I am considering getting a bunch of medical testing done before the end of the year, largely for insurance-related reasons. I have some ideas about what I want to test, but I also want to tap into the wisdom of the crowd here for ideas I wouldn't have thought of. I have a number of mostly minor health complaints:
- Digestive issues: occasional diarrhea, occasional gas, sometimes after eating (no pattern I can tell) unpleasant gut sensations and sharply decreased mood
- Chronic stuffy nose
- Periodic low mood and energy level (could be physical or psychological)
Plus some things that could indicate problems but are under control:
- Circadian rhythm disorder (melatonin works, still groggy in morning)
- Plaque buildup (regular brushing works)
- Gingivitis (regular flossing works)
- Rarely cavities
So what do you guys think I should get tested?
I am most concerned about my gut health. I have already eliminated anything that routinely hurts my gut, like nuts and legumes. That said, seemingly at random my gut will act up (the exact same meal may or may not cause problems), and when I'm having a bad response it really impacts my quality of life. What tests of GI function seem relevant?
Beyond that, my other concerns are relatively minor, but it would be nice not to have things like dandruff. What other potential tests could shed light on my minor symptoms?
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Can I give it a shot?
Digestive Issues + Sleep issues == Lactose intolerant (do you consume dairy?)
Chronic stuffy nose == Allergies, likely enahnced by some type of food allergy which increase inflammation (again, do you consume dairy?)
Periodic low mood and energy level == Life
Circadian rhythm disorder --> Unlikely, CRSDs are very rare, and are routinely over diagnosed. The only way to actually test is to have a rectal probe implanted for a couple of weeks.
Plaque buildup and gingivitis will occur, especially with people who have poor silva. Brushing works, so brush -- not really a test that is going to help you.
Dandruff -- I had horrible dandruff, I was on prescription shampoo and it wouldn't get better. I fixed it by taking colder showers (really hot showers kill the scalp) and skiping the shampoo. Now I shampoo once a week or so and have not had a flake since.
Now if you have some HCAP left over and you are looking to spend it. I might get a food allergy test done because it sounds like you have some food borne issues.
You probably have some sort of gut flora issue. Get tested for H. pylori. I also like the idea of consuming your own homemade fermented foods, such as sauerkraut. However you might find such foods to be rather harsh so take it slowly.
As for low energy, get your thyroid tested (TSH, free T4, ..). Such testing is cheap and is something everyone should do every few years, albeit this is more true of women than men.
I agree that some of your symptoms sound adrenal related (groggy), but I wouldn't bother testing for candida. I've talked to numerous professionals about it (mostly naturopathic docs) and they've all agreed yeast testing is not 100% accurate.
Stuffy nose, dandruff: I'd get a food allergy test done, first. I had a panel of nearly 200 foods tested, and it cost me nearly $500. But it was worth it.
If you do have a yeast problem, consuming fermented foods will aggravate it in the form of a histamine reaction. Go easy at first and wait; if you itch, burst out into hives, sneeze...stop. Stick to a good quality store bought probiotic instead.
For increased gut health, I'd look into a good powder form of l-glutamine and start taking it in 5,000mg doses; up it gradually but don't overdue it, or you'll be in the worst abdominal cramping hell of your life!
Sounds like a gut flora vs yeast issue. Not sure about tests, but lots of probiotics will help. Store bought stuff isn't going to be as potent as home made stuff. Look into making your own kefir/yogurt and ferment them for a long time (24hrs vs 12), kraut, pickles, kim-chi, kombucha (ferment for at least two weeks or until it's very sour, almost like a vinegar), etc.
The plaque thing can be addressed with minerals and vitamin K.
Circadian rhythms are due to melatonin vs cortisol. Likely the cortisol is high at the wrong time due to the imbalance of gut flora, or the wrong kinds of bacteria. This isn't an easy problem to solve if it's long running, but things like having a very bight light, or sun exposure during the morning/day and very low exposure to night (sticking to orange/red at night avoiding blue/whites, esp. from LEDs/iPads/LCD screens) can help reset it. Melatonin can help, but go easy on it.
You might want to change how many carbs you eat, and/or get checked out for candida as well. Gas is caused by too much bacteria digesting the carbs/fiber from veggies/fruit. But the problem is if you go too low carb for too long, this can cause higher cortisol and keep you awake, so it's a catch-22.
Adrenal support such as vitamin C, seasalt, holy basil (aka tulsi tea), licorice (the real stuff, not the candy) can also be helpful.
Look into some of the stuff by Dr. Dan Kalish for this.
I've also heard from podcasts with Paul Chek that this kind of thing may be a parasite infection (since parasites are active during the night and dormant during the day), somehow I doubt it, but you never know - his test for this is to do a fast and see if it gets better, and if it does, it means they've gone dormant to save energy.
Get your Vitamin D3 level tested. Ask for the 25(OH)D test. Many, if not all of your symptoms may be traced to a D3 deficiency.
For optimum sleep, a blood level of 60-80 ng/ml seems to work best. Read this: http://drgominak.com/vitamin-d
In the meantime, start supplementing 5,000 IUs of an oil-based D3 supplement. I like Carlson's Solar D Gems--cheap on iherb.com.
More info at the Vitamin D Council. There is also a link to a home test kit.
There are many links to relevant studies on the site & even more on the blog ($5 per month membership--well worth it!)