Monday, March 30, 2009

K2, Skin Dryness, and Hypothyroidism

Historically one of the ways that I saw how well my Synthroid meds were doing was the dryness on the back of my hands. It was correlated with a lack of energy... but I didn't really notice other hypothyroid symptoms. I've never been cold, really. My friends and family have noticed and poked fun of me for it. I can stand around in the cold in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt and not feel the cold. Well, I felt it, it just didn't feel that cold.

I've started taking K2 (Carlson's 5mg twice daily) and I've noticed my skin has lost its dryness. My hands are fine. Not baby-smooth, but not dry like it's been in the past. I've also been eating better for the past couple weeks so there's no guarantee there of a correlation.

I'm also off Synthroid, because I need to see a doctor. My doc won't refill the prescription til I make an appointment, and he's in a different town, so that's for crap.

And, being off Synthroid, I've noticed the cold. I don't know if I noticed it when I was a kid, or what the deal was. I've been in Texas for so long that there's not enough cold weather to really notice it. But now my AC works. Used to be that I'd have to set my car AC to LOW (which means max AC with the fan at full blast) before I felt cold, and even at 64 (the next setting above that) it didn't feel chill.

I'm changing a lot of things. I don't know what's doing what. My plan is to try to improve my diet and habits and much as possible, and then later start re-introducing things to see what happens. I'll be seeing the doc next week to test for thyroid function. I'm not really too set on 'proving' what helps me right now since I'd rather be healthy first. Being gluten- and fructose-free is my first goal.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One step at a time

I hurt my ankle about six weeks ago and fell off the wagon (no, I didn't hurt my ankle falling off). I haven't run since then, and my walks have decreased in distance and pace. I think trying to run in my current state is a bad idea. The biomechanics of a fat guy running can't be that good. So my first goal is to lose weight.

It's easy to say "no carbs" but harder to do. My plan is to find a way to eat that I'll be eating for the rest of my life, and to be comfortable with it. I've been making changes steadily.

I've already switched to eating healthy dinners. I don't drink soda after noon any more (I only occassionally drink a coke with breakfast but sometimes with lunch). That was easy for me to do, since I eat dinner at home, or on the way home. If I eat out, I drink tea instead of soda, and I find myself at restaurants where I can avoid carbs. Likewise, I eat healthy on the weekends -- bacon, eggs, beef and pork and a bit of chicken, green leafies, butter, cream, and cheese. I make sauces for any meat that I cook and that definitely ups the flavor, although I don't really have a problem with the flavor of meat anyway. But sauteed onions are the win. :)

I've been cheating too much, so enough of that! My plan is to eat a healthy lunch. I've stopped drinking cokes with lunch, and I mostly eat carb-free, but not always. That's my next goal: to eat healthy lunches. This will mean, in part, bringing my lunch to work, instead of always eating out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lectins and Hypothyroidism

"Lectins stimulate class II HLA antigens on cells that do not normally display them, such as pancreatic islet and thyroid cells."
* What triggers auto-immunity? Lancet 1985;ii:78-9.

From Wikipedia: Lectins are sugar-binding proteins which are highly specific for their sugar moieties.

High levels of lectins are present in grains, legumes (beans and peanuts), dairy, and nightshades (which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants). And maybe also dairy. I'm interested in chasing down the dairy angle, since it's one of the foods that I consume a lot of.

I recently decided to 'get serious' about going low-carb. I've been cheating too much. The weight has easily come off, although that is now being complicated by a lack of thyroid medication. I'm on Synthroid, cuz, you know, the drug rep convinced my doctor that it's the Right Thing To Do. But my prescription has run out and my doctor's in another town and I haven't found a low-carb doc here yet.

So now I have a reason to avoid legumes. Knowing why should make it much easier. I don't consider this one paper proof, but it's a start. I'm giving up beans!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Exercise in Ketosis Requires Less Oxygen

From, "Ketogenic diets and physical performance" by Stephen D Phinney in Nutrition & Metabolism 2004, 1:2.

"However the interpretation of this endurance test is confounded by the fact that the oxygen cost (ie, energy cost) of the treadmill exercise had significantly decreased following the weight loss, and this occurred despite the subjects being made to carry a backpack loaded to bring them back to their initial exercise test weight."

The fact that it occured desipite the backpacks means that it wasn't mass itself, which suggests that it was either (1) lower body mass, meaning that uninvolved tissues required significantly less oxygen, or (2) improved metabolic efficiency, or possibly (3) a combination and/or some other cause.

The fact that the oxygen cost was significantly reduced suggests that it wasn't #1, but more likely #2 -- that the energy cost, in ketosis, of endurance exercise, is lower than the energy cost of the same exercise while on a high-carb diet. This tends to disagree with conventional wisdom and specific research into the oxygen cost of the two. Which is why they then followed up with trained cyclists, and used a constant-weight (eucaloric) diet instead of a weight-loss diet. This test showed no drop in performance.

The trivial way to interpret the two tests is that it was either the lost weight itself that reduced oxygen cost, or improved efficiency in non-athletes asked to perform an endurance test once a week. The latter is the easiest to believe.

Yet I wonder.... Time for me to chase down more research.

BTW, I'm moving to a different blogging platform, hence the lack of updates here. That process isn't going too speedily. :]