Paleo Plan

My $1500 Lab Tests: 5 Month Update

Neely Quinn, Nutrition TherapistIn September of 2012, I started seeing a naturopath in Boulder (Eric Dorninger) to finally tackle some of my health issues that Paleo just wasn’t helping. Seeing him is not cheap, as he has requisite upfront testing that costs about $1500 plus his consulting fees. All the little symptoms I was having weren’t really enough to get me to go see him; it was my sneaking suspicion that I had a parasite that finally made me bite the bullet.

Note: If you’re looking for a health practitioner that is into Paleo, check out an awesome directory of them at www.primaldocs.com

The Beginning

You can read all about my other symptoms, what tests I took, what my initial results were, and what supplements and dietary advice I was given in my post, “When Paleo Doesn’t Cut It: My $1500 Lab Test Results”. But basically, I found out the following:

  • I was hypothyroid
  • My testosterone was low – can decrease sex drive, energy levels, and muscle strength
  • My histamine was high – marker of inflammation
  • My DHEA was low – adrenal function not so good
  • Omega 3’s Low
  • Vitamin D low
  • And I have the MTHFR gene, which means I have a hard time converting folate into methylfolate. Translation: I have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
  • Oh, and I definitely had a parasite – cryptosporidium.

So he put me on a slew of supplements. He’s a Paleo advocate, so he was already satisfied with my diet. I didn’t make any changes there. All the supplements I’ve been taking since my initial appointment are laid out in my 1-Month Update post.

One Month Update

In my One Month Update post I also described some fantastic news about my symptoms:

  • My parasite was seemingly gone – no more diarrhea or heinous fatigue.
  • My breast pain had gotten better.
  • My energy levels were better.
  • The flashing in my eye was better.
  • My skin improved.

 

After 5 Months

It’s been 5 months since my initial appointment, and I just had blood drawn again and a 30-minute consult with Dr. D. I didn’t do all the tests again: just the ones that pertained to my general health and most of the markers that were off the first time. One other thing to mention was that he told me to get a mammogram (even though I’m only 34) because of that gene I mentioned, and because there’s breast cancer on both sides of my family. I finally got it done last week and it was all good. Thank God.

Here’s my 5 Month Update good news, which my doc and I are very, very pleased with overall.

  • I’m no longer hypothyroid. My TSH went from 6.83 to 4.36 and all other markers are normal. In functional medicine terms I still need to get it down, but the fact is that it’s trending downward, which is very good.
  • My testosterone is no longer low, and, in fact, it almost doubled.
  • My DHEA is no longer low.
  • My vitamin D is no longer low – I’m at 50.4 as opposed to 30!
  • My zinc was actually borderline low in the beginning, and now it’s at the high end of normal.

So that would explain why I feel less fatigued, my skin is better, I sleep better, my hair is falling out less (it was never falling out a LOT, but it’s decreased). And maybe best of all, my moods are very stable. I’m way more capable of dealing with stress now and I feel calm. These results astounded my doc – we were both dancing in our seats for joy and high five-ing each other in his office yesterday :) He’s known me since 2004, and he told me I look better and younger now than he’s ever seen me look. He could sense a new calm in me and said that I look healthy. Woohoo!

However, there was some not-so-good news, too.

  • My histamine is still high, which, as I said, is a sign of inflammation.
  • And my breast pain is actually worse now than when I started with him. It got better for a bit and now it lasts for about 15 days of every month.

My New Regimen

He put me on SAM-e to decrease the histamine levels. I’ve taken SAM-e before for depression, and it worked for me. We’ll see what it can do for my inflammation. I have a nagging neck injury right now, and I’m wondering if it’ll get better if I can get these inflammation levels down.

And he put me on vitamin E for the breast pain. He said there’ve been studies that inadvertently found that supplementing vitamin E helped fibrocystic breast pain, and as long as I’m taking concurrent anti-oxidants with the vitamin E, I can take it without risk of side effects.

All else is staying the same with my supplements and, of course, my diet.

How long will I stay on all these supplements?

I’ll stay on my methyl folate forever to reduce my chances of getting breast cancer. It provides me with the methyl folate that I have a hard time converting folate to on my own. All these other supplements I foresee staying on for a year or so, with regular check-ups about with my doc, and then seeing how I do without them gradually. It takes years to mess your body up, and it takes a long time to heal it, too. I don’t believe in supplementing gratuitously – I think it’s a waste of time and money. But because I know that I need these certain nutrients and now know it’s actually working, I’ll spend the money and take them every day for as long as it takes. By the way, my supplements cost about $150/month.

NOTE: This is my protocol – not yours. Please don’t take what I’m doing as advice. 

If you have health problems that Paleo hasn’t been able to fix, I strongly encourage you to see a naturopath, who will delve much deeper into your issues than most conventional docs. They have knowledge that conventional docs are never taught, and care way more about your diet and other “peripheral” aspects of your health.

The above info is what my naturopath told me about my problems, but it’s definitely not exactly what yours will tell you. I’m telling you about my experience with him because it demonstrates how a naturopath works, what kind of info you can glean about yourself if you see one, and what success you may have. I’m really excited about my progress and I’d love to see all of you have the same success!

Anyone else have any experience with naturopaths?

 

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10 Comments

  1. I need to be tested for MTHFR. Did you get that test in with all the others? I am looking into 23andme.com to test for it because I like the idea of knowing all the other potential genetic stuff.
    I recently started taking Quercetin complex for inflammation/histamine so maybe look into that if your SAM-e doesn’t do the trick.
    Have you ever tried Evening Primrose Oil for breast pain?

    • Neely Quinn

      T – Thanks for the suggestions! Evening primrose oil is something I was going to try if the vit E doesn’t work. I’ve tried it in the past with no success, unfortunately.

  2. A lot of the symptoms you’re explaining fit in the the patterns of disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Have you thought about seeing an acupuncturist/herbalist to help you achieve wellness again? It might make the difference you’re looking for.

  3. You should read up on iodine deficiency, it lists many of your symptoms, fatigue, breast pain and thyroid issues.

    • Neely Quinn

      Anna – Thanks for the suggestion. I actually had my iodine tested the first time around, after I’d been VERY slightly supplementing with iodine (on my skin only), and it was way too high. That’s why we didn’t go the iodine route.

  4. Samantha Bender

    Hello, I am seeing a functional medicine doctor and have had similar tests run. My mother passed away from breast cancer at age 30 (I am now 30) and, as you can imagine I am at a very high risk for it as well. I have a double mutation on the MTHFR gene, but she didn’t mention that this was specific to breast cancer…is this proven? Also, where do you get your methyl folate?

  5. Mary Ellen

    I’m not sure what type of iodine testing you did… blood? Skin? All I can say is that, after reading Dr. Brownstein’s book on iodine, I had my iodine tested by Dr. Flechas’ lab (FFP). I believe they are the makers of the popular Iodoral (iodine/iodide) pills. I’ve been supplementing them for several years. I had tender/painful breasts for many years. Within months of supplementation, the pain was gone. It displaces the fluoride and bromide effects. The test kit/lab work for their iodine test was several hundred dollars (I don’t remember exactly but I know it wasn’t cheap). The alternative is to simply take a 12.5 mg tablet and see how you tolerate it. People take 12.5, 25, 37.5 or 50 mg per day. I do know someone who had a bad reaction to Iodoral, but many people use it with no reaction. Even if you don’t think you need iodine, I still suggest you read Dr. B’s book. Good luck.

  6. Can you say who you use for your doctor that helped you here?

    I am curious cuz I am struggling pretty hard while sticking with the diet… even a darn strict auto-immune version… and still can’t seem to get my energy and clear head back with consistency. I have a day here and there each month where I feel like myself… strong, solid, and clear headed, but the rest of time I feel like a weirdo.

    I’ m researching relentlessly and know there has gotta be a way to get through this!
    I am based in Southern Oregon. Thanks for your time and consideration.
    Brian

    • Neely Quinn

      Brian – My doc’s name is Eric Dorninger in Boulder, Colorado. Look on Primaldocs.com for someone in your area. Good luck to you!

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