Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great! I have a headache

Great! I have a headache.

OK, I could be talking in a sarcastic tone, but I'm not. Seriously folks, I'm actually glad. Not that I'm enjoying the feeling of having a headache... (If that were the case, you could check me into St. Elizabeth's right now!) No, I'm glad because headaches are a sign of detox.

If you've been following my posts, you'll know that I've been on the lookout for signs of detox. Rich van Konynenberg told me to expect some sign of detox. It would be a sign that the treatment is working.

How do I know this is detox and not a random headache? First of all, I rarely get headaches -- maybe one or two a year at most. Second, I've noticed a pattern of mild headaches on and off all week. Third, these headaches don't feel like normal headaches and their location keeps moving around. More significant is that these symptoms have followed periods of great energy, that my energy level has almost returned to what it was before I started this protocol, and that my symptoms of dysautonomia have abated.

Why is this significant? The pattern, according to the theory of natural healing, is a sign that the body is healing. I learned this theory in naturopathy and homeopathy classes as well as from the experience of working with ARL Research Labs.

A weakened body puts its limited energy into maintaining itself. As it begins to heal, as metabolic processes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and organ functions rise in efficiency, an individual begins to experience increased well-being. But this beloved and delightful increase is short-lived because the body now has the energy to start eliminating stored toxins. These toxins have contributed to the state of ill health, and typically include viral and bacteria particles, heavy metals, plastics, pesticides, excess metabolites from vitamin supplements or pharmaceutical drugs. As these substances are released, the detoxification pathways become loaded, and the individual feels worse again. But unless the detox is excessive, the body is able to eliminate the increased load in a few days. Then the cycle repeats itself, building up to increased well-being and ending with detox symptoms.

Rich thought the high level of folic acid (methylation panel results) will need to be detoxed. High folic acid creates a functional B-12 deficiency. It can also (according to Rich) interfere with proper folate metabolism. Folate is the active, natural form in the body.

A lack of adequate folate can lead to:
Digestive disorders such as diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Weight loss
Sore tongue
Heart palpitations
Behavioral disorders
Elevated homocysteine

(Note: this information comes from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)

From the same site is the following discussion:
What is the health risk of too much folic acid?
Folate intake from food is not associated with any health risk. The risk of toxicity from folic acid intake from supplements and/or fortified foods is also low [65]. It is a water soluble vitamin, so any excess intake is usually excreted in urine. There is some evidence that high levels of folic acid can provoke seizures in patients taking anti-convulsant medications [1]. Anyone taking such medications should consult with a medical doctor before taking a folic acid supplement.

The Institute of Medicine has established a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for folate from fortified foods or supplements (i.e. folic acid) for ages one and above. Intakes above this level increase the risk of adverse health effects. In adults, supplemental folic acid should not exceed the UL to prevent folic acid from triggering symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency [10]. It is important to recognize that the UL refers to the amount of synthetic folate (i.e. folic acid) being consumed per day from fortified foods and/or supplements. There is no health risk, and no UL, for natural sources of folate found in food. Table 4 lists the Upper Intake Levels (UL) for folate, in micrograms (μg), for children and adults.

Since I don't eat foods fortified with folic acid (mostly those made with wheat flour), and since the supplement (Vibe) I was taking kept me within the reference range, I want to reevaluate the reason for the high level of folic acid on the methylation panel. Could it reflect the amount I took the previous day? Or does it reflect an inability to eliminate excess folic acid?

Rich van Konynenberg wrote:
High values [of folic acid on a methylation panel] are sometimes associated with inability to convert folic acid into other forms of folate, because of polymorphisms in the DHFR [dinydrofolate reductase] enzyme.

DHFR is the enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of folic acid into THF [tetrahydrofolate], a crucial step in the methylation process. Although I tested for various genetic polymorphisms associated with methylation, DHFR was not one of those tested.

Still so many puzzles to solve.... It is as if we are setting out on a long journey and don't know where we'll end up.
By the way, for the last week, I've continued with two hydroxy B-12. One day, I tried three of those tablets, but it adversely affected my sleep. I woke many times during the night and early in the morning. But I learned something important: the extra hydroxy B-12 had the same insomniac impact on me as did the extra methyl B-12 and the SAMe (see my previous posts "SAMe is not my friend" and "The blue vitamin: B-12)adding to the puzzle of what causes what.

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Please add your comments here. If you have a question specific to your own condition, please e-mail me directly at drjanisbell@gmail.com I cannot give medical advice. If you want to suggest a product or therapy you think I should try, please let me know if you have used it, what you used it for, and how it helped you.