Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Deficiencies in My Blood

Well, I finally got back my lab results from the micronutrient blood tests that I first mentioned in my July 2 post Human Pin Cushion and again on September 10 in All Sorts of Updates.

These test results add to the ever growing pile of scientific evidence that my body is not functioning effectively.

The results indicate that I am currently deficient in:

  • Vitamin B2 (by a lot...this surprised me a lot)
  • Glutathione (old news...I've known this for years)
  • Coenzyme Q-10 (by a lot...this surprised me a little)
  • Overall antioxident function (probably because of the Coenzyme Q-10 and glutathione deficiencies...not surprising at all)

The Vitamin B2 deficiency surprised me because it's not a very common deficiency. What's even more amazing about this finding is the role of vitamin B2 in the body. According to

Vitamin B2 helps break down carbohydrates, fats and protein for use by the body. Its role in maintaining an energy supply for the body is crucial, for it helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound needed to store energy in muscles.

The signs and symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency include visual problems, such as cataracts and excessive sensitivity of the eyes to light (photosensitivity). There may also include reddening of the lips with cracking at the corners (cheilosis), tongue inflammation (glossitis), skin inflammation (dermatitis), swelling (edema), dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, trembling and delayed mental response.

Of the symptoms listed, I experience photosensitivity, reddening and cracking of the lips, dermatitis, edema (especially in my hands and fingers), dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, and delayed mental response. And, of course, I have a documented lack of ATP. Woah.

In addition to the newly listed deficiencies, I've previously been diagnosed with vitamin D, iron, glutathione, and cyclic-AMP (ATP) deficiencies. Fortunately, my vitamin D and iron levels have been under control for a while thanks to all the extra supplements I've been taking.

I've added the following supplements to my growing list of daily supplements (these dose recommendations came along with my lab results):
  • 50 mg Vitamin B2
  • 150 mg Coenzyme Q-10

The test results also show that I am just barely adequate in Vitamin B12, Folate, and Pantothenate. I could stand to increase my Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) levels a bit, as well.

As a result of the lab results and recommendations, I have also decided that this is the right time to increase my doses of the methylation protocol that I mentioned in Starting a New CFS Treatment Plan. I'm hoping the increase will help with my B12 levels among other things.

Previously I was taking -- every other day -- the recommended 1/4 tablets of the Actifolate and the Intrinsic B12/folate, 1/4 tablet of the Neurological Health Formula, the recommended 1 softgel of the Phosphatidyl Serine Complex, and a 1/2 tablet of the Activated B12 Guard.

I have now increased to 1/2 tablet of the Neurological Health Formula and a full pill of the Activated B12 Guard. I am continuing to take the recommended 1/4 tablets of the Actifolate and the Intrinsic B12/folate and the recommended 1 softgel of the Phosphatidyl Serine Complex. I have decided to continue this treatment plan on an every other day basis.

Once my body adjusts to all the extra supplements, I plan to start taking the methylation protocol on a daily basis...which I hope will help my folate levels.

I hope to get this micronutrient test done again in about 6 months to see if I have made any improvements. I also hope that my energy starts to improve with the added supplements.

With all these changes in my supplements, I'm going to try to post an updated list soon.


I just figured out how to post my latest medications and supplements document (thank you to Sue Jackson for the format). Click on the image below, and it should take you to a bigger version.

Update at 5:15pm: In case you were wondering where I got my micronutrient testing done, it was through SpectraCell Laboratories.

My GI doctor ordered the test at my request. It had already been determined that I was deficient in vitamin D and iron, but I wondered if I could be deficient in even more nutrients. At the time my test was to be ordered (in July 2009), I was told that my particular insurance plan would not cover this expense. I wanted the test done anyway. It was well worth the cost.

Today's Activities: home. Today's Most Annoying Symptoms: exhaustion, muscle fatigue, headache, 99.1 low-grade fever (again!), nausea, itching.

Mood (10 is best): 8
Energy (10 is best): 3
Physical Discomfort (10 is worst): 4


Sue Jackson said...

Glad you found the format of my meds list helpful! I wasn't able to click on the document, though.

Your test results are really interesting. I've never been tested for most of those. I've tried extra B vitamin supplements, but they gave me diarrhea. I do take milk thistle and NAC for glutathione depletion since it's so well-documented in CFS.

I was especially interested to read that deficiency in B-2 can cause light sensitivity because my 15-yr old son (with CFS) has been complaining of that, and I didn't know what it was from. Maybe I'll try him on some B vitamins.



Jo said...

Wow, this is really interesting. I'd love to have mine checked.


Hi - I follow Sue's blog, and have noticed your blog as I've passed on over and checked it out a couple/three times.

I was able to read your chart very easily; that's great you can enlarge it that way.

Anyway, as one who has CFS (I'm 67 years old; turn 68 next month), I thought I'd share some of what has helped me avoid 'crashes' for months at a time (the longest I went was 14 months - felt great).

First of all, I was terribly sick on the Zoloft; they tried 3 or 4 other kinds of antidepressants, and finally gave up on me. They simply make me itch; prick - get dizzy; get sad - have up and down moods, so that's over with completely.

Second, I did up my intake of Vitamin "D" - remember, you have to have some exposure to the sun to maximize the effects of this vitamin, so I make sure I get at least 1/2 hour each day of sunshine.

Third, I also increased my B vitamins; take a sub-lingual B12 - in doses about what you take.

Fourth, I take 2,000 IU of Vitamin "C" - this made a huge difference in my overall well-being; reduced pain - increased energy, and fixed my digestive problems.

Fifth, I use Cascara Sagrada for IBS - remedied that problem 100%. I also make sure I eat low-fat yogurt 5 times a week; cottage cheese 3 times a week, and because I'm allergic to wheat products, I eat 2 prunes a day to keep me 'regular' and no bloating problems anymore.

Sixth, I mix a teaspoon of cinnamon with a tablespoon of honey; add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon of ginger to relieve pain; give me energy.

I also use the Benadryl or prescription Clarinex with good results.

I have asthma; use the same inhaler you do - keep the house clean; use air purifiers, and have minimized my problems there.

I also eat vegetarian; this made a huge difference in my overall well-being. Actually I'm a lacto-vegetarian because I use cottage cheese; milk - other cheeses to supplement my protein needs.

I eat only fresh vegetables and fruits; I eat nothing from a can - too many additives. I add no salt to anything; I put a tablespoon of cider vinegar in my orange juice each day; add a tablespoon of olive oil to it, and a tablespoon of honey - I drink this the minute I get up, and no coffee or caffeine of any kind.

I walk on a tread-mill when I can't get outside; use a medicine ball for rotations - to stretch with and keep my muscles toned as best I can (it also helps me keep the pain down).

I use a heating pad on my tummy and one on my back when the pain comes up - I also elevate my legs at the same time.

I play music on the CD 24/7; use candles in the evening, and rarely watch television because it disturbs me most of the time, and it tires my eyes.

I put witch hazel on cotton pads and put them on my eyes to comfort them.

I take an epsom salts bath every other day - this is soothing.

I limit my contact with people to those I truly enjoy being around, so I don't get stressed by negative thinking.

I know you work and travel; I did for 36 years too, so I had to find ways to wind down and calm down.

I wish you the best as you continue with this problem so many of us have.


Jessica said...

Thanks for listing this, Alyson. (Geez, and I thought I took a lot of supplements! lol!) It has given me some new things to consider and ask my doctor about next Friday. I'm really excited about XMRV and can't wait to get tested. I got a copy of the article about it in the Wall Street Journal and feel like framing it!

Ruth said...

Wow, a friend just directed me to your blog. I'm following the same protocol ... but am having SUCH troubles with that blasted multi vitamin. I can only take 1/2 a one twice a week. How do you get yours in quarters w/out completely shattering it/them?


alyson said...

Hi folks! Thanks for all the comments. I will respond to all of them when I'm feeling better... :)

alyson said...

Sue – I’m pretty sure I’ve fixed the document now. It should send you to a bigger version when you click on it now. Thanks again for the format!

Milk thistle and NAC are next on my list of supplements to try, but I’m waiting until I see my PCP to get her OK before I start. It’s amazing what just one vitamin deficiency can do to a person! Good luck figuring out what’s going on with your son.

Jo – Though it seems perfectly obvious to me now, it never occurred to me (or my very good doctor for that matter) to check for simple vitamin deficiencies.

Until this year, I had no idea that I was deficient in vitamins D and B2, iron, or coenzyme Q-10! I do think that my vitamin deficiencies are more a symptom than a cause, but either way it can’t hurt to take the supplements to improve the levels!

Happy in Nevada – Thanks for visiting my blog and for all the suggestions! It’s so wonderful that you have found so many things that help you. I already do many of the same things you do, but I’m interested in trying a few of the suggestions I’m not familiar with.

You seem to have a lot of blogs. Is there one that you write that focuses on CFS? If so, I would like to add it to my list of blogs.

Jessica – Yeah, the list of supplements seems to be growing and growing and growing… I’m hoping to cut back in the number of supplements by finding combination vitamins and supplements in doses that I require.

After I had time to let all the info about XMRV sink in, I also decided that I really would like to get tested. It’s a wonderful discovery that is giving me great hope! The media attention on CFS alone has been amazing.

Ruth – Thanks for visiting my blog! I use a pill chopper that my husband got me at a local pharmacy to cut the multivitamin.

The folate vitamins are another story. I use the same pill cutter to cut the folate pills, but they end up breaking in to about a million pieces. I just try to roughly divide it into 1/4 pieces. Good luck with the protocol!