PDA

View Full Version : Questions about B12 and calcium levels, and cortisol




rachelb
08-22-2006, 12:32 PM
I've been hit or miss with my supplementation since January and been feeling bad on and off since January. I actually deliberately stopped my supplements in Feb because I was feeling bad but then have never gone back totally on them.

I had bloodwork done earlier this month because of my leg pain that I mentioned in my Roll Call post.

B12 level was 966 with the normal range being 180-914. Can you have too high of a B12? It seems odd with the symptoms I've been having that my B12 is that way. I *may* have taken a sublingual B12 that morning but I may not have. I don't honestly remember. (And yes it would have been really stupid to take one right before going to have my B12 level tested but this summer has been so crazy busy that my brain is on overload.)

Calcium level was 9.4 with the normal range being 8.6-10.2. A couple of years ago I had some funny leg pain and my doc suggested taking calcium and that fixed it up. And I haven't been taking my calcium very regularly even though I don't consume a lot of dairy products (have been eating a lot of greens, though). So I don't know if I should be taking calcium now or not.

Feeling very frustrated with the whole thing because the gluten free diet was supposed to be my cure all. I'm supposed to feel a ton better than I did 2 years ago and really I don't seem to. (Though I am thrilled not to be having the big D anymore.)

I'm looking for some awesome earth shattering insights here, but I'd settle for some small insights. :D

Lovely to have a place to "see" everyone again!

Editing to add that I forgot the cortisol part. I asked for my cortisol to be tested because from what I read on the internet, that would explain my reaction to the Armour thyroid (as mentioned in the Roll Call thread. Cortisol level was 23.5 with a normal scale of 5-25.

Rachel




orthomolecular
08-22-2006, 01:44 PM
I would strongly urge you to consider using some digestive enzymes. I have severe nutritional deficiencies which I have been getting treated for. I discovered recently that my pancreas may have been effected by the deficiencies.

I found supplementing enzymes has made a difference. Now, some people can find that using specific enzymes will allow them to eat foods that are allergic or sensitive, but not everyone has that experience. But all the same you should consider using them because as we age our pancreas does not produce the level that it did when we were younger.

You said your calcium levels were high even though you don't eat diary. First blood calcium levels, I think, may be more about your parathyroid hormone functioning properly, then it may have to do with your diet. Honestly, if your calcium levels were low your doctor would take that very seriously. Do not view especially calcium blood levels as any indication of your nutritional profile.

Usually with some food allergies or sensitivies there are problems with absorbtion. This can effect your nutritional status.

Your body can make the most of that calcium in plant foods if you give it the proper enzymes to make sure that oxalic acid doesn't interfere with the absorption.

Actually the idea that just eliminating those foods will cause you to feel much better is not exactly honest info, I think. Any adult with a chronic problem like food sensitivities may have other issues like nutritional problems or other digestive concerns. Are you sure your GI tract has healed completely? Are you supplementing those nutrients that are known to be associated with allergies?

One thing you can try on your own to get an idea about your nutritional status is to buy some Zinc Status. This product tells you your zinc status or if you have a zinc deficiency immediately. I use orthomolecular for my deficiencies. According to ortho, you would likely be the type low in zinc and high in copper. Copper is a heavy metal and can be stored in the body to levels that will impact on your health. But being low in zinc may cause your body to store other heavy metals too. Zinc is needed for MT (metallothionein) to get heavy metals into your bloodstream and then your kidneys to be excreted. This is not what you want.

Ortho says that people with low histamine levels usually are the ones to have food issues. (I have pyroluria and low histamine levels) Histamine is something your doctor can check for you, but won't be able to help you correct though. Ortho helps balance histamine levels with nutritional supplements.

jccgf
08-22-2006, 01:50 PM
I am clueless on the whole cortisol thing, but I think maybe Judy and others may have some input.

I've been in the supplement limbo situation at times.

For a time, I was beginning to feel like I wanted to upchuck anytime I took my vitamins...and decided that maybe I was getting too much of something and laid off.

Well, I have to say I have learned one thing. I can not lay off my B12. I know my B12 level is high...last tested many years ago at about 1000, but anytime I have cut back I begin having B12 deficiency like symptoms in a matter of days to a week. I know that my level doesn't drop that quickly, but I need the daily intake.

Still, I have trouble staying on the wagon of my other supplements, and over time, I do start feeling less well. Most recently, I was again having regular chest pains (something reminescent of my B12 def days). I added back B6 (that has some magnesium with)...and tried to remember my multi...and the chest pain is gone. I had been having it for almost a month...finally started remembering to take more of my vitamins...and now it has been gone since.

So...two things. One is knowing what we really need...and two is keeping up with it. I struggle on both counts. My current doctor hasn't done any blood testing for anything (well, TSH and T4)...although I haven't had any major complaints...and in a way...it has felt good to be well enough to just exist without medical intervention.

In a perfect world, I'd see an integrative/orthomolecular type doc who would do the appropriate nutritional testing~ but I lack the motivation at this point to pursue it. If you are really feeling slumpy, I'd find that doctor who is willing to scrutinize what you may be missing...too high or too low in. (I don't think B12 is something you can be too high in...not from anything I've ever read.)

Hope you can figure things out~

I think the digestive enzymes is probably a very good tip from orthomolecular. How many times have I said I was going to try that for myself and my daughter, and haven't???? I've heard from many who have had good results with digestive enzymes.

Cara

JudyLV
08-22-2006, 03:47 PM
Rachel,

I do know that Armour thyroid has both T4 and T3 (the biologically active form of the thyroid hormone). Many people do just fine on a T4 replacement only but others have a hard time converting T4 to T3 and need to supplement with a small amount of T3. I really need this as my T3 levels are low but my body can not handle much because my adrenals are stressed. Usually stressed adrenals are reflected as low cortisol but I have read that cortisol levels elevate before a total crash. I know cortisol levels vary throughout the day. Weak adrenals might have been the reason you could not handle Armour thyroid. My holistic doctor is very good at sorting all of this out and he has put together a chart on his website so one can try to determine if their symptoms are due to weak adrenals or low thyroid. Here is a link to the chart http://www.drrind.com/scorecardmatrix.asp

Hope some of this helps.

--Judy

rachelb
08-23-2006, 11:13 PM
Hi there Orthomolecular,

I used to take enzymes, I should start again.

Interesting you should mention parathyroid. I was just reading about that recently. That's on my list of things to talk to my new doc about.

One thing you can try on your own to get an idea about your nutritional status is to buy some Zinc Status.

Very cool! I had never heard of this. I've got it on my shopping list now.

I had never heard of orthomolecular medicine until your post, so thanks for the info. I'm still researching it and seeing if I can find a practitioner in my area.

Thanks!

Rachel

rachelb
08-23-2006, 11:18 PM
Hi Cara,


Well, I have to say I have learned one thing. I can not lay off my B12. I know my B12 level is high...last tested many years ago at about 1000, but anytime I have cut back I begin having B12 deficiency like symptoms in a matter of days to a week. I know that my level doesn't drop that quickly, but I need the daily intake.

Thanks! I feel better hearing this.


So...two things. One is knowing what we really need...and two is keeping up with it. I struggle on both counts.

Yes, I agree. It's hard. I've thought about doing nutritional testing to see if I can find my deficiencies, but as you know sometimes as a mom it's hard to find time to do these things. We'll see how my new doc is and go from there.

Rachel

rachelb
08-23-2006, 11:24 PM
Hi Judy,

That chart is fascinating. I have stuff on both side, but I see my son on the weak adrenal side. Wihich could make sense if you consider his extremely premature birth and 5 months in the NICU--however that was 9 years ago. How do they treat weak adrenals? And is there any way to test it other than blood tests? (Poor guy just hates needles!)

I'll bring the whole adrenal thing up to my new doc when I see her next month.

Thank you!

Rachel

annelb
08-24-2006, 08:19 AM
My physician had me do a saliva test for adrenal fatigue. http://www.diagnostechs.com/main.htm

Hmmmm - they use to have a thyroid spit test but I don't see that on the current webpage.

Anne

rachelb
08-24-2006, 09:57 AM
Thanks, Anne! Saliva is something I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem to get from Colin!! :D :D

Rachel

NancyM
08-24-2006, 10:04 AM
For a time, I was beginning to feel like I wanted to upchuck anytime I took my vitamins...and decided that maybe I was getting too much of something and laid off.

I had a brand of multi-vitamins that did that to me too. I'd feel nauseous every time I took them. I think it might have been magnesium, but I've taken stronger magnesium since and felt just fine.

orthomolecular
08-24-2006, 10:39 AM
NancyM,
Most times when a multi causes nausea it is likely to be the copper. Some new multi's now have NO COPPER. Women especially can have problems with high copper levels. Estrogen triggers ceruloplasmin which puts copper into your bloodstream. Copper levels go up when women get their period (because of estrogen going up) and a lot of women will have cravings for chocolate, or can have GI problems then. Too much copper will cause the GI problems including diarrhea, cramps, gas, bloating, etc., and many other symptoms too. But too little copper would cause the chocolate cravings. Dark chocolate is higher in copper than milk but both are good sources for copper.

You can have too much copper from BC pills (synthetic estrogen being stronger than natural estrogen), tap water (copper pipes), soda from fountain machines (copper tubes), booze, weed, cigs, other meds, recent pregnancy (high estrogen levels), stress depletes you of zinc, and vegetarian protein sources.

Zinc Status will tell you if you have too much copper. Zinc and copper balance one another. Zinc Status will cost less than $20 in a health food store and tells you immediately if you have a zinc deficiency (or too much copper). This test is a better indication of deficiency than a blood sample. Too much copper can have cause some serious health problems if not taken care of.

Llonghair
08-25-2006, 06:47 AM
Thanks Ortho,
that is interesting about zinc and copper.

mrsD
09-10-2006, 01:53 PM
it has been my experience that the two most common causes of
nausea/reflux with high dose multis...is the B-complex and/or zinc content.

These mixed products usually use zinc sulfate, which is very cheap and
high in causing nausea.

B-complex has always been a problem..it will be easier to tolerate in an
extended release formula (these are becoming more common),
broken in half and split throughout the day, and most definitely taken after food.

here is a really good listing of nutrients and use of oral contraceptives:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/foodnut/09323.html

JudyLV
09-11-2006, 12:58 PM
My daughter gets cracks in the corners of her mouth when she does not take her vitamins for a while. Her doctor recently told us that can be from not having enough zinc (I had always thought it was from a lack of B vitamins). Her blood zinc levels were recently tested and they are at the low end of the range.

I bought some Zinc Tally and so far I am the only one who has tried it. I held it in my mouth and did not taste anything. After about 10 seconds I decided to just swallow it. As I swallowed it I got a blast of "zinc taste" (I suppose that was what the awful taste was). I don't know how to interpret that but I am not going to retest anytime soon.


Rachel--There is a quick test for stressed adrenals that you can do at home. Go in a darkened room and look in a mirror as you shine a small light across your eye. The pupil will contract. If the adrenals are stressed your pupil will not be able to hold the contraction and will dilate despite the light shining on it. This is discussed in the book Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson.

--Judy

NancyM
09-11-2006, 01:32 PM
Dr. Fine mentioned in passing he thought dairy products were probably responsible for a lot of osteoperosis, I thought that was an interesting remark!

Lately I've been reading about lectins (in grains, legumes, maybe other sources?) bind with calcium. And I've been pondering... how did hunter & gatherers get by? I doubt they eat anywhere near the amount of calcium most of us get.

myst
09-11-2006, 01:59 PM
Rachel,

Magnesium, as well as calcium, is supposed to help with muscle and joint pain. Racing/irregular heartbeat can also be caused by low magnesium. If you've been supplementing with calcium, but not magnesium, the two may be out of balance.

From a book called "Understanding Vitamins and Minerals":

Scientists subjected 6 groups of rats to "noise stress" for 3 months. The stress robbed their bodies of magnesium - and the louder the noise, the greater the decrease in magnesium levels. In tests on people (who had to listen to loud traffice noise for 8 hours), results were the same. That means if you live or work where it's noisy, chances are you need extra magnesium.

They also go on to say they suspect that any type of stress will lower magnesium levels.

This seems like a pretty good site http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/magnesium_imbalance.jsp

As for a basic B12 test, doesn't that measure just what's in the blood, and not what's in the muscles where it's needed? If so, couldn't the blood level be high, but other areas be low? Where's Rose? :)

I know if I stop my B12 for more than 2 weeks, I get my shooting pain back - it's like someone just jammed a nail right through my foot and in the back of my knee, and it does it every few seconds for about 10 minutes straight, off and on throughout the day. I've never had my levels tested, I just know I need it. :)

myst

orthomolecular
09-11-2006, 02:24 PM
My daughter gets cracks in the corners of her mouth when she does not take her vitamins for a while. Her doctor recently told us that can be from not having enough zinc (I had always thought it was from a lack of B vitamins). Her blood zinc levels were recently tested and they are at the low end of the range.

I bought some Zinc Tally and so far I am the only one who has tried it. I held it in my mouth and did not taste anything. After about 10 seconds I decided to just swallow it. As I swallowed it I got a blast of "zinc taste" (I suppose that was what the awful taste was). I don't know how to interpret that but I am not going to retest anytime soon.



--Judy

I think a delayed taste from Zinc Status or Zinc Tally means you are deficient. It is interesting that your doctor said that cracks in the corner are from low zinc levels. I disagree with that and agree with you, Judy, that it is a b vitamin issue. But it seems like taking some zinc would probably be a good idea. I will get those if I don't take the b vitamins like thiamin or some other b vitamin.

Low nutrients levels especially in women can cause weak adrenals, I think. Women are more prone to this problem because estrogen must be broken down in the liver before it is excreted in the body. The liver and adrenals work together, so if one is weak the other will likely suffer too at some point. But I have the problem with sensitivity to light sometimes. I hate having to drive on sunny days sometimes. I do think this is from my zinc deficiency. Zinc is needed by the adrenals, but of course not the only thing.

I have a photo of my in second grade and I can see how dilated my pupils were back then. Dilated pupils are, I think, another sign of weak adrenals.

jccgf
09-11-2006, 02:45 PM
Copper levels go up when women get their period (because of estrogen going up) and a lot of women will have cravings for chocolate, or can have GI problems then.


Do we all get diarrhea with our periods? I do :o. Always.


White flecks in the nails and stretch marks are supposed to associated with zinc deficiency. My daughter, thin, had all sorts of stretch marks at the tender age of about 12. So...that stood out for me when I heard zinc defiency could cause that. Otherwise, it made no sense!

Cara

orthomolecular
09-11-2006, 03:28 PM
Do we all get diarrhea with our periods? I do :o. Always.


White flecks in the nails and stretch marks are supposed to associated with zinc deficiency. My daughter, thin, had all sorts of stretch marks at the tender age of about 12. So...that stood out for me when I heard zinc defiency could cause that. Otherwise, it made no sense!

Cara

Most people never believe me when I try to tell them that stretch marks are a sign of a zinc deficiency. That Strivectin stuff goes for $70 or $80 and a zinc supplement is a fraction of that price. I had stretch marks too as a teenager and my weight did not change then. Some people don't want to beleive that stretch marks are NOT GENETIC but can be treated pretty inexpensively. Some women will swear that rubbing cocoa butter into their abs during pregnancy is what prevented them from getting stretch marks. That is just another example of some misinformation out there.

I used to get some minor GI problems when my period started. Now, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it does I take it as an indication that my copper and zinc are not balanced as well as they should be. Of course it could be something else too; but for any problems I try to listen to my body and try to correct the problem. Sometimes it can be a pain to have these symptoms pop up from time to time, but they can provide useful feedback that my nutritional supplements may need a minor tweaking.

annelb
09-11-2006, 05:51 PM
Do we all get diarrhea with our periods? I do . Always.


I am past menopause but, yes, I use to get diarrhea with my periods too :o Not much in the way of stretch marks :)
Anne

NancyM
09-11-2006, 07:31 PM
Really? Others get D too with their period? I thought that was just me. Wow, that is weird. It has been getting more pronounced too, as menopause looms.

graceperson
09-11-2006, 07:45 PM
Really? Others get D too with their period? I thought that was just me. Wow, that is weird. It has been getting more pronounced too, as menopause looms.

I have a friend who is not at all gluten intolerant and she gets D with her period. That was eye opening to me because I thought it was due to my celiacs.

Grace

annelb
09-11-2006, 07:57 PM
Looks like D with menstration is very common. http://www.gastroenterologynursing.com/pt/re/gastronurse/abstract.00001610-199803000-00005.htm;jsessionid=FGGWdmdTGy4cDQ1SfvLG2nxwj7GLG KwpDWD64CBGQn8wZ1Yxcl1t!1230047961!-949856144!8091!-1
GI symptoms such as stomach pain and nausea are highest during menses compared with other cycle phases; also, stool consistency is loosest at menses. This pattern is present in control subjects. In women with irritable bowel syndrome the same pattern is seen but with higher symptom intensity.
Anne