Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More ramblings of a detox skeptic

My blood tests are in, and guess what? Just about everything is normal, and the physician doesn’t have any recommendations. Déjà vu. Again and again and again.

Plus, the results of my urine spot test for toxic metals arrived, and everything was below detectable limits except for six elements in the low to moderate reference range: arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel and thalium.

So does this prove my skepticism? That my miserable symptoms of the past month were not detox?

Because the blood tests have some numbers that concern me, I'm going to play doctor (Gee, I did that when I was a little kid!). Perhaps I should say instead, that I'm going to advocate for myself and take personal responsibility for my health! We've been brainwashed into thinking we have to trust everything to doctors. But since my current doctors do nothing, and the ones I've seen in the past haven't any ideas about treating ME-CFS, I might as well try to see if the test reveals anything about the roots of my complaints.

I have a library of reference books, and take down a hefty spiral bound book called More than Just a Bunch of Numbers – Making Sense of Blood Chemistry Results. This handy reference was put together by a group in Michigan associated with Biotics Research Corporation, maker of nutritional supplements. I look up the numbers that concern me.


TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) has climbed up to 3.31 from 2.2, a substantial increase in the work the pituitary gland has to do to get the thyroid to pump out sufficient quantities of thyroid hormone. It's like flogging a tired horse, and it concerns me enough to ask my local doctor to order more tests for the free thyroid hormones, T4 and T3. A subclinical hypothyroid condition could partially account for my low energy and cold body temperature. Mercola.com argues that anything over 3.0 is indicative of a problem. I know I should also start doing the temperature checks that DrRind.com recommends, but damn it, I always forget. And now that ’m drinking another cup of tea, I’ll have to remember again in 45 minutes. It’s been 1 ½ years since I stopped needing supplement thyroid with the help of a talented acupuncturist. Perhaps my gland isn’t holding its own without maintenance acupuncture treatments.


Total WBC (white blood cells) is low normal. This is common in chronic viral and bacterial infection.

Frequently, the pattern seen with chronic infection will be opposite of that seen with active infection. For example, the total WBC will be decreased, the lymphocyte count will be decreased with the neutrophils increased with chronic bacterial infection.
The inverse pattern is described for chronic viral infection.

Now for some sleuthing over the distribution of cells. Lymphocytes are marked L, below normal. There is no listing for neutrophils, but grans, short for granulocytes, includes neutrophils and they are high normal (69.9% with the reference range at 70% as the upper limit of normal). Basophils and eosinophils, the other kinds of granulocytes are listed separately. Looks like the chronic bacterial infection pattern so far.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about these types of white blood cells:

Neutrophils are professional phagocytes[8]: they are ferocious eaters and rapidly engulf invaders coated with antibodies and complement, and damaged cells or cellular debris. Neutrophils do not return to the blood; they turn into pus cells and die.
They are made in the bone marrow, while lymphocytes are made in the lymphoid tissue, which is where they get their name. Natural killer cells, B cells and T cells comprise the lymphocytes. Lymphs might be expected to be low in ME-CFS because low lymphs lead to opportunistic infections, and in the book it says:
Lymphocytes are an indication of the system’s ability to handle toxins. When increased, excessive systemic toxins are possible; when decreased, infection is possible.


RBC (red blood cells) is low normal, MCV and MCH (measures of cell size) are high normal. Ugh. This is always my pattern. The high MCV and MCH reflect folate, B-12, and B-6 metabolism. I hoped this would have been fixed by now with all the folate, B-12, and methylation support I am taking. But apparently it has not. My red blood cells are not absorbing these vitamins. Hence on my last Vitamin Diagnostics Methylation panel, posted in April under Improvement, showed that RBC folate had just slipped into the normal range (it was 403 with 400 as the lowest normal.)

The reason for this can’t be a lack in my diet. It probably involves some aspect of transport, perhaps due to oxidative stress making the cell membranes inflexible or brittle. It isn’t considered a serious problem so hematologists don’t mess with it. But it is indicative of methylation problems which, after spending $400 or more a month on supplements, I would like to fix!


Vitamin D is low. There are two kinds of Vitamin D measured. 25-hydroxy D-2 is <4. 25-hydroxy d-3 is 29.0

Now what is going on? I’m out in the sun most days, usually nude :) for a half hour or more. My skin has lots of opportunities to make Vit D from sunlight. When D-3 was measured in Nov 2007, just after my relapse, it was above 80, and I wasn't getting much sun.

Optimal vitamin D levels are controversial. My doctor wants me to supplement, even though taking D in the summertime is not generally advised. Mercola.com reports that current research recommends an optimal level of 45-52 ng/pg (115-128 nmol) and that sunshine is the only safe way to raise it.

But there is another point of view being promulgated by Dr. Trevor Marshall, whose research examines the relationship between Vit D levels and chronic infections. He writes: F

For half a century, medical science has been noting the association between Vitamin D serum levels and disease. What developed has been a concept of ‘Vitamin D Deficiency’ based solely on the assumption that ‘low’ Vitamin D serum levels somehow cause disease processes. But this ignores the alternate hypothesis -- that the disease processes themselves regulate the Vitamin D metabolism -- that the observed ‘low’ values of Vitamin D in disease are a result of the disease process, and not the cause. Molecular biology has now taught us that the body is capable of making its Vitamin D directly from 7-dehydro-cholesterol, and that the generation of the Vitamin D metabolites is modulated by inflammatory disease processes.
Marshall’s research in molecular biology has shown that some bacterial pathogens disable their host’s ability to produce antimicrobial peptides by disabling the Vitamin D Receptor. As a consequence, Vitamin D levels remain low as long as the bacteria remains in the body. Furthermore, artificially increasing Vit D levels by supplementation can lead to an increase in the pathogen load. (See J.C. Waterhouse, Reversing Bacteria-Induced Vitamin D Receptor Dysfunction to Treat Chronic Disease: Why Vitamin D Supplementation Can Be Immunosuppressive, Potentially Leading to Pathogen Increase, in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Jan 2009)

So now what do I do? Stay out of the sun or spend more time in the sun? Take supplemental Vit D or hold off on it?

In sum, .the likelihood of chronic bacterial infection looms large. But is it in my jaw bone, my gut (as some have postulated as a cause of my low amino acids – I’ll write about this another day), or in some other tissue? Whatever it is, it knows how to hide. A myriad of energy diagnostic programs, like Zyto, Bio-Meridian, Harmonic Translation, to name a few I’ve tried recently, have not identified a suspicious pathogen.

In the meantime, I have a few tricks in my bagL

[1] To increase lymphocytes (which help fight bacteria) I will add Thymic Protein A to my supplement regime. I just sprinkled a packet of powder under my tongue as I continue to write.

[2] To get out my Sota Instruments pulser and try to zap any bacteria that get into the blood circulation.

[3] To start low dose naltrexone, which has been shown to raise NK cells and CD8 cells (types of lymphocytes) and suppress inflammatory cytokines.

Plus, I await a Sept 9 appointment with a doctor who has helped others improve their immune function and recover from ME-CFS. The experiences of his patients give me HOPE.


  1. I'm impressed that you know so much about bloodtests :) I can totally relate to doctors who are so unhelpful with our ME/CFS. It's beyond frustrating. I've read in multiple places that we can have subclinical blood tests and most doctors wave these off (I know mine does). It's the weather, or your nervous, or you did have an infection but it's gone now. Yeah, right. Ok I'm starting to vent LOL. I'm glad you are taking your health into your own hands. Sad to say you will probably need the help of a doctor to get proper treatment. I wish we could write our own prescriptions since we know so much more about this than they do! Good luck, keep up the good work :)

  2. Thanks Perpetualspiral. (I like your screen name :)
    I'm actually looking forward to seeing this new Doc on Sept 9 because he helped a guy get well who was much sicker than me. If you read some of the ME-CFS forums, look for Mike Dessin's story. I thought I had accepted being chronically ill for life and just wanted to make incremental progress so I could be outside more. But Mike is exercising, waterskiing, golfing, etc. and I now realize I want to do ALL OF THOSE THINGS TOO (except I'll skip the golfing, which I never learned!)


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.