The Magnesium Experiment

I’ve decided to try something for 30 days. I’ve recently had testing done that shows I have a lot of systemic inflammation – the precursor to lots of chronic diseases.  I remember Kevin Cottrell did a guest blog post on Jack Kruse’s site about reducing inflammation.  He used multiple forms of magnesium and combined it with Cold Thermogenesis (aka freezing one’s ass off) and within a month dropped is hs-CRP from 5.4 to 0.44.  At the time I thought to myself that those were impressive results but we don’t know which of the two interventions he did simultaneously actually had the impact.  Was it the magnesium?  Or the freezing off of his ass?  It sure would have been nice if he would have separated out the two and tested after each one.

Well, I’ve already tried freezing my ass off (see posts from 4/15/12 through 6/22/12).  I didn’t actually do specific testing before/after to measure the effect of CT on my body, so I can’t say that it didn’t lower inflammation – maybe it did, but if it did the improvement was temporary – my hs-CRP results in March and again in November were both 8-point-something.  I know I didn’t lose weight though, which was my primary objective.  It was expensive to implement because my tap water wasn’t very cold, it was time consuming, and it was incredibly uncomfortable during the re-warming period.  Not something I’m willing to try again.

What I am willing to do though is take 30 days and bombard my system with lots of magnesium to see if that has an effect. Two days ago I got a Magnesium RBC test (should have the results soon) and I already have my hs-CRP baseline (13.58). I’ve been following the Magnesium Advocates group on Facebook.  It seems low magnesium can have many dramatic consequences, including anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and systemic inflammation.  I’m just starting to learn about the scope of this mineral’s effect on our bodies, but I know enough to know that I’m probably deficient.  Apparently it’s very difficult to get enough magnesium naturally in food/lifestyle because the soils that grow our food are depleted and we’re just not spending much time in the ocean (or near it).  For my experiment I’ll be using Mg drops, Mg oil, Mg oral supplements, and epsom salt baths, per Morley Robbins Protocol for Restoring Magnesium.

I’ll test again when I’m done and report back.

In the meantime, take a look at my blood sugar now:

Untitled

Wow…nice highs and lows there!  I think it’s safe to say I’ve (literally) crossed the line over to Type II Diabetes at this point.  Not formally diagnosed, however.  I refuse to go to a doctor and go on prescription meds if there’s something I can do to fix this.

So here’s my overall plan.  I’m pretty much done looking for some guru to tell me what to eat.  I’m going to eat what makes my body feel best –  a high protein breakfast, and pretty much an elimination of white carbs (wheat, corn, rice, any kind of flour, and most sweeteners).  In the past when I’ve done this I don’t have the highs and lows in mood and blood sugar.  It’s something I can live with. I’ve eaten this way for months at a time and my blood sugar and hs-CRP were still high, so I don’t think this is going to confound my magnesium experiment. I’d like to keep juicing (mostly vegetables with some fruit added for flavor) because I’m just not interested in eating fruits and veggies every day and I know I need those micronutrients.  However, if my blood sugar doesn’t come down at the end of this 30 days, that’s gone too.

For exercise I’ll be riding my bike and doing yoga when the urge hits.  Nothing organized or stringent.

I’ll blog as I go with updates.

Can’t Even Have Cheese with my Whine

CT last night was 35 minutes at 50 deg F.  It felt cold and then it felt good and then it felt cold and then it was a long time warming up.  I give it a 3 on a scale of 1-5.

Thought for the day: Liverwurst…maybe not the ideal breakfast food?  I mean, it’s like lipstick on a pig, really…it’s still a pig.  At 5:55 AM.

I’m having serious hormonally-driven mood swings the last couple of days, alternating between crying and hating my job to being sort of ok again.  Looking forward to getting the ol’ cycle started again.  C’mon…enough with the forever between periods, body.  I prefer you get more predictable and stay there.  Yeah, right.  I’m 42.  Not likely.

I don’t think I have anything else to say today.  If I did it would just be complaining, so I’ll give it a rest.

 

 

CT, Hormones, and Beer

CT last night was 35 minutes at 52 deg F.  It felt pretty good.  It’s interesting to me, the way my body seems to be responding to different temperatures now.  I was half-submerged in what I thought was 50 degree water, and said to myself, “This feels warmer than usual”…I double checked, and indeed it was 2 degrees warmer…not enough that it should make much difference.  But throughout the soak I felt cool – not numb.  Just like it was a month ago in 60+ degree water.  I guess if you want that glorious numbing feeling you have to keep dropping the temperature…?  Pretty soon I’ll just be lying on a slab of ice asking my husband to lower a second slab of ice onto me.  “Thanks, honey…gotta get numb, you know, or it’s just not as much fun.”

Also interesting is how I respond to warmer temps nowadays.  I hesitated to start CT because I was afraid becoming cold-tolerant would make me less heat-tolerant.  Well, that’s not the case.  I have about the same tolerance for heat that I’ve always had (which isn’t much).  I’ve always done better in cooler temps than warmer ones, and I hate the feeling of being hot.  That hasn’t changed.  But it certainly hasn’t gotten worse.  It’s about the same.

I just realized I haven’t had my period for 6 weeks.  Hm.  What’s up with that?  I was messing around with over-the-counter progesterone in May, and I’m not now…maybe my body is re-balancing itself.  Speaking of re-balancing, my husband has become a big fan of MY doing CT.  Last night he informed me that I’ve been downright easy to get along with for “weeks now.”  He’s a big fan of Jack Kruse, needless to say.  I’m gradually introducing him to healthier eating and supplements…you know, as if I have all the answers…but his labs say he’s getting healthier, eating paleo plus some dairy and drinking gluten-free beer.  I doubt the beer is helping, but at least he’s off wheat.  We make gains where we can.

The MSG Rant Continues, Grass Fed Meat, and Cold Baths

Well, there isn’t a pickle in my entire town that doesn’t have MSG in it.  Too bad…we like pickles around here.  No wonder we like them so much.

Got an order in from US Wellness Meats yesterday…Mmmmmm grass fed bacon.  That’s seriously good stuff.  Also got liverwurst in an effort to get organ meat into my diet.  It’s really good!  My 2-year old loves it.  Score!

CT yesterday was a 40 min CB at 50 deg F.  It felt great.  I’ve noticed I’m starting to be able to tell when a cold bath is going to feel good and when it’s going to feel cold and crappy.  Like, my body feels different – fuller, warmer, maybe? – when it’s going to feel good.  If I feel a little cold or a little “empty” (regardless of what I’ve eaten) it doesn’t tend to feel so good.  This is hardly scientific, but it’s a start to making CT more predictable.  I’d say it feels good about 3/4 of the time.  About 1/4 of the time it’s very hard to get in and I start feeling uncomfortable sooner.

Felt good all day yesterday, eating at home, everything grass fed/pastured/homemade.  Mood was good, and felt energetic.

Stupid MSG.

MSG

CT yesterday was a 30 min CB, 49 deg F.  It was cold and I didn’t love it.  As usual, I’m not sure why it was so unloveable.  Brrr.  At the moment I’m in the middle of Spot-CT-ing my waist.  I plan on doing this for an hour.

So as I mentioned yesterday, I started keeping my food journal to help identify which foods work really well for my body and which ones don’t.  I got the idea for it in this pdf I was reading called the 3 Simple Techniques to Start Healing Leaky Gut Today, by Karen Brimeyer, who apparently is a functional medicine practitioner (but not a doctor…which may be to her credit, considering the doctors I’ve been treated by). So here’s her sample food journal:

After only 2 days of this it’s already been illuminating.  I find that I feel tired after some meals and not tired after others.  What’s the difference?  It appears the difference may be MSG.  For example…yesterday I had KFC grilled chicken for lunch.  No sides, nothing fancy…just grilled chicken.  In the morning I had been energetic and focused at work, at got a lot done.  In the afternoon I felt apathetic and tired and had trouble concentrating.  So I looked at what I ate…and it was “healthy” fast food…slathered, I’m sure, in MSG. If not for the food journal, I wouldn’t have bothered to take a closer look and try to problem solve my afternoon fatigue.

Last night I had organic chicken for dinner with a dill pickle spear.  Afterward I had heartburn (which is uncommon for me, but also I haven’t really been paying attention before this) and I felt hungry an hour later.  Huh?  How could my organic chicken have MSG in it?  Well it probably doesn’t…but the pickle!  I ran over and checked out the ingredient label, expecting (naively) to see “cucumbers, dill, salt.”

Here’s what the label says: “Fresh Cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, garlic, spices, calcium chloride, sodium benzoate (preservative), natural flavors, garlic oil, polysorbate 80, tumeric.”  Hm….those “natural flavors” are suspect, according to numerous sources including this one, that says this phrase could be code for MSG.

So I’m becoming aware of the extent to which MSG is in EVERYTHING.  I feel best when I buy organic and cook at home.  I guess I knew this was true, but I didn’t really know why.  It’s the MSG.  I wonder what exactly it’s doing to me that’s making me feel tired, apathetic, and hungry?  What’s it doing to my insides?

I’m going to make a much greater effort to avoid  products containing MSG from now on.  Sometimes it’ll be impossible…for example, every time I go to any restaurant, ever.  I’m simply not going to give up being a social animal every day for the rest of my life.  But maybe I can find ways to work around the MSG problem, at least most of the time.

Weight Loss and Leaky Guts

Saturday’s CT: 40 minutes at 49 deg F.  Felt good throughout.

Sunday’s CT: None.  Felt like taking a day off.

The scale has moved a couple pounds in the right direction.  I’m not sure why. I should note that when I got back from Seattle on May 30th, I weighed 190.  I figured I was retaining some water because I had been eating carbs.  Sure enough I was down to 187 the next day, and 186 the following day…about where I had been when I left.  Now I’m at 182, a little more than 2 weeks later.  Maybe the CT at the colder temps has dislodged the needle on the scale.  We’ll see if it continues.  The only thing I did differently prior to the 2 pound drop this weekend was drink some wine and eat some sweet potato chips on Saturday.  Hm…maybe I need more carbs?  If I stall again I’ll try it again and see if I get the same results.

My education on Leaky Gut Syndrome continues.  I know if I do have this (and I suspect I do), it’s not as bad as it is for some people.  But some things I’m reading suggest this could be at least partially responsible for fatigue, sleepiness after some meals, resistance to losing weight, and other chronic symptoms I’ve noticed in myself.  So now in addition to my Health Database I’m also keeping a Diet Database, to identify food intolerances.  I’m noting every thing I eat at every meal and then checking in an hour or two after the meal to report how I’m feeling.  Hopefully this will yield some interesting insights.

Let’s Turn My Whole Life Into Data

CB last night was 50 deg F for 35 minutes.  It was just alright.  Certainly tolerable!

I’ve started a database (using Bento on the Mac) to track the following aspects of my world every day:

  • CT experience
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep quality
  • Mood
  • Diet
  • Energy level
  • How many hours before hungry (AM and PM)
  • Fatigue
  • Diet Missteps (stuff I eat that I shouldn’t eat)

I’m trying to determine what makes some days good and some days bad.  Why am I not hungry at all one day but I am hungry the next day?  Why am I sometimes tired after lunch and sometimes not tired?  Why does CT suck some days and rock other days?  Anyway, I’ve just begun to collect data, so it’ll take some time to identify any patterns.

I’ve also started reading more about Leaky Gut Syndrome.  I don’t eat dairy or nightshades very often, but I do maybe once or twice a week.  I was researching on the web and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there.   Dr. K. would probably say I have leaky gut issues (hence the low HDL).  But I’m wondering if I’m undoing 5 or 6 days of eating “perfectly” by having cheese on a salad once or twice…or by having onions mixed up in a recipe once a week.  How strict do you have to be?  IT’S NOT EASY GIVING UP EVERYTHING THAT MAKES MEAT AND LETTUCE TASTE GOOD!!!

Whew…I’m not sure but I think I just had a tantrum.

Oh well…out of time.