is only 8 minutes long, and you can watch any time, any place.

Option Five: Learn How to Relax on my Pinterest board. Tons of great tips you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help keep stress at bay.

Option Six: Take a B complex vitamin and a Magnesium supplement to help you handle stress better. These are the key vitamins that you need to not feel as stressed, to not get stressed, and to calm down quickly when you are stressed. When it comes to the B complex, any brand you like is good- though if you're super stressed, look for a Stress Complex- you can find this in any grocery or chain store. When it comes to Magnesium, read the Mag blog, and know that Glycinate or Threonate are the best forms to specifically deal with stress. Odds are, you won't find these in a store- save some time and hassle and buy them online.

Sleep- Obvious answer is 'get more sleep' but it's not always that easy. Try some of the following methods to get more, better, and deeper sleep:

Option One: Turn off all electronics (phone, TV, computer) one hour before you'd *like* to go to sleep. So if you want to be asleep at 10pm, turn them off at 9pm. Many studies have shown that the light and stimulation from these devices affect your sleep patterns.

Option Two: Warm bath one hour before bed. Not a shower, a shower is stimulating, and not a hot bath, just a warm one. You don't have to wash if you don't want to, just soak in the warm water for 15 minutes.

Option Three: Consider shifting the times of your medications. Many medications can keep you awake- talk to your pharmacist and have them check your current medications, and see if there's a pm dose you can move to earlier in the day.

Option Four: Eye mask to sleep in. You may be super light sensitive and not even realize it, a mask will help it be dark enough to help you fall asleep.

Option Five: A guided meditation to help you fall asleep. Don't listen to this one while driving either.

Dehydration- A healthy body needs to drink half their weight (pounds) in fluid ounces a day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need to drink 100 ounces. (convert weight to metric; convert ounces to liter) Now that's a perfectly healthy person, who does not smoke cigarettes, does not drink caffeine, does not drink alcohol, takes no prescription medications, and does not live in a dry/hot/windy climate. Cigarettes, caffeine (all types; coffee, tea, soda, chocolate), alcohol (all types), medications and harsh climate are ALL dehydrating. Your liver uses water to detoxify the effects of alcohol and caffeine- more water than the water content that's in the beverage. So every cup of coffee, soda, or beer, creates a negative water balance, leaving you slightly more dehydrated than you were before you drank it. Up your water consumption over the course of a few days to avoid throwing your electrolytes out of whack. Start by aiming for that half your weight amount, and increase it based on your other consumption patterns, and your thirst. If you feel thirsty, your body is thirsty for WATER, drink it. Here's a really great idea someone had to help increase their water consumption- after all, we are very visual and this may help you get that water you need.




Caffeine- I have yet to talk to a single person with epilepsy who handles caffeine well. It is a fact that caffeine lowers the seizure threshold. Try to stop, it's worth it. Keep other beverages handy, at all times- carry them with you when you leave the house for any reason. If you have that drink, you are less likely to succumb to the caffeinated beverages that are just everywhere. Juice, herbal tea, sports drinks, blends you make (tons of great beverage recipes on pinterest)- save a few disposable drink containers, wash them, and fill them ahead of time so there are always several handy for when you want a drink. If you cannot avoid caffeine, at least drink twice as much water as the caffeinated beverage you just had, to offset the dehydrating effect.

Low Blood Sugar- They are still studying before releasing official information on the connection between hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and seizures. Unofficially, this topic comes up in seizure discussion groups and is generally accepted as a known seizure trigger. Carry snacks with you at all times, in your car, purse, desk, backpack. Many people who have seizures do not feel a hunger signal, which can complicate this: solution, set a timer on your phone to remind you to eat. No surprise, there's an app for that. 

Alcohol- Ironically, it is not the drinking of alcohol that triggers a seizure, it is the sobering up. Avoid as much as possible, and drink twice as much water as you do alcohol to at least offset the dehydrating effects.

Medications- It seems most medications affect the seizure threshold! Blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, even allergy pills can lower the seizure threshold. Don't check with the pharmacist on this one, unfortunately their databases do not carry information about the effect drugs have on the seizure threshold. Instead, check online, each med one by one, searching for the name of the med plus the phrase 'seizure threshold'. (EX: "does Wellbutrin affect the seizure threshold") Make note of which medications you are taking that lower the seizure threshold, and talk to your doctor about it. There may be alternatives that work just as well for your blood pressure, depression, allergies, etc that do not affect your seizure threshold. If you do change prescriptions for this reason, be aware that stopping a medication that affects the seizure threshold will definitely contribute to seizures while your body goes through withdrawal. However, the withdrawal period is generally a few days versus continuing to take something daily that adds to your seizures.

Extreme Weather- Too hot, too cold, high winds, high pressure systems all affect the frequency and severity of seizures. Since you can't argue with the weather, do what you can to work around it. Too hot, dip a bandana in ice water and tie it around your neck, or buy this cool fabric item that keeps your cool for twenty bucks. There's an electronic version for $50 at the Sharper Image, my friend used one at an outdoor weekend long event in the summer in Texas, and raved about it. In the heat, be sure to drink extra water, and have some good salt too, to replace what you sweat out (grey Celtic salt is good salt). Too cold, layer and wear a scarf over your face- it's the breathing the cold air that seems to cause the most problems. High pressure- nothing you can do about this one. High winds, I theorize the problems from winds are a combination of the pressure of the wind and the dehydrating effect; so drink up! Water may help, and in that vein, lotion and lip balm may help lock in moisture in your body to keep you from drying out as fast.

Top contributors to seizures:
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Parasites
  • Heavy metals in body
  • Mold exposure
  • Infections
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Lyme
  • Gallstones and/or Liver stones
If you've read my previous blog post, How I Manage Seizures Without Drugs, you know that I do not take AEDs, I treat solely with vitamins.  I have yet to meet or talk to someone having seizures who does not have one or more deficiencies. In my opinion, from all my research, VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES CAUSE SEIZURES. Period. That is the root cause.

There are So Many medications that deplete (lower) your vitamins, Especially Anticonvulsants!  Specifically, anticonvulsants lower your magnesium and B vitamins- the vitamins that prevent seizures. Or the lack of magnesium and B vitamins cause seizures, however you'd like to phrase it. So taking the drug requires you to take more of the drug. Diabetic medications lower B vitamins (especially Metformin), PPIs lower, almost all of the strong daily prescription drugs affect your vitamin levels. To check, do a quick google, "does Lamictal lower magnesium", for example, to check any/all meds you are on against vitamin deficiencies (you can replace magnesium with B12, calcium, etc; or just the phrase 'cause vitamin deficiency').

If you think you are getting enough vitamins yet still show signs of deficiencies, it is almost always due to damage of the intestines. This can be from surgery (C-section, hysterectomy, hernia, etc), injury, illness, heavy antibiotic use. It can be from Leaky Gut, Candida yeast overgrowth, toxic mold exposure, fungal infection, Lyme disease, Celiac, heavy metals (which damage gut), or parasites. In many (if not most) cases, it is more than one of these, sometimes ALL of these.

Your intestines distribute all of your vitamins throughout your body. They send vitamins and nutrients to the brain. Your intestines MAKE certain vitamins and hormones, so if they are damaged, the manufacturing stops and distribution is significantly impaired.

Once the intestines are compromised, it opens the door to other problems. Parasites eat holes in intestinal walls, leading to Leaky Gut, which leads to inflammation and compromised immune system, which leads to being very susceptible to mold & fungal infections, Lyme, Candida overgrowth, etc. It goes in all directions- Candida will also cause damage setting the stage for parasite overgrowth, and parasites carry and hold heavy metals; also, heavy metal exposure (mercury, lead, etc) will cause damage creating an environment conducive to parasite and Candida overgrowth. Any one of these issues can create the environment for all the others, it's a domino effect.

Stones in the liver and gallbladder are general created by a high toxin load; the irony is, the stones themselves then block the pathways which allow nutrients to be delivered and toxins to be eliminated. So again, domino effect.

This is already my longest blog, so I am going to come back with future blogs about how to eradicate parasites, Candida, Lyme, heavy metals, gallstones. In the meantime, you can start doing some healing of your gut today, which will help by naturally strengthening your body's defenses to these invaders. I have an entire board on pinterest devoted to Gut Health, where you can learn to make your own probiotics (good bacteria that strengthen your immune system and kill parasites and candida), bone broth (repairs gut damage), and so much more. Take some time to view this very important information, and I'll be back with more.

Friday, July 29, 2016

How to Take Iodine

I've been on an Iodine protocol for almost a year now. One of the most frequently asked questions about iodine in my health groups is, how do you take iodine?
Other frequent questions are: How much iodine should I take? How often do I take iodine? and What type of iodine should I buy?


So here's the blueprint for taking iodine. The full iodine protocol, with the iodine cofactors. Without further ado, everything iodine-

You will need:
  • Lugol's 2% iodine
  • Selenium, 200 mcg
  • B2 and B3 (100 mg Riboflavin, 500mg Niacin)
  • Magnesium, 400mg
  • Vitamin C, 3,000mg
  • Celtic salt
Breakdown of the iodine protocol ingredients:
Lugol's Solution 2% strength iodine can be purchased on Amazon.
Selenium supplement, any off brand is fine; find in any grocery or chain store.
You can buy seperate B2 and B3 or get a Bcomplex- any off brand is fine. If you buy your B's seperately, be sure to get NON FLUSHING Niacin.
There are so many different types of magnesium supplements, personally I really like Magnesium Glycinate and think that's the one to get; I use Solaray brand, buy it on Amazon as I cannot find it in stores.
Vitamin C- this needs to be real, "whole-food" vitamin C, NOT ascorbic acid. They are NOT the same thing, and do not have the same effects in your body. I use Camu Camu for my vitamin C; again, bought off Amazon.
Celtic Salt- not the same as white table salt; you may be able to find in some grocery stores, you can definitely find it on Amazon.

To start, take the daily cofactors as listed, above, and iodine as follows.

Week One: Take a small glass and put 7 spoonfuls of water into it, and add ONE DROP of Lugol's 2% iodine. Stir. Take one spoonful of this water each day- so you are getting 1/7th of a drop per day.

Week Two: 7 spoonfuls of water with TWO DROPS of Lugol's 2% iodine, take one spoonful per day.

Week Three: 7 spoonfuls of water with THREE DROPS, take one spoonful per day

Week Four: 7 spoonfuls of water with FOUR DROPS, take one spoonful per day

Week Five: 7 spoonfuls of water with FIVE DROPS, take one spoonful per day

Week Six: 7 spoonfuls of water with SIX DROPS, take one spoonful per day

Week Seven: Take ONE DROP in any liquid of your choosing, per day

Week Eight: Take ONE DROP in any liquid of your choosing per day except MONDAY when you take TWO DROPS

Week Nine: Take ONE DROP in any liquid of your choosing per day except MONDAY and TUESDAY when you take TWO DROPS

Progress in this manner, until you are up to 2 drops every day, then add a 3rd drop on Monday, and so on.

It is VERY IMPORTANT you take ALL of the cofactors listed Every Single Day you are on iodine, or you will either not get benefits, or you will feel ill.

Iodine protocol helps improve the cellular health of all your cells, increasing energy, because you have increased uptake and absorbtion of your vitamins and minerals. Iodine is wonderful for decreasing and removing cysts of any kind, anywhere in the body. Personally, I have experienced the total removal of a ganglion cyst in my foot, and great reduction in cysts on my face, chest, and arms.

I know many women in my Iodine group who have reported that their Uterine cysts and fibroids have shrank or are gone completely from iodine. Many women are successfully using iodine to restore their fertility, and are becoming pregnant after years of unsuccesful fertility treatments. Lots of women are having lighter and more regular menstrual cycles.

Iodine is not just for women- the genitals of both sexes require lots of iodine. Men with prostate problems, erection problems, or other male issues benefit from iodine protocol.

The breasts (of both sexes) also need lots of iodine. Again, I know lots of women in my iodine group who have reported reduction and removal of cysts in their breast tissue since being on iodine protocol. Personally, my breasts have decreased a bit in size and become 'perkier'- at 42 years of age with a 50 DD chest, that's a big deal. I didn't lose weight, just breast size.

When the body is short on iodine, the areas in most need of iodine will enlarge to try to 'trap' as much iodine as possible. You see this with neck goiters- well, same thing happens in breast and pelvic area. This is why iodine helps with enlarged prostate- give the body the iodine it needs, it no longer needs to swell up to trap the small amounts of iodine available.

Which leaves the thyroid. The thyroid uses massive amounts of iodine. If you have a thyroid disorder, thyroid disease, are hyper or hypo thyroid, or have Hashimoto's, consider iodine protocol. Your body is telling you, loud and clear, that it needs more iodine for the thyroid to function properly. Lots of people in the iodine group are off their thyroid medications now that they are on iodine protocol.

Did you know that Japan has the lowest rates of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers in the world? Did you know Japan has the highest iodine consumption in the world? There's a reason, the same reason Morton Salt containers say "this supplies iodine, a necessary nutrient."

Here is a great article about Iodine and the Cofactors: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2013/12/29/companion-nutrients-the-key-to-iodine-protocol/

Facebook iodine group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/iodine4health/

Further reading:
Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It by David Brownstein, MD
Stop The Thyroid Madness

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

High Manganese Surprise

What happens if you have too much manganese?
What is manganese? How much manganese does the human body need?

I never would have asked these questions a few months ago, because I had never really heard of manganese then.

After 20 years of increasingly debilitating health problems, I have experienced almost every medical test known to humankind. The one test I had never had is one I finally took upon myself to do- I paid a private lab to do a hair analysis. They tested for 31 items; I was hopeful that there would be a glimmer of help in the results. Instead, the results floored me.

My manganese was high. Not just high, toxically high. Off the charts, scary high. The reference range was 0.08-0.60, and mine was 3.1, over five times what the maximum should be. This is called Magnanism.

Excess Manganese in the human body goes straight to the brain. It causes bipolar-like symptoms (mania, crying), mood changes, depression, decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, confusion, and neurological problems, including Parkinson's-like symptoms. All of which I experience, and have experienced, for decades. Now I know why.

High manganese also affects iron, calcium, and copper levels, causing them to be low. I have been diagnosed anemic more than once, and my doctor was surprised to see my calcium levels low in my blood labs- "I've never seen anyone with low calcium, that just doesn't happen. It's so easy to get enough calcium. This is weird."

Toxic levels of manganese cause your body to stop producing dopamine and seratonin. This explains why nothing I ever did made any impact on my depression. Seratonin and dopamine actually have a lot of functions in the body; all I care about currently is knowing why I cannot feel happy, and that it's not because I wasn't trying hard enough.

Manganese is absorbed through the bowel, typically stored in the liver, kidneys, and bones, and any extra the body doesn't need is excreted through bile. Now, I've been having issues with my liver, kidneys, bones, bowel, and gallbladder (maker of bile) for a long long time. They hurt, they don't function right, and blood tests will show a problem, then a few months later blood tests normal, then next lab they're off again. We think this is caused by the manganese moving between organs; test the liver *this* time, and it happens to have a lot of the manganese, and so liver enzymes are elevated and liver shows distress; test the liver a second time and the manganese is currently in the kidneys, so the liver test looks fine.

The test results going back and forth like that for years has been driving me batty! And causing more than a few doctors to look at me skeptically, wondering what I'm doing that will affect my bloodwork this way. I've been accused of doing drugs, alcoholism, even suffocating myself!

I've done some research on removing toxic levels of manganese, and I think the best option is PAS. It's a piece of aspirin, basically (not like breaking off a piece, more like a molecule), and it has worked very well when given in an IV to not only remove high manganese, but reverse the damage as well. Here is an article about the treatment, including the 'recipe' to use PAS treatment for manganism: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180660/

At last we have an answer. A piece of it anyway. A friend asked, how did I get high manganese? the answer is, we don't know yet. There is speculation, but nothing concrete. I'm more concerned about getting it out, as quickly and safely as possible. My doctor is currently running blood labs to verify what was found on the hair test. Once the labs are back, we proceed.


Further reading:
http://www.tldp.com/issue/180/Clinical Effects of Mn.html
http://faculty.virginia.edu/metals/cases/corson1.html

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Magnesium, Take 2

Add caption
I have learned so much more about Magnesium since my last mag blog. Hopefully you will learn a few things about magnesium reading this post.

Magnesium is the third most abundant element in seawater, the 4th most common element in the Earth itself, the 8th most common in the crust, and the 9th most abundant in the known Universe. Why did I give you that textbook information? Because I figure, if it's that prevalent in the world we live in, that's a big clue that it's very important to our bodies.

Magnesium is essential to every cell of your body. Magnesium is responsible for HUNDREDS of functions of every part of your body, every single day. So it's not just important but CRITICAL you have magnesium every single day.

Magnesium is needed to make other vitamins and minerals work. Without adequate magnesium, you may find yourself having a deficiency of vitamin D, B1, calcium, potassium, zinc. If you have a known deficiency of any of these, it would be a good idea to add a magnesium supplement to your daily regimen.

What type of magnesium should you supplement with? We'll get to that in just a moment.

First, it's important to know that magnesium has co factors- that is, things that help it work, and work better, in your body. Without taking these co factors, the magnesium may remain inert, or your body may not be able to absorb the magnesium into the cells- another words, big waste of money on the mag supplements if you don't take the co-factors!!

Magnesium cofactors are: Potassium, B6, Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium, Boron, Bicarbonate. Easy to get, so take a deep breath, this will not be difficult. For your potassium, read the potassium blog to add potassium foods and drinks to your life, along with the proper sodium. For the B6, Zinc, Selenium, and Boron, you can get all that in one good multivitamin. I recommend liquid vitamins, as they absorb better- myself, I use Country Life Multivitamin and Mineral Complex, it has all of these in it, and with a mango flavor it's easy to take.

When it comes to Vitamin C, you need a 'whole foods vitamin C'. Ascorbic acid is NOT the same thing- you should avoid ascorbic acid as it is synthetic and harmful to your body. Get your vitamin C from kiwi, papaya, strawberry, raspberry, citrus fruits, camu camu, rose hip tea, bell pepper, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, green leafy vegetables. Smokers take note- nicotine depletes vitamin C, so you will need more than a non-smoker. This includes any form of nicotine use, including vaping.

Now, to get the magnesium bicarbonate, you make your own using a bottle of water and a bottle of Milk of Magnesia. Recipe and instructions here.

There, that part wasn't hard at all! :)

Here's an image to help you remember the co-factors for magnesium:




Now, when it comes to magnesium itself, the BEST form of course is FOOD. Here is a list of foods high in magnesium: Spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, summer squash, turnip greens, soybeans, sesame seeds, black beans, quinoa, cashews, sunflower seeds, navy beans, tempeh, buckwheat, pinto beans, brown rice, barley, Lima beans, millet, kidney beans, oats, tofu, almonds, rye, wheat, papaya, flax seeds, green peas, tuna, scallops, collard greens, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, raspberries, winter squash, cabbage, asparagus, kale, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, bok choy, mustard greens, cumin, parsley, watermelon, fennel, leeks, basil, cucumber, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, celery, bell pepper. Source

Note that many of these foods can be juiced, pureed, or made into recipes for maximum magnesium without tasting something you don't necessarily like. For example, I don't like greens- but when I juice them and add some apples, carrots, or pears to the juice, I don't taste the greens at all, but I still get the benefits.


Not everyone will do well eating foods high in magnesium. If you have an absorption issue with your bowels- you have malabsorption, abdominal surgeries, a hernia, parasites, candida, celiac, etc- then you need to get your magnesium through your skin. Transdermal, or through the skin, can be absorbed SIX TIMES more effectively than taking magnesium orally.

A magnesium bath with 2 cups Epsom Salt, 1 cup Baking Soda, and 2 Tablespoons Borax is a good way to get magnesium into your body through the skin. Soak a minimum of 20 minutes, up to 45 minutes, in a temperature that is comfortable to you. Rinse off well after, or the salts will dry out your skin. I take a magnesium bath about three times a week. If for whatever reason you cannot take a full body bath, you can still do a magnesium foot bath to get some mag into you that way. (half this recipe for children)


This is the "20 Mule Team Borax" on the laundry aisle. It's not laundry soap. I use it in my bath every week, and have for months. It's no different than using baking soda- which is also on the laundry aisle, yet you put it in cookies (because it's not laundry soap). There's a really good in-depth article explaining Borax, its usage and safety, here. On a side note, after a LIFETIME of recurrent UTIs, the Borax in the baths has eliminated these- no more urinary tract infections for me!

Now, for the magnesium supplements. Magnesium by itself won't absorb in the body- it needs to be bound to something. When you are looking at different magnesium supplements, the reason they have different names is because of the names of the bonds. And some work better than others, and all work in different ways. Here is a great infographic on the types of magnesium:
The overall best type of magnesium to take is Magnesium Glycinate. You will note if you have kidney problems, Chloride is best. If you are improving your cardiovascular health (heart) then Taurate is best. If you have brain issues- brain fog, brain injury, depression, etc- then Threonate is best.


Overall, if you are very deficient in magnesium and have a lot of health issues, it is a good idea to get your magnesium through your skin AND in a supplement. Take two!

Magnesium Advocacy Group on Facebook- 50,000 members and counting!


Friday, December 18, 2015

How I Manage Seizures Without Drugs

In January of 2015, I learned I was probably having seizures (see "I didn't know I was having seizures", previous post). In February I had a CT scan, MRI, an in-office EEG, and an at-home 3 day abulatory EEG, along with blood tests. I kept a list of symptoms and a seizure diary. I video taped a seizure, and sent it to my Neurologist.

The follow up visit with my Neurologist to discuss all test results was tense for me, to say the least. I had been instructed to push a button on the EEG belt attachment every time I seized, and I had pushed it over 100 times in 3 days; between those 100 presses and worrying what the brain scans would say, plus the fact that a previous MRI that showed a 1.3 cm cyst on my brain, I was scared.

The Neurologist told me the EEG did not register any seizures- I was dumbfounded. How was this possible? She went on to tell me she had watched my video and I clearly DID have a seizure, it just didn't register on the equipment. The seizures were happening too deep in my brain for the scalp-attached electrodes to pick up. We can do future, more invasive tests to track them. Now, let's put you on an anti-seizure medication, what's your pharmacy?

Whoa. Hold up for just a minute here, I want to discuss my options before we go straight to some of the strongest medications on the planet. I had joined several seizure support groups on facebook while waiting for the test results, and the tens of thousands of people in these groups spent more time complaining about the side effects of the medications than the seizures! Plus, the majority of them stated that the meds did not stop their seizures, just reduced the frequency and severity.

There are people who had surgery for their seizures- worked great for some, partially for others, temporarily for most, and in some people did not work at all. There is a Vagus Nerve Stimulator, or VNS, an electronic device surgically implanted to control seizures, and the reports in the group were about the same success rate as the surgeries. The prescription anti-seizure drugs, all of them, had so many negative reports that I wasn't willing to even consider them at all.

This left dietary and lifestyle changes, or medicinal cannabis. I considered medical marijuana for my seizures quite seriously, and researched it extensively. It helps about 30% of seizure patients- and those 30% it helps a LOT, many stop having seizures entirely. It's important to get the right kind of medical marijuana- there are hundreds of strains and varieties, and what works for one person will not work for the next one. While I was willing to consider this as a possible option for later, I was not willing to move my family to another state for a one in three chance of success.

When I told my Neurologist I did not want seizure medications, that I wanted to explore dietary and lifestyle changes to control my seizures, she casually stated that my blood tests showed I had Severely low B12. The Neurologist went on to state that many people with seizures will improve with B12 supplementation alone. And we have a winner!  I was also told my folate, ferritin, D, and calcium levels were very low.

My B12 levels were so low, the Neurologist wanted me to start on B12 shots, or injections. Due to the severity of my deficiency, and the severity of my neurological symptoms, I was supposed to have a minimum of weekly injections for six months. I was referred back to my general practitioner doctor (GP) and given my first injection. I had been tracking my seizures for weeks at this point- and with that first B12 shot, I stopped having seizures for NINE DAYS. I went from up to 42 a day to none a day for nine whole days- and I felt better than I had in years! I joined a B12 support group on facebook to get further support and education about B12. It's a good thing I did, too- because my GP gave me one more shot, then refused to give any more, ever.

I talked to my GP, told her of the Neurologist's schedule for injections, took printouts of how to treat a severe B12 deficiency with neurological symptoms, to no avail. She had done a blood test to check my B12 after the second injection and my levels were 'abnormally high' and I 'no longer had a deficiency'. I had told her when we did the blood draw that the number was going to be high, because of the injections, and that we should expect that and continue- which is totally safe, since B12 is water soluable. It did not matter. The GP refused me entirely- so I fired her.

My wonderful B12 support group provided me with data and articles and fantastic support, and I began self injecting (SI) at home. This means I buy my own B12 and syringes, and give myself shots. I also learned about all the co-factors that are needed to help your body utilize B12, especially when injecting. I learned that other deficiencies can trigger seizures as well, especially B6 and magnesium.

Thanks to the help of my groups, I am now between one and three seizures a week; and that number would probably be zero if I were able to inject every day, as the correct guidelines instruct (which my Neurologist was not aware of at that time). When I have a supportive doctor who will prescribe my B12, daily injections are probable; right now, it's every other day since I'm paying all out of pocket.

Lifestyle changes: I checked all the prescriptions I was taking at the time (antidepressant, allergy pills, nasal spray, muscle relaxant, pain pills, beta blocker for high blood pressure) and found that all of them lowered the seizure threshold, meaning it is easier to have a seizure, so I quit taking them. I had to taper off the antidepressant over a period of about 6 weeks, and the withdrawal was horrid, causing seizures and psychosis. I learned that sage can be a seizure trigger, and found this to be true for me, so stopped using sage to cook with- I also stopped using sage to smudge with, which was difficult for me, as I really enjoyed daily smudging with sage; now I use frankincense to cleanse my home.

I never injest artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup, I avoid MSG, I no longer microwave my food or drinks, I seriously limit my chocolate and general caffeine intake, I removed major stressors from my life, I meditate regularly, I take Epsom Salt baths, I prioritize sleeping, I drink at least 60 ounces of filtered water a day (and aim for 100 ounces), I get regular mild exercise, I eat regularly so my blood sugar doesn't dip, I avoid processed white sugar, I switched from white table salt to pink Himalayan salt, and I upped my potassium intake (see potassium post).

Here is the list of supplements that I take to control my seizures. Again, this is a vitamin therapy only, no medications or prescriptions for anti-seizure drugs.

Daily:
  • Multivitamin, "Complete Women's Health" by Kroger (grocery brand)
  • B Complex, "Vitamin B Complex Maxi" by Kroger (grocery brand)
  • Folic acid, 5mg
  • Magnesium, powdered ionic magnesium citrate by CALM (unflavored)
  • Vitamin D, 5,000 IU
  • Vitamin K2, 50 mcg by Solaray
  • Vitamin C, 500mg, by WinCo (grocery brand)
Every other day:
  • B12 injections, hydroxocobalamin, 1,000 mcg
  • Iron, 65mg by Spring Valley
  • Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc combo pill by WinCo (grocery brand)
  • Zinc, 50mg from the Family Dollar store
  • Selenium, 200 mcg by Spring Valley
  • Iodine, Lugol's 5%, 2 drops
  • L-Glutamine, 500mg by Co-Op (grocery brand)
  • Probiotic, "Multidophilus 12" 12 strain formula by Solaray
I also have reviewed the deficiency lists for other vitamins and minerals, and plan on adding boron, taurine, and biotin to my every other day.

The Bcomplex and Magnesium are absolutely VITAL to helping prevent seizures the most. I have continued to track my health and seizures, and there were many days when I did not take one or more of my vitamin supplements; the biggest difference was always with the B Complex and the Magnesium (see magnesium post), which are commonly low in people with a seizure disorder.

The L-Glutamine and Probiotics are to heal my gut- I hardly absorb any nutrients from my food, due to extensive gut damage and permeability. Which is why I'm low in basically everything, because the gut is what absorbs and distributes nutrients- and the gut controls the brain (more on this later). So healing my gut is an essential step in overall health and lifelong seizure control.

My next step is to resolve the overgrowth of Candida in my body, which I think will further reduce the seizures and contribute to the healing of my gut. Candida is present in most bodies, but when it has a population boom, it causes serious damage to the entire body, and it needs to be taken seriously (more on this later). I'm also considering going gluten-free; while this has helped many people with their health in general and seizure control specifically, I want to see how I fare after doing the Candida cleanse before making another major diet change.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Importance of Potassium and How To Properly Raise Your Potassium Levels

Symptoms of low potassium include:
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Weakness, tiredness
  • Cramping in arm or leg muscles
  • Irritability
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Dehydration, dry mouth, thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping, bloating
  • Constipation, Diarrhea
  • Palpitations (irregular heart beat)
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in blood pressure (high or low)
  • Depression, psychosis, delirium, confusion, or hallucinations

Low potassium, or hypokalemia, is one of the top causes of high blood pressure, stroke, AND heart attacks. So having enough potassium every day is pretty important.

Potassium is very closely linked with magnesium levels, so if your potassium is running low regularly, make sure you're getting enough magnesium. Low magnesium will cause low potassium.

Low potassium can be caused by magnesium deficiency, auto-immune disorders, any type of anemia, digestive illnesses (such as IBS, Crohn's, Leaky Gut, Celiac). Treatment with B12 injections can also cause low potassium, because suddenly getting the B12 you need triggers your body to start making new blood cells (among other things), which uses a lot of potassium. If you have Pernicious Anemia and are on injections, it is super important you boost your potassium levels more on jab days.

Now, if your potassium levels have been low for more than a few days, you need to build up your potassium levels. You also need to increase your intake of Good sodium, such as pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt, to maintain the proper potassium/sodium balance. Once you have reached a level where your deficiency symptoms have vanished, KEEP IT UP! You need potassium every single day, this is not something you can just up your levels and then stop; you're not inflating a tire. Your body uses potassium for digestion and muscle function- which includes heart muscle.

Here's a list of potassium rich foods that are not bananas- while bananas have potassium, don't you get tired of eating bananas just to get some potassium?

bamboo shoots, beet greens, coffee, black tea, Chinese cabbage, watercress, Swiss chard, cilantro, spinach, mustard greens, radishes, low sodium tomato juice, portabella mushrooms, butter head lettuce, celery, zucchini, fresh parsley, tomatoes, coconut water, fresh basil, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, asparagus, cucumber, turnip greens, okra, eggplant, cantaloupe, pickles, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, yogurt, canned clams, prune juice, carrot juice, blackstrap molasses, orange juice, avocado, cream of tartar, coconut water, dried apricots

You can eat these raw, cooked, steamed, juice them, drink them. 

The average healthy adult needs 4,500 mg of potassium a day. An unhealthy person needs more than that, especially if they are in the process of healing, because the body is repairing and replacing cells and potassium is crucial to that process.

Adults. In otherwise healthy individuals (i.e., individuals without impaired urinary potassium excretion from a medical condition or drug therapy), there is no evidence that a high level of potassium from foods has adverse effects. In contrast, supplemental potassium can lead to acute toxicity in healthy individuals.”  http://www.nap.edu/read/10925/chapter/7

In other words, you can NOT overdose from potassium in FOOD. You should get your potassium from food and food-based drinks (like carrot juice) and NOT from potassium pills. Potassium pills can cause problems.

If you want to know exactly how much potassium is in any given food or drink, click here: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/pdf/Appendix_B.pdf

*note if you have known kidney problems, your doctor has probably advised you to limit your potassium. If you feel you are low in potassium, and have a kidney condition, discuss this with your doctor.


© Michelle Mason (aka “Michelle Mason Rocks”) 2016