Is My New Diet Working?

Posted by Wendy Neal Friday, March 19, 2010 Bookmark and Share

In my last blog post, I told you that I finally found a naturopathic physician, Dr. Jason Bradley, and he was able to find the root cause of a lot of my issues. After just a few weeks on my treatment, which included dietary changes and a few supplements, I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much, much better!

Following are the results of my initial lab tests:

Food Allergies

I have major allergies to cow's milk dairy and egg whites and need to avoid those. Also moderate allergies to mushrooms, alfalfa, turmeric, and psyllium, which means I can consume them sparingly. And I may be gluten-intolerant, though I'm not allergic to gluten.

Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies

After my first blood test, I was on the borderline of having a serious vitamin D3 deficiency (below 32 ng/mL would be considered deficient and I was at 32.2).  He wanted my levels to get up to 75 or 80, so I started supplementing with 15,000 IUs of D3 a day. 

I was also a little low on vitamin B12, so he gave me a supplement there too - 1,000 mcg per day.

After running an at-home iodine test, I discovered that I was also deficient in iodine. Basically you paint a 3 x 3 inch square using 2% iodine tincture found at most drug stores onto a fatty part of your body. If it disappears in less than 24 hours, you may be deficient. Mine was disappearing in about 12 hours. So he has me on 10 mg of iodine per day.

Other Results

My blood sugar levels checked out fine but my fasting insulin was a little high.  Also my cortisol was low and my aldosterone levels were very high - 56.5 ng/dL. Normal ranges are between 1 - 16. He later said that it was the highest he had ever seen it, and no wonder I was feeling completely stressed out!

Aside from the supplements he gave me, I basically just needed to change my diet a little bit since I already ate lots of meat, veggies, and virtually no sugar.  I just needed to eliminate cow’s milk products, egg whites, and gluten.  Easier said than done! The dairy wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but trying to find food without gluten in it was a real challenge, as it’s in almost all processed food. The easiest thing to do was just cut out all processed food and make all my meals myself. Sounds like a lot of work, but with proper planning and some essential tools and appliances, I've found that it really doesn't take much longer to prepare a wholesome meal from scratch.

Changes for the Better

After just three days on the new diet, I noticed that my upper abdominal pain and cramping had completely stopped, and my skin cleared up considerably, and I swear my face is actually glowing. I didn't have terrible acne - it was easily covered by makeup - but it was one of those things where it was annoying to think that I'm in my late thirties and STILL have acne. Also I noticed that I was sleeping better and not waking up so groggy in the mornings.

After a couple weeks, I noticed that the tingling in my feet and toes was gone, and the joint pain and stiffness also had gone away. Previously if I would be on my feet all day, for instance shopping, at the end of the day my feet would hurt pretty bad. One day my daughter and I went shopping for several hours and that evening my feet didn't hurt at all! Also I noticed that my anxiety levels seemed to be going down, but could still use a little improvement.

On the negative side, my lower digestive issues seemed to get worse before they got better. I was incredibly gassy, and bowel movements were painful. I don't know if this is because I introduced more raw vegetables into my diet, or since my doc had me stop taking my probiotics and digestive enzymes (he wanted to treat one problem at a time, and see if just eliminating my food allergens would also cure all my digestive issues).

After one month on the new diet he started me on the iodine supplement that I mentioned previously. Since the lower digestive issues were not going away, he thought that maybe iodine would help. He wanted to try that first before taking any other action. I must say that after two weeks on the iodine, the gassiness and lower abdominal pain has subsided tremendously. Still a little ways to go, but I'm definitely seeing progress.

In checking my labs a month later, my vitamin D levels were up around 104 ng/mL, so he lowered my dosage to 5,000 IU a day, down from 15,000. Also my aldosterone was now down within the normal range at 15.9. He said this was likely due to eliminating gluten from my diet and getting my vitamin D levels up. My cortisol was still a little low and my fasting insulin was still a little high though.

All in all, I'd say my new dairy-free and gluten-free diet has been very successful in alleviating my anxiety, panic attacks, digestive and many other issues. I wouldn't say I'm feeling awesome 100% of the time, but I'm feeling leaps and bounds better than I ever have before. My next appointment with Dr. Bradley is next week, so we'll see if I've made any more progress.

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