Good news to report to you guys! If you have been following along on my journey, then you know I started working with a functional medicine doctor back in February. After getting all my initial test results back, I had TONS of things I needed to improve. It was actually a really hard time for me, seeing how much damage I had done to myself when all along I thought I was super healthy. It is hard for me to explain everything that I needed to work on because during my appointments he tells me so much information that I always leave forgetting half the stuff he says. I really need to start recording our conversations! I will list below and explain the best I can the things that needed improvement.
· My B vitamins were basically non-existent
· My vitamin C and some other essential immunity vitamins were super low
· My body was not properly using fat or carbohydrates as fuel, they weren’t being metabolized well
· my amino acid (protein) profile was very low
· my cell membranes were “rusted” as he described and I don’t remember exactly what showed this but it was a key thing he wanted to fix
· my glutathione levels were very low (this is essential in protecting our cells from damage)
· I had high levels of toxic exposure
· There was something in my blood work that showed him that my cognitive function was impaired, causing me to have a harder time concentrating and remembering things
After getting this first report, I was so upset. All of the working out I was doing was too much stress on my body and the way I was eating was clearly not supporting me. After this first appointment and seeing all the damage I had done, I decided to make changes and stick with them. I was given a large supplement regimen which I can list below, I changed my diet and changed my exercising. Here is a list of supplements I have been taken (not saying they are things everyone should take; they are the ones that were specifically needed to help me)
· Glutamine powder- for gut function
· Curcumin- anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant
· Carnitine powder- to support fatty acid transport
· Glutathione- for cell protection
· ALA- antioxidant and helps the body break down carbohydrates
· An adrenal support supplement- for my extreme adrenal fatigue
· Multi vitamin- for daily nutrients
· Digestive enzymes- to help break down meals and have less work for my digestive system
· Fish oil- for omega fatty acids
· DHEA- for adrenal inefficiency
· Ferritin- to help with iron storage
· Vitamin D- for vitamin D
· COQ10- antioxidant and helps provide energy to cells
This seems like a lot and it was very overwhelming at first. I have a pill box the size of a box of cereal for all the supplements I have been taking. The good news is that each time my levels come back better I can cut back on supplements and eventually stop them all together.
For the past six months, I have been consistently taking my supplements and sticking with my diet changes. I had been a vegetarian for 10 years and although this diet may work for some people it clearly did not work for me. I have been incorporating meat into my diet and trying to have it at least once a day. I have been eating tons of chicken and turkey, salmon and occasionally red meat. I have also been adding way more fat into my diet. Coming from a disordered eating background, fat was seen as the enemy. I would ignore all the health benefits of it and try to keep it out of my diet. That is not the case anymore! I use olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil on everything!
To help with my stress hormone levels and adrenal fatigue my workouts have completely changed. For the year and a half leading up to my wedding I was going nuts with workouts. I would do up to three a day and was really focusing on tons of cardio and intense stuff. Now my workout routine looks completely different. I am doing one main workout a day and then adding in lots of walks. I am doing much more yoga and way less cardio. I also listen to my body now and if I am feeling tired or run down I don’t push myself. To also help with adrenal fatigue I have lowered my caffeine and coffee intake which has been extremely difficult.
The last big change I have made to help with the toxin exposure is switching to all natural products. I traded out all my cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and body products for natural ones. My doctor said anything that is going onto your skin or you are breathing in effects your health.
I did my new blood work a few weeks ago and had my follow up appointment early this week to go over it all. My doctor was THRILLED. I had basically improved every single issue! All of my nutrient levels were better and in range of where they should be. My body is now utilizing fat and carbs for energy as it should be. My amino acid levels are way better and my immune function is super high. The level of toxin exposure I had went way down and my adrenal glands are on the mend. And my supplement list is so much smaller now, yay!
There were still a few things that needed a little more help. My ferritin levels are still low and this is negatively impacting my thyroid function so I am going to continue on that supplement for another month to see if it will improve. I also have a few more B vitamins to get up a little higher. But overall I am SO much healthier, I feel so much better and I couldn’t be happier. It is amazing how much our diet and lifestyle effect our health, even when we think we are doing everything right. It was such a wakeup call for me when I got those initial results. Being someone who lives for health and wellness I couldn’t believe my own body was so off. When you are used to feeling a certain way, you start to not even realize because it just becomes your norm. Then you fix things and feel better and you’re like whoa I like this feeling so much better.
My piece of advice, get yourself checked out, even if you think you’re doing a great job with your health. See your doctor, get a physical, get blood work done and just make sure. We have one body and it is our job to make sure we do everything we can to keep it functioning at its highest potential.